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Old 02-07-2019, 04:01 AM
DaveKell DaveKell is offline
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Default Learning songs old school

I recently came across an instructional artist named Daddystovepipe. In his literature he states that there are no scale practices , just learning songs the way the venerated old bluesmen did. Scales have been the bane of my learning most of my life. I canít relate them to the styles of music that intrigue me. Coincidentally, Iíve never played games either my whole life of any kind. Itís a mind numbing pursuit for me. I prefer to just get lost in my thoughts. Daddystovepipe claims by learning the vast repertoire he has you will soon be able to improvise different parts of songs from memory of others youíve assimilated in your playing. His music is what Iíve searched for the five decades a guitar has frequently been in my hands. Iím putting together a large order from him this week and will immerse myself in it. No more tv watching or mindless net surfing. Iíve already made progress on one song by him. He breaks them down so thoroughly tabs go by the wayside. He has a website as well as voluminous youtube videos. Very soon my guitar playing is going to be what Iíve wanted since my dad got me a cheap Gibson electric when I was 9 following the Beatles first American tv appearance. Hopefully Iíll soon be ďplaying a guitar just like ringing a bellĒ to quote Mr. Berry!
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:19 AM
Nymuso Nymuso is offline
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I was playing the guitar for years before I learned scales, reading standard notation, etc. I had the advantage of being self taught. I know many people who quit taking lessons out of boredom and frustration. Many of those quit the instrument entirely but many continued on their own to become fine players. In my opinion, most structured guitar instruction is backwards.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:33 AM
Paddy1951 Paddy1951 is offline
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Well, one thing is certain. Not everybody can learn the same way. That coupled with your goals, should help you decide the direction of your learning experience.

If, for instance, you want to play in orchestral settings, then the traditional by the numbers approach, is going to be the way, IMO.

Most of us are drawn to a folk or peoples music of some kind. Blues, definitely fits the category. Pete Seeger style folk music would be another.

I have played Tradional Irish music for quite a long time. This music is rarely taught formally. Yet, I know many musicians that are beyond excellent. I once met a fiddler who knew 1500 tunes by heart. I don't think that was an exaggeration as I watched him play for nearly two hours with only a short break.
Irish Trad was tradionally taught by ear. No sheet music, no scales, etc. To a large degree, it is still taught that way.

I would not expect most Trad musicians to be able to play in orchestras. Conversely, I have witnessed formally trained musicians of various stripes, assume they could play Trad and struggle terribly. There are things that don't translate to sheet music well.

I am a long time Blues lover, too. I don't think most great Blues players learned by any way other than learning "on the job."

I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with formal music education. Only that desired outcome may be helpful in determining an approach to music learning.

Last edited by Paddy1951; 02-07-2019 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:40 AM
dkstott dkstott is offline
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Playing scales are not a bad thing, but you can get into a rut and only play scales instead of tunes. Your soling might then sound like scales. Same thought process can be applied to practicing chord arpeggios.

Diversity is a wonderful thing when it comes to learning new songs.

I try to practice something different each day of the week
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:59 AM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Interesting topic, Dave. I've bumped into Daddy Stovepipe on the internet and like his style.

With all the resources available today it is easy to lose focus. Tab is a blessing and a curse to me. Great for trying out songs I can't pick up by ear (which is almost anything done fingerpicking, I'm a lot better with chords), but I can't say I really know the tune until it is in my memory.

This was brought home to me recently after seeing a performer whose songs I really liked (singer/songwriter on piano). I bought his CD, but he is not the kind of guy whose stuff people have tabbed out or even posted chords for.

I played his CD in the car and sang along for a couple of weeks without any thought of learning them (I'm more focused on instrumentals these days). But one day I sat down with my guitar and had several of them worked out by ear in the original key in very short order. No paper involved, no listening to the songs while learning them. And I "know" those tunes like I know the pledge of allegiance--as opposed to tunes I've played much longer while looking at tab chord charts.

So if Daddy has a way to learn tunes without tab I'd be really interested in hearing your feedback as you get into his materials, especially if his method is something more than "watch my hands and copy me" --which has never worked for me-- thus my reliance on tab.

Good luck with it!
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Last edited by reeve21; 02-09-2019 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:56 PM
Pitar Pitar is offline
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I never did relate to scales. If a person makes the effort to place and switch between chords fluidly the ear will witlessly learn the scales. It will hear the relationships and begin to use them by guiding the hands through them. I think that's how it should be.

If I took the time to step out a song or instrumental in a video I think anyone could learn to play it. In the old school days people did exactly that. If a guy wrote something by ear and it was popular people wanted to learn it. But, there wasn't any sheet music or instructional material for it so it was learned in the aural tradition by listening repeatedly until it was learned. Or, if in person, the guy who knew it showed those who didn't note by note. Besides, reading music wasn't what folks wanted to do. They just wanted to play and skip the academics of learning to sight read notation.

I've never used a tab. I taught myself the fretboard by ear and to do that my hands had to participate. it all just kind of worked itself out naturally.
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:56 AM
Martie Martie is offline
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I've always advised my son to learn songs/riffs/tunes he likes as an absolute priority and have no time whatsoever for players who play like they're participating in some kind of musical Olympics.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:26 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Whilst I do think that understanding al least basic and pentatonic scales are important, I didn't do so at first.

However I'm a great fan of my fellow European picker Daddy Stovepipe
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:05 PM
LiveMusic LiveMusic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKell View Post
I recently came across an instructional artist named Daddystovepipe. In his literature he states that there are no scale practices , just learning songs the way the venerated old bluesmen did. Scales have been the bane of my learning most of my life. I canít relate them to the styles of music that intrigue me. Coincidentally, Iíve never played games either my whole life of any kind. Itís a mind numbing pursuit for me. I prefer to just get lost in my thoughts. Daddystovepipe claims by learning the vast repertoire he has you will soon be able to improvise different parts of songs from memory of others youíve assimilated in your playing. His music is what Iíve searched for the five decades a guitar has frequently been in my hands. Iím putting together a large order from him this week and will immerse myself in it. No more tv watching or mindless net surfing. Iíve already made progress on one song by him. He breaks them down so thoroughly tabs go by the wayside. He has a website as well as voluminous youtube videos. Very soon my guitar playing is going to be what Iíve wanted since my dad got me a cheap Gibson electric when I was 9 following the Beatles first American tv appearance. Hopefully Iíll soon be ďplaying a guitar just like ringing a bellĒ to quote Mr. Berry!
The late David Sudnow marketed a piano learning course many years ago with a similar theme. Maybe he invented it, I dunno. The basic idea was he immersed you into intricate songs from day one via dot diagram chord charts. You saw where to play the chords on the piano and there were some passing notes here and there. These songs are old standards. His pitch was that if you do this for six months to a year, learning a number of these heavily chorded songs, your ear develops and you will be on your way to playing any song by ear. A key idea of the pitch was that 99% of everybody who learns to play piano the old way (sight reading) forgets how to play in about 20 years because you never learn how to play by ear but if you know how to play by ear, you never forget and can entertain a gathering playing any song that you know the melody.
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:51 AM
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TBman TBman is offline
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I did a lot of "scale" exercises as a young flat picker and
40 years later I'm using right hand studies which aren't exactly scales, but similar. I've started the study of the modes of scales to help me develop melodies. Scales are learning tools. I'm sure in classical training they are very important in learning the proper technique for that style .
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:38 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKell View Post
I recently came across an instructional artist named Daddystovepipe. In his literature he states that there are no scale practices , just learning songs the way the venerated old bluesmen did.
Of course, there are such things as "scale practices". But it's quite correct that the learning process in vernacular music (whether that's blues, folk or rock'n'roll) is/was all about learning songs: finding stuff you like and trying to copy it as best you could.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKell View Post
Scales have been the bane of my learning most of my life. I can’t relate them to the styles of music that intrigue me.
So why did you do it? Who told you it was important?

I'm not saying scale practice is not useful. But it's really only for finger exercise: developing speed and dexterity on the instrument.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKell View Post
Coincidentally, I’ve never played games either my whole life of any kind.
That's a little different. The best way for kids to learn music is to treat it as a game. It's why we call the performance of music "playing", after all.
If you're talking competitive games, then I'm with you. As a game or sport, music is about recreation and self-expression, not competition.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKell View Post
Daddystovepipe claims by learning the vast repertoire he has you will soon be able to improvise different parts of songs from memory of others you’ve assimilated in your playing.
Absolutely true. It's how all the great songwriters and improvisers learned their craft.
The more songs you know, the bigger the vocabulary you have to make music how you want.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKell View Post
His music is what I’ve searched for the five decades a guitar has frequently been in my hands.
Well, I've also been playing for five decades, but I had the same idea right from the beginning. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
I started by learning to play the songs (or riffs) I liked. Why wouldn't you? Why would you do anything else?
I.e., it was hardly a strategy for me, it was just the obvious thing to do.
Mind you, I wasn't dissuaded from it by teachers of any kind... (I deliberately avoided lessons, I think because I intuited that they would be all about stupid technical exercises or irrelevant theory...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKell View Post
I’m putting together a large order from him this week and will immerse myself in it. No more tv watching or mindless net surfing. I’ve already made progress on one song by him. He breaks them down so thoroughly tabs go by the wayside. He has a website as well as voluminous youtube videos. Very soon my guitar playing is going to be what I’ve wanted since my dad got me a cheap Gibson electric when I was 9 following the Beatles first American tv appearance. Hopefully I’ll soon be “playing a guitar just like ringing a bell” to quote Mr. Berry!
Good luck - it's never too late!
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:08 AM
difalkner difalkner is offline
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What are scales...?

David
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:16 AM
Paddy1951 Paddy1951 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by difalkner View Post
What are scales...?

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Old 02-11-2019, 07:39 AM
Dirk_Z Dirk_Z is offline
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I did a similar approach. I never had traditional guitar lessons.
Never learned scales or music theory.

If you seek a path as a professional musician to play in bands or an orchestra you have to learn music theory to communicate with the others.
If you just enjoy playing and making music you donīt need any of this.

I like the just learn a lot of differnet songs and styles way of learning guitar.
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:32 AM
DaveKell DaveKell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeve21 View Post
Interesting topic, Dave. I've bumped into Daddy Stovepipe on the internet and like his style.

With all the resources available today it is easy to lose focus. Tab is a blessing and a curse to me. Great for trying out songs I can't pick up by ear (which is almost anything done fingerpicking, I'm a lot better with chords), but I can't say I really know the tune until it is in my memory.

This was brought home to me recently after seeing a performer whose songs I really liked (singer/songwriter on piano). I bought his CD, but he is not the kind of guy whose stuff people have tabbed out or even posted chords for.

I played his CD in the car and sang along for a couple of weeks without any thought of learning them (I'm more focused on instrumentals these days). But one day I sat down with my guitar and had several of them worked out by ear in the original key in very short order. No paper involved, no listening to the songs while learning them. And I "know" those tunes like I know the pledge of allegiance--as opposed to tunes I've played much longer while looking at tab chord charts.

So if Daddy has a way to learn tunes without tab I'd be really interested in hearing your feedback as you get into his materials, especially if his method is something more than "watch my hands and copy me" --which has never worked for me-- thus my reliance on tab.

Good luck with it!
I donít think I ever said there are no tabs, just that he demonstrates everything so thoroughly the tabs arenít really utilized that much i almost have a complex blues tune down so well and have yet to print out the tabs. His tabs are handwritten like the very early Happy Ttaum tabs on Homespun instruction. Great for working on a troublesome passage but not much else. At this rate, by Spring Iíll have a respectable repertoire under the belt. Heíwhat Ive always been searching for!
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