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So…. I need to learn new songs for the band – OK… busted, actually old songs that we are gonna play that I never learned before. Now that we have that clarified, old or new, I have a plan of attack every time I learn a new song and/or solo -
We live our lives through patterns really. How do you know that a door knob needs to be turned in order to open the door? You have encountered it before and you know the pattern. Ever come to a door that had some new fangled bullshit type of way to open it and you had no freakin idea what to do? What did you do? Sat there like a dork lookin at that damn door like you have never seen one before, fumbled around trying to figure out how to get the damn think open, and hoping nobody is watching you make a fool of yourself. Hell, I have even been in the bathroom with some fancy ass toilet and having absolutely no idea how to flush that bitch (don’t act like you haven’t been there)!!
Now that we have that established, what I do is look for patterns in the music. What is reoccuring? What riffs am I familiar with? What style/techniques/etc does this player mainly use? Even to the point of what is the song structure? Is it a common – verse, per-chorus, chorus, verse, pre-chorus, Bridge, chorus…. or some other pattern? And on and on and on…. until I have broken it down into the smallest common parts.
Here is the part right before the last guitar solo:
Ok… could be a lot to remember… UNLESS… we look for patterns. Do you see any reoccuring shit?
How about this part?
Seems that this part is consistent.
Now… all we have to do is practice this part over and over until it is burned in our brain and finger’s muscle memory.
Now we need to find other patterns….. Let’s see…. OH.. OH… OH… Here is one!!!
Because I am used to seeing patterns I can see that there are moveable bass (low) notes – which you can see in measures 152,154,156,158 and then the pattern repeats:
So all you have to do is practice the first riff until you can do it in your sleep and then put these two together by adding the bass notes between these riffs (yeah I know … the bastard messed up the pattern a bit in measure 159 by putting that 7th fret in there – so beware of some of these quirks – just like a door that swings in instead of out). Red = moving bass note and Blue = Repeating pattern….
Like I said, this works for riffs, solos, song structure…. everything!! Look for patterns and make your life easier.
Every once in awhile I will get emails with people telling me that learning how to solo is just way too difficult and they want to quit.
Most of the time the challenge these people are facing isn’t that learning how to solo is a bitch(some solos definitely are) it’s that they are overwhelmed with inforamation overload and don’t know where to begin.
Now I got that solved with my Ebook: Rapid Playing Method for Guitar: Solo that you can get, but I also want to give all of you who haven’t gotten the book some early wins.
Now… let’s get you some early victories. I didn’t have time to make proper tabulature so hopefully this makes sense. Now that you know where the pattern happens (btw those circled dots are the root notes so that means if you are in the key of G then the pattern will start on the 3rd fret 6th string, if you are in A the pattern starts on 5th fret 6th string). Start off with the blues because it is the easiest and, in this case, the key of A minor. With these 4 notes you can play very cool solos. Now, just play them one after another. Ok, now slide from the “G” to the root note “A”. Slides are your friend for sure. Once you get the feel of that, try to bend a note (you should bend it up to the sound of two frets but right now just get used to bending and watch those fingers… this shit can hurt!!). It is time to put it together. The numbers are the order you play it…. slide (1-2), single note (3), pluck and bend next note (4), single note (5), single note (6).
NOW….go to Youtube and type in blues backing track in A minor and try to play these 4 notes along with it to get the feel of how they sound.
Hope this helps!!
I just read the Arnold Schwarzenegger biography “Total Recall”. Love him or hate him, there is no doubt that that fucker is a winner!! Top of the class world bodybuilder, then went into acting with that huge last name nobody could spell and didn’t even fit on the marquee – AND at a time when the top actors were little dudes like Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, and Woody Allen. Not to mention the fact that his English SUCKED!!!
But what happened?
One of the top grossing actors of all time. Ok, not enough for you? A Republican married into what many considered the “American Royal Family” the Kennedy’s…. oh, did I tell you that they are Staunch Democrats?!?!? Finally the dude went into politics and the mutha freakin dude won the Governorship of California….
The point of this post is the mentality and method that allowed that former scrawny dude from Australia to conquer so many different arenas can be summed up in one philosophy…..
You see… Arnold approached each of these vastly different careers the same way he approached body building to become the champion. The more reps you do the better you get…. so keep doing reps, reps, reps…
I am currently learning…. or trying to… learn how to sing (especially those dog calling high notes that only a eunuch or Steve Perry can hit).
And trust me… it is a struggle.
Just like what you may be going through learning how to solo…. I am fine with the struggle because I know, and keep repeating to myself, it is all about the REPS, REPS, REPS…
Know the fundamentals and then just do it over and over and over again.
So now, what I am doing is singing my ASS off in the car (so the neighbors don’t call animal rescue thinking we are torturing the cat!!!!).
Because I took the time to learn the fundamentals I know it is just a matter of time and I too will be breaking hears and glass with my vocals.
When I was a young wanna be six-string gunslinger I thought about nothing except for music, sports, and chasing tail (i.e. women).
Man, I had time to play and play I did… sometimes for 8 hours or more every day. I loved every minute of it and because of all of the hours I put into playing guitar I got proficient pretty quickly.
Since I didn’t fulfill my goal of becoming a Rock Star, as the years went on and I had to “grow up” (i.e. do more shit that I didn’t want to do like get a job, pay bills, do my own dishes!!!) I didn’t have the time to do what I wanted to do – ROCK OUT!!
So, while I was toiling away working for “The Man” I would do what I did when I was at school listening to a teacher drone on about…. well…. whatever…While the teacher did their best Charlie Brown’s parents imitation (wah…wonk..wah wah… wha wonk…) I would daydream about playing guitar (in between bouts of daydreaming about that hot blonde to my right…).
I found when I got home some of those freakin passages that were soooo difficult to play that I would get frustrated as Hell and want to smash my guitar suddenly were easier to play. Don’t get me wrong, they were still difficult as shit to pull off, but easier than before.
And I used to do this all the time and it always helped in some way. In fact, there were times I PURPOSELY put the guitar down to “think” about a section and sure enough when I came back the passage all of sudden came alive!
So, now I have a new band I am playing with and with a new band inevitably comes new songs to learn. I am still not a Rock Star so I still have to play the grown-up game complete with a day job.
BUT… I still need to learn these songs… in between all of my other responsibilities.
Just like I did when I was in school.
I read somewhere that Michael Jordan used to do the exact same thing when asked how he calmly drops the game winning shots. Jordan claimed that he saw (visualized) making that shot a million times in head before he even stepped onto the court.
Arnold Schwarzenegger did the same thing in his life when asked how he managed to win all of those body building contests, he said he had already won in his mind a million times.
NOW it is even easier to do this because we have the ability to carry our whole catalogue of music in something the size of a match box.
Just put the music on and “see” yourself playing the song. “See” your fingers moving. “See” the guitar neck. Even feel the feeling of playing the guitar.
So, as I sit here at the computer slaving away waiting for the “Flintstone whistle” to blow and release me from the cubicle coffin excuse me for a minute while I close my eyes, visualize myself going onto that stage with 1,000′s of roaring fans, and see myself playing the crap out of that guitar solo that has so eluded me up to now…..
This is almost becomming the Birthday Blog….!!! Oh well, this one is another HUGE influence:
I remember the first time I heard Eruption I was at my aunt’s apartment and I saw the VH I album (Yes that is right.. I said ALBUM) was laying on the floor right next the the turntable (Yeah…. right again!). Now what was strange was that my aunt wasn’t really into this type of music… at least I didn’t THINK she was into this type of music… but in hindsight that is the kind of effect Van Halen had in those times. Anyway, I was intrigued by the album cover. I think I JUST started playing guitar around that time… maybe not… I don’t quite remember, but I was interested enough to put the record on and I said to myself, ‘What is this Eurouption thing?”
I put it on ……
Dropped the needle to the track…..
My whole head was sucked into a vortex and I was blinded by a cornucopia of lights and sounds as notes blew through my face like a hurricane hitting my ears. It was like I was being thrown through a tunnel at hyper speed with lights overwhelming my senses… all else stopped in that moment – I could hear nothing else……
In that brief 1:44 second barrage I began the metamorphosis from music lover to music creator… a journey that has affected every single decision I have made from that exact moment on…. for better or worse!
From the first drop of that needle the man changed the way guitar was played and heard. That needle drop single handedly influenced thousands and thousands of musicians and kids like me who now had a new calling. Guitar solos started to become flashy and filled with tapping, dive bomb effects, blistering blitzkrieg filled barrage of notes played at hyper speed, and central to the music. Soon the radio was filled with these sounds and came with the the advent of “Hair Metal” bands with guitar driven rock being played and accepted by mainstream.
Then… in 1982 Eddie did it again when (as a favor and not paid for it) he sat in on Michael Jackson’s song Beat It ….. His solo on that song was transcendent and shifted the R & B world to it’s roots introducing a whole new audience to brilliant blazing guitar solos exploding against the background of an R & B beat!!
From that moment you would be hard pressed to find an R & B solo that didn’t feature Eddie-like riffs complete with the same tapping, dive bomb, blazing riffs Eddie made famous…. and R & B audiences across the nation LOVED it!!!
Eddie continued to blaze new ground and with the strength of not only his solo prowess but his amazing songwriting/riff writing abilities was able to overcome a singer change and take the band’s popularity to even greater heights – something RARELY done in the music world and only accomplished by a hand full of bands!
He also single-handedly revolutionized how guitars and amplifiers were made due to his tone, tinkering, and hybrid creations like the “Frankenstrat”… guitars would never be the same!!
I could seriously write all day about Eddie and the influence he had on not only the guitar world…. but the music world in general and on millions of people who listen to music… not to mention the incredible influence he had on pop culture.
And here for your aural pleasure is the 1:44 that changed the music world….. If you never heard it before you better grab your chair and hand on for the ride!!
FIFTY YEARS IN THE FUTURE:
A guitarist dies and is quite please to find that he ends up standing before the pearly gates of Guitar Heaven. St. Peter shows him in, and gives him a guided tour.
Finally Peter shows the guitarist to his own room. Before Peter leaves, he says to him, “I have to ask. Is Yngwie here?” Peter shakes his head sadly and says “I’m afraid he went… the “other” way…”
The guitarist is disappointed but goes to his room and tries to get some sleep. He is woken up in the middle of the night by someone playing a really fast harmonic minor lick – and it sounds just like Yngwie. He presses his ear to the wall, and listens more closely. Someone in the next room is playing really fast neo-classical shreds through what sounds very much like a vintage Strat. The guitarist is confused as it sounds so much like Yngwie. The next day he tells Peter that he is almost certain that Yngwie’s in the next room.
Peter pulls him to one side, and whispers into his ear, “Shhh…. don’t tell anyone. That’s God. He thinks he’s Yngwie Malmsteen“
Q - What do a cup of coffee and Eric Clapton have in common? A - They both suck without Cream Q - What's the difference between a guitarist and a mutual fund? A - One matures. Q - What do you call a guitar player without a girlfriend? A - Homeless. Q - Why did the drummer join the band? A - He wanted to hang out with musicians. Q - How does a guitar player change a light bulb? A - He lies on the bed so that the room is spinning around it. Q - How does a guitar player show up for practice? A - Drunk and late......... as usual Q - How many guitar players does it take to cover a Stevie Ray Vaughan tune ? A - Evidently all of them. Q - How do you get a rhythm guitarist to play softer? A - Give him music to read. Q - What's the difference between a guitar and a tuna fish? A - You can tune a guitar but you can't tuna fish. Q - What is the definition of a minor second? A - Two lead guitarists playing in unision. Q - How do you make a lead guitarist slow down? A - Put some sheet music in front of him. Q - How do you make a guitarist play quieter? A - Put a sheet of music in front of him. Q - How do you make him stop? A - Put notes on it. Q - How many guitarists does it take to change a light-bulb? A - Twenty. One to change the bulb and nineteen to say "Not bad, but I could've done better." Q - What do you throw a drowning guitarist ? A - His amplifier. Q - What do you call two guitarists playing in unison? A - Counterpoint. Q - What did the guitar say to the guitarist? A - Pick on someone your own size!
Q - How do you make a guitarist's eyes light up? A - Shine a flashlight in his ear. Q - What's the range of a Gibson Les Paul? A - Depends on how far you throw it. Q - Why are so many guitarists jokes one liners? A - So the rest of the band can understand them. Q - What's the difference between a guitar player and a bag of garbage? A - The garbage gets taken out at least once a week. Q - What's black and blue and laying in a ditch? A - A guitarist who's told too many drummer jokes. Q - How many guitarists does it take to change a light bulb? A - At least 2000: one to change the bulb and 1999 to insist how much better they could've done it!