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"Playing from the Heart"

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Progfan44, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. I put up a thread kinda similar to this a while back and I got a lot of awesome advice from it, but with this one I hope to be more specific on a problem in my playing I've recently stumbled on. I have received criticisms from some people saying my playing and written material are far too "theoretical" and contrived, which I agree wholeheartedly with. While playing I tend to stay in scale positions and often don't think enough about the specifics of what notes I'm playing, I rather just play whatever notes my hand happens to hit in that position of whatever scale will work. While this is purely an improvisation problem, this approach also hinders my written material. I'm starting a fusion band with a friend of mine and I find I can't compose with my instrument, and rather write out parts on guitar pro in accordance with what works and pay little mind to tonal characteristics. This is very frustrating as it is very discouraging and has given me a negative attitude for jamming, something crucial for jazz. So does anyone have some advice for increasing one's ability to translate thoughts/ideas into playing, or to make improvisation a lot more fun and meaningful than simply a game of "what finger goes where".
    Thanks for any advice!
  2. Bayonet


    May 10, 2011
    Sing. Sing the melody of what you want to play in your head,try to listen to it and then play it with your fingers.. i used to have the same problem and i started doing this..
    Hope it helps :)
  3. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    +1. This is it, the source of everything musical.

    After that, quit worrying about being 'correct'. Don't worry about following theory books. If you've got something to say musically, someone will write a music theory book about your work.

    And realize that the great artists don't sweat mistakes, cause they will always happen. Great art comes from making the most of mistakes, not working to avoid them.
  4. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    In addition to singing what you want to hear, DO learn theory enough and play scales and patterns enough so that you don't have to think about it. After all, you still have to KNOW what works and what doesn't. I mean, when I jam I am using the very things I studied, only I'm not consciously analyzing it as I play. I get in a pattern and know where the limits of it are, and I can sing scat along with what I play due to familiarity. When stepping out of the box I can still sing along, again due to familiarity with what's IN the box.
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    IMO it would be beneficial for you to check out this series of lessons from Jeff Berlin.

  6. Thanks for the responses guys, I was actually planning on starting vocal lessons soon, so it's good to hear it'll aid my playing and writing as well.
  7. thewildest

    thewildest Supporting Member

    May 25, 2011
    Florida, USA
    +1000 about singing, but no to become the next Pavarotti, but to design the solo based on your music instead of your chops/scales.

    To add to this, it happened to me that I had to change instruments a few years back, that was tuned differently. Instead of learning the scales and transcribing all I knew, I took the "I will feel it before I play it" approach. While at first it was bumpy, It truly opened a new amazing set of ideas, which I now embed into any other instrument.

    If sometimes you feel you are caught by the structures and mathematics behind your technique, get a cheap bass or old guitar tuned in 5ths and work your solo there... All of the sudden music raises above technique

    I hope it helps,
  8. You might find this worth watching:


    It's a scat/lead guitar lesson, but the overall principal is the same. Using vocalization to learn how to get what you hear in your head to your instrument.

    The ultimate goal is to be able to hear it in your head, and understand how to make it come out of your instrument.

    Give it a try. It might work for you.
  9. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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