I wonder whether this is the most important question for a musician to ask. Finding the answer could be the difference between a lifetime of middling, stilted playing and one of real, consistent virtuosity. What do I even mean here? Let me attempt to add context by first quoting a recent blog post of mine…… Continue reading What should you think of when playing music?
Let’s face it—the blues are weird. Your standard 12 bar blues contains three major chords and yet the main scale we use to play over the blues is the minor pentatonic. A minor scale over major chords… a bit strange, no? But that’s part of what gives the blues its unique sound. Ideally, listeners of…… Continue reading Combining the Pentatonic scale with wall shapes to play the blues
For today’s post, I want to offer a bit of “learn from my mistakes” advice, specifically related to jazz improvising. I started working on jazz soloing about 30 years ago. I’d only been playing a year or two at that point and, frankly, I didn’t know what jazz was. I just knew that playing jazz…… Continue reading Don’t learn jazz soloing the way I learned jazz soloing
In a previous post, I pointed to my “Star Wars” theory of guitar solos. This is the idea that solos should be like stories; they should offer a variety of dynamic levels, from mellow to exciting. To build the solo effectively, the first half should have more mellow sections and the last half should have…… Continue reading Creating dynamics in guitar solos
I’ve occasionally stumbled unto the advice that a guitar solo should tell a story. But what is really meant by that? Let’s take a look a great story: Star Wars. What happens in that movie? Well, Luke Skywalker stumbles across some lost droids belonging to the old nomad, Ben Kenobi. Upon receiving the droids, Ben tells…… Continue reading What can Star Wars teach us about writing a great guitar solo?