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I have no soul


madgrinder7

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I have tried to play blues and good bluesy solos, but I just don't feel it. It comes out strained and poorly phrased. My hands do what they're told and the notes ring, but there is no feeling or soul in it.

 

Maybe I doomed myself by learning to be a shredder first back in the 90's. I think that gave me a very "mechanical" playing style that doesn't lend itself to much expression.

 

Any suggestions of materials to listen to and learn???

It's official... I'm boned.
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Yes. Get some Marvin Gaye, the spinners, Anita Baker, Patti LaBelle, Luther Vandross, etc . .

 

GEt the tune "alway and forever" by heatwave from a legal downloading site and cop that. That'll give ya a good injection

 

Cop the soul vocal lines on to your axe. This will slow you down from shredding

 

You need to just play melodies and melodies only

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I understand your predicament. I too felt my blues playing was sterile some months ago. It isn't where I want it to be yet but I'm working on it.

 

First of all... stop telling yourself you have no soul. You do! You're just having a hard time conveying that to the instrument.

 

Secondly, get some blues music to listen to. Just listen to it. There's too many great blues players to mention. You'll find some.

 

Start learning some blues tunes note-for-note.

 

Hopefully, that'll get you started. There's lots of great blues guys here who will give you better advice.

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Slow down and relax. At first, try to limit your solos to only a few notes per bar. Get comfortable playing a few notes, a bend and the leaving spaces. Minimize. You'll find that you're forced to fill the long drawn out notes with soul rather then filling the space with more notes.

 

It's something you will get through practise. (Like everything else on the guitar...)

 

Oh, and welcome to the light side! :D

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Suggestion...Stop trying to play with your fingers and play with your ears. I don't mean physically put your ears on the guitar, of course, I mean really, really listen to every nuance of what you're playing...then use your fingers to fix that.

 

I'm a firm believer in that you play guitar with your ears. Your fingers are merely tools to make the guitar do what your ears hear.

 

Just like painting. You paint with your eyes, not your hands. You have to be able to see...to observe.

 

And take a lesson from B.B. King. B.B. can say more with one note than a lot of guitar players can say with a thousand notes.

 

Say you're playing "The Thrill is Gone" in Bm.

 

Sing "The thrill is gone" (hit the note B on the seventh fret of the E string). Just hit that one note. Don't bend it...just hit it. Let it ring, and add vibrato. Make that one note cry. When you can bring someone to tears with one note...then you can play the blues.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Excellent advice Tedster.

 

One thing I like to do with my new recording s/w is to improvise over a rhythm track. Many times when I do this, I say... screw the technique... just blow off a solo and try to hear and feel what I'm playing. I can polish the technique part later.

 

It's a work in progress but I definitely try to adhere to what you've just said.

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Originally posted by A String:

Slow down and relax. At first, try to limit your solos to only a few notes per bar. Get comfortable playing a few notes, a bend and the leaving spaces. Minimize. You'll find that you're forced to fill the long drawn out notes with soul rather then filling the space with more notes.

 

Couldn't agree more. That's great advice. :thu:

And also , still sticking to the less is more approach - sometimes just working forever to tighten up that one riff till it's just right, which is what I've been doing tonight on Memphis by Chuck Berry (and don't tell me that ain't blues!)

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Mad....Try putting some Allman Bros on your stereo...esp. Live at Filmore, or Eat A Peach, or earlier stuff. Then learn some of their signature riffs (like One Way Out, or even the starting riff to Mountain Jam). These riffs are often fairly simple at their core. At first, just play the riff, and don't even attempt to improvise. And, keep on playing the basic riff, and let Duane and Dicky improv over you playing the riff. After a while, try some improv your self. Ease your way into it. Let it flow, make it slow, don't force it.

 

Ted's suggestion, or playing over B.B. King is a great idea!! B.B.'s "economy of means" is about as good as it gets!!

 

Listen to Uncle Ted.....I love that "play with your ears" concept. It's a great way to think about playing blues lead. When I'm playing, I don't even think about my fingers...I'm completely unaware of them, or what they are doing.

 

The part of your brain where a improved blues lead comes from is not the part of your brain where verbal commands to "put your finger here, then there", comes from. The verbal part of your brain is a higher level of thought. The blues comes from deeper, more primative areas of the brain....more like a mood, or hunger, or (dare I say) sex drive.

 

Keep trying, it's gets easier in time.

 

Cool thread, and great ideas here!! :thu::thu:

 

Don

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

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I want to take Ted's suggestion further.

 

Do you have an ear ring? You can get a good "pick" attack with it. It can also be used much like a ring slide. Now, play not with your fingers but with your ear.

 

I'm kidding. Kinda. Ted is right, big time.

 

I have to ask: what do you want to play in any given situation where at the end you look back and feel you're faking the blues? If you play what you feel then you're not faking anything when improvising a solo or jamming.

 

The trick is to get the ideas in your head onto the fingerboard. If it is blues you want, then blues you should get. In that case we really are talking about the mind-guitar connection. If blues as foreign to your ear as it is to your fingers then we have another problem.

 

I love Yze's suggestion of the Spinners, very soulful and cool. If I may presume to know what he thinks you'll get out of Anita Baker or The Spinners, I think you'll gain a soulfulness and singing for the song quality.

 

I recommend going back in time. For Blues straight up: John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Albert King, BB King, Howlin' Wolf. Then Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Joe Lewis Walker (man can he play!!!), Luther Guitar Jr Johnson, Lightning Hopkins, Fred MacDowell, Son House and so many others.

 

I'd also say check out Carl Perkins, Johnny Rivers, Booker T. and the MGs, Sam Dave, and James Brown. This last lists moves away from strickly blues into a variety of things, but I'm not sure you're playing straight blues.

 

I'd love to know what you're playing or what you're going for. I'd suggest Blue Mitchell's albums nicely repacked into one extremely groovey CD, Donald Byrd's "A New Perspective", and just about any Stanley Turrentine. I'd also suggest any Johnny Winter, Hot Tuna (though I don't like anything they've recorded after "Double Dose" in like 1978), big Daddy Kinsey or his kids The Kinsey Report I think they were called, Wolfman Washington, Son Seals, Gatemouth Brown etc. The Bar-kays, Percy Sledge etc if the soul thing is where you want to go.

 

Listen and sing. Find what you want to sound like and sing the hell out of it. Sing everything you play when soloing and improvising. Sing your intervals and scale patterns in every key. Then you're mind will connect the sound it wants with the what the finger has to do.

 

From a mechanical perspective I think "shred" and blues are polar opposites in a lot of ways. Shred was all about economy of motion, low action, efficient picking, no excess movement at all. Blues likes big strings, higher action, and hit the notes hard to make them squeal when you have to. Light touch has it's place but it must also "know it's place", in that context. Blues is especially about the well placed note and the phrasing and tension/release in playing, so dynamics are more extreme than in shred styles-- it is akin to baroque music versus romantic music in that regard.

 

Sing, listen, hit the strings to get sounds out of them like they owe you money, and think in glissandos and double stops and hammering on in double stops and chords and sixths and all the good groove stuff that happens in blues.

check out some comedy I've done:

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My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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What you really need is a big, buxom woman who will be really mean to you, and spend all your money.

 

That'll make you bankrupt and get you in jail.

 

Then you'll play the Blues :D

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

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From what I can tell, shredders tend to think in blocks of notes rather than note by note. They have to, to get all those notes in. That is a mechanical way of playing, but it works for that style of music. And, let's face it, improvising guitar players tend to think that way, whether it's long blocks of fast notes, or short clusters of notes we call "licks". It's all really about finding ways to make the sounds you make fit with the song.

 

It's already been said to think melodically, play with your head not your fingers, etc. I say first find the groove. It's more than just the beat or the rhythm, it's also the feel the combination of players and the instrumentation give the song, and the way the song flows dynamically. Once you've found the groove, think of ways to both restate it and play off of it. Sometimes it's a few notes, sometimes it's a lot. Don't worry too much about breaking out of what you know. You'll find ways to use some of it, and ways to rework some of it so it will work. And you'll think of new stuff, too. What I am saying is you just need to change your way of thinking about music. It'll take some getting used to, but your playing will gain from it.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Originally posted by Tedster:

Suggestion...Stop trying to play with your fingers and play with your ears. I don't mean physically put your ears on the guitar, of course, I mean really, really listen to every nuance of what you're playing...then use your fingers to fix that.

 

I'm a firm believer in that you play guitar with your ears. Your fingers are merely tools to make the guitar do what your ears hear.

 

Just like painting. You paint with your eyes, not your hands. You have to be able to see...to observe.

 

And take a lesson from B.B. King. B.B. can say more with one note than a lot of guitar players can say with a thousand notes.

 

Say you're playing "The Thrill is Gone" in Bm.

 

Sing "The thrill is gone" (hit the note B on the seventh fret of the E string). Just hit that one note. Don't bend it...just hit it. Let it ring, and add vibrato. Make that one note cry. When you can bring someone to tears with one note...then you can play the blues.

i can bring someone to tears IF i hit them with my guitar! :D
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Madgrinder try this:

put on a cd with some backing blues to play over and kill the lights, totally dark. so all you have is your ears. you would be suprised at what you will play.

also try speak a simple phrase or sentence ( a couple words) now try to copy it with the guitar..this is very cool and fun as well as edjumacational

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As hinted in some of the posts, blues is about how to use space, as much as notes. It`s a kind of game with the listener-something it shares with jazz. Hear a space and don`t automatically think it all has to be filled up with something. Think of something really cool for 25% of it.

Another point-this may be way undoable or painfully obvious, depending on how you look at it-is, if you`re coming from a shred, `monster chops` background you`ve probably got one or more floating trem style guitars. Frankly these guitars don`t lend themselves well to the blues. You want to bend, scream wail and cry with your fingers, not a tremolo bar. If you don`t have one buy or borrow a strat or tele, you`ll get the feel a lot easier. Other guitars do it well too but they`re mostly not Floyd-equipped types

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

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Another option: take up a second instrument you don't have any technique on! I'm primarily a guitarist, but I enjoy playing flute. Since good flutists have told me, "play long tones", I do so, to recordings whenever possible, to really HEAR the tone and phrasing and whatnot. I can't just BS my way through it with my personal cliches a high speed!
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Rather than just immersing yourself in old-school soul & blues, maybe it would be easier to step down from shredding into heavy blues? Play some Gary Moore from his blues albums. That will be the bridge between shredding & blues. From there you can trace back the influences of traditional blues noted and get into the "classics".

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

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Originally posted by Tedster:

And take a lesson from B.B. King. B.B. can say more with one note than a lot of guitar players can say with a thousand notes.

I would even say, not to listen to King's guitar playing as much as his *singing*. I feel you can get more emotion out of trying to mimic his phrasing and soul in his vocals.

 

You want to make your playing tell a story.

A Jazz/Chord Melody Master-my former instructor www.robertconti.com

 

(FKA GuitarPlayerSoCal)

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Originally posted by Danzilla:

Rather than just immersing yourself in old-school soul & blues, maybe it would be easier to step down from shredding into heavy blues? Play some Gary Moore from his blues albums. That will be the bridge between shredding & blues. From there you can trace back the influences of traditional blues noted and get into the "classics".

It's more like STEP UP TO BLUES from Shreed.
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No soul? Then you're undead! AAAARGH! :eek: Have you been felling lately you'd like to eat some brains?

 

I'm down w/ practicing vocal lines. Shredders always want to impress--change your mindset into creating melody and give that melody some direction, make it evolve... at a climactic point you may find play fewer notes or the contrary, actually shredding! Point is: don't let your fingers tell you what to play, use your inner ear.

 

I'm telling you all this, and I should do the same. :freak::rolleyes:

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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Originally posted by MILLO:

No soul? Then you're undead! AAAARGH! :eek: Have you been felling lately you'd like to eat some brains?

 

I'm down w/ practicing vocal lines. Shredders always want to impress--change your mindset into creating melody and give that melody some direction, make it evolve... at a climactic point you may find play fewer notes or the contrary, actually shredding! Point is: don't let your fingers tell you what to play, use your inner ear.

 

I'm telling you all this, and I should do the same. :freak::rolleyes:

Brains, BRAINS!
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Originally posted by Tedster:

Suggestion...Stop trying to play with your fingers and play with your ears. I don't mean physically put your ears on the guitar, of course, I mean really, really listen to every nuance of what you're playing...then use your fingers to fix that.

 

I'm a firm believer in that you play guitar with your ears. Your fingers are merely tools to make the guitar do what your ears hear.

 

Just like painting. You paint with your eyes, not your hands. You have to be able to see...to observe...

Wow, Ted! We kid each other (the royal "we", not just you and me) about certain advice being really spot on, but damn if that isn't one of the most important lessons you can learn.. in any endeavour! Once again it comes down to acute observation and understanding what you've observed.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Originally posted by Tedster:

Suggestion...Stop trying to play with your fingers and play with your ears. I don't mean physically put your ears on the guitar, of course, I mean really, really listen to every nuance of what you're playing...then use your fingers to fix that.

 

I can't get the image of somebody playing with their ears on the fretboard out of my head. :D
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