Here comes the pain

It always amazes me to some degree, when I see a student  just play through a scale as fast as possible and on “auto pilot”, without really  understanding and hearing (even more important for Music!)  the actual  sound and content of the given scale.

Don’t get me wrong, when I was a teenager, just starting out , trying to become a better version of myself as a guitarist and figuring out music theory etc., I remember that I read in an interview with my favourite guitarist Joe Satriani.  In the interview he said that prefers to use the Lydian Scale  a lot. So I thought to myself : “ Wow! From now on I am only going to play the Lydian scale over everything and every chord and I can be the next Joe Satriani Just give me the Scale pattern/shape!” ….that didn’t really worked out(yet), but it was  later in my education and progress, that I noticed that you really have to hear and FEEL all the notes individually .

…and that is always the key – you have to play what you hear in your head at all times. So increasing ones listening skills is always the entry point to the next level of playing – especially when it comes to advanced harmony and melody.

When I got more  interested in playing Jazz and attending Music College later, I was always amazed by other guitar players, who just “got it” faster than me. Some people just seemed to have a much deeper understanding from a very young age and I was always  interested in how their approach to music was. What did they do different from me? Did they have a different practice routine? Did they just practice harder than me? I geeked out about these questions a lot, but if there is one thing that I noticed, it is that they were able to “do more with less” and were really able to listen to themselves.

I still believe that this phenomenon is one of the root causes, which causes some trouble and anxiety to guitar players.who switch from a more Rock-oriented style to  more Jazz related fields.

It’s not really about playing the right scale that fits over the right chord, it’s really just a set of available tones. The scale thing messes people up because they THINK of it as a scale and I was (am) totally guilty of that.

Music is a language. The voice you have in this world is your guitar playing. If you are not able to sing most of the things you play, then it doesn’t come from the heart. The Audience and the world will notice. Conscious or unconsciously, keep that in mind!

So have you ever tried to sing your basic  Maj7/Min7/Dom7/Min7b5 chord tones from any given root on your guitar?  If not, this could be a fun experiment for you and task for the next weeks!

As always, have fun with it and keep an open mind,


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