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Better phrasing

bratpack7

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Joined
Nov 28, 2003
Messages
242
I'm interested in how other people develop phrasing. I always tend to play the same notes and it really just sounds like I am playing scales. I know singing your melody is one technique, and if anyone can recommend specific songs or solos that helped them, it would be most helpful. My music of choice is blues rock with a bit of jazz in the mix. I like minimalist type leads (I have a bum ring finger) so no shredding or huge reaches.
Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.
 

JR.Deluxe

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Joined
May 4, 2003
Messages
570
I'm interested in how other people develop phrasing. I always tend to play the same notes and it really just sounds like I am playing scales. I know singing your melody is one technique, and if anyone can recommend specific songs or solos that helped them, it would be most helpful. My music of choice is blues rock with a bit of jazz in the mix. I like minimalist type leads (I have a bum ring finger) so no shredding or huge reaches.
Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

I think it has more to do with being so familiar with your fret board that you can play like your having a conversation with the song. One hint that helped me, listen to how horn sections play in short stabby phrases. Then string those together.
 

FretsAlot

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Jan 22, 2003
Messages
931
When I'm playing along with my drum machine (Boss DR-3), I have to remind myself to listen & respond to the rhythym (bass & drum) it's churning out to evoke more of a call & response dynamic - otherwise it's too easy to just machine gun notes out in the key of the moment, endlessly.

Even I think my phrasing is more tasteful, composed, meaningful when some element of inspiration is given to me from my mechanical rhythym section. When I do this I often find/develop some sort of core phrase that fits the groove that is in play, that I can then bend & twist, but return to as needed.

I don't currently play along with backing tracks very often, but I think a person could apply the practice to those as well.

Fretsalot/Scott
 
Last edited:

Elmore

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Jul 10, 2003
Messages
1,775
Great question. Try playing around chord shapes instead of scales or boxes. Play with your eyes closed and really listen.
 

FretsAlot

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Jan 22, 2003
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931
Always a challenge for me, too, but not so much for Larry Carlton. Check his phrasing out here, @ about 3:20 onward

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6ooCngj0xI

Funny you mention LC, I ran across this lesson on the Gibson website a couple of weeks ago and have been experimenting with it. I'm mostly a rock player and some of it has leanings towards jazz, but still good info:

http://www2.gibson.com/Lessons/Skills-House/Style/2011/Larry-Carlton-s-Super-Arpeggio.aspx

Thanks for the YT vid link, I'm enjoying that one.

Fretsalot/Scott
 

tonar8353

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
490
The thing I notice most about great players in addition to the notes they choose I how they attack the note. I really work on choosing how I am arriving at the next note by either sliding into it from above or below, bending into it from above or below or doing it with a pre-bend down to the pitch. Once I'm on the note I work at choosing the type of vibrato I will apply to that note. Lastly I really pay attention to my right hand attack with the pick or my fingers. Lastly I pay close attention to players I really like and watch for all the above aspects to see how they get what they get out of their guitar
 

Triburst

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Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
4,344
A great tutorial on phrasing is to play along with BB King on "The Thrill Is Gone." You'll get it.:yah
 

c_wester

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May 9, 2002
Messages
2,046
A metronome will bring so much music probably from those same riffs youre tired of... atleast it did for me.
 

Red Baron

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Jul 14, 2004
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Always a challenge for me, too, but not so much for Larry Carlton.

Ever notice how Larry will play a phrase and then immediately repeat the same phrase an octave higher/lower... kind of his signature approach.
 

JR.Deluxe

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May 4, 2003
Messages
570
Larry actually had to learn twice. I saw a piece on him a few years after he was shot in the head. He was basically saying it left him unasble to remeber how the play guitar and he had to spend a couple of years relearning. He said his new licks were less jazzy and more bluesy. It is amazing if you have taken a break from guitar for a year or two to play keys or something and then come back. All your bad habits are gone and you get a fresh approach.
 

bratpack7

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2003
Messages
242
Great suggestions, thanks for all the feedback.
I have been checking out Larry Carlton stuff and came across Mr.335 TV
What a great site, I'm sure I'll learn a ton there. I think my biggest challenge is to unlock my brain a bit. I know what notes sound good together (mostly), but when it is time to improvise I immediately go to my safe place.
 

janalex

Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2003
Messages
771
9 easy steps I learned from a guitar techniques issue that brought it home. Initially you have to be conscious of these while playing but then becomes second nature and revitalizes your playing. Above all else the most important part of any phrase is the last note. You can play the crappiest run however if you land it on a nice note in time with confidence it can sound great.

1. Sometimes Pick just 3 notes and stick to them. Mix them up.

2. Vary the rhythm of your phrases. Same lick can be played with sixteenth or eight notes or triplets. Mix it up.

3. Vary the beat where your phrase starts. On the beat or upbeat or in between the 2. Also cool to start a phrase centered around a chord half a measure before the chord change occurs.

4. Vary the starting and ending notes ie don't start on the root or third all the time. Don't end on the root or third all the time. try ending on the second or fourth for example. It adds a sense of storytelling like a comma instead of a period.

5. Use notes that aren't in the scale usually as passing tones

6. Very between major and minor scales

7. Use arpeggios more. I still don't do this much and most of my favorite players barely do it. Can sound like a warm up if not executed with style

8. Use chord tones

9. If repeating a lick vary the approach to playing the same notes ie bends, slides, vibrato. Can make it sound like a whole new phrase without changing a note.

Good luck!
 
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