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Author Topic: Solo consciousness  (Read 6054 times)

Offline jefsummers

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Solo consciousness
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2008, 07:05:09 PM »
Practicing the scales, intervals, and runs gives you the tools. Once the tools are there, I can improvise better. So, I'm always looking for new cool sounding tools to add to the tool chest, to pull out when the mood strikes in a solo.  That said, you have to improvise enough and have enough tools to use things appropriately. The old adage the when the only tool you have is a hammer everything starts looking like a nail applies.  For the first couple decades (seriously) I played blues scales, then had an epiphany and learned major scales, then how to integrate the two, then I could start to do things. My blues stuff was BORING and repetitive. I still have a long way to go, but having more tools keeps things at least a bit more interesting.

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Solo consciousness

Offline davecan

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Solo consciousness
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2008, 05:08:12 AM »
It's an interesting dance between conscious and sub-conscious, left and right brain.  Sounds like we're in similar places regarding learning scales and theory and then synthesizing them into real music somehow.  

I'm curious...does anyone have any specific exercises in creativity?  Or "tricks" to enter the zone?
Sometimes I'll say to myself "Pretend you're Muddy (or Jimi, or a lion, etc) and play this solo." and try to channel that person, animal or feeling (no, I'm not saying I literally channel in a new age psychic way).

A very basic concept (that I often forget) is to look at the lyrics - what are the words saying? did your lover dump you?  are you in love?  Turn the ideas the lyrics are stating into emotion on the guitar.  And if there are no lyrics - well, even the title expresses something that should show up in the song- look at Paul's titles and you know that he usually has a very specific idea or concept in mind (and a lot he's expressing w/out using words).  I try to think about (or even better, to visualize) the subject matter, rather than thinking "should I use dorian or aeolian here?".

Jimmy Page has been criticized for not playing songs or solos just like the record, but he has said he likes that challenge of being creative on stage "without a net".  Like mojotron said - it's like skiing. If you take risks, once in a while you're gonna hit a tree, but - once in a while you'll have a really great run.


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Solo consciousness

Offline prjacobs

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Solo consciousness
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2008, 06:28:12 AM »
Dave, you make an key point about looking at the lyrics.  In almost 40 years as a musical director I can't tell you how many musicians do not connect their playing with the emotional context of the song, or in the case of scoring for television, the story. It becomes just about riffs.  Also, as you say, visualization is a great tool.  Virtually every great athlete visualizes their performance before the actual execution. As an exercise in creativity, you might try and play the exact same music with different feelings. See what you do when you play from happiness, loneliness, boastfulness, unease, sadness, etc.
 

Solo consciousness

Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2008, 08:40:56 AM »
quote:
In almost 40 years as a musical director I can't tell you how many musicians do not connect their playing with the emotional context of the song, or in the case of scoring for television, the story.


That's sad. Whenever I do get to play on a vocal piece, I always try to give it what it needs, but not too much so that I am not competing with the vocalist. Anyhow, I always pay attention to the emotional context of the song and how it is performed. I have always done that since music in general is more of an emotional experience for me than trying to show off or impress people. I would make a very terrible guitar showman. [:I]

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Solo consciousness

Offline bno

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Solo consciousness
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2008, 09:00:47 AM »
Very interesting.  We're touching on a bit of the actor's art here.  You've got me thinking.  I spend time informing my intellect and techique but maybe don't take into account informing my psyche/spirit.  I tend to take a "Zen" like approach to it.  Empty the emotional/spiritual vessel and fill it as you go - an expression of the moment.  This is a new element that I hadn't really built into that foundation.  Adding the sense of the different "selves" into that information store - rather than just exploring "now", explore "then".  And a new door opens. Old dog.  New tricks.  Excellent.

Here's another twig to throw on the campfire.  The benefit of having a mental map or sculptural sense of the structure of the solo/improvisation.  Start, go somewhere, build something, and finish.  A satisfying solo, regardless of length, has a journey and architecture.
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Solo consciousness

Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2008, 09:04:46 AM »
Very good points, bno. All right on, AFAIAC. [^]

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Offline prjacobs

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Solo consciousness
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2008, 06:41:12 PM »
I was thinking about this post and I remembered that the sax solo for the Temptations version of "Get Ready," is just one note.  E flat, I believe...
 

Solo consciousness

Offline jefsummers

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« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2008, 08:44:25 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by prjacobs

Dave, you make an key point about looking at the lyrics.  In almost 40 years as a musical director I can't tell you how many musicians do not connect their playing with the emotional context of the song



One of my pet peeves is "Shout to the Lord" done as a soft ballad. It is SHOUT!

1998 Parker Fly Deluxe
1998 Fender Std Strat
2002 Epiphone Dot
1999 Danelectro Hodad 12 string electric
1963 Gibson Melody Maker
Various acoustics
Marshall AVT150 with 1960A Lead Cab
Vox AD30
Boss GT-8, Roland GR-30
Parker DF 724
Parker Fly Deluxe
Nitefly V2
Italia Mondial
Fender Std Strat w SCN pickups and GK2A
Epiphone Dot w SD Jazz/JB
Danelectro Hodad 12 string electric
Epiphone Gary Clark Casino
Fender Jaguar Players Custom HH
1963 Gibson Melody Maker
Various acoustics
Marshall AVT150, ART T28, Bugera 333

Solo consciousness

Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2008, 09:42:35 PM »
quote:
One of my pet peeves is "Shout to the Lord" done as a soft ballad. It is SHOUT!


That's a good case in point. [;)]

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Solo consciousness

Offline prjacobs

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Solo consciousness
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2008, 09:23:15 AM »
I don't mind different interpretations of songs. Even if I disagree with them, I'll except them if there's some thought behind the decisions. (Well, sometimes I do mind because they are SO stupid!)
In the old days, when I played with Meatloaf, if you were playing a solo and it lacked energy, he'd come up to you and punch your arm as you were playing.  As bizarre as that may sound, you got the point.  He would accept nothing less than a totally committed performance.  He never had to do it more than once to anyone...  Makes for good theater too...
 

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Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2008, 09:37:06 AM »
quote:
In the old days, when I played with Meatloaf, if you were playing a solo and it lacked energy, he'd come up to you and punch your arm as you were playing. As bizarre as that may sound, you got the point. He would accept nothing less than a totally committed performance. He never had to do it more than once to anyone... Makes for good theater too...


That's funny! As a spectator, that is. [;)]

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Offline davecan

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Solo consciousness
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2008, 03:11:41 PM »
Lots of great input and ideas!

quote:
Originally posted by bno


Here's another twig to throw on the campfire.  The benefit of having a mental map or sculptural sense of the structure of the solo/improvisation.  Start, go somewhere, build something, and finish.  A satisfying solo, regardless of length, has a journey and architecture.


Yes.  Very important to build to a climax! (talking music, but it applies to other endeavors as well [:I])

quote:
Originally posted by prjacobs


As an exercise in creativity, you might try and play the exact same music with different feelings. See what you do when you play from happiness, loneliness, boastfulness, unease, sadness, etc.


I really like that; it can totally change a song and how you feel about it.  

quote:
Originally posted by prjacobs


I don't mind different interpretations of songs. Even if I disagree with them, I'll except them if there's some thought behind the decisions.


I agree.  When someone, especially a star, covers a song and does it just like the original I'm disappointed.  I mean, what was the point?   I like to hear a fresh interpretation.  

DC


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Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2008, 05:14:20 PM »
Dave, obviously you have lots of experience and bring an active imaginative to your playing.  There are also factors like where you're playing, where the song is in a set, the size of the venue and even the date of your concert that could  change your approach.  One really important aspect of soloing is learning how to focus the attention to yourself during your "moment." Sometimes less is more, sometimes more is more.
 

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Offline davecan

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« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2008, 05:23:25 AM »
Thanks.  Truthfully, it's been a long and winding road for me, with several starts and stops.  Trying to get back on the horse (and stay on it) since it's the one thing I seem to enjoy the most.


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Solo consciousness

Offline texasguy

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« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2008, 02:00:25 PM »
I don't know about the conscious mind not being able to keep up---I can hear complex runs in my head that I can't possibly translate to the fingerboard. [:D]