First, let's not concern ourselves with melody, harmony, or tonality. These things are fabulous tools. But often, if we conceive of the guitar as solely dedicated to these purposes, it can bog down our creativity. Who said we always had to play on the downbeat? Who said we must play melodically at all times? There isn't any universal codebook with these rules and modern composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg and jazz visionaries like John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, and Ornette Coleman broke those walls down decades ago. I think it is a good idea to stop thinking that the guitar can only do CERTAIN things at CERTAIN times…play CERTAIN notes here, CERTAIN notes there, over CERTAIN chords and so forth.
20th century American avant-garde composer John Cage wrote a piece for piano titled 4'33" where, for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, the performer sits at the piano and doesn't play. Sometimes, Cage would get on stage and hold a microphone to a frying pan while he cooked food and that was the piece for the night. He is looked at as one of the most important composers of the 20th century. The reason I am telling you this is, music is what you want it to be. When you finish your art and call it art……voila! It becomes art. Think of this as painting with the guitar.
Mick Goodrick is a phenomenal jazz guitarist from Boston. One time, he talked about the 50-50 principle and it is a valuable piece of information so here it is! Most all chords support at least a six-note scale. Since there are only twelve notes, your chances of hitting a right note, BY LUCK, while improvising a solo, are 50-50. Hmmmmmmmmmm If you land on one of the wrong six, you can correct it by bending, sliding, or using the whammy bar to bring the note up or down a half step to the correct pitch. In other words, to use this little bit of wisdom passed down from Mr. Goodrick, we have to
1) Be able to recognize when we have hit a wrong note and which way to go with that note, half step up or half step down and
2) We have to know how to use our mistakes.
When you practice, you notice all your mistakes. But when you play, you don't have time for that. You must be able to recognize that a mistake has been made and correct it. And we're talking about rock soloing over one or two notes or one or two chords (i.e. your rhythm guitarist and bassist chugging away on the low E string…this is called a vamp). We're not talking about getting a beret and a bongo drum and learning bebop tunes…we're just going to try and make our playing sound fresher. In the rock context I just described, the possibilities are endless. You could stretch the tonality for days until it collapsed or play beautiful, spacious, melodic passages.
To practice, record yourself playing a one or two chord rhythm figure for an extended period. Play it back and work on the 50-50 principle. Focus on constructing melodies and recognizing good notes from bad ones. Try to correct a bad note by using one of the ways we discussed earlier. Try and get a feel for which notes DON'T work so you can now use them as passing tones to run over. DO NOT just sit in one position…USE THE WHOLE NECK. Remember, we're painting with the GUITAR, not the 7th position. You won't break any new ground sitting in one spot on the neck. Branch out and try and develop your own licks, runs, and melodies using the entire guitar neck because it is at your disposal now. You're learning to feel your way around and use your ear. This should be a part of your daily practice schedule and is an invaluable exercise for the advancing guitarist. Applying this method with some of your other knowledge of scales and melodic patterns should start to open the neck up more for the guitarist new to improvising as well as lead to new ideas, "rut busting", and, hopefully, fresher playing and not regurgitating a stock arsenal of licks and tricks.
recommended listening is Frank Zappa, Penguin In Bondage from the album Roxy and Elsewhere."
Originally Posted by: schmangeugly fat chicks