So I've earned my first wow :-). LOL. It's hard for me to tell...thanks for saying you think I've come a long way in a year.
Thanks for listening. I thought this would grab people's attention since it's wildly different from what I've done before.
Since I'm not playing with a band anymore, I might consider taking one of these backing tracks to an open mic...or go to an open mic in the hopes of hooking up with some folks to jam.
I hope other will also give this jam a try. If anybody needs help in converting the youtube video to mp3, I can post instructions...or just provide the converted track.
So, do I have any tricks to getting it to flow?
I'm not an expert and don't want to pretend to be one...but I'll share some of the things I've honed in on that have helped me in the past year:
- LISTEN. Don't lose sight over what you are playing over. Acknowledge any changes, like breakdowns, in your solo. It makes what you play sound much better. Don't play OVER the backing track, make your playing part of it.
- Phrasing and rhythm are as important as note selection!! Anders taught me this lesson. When I watched him take a select few notes and made them sound awesome, I mean REALLY awesome, I realized just how important this is. I was totally blown over...really. This is one of the reasons I've stuck with the pentatonics for the past year. I clearly had more work to do other than just learning more scale shapes, modes. etc. Now I'm going to start expanding into things like chord tone soloing and perhaps modes.
- Freeform jam over backing tracks often...and record yourself. It's important to learn scales and techniques, but give yourself time to use them in the context of a jam. Put them to use as you see fit. Some things will work, others...not so much. Listen and learn. By doing this, you will develop your voice on the guitar and figure out how to convey what you want to say.
- Judiciously incorporate effects. On this jam, I decided to add some delay. The effect inspired me. I actually thought using wah on this would be too much since it was used heavily in the backing track. Turns out it worked quite well...used judiciously.
- Push the envelope. Certainly don't do this all the time, but do it regularly. Try higher tempos or styles or genres you aren't comfortable with. By having to test the boundaries, you may find they are further out than you thought. Necessity is the mother of invention...you may surprise yourself with what you come up with to keep up.
- Allow yourself to fail. This ties in with pushing the envelope. When you push the envelope, you may very well crash and burn. So what! Eventually you'll get to where you are pushing toward.
Jimmy Page would do this all of the time. Listen to some of his solos, and you'll hear some edgy somewhat sloppy playing. He was riding that edge...and some brilliant things came out of it.
One last thing and I'll shut up :). I'll share a profound experience I had here. Last year, I posted my first blues jam (Jam in Bm). The same night I posted a recording of myself playing the solo from "Let it Be". I was VERY pleased with myself about being able to nail the "Let it Be" solo. As an afterthought, I posted my blues jam. The result? I got a small handful of comments and complements on my "Let it Be" solo...but LOTS of people commented on my blues jam!!! This left me totally puzzled!! A musician friend of mine explained that people understand and appreciate that the blues jam came from me...and that means something. The Let it Be solo, though good, was just mimicking something that had been done already. The audience, even guitar playing audience, appreciates something that has come from YOU as a player.
Remember that the next time you are getting bogged down learning a solo note for note. Certainly there is value in learning some things note for note...but don't be afraid to put your stamp on it. Actually, you should strive to do just that!! Listen to some live versions of songs by the original artist, and you'll hear where even they will take liberties with what they've done before!!!
An example I point to is my version of the "China Grove" solo. This occurred out of necessity...I ran out of time to learn it entirely. So for the part I found tricky, I came up with my own lick to fill in. I have yet to find somebody that can say which lick that is!! So I made it my own...and nobody could tell! As long as you keep the spirit of the solo, you are good. And it makes it easy for you to play since YOU came up with it.
Hopefully somebody find something useful in all of that. :).