Thursday, November 29, 2012

No Shortcuts

Believe it or not I have another off day(after a brutal 6a to 3p yesterday). Managed to get in a guitar lesson which is the first in 3 weeks. I'm making progress but it is becoming evident that I am going to have to get deeper into the musical theory than I thought. This is especially true since I am focusing on the blues which uses a lot of the fret board. The key to moving around on the fret board is using the different patterns of the pentatonic scale(for the most part) and maintaining the same key. I have the patterns pretty well nailed(it's not automatic as I have to think about it but it is coming along). My problem is that any given pattern of notes for the one of the "boxes" can be either major or minor and that drives where the next box starts and how you transition and what chords will harmonize. Today my teacher shared the trick of finding your way around in this mess. Major pinkie! In the first "box" the pinkie hits the last note of the scale and that note is the major key and the first finger hits the second to the last note of the scale and denotes the minor scale. Revelation! For example, the A major scale is the same as the F # minor scale. Since all the "boxes" share notes in the transitions you can figure where to go pretty easily. It will take practice and a lot of repetition but I think I have it now.

Well, that was boring for all you not trying to learn guitar so I won't go into how to play effective blues you have to learn how and when to mix major and minor and why you have to bring in notes that aren't even part of the scale at certain times. Exciting stuff no? I keep thinking that all these old time blues boys didn't know all this stuff but knew what sounded right then again maybe they did.

1 comment:

Steve Bates said...

A lot of repetition indeed... I know of no other way to develop those "brains in the fingers" so necessary to improvising in real time, whether soloing or accompanying yourself. Yes, make sure you can name (and find!) the relative or parallel major or minor of your current key, and go ahead and learn all those flavors of the minor scale... even if "melodic" minor is often enough used to harmonize and "ascending melodic" minor is frequently encountered descending. Get used to them in a lot of different contexts, and you won't have to stop the ensemble in mid-rehearsal while you work out a chord change... as I have occasionally done on keyboard. :-)

BTW, if you do a lot of folk music (you ARE of that generation, right?) you'll want to learn the church modes as well... genuine folk songs are lousy with modes!