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arunven1
post Jun 10 2009, 04:44 AM
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Hello Ivan,

I Arun, am a student from Asia.

Lately, I have been playing simple solos and riffs of music composed by bands like Led Zepplin (like Stairway to heaven) which are primarily blues based (in a way that they exhaustively make use of the pentatonic and blues scales) . Based on this, I had assumed that my playing fell under the intermediate level. In an attempt to gain some control and the feel of the blues I started practicing the 'Blues soloing intermediate lesson' posted by you.

In the lesson, I'm facing some difficulties in the following areas:

1) First of, I am not able to gain enough sustain between the notes, so the basic feel you produce while playing the licks is lost. By the way, I don't use a delay. Do you use one? Do you think I should use one?

2) Secondly, while playing licks which contain grouped notes, for example in the very first lick of that lesson, I tend to lose control of the lick immediately after I play those grouped notes. By grouped notes, I mean notes on different strings played together and sometimes bent together.

As I don't have a video camera, I'm unable to post a video of my playing. However, I could upload an audio file of the licks I'm facing difficulty in, if you feel that my query is not clear enough.

Thanks for your time,

Arun
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 14 2009, 01:48 PM
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It's pretty clear thanks! smile.gif

Led Zep is a cool bend and they do have a strong blues influence. Most rock bends did, as blues was one of the main driving forces of rock back in those days. It still is, but today there are more music styles and electronic music is coming into scene, but blues roots are still strong with many bands and blues influence is still huge. You're right about pentatonic & blues scales, although blues is much more. Intermediate level of playing is something that is a bit relative to me, so I cannot say that playing Led Zep or blues based rock only can fall under intermediate level, but if you are comfortable in playing their songs, and have the ability to improvise,compose some songs, and know about several music styles and are able to implement those kinds of styles into your own style of playing I guess this would be something of an intermediate level to me.

QUOTE
1) First of, I am not able to gain enough sustain between the notes, so the basic feel you produce while playing the licks is lost. By the way, I don't use a delay. Do you use one? Do you think I should use one?

What kind of guitar and amp do you use? It would be good to have a slightly overdriven preset here to possibly increase the sustain of the notes a bit. Another problem could be in the fingers itself. Have you tried slowing down lesson and practicing while slowed down? If you have big pauses between the notes, simply focus on getting them smaller and smaller while practicing and on slow tempos and it should show in your playing afterwards.
I used delay on some tracks, but I'm not sure I used any here. Delay is an effect that could be used for several different functions. It is normally used to add space, and it is a space effect. It creates an effect of a signal being echoed. Delay is being usually referred as "echo" as well. Another used of delay is to add a degree of fullness to the sound. By having a small number of repeats and subtle delay turned on and playing a lead line on the guitar, it sounds much more fuller than without the delay. Delay can in that sense create a nice "padding" for the main guitar sound, but it is not there to increase sustain, cause delay only repeats what the player is playing. If the note is dead, delay will be dead as well.
For increased sustain it is important to have a good instrument, good amplifier and to crank the amp up, or to use some kind of overdrive pedal or whatever. Best natural sustain can be achieved through tube amp, but you can use modeling as well. The most important thing with sustain is the players technique itself however. You just have to fret the note nicely just behind the fret, fret it precisely every time, and being able to completely eliminate any noise from the strings and pauses between the notes. This requires full control over the instrument and just comes with time and practice. If you want my advice, best thing to do is to focus on muting techniques and getting those pauses between the notes smaller and smaller while practicing. Don't try to focus on that while playing it will not work. Focus when practicing on slower tempos, and after a while it will show in your playing.

QUOTE
2) Secondly, while playing licks which contain grouped notes, for example in the very first lick of that lesson, I tend to lose control of the lick immediately after I play those grouped notes. By grouped notes, I mean notes on different strings played together and sometimes bent together.

Good thing here is that you have isolated the problematic part for you. If you are having problems with fretting several notes at once, than focus on that specific part with the metronome. Slow down the part, and just repeat that problematic lick over and over. Don't go up the tempo just stay slow for a while. Increase tempo only after you feel you can play it with your eyes closed and not thinking about it. Dont worry if tempo is slow for the lesson tempo. Going up the speed cannot be achieved without precision, this is what many people underrate.


If you want you can upload that audio file, that would mean a lot in determining exactly what the problem is. Feel free to ask any questions you want, I'm glad to help you. Cheers mate.


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