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> How Much Theory
Phil66
post Feb 27 2015, 08:41 PM
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Hello everyone,

Been wondering how much theory people like Slash and Dime know. I remember reading articles in magazines about Dime saying things like, "He amazingly pulls notes from this mode and that mode and this exotic scale blah blah blah blah". What I want to know is, do people like Dime know they are doing that or do they know the basics, ie, major scale, minor scale, blues scale and pentatonic, and then just throw notes in "from the heart" or do they actually know the modes. Are the people at the magazines analising what is being done and writing about it theoretically to explain what is happening without the musician actually knowing?

What made me think more was that I have been using a certain design for something at work that we came up with years ago (35+) and have developed it over the years. When a high profile engineer sent in a drawing with something very similar he said it was "continuous second order polynomial function" blink.gif We didn't have a clue what it was and we hadn't looked in any books we just intuitively did and developed what we knew would work and we improved on it over the years having looked at components that had been used.

Thoughts please lads and lasses.

Phil

This post has been edited by Phil66: Feb 27 2015, 08:48 PM


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Kristofer Dahl
post Feb 27 2015, 08:48 PM
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I am quite sure these two guys rely/relied on the basic "rock" scales (basically pentatonic / major / minor etc).

This doesn't mean they don't know other scales - but rather that their method of writing new material is based on these basic scales and any additional notes are added by ear.

This is a great method which I advocate as well. For example relying on the pentatonic scale will make sure you have super strong notes as your foundation, then you can't go wrong when adding color on top of that (with other notes).


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GeneT95
post Feb 27 2015, 10:03 PM
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I doubt those guys played with actual modes/exotic scales in mind, at least until much later. But, they spent hours, days, and years with their guitar. They practiced and played every day for extended periods. Others may 'deconstruct' what they actually played and describe why those notes sound as they do, but I think Dime/Slash etc 'found' those notes by ear first and intimate familiarity with their guitar. Which is a similar engineering scenario to the one you described above.

I doubt they thought like a Jazz musician improv'ing a solo's minor mode by sight reading whether the there was a natural or b6 and then a b2 in the score. But I also doubt that they don't/didn't know/learn all those things as they relentlessly practiced their craft. Either by ear or by paper.

They also didn't just wing it, at least not on albums. They constructed their solos with a passion for the music, a deep understanding of the guitar, and then They just played.

I also think they learned in a far different manner than we do now. I remember sitting with a record trying to learn a solo by playing it over and over and then slowing it down. There was no tab back then (or at least no way to share it so widely) and rock guitarist didn't write/read music notation very often. There was no internet. It was live instruction or by ear alone.

Guitarist now, those born in the last few decades, learn differently from the outset. They, we, have places like GMC that have a potential to teach and expose us to Music Theory and its application in a far different manner. And the depth of rock guitar, the genres of rock music, are, I think, a direct reflection of modal applications to distorted sound. I'm sure guitarists in specific genres actively use certain scales with the knowledge of those scales in a different manner than guitarists of the past, or at least guitarists playing music like Dime/Slash as opposed to those of other past bands.

The differences in the genres of music now as opposed to the 70/80/90s, in my opinion, is much more related to the tonal variety found in them. And, I think guitarist now, depending on the style of music, actively learn, practice, and construct, and play their music with modal ideas.

This post has been edited by GeneT95: Feb 27 2015, 10:05 PM
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Mertay
post Feb 28 2015, 01:15 AM
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Agreed with many responses here.

Its really worth checking what they listened and grew up with, even mainstream pop music was richer in theory when they were kids.

Writing solo's from heart, we only mix/manipulate what we were exposed to. Music theory only explains what we heard or can hear, there can be artificial approaches to composing but its better not to make it a big deal of it and focusing what works best for personal creativity.


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Phil66
post Feb 28 2015, 07:31 AM
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Thanks everyone. All very interesting.
Slash has shown that you can do a lot with a little if you have the creativity and skill. I guess it's like someone who can really draw well can create a stunning picture with the primary colours can create a stunning picture but someone with a full pallette and all the brushes but little ability and/or creativity will produce a bland picture.
Phil

This post has been edited by Phil66: Feb 28 2015, 07:33 AM


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klasaine
post Feb 28 2015, 04:25 PM
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A lot of musicians in all styles don't necessarily know what something is traditionally/academically 'named' but they know the sound and most importantly - how to use it.


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