… I have been playing for a long time but have never had any formal training. Self taught as they say. I’ve learned through hearing mostly, not seeing or understanding. I’m finding myself somewhat at a crossroads in my playing. I want to play more technically and understand what I’m playing, but lack the foundation to do so. Figuring out scales and remembering them seems to be challenge. If I had a more rudimentary walk through of them I might understand them better. Do you have anything like this?
Thanks for the question Jay. STELAR is full of rudimentary walk-throughs. It’s the Rock, Blues and Metal improvisation program here at ShredGuitarOnline.com, you can read about it a few posts down below this one in the list on the left of this page. STELAR stands for: Scales, Timing, Expression, Licks, Apply and Repeat. Also ShredGuitarOnline’s, H & T (harmony and theory) section will clear up a lot on scales and the technical side for you.
For those of you who are “Free Tips and Tricks” members I added STELAR’s Slow Blues Segment to the free lessons section. At the link you can watch the videos, and download tabs and jam tracks for this segment. If you are not a Free Tips and Tricks member you can sign up here.
For you Jay, since you’re a full member:
1. Follow the STELAR ten-week course. Check out the videos, download the jams and tabs. Keep the tabs in a binder. Be sure to check out the “Expression” videos from each segment. These give you tips about playing with feeling and vibrato. Also check out the Essential Classic Licks sections. If we compare soloing to speaking, we all use the same words but we sound different because we are different! When we play, we all use the same classic licks, but they sound like us too. Everybody, BB King, Steve Vai, Brad Paisley, virtually all guitarists use the Essential Classic licks covered in these sections. These are rudimentary!
Choose a few licks from each segment and practice them over the jams. The jams are at different tempos, pick the tempo you like. Don’t choose licks that are real difficult. Highlight your new licks in the binder with a highlighter pen, so when you go back through you’ll easily remember what you are working on. Something that helped me build my vocabulary is naming each lick I was working on, for example: “C-Shape Arpeggios” or “Dorian/Blues Hammers”, and I kept the list of the names on a sheet of paper. Any name is okay, it’s just to help you remember the lick. This way, when you are improvising and you run out of ideas you can scan the list and spark your memory.
2. Follow the H & T ten-week course above. Even if you don’t totally understand something, push on through anyway, it’ll probably clear up later. Or, ask another musician, or email me with your question, I love to answer questions. At the end of 10 weeks, things will be much clearer and you will be a better player. I promise!
One more thing, don’t ever think you need to learn every scale or chord. Most of the greatest classic rock players only play in a few places on the neck!
Check out these posts on learning: