View Poll Results: Shapes or notes? What, in your opinion, is more important?

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199. You may not vote on this poll
  • Shapes

    27 13.57%
  • Notes

    28 14.07%
  • Both

    131 65.83%
  • I kind of just fiddle around and hope to hit the right notes.

    13 6.53%
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  1. #101

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    I've never heard of the term grip until this thread.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
    I've never heard of the term grip until this thread.


  4. #103

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    I'm not actually that interested in KNOWING about grips. LOL. I figure it's just another term for what I already know.

    When I studied and took lessons for jazz guitar, many moons ago, the technology and nomenclature was quite different. The music's the same. So I went ahead and developed my own teaching methods. I would look at books but never bought any as I didn't find anything new or really useful from what I already did. That's why I never knew anything about the CADGE system. Or CST. Not interested either. I was never a Berklee student. I sent many guitar players there and Eastman and IU and New School, etc. I find guitar "systems" funny.

    But thanks. I'll check it out later.

  5. #104

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    LOL! Thanks. Cool video. Grips.

  6. #105

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    Most people voted "both" here, I think that sums it up. (another good reference for this question is The Advancing Guitarist).

    "Shapes" are how scales are laid out horizontally across the fretboard - but - even if the diagrams are rendered in "dots" they also imply fingerings. So shapes are really "horizontal fretboard scale fingering patterns".

    And yes, fingering patterns are very important, but far from complete. Why would we ever think that learning these basics would approach "completeness" in terms of musicianship?

    One more tidbit - a grip is not a chord, not exactly anyway. Rather, it is a specific chord voicing, played on a specific string set, with a specific fingering. Hence, a specific "grip".

  7. #106

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    Who defined grip then? Raney said, "It's what I call it" and mimicked playing various chord shapes of a chord up the neck. It sounded like he coined the term. I'd like to see a source for the actual definition.

  8. #107

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
    Who defined grip then? Raney said, "It's what I call it" and mimicked playing various chord shapes of a chord up the neck. It sounded like he coined the term. I'd like to see a source for the actual definition.

    I think it was a general term that was *in the air*, given that there was no Berklee/CST/Jamey A./North Texas back then. Everyone was pretty much self taught. And, according to a conversation I had with my teacher, everyone learned on the job, or after the job, on late night jam sessions, trading info here and there, a grip, a lick, what-have-you. This was in the mid 1950s, so I'm sure it was even more true before then and less true since then. Since that time, many of the gigs dried up, and formal programs in universities have replaced actual gigs.

    It's hard to imagine where I live, Chicago, as a hotbed of nightlife and jazz gigs, as it was in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Anyway.

    I think that was a fantastic bit of wisdom by Jimmy--"what do you mean you're trying to be original, you can't play!" All music is aural/auditory, and the melody is always the best guide. Everyone I've seen or heard that I really respect says the same thing: at a recent Peter Bernstein master class, he said, you can lose or jettison many things, but always have the melody there as a compass.

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gertrude Moser View Post
    Steve,
    Why the anger? You were not familiar with some very common terms (shapes, grips) but question the OP's status based on his post count. George Benson could join this forum today and he'd have 1 post after saying hello to us. And what is BS rock? Please don't divide lovers of music.
    A "shape" is a "grip" and some folks play fantastic music knowing little more than mastery of those shapes (Herb Ellis and many more). The OP's thread starter was an interesting and intelligent question and observation about the different paths used by all sorts of players to get to the point where they can communicate the music they want to play, using differing devices and levels of knowlege. There's room for everybody. It doesn't matter how you arrive at the ability to play good music; whether you can talk about it like Pat Martino or if you play (very well) completely by ear. What it sounds like is what is important, not what you used to get it there.
    I feel better now. I guess people like to make things up. With my jam band, before "jam band" was a common term we used to say, "let's go rock-out man." We didn't even do much rock but used the word all the all the time to describe music. I think the OP was just having some fun.

  10. #109

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    fair enough but i don't think its a heavily theoretical, academic, Phd. term or anything like that. its an abbreviaton. its shorthand. its jazz guitar lingo/jargon.

    you have to admit, its a lot easier to say "grip" than it is to say "specific chord voicing, played on a specific string set, with a specific fingering".

  11. #110

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    Yeah but grip doesn't seem to mean anything. It's a grip. And I started playing guitar in the late 60s - ok '69 and started with trying to play jazz, more or less right away. I studied with Howard Roberts and Warren Nunes and a lot of cats. I've never heard the term. Or I don't remember the term or it never seemed important enough to know.

  12. #111

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    no sir, it means what i said. its the other way around.

    meaning, saying "chord" or even "chord voicing" does NOT imply all the "grips" that we have on the guitar.

    a chord is a collection of tones. a voicing is a specific vertical arrangment of those tones, with or without doubling or tripling of one or more of those tones, etc, etc. you know all that.

    for what its worth i think grip is kind of dorky. its kind of blue collar or something. but this is jazz and it works.

  13. #112

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    OK, but I'm jazz and I've never used the term. The concept? Sure. A box? I guess I can see it's usefulness as a term.

    If it means what you said, where did the definition come from? I'm kind of big on words. Who defined it for you? Where can I see a source for the term? Otherwise it'll just be "fumblefingers said . . ." And that's not good for me.

  14. #113

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    i'm sorry but i don't really know its origin.

    the first time i heard the term used was on Rick Peckham's DVD covering modal voicings. (those dang Berklee guys again)

    Rick was saying (paraphrasing) "i hope you guys don't just learn these voicings as grips, but really learn their harmonic structure and use".

  15. #114

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    I've always tried not to be too guitaristic in my approach, so maybe that's why I'm rebelling against it.

  16. #115

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    yeah, i think that's where Peckham was coming from too. In other words, "don't just learn this material physically, like a monkey or unthinking robot, learn it like a musician".

    which brings us back to the OP and the overwhelming "both" response that people replied with.


    i have to go practice now or i'm going to (continue to) be one of those "players" you referred to above.


    cheers.

  17. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Well, here's my beef...i see a ton of beginners learning all their drop 2 and drop 3 inversions systematically, and they can't even play a song...but they know 16 cute ways to play a Cmaj7...I say better to know three or four ways really well and how to get more colorful notes on top of them, and use them in a tune. Learning shapes is useless if you can't voice a melodic line on top of em...
    True--you are describing overkill. However, a little systematic learning can go a long way, if it is done efficiently. Finding the proper balance is the key.

  18. #117

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    The first college paper I ever wrote was about this exact subject. This was about 1977' give or take and it was the first time since about 6th grade that I put any effort into school. It was a jazz theory course and the teacher didn't like my paper so I dropped out of college. I guess that's why I got worked up about this. What I have to say about this meant nothing in 1977 and it means nothing now so I'm off to another thread.

  19. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    The first college paper I ever wrote was about this exact subject. This was about 1977' give or take and it was the first time since about 6th grade that I put any effort into school. It was a jazz theory course and the teacher didn't like my paper so I dropped out of college. I guess that's why I got worked up about this. What I have to say about this meant nothing in 1977 and it means nothing now so I'm off to another thread.

    damn, sorry to hear that. i guess the the topic is more for guitar pedagogues than theory professors. and its a very fundamental question too. its a question that might be freshman worthy, but even that might be a stretch.

  20. #119

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    Absolutely both! It's a visualy laid out instrument so we'd be silly not to make use of that, but knowing the notes is super important too
    Last edited by bondmorkret; 02-04-2013 at 10:50 AM. Reason: typo

  21. #120

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    I think a bit of both approaches is the way to go. You need to understand why 3 different shapes for a Phrygian mode are all the same notes and how they cam e to be but you need to learn the shapes too.
    Tips On Buying an Acoustic Guitar

  22. #121

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    I actually think pianists think more in shapes or pictures than they like to let on. Sure, a pianist while learning or teaching the instrument is going to approach it much more from the notes/theory approach than the guitar player who is more likely to approach it from the shapes approach right out of the gate.

    The interesting thing, though, is what happens when one is actually playing. I grew up playing piano. When I tried to approach jazz chords on the piano, the theory was incredibly easy (it's right in front of you) but just because you know the notes, doesn't mean you can access them quickly and with ease. The guitar is just the opposite. The theory is a jumble, but the shapes fall so nicely. The shapes approach on guitar actually turned a light bulb on for me with regard to piano. One thing you will notice when you start working on different piano voicings, for example, is that they actually share some (somewhat) moveable shapes as well. Once I started to think think of piano chords as pictures, rather than notes, is when I was able to start to really PLAY them. Same goes for arps and scales. The blues scale, for example, has a shape of sorts on the piano. When I play the blues scale in whatever key, I am thinking more of the shape, not the notes.

    That's what improvisation is. It's muscle memory and visualization. It's the ability to have a picture "light up" for you when you need it. Pianists never talk about shapes or pictures, but don't be fooled, they play them too. There is no way Bill Evans is thinking of each individual note when he is running through those rootless voicings. He just has certain chords locked into his muscle memory and they come out effortlessly.

    So I think we all play shapes, guitarists are just the only ones who start with them. We are the only ones who teach the instrument that way. Pianists just let it happen.

  23. #122

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    Interesting

  24. #123

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    Shapes are very important to me. Shapes helped me learn the notes. Now, it is easy to see through the shapes to see the notes. Between the CAGED stuff, the 5 pentatonic box patterns, 3 notes per string and the various string pairs/groups its easy to understand what is going on and use whichever tool gets the desired sound. Realizing that sweeps are inbeded in these patterns has made them easier to learn (struggled with sweeps for years).

  25. #124

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    But both guitar and piano use shapes and notes. A scale is a shape. Even a partial chord is a shape. It's how we remember things.

    We know spelling from reading and seeing written words; the way it's written is its shape. Your name is a certain shape. The word 'guitar' is a shape. You don't need to enunciate g-i-t-a-r like a young child.

    Numbers are shapes. When you see 1,000 you know it means a thousand instantly, you don't have to analyse it. Same with any other number, like 99 or 1066.

    Take a keypad entry. First you do the numbers. In a week it's become a shape, a finger pattern by memory, and you've forgotten what the numbers were!

    Music is shapes, patterns, not one-by-one digits or units. We recognise a tune, not note by note, but because it's a shape, a pattern - like 'Happy Birthday To You'.

    Etc. (and you didn't need to work that one out either!)


    [Of course, all this doesn't apply right at the beginning. Then, obviously, you have to learn it]
    Last edited by ragman1; 11-18-2016 at 12:48 AM.

  26. #125

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    I'll not read something I can learn by ear. But, if I can't learn it by ear I need the score. I suck at reading but I can read well enough to decode the parts that give my ears trouble.

    I don't see it as lazy.


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  27. #126

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    My reply to this thread is simple: like Charlie Parker once said, learn everything you need to know about music and your instrument and then forget it all and just play. Learning the notes and shapes compliment each other. You cannot learn to play jazz (or any music that is improvised) if you don't know the notes. Seeing shapes and patterns help you organize things on the neck. Therefore, they are both important.
    "If I don't practice for a day, I know it... for two days, the critics know it... three days, the public knows it." -- Louis Armstrong

  28. #127

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokinguit View Post
    learn everything you need to know about music and your instrument and then forget it all and just play
    My father used to say that about dressing beautifully. He said choose your clothes with exquisite care and taste... and then forget them.

    "If I don't practice for a day, I know it... for two days, the critics know it... three days, the public knows it." -- Louis Armstrong
    That's also a ballet adage. One day, you notice. Two days, the other dancers notice. Three days, everybody notices!
    Last edited by ragman1; 11-07-2016 at 06:05 PM.

  29. #128

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    You need to know your scales, arpeggios and chords. These are going to be shapes.

    Now when I finger a scale on the guitar the shape is second nature - you practice it into muscle memory and see it visually on the fretboard. I think you kind of have to do that.

    But know what each degree of the scale is etc, both in relative (1 2 3 etc) and absolute (C D E etc.) But sharp and flat is easy right? Up and down.

    On the other hand, you just play some times. Also as we know chromatic shapes moved around on the guitar can be really effective as can open strings and so on.

    But it's a wilderness! I don't think I'll ever stop learning.

  30. #129

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    Glad I found this thread.

    In my opinion when someone is learning the guitar the fastest way to get her/him improvise is learning some licks. Then the scales, and arpeggios. When playing with scales You think only about the shape.

    But with the arpeggios... Thats kinda saxophinist thinking. They improvise with arpeggios and guide tone lines. The chords inside the song are going in their head, they exactly know in every moment which chord is there, they know the notes inside the chord, and they know the next chords tones, so they can see, which notes are common. They are thinking in advance to link common chord notes with guide tone lines.

    And I think that is the hardest for the guitarist because there are so few players who begin learning the instrument that way. I am working on this now, its merciless... To know all the arpeggios started from 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, to know the names very fast on the guitar, in the chords, to know where I am in the song, to link the notes in the structure of the song. And all these must be musical.

    So yes, the majority of guitarist are too lazy (including me) to think in that term about the music. And yes, if we learn all the shapes of scales, arpeggios, tons of licks, notes on the fretboard, scale-chord theory and this saxophonic-like thinking, we will have much more freedom in improvising then they have.

    Just my 2 cents.

  31. #130

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrblues View Post
    Glad I found this thread.

    In my opinion when someone is learning the guitar the fastest way to get her/him improvise is learning some licks. Then the scales, and arpeggios. When playing with scales You think only about the shape.

    But with the arpeggios... Thats kinda saxophinist thinking. They improvise with arpeggios and guide tone lines. The chords inside the song are going in their head, they exactly know in every moment which chord is there, they know the notes inside the chord, and they know the next chords tones, so they can see, which notes are common. They are thinking in advance to link common chord notes with guide tone lines.

    And I think that is the hardest for the guitarist because there are so few players who begin learning the instrument that way. I am working on this now, its merciless... To know all the arpeggios started from 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, to know the names very fast on the guitar, in the chords, to know where I am in the song, to link the notes in the structure of the song. And all these must be musical.

    So yes, the majority of guitarist are too lazy (including me) to think in that term about the music. And yes, if we learn all the shapes of scales, arpeggios, tons of licks, notes on the fretboard, scale-chord theory and this saxophonic-like thinking, we will have much more freedom in improvising then they have.

    Just my 2 cents.
    I think you credit sax players with doing their homework haha. I think you can bluff it a lot more with chords behind you, and saxists can get away with a lot - but yes the ones who really know the tune do work on this stuff, as of course do the guitar players.

    Bear in mind that once you have learned the positions and got used to moving them through the keys, the hard work is done.

    Tbh while I know my positions most of my playing gets done in a few pet positions just because they sit nicely on the neck. I used to feel bad about this, but now I don't care. There's more important thing IMO to concern myself with - ear training, repertoire, and so on.

    Anyway, I do practice scales in every position for around 15m a day at least.'should probably get into arps again too. Scales and arps through tunes in various positions are always good drills and help with improvisation.

  32. #131

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    Christian You are right.

    I have problem with arpeggio positions, still need few months to memorize them. I think I know many scales but my problem is that I am not thinking about notes when improvising. I prefer to using my old lick shapes, which I made out of scales, but that gets boring after a few minutes. I am trying to make new ones, but now my homework is the same what the saxophinists homework is, and I have to work on that first. Problem is that because I never thought of the notes (and chord-note relations) while improvising thats a pain in the ass...

  33. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrblues View Post
    Christian You are right.

    I have problem with arpeggio positions, still need few months to memorize them. I think I know many scales but my problem is that I am not thinking about notes when improvising. I prefer to using my old lick shapes, which I made out of scales, but that gets boring after a few minutes. I am trying to make new ones, but now my homework is the same what the saxophinists homework is, and I have to work on that first. Problem is that because I never thought of the notes (and chord-note relations) while improvising thats a pain in the ass...
    I don't think you should be doing any thinking when improvising.

    It takes a long time to develop flexibility. Go easy on yourself and keep doing what you are doing.

    You haven't mentioned playing phrases by ear from records. That's an important thing to do for several reasons. Hard at first, but necessary if you can't do it.

  34. #133

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    It's common transcendental way of learning...

    You come to an unknow city to live... first you define some routes on the map, some point to stick to... then you make another route... another way... get to know people.. who show you the city... new unexpected roots, places... who begin to make the city more living for you...
    Yet you still live a bit by the map and guidbook so far... years pass by and you do not notice that all you learn overlap, transcends one thing another making living system complex to an extent that you cannot describe it any more with routes or points on the map because it will be simplification for you...
    You do not go and come in this city any more from point to point, you just live in it.

  35. #134

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    I'm sure most of the real work is done subconsciously. That is, one practices consciously but the brain needs time to assimilate it at a deeper level. Then it appears spontaneously when playing when there's no time to be thinking.

    Or, at least, it appears to be spontaneous. It's not really.

  36. #135

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    I used to be shapes , I'm starting to think of the
    chord roots too abit now ...
    Along with roman numeral function , the original melody , and listening to the inside the ear melodies (improv) that wants to come out

    Phew ! that's a lot to simultaneously think of !
    How the hell does anyone do that

    Beats me ... I just keep at it and get 'slightly' more comfortable with it the more I do

  37. #136

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    listening to the inside the ear melodies (improv) that wants to come out
    That's probably the most useful :-)

  38. #137

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    interesting stuff on how sax players approach things

    whatever way it is it seems to me to be the right way

    i've always been mostly into horn players and piano players (bird and bud mainly)

    and its shapes for me all the way
    Last edited by Groyniad; 11-24-2016 at 03:55 PM.

  39. #138

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    I do not really know how I play, but it is easier for me to list the things I don't think about when playing. I don't think about any named things which includes the name of the key, which notes are sharp or flat due to the key signature, the names and types of the chords, their inversions, drop types, and voicing, the note names of the chord roots, chord tones, extensions, and alterations, the Roman numeral designation of the progression chords, the functional descriptions of the progression chords and passing chords, the names of intervals and scales, and the names of their notes... I could go on, but fundamentally I do not think of any named things or named relationships between those things when playing - I don't have any verbal process going on whatsoever.


    With respect to the use of visual things (shapes, forms, patterns) I would say "indirectly" or "incidentally" to my thinking process when playing. I say this because there are innumerable things I play which I can't describe when away from the guitar... the fingering of chords and scales, the fret distances between things, etc. - but on the guitar while playing I do these things without knowing.


    Without certainty of the details, what I do use to play is the sound of the music. I practice, compose, rehearse, and perform exclusively by ear. I hear the music around me, I hear musical ideas in my mind's ear, and I just let my musical judgement pass the most appropriate, or most urgent, or most beautiful of these ideas through to the instrument.


    My underlying process element is what I call "figures", but these are not visual like drawings, shapes, patterns, or forms... here I'm using the word as in "figured out". The way I know the guitar is through "figures" (things I have figured out) that relate how things sound and interact melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically. These figures are abstract internal representations of how things sound that are not characterized by their manifest forms on the finger board, nor characterized by their theory element names and named relationships, but are held and grasped much more directly and intuitively, as the way these things sound, as the way I know and recognize their sounds, in the same way that I recognize someone's face without knowing their name - instantly, easily, naturally, effortlessly. When I practice, I am hunting for figures (new sound relationships). The figures now have kind of become a space of manifolds within which new figures just add to the continuity of the whole thing.


    Here is an example of how "figures" work for me...


    Tenderly in Eb has a part that goes Abm7 -> Bb(7) twice before going on to Bdim -> Cm -> F7 -> Fm -> E/Bb...


    When I hear the Abm7 -> Bb(7) -> Abm7 -> Bb(7) passage I think the first pair should have a more "major" sound but the second pair should have a more "minor" sound. That is just the way my ear interprets the melody and it sounds peculiar to me if something is not done to produce this "major to minor" kind of sound shift, which I am putting in quotes because it is a bit more subtle. So, I substitute some figures that I know will sound the way I want. Since I don't refer to them with theory lingo I will just show you what I do in this example...


    Original is Abm7 -> Bb(7) -> Abm7 -> Bb(7) -> Bdim -> Cm -> F7 -> Fm -> E/Bb


    The first Abm7 -> Bb(7) can be made to sound more "major" and the second Abm7 -> Bb(7) made to sound more "minor" by doing this:


    xx4446 -> x6667x -> x8(10)8(11)x -> x(11)(12)(12)(11)x
    xx4446 -> x6667x -> x898(11)x -> x(11)(12)(11)(11)x


    That works on a slow song, but a similar thing where the pace is faster or you just want less movements would be to do just this:


    xx9(11)(11)9 -> x(11)(12)(12)(11)x
    xx9(10)(11)9 -> x(11)(12)(11)(11)x


    I suspect we ear players know less about how we play (and maybe need to know less in order for it to work) than those who use explicit verbal and visual strategies to organize their understanding of music.

    Anyway, I hope this helps.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  40. #139

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    Notes I suppose, but they're kind of one and the same as 'shapes' in the form of chords.

    I think I hear the notes more than I look at any shapes though.. there would be way too many shapes to just memorize if I was to think that way.

    If there were any shapes I was to consider while playing, it would probably just be basic triads.

  41. #140
    I 'd say shapes are the way to go. Think of say, the minor pentatonic, and playing in a song where the key moves a tone and a half every few bars. You don't want to be thinking ok, here are the notes of C minor pent, now which are the notes of Eb minor pent, ok now on to Gb minor pent, then find the ones on A minor pent. Or II-V-I in different keys. In Bebop you think shapes, not notes, so it is the same in every key.

    BUT, when someone says "learn the harmonic structure, not just the grip/shape", they mean learn what degree each note of the grip is, relative to the key. Doesn't matter what the actual note is, but you need to know that this is the third, that's the fifth, the 7th etc. That's what makes things work. You learn the actual shape, and what each note is (so on the minor pent 1, b3, 4, 5, b7). You learn a Maj7 chord and you know the notes are 1 7 3 5.

    Of course you'll learn the actual notes as well, but you don't actually think of them when you play. And eventually you don't think of the shapes either, you are just driven by melody as you improve in finding melodies on the fretboard. That's the actual goal, playing everything by ear and muscle memory.
    Last edited by Alter; 08-19-2019 at 08:03 AM.

  42. #141
    Quote Originally Posted by andihopkins View Post
    Hey guys,

    I'm a Jazz guitarist from Perth, Australia.
    I started on piano at age 3, but moved to guitar at around 11. I've loved it ever since.

    Just recently I've had a few piano/theory lessons with an amazing local pianist. It's been great seeing things from a different perspective, and I must say that after a few weeks, I am frustrated to realize that I (think) I have been going about the guitar the wrong way ... possibly working backwards in a sense.

    I started (and have been) learning the way most guitarist's learn - shapes and patterns.
    All these educational and instructional books/dvds seem to be filled to the rim with a million different patterns & shapes. And like a good, eager student, I have tried my best to lap them all up.

    But since seeing music from a piano's perspective (which I think we all agree is probably the best perspective to view things from) I've realized that I actually don't know much about the music, scales, chords, etc that I am playing. They are merely just shapes that I have learnt, but don't understand!

    Sure, the shapes are important, but I feel it's working backwards.
    The note's are the ingredients that make up the music, not the shapes.
    And if one knows the notes, he can create a chord, arpeggio or scale anywhere on the fretboard... just as a pianist can.

    Anywho, I could talk about this forever. But it seems that the guitar world is more interested in shapes, diagrams and patterns (being that it is easier) than actually learning and understanding the fretboard.

    It appears the logical way to learn any instrument... Am I crazy? What do you guys think?

    Feel free to also throw in any personal techniques in learning the fretboard

    Cheers,
    Andy

    Very important to learn both shapes and notes, in order to reach maximum flexibilty, if not the actual notes, at least their relation to the chord being played.
    Testing a Gibson ES335 vs Harley Benton HB 35 (very inexpensive semi hollow body guitar)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fGMIs1wNEA&t=185s

    I am playing a solo over my buddys song, Cookies and Cream

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJHqt_lpyKM

  43. #142

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter View Post
    I 'd say shapes are the way to go. Think of say, the minor pentatonic, and playing in a song where the key moves a tone and a half every few bars. You don't want to be thinking ok, here are the notes of C minor pent, now which are the notes of Eb minor pent, ok now on to Gb minor pent, then find the ones on A minor pent. Or II-V-I in different keys. In Bebop you think shapes, not notes, so it is the same in every key.

    BUT, when someone says "learn the harmonic structure, not just the grip/shape", they mean learn what degree each note of the grip is, relative to the key. Doesn't matter what the actual note is, but you need to know that this is the third, that's the fifth, the 7th etc. That's what makes things work. You learn the actual shape, and what each note is (so on the minor pent 1, b3, 4, 5, b7). You learn a Maj7 chord and you know the notes are 1 7 3 5.

    Of course you'll learn the actual notes as well, but you don't actually think of them when you play. And eventually you don't think of the shapes either, you are just driven by melody as you improve in finding melodies on the fretboard. That's the actual goal, playing everything by ear and muscle memory.
    i'm on that road too Alter ....

    i say learn the shapes too
    and also learn the other notes around those shapes
    (their sounds/effects)
    for example at the 3p in C
    learn the Dm sounds near there

    I don't mean strictly l e a r n learn them ....
    just mess around with them
    learn the G7 sounds around there too
    Am , A7 etc etc learn everything about C in that area .....
    Play Blue moon ....
    make a few shapes .....

    Then do it at the 7p
    carry on

  44. #143

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    Guitar lends itself to shapes. Some great players play substantially out of geometric patterns, although they can find all the sounds nearby.

    That said, I made a choice to learn everything by note name. I'm glad I did, but I still rely on some patterns too. One factor is speed. With chord changes flying by at high tempo, patterns can be advantageous.

  45. #144

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    Learn shapes then get away from them fast

    Always be asking, as soon as you learn a grip:

    - can I refinger?
    - put on different strings?
    - change chord colour?
    - transpose a voice up or down an octave?
    - swap notes?
    - take notes out?
    - add notes in?
    - add open strings

    Develop flexibility....

  46. #145

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    Learning shapes is how most of us started. That is fine as long as you know where the root is that names the chord.

  47. #146

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBGuitar View Post
    Learning shapes is how most of us started. That is fine as long as you know where the root is that names the chord.
    That's easy , it's the bottom one

  48. #147

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    3--6---2--5--7--3

    4-b7-b3-b6--1-4

    b5-7--3-6-b2-b5

    5--1--4-b7--2--5

    b6-b2-b5-7-b3-b6

    6--2--5--1--3--6

    and on, and on...

    you can find Anything in here!

    Doesn't mean I can reach it, though (when I can remember it, that is.)

  49. #148

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    That's easy , it's the bottom one
    Not always

  50. #149

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    There's no getting around patterns or shapes on the guitar, the notes themselves show up that way. But for me the trick has always been the ability to try to see them all at once so that going from one to the other - or even in between them - in an instant becomes second nature. Even for the limited CAGED system of division, knowing all your shapes for every scale, arp, device, lick etc in every position for every chord type in every key.... needless to say its a lot of work!

    But it still gets down to what you do with this knowledge. Someone who stays inside of one "box" can still make great ideas happen, as opposed to someone who knows all the shapes but chooses to run scales, arps or just basic patterns on them. Of course, the player who creates his own language from the "alphabet arrays" that all these shapes provide will access the keys to the kingdom!

    I'll be meeting you all at the gates sometime....

  51. #150

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    There's no getting around patterns or shapes on the guitar, the notes themselves show up that way. But for me the trick has always been the ability to try to see them all at once so that going from one to the other - or even in between them - in an instant becomes second nature. Even for the limited CAGED system of division, knowing all your shapes for every scale, arp, device, lick etc in every position for every chord type in every key.... needless to say its a lot of work!

    But it still gets down to what you do with this knowledge. Someone who stays inside of one "box" can still make great ideas happen, as opposed to someone who knows all the shapes but chooses to run scales, arps or just basic patterns on them. Of course, the player who creates his own language from the "alphabet arrays" that all these shapes provide will access the keys to the kingdom!

    I'll be meeting you all at the gates sometime....
    I'm not sure about this, but I have the impression that some very good players do play one position at a time. So you see them in the key of G in the third position and then maybe in the seventh. The line is connected by virtue of how fast they make the position change. So, you don't hear any discontinuity.