Giving up playing chords (for a little while, at least)

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

Giving up playing chords (for a little while, at least)

Postby Doug Working » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:44 pm

Having broken a nail recently, and waiting for it to grow back before I can resume finger style or classical studies that I'm working on, it kind of kicked my thinking into another gear, so in that aspect, maybe breaking a nail was one of the best things that could have happened to me.

Like I said in another post, you guys got me started and whetted my appetite to get BIAB. So in the meantime, while money is tight, I bought some Christmas backing tracks and have been working with them. The great thing is that with backing tracks you can simply play melodies on single strings without any chords and it can actually sound real pretty because the backing Instruments can carry a lot of the weight on what might otherwise sound pretty thin.

So I've been working with it, and I thought about it, and it occurs to me that Chet was super at this aspect of playing. Of course, it's just one aspect of fingerboard mastery, but nevertheless it's real important.

Working on classical pieces a lot as I do, I see that I have for the most part ignored it, because in order to master classical studies, well, it's just a whole 'nother world. There is little to none of the single string melody mastery required. A lot of classical pieces involve chords, and of course, forming melodies from those chords.

Ahhhhh! But think of Chet and Yakety Axe!! Great example of his prowess! Chet was SO GOOD at it!! I can think of lots of Chet tunes where he dispensed with chords and just played melody on the strings.

So I've spent the last few days just thinking of my favorite melodies, including the Christmas tunes, and just seeing if I can play out the melodies by ear, finding the correct notes, avoiding the wrong notes, changing keys, playing up and down the neck, whatever it takes to improve in this area. It's a great challenge! I want to become GOOD at mastering the fingerboard. Maybe the better word is gaining a "command" of the fingerboard.

I know there are guys out there who are truly developed in this area. I bet there are guys who, no matter WHAT tune you name, with no written music, they can instantly find the melody and even embellish it or play variations on it. Yeah! That's where I'd like to go.

I've also worked hard this year on scales and modes, and hopefully I can tie them in.

So I know where I'm heading. I have a goal to attain, and I just have to work hard to get there. I won't give up classical and finger-style studies, but I'm definitely going to change my practice habits to incorporate the expanded goals.
Doug Working
 
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Re: Giving up playing chords (for a little while, at least)

Postby rhirvine » Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:01 pm

Do you use a regular pick when playing the single notes? I never got any good using a standard guitar pick and have to use at least thumbpick and my index finger to play single notes. I think Chet might have used that technique with his hit "yakkety ax". Man, I loved his arrangement of that. I had to look it up but BIAB means Band In A Box. I need to look into that. Good luck with your single note explorations Doug.
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Re: Giving up playing chords (for a little while, at least)

Postby Doug Working » Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:34 pm

Thanks! I'm having a blast! There are infinite possibilities for melody on that fingerboard.

I try to vary it. Sometimes I play on the higher strings, then I'll switch to the bass strings, then go for the middle. The general idea is to become proficient in all ranges.

I stick with my thumb pick. That was good enough for Chet, so it's good enough for me. Really, it's simply a flat pick that curls around the thumb.

I never could get into regular flat picks. I've tried them. Ugh!! . Thumb pick is my thing.
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Re: Giving up playing chords (for a little while, at least)

Postby Doug Working » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:29 pm

I"m finding out that not all melodies are created equal! It's one thing to play jingle bells or something simple. But as I get into melodies like "The Pink Panther Theme," it gets just a bit more dicey! Lots of tricky spots where the fingers can't easily find the notes that are playing in my head.

I love Mancini's melodies. I think as a composer, the man was a genius.'look at all the great, CATCHY melodies he gave us: Pink Panther Thene, Peter Gun, Baby Elephant Walk...not a clunker in the bunch. Every one of those melodies can help improve you as a guitarist.

I'm working on "em..

Years ago I worked on TV theme songs. Those are a lot of fun and pretty challenging on the guitar. The Munsters Theme is a lot of fun to play. As is Gilligan's Island. But when you try Hawaii Five O, you may discover it's not as easy as you might think.
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Re: Giving up playing chords (for a little while, at least)

Postby Pickin Palmer » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:49 pm

Kiss "Stick On" nails.. You wouldn't have had to quit...

Palmer
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Re: Giving up playing chords (for a little while, at least)

Postby BillB » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:49 am

That's what I use (Kiss nails), but they sure have gotten hard to find. I think maybe they quit making them, but there are some other options. I stocked up on them when I could find them. My biggest problem is that you end up with a bunch of sizes that never get used because they are for women with tiny fingers. But you can find other press-on nails at Walmart or Target.

Bill B.
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Re: Giving up playing chords (for a little while, at least)

Postby Doug Working » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:13 pm

Years ago, I used a product called "players nails," reccomended by my classical guitar instructor.

A few days ago, I found this: https://www.tiptonic.com/?gclid=EAIaIQo ... gKzMvD_BwE

They are expensive as all get-out, and I can't vouch for their usability, because I haven't tried them, but I suppose they are at least worth looking into.

The system by which they work is entirely different than anything I have ever seen, and appears to be truly thinking outside the box.

Where can I get the Kiss Stick In Nails?
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Re: Giving up playing chords (for a little while, at least)

Postby Pickin Palmer » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:01 am

Pretty much all drug stores carry the Kiss brand of "stick on" nails. But, they are "out" of them quite often. And, as Bill suggested - you only get a few uses out of an EIGHT DOLLAR box. BUT, they are useful as all get out when you break a nail. This summer my nails were a mess the whole time. I practice without them, but need them (3 fangers) whenever I need to play through my amps...
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Re: Giving up playing chords (for a little while, at least)

Postby Doug Working » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:50 pm

Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely keep an eye peeled whenever I'm in Walgreens or CVS.

I'm having fun, though, putting focus on my left hand, trying to increase my dexterity.

My right nails are slowly growing back. Just now grown past the fingertips so I can get a tiny bit of nail in when I pick.
But this has been good for me as it highlighted my weakness and showed me where I need to work to improve my playing.

One can never reakize just how many scales and scale variations there on on that fingerboard until you really focus on it.

The one time in my life that I was blessed to see Chet in concert, I was just astounded as I watched him at how incredible his left hand was. Poetry in motion! Of course, I realize he was extremely proficient in both hands, but at that time, it was his left hand that really caught my attention. I was a young guy, and I was jaw-dropped.

I'm wanting to start a Y'tube channel for my guitar arrangements. I figured out my camera and mike placement at home, and I got an app to upload videos off of my I-pad, but when I went to Y'tube, they have really changed things since I was posting my Chet videos. I can't figure out where to click to start a new channel.
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