Guitar Techniques - - TALK BACK - Neville Marten, Edi­tor

Nev talks about this is­sue’s main fea­tures.

BLUES AND THE­ORY! Com­pat­i­ble as chalk and cheese, surely? Isn’t blues the one mu­sic form that’s pure feel, the play­ing com­ing from some deep, shared well of ex­pe­ri­ence? It’s cer­tainly true that many artists who pur­port to know noth­ing about the­ory, go on to play great mu­sic that seems to un­der­line their point.

Ei­ther their sense of har­mony is in­nate they know in­tu­itively what to play over which chord - or have prac­ticed to the point where they are com­fort­able in any mu­si­cal sit­u­a­tion. To the ca­sual lis­tener, the re­sults are the same.

The truth is, most of us fall some­where be­tween ‘nat­u­ral gift’ and hav­ing no idea of what to do with­out guid­ance. And here mu­sic the­ory is of­ten our best friend.

For many self-taught gui­tarists, learn­ing mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic shape 1 is their first foray into mu­sic the­ory. But be­cause they know it as a ‘shape’ they of­ten don’t connect the fret­board po­si­tions with the in­ter­vals un­der­ly­ing them. Yet do­ing so would be a mas­sive leap for­ward, as would hav­ing some­one to demon­strate why.

If your play­ing lacks that cer­tain some­thing, or you re­peat­edly hear your­self me­an­der­ing up and down the same old pat­terns, Jon Bishop’s cover fea­ture this month might prove the per­fect tonic for your play­ing.

You will have seen some of this stuff be­fore, but what Jon does is join up the dots to pro­vide a co­gent fea­ture that ties in chords, scales, ‘added’ notes cre­at­ing ‘uber’ scales and so on; he mar­ries the way the best self-taught play­ers work things out for them­selves, with down-toearth the­ory guide­lines that to­gether act as a road-map to­wards fret­board en­light­en­ment.

Although we’ve tagged the fea­ture as ‘blues’ the same ideas will also work in other styles, since it’s of­ten the ap­proach, the mu­si­cal con­text or even the gui­tar tone that sep­a­rates one genre from the next. So if blues is not for you, this les­son most cer­tainly still is.

Any­way, connect Bish’s fea­ture and John Wheatcroft’s one on in­tro­duc­ing chro­mat­ics into your play­ing, and the fret­board is in­deed your lob­ster! So have fun, and I’ll see you next month (by which time I ex­pect you to have mas­tered Steve Howe’s in­stru­men­tal work-out ‘Clap’, too). Good luck!


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