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!