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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Why people have such sorry-assed guitar problems -

Many times I go through the forums and read questions and answers to guitar problems and I'm simply dumbfounded and saddened.   There are SO many people who are operating from SUCH extreme low levels of knowing and self-imposed limited thinking!   Many times I'll start to write an answer and then just basically give up.    You can't really describe an elephant to a blind man -- at least in the space of a forum post.

You see, the thing that's standing in the way of people's progress -- in probably about 90% of the questions I see -- is one simple thing: THEMSELVES.   Guitar is SO simple.   The path to progress is clear.   But, people would rather delude themselves with mirages and lies, give up the innate power we all have control of, and be a victim.   It's really INCREDIBLE to see the state some people are in.

I'm not trying to be critical.   I used to be in a similar state.   It's essentially the state the world conditions us to be in.   I'd just like to help by trying to shed some light on this.   People really need to wake up, because a world of asleep people affects EVERYONE.

So, I'd like to describe an angle on all of this.  It's a metaphysical angle.   It's about your soul, spirit, true-self or whatever you want to call it.   That's where people's answers are.    If you're reading this and are into a guitar having a soul or spirit shouldn't be a point of controversy or something to snicker at.   After all, you're engaged in an art form.   Art is the expression of your soul or spirit.   If you don't believe you have one that you can experience, then what the hell are you doing playing guitar?!   If you don't come to terms with your soul/spirit/true self you will be NOTHING of a guitar player.   Nothing.   And 90% of the problems I see aren't guitar problems.   They are soul/spirit problems.   It's shallow, limited, defeatist, victim, ignorant life outlooks that are keeping people asleep and in a barely functional condition.

So you have a soul/spirit/true self.   Everyone does.   I'm not going to even attempt to describe it, because it cannot really be described with words, yet you're going to have to try finding this in yourself.   It's not that hard, but it's covered over by layers and layers of shit.   It talks to you every day.   In fact it ALWAYS tells you EXACTLY what you need to be doing to progress with guitar.   You just don't usually listen it.   I'll get to the reasons why in a sec.

I won't describe your true self, but I'll briefly try to state what I think are some of its attributes.   It is complete as it is.   It needs nothing.   It's in a state of constant pure, calm peace and joy.   It's only real interest is to grow and evolve back to the unity that contains all of us and is inside all of us.   It is a presence that is totally in the NOW.    It is where knowing is.    It is through the world that its knowing can become experience and that is how it evolves and grows.    Your true self wants to experience its knowing of guitar through you.  It KNOWS how to do this, and it's trying to TELL YOU EXACTLY HOW TO DO IT.   It's as simple as that.   So, why does it seem so hard and/or how come I don't hear my "true self" talking to me?    OK, here's where the problem is....

Your mind, which is a component of your being and depends on your spirit for its energy and activation, has built a mental structure.   Building these kinds of structures are simply things minds like to do.  Nothing wrong with it.   However, there's a structure in particular that has gotten totally out of control.   It's the "Story About Me".   It's your name, your likes, your dislikes, what you do, what you don't do, what you wear, what you own.   It's your ego if you will.    Mostly, it's everything about you that takes place in the world and has happened in the past, and what you foresee for yourself in the future.   It's actually a necessary part of you because you need this kind of structure to function in the world, however there's a sickness that has developed.   Why?   Because it's been encouraged everywhere since the day you were born.   It's been encouraged by your parents, schools, TV, religion ... nearly everything in the world reinforces it.   What this sickness is, is this: your mind thinks the Story

About Me  IS who you are!   

Nearly everything the mind does or thinks about is done in service to the Me Story.   Since it's essentially a fiction and mental construct, the Me Story demands endless attention and energy in order to validate itself.   NOTHING ever satisfies it and nothing EVER WILL.   It has a voracious appetite and demands more and more be added to it.   I'm special and everyone must know about this.   The more I can add to ME, the bigger and more special I can become.   Everyone must notice Me.   It's all about Me.  Me.  Me.  Me.

So, we go through life attempting to add more "stuff" to Me, and more is never enough.   You probably think "Someday, once I've added enough stuff, I will have ARRIVED and I'll be satisfied".   Well, that day is never going to come unless you wake up to this.    You have to get beyond that incessant chattering in your head that's going on ALL THE TIME, telling you the Me Story.

Now, what does any of this have to do with guitar?   Simply picture this: Me - THE GUITARIST!   What a great addition to the Me Story!    This will bring Me all kinds of new prestige and a gateway for all kinds of new stuff.   The new Me - THE GUITARIST will be a bigger, better, and more badass Me than ever before.   Chicks.   Money.  Fame.  Fun Life Style.   Why, this new Me could just be my ticket allright.   All upside, no downside.   After all, how hard could it really be?   Why with a minimum of effort, should be no problem.... If He can do it, why not Me?....

I'm willing to bet there's something familiar about this.  Nearly all of us have picked up guitar because we became enamored of Me - The Guitarist.   Nearly every post on Ultimate Guitar oozes this to one extent or another.    Many are totally taken by it.   Some have even taken an advance on the story!   The have put so much energy into the wishful-thinking of the story's creation that they are nearly completely blind to the reality of what playing the guitar means.

And that is the main problem.   People are so identified with the Me Story and its eventual goals, that ANYTHING that is seen to hold the story back, or retard progress of the story's goals, or interfere in ANY way with the Me Story, is gotten rid of and dismissed.   This includes the actual process of making progress on the guitar!    The process is completely subsumed by some fictional goal!   In fact the process, which always happens in the here and now, and which your spirit is always supplying explicit advice for, is all you really have!   This is why people find practicing (the process) boring.   They're never in the here and now.   They're constantly reviewing the past in fear of their lack of power to improve and/or worrying about the future and that the story not go as they imagine.    In the meantime, the spirit simply wants to express itself and have the experience of doing so.   It's TELLING YOU HOW.   Inspiration is "in the spirit".   It's NOT something that just happens to you.   It's something you always have.   Wake up!

So, how exactly DO you wake up?   Well, I'm learning this myself and I'm learning it works.   It would be too much to explain here and again, it's something that can't really be explained directly with words.   One thing I can tell you first is that it starts with awareness you ARE in fact asleep most of the time.   Then you must want to wake up as your most important goal.   Then, you must seek.   You must seek inwardly, seek for more information, and practice awakening to your spirit.   Eventually, you'll see the Me Story for what it really is and what it really hides.   There's plenty of teachers and information out there to find out more about this.  PM me, and I can send you some links and stuff to get you started.

5:27 pm - 8 comments - 14 Kudos
Saturday, October 11, 2008

Human ScaleOme Project



I thought perhaps I'd start a medium length project.

Basically, it starts with a written down catalogue of all the scale studies and practice I've done

up until the present time.   So far, I have the list below which now contains over 100 ways I do

"scale practice".  I propose to take a couple of these a week, write up a more detailed explanation

of them, and record a short session of them in practice and in actual use (over like

a II-V-I).

Personally, this will be a great review for me as a number of these have gotten stale and I'll need

to review them to a point where I can record a decent version as an example.   This kind of 

complete review is simply good for remembering things gone a bit dim.

Why this is important.


I thought I'd share this.  Basically I believe many simply don't understand HOW to practice scales.

This is the basic organization of a way.   At least how I do.   Simply put, this kind of practice

has done more for my soloing/improvising skill than anything I can think of.

As I started this kind of practice, I soon realized a lot of what was holding me back in terms

of soloing.   There's a LOT of movements that are avoided (generally below the level of complete

awareness), simply because they are "uncomfortable", or difficult, or just can't do them well.

In effect, you "don't know what you don't know".   So, you tend to play the same things over and

over and wonder why your playing is stale.   This kind of practice will help with that physical

aspect that limits playing skill.   You'll likely find most of the studies here are doing things with

your fingers you wouldn't "normally" do.

Additionally, these ARE scales.   As you practice these over and over your ear begins to pick up

the relationships and functions of the notes in the scale by going through studies that tend to

focus on 1 particular aspect of note relationship or another.   So, as you're developing the

muscle coordination, you're ALSO gaining a better and better understanding of how notes in

the scale function.

Further on, I'll give some more details about HOW to practice this stuff.   A lot of that you'll

get by listening to the recorded examples, but the overall approach is important to how well

you'll be able to use this kind of stuff in soloing.

The LIST (I'll be adding to it over time.  The descriptions are just shorthand notation

for my own benefit.  I'll be expanding on what they all mean)

-------------------------------------------------- ---------

I) Linear

1) Alternate

a) scale up and down

b) scale up & down w/2 note legato

c) inverted 2nds

d) inverted 2nds legato

e) 3 note braid

f) 3 note braid w/legato

g) 4 note braid

h) 4 note braid w/legato

i) linear 3rds, 2 string, vertical

j) 1-2-3-5

k) 1-2-3-5 legato

l) 1-2-3-5 in horizontal 4ths (pattern1)

m) 1-2-3-5 in horizontal 4ths (pattern2)

n) 1-2-3-5 in horizontal 4ths (pattern3)

2) Economy

a) scale up & down

b) 10 note repeat pattern on 3 strings

c) 10 note repeat pattern on 3 strings, vertical index lead

d) 10 note repeat pattern on 3 strings, vertical pinky lead

e) 13 note horizontal waterfall

f) 7 note horizontal waterfall

g) 10 note repeat pattern on 3 strings

h) 10 note repeat pattern on 3 strings, vertical index lead

i) 10 note repeat pattern on 3 strings, vertical pinky lead

j) 2 string turnarounds - 4,6,8 notes

II) Intervals

1) 3rds

a) 1-3-1

b) 1-3-1 legato

c) 1-3

d) 3-1

e) 3-1-3

f) 3-1-3 legato

2) 4ths

a) 1-4-1

b) 4-1-4

c) 1-4

d) 4-1

e) 1-4-4-1 (2 string sweep)

3) 5ths

a) 1-5-1

b) 5-1-5

c) 1-5-10 (3 string diag, alternate)

d) 10-5-1 (3 string diag, alternate)

e) 1-5-5-1 (2/3 string sweep)

4) 6ths

a) 1-6-1

b) 6-1-6

c) 1-6-6-1 (2/3 string sweep)

5) 7ths

a) 1-7-1

b) 7-1-7

c) 1-7-7-1 (3 string sweep)


1) Alternate

a) 1-3-5/5-3-1 ascend/descend

b) 5-1-3 /3-1-5(1st inv) ascend/descend

c) 3-1-5/5-1-3 (2nd inv)ascend/descend

d) 1-3-5-7/7-5-3-1 ascend/descend

e) 7-1-3-5/5-3-1-7 (1st inv)ascend/descend

f) 5-7-1-3/3-1-7-5 (2nd inv)ascend/descend

g) 3-5-7-1/1-7-5-3 (3rd inv)ascend/descend

h) 1-3-5-7/7-5-3-1 ascend/descend legato

2) Swept

a) 1-3-5 vertical back and forth 3 strings

b) 5-1-3 (1st inv triad) vertical back and forth 3 strings

c) 3-5-1 (2nd inv triad)vertical back and forth 3 strings

d) 1-3-5 4ths back and forth 3 strings

e) 5-1-3 (1st inv triad)4ths back and forth 3 strings

f) 3-5-1 (2nd inv triad)4ths back and forth 3 strings

g) 1-3-5+7 vertical  3 strings

- also +6+7

h) 7+5-3-1 vertical 3 strings

- also +6+7

i) 1-3-5+7 4ths  3 strings

- also +6+7

j) 7+5-3-1 4ths 3 strings

- also +6+7

k) 5-1-3+5 (1st inv triad)vertical 3 strings

- also +4+5

l) 5+3-1-5 (1st inv triad)vertical 3 strings

- also +4+5

m) 5-1-3+5 (1st inv triad)4ths 3 strings

- also +4+5

n) 5+3-1-5 (1st inv triad)4ths 3 strings

- also +4+5

o) 3-5-1+3 (2nd inv triad)vertical 3 strings

- also +2+3

p) 3+1-5-3 (2nd inv triad)vertical 3 strings

7:53 am - 0 comments - 0 Kudos