How do YOU play guitar ?¿?

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ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
Do you play notes, intervals or patterns ?

I thought it would be interesting to gauge how people on here approach playing, how you "see/feel" music and the guitar in particular...

And what do you feel the strengths and weaknesses of each approach are, etc ? (if you have an opinion on it, of course)   ~O)

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  • MossMoss Frets: 2405
    Badly
    Stop crying, start buying
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 11709
    These days.. infrequently :(

    Re the actual question I'm a bit of everything. I think in intervals and shapes more than anything else, I guess. 

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  • mikeyrob73mikeyrob73 Frets: 2681
    not as well as i would like to 
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  • siraxemansiraxeman Frets: 1925
    Do you play notes, intervals or patterns ?

    yes I do.
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  • dindudedindude Frets: 6352
    Forget that, the real question is how do you get an upside down question mark?
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  • paul_c2paul_c2 Frets: 408
    I think the guitar lends itself to playing patterns quite easily (compared to, say, a saxophone) so if its possible to play something referring simply to patterns, then that makes sense. But just knowing patterns alone won't be the total answer, so you pragmatically need to know where at least some of the notes are. I have seen guitar tutorials for beginners, where they break up learning "all the notes everywhere on the fretboard" into learning the first 5 frets of E string; first 5 frets of A string; then 12 frets of E string; 12 frets of A string.

    Intervals are something which is quite closely related to patterns. Also once you get more familiar with what actual notes are what, it becomes easier to relate notes to intervals to patterns so it ceases to become "notes OR intervals OR patterns" and you eventually have a thought process where you might be using a bit of one, a bit of another etc but fluidly interchange instead of thinking rigidly in one or another way.

    If you play with other musicians then obviously "notes" are going to be a common way of talking. And if you read music, then obviously "notes" need to be familiar and important.

    Off topic but weird stuff can start happening if you play with other instruments especially if they are transposing, or wind instruments. I remember a while back playing bass guitar in a wind band, the bass part split into two parts (it was the same rhythm, just a bunch of octaves and fifths) and the conductor simply couldn't get his head round the fact that when it did this, I simply played double stopped notes to play as written, the two notes at the same time. He rigidly assumed I'd be totally unable to do this and would be forced to pick one or another line to play.
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  • jamesjames Frets: 14
    Notes and intervals mainly these says, as most of the playing I do is depping from sheet music. 
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  • patterns as a skeleton and then throw in interesting "colour" notes as and when I feel appropriate I suppose. 
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  • vizviz Frets: 5514
    edited August 2016
    I get tunes in my head and try to make my fingers play them. 
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7940
    viz said:
    I get tunes in my head and try to make my fingers play them. 
    This.
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7940
    dindude said:
    Forget that, the real question is how do you get an upside down question mark?
    LMGTFY

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_question_and_exclamation_marks

    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • edenfield99edenfield99 Frets: 199
    edited August 2016

    A mix of all three I guess. Played patterns exclusively when I started playing but now use intervals to add colour to scales/arpeggios. Notes less so but I need to know what key the pattern is in and what the note is to work out the intervals from there.

    Edit - and it all sounds terrible!

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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4499
    At this point in time up and down major and minor scales and box positions.
    Also i'm running riot with relative major and minor scales (Thanks Phil X !!!).
    I barely understand intervals yet but it's coming in slowly.
    Right now i am buzzing every time i pick the guitar up and being able to play all the way up and down the neck.

    That and trying to play Iron Maiden songs, currently 'Dance of death' and 'Brighter than a thousand suns'.

    and watching endless tuition videos and constantly listening to the music i want to play on my iphone through waking hours and reading every bit of music theory i can find, whether i understand it or not.

    That's about it so far. Roughly 3 hours a day playing, 3 hours looking at stuff shaking my head and occasionally leaping up, Whooping out loud (Which SO should be text speak - WOL) when i get something and then realise upon landing that i'm actually quite ill and that leap wasn't such a good idea.

    Oh and headbanging.

    THAT is essential.

    :)
    Learn the riff, but learn from the riff.
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  • FatfingersFatfingers Frets: 500
    Loudly.
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  • SargeSarge Frets: 1613
    "I play all the right notes,  not necessarily in the right order"
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3948
    I see everything in notes and intervals, being old n all but these days a lot of players don't because they learn from tab and tab teaches you fuck all about music. If you know Mr Brightside or whatever starts on the 17th fret of the A string and then it's 16th fret d string what has that taught you .... nothing! But if you know it's a D then an F# etc then you might notice it's 2 notes of a D major triad. 

    These days we have people who can play Malmsteen licks but they don't even know what key they are playing in..... it's musically illiterate and its caused by people more desperate for the youtube views than their want to actually teach something of substance 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • paul_c2paul_c2 Frets: 408
    Tab is a pet hate of mine too. I've almost never seen a tab which has rhythm on it - thereby making it almost useless, since I will then need to refer to the music itself to find that out. And a lot of the time its simply wrong, or the notes are correct but the position/string chosen for the sequence of notes is bizarre.
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  • professorbenprofessorben Frets: 4247
    edited August 2016
    Used to be a pattern player, now trying to push myself out of familiar 'shapes' by thinking what sound I want them trying to find it, occasionally revert to chord tones, or intervals when our drummer presents a chord sequence, and I need to navigate it asap. 
    Ultimately I ideally a well rounded musician would be comfortable using both approaches, I always take the Usain Bolt method, he's got a legion of trainers and nutritionists helping him behind the scenes, evaluating his training and diet, perfects every nuance of his technique, but when it comes to race day, it's just head down and go for it!!!!

    " Why does it smell of bum?" Mrs Professorben.
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  • jamesjames Frets: 14
    paul_c2 said:
    Tab is a pet hate of mine too. I've almost never seen a tab which has rhythm on it - thereby making it almost useless, since I will then need to refer to the music itself to find that out. And a lot of the time its simply wrong, or the notes are correct but the position/string chosen for the sequence of notes is bizarre.
    This, a lot. I find TAB really hard to play from in comparison to notation as it just doesn't tell you enough about the music itself. 
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  • james said:
    paul_c2 said:
    Tab is a pet hate of mine too. I've almost never seen a tab which has rhythm on it - thereby making it almost useless, since I will then need to refer to the music itself to find that out. And a lot of the time its simply wrong, or the notes are correct but the position/string chosen for the sequence of notes is bizarre.
    This, a lot. I find TAB really hard to play from in comparison to notation as it just doesn't tell you enough about the music itself. 
    I did find a tab site that had the rhythms written in under the tab, which was really helpful for some pieces. 
    " Why does it smell of bum?" Mrs Professorben.
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7940
    Danny1969 said:
    I see everything in notes and intervals, being old n all but these days a lot of players don't because they learn from tab and tab teaches you fuck all about music. If you know Mr Brightside or whatever starts on the 17th fret of the A string and then it's 16th fret d string what has that taught you .... nothing! But if you know it's a D then an F# etc then you might notice it's 2 notes of a D major triad. 

    These days we have people who can play Malmsteen licks but they don't even know what key they are playing in..... it's musically illiterate and its caused by people more desperate for the youtube views than their want to actually teach something of substance 
    Hmmmm - well, I know nothing of music theory (and realistically, I don't give a flying badger's arse about it either). I taught myself to play by listening to music and playing along with it. If someone tells me the root note of the initial chord I can usually work it out from there but I have no idea or nor do I care about the theory behind it.

    I'm pre-YouTube generation, although I do use it as a resource if I'm learning a song for a particular gig.

    TBH, I get more annoyed by music fascists who seem to think that the only way to play a musical instrument well is to be able to use theory. There's far more to life than learning rules! I wouldn't know a major triad if it got up and bit me, but I'm sure that if I needed to play it I could and I would be able to connect it to my *own* way of playing guitar - which so far has been pretty successful.

    Tab is useful for those of us who don't equate squiggles on a stave with the guitar. I can hear the rythmn if I listen to the track - I can copy that easily if I hear it. I just need to work out where the notes are and I'm away. What's so wrong with that? However, that said... I totally agree that a lot of it is bollocks that has been transcribed by a tone-deaf chimpanzee with only a working knowledge of the guitar. Its usually far easier for me to do it by ear.

    There are more than 15 ways to skin a goldfish, as someone once said. And none of them are wrong...


    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • scrumhalfscrumhalf Frets: 5658
    I play my guitar happily.

    I understand that there are those who put great importance on learning theory, but to me it's the sound that matters. That's why I prefer the electric to the acoustic and it's why I prefer records/CDs to sheet music.

    I have undoubtedly picked up some theory along the way without knowng it, I know that some things sound right and some things sound wrong, but not necessarily why in terms of theory. And that's fine.
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 20194
    edited August 2016
    I suppose what the OP is asking, is what goes through your mind as you play - how do you 'think through' what you're doing?

    I think it depends on your level of experience; when you're learning, thinking in patterns makes it (relatively) easy to play something that will fit - though not necessarily a genius piece of improvisation.

    I can 'hear' the note I want when I improvise and 'know' where it is on any string - in other words I've 'learned' the fretboard. This allows me to think far more about phrasing and dynamics, as the 'which fret/string' part of the process occurs without any real conscious thought.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 21882
    Do you play notes, intervals or patterns ?

    I thought it would be interesting to gauge how people on here approach playing, how you "see/feel" music and the guitar in particular...

    And what do you feel the strengths and weaknesses of each approach are, etc ? (if you have an opinion on it, of course)   ~O)
    Patterns are a dead end street.
    Notes and intervals for me.

    "And what would humans be without love?"
    “RARE, said Death.”

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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3948
    impmann said:
    Danny1969 said:
    I see everything in notes and intervals, being old n all but these days a lot of players don't because they learn from tab and tab teaches you fuck all about music. If you know Mr Brightside or whatever starts on the 17th fret of the A string and then it's 16th fret d string what has that taught you .... nothing! But if you know it's a D then an F# etc then you might notice it's 2 notes of a D major triad. 

    These days we have people who can play Malmsteen licks but they don't even know what key they are playing in..... it's musically illiterate and its caused by people more desperate for the youtube views than their want to actually teach something of substance 
    Hmmmm - well, I know nothing of music theory (and realistically, I don't give a flying badger's arse about it either). I taught myself to play by listening to music and playing along with it. If someone tells me the root note of the initial chord I can usually work it out from there but I have no idea or nor do I care about the theory behind it.

    I'm pre-YouTube generation, although I do use it as a resource if I'm learning a song for a particular gig.

    TBH, I get more annoyed by music fascists who seem to think that the only way to play a musical instrument well is to be able to use theory. There's far more to life than learning rules! I wouldn't know a major triad if it got up and bit me, but I'm sure that if I needed to play it I could and I would be able to connect it to my *own* way of playing guitar - which so far has been pretty successful.

    Tab is useful for those of us who don't equate squiggles on a stave with the guitar. I can hear the rythmn if I listen to the track - I can copy that easily if I hear it. I just need to work out where the notes are and I'm away. What's so wrong with that? However, that said... I totally agree that a lot of it is bollocks that has been transcribed by a tone-deaf chimpanzee with only a working knowledge of the guitar. Its usually far easier for me to do it by ear.

    There are more than 15 ways to skin a goldfish, as someone once said. And none of them are wrong...


    I spose it's a pet annoyance for me when working with other muso's, because if the singer decides he can't sing Hotel California in Bm, could we lower the key ?  I think the people I'm working with should be able to instantly play it in A for example and not have to "work it out" in Am ..... it's just basic maths after all and if we've trying to recreate a horn part from a record and I want someone to double my part in thirds I think they should be able to do that pretty much instantly in tune. I've got some friends who can find the right notes if given a few seconds but they will hit a load of wrong ones before finding the right ones. 
    If playing on your own or within your own band I spose it's not a problem 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • dindudedindude Frets: 6352
    edited August 2016
    impmann said:
    dindude said:
    Forget that, the real question is how do you get an upside down question mark?
    LMGTFY

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_question_and_exclamation_marks


    Ha, I had to google LMGTFY to find out what it meant!


    Could LMGTFY also be the correct response to every post @thomasross has ever posted¿

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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2679
    Do you play notes, intervals or patterns ?
    All three. Mainly I think in notes. When harmonising I might think interval first, and then name the note in my head.
    octatonic said:
    Patterns are a dead end street.
    True, but sometimes when soloing my fingers say "the note you want is this one here" because my head has gone straight from target sound to finger placement without working the name of the note or where it fits in the harmonic framework.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 21882
    impmann said:
    Danny1969 said:
    I see everything in notes and intervals, being old n all but these days a lot of players don't because they learn from tab and tab teaches you fuck all about music. If you know Mr Brightside or whatever starts on the 17th fret of the A string and then it's 16th fret d string what has that taught you .... nothing! But if you know it's a D then an F# etc then you might notice it's 2 notes of a D major triad. 

    These days we have people who can play Malmsteen licks but they don't even know what key they are playing in..... it's musically illiterate and its caused by people more desperate for the youtube views than their want to actually teach something of substance 
    Hmmmm - well, I know nothing of music theory (and realistically, I don't give a flying badger's arse about it either). I taught myself to play by listening to music and playing along with it. If someone tells me the root note of the initial chord I can usually work it out from there but I have no idea or nor do I care about the theory behind it.

    I'm pre-YouTube generation, although I do use it as a resource if I'm learning a song for a particular gig.

    TBH, I get more annoyed by music fascists who seem to think that the only way to play a musical instrument well is to be able to use theory. There's far more to life than learning rules! I wouldn't know a major triad if it got up and bit me, but I'm sure that if I needed to play it I could and I would be able to connect it to my *own* way of playing guitar - which so far has been pretty successful.

    Tab is useful for those of us who don't equate squiggles on a stave with the guitar. I can hear the rythmn if I listen to the track - I can copy that easily if I hear it. I just need to work out where the notes are and I'm away. What's so wrong with that? However, that said... I totally agree that a lot of it is bollocks that has been transcribed by a tone-deaf chimpanzee with only a working knowledge of the guitar. Its usually far easier for me to do it by ear.

    There are more than 15 ways to skin a goldfish, as someone once said. And none of them are wrong...

    Theory is simply an approach to the instrument- it isn't fascism- it facilitates musicians communicating with one another.
    It isn't mandatory, but when I've worked with people who are a) ignorant of music theory and b) have an attitude problem about it, then it makes the experience less fulfilling and slows down the creative process.

    I've never met any schooled musician who thinks there is only one way to play the instrument.
    The more you study the more you realise that there are a multitude of techniques and the smart players learn them patiently and methodically, incorporating new techniques into their playing until they get to be really, really good at it.

    Out of curiosity how many albums have you played on?
    How much professional work have you done as a guitarist? 

    On the 'none of them are wrong' argument.
    I'm speaking English to you.
    I don't have to- I could mash the keyboard like this:

    ihfrhwiufjkreljhioj eiowjjioeeijoeijoijo hdhdhoiehwoifewjoiefjwoiefw

    Hey, I've just invented my own unique language.
    Does it mean anything?
    Probably not.
    Will anyone want me to do it for money?
    Definitely not.

    I'm not against anyone expressing themselves however they want, but there are loads of guitarists who think because they aren't 'technical' that they have some special passport to awesomehood, and that their incredibly narrow breadth of ability somehow equals individualism.
    Schooled musicians mostly see them as lazy ignoramuses.

    "And what would humans be without love?"
    “RARE, said Death.”

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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 21882

    Danny1969 said:
    I spose it's a pet annoyance for me when working with other muso's, because if the singer decides he can't sing Hotel California in Bm, could we lower the key ?  I think the people I'm working with should be able to instantly play it in A for example and not have to "work it out" in Am ..... it's just basic maths after all and if we've trying to recreate a horn part from a record and I want someone to double my part in thirds I think they should be able to do that pretty much instantly in tune. I've got some friends who can find the right notes if given a few seconds but they will hit a load of wrong ones before finding the right ones. 
    If playing on your own or within your own band I spose it's not a problem 
    Exactly.
    Being able to transpose music is a necessary skill.
    It isn't hard, and if you have the Nashville system down then it is pretty easy.

    "And what would humans be without love?"
    “RARE, said Death.”

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