How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:15 am

mgbills wrote:Am I on the right track here? Which minor scale do you all use?


I wouldn't worry about mMaj7 (the b3 natural 7 scale) because it doesn't get used in a Dead context. It lends itself to diminished patterns and gets used a lot in modern jazz though.

Getting comfortable with natural, harmonic, and melodic minor (and becoming acquainted with all 21 modes) will go a long way toward expanding your minor harmony vocabulary.

How do you practice scales? I think It's important that one practice scales in a way that uses the framework of chord tones on the fretboard to string together improvised melodies over a given chord scale.
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby mgbills » Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:57 pm

Thanks for the clarification ChipperJ. I do practice arpeggios, typically in 2 octaves in and around the position I'm practicing the song.

Woftigerrosebud - I practice scales in 2 ways. First by running it as a modal exercise all up and down the fretboard. Also, I look at scales vertically across the fretboard in context to the arpeggio method mentioned above. My thinking is that this will build patterns of notes that are "in play." Now on a 3 chord cover like Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece" more scale like options become available. I may look for melodic patterns in A Maj, or perhaps toy with a pentatonic. The song is played slowly and it's simple enough that the options are plentiful, and if I throw in chromatic runs and other typical Jerry-ism's it sounds pretty good to my ear.

I guess I did't know there were 21 modes. I learned what I use from the Chalk Talks here. Ionian, Dorian, Phyrgian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian. Since there are 7, I assume that 21 is a multiple in some fashion.
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:29 am

I'm not an authority but your practice approach sounds solid to me.

There are as many modes as there are unique asymmetrical scales times the number of non-repeating notes in those scales. But having a degree of comfort with the modes of the three common minor scales (no small task, granted) puts you in a position of knowing them already beforehand if you ever need to use them in a tune.

Of course the most immediate effect is that you can also use them to insert exotic sounding variations into your soloing vocabulary. Because a Western ear will easily recognize all 3 common minor scales it's easy to keep it from feeling too discordant while adding the pleasant aural color of intellectually informed chromaticism. The framework of those scales makes use of poignant accidentals whose color you will eventually be able to identify and replicate by ear using your own taste and knowledge of diminished patterns.

While you're looking into all this you should also check out surround tones. That's the thing that ties chromaticism together in a context where there are set chords — Jerry's use of surround tones is totally integral to his chromatic playing. By skillfully surrounding a guide tone or chord tone you can justify virtually any note choice. I can write out concretely how to practice surrounds if you're interested, but I gotta go practice and I need a break from typing haha.
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby healthy_scratch » Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:53 am

Just a couple things in passing on things mentioned in recent posts in this thread:

Jerry is very much relying on Dorian and pentatonic in his minor playing. He rarely goes Aeolian and even less so any kind of melodic or harmonic minor where you have the minor/maj 7 tonality. The only instances I can think of minor/maj7 tonality in his soloing or at least caught in passing would be in Mississippi Half Step (very much a passing tone on the intro), Russian Lullaby (again a passing tone on the walk down if memory serves me correctly) and kind of sort of Arabia (G harmonic minor scale 5th mode which would be D Mixolydian b9 b6 I believe).

That last scale (D Mixolydian b9 b6) would be one of the modes of the harmonic minor. The harmonic and melodic minor have more complex mode names as they reference often the basic major scale Greek names followed by whatever corresponding alterations are relevant, in this case find the notes of the D Mixolydian then flatten its 2nd (more commonly referred to as the 9th) and 6th note and voila you have the scale for at least the intro to Arabia. It changes to another mode later on in the tune I believe, but off the top of head I forget which. Great song to practise this mode of the Harmonic Minor scale though and the scale unquestionably evokes a Middle East - Persian sound.

Going back to some of the comments above, you had it correct major, harmonic, melodic minor each scale has 7 modes. 7 modes multiplied by these 3 scales gives you the 21 modes referenced earlier. Again though, Jerry is very much focused on the modes of the major scale in conjunction with major and minor pentatonics for I would say 90% of his output if not more.

As previously mentioned he relies very heavily on chord tones (arpeggios) and chromaticisms, so if you are playing over the A chord in Masterpiece, the ideas that were mentioned were spot on when approaching the A chord - A major pentatonic with some chromaticisms emphasizing chord tones. The other thing that rings a bell with playing Masterpiece are the sliding 6ths that Jerry loved to use. Those two note shapes separated by a 6th are all over his playing in general and figure prominently on Masterpiece. If you do not know what I mean by 6ths, think the sound of the guitar you hear on the introduction to Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl, probably the most famous use of sliding 6ths. Another one is the break in Freddie King's Hideaway, right after he slams into the E9 chord he tastefully slides down in 6ths to change from E to the A chord. For me this has always been a real hard one to hit cleanly no matter how many times I have played it.
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby tcsned » Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:37 am

I think people get too hung up on modes, they are important to understand and can be a helpful path to learning the neck of the guitar but to me it's more about mastering the whole neck in every key, knowing your chord progressions, the notes in those chords, and when chromatics and passing tones work and don't work. Then learn these so well that you don't have to think about all of this stuff while you're playing and you can react and lead with intent. I get caught up in box shapes because they are easy to just plant yourself and be in safe territory but it is limiting. Learn it all so you can forget it and just play.
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby mgbills » Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:27 pm

Thanks very much!
Typically when I'm practicing I play with lots of things that aren't "in-bounds" to any particular scale, arpeggio or mode of the moment. When I'm playing to myself through the headphones I even like to ride a note and see where it clashes, especially in 2 or 3 chord numbers. Then I try to figure out why. My intent is to build the finger/brain relations so that even a howler can be exploited or "slid" into intentionality.

These more advanced theory items are great, because I always love to throw in an intellectual part of practice. I'm not inherently cerebral (maybe due to 118 Dead shows in the 80's and 90's), but over time I seem to be able to drive new gems into my thick skull. Every day I wish I got serious about the instrument when I was 10....

This has become one of the better threads on the topic in quite some time.
Thanks again.
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby Pete B. » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:36 am

I made these instructional vids several years ago.
I still get comments from guys saying they are very helpful.
Just trying to help myself and others make the jump from advanced beginner to intermediate and beyond.
https://www.youtube.com/user/SteelYerFace/videos

I would say the best thing you can do is get ahold of a player who is good at Jerry style soloing, and spend some time with them.
I'm in Portland, Oregon, and am glad to meet up with anybody about playing DeadHead stuff.
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby tcsned » Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:19 pm

Pete B. wrote:I would say the best thing you can do is get ahold of a player who is good at Jerry style soloing, and spend some time with them.
I'm in Portland, Oregon, and am glad to meet up with anybody about playing DeadHead stuff.


That might be the best advice yet, Pete's a great player as are many folks here. Nothing like sitting with someone and playing through something and saying, "stop! what did you just do there and why?"
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby schmidtz » Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:28 pm

tcsned wrote:I'm in Portland, Oregon, and am glad to meet up with anybody about playing DeadHead stuff.


I'm moving to Eugene September 1st.... I may take you up on this offer!
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby Pete B. » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:25 pm

schmidtz wrote:
tcsned wrote:I'm in Portland, Oregon, and am glad to meet up with anybody about playing DeadHead stuff.


I'm moving to Eugene September 1st.... I may take you up on this offer!

I'll be here!
I had gigs in Eugene the last two weekends.
It's about 105 miles, mostly freeway.
:cool: :smile: :wink: 8)
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby mgbills » Wed Jul 22, 2015 7:52 pm

I am aware of you Pete.
Believe it or not.

Just saw you and your girlfriend at the OCF. Saw the end of your gig. Sorry about that...Scott Laws band was mind-blowing and went long.

Marty
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby healthy_scratch » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:27 am

Pete B. wrote:I made these instructional vids several years ago.
I still get comments from guys saying they are very helpful.
Just trying to help myself and others make the jump from advanced beginner to intermediate and beyond.
https://www.youtube.com/user/SteelYerFace/videos

I would say the best thing you can do is get ahold of a player who is good at Jerry style soloing, and spend some time with them.
I'm in Portland, Oregon, and am glad to meet up with anybody about playing DeadHead stuff.



Pete a big muchas gracias from Spain, I for one have learnt a ton from all of your videos as they have been viewed many times and are some of the best resources on the net for some of the more challenging Dead tunes. Again I for one cannot thank you enough, the videos are well shot, your tone is excellent on that gorgeous burgundy Strat and your explanations simple and to the point.

Top marks Pete!
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby michael96 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:23 am

Thanks everybody for the advice, I've learned a ton since I posted this from GGL and jdarks & tking on YouTube, I've been focusing on the scales in the chords and re learned the major scale up and down the neck, also learning the mixolydian and other modes. Now I can play through tunes like franklins, deal, eyes, sugaree, Learning this music has made my playing so much more pleasing to my ear and melodic and really opened my eyes to the possibilities on the fret board
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Re: How to approach Jerrys soloing technique

Postby michael96 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:27 am

Pete B. wrote:I made these instructional vids several years ago.
I still get comments from guys saying they are very helpful.
Just trying to help myself and others make the jump from advanced beginner to intermediate and beyond.
https://www.youtube.com/user/SteelYerFace/videos

I would say the best thing you can do is get ahold of a player who is good at Jerry style soloing, and spend some time with them.
I'm in Portland, Oregon, and am glad to meet up with anybody about playing DeadHead stuff.


I picked up a lot from your china rider transition video, I've been working on finding other people in the Toronto area to play with but there's not a lot of people into the dead here
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