#168308  by LazyLightning72
 Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:31 pm
So, I downloaded each mode in 5 patterns, and have decided Mixolydian mode might be interesting to try first.

Another bad habit I’m fixing this go around:
I’m starting slow, and making sure I learn whatever I am working on slow and precise, and gradually increase the tempo. For instance when I learned the a minor pentatonic, I just did it as fast as possible and it was always a mess. I knew every position and all, just not accurately and very very sloppy.

I’m also trying to decide what new song I want to work on. Part of me wants to do Estimated now that I have a QTron+, but I’m also looking towards Althea, or even finish learning Casey Jones (though in the spirit of this thread ) I’m considering just relearning the parts I already know, to be better at it, then the rest of it.

Have a great weekend guys!
 #168309  by lbpesq
 Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:07 pm
LazyLightning72 wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:31 pm
Another bad habit I’m fixing this go around:
I’m starting slow, and making sure I learn whatever I am working on slow and precise, and gradually increase the tempo. For instance when I learned the a minor pentatonic, I just did it as fast as possible and it was always a mess. I knew every position and all, just not accurately and very very sloppy.


That’s precisely the way to do it. Only go as fast as you can while still playing smoothly and accurately. The speed will come with practice.

Bill, tgo
LazyLightning72 liked this
 #168311  by Jon S.
 Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:30 am
WTH, I got some time now.

OK, consider Shakedown Street. And special thanks to my good friend, Doug, who first spelled this out for me many years ago when I, too, was learning to employ modes effectively in soloing. As Doug told me at the time, "How do I know this stuff? I'm a bassist, I have to know!" :-)

For Shakedown, Jerry's basically jamming in the key of C Major (no sharps and flats), choosing which mode to follow based off the chord progression. But he's also adding in some accidentals when he wants them to best fit certain chords and to provide tension.

The modes of C Major (no sharps or flats) are as follows. Remember modes are just the notes of the major scale with the root starting at each successive note.

The modes of C Major (no sharps or flats):

C Ionion (major scale) Notes: C-D-E-F-G-A-B
D Dorian Notes: D-E-F-G-A-B
E Phrygian Notes: E-F-G-A-B-C-D
F Lydian Notes: F-G-A-B etc etc etc for the rest of the modes
G Mixolydian [same process for the rest of the chords]
A Aoelian (natural minor scale)
B Locrian

Now let's look at the chords in Shakedown and see if there are any accidentals and if this song is truly in the key of C:

Intro/Verses:

Dm (D-F-G)
G (G-B-D)
F (F-A-C)
C (C-E-G)
C9 (C-E-Bb-G)

Bridge:

FMaj7 (F-E-A-C)
Em7 (E-G-B-D)
D#7 - skipping this because Jer's just sliding between the Em7 to the Dm7 here - it's insignificant for this exercise
Dm7 (D-F-A-C)

Chorus:

C7sus4 (C-F-G-Bb)
C7 (C-E-Bb)

So, looking at the chords, we looking at all natural notes with a single flat (Bb). On a piano that is all white keys, with one black key (Bb).

Technically speaking, the key signature with only one flat (Bb) is the key of F Major.

The modes of F Major are:

F Ionian (F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E)
G Lydian (G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F)
A Phrygian (A-Bb-C-D-E-etc etc etc)
Bb Lydian
C Mixolydian (C-D-E-F-G-A-Bb)
D Aoelian (natural minor)
E Locrian

So, you could say that Shakedown Street is in the key of F major/D minor (one flat -Bb) and play those modes and be perfectly within the key. But they may not fit the best or have the best fretboard pattern (in fact, this is the case - keep reading).

Or, you could say the song is in the key of C major and just recognize the Bb accidental in the C9/C7 chords that adds some tension.

I agree with the position that Shakedown is in the key of C major with a Bb accidental.

I.e., since their are no Bb chords in the song but there are several root C chords, this song would probably be charted as a C major song on the sheet music - with no sharps/flats by the treble cleff on the beginning of each staff. The Bb accidental would just be noted in the measures it appeared with the C9/C7s chords.

OK, assuming now we call this a C Major song, the use of the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian modes are appropriate in the corresponding places in the song.

For the C Chorus/Jam section in particular, look at the chords that are being jammed on:

C7sus4 (C-F-G-Bb)
C7 (C-E-Bb)

Those are the notes of C Mixolydian. And what was Jerry Garcia's favorite mode/scale? Mixolydian.

So, what I do is play and solo in the rest of the song in C Major, using the appropriate modes (D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian, G Mixolydian) over their corresponding chords.

I.e., you're essentially jamming in C Major and as the root changes with the chord progression, switching to the appropriate C major mode.

BUT during the long C jam that has chords with pronounced Bbs, switch to C myxolidian.

Does this help?
LazyLightning72 liked this
 #168312  by wabisabied
 Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:02 pm
Nice write-up, Jon S.

When I’ve discussed modes with committed music theorists, they make a distinction between modes and scales. Whether that makes a difference from a practical standpoint to someone just jamming along for their own enjoyment, I don’t know, but the distinction exists.

If anyone really wants to get into the weeds with modes/scales/theory in general, poke around this site and you may learn a few things. Or you may decide theory nuts are, well, nuts. Possibly both.
https://music.stackexchange.com

This thread addresses the distinction between modes and scales:
https://music.stackexchange.com/questio ... nd-a-scale

It’s all just a way to explain why things that sound good, sound good. It’s also a helpful framework for making something up that sounds good, in so far as where to avoid the “clams.” Avoiding clams doesn’t necessarily find you any pearls, though. You gotta listen for those. While you’re learning your way around the modal playground, don’t forget to listen to what you’re playing. Recording yourself and listening back will help you hear things better than while you’re playing, and give you ideas to apply the next time. Some times what sounds wrong while I'm playing, is just not what I'd expected to hear, so I run away from it and get back to a familiar place where I’m comfortable. When I listen back, some times those “wrong” sounds were actually very interesting, and I wind up working them out to be an integral part of the music going forward.
LazyLightning72 liked this
 #168313  by LazyLightning72
 Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:14 pm
Jon S. wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:51 am
Shakedown Street lends itself well to modal soloing. (Let me know if it’s not apparent why and I’ll explain further.)
Thanks for the detailed explanation Jon. I had been doing some practice improv over Estimated, Franklins, and UJB, the last few nights. I think tonight I will take what you have suggested to heart and see where it takes me, much appreciated.

wabisabied,
Funny you mention recording myself. I was looking last night how to best record myself, to hear my progress. I will also pay attention to where when I’m playing I think something sounded good or off. Your comment reminds me of something Jerry says in the interview snippet on the Grateful Dead movie. You probably already know this, but he basically said he would be really upset after a show sometimes, cause he just didn’t think it was going well. How he got mad enough to push Phil down some stairs. Then he said he went back and listened to the recordings and they were crackling with energy.

Hope you guys had a good weekend!
 #168314  by wabisabied
 Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:18 pm
Yes, I’m familiar with that wonderful Jerry anecdote.

I will also have to admit that what often sounds really interesting to me while I’m playing, isn’t so enjoyable to listen to later. Conversely, what feels stale and boring to me while playing, is often the most listenable later on, especially when significant time has passed. I chalk this up to the repetitiveness of practice taking the shine off things to my own ears, but resulting in a better performance for the listener. I think the time between playing and listening removes expectations and helps me better hear what I’ve actually played.

Your recording setup doesn’t need to be much. Some times I just use the voice memo app on my iPhone, some times I record with a direct line or in stereo with mics through an interface into my computer. Honestly the iPhone is good enough for most of it. These tunes were recorded at a small-room gig with my phone on a table next to my amp. Not suitable for commercial release, but at least you can hear everything: https://www.reverbnation.com/artist/medpdx

Back in “the day” we used to record our jams on a cassette deck. We had no mics, so just plugged Walkman headphones into the input jack and they did the trick just fine.
LazyLightning72 liked this
 #168317  by franklins_timmy
 Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:32 am
@Jon S. or anybody else. Jon I understand the modal stuff & know the modes but have a hard time making them sound different. Since modes share the same 7 notes just in a different order/sequence how can you make them sound different? I know start on an A note for A major/ionian, B for B dorian, E for E mixo, etc... but once you get going it's all the same notes & I end up feeling like I am just playing the parent scale (major). Not sure if I am explaing very well. Franklins Tower for example is A mixo but how do you make it sound different than D major or any of the other modes beside starting on the A? Take hitting chord tones out just for this instance & focusing on playing the correct mode.

Thanks
 #168318  by tdcrjeff
 Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:54 am
franklins_timmy wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:32 am
@Jon S. or anybody else. Jon I understand the modal stuff & know the modes but have a hard time making them sound different. Since modes share the same 7 notes just in a different order/sequence how can you make them sound different? I know start on an A note for A major/ionian, B for B dorian, E for E mixo, etc... but once you get going it's all the same notes & I end up feeling like I am just playing the parent scale (major). Not sure if I am explaing very well. Franklins Tower for example is A mixo but how do you make it sound different than D major or any of the other modes beside starting on the A? Take hitting chord tones out just for this instance & focusing on playing the correct mode.

Thanks
But a big part of it is the chord tones. Check out this video:
Gr8fulCadi, Jon S. liked this
 #168319  by wabisabied
 Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:47 am
franklins_timmy wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:32 am
@Jon S. or anybody else…
As tdcrjeff says, chord tones are important and that’s a helpful video.

Mayer’s point about not constraining yourself to what the geometry of the instrument makes most convenient to play, is also helpful.

Herbie Hancock famously talks about Miles Davis telling him “Don’t play the butter notes.” You can search him out talking about this on Youtube, but essentially, leave out the obvious choices and explore what’s left.
 #168325  by Jon S.
 Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:39 am
tdcrjeff, that video looks excellent. I only had time right now to listen to the intro. (lovely tone, BTW - shows you don't need to obsess over every little gear element to sound fine) but will definitely revisit it later.