Magazine article Guitar Player

Connect the Dots

Magazine article Guitar Player

Connect the Dots

Article excerpt

LITTLE DOTS on staff paper, in fret-board diagrams, between your guitar frets, everywhere! The trick is to translate these dots into intellectual concepts and emotional responses and then into physical action. It's a formidable process. Many players experience frustration because they forget to make some crucial connections. Let's examine the schematic:

* notes connect to the brain,

* brain to the heart and soul,

* heart and soul to the hands.

Begin at the beginning. Say you've memorized the basic A penom for treble-side bends, while open D only allows half-step stretches. Low E, however, offers room in either direction. (The B string generally can't be bent toward the the treble side with any consequence; but with a steady low E, it can be stretched towhysical action (i.e., brain to hands). But if you've not made the vital connection to your emotions, you've failed to turn those dots into music.

Traditionally, music educators help you make this connection by having you play exercises and studies. These little pieces feature a particular aspect of the process in a way that's supposed to tweak your brain ("that's rather interesting"), and maybe even your heart ("man, I love the way that cool thang sounds"). But Ex. 1 is merely an orderly little group of dots. No matter how hard and fast or soft and slow you play it, it's not music. How do you turn this into something personal and real?

Those games we play. Well, you could try the "How 'bout?" and "What if?" games we've been exploring in recent months:

* How 'bout shuffling the deck so that the order of notes begins to suggest melodies (Ex. …

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