How long took you to get rid of patterns?

(14 posts)
  1. JorgeRubiales

    Hello everybody!

    A few days ago I was talking with my teacher, and he told me that we should start thinking of notes instead of patterns, but in a relaxed way (i.e: don't frustrate if you can't play sh$t that way...).

    He also said that it would take me like 10 years to be able to play like that, but I don't know if he was messing with me or it was a true statement.

    That's why I ask you guys: how long have you been studying guitar, and how long ago did you stopped thinking with patterns?

    Thanks for reading!

  2. Poparad

    I've only increased my use of patterns over the years. I still thinking heavily in note notes, too, but I've worked on fusing the two together so I can both picture the notes and picture the patterns. Doing away with patterns completely is a pretty unrealistic goal, in my opinion. Obviously there are pitfalls related to relying too heavily on patterns alone, but that's why learning the notes (and functions) in combination is so useful. Even just thinking note names is still a form of playing with patterns.

  3. wilmore

    doesn't sound like kurt ever stopped using patterns.

  4. Basile865

    I think the point of your teacher saying that is that he doesn't want you to limit yourself to pattern or boxes because you can get stuck only seeing pattern rather then all the possible notes.

    Outside of that I completely play with pattern, but they're ones I made myself, whether it be a string skipping pattern or arpeggio. Especially for faster longer lines. As I go through them I'm seeing patterns. I make most of my lines by taking standard patterns (scales/arpeggios) and spending time modifying them.

    Use patterns as a map but spend the time finding all the scenic back roads to make it more interesting........thats kind of how i think of it.

  5. Matt

    i think more of apreggios and traids relating to chords in a way. like playing the 9th, 1th, and 13th over a min7 chord gives you the relative ii chord, if that makes sense. which is sort of pattern based.

  6. DGP

    There's nothing wrong w/ patterns on their own — it's how you apply them that's important. I think of a patter as something you like to hear rather than something you need to fall back on when your short of ideas (not to say that pattens shouldn't feel familiar). Come up with patterns that are musically stimulating to you — ones that you'd sing as much as play. Play those, and play around with them. Change up the rhythm once in a while, phrase them in new ways. Apply them in different places of the tune, and consider them in context of the larger development of your solo. But it's paramount that you hear the pattern working somewhere rather than thinlking "insert pattern here." That's my two cents....

  7. Basile865

    I think thats good advice DGP

  8. JorgeRubiales

    Well, I don't have much problems when there's a more static harmony (which is practically never in jazz lol), but when changing tonal centers I get lost pretty quickly and rely exclusively on arpeggios (and even then I have to fake it, but that's another issue...)

    That being said, I've seen my teacher's study routine papers, and they're exclusively a staff, a scale name (e.g: D melodic minor) and the notes it comprises. And when he taught us the caged patterns or 3 notes per string, he had to look previously to the pattern to see what "patterns 4" was. So it's clear to me that he plays just thinking in notes. Also because he constantly uses wide intervals while playing (I think the only time I've seen him playing seconds, is at the end of a phrase, mostly as a drum fill).

  9. DGP

    It seems that you might have two problems. First is just being able to insert the patterns in the right change, and second is divorcing yourself from playing the pattern.

    Here's what I would do....

    1) Work out some patterns you like, and practice playing them throughout some tunes REALLY slowly. (As for tune suggestions... I don't know what you're into, but my favorites for practice are "All The Things," "Blue In Green," and "Solar" All provide many changes to play, but aren't as convoluted as, say, Giant Steps.) Increase the tempo as you become more comfortable. There's no use in trying to play more note based if you can't iron out what notes work with what change, so solve this problem first. Patterns are a good way to map out groups of correct notes in a way that organizes them into something coherent and musical.

    2) Once you commit these patterns to memory, then you also understand what notes you can play on each change. Cease to think of patterns as patterns but as pools of notes you can use to make new lines. Again, practice REALLY slowly at first. Also, what I said above I think applies to this step. It's all a process of trial-and-error from this point on. The more you experiment, the faster you will attain the goal of freeing yourself from patterns.

    I like to think of this Bill Evans quote when practicing vocabulary:

    "First of all, I never strive for identity. That's something that just has happened automatically as a result, I think, of just putting things together, tearing things apart and putting it together my own way, and somehow I guess the individual comes through eventually."

    Really, all it boils down to is 'putting things together, tearing things apart and putting it together' in your own way. Easier said than done, for sure. But for the past year or so this is all i've been doing, and I think my lines have become more controlled as a result... That said, it never ends... there's always room for more... but you'll reach a point where you'll be thinking and playing differently.

    Best of luck... Keep at it... hope this helps.

  10. JorgeRubiales

    Thank you all, I'll work on it....long way home ^_^

  11. Basile865

    The journey is the destination grasshoppa! ;-)

    and DGP, AGAIN I like the way you think! Great advice. Especially the "pools of notes" Great way to think about that so one can really explore.

  12. silverwater

    You should ALWAYS know the names of the notes you're playing...but patterns are great because they help us find the notes we want, so no one should think that they have to do away with patterns all together to be a competent player. All the great players uses positions/patterns when improvising.

    Ways to improve knowledge of the neck:

    - Single String Arpeggios: Pick a chord with all its tensions [ex. Cmaj7(9)(#11)(13)] Pick a string, and start on the lowest available note, and then skip the next note. So for the 1st string, play the notes E, B, D, F#, A, C....going down....B, G, E, C, A, F#.

    - Improv on a single string

    - Play diatonic intervals up and down the neck on two strings

    - move simple chord forms like diatonic 4ths, invernted 4ths, and triads up and down the neck.

    - Read in all positions.

  13. david6strings

    hey silverwater when you practice those visualizing exercise in a single string do you use a fingering rule ( like two fingers groups or just finger 1 ) or you improvise the fingering while you play the arpeggio or whatever you are practicing.

  14. JorgeRubiales

    Hey people!

    Silverwater, I know the notes on the neck, I aso study classical guitar so I need to hehe.

    The thing is, I can't think of modulations as, for example "ok so we're on 3 flats, going to 1 flat, going to 1 sharp....". When there are not many accidentals on the key signature I can do it most of the time if the tempo isn't too high. But when you start getting things like 5 flats to 4 sharps....I just can't do it, and I go with the "insert pattern here", wether a scale, areggio, whatever.

    That's what I mean for "getting rid of patterns", not to stop playing them, but not needing them because you already see what your pool of notes are all over the neck.



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