Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where to Start/ Where to Resume?

Soundhound 3/10/2005 2:39 PM
Don, Just discovered this site, great stuff! I've just got back into playing the last year or so, and have hit the same wall I did years ago. I've got decent chops and feel, but found myself limited by the tools I've got - those being the major and minor pentatonics, and the modes. Back when I used to play I basically learned the pentatonics and the major scales up and down the neck, and used the major scales for the modes. I find myself trying to get 'outside the box' harmonically in soloing, but was limited. I've been collecting some great DVDs, Robben Ford's stuff, an older Larry Carton video, and have been picking up some great stuff: using the half diminished, using the melodic minor, chromatics, triads, etc. The problem is I think I need a good system to really drill it into me. Learning any new scale is hard because the stuff I learned long ago is so burned in, I keep reverting back to it. I wind up trying to learn Robben Ford solos note for note, instead of being able to understand what he's doing. I did the same thing as a kid, and it's limiting. Now that I'm all grown up I know I'll never be Robben Ford, but I would love to understand more and be able to apply it. So I guess my question is, what would you recommend for a good outlining of the various scales (melodic minor, half diminished) for playing through changes, both learning the scales and their applications? Which DVDs, videos, cds etc do you think would give me a good foundation? I've so far been most successful with DVDs, I don't read well, and being able to watch the instructors hands is a great help. The online quick lessons on this site work well also, really helps me see where things sit. I'm also trying to find a teacher in the L.A. area who could help me understand the Robben Ford/Larry Carlton/Don Mock world of playing. Do you know anyone on the West side of L.A. that you might recommend? Sorry for the rambling, endless post! Thanks very much, Doug

Soundhound 3/16/2005 4:36 PM
Is this mike on? Testing, testing... Is this the best place to get a hold of Don?

Don Mock 3/16/2005 10:15 PM
OK, Doug, I hear the mic feeding back.I read your post the other day and was very impressed with your description of yourself and your problems learning and applying. You posed a lot of great questions, more than I can deal with right now, but now lets start with theory. Theory always seems to bite most players cause they let it slide by but they always end up paying for it later. And when you are not sure of the theory, then your mind inevitably reads way more into things making everything seem more difficult. And contemporary "players" music theory is pretty simple, and can be learned in a few months or less.The other issue you nailed was about application. Without a place to "try out" and prove new ideas, you are going to always fade backwards. You have to force some kind of playing situation for yourself, whether it be a rehearsal band, play-along tracks or something that make you get it up and play for real on a regular basis. You also mentioned reading. A lot of players think that not being a good reader will hold them back. Fast "sight-reading" is not a necessary ingredient to learning to be a good improviser. However, just knowing HOW to read, even if you are very slow is very important. And reading and interpreting charts, especially chord symbols is essential. Your toughest question is which cd, videos, etc. would I recommend. I've produced so many that I think are great learning tools. All of Robben's and Scott Henderson's are some of the best. On the jazz side, Pat Martino's (Creative Force) and the Joe Pass videos are packed with information. If you want to get to the basics, get anything that Keith Wyatt has done... i.e.. Beyond Basics Blues Guitar etc. Keith is about the best guitar teacher in the world and you WILL learn a lot from him. You also asked about a teacher in the LA area. Well, where do I start? There are so many great players there, lots of them are friends and teachers at MI. Two guys, you can't go wrong with are Dave Hill and Art Renshaw. (I will email you their phone if you send your email).( Both guys are GIT grads that became instructors at the school, but are also very involved with Frank Gambale and the LAMA. school.I do have to ask if you have seen my video "The Blues from Rock to Jazz? It is suppose to come out on DVD at any time and just might be some of the information you are looking for. Thanks again for the post Doug. -Don Mock

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