Beyond the Box

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Beyond the Box

Post by HalfBlindLefty » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:43 am

Yesterday I listend to most of the songs... pieces I've played the last 5 years. (~170 of them) and noticed that instead of using all fret positions to play I favour of staying close to the boxes.
That neither bad or good, but I think I could expand my musical vocabulary by moving beyond the boxes.

Of course it's convenient to stay withing the box shapes, but I think it could be a big step to become a better player. How do you guys feel about that ?
A long time ago, in the old forum : Registered: Mon, 27 Nov 2006. Wonder were the other old members all went....

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Re: Beyond the Box

Post by ratfinkdan » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:00 pm

HBL, I tend to play within a few boxs or patterns in my lead playing also, I think when we are learning we find a few things that work and then it gets hard to go beyond those comfort zones. I agree that its neither good or bad and watching our favorite players some can say a lot with a relatively small vocabulary, where as others are all over the place. I always try to keep learning new postions and paterns but when I get out playing with others or at a jam it seems like my fingers tend to go to auto pilot and go back to those old familiar boxs. Dan

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Re: Beyond the Box

Post by losaavedra » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:21 pm

I suppose 'boxes' serve a purpose in that, assuming we can find the key somethings in ... it then it should eventually become kinda intuitive where at least a lot of the notes are that we want to play, having figured the key out. That said, I'm not sure I actually know where all the boxes are (even supposed to be) for a given key, the 'box' notion being itself a relatively new concept to me after doing stuff with guitars for rather a disgraceful (57-ish) number of years from when I started at the age of twelve. Some of the more satisfying things I do today often involve haring up and down a single string ... and there isn't much to do with boxes in doing that!! I think that started from a time when I used to listen to a lot of Ravi Shankar ... it being easier to find some of those weird scales he does doing it that way. Anyone reading this (happy hour!) post shouldn't run away with the idea that I might be any good at what I do guitar-wise, I'm not ... but for me it's about personal satisfaction, even if it rarely sees the light of day!!! I'm here 'cos I want to play the blues convincingly ... if I could manage that as well as the best 6 or 8 players here I'd be a very happy bunny!!!
"I feel more like I do now than when I first came on" (Ronnie Scott, Maidstone)

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Re: Beyond the Box

Post by VikingBlues » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:51 pm

I think for sure that the more freely you can roam around the fretboard then there's potential for improvement in your playing. :thumbsup:

Though I suspect there's likely to be a transition period where attempting the new approach will not be as effective as just using the boxes in the way you're used to but it's probably worth trying to push on through that barrier.

I can only suspect this not having tried it myself! As far as my own playing goes it's all based around visualisation of those boxes and note choice by muscle memory and inervallic recognition but having gained the dizzy heights of being able to work my way up or down through the various boxes during a solo I'm still trying to get more effective playing and lead lines from slides and transitions between the boxes. :wall:

Not to mention trying to get my head round the idea of key modulation - for example chords that tell you an improv should be a mix of G Dorian and F Dorian, but being able to translate that to being able to use G Dorian and G Phrygian scales to make a prhase that can span the modulation without needing to move from the current pentatonic box you're in. Again it's something that sounds much worse than normal at first but I'm hoping breaks through to a slightly higher level at the end.

It's often fun trying these new things anyway, and you sometimes find out unexpected little tricks and techniques and melodic ideas by accident. :big_smile:
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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Re: Beyond the Box

Post by tytlblues » Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:46 am

Learn the arpeggios for each chord shape of that key....they all fit within the "Box", but when you start to overlay those arps in the box, you add color from the notes you may have not included in your pentatonic box shapes...... :wink: For instance, playing a Cmaj7 arp over the Amin box shapes, gives you a very nice 9th sound. Superimposed in there is also the Dmin7 arp, another really nice sound when played against the Amin chord.

" A blues guitarist plays 3 chords in front of thousands of people.......a Jazz guitarist plays thousands of chords in front of 3 people"


Re: Beyond the Box

Post by easybluesguitar » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:37 pm

To expand upon what tytlblues said... instead of learning a separate arpeggio for each chord just learn 1 arpeggio that has its root on the 6th string. Then you can move that entire scale up 1 string and play it on the 5th string root. I do it like that so I won't have to remember different scales for every chord. The only thing is when you move the scale up you have to adjust the note positions when you get to the 2nd string. Most the time I find you just have to play the notes 1 fret to the right on the 2nd string. You can also just avoid using the 2nd string and you'll still get some really cool sounds that you wouldn't have played before.

Here's one I use all the time:

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