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Phrasing and timing

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:39 pm
by Ulysses
One of the things overlooked by new players is the ability to formulate and place licks in a solo. I feel like having great phrasing and timing is better than having great knowledge of the fretboard, yet there's little talk about it coming from the greats. I don't think I've heard EC talk about his phrasing, other than trying to imitate a singer's voice, and that his timing is natural (Ginger's remark). How do you guys phrase? Do you think about the next line of notes or do you just feel it? Did you have problems with it in the beginning?

Re: Phrasing and timing

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:38 am
by VikingBlues
I'm with you there on the importance of phrasing and timing.

I remember the struggle in early days when trying to play blues of playing everything precisely on the beat .... WRONG!!!! :wall:

The approach of trying to imitate a (good blues) singer is useful, particularly if you can get to the point of singing in your own head slightly in advance of your note choices and playing those notes. At that point a feel for how the intervals on the fretboard are shaped become just as important than knowing what notes are where. The voice in your head sings a note 1 1/2 steps higher so you automatically go to the note on the fretboard 1 1/2 higher than what you just played. It is easier in the early stages to sing good blues lines than to play them.

There's also that art of your phrase or lick leading to a good landing note when the next chord kicks in.

I've always had trouble with playing other peoples licks - partly i think due to those licks coming from that persons particular style and it not fitting my way of thinking and playing. Also because I'm lazy i suspect! So it's been mostly a case of trying to play as I feel it ... with whatever limited amount of success that brings. At least it's got some personal spin on it.

I speak as a rank blues amateur though!!! :roll:

Re: Phrasing and timing

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:05 am
by 12bar
I don't have perfect pitch, I even have a hard time to play a melody I have in my head. So I don't think much while playing and let my fingers to the work. That's why I usually play "save", but sometimes I'm lucky to find a new lick or note that fits perfectly although it's not part of the scale I just played. If I see a record button, my creativity goes to zero and all I try is to avoid wrong notes (which don't exist, according to ...). I play best when nobody is there - or I don't know about.

Re: Phrasing and timing

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:34 pm
by Ulysses
One thing I observed on a jam session yesterday is that my phrasing is also greatly affected by tone. I tend to phrase better when I think of the "tonal" qualities of notes than look at them as just notes, and listening the tone come out of the amp rather than just focusing on the fretboard helps to aid my playing.

@12bar - playing safe for me doesn't work yet :( My to go "safe" stock phrases rarely fit in the way I want them to.