When you are playing through your scales and wondering why they don’t sound musical?
Maybe it’s sounding robotic, choppy.
This is very common for beginners, especially when you are improving your dexterity, precision of using your fingers. Depending on your experience with music, you may need to improve your ear training as well. Working out what sounds great and melodic to you.
That’s one of the great things about music and playing the guitar. What sounds great to some people may differ for you.
For some people, they enjoy metal music there are a series of scales and arpeggios played fluently and fast across the fretboard. Whereas to others, that sounds robotic and boring.
You need to work out what sounds great for you, and part of that is ear training and working out what direction you want to go with your guitar playing.
To work out what you may in lacking in your playing. Listen to singers, musicians playing guitar or even other instruments. I love listening to the saxophone and hearing what phrasing elements they include in their playing to create the musicality.
Listen to what techniques they are using, how they move around the scales. Which notes they pick out and which notes they hold out on. How they use rhythm and dynamics in their music.
There is purpose to what they are doing, and that’s what you want to do too with your guitar playing.
Even through playing scales, they should sound the way you want it to. Whether you want the scale to flow and be fluent, it should be because that’s what you want. If your scale is sounding very staccato (pointy sounding), that should be on purpose too.
Here are a few things you can try to make your scales sound more melodic:
When you play through your scale, try adding phrasing elements into it.
Here are a few phrasing elements that you can try including into your scale:
Try and experiment including these phrasing elements when you are playing up and down your scales. Listening back to what you are playing. Putting the phrasing elements in different places.
On top of this, which brings me to changing duration of the notes.
When playing through your scale, try to vary the notes length, especially when you when putting a phrasing element on that specific note too.
Instead of playing through the whole scale, play only 3-4 notes, and use the tips above.
Add a phrasing element into it, change the duration and ring out one of the notes. And repeating these few notes and working out what sounds great.
The more you experiment with this, listening back to your own playing, the better you will understand your own physical limitations in producing the sound you want. So that you can better focus on them. Also, it will help improve your ear, if you experiment, and listen to great musicians as well. Working out what the differences are.
Keep including this in your practice. Even when you improve, try to slow it down, try different scales, use arpeggios. To experiment with this concept.
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