Playing a Break

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  John Cockman 3 weeks ago.

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  • #53018

    Angela
    Participant

    How do you get your breaks together…

    Do you

    1) Listen to different breaks and try to learn or play like one?

    2)  Listen to the basic melody and try to build one up on your own?

    3)  Just improvise?

    4)  Some combo of the above?

    5) Other?

    Let’s hear it!!!

    Angela

    #53019
    cricket
    cricket
    Participant

    Interesting question!  I’d love to hear people’s answers.  What I do is kinda just improvise…sing it, either outloud, or inside my head, and then try to play whatever it was I just sang, or as close as I can get it…what’s your own answer, Angela?

    #53027
    fiddlewood
    fiddlewood
    Participant

    Depends on the song/tune, but usually a combination of all the above.

    #53035

    Angela
    Participant

    Haha. Dave. Me too. I listen to a lot and then try to hear some licks I like and can pull off!  Then I try to work those in while trying to build my own. Then I forget what I was going to do and “improvise”

    #53036
    fiddlewood
    fiddlewood
    Participant

    haha, you have my method down to a tee…

    #53059

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    LOL Angela, I totally get that one too.

    If I have time to premeditate, I try to work out a cool break based on the melody. I try to give it a strong kick-off, play the melody, then add a hot lick near the end.

    If I’m in a jam, I just noodle along on the major scale and try not to embarrass myself too much. 🙂

    #53060

    Bruce
    Participant

    I like John’s last line cause that is want I do a lot if I don’t really know the melody well.  If it’s a “standard” at a jam I usually have a version that I can play fast in the hat.  It’s usually very simple because so many time when I try and play something fancy too fast it gets real ugly real fast and jams tend to speed up things.   What gets me is when it’s a song I really know well and have played a thousand times in one key but the guitar player wants it in B flat F or something really weird.  I’ve been working a lot on  playing stuff in closed position so I can at least play the scales notes.

    #53061
    fiddliferous1950
    fiddliferous1950
    Participant

    It’s so helpful to know the scales in each of the most common keys, i.e. G, A, Bb, B, C, D, E and F.

    Many years ago, back before and into my college days, I spent a lot of time critically listening to intervals played on a piano. I couldn’t see the keyboard, only hear the notes another would play. My job was to guess (at first) the interval between the two notes sounded. As I developed ear training to distinguish one note from another I no longer needed to guess, I actually knew what note was being played. “Oh, that’s a minor third”. “Oh, those were a perfect fifth followed by a major sixth”.

    In Bluegrass, it’s actually quite simple after one grasps how often the 5th note of the scale is used and how importantly it is laced throughout the tune.

    Once familiar with the 5th note, the interval to the 4th, 3rd, etc., is actually quite short and easy to figure out.

    Couple this with knowledge of chords and their relativity to one another in the particular key you’re listening to and the whole task actually becomes simple. Then, it’s just a matter of adding your original “licks” you’ve developed to dress up these intervals.

    #53124

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Fred, it is really nice that most bluegrass tunes follow simple and predictable chord patterns. The fathers of bluegrass had our best interest in mind when they wrote those lonesome old songs (Except for the fact that they pitched so many of them in the key of B.)

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