Feeling limited

Dominik Graeber

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So I find myself at avoiding the lessons. Yet again. I started with the CAGED system and basicly understand it but I lack the motivation to go through all the chords. Problem is that I only wanted to move on to the next lesson once I got something out of the previous one and made a video about it.

Thing is, I feel very limited with what I can do and play when it comes to theory. I learned my pentatonic scale all over the neck, know my campfire chords and what the CAGED system is about. But I can't really use that information to get something useful out of it. I can't even improvise at moderate speed because I can't process fast enough which note is in my scale when I play wherever. And I don't see a point in learning more CAGED chords because I would not know what to do with them.

Don't get me wrong, I am having tons of fun with guitar lately, but that's mostly playing covers and doing some metal jams. It's just that I WANT to get a better guitarist and use the site to the fullest but I find it really hard to make any progress regarding the lessons.

That was just something I needed to get off my chest. How do you guys do it? Any tips on how to approach this?
 

Brian Haner Sr.

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Hey Dominik! I've felt like this so many times in the past, and it's usually just before a 'light-bulb moment' in my playing.

When you're improvising, you want to have things practiced so much that any time you're playing over a chord progression, that you don't have to think of any theory. It's sorta like trying to have a conversation in a foreign language while referring to a dictionary, it'll only leave you stopping and starting. You basically want to know what the notes you are about to play will sound like before you play them. Kind of like if you were singing over some chords, all of your notes would be authentic, and controlled by your ear, not just your knowledge.

That's great that you have your Minor Pentatonic all over the neck! You can do so much with just that scale alone improvisation wise.

Here are some Minor Pentatonic hacks/Soloing hacks to get your teeth into (Try sticking on an A minor jam track and doing these) :

1. Sliding to each note in the scale from a fret behind/half-step below.
2. Adding the b5/Blue note into your scale in every shape (Look up A minor blues scale - it's a Minor Pentatonic with the extra note added)
3. Try playing E minor Pentatonic over the track instead of A min - This is a bit of Pentatonic superimposition (sounds complicated but isn't) this will mean you're adding the notes E G A B D over the A minor harmony, which will give your solo a different color. You are basically borrowing the pentatonic scale from the 5th chord in A natural minor.
4. Look up some Major and Minor Arpeggio shapes and try playing these over the track: A minor arpeggio, C Major arpeggio, E minor arpeggio, G major arpeggio. (You can use the sliding from a halfstep below technique with these too)
5. Try singing or humming something over the track, then try and figure out what you sang on the fretboard. Don't worry about it being fancy, just make sure you like it, and then try and copy it.

I'd be better explaining exactly how I get this approach in a private message, as I don't want to write a book in this post haha! Basically there's a really logical way of looking at a Key that gives you these options :)

Hope this helps!
Simply GREAT suggestions.
 
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Ids Schiere

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Jak Angelescu

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Thank you so much for taking the time to make this Video! I definetly got a Lot Out of it.

But I am have to say this. You and A LOT of the active guys Here also have somewhat of a Background in theory of Just the topics of the beginners section. Although I Play since quite a while I don't. It's like picking up guitar all over again. And I feel like the lessons don't Always give you quite enough to apply them when you are starting at 0. I don't say they are bad, it's Just that you're gonna have a hard time without preexisting knowledge. And I get where that comes from, as a guitarist that knows what he's doing and knows His stuff in years it will be hard to Imagine what a newbie needs in Order to make the Most Out of His playing.

So I Want to give some more Info / questions for you. Up to the CAGED system PG didn't exactly go into how the Key, chords and the scales Work together. He says you can do it now but can I? It's Like throwing in snippets or examples but I don't get the full Picture or can apply it. So I am Not Sure how to really apply the pentatonic scale over a chord Progression. Hah! Chord Progression. So how do I even write one?

I don't know to be honest. You say we should Focus on chords but we only "learned" campfire chords Up to this Point. So when I am writing a Song with These chords without lead playing. Why would I use the CAGED system? After all it tells you how to play the Same chord in a different Position. I assume going down the Neck the chords change, idk then it's a c2 and not a c1. But I don't KNOW this. So this is where my Limits currently are. That is why I am asking myself "why should I practice These chords when I don't know how to make use of them?"

Oookay, enough Said now. I Hope I don't seem angry or complaining, Just trying to articulate the questions that Pop Up in my mind 😂
I'll make another video tonight to this. Too much to type🥰
 
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Sayonil Mitra

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I was and still facing the same problem (not with the caged system but in general, with some scales and modes like phrygian dominant). I went through the whole thread and found some useful tips, especially from Jak's video. She mentioned that it depends on what type of guitarist you wanna be feels so true. Same about writing stuff. Recently I took writing songs a little bit more seriously than before and I am slowly, or actually being forced, to understand some dynamics of chord progressions, modes etc etc (which i am liking a lot). Plus a crap ton of improvising (trying to) on different backing tracks. This is helping me getting out of this static phase of playing same licks, riffs again and again, I believe.
 
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