Pat Metheny Changed my Approach to Guitar Playing Part 2

Hope you enjoyed part 1! Where I started to learn the jazz version of ‘Our Spanish Love Song’ performed by Pat Metheny and Charlie Hadden. And how through this experience, my guitar playing & approach really changed.

This is when I stumbled across this Metheny tune and the problems I faced when trying to learn it.

I was so used to playing power chords and simple progressions that my fingers were not used to these extended chords in the song. I must have spent about 2 weeks just trying to get a smooth transition between the first three chords, which were an Fm7, Gm7b5, resolving with a C7. This was my first time experimenting with barre chords which really emphasises the struggles I was going through with this song.

After a gruelling 2 weeks though, I managed to get the transition between these changes sounding relatively smooth.

When I got to the solo section of the song, I was in a state of total disbelief and awe of Metheny’s playing. His phrasing and understanding of the fretboard was something I have never seen in a guitarist and I just had to figure out what he was doing. After a bit of research and watching a few tutorial videos, I came to the realisation that he was using a combination of arpeggios, modal ideas, chromatic lines, whole-tone runs; amongst many other things I hadn’t heard of at the time.

The vocabulary of jazz guitar playing is so unique to each player that it can never be perfect. This is what I loved about listening to Metheny for the first time and why I still love listening to jazz. The intricacies involved can provide you with a constant urge to keep learning.
By stumbling across this one song, I was opened up to the many possibilities available on the guitar. No more was I stuck jamming along to classic rock songs, or recycling blues licks in the pentatonic scale. I have now been playing jazz since 2014 and the significance of it all dates back to expanding my horizons and learning something that was unfamiliar to me. Had I not Listened to Pat Metheny (and other jazz guitarists since), there is no way I would be as good a guitar player as I am today.

In the future, I will definitely try to draw from different genres and inspirations to help me become more competent and also an open minded guitar player.

Other genres that I would love to get better are like fingerpicking songs, like Tommy Emmanuel and even more pop genres like John Meyer.

Here is another Pat Metheny song for you to enjoy.

Pat Metheny Changed my Approach to Guitar Playing Part 1

As a guitarist from a blues and rock background who relied heavily on the pentatonic minor scale, I was really stepping out of my comfort zone when I first discovered jazz guitar.

The song that first sparked my interest in jazz was a version of ‘Our Spanish Love Song’ performed by Pat Metheny and Charlie Hadden, and I was blown away by Metheny’s approach to the fretboard. This tune is not too complex and fairly easy to listen to compared to other jazz tunes, and this is what dragged my narrow mind into this genre of creativity and expression. 

The simple yet dissonant melody captivated me, and I instantly set myself the goal of trying to learn it. I had been playing guitar for nearly 4 years at this point so learning the melody was not too difficult, however I experienced some problems when trying to figure out the accompanying chords which set the foundation for this hook. 

In my first 4 years of playing, I was only learning the songs that I enjoyed at the time and would very rarely experiment with new music.

This would include mainly classic rock songs, a few metal riffs and all the blues licks I managed to stumble across. This was fine and I was having a good time with my practice, but if I wanted to become a more well-rounded guitar player I knew I would have to venture into other musical avenues. 

Being able to play different genres for me, meant I was going to feel much more competent as a guitarist.

And with dreams and hopes of becoming of a professional musician, I felt that being able to play at least some jazz will be very useful. As it’s sampled and come up in many pieces of music.

Jazz is very different to other genres of music, and for many guitar players. They consider it to be a much more difficult challenge.

That’s why I wanted to try to play this song. But on top of that, I wanted to actually understand the music and what it meant for me.

Instead of just coping the music as it says on the page. Even though that was difficult enough. There’s a lot of tricky fingering in jazz. and some of the chords and their names are just bizarre.

Anyways it was a great challenge and a lot of fun. If you would like to hear more about it, then read my part 2!

Learning with a guitar teacher vs learning online Part 2

We worked on fixing this problem I had with timing by playing with a metronome and playing the part together.

This wasn’t the first time playing the riff with another guitarist, however it was the first time playing it with another guitarist who can communicate back to me.

I had played it along with instructional videos, but the problem with that is that they can’t hear what you are doing so can’t offer guidance on how to improve.

This is a massive part of the learning process since your own ears can be deceiving, giving yourself a false sense of what sounds right particularly at the early stages of developing your craft.

That’s why it’s so useful to have a teacher in front of you, guiding you along the way. And being able to change the rhythm for you almost instantly so that you are giving a chance to have a break, or slow down, or speed up as well.

Or change the key so it’s more comfortable for you to get into the groove of your playing.

After my first session, I left with a huge amount of confidence and drive going forward, and I managed to play the riff accurately for the first time.

He was able to point out my mistakes and offered advice that I would continue to use even after playing for nearly 12 years now.

Playing with someone else and having them give feedback on your progress is a huge motivational boost and will undoubtedly make you a better player.

I had him as my teacher for 2 years and eventually went on to music academy where I was trained by professional musicians for 3 years.

I would not be the same musician that I am today without those initial guitar lessons, and I would have continued playing the same mistakes over and over until I convinced myself that it was right.

I am forever thankful to my parents for paying for those lessons and will urge any beginner to use a guitar teacher.…

Learning with a guitar teacher vs learning online Part 1

Learning with a Teacher vs Learning Online

There is often quite a lot of debate when it comes to the question “should go to a guitar teacher or learn using online sources?”. To answer this, I will have to go back 12 years to when I first started to learn guitar. I have used online videos and tablature to improve my guitar playing, and still do to this very day.

However, I went to a guitar teacher after around 2 years of trying to figure things out on my own, and what an eye-opening experience it was. I was 14 years of age and my teacher was an incredibly good rock guitarist, and an even better critique of my inaccurate and out of time playing.

I was learning the song ‘Black Night’ by Deep Purple, watching instructional videos and attempting to read tablature for the first time, and thought it was sounding pretty good. I excitedly went to a teacher after learning it, and as it turns out, I was wrong.

I started playing it, and only a couple of notes in he told me to stop. I was thinking “oh man, this is gonna be a long session”. Instead it turned out to be the best first guitar lesson I could have asked for, propelling me to push myself further and exceed my own expectations.

My guitar was out of tune, which was why he stopped me in the first instance. I was able to correct this and continue with the song. He stopped me for a second time after playing the opening riff once through only to tell me that my timing was off.

This was something that my untrained ear would not have noticed had I carried on without a teacher.

Incidentally, this was a huge turning point in my short playing experience as he was able to point out this imperfection in my playing and offer a way of negating it. 

From that moment on I realised my guitar learning journey was about to be very different with a guitar teacher rather than facing this journey on my own. …