The trials of an UNORTHODOX player.

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:50 pm
by Stringpoet • 1 Post


First a little about me to provide context for my question:

I've been playing guitar for about 15 years...mostly as accompaniment to my own lyrically dense songs...I'm a songwriter in the vein of Cohen-Dylan-The Two Gallants...but I listen to EVERYTHING...from Grant Green and Albert King to FZ and Shawn Lane. I'm COMPLETELY self-taught (never had a lesson)...and I'm a more-than-decent rhythm player (not high-level, intricate Metal rhythm)...but I've never pursued detailed, DEEP study of the guitar...

...Slowly the fret board is revealing patterns to me, and I'm expanding to shorter leads to accent my rhythm playing. But I'm running into a Wall, namely a lack of foundation in the mathematics of theory, and the relationships of chords notes, etc. I'd like to progress to more sophisticated playing, but I can't seem to progress...I have accepted I will never be Shawn Lane, but I think I could at least progress to within the Galaxy of guitar Greats with the right approach...

OK...here's the problem I face in beginning formal study: I PLAY UPSIDE DOWN....strung right-handed, but played left-handed. All of my chord formations are my own constructions/fingerings, etc...

A lot of my friends have told me for years: PLAY CORRECTLY...start over.

But I've looked to several guitar greats who played like I do as motivation to keep plugging along...and ALSO...something tells me that if the formal structure of actual playing takes a back seat ultimately to artistry and feeling, then I don't HAVE to "play correctly."
I feel like I can form my own advanced "relationship" with my instrument...and even attain unique sounds and tonalities.

But again, I run up against the problem that on an advanced level, a lot of the fingerings for everything are just going to be totally different...I don't have any models to follow. I have to figure it out on my own. Chord formations, everything. There are even some chord formations that I CAN'T make because of the fingering...it has nothing to do with strength, or practice or dexterity. And that's frustrating.

So my question is: WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I DO? How do I approach this?

I fear the answer from this forum of esteemed players will be: "PLAY CORRECTLY."

But is that the only answer?

Thanks for any suggestions in advance.

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RE: The trials of an UNORTHODOX player.

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:13 pm
by tplu7234 • 39 Posts

Could you please post a video of you playing? I haven't seen to many people play backwards before :P

15 years of improper technique is quite a challenge so I'm leaving this one to the pro's.

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RE: The trials of an UNORTHODOX player.

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:32 pm
by Slashiepie • 118 Posts

Vai would say "theres no correct or wrong way to play your instrument"
we all know what Pebber would say :)

I myself believe that if something in your life is not working, making you unhappy, holding you back or not giving you the results you want you should change it..
if throwing all that which you have learned is what scares you, consider you might not be throwing anything away at all, because experience wont be simply deleted from your brain.. its all there.. it will be rewired in an unique way and you can draw upon all that which you already have.
Unlearning bad technique... thats such a scary part, I remember I had been playing only 2 months before I discovered Pebber and it took me hundreds of hours to just get my fingers to stop being so lame... but its worth every second and every drop of sweat..
anyways you have come to the best place, correcting that kind of stuff is Pebbers specialty :)

Just some motivation at the risk of sounding naive... you might not necessarily have to throw it all away :)
theres always the other way to see things in which you can learn "something new" and keep BOTH.

Good Luck

Last edited Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:38 pm | Scroll up


RE: The trials of an UNORTHODOX player.

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:05 pm
by pebberbrown • 926 Posts

You'll have to map it all out on your own level. Bass Player Jimmy Haslip plays that way and he's one of the top Jazz bassists. You will come up against a lot of stuff you wontbe able to do as far as fingering goes but thats the blues. You've played way too many years to "switch" over - you can only effectively "switch" within the first week or 2. Just hammer out your own way man - you have no other choice.

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RE: The trials of an UNORTHODOX player.

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:03 pm
by Debilius • 96 Posts

I agree with Pebber, do it just like you do it for past 15 years, do it your way. It's not that different from fingering used in "non reversed"-conventional playing style, it's just the different angle of direction regarding strings order and picking patterns... but it's not totally reversed like for example Michael Angelo Batio's over the neck trade mark technique where fingering gives a pinky a role of index finger and vice versa. You can actually use pretty much of scale fingerings and do it exactly the same on each string, if you flip tab upside down, with chords it's a little bit different, but it can be done. I've had a friend who was a left handed guitar player, and he was doing conventional playing style while his left handed guitar was around him, but every time he stopped by over my place he played on my guitar(right handed conventional tuning and string order)without turning it like he was right hand player, he played it(actually experimented) like it was a left handed guitar but with reversed string order, and he was managing it quite good, and quite fast, so if a conventional player could figure out some things from unconventional string order quite fast, I believe somebody who plays that way for a 15 years could rip it out. So, if you still have second thought about what to you want(it's actually not what others say, but what others approve, right)do it both ways. It's actually very amusing to do "rondo alla turca" on the left handed guitar by right handed player, without changing any fingering and string order patterns, and lot of other stuff too, very funny. Man, who cares, you can switch between your reversed string order playing and conventional, and use one for "in tune" playing, and the other for outside licks, why not...

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