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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I began to craft some tabs during the last year. I became interested in making my own tabs after listening to Happy Traum instructional video (Homespun company videos). I sometimes start from official music sheets (not easy from piano sheet music to guitar !), but most of the times I start from numerous fake books (I fetched a lot over 30 years!) as they give chords. I may sometimes transpose the chords in another key before I build the tab. Naturally, I would also look at videos which can make me change key.

So, I would like to hear where you do take your melodic or solo lines...
 

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I recently took a group course on the art of jamming. The instructor used fake books a lot. I found it very useful to use the simplified fake books to learn the actual melody of the song. When it was my turn to solo I’d play the actual melody for the first few bars then start improvising but staying reasonably close to the melody until the end of my solo when I go back to the melody for a few bars. Before the course I’d mostly just play random major or minor pentatonic licks. Now I mix them with the melody and base them on the melody.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Improvision would somehow be based on scales even though you kind of forget them since as they became a second language you master. ;-)

My question is do some start from sheet musics or fake book or whatever source to build your own way to play a song melody ?

I tried these ways, but I would like what others do.

As you probably know, for example, major chords are made of notes 1, 3 and 5 from diatonic major scale and most of the songs use three chords on the pattern I, IV & V, these three chords containing altogether all the notes of the key scale. So we can start there to rebuild the melody, adding notes and effects here and there as needed or tasted.
 

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My solos don't come from scales. I don't know any scales. Okay if I really concentrate I could play a concert scale like in high school. My solos are a combination of imagining a melody line and trying to play it, memorized patterns and muscle memory.

Here are some of my solos. I couldn't tell you what scales they were based on.

https://soundcloud.com/id%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fsoundcloud.com%252Fguncho%252Fit-might-be-true-solo%252Fs-WLSKx%3Bsecret_token%3Ds-WLSKx%3Btrack_id%3D372170273 https://soundcloud.com/id%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fsoundcloud.com%252Fguncho%252Frain-of-shine-solo%252Fs-5re1E%3Bsecret_token%3Ds-5re1E%3Btrack_id%3D372170234
 

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I use what I'm feeling from the song, but there are too many other variables at work there to give a straight forward and concise definition. I'm technically oriented when I practice alone, but when I play and improvise, it just kinda flows with the moment we're in as a group of players. I like creating my own melodies when I practice, so a lot of it comes out in my playing. Much like what @Guncho said, in the end it's pulled from the subconscious. The only difference is that I do happen to know scales and theory. The process is basically the same though. You build melody and phrasing fromm practicing and playing with other people. Much like talking or writing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, be it pre-Xmas week or that musical theory is few human's land, anyway the few responders words seem to confirm that there is no simple way to musicality.

Everybody heard about THE scale, C major scale, but the majority did not hear about any other scale.

By the way, did you try the Merlin, the diatonic kind of dulcimer Robert Godin crafted ? He did it because teenagers do not study much music but want to play it right away !

I guess most of us began to play the guitar with the usual easy chords and few ever asked themselves where these chords come from.

Some studied scales as part of classical study or to learn to form other chords. I would see jazzmen here.

I guess many did not use scales but worked their music as we learn another language in a foreign country : gifted and/or hard working peoples ! At least many of them built their own musical signature.

So, there are many ways to interesting and/or succesful musicality.

The interesting aspect of scales shows in the pentatonic scales as each contain only five notes that basically goes together... but the draw back is a solo based on these could sounds too... scaly, missing musicality.

Starting with chords is a bit trickier (though arpeggios help much) but it helps to see the chords as part of the scale it belongs to. That's how I came to approach tab construction. I first got interested in country blues, and I am now trying to translate "fakes" of famous songs into fingerstyle melodies.

There is no simple way to musicality, though.
 

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Interesting questions, and very interesting to see how people all approach this differently.

I find scales and melody to not be particularly necessary or exclusive to one another when writing solos. As someone mentioned earlier, in a free jam context if you're prompted to solo, some people will (I know I normally do) revert back to playing something scale related in whatever key the song is in, filled with whatever licks they know that fit that context and playing style. Just pure improvisation, maybe subconsciously playing around with modes to add some flavour. I know I'm not usually thinking about what I am doing at that time....

If I'm writing something melodic I'll usually sit down down and listen to whatever progression I have so far and then think about how I want the melody to sound and then either hum it or sing it as opposed to actually playing it. Then after I have that melody sorted out, apply it to actually playing. I find using this sort of method takes away my notions of where I should be in a scale, and takes away the playing habits of reverting to what is comfortable for me to play based on muscle memory. It's interesting, because I find that when doing this I use more passing tones, 3rd and 6ths than I normally would - things I don't normally use in my playing when just improvising at a jam session .

I've also been playing along to random songs a lot lately and focusing on the vocal parts instead of the instruments, then trying to emulate their pieces on guitar. Singers seem to have a very melodic way of approaching/phrasing things for the most part, but usually in the simplest way if that makes sense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Oh yeah ! Passing tones ! Bass runs too. Important and quite clearly out of chords and scales.

Playing and replaying a recent home made tab, I realized I used them (and arpeggios) extensively between lyric sentences : I finally decided to shorten some to avoid becoming kind of boring.
 

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...
Everybody heard about THE scale, C major scale, but the majority did not hear about any other scale.
...

...There is no simple way to musicality, though.
But the C major scale is also most other scales. There's a total of 11 notes in Western music, and then you reach the octave. Once you know C major you already know every mode of C major. The difference lies between knowing how to use those modes and knowing those modes even exist.

You're also ignoring the dynamics of phrasing here. What about bends? What about reverse bends? Staccato? What about sudden increases or decreases in tempo? You can do all of that with one note.

As for "there's no simple way to musicality" sure there is. You don't even need notes, or an instrument at all. Music can come from a simple rhythm made by any object. You can chant and clap your hands and make music that way. To suggest that you need a deep working knowledge of musical theory to make music is absolutely ridiculous and untrue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
These are interesting words.

I do not believe we "need a deep working knowledge of musical theory" and did not intend to suggest that. I wrote some do not bother about that stuff, they play very well, developing their own signature.

It is my personal transition from playing chords to fingerstyle that pushed me to learn more about musical theory. It certainly helped me.

I appreciate that you bring in the "dynamic of phrasing". I did not mention that because my intention was to see where others starts from to construct their melodies and solo. There is no doubt in my mind that dynamic of phrasing has a major impact on musicality, but it comes in the fine-tuning process. Maybe I am wrong...
 

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But the C major scale is also most other scales. There's a total of 11 notes in Western music, and then you reach the octave. Once you know C major you already know every mode of C major. The difference lies between knowing how to use those modes and knowing those modes even exist.

Must be a typing error but there is a total of 12 notes in Western music, not 11.
 

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Sure am glad I learned about this stuff round about the time I was learning the alphabet, initially as a function of ear training, then as piano studies. Better than having to make up my mind whether or not to learn it now.

When I transcribe music I sometimes start with something that's published and adapt it to a new interpretation or key or whatever, and sometimes I just do it by ear. Software that plays it back saves a lot of time when it comes to proofreading/prooflistening, but it's not essential. I use Finale Printmusic.

My solos are almost always improvised, sometimes with relation to the melody, sometimes not. Sometimes they sound suspiciously like a classical cadenza, hymn descant, or simple counterpoint. But they might be kinda-sorta-like a lick based blues break if the song demands it. Channeling different styles while remaining true to personal expression without being too derivative...drives me mad.

Here, in keeping with the season and using a tune that's in the public domain, at about 1:34, is an example of an improvised solo (mandolin):

https://soundcloud.com/https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fmichael-crocker-6%2Fveni-emmanuel
I haven't bothered to transcribe the solo, it's not like I want to market it or anything.

Here is the transcription of the fingerstyle part:

 
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