What key (ish) is this considered?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by coreypla, Mar 26, 2020 at 12:35 AM.

  1. coreypla

    coreypla SS.org Regular

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    Chords? Yeah I have some weaka$$ chords!

    A# Maj 7 to
    F# Maj 7 to
    D# Maj 7 to
    C min7 then B Maj 7

    note: the C minor 7 is really more of a B maj 7 with the B replaced by C for a walkdown


    I think its some derivative of A# Major,
    but I'm playing a lot of F minor pentatonic licks over it, happily

    if you know what key this is, please let me know, I have no clue

    I'm not expecting it to be some diatonic scale throughout, but what can I call it?
     
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  2. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Let's spell those chords.
    A# C## E# A - eww! Bb instead - Bb D F A
    F# A# C# E# - again , we can get rid of that E#. Gb Bb Db F
    We would assume we can stick with flats before even reading the next chord.
    Eb G Bb D
    C Eb G Bb
    B D# F# A# - Would be Cb Eb Gb Bb spelt with flats.

    So our full collection is Bb C Db D Eb F Gb G A. 9 notes indeed so we know there are some changes/chromatics going on. I'd say its based around Bbmajor though.

    BbMaj7
    GbMaj7
    EbMaj7

    Eb Gb and Bb are thirds - So this chord sequence is a chromatic mediant descending sequence. A chromatic mediant is when you move a chord by a third and keeps its quality the same. You've effectively arpeggiated an Eb minor triad with Maj7s structures.
    Always results in chromatic changes and is a very effective sound, particularly loved by movie soundtracks.
    The next Cm7 is native to Bb key. The final Bmaj7 (better contextualised as Cbmaj7) chord I'm unsure how to place, but we can see it would work smoothly - it's just the chord before with two of its notes (CG) dropped a semitone.
    You've pretty much just discovered that chromatic voice movement is badass and always works. Presumably you're playing some fairly regular moveable voicings for these chords, but if you can rewrite them with Voice Leading to result in close to strict melodic movements/sustains and it will sound absolutely killer.
    Here's one option that really enforces a Bb drone with chromatic movements above;
    Bb D F A
    Bb Db F Gb
    Bb D Eb G
    Bb C Eb G
    Bb B Eb Gb

    You can revoice those top triads over the Bb drone various ways to create alternative options or even chain them together for variation and greater overall movement. Sorry for the messy notation - and I didn't mean to drop that bass an octave.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    A dreamy sequence over a drone like this could make for a good intro, before kicking into a more energetic main theme that outlines the chords properly with an action packed bassline, whilst voicing the chords to create a melody with more movement as its top line. Same progression, same notes, totally different feel. Just something to think about.

    Might I assume the Fm pentatonic licks were largely avoiding its Ab? Bit of an outlier we don't have here .
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 5:42 AM
  3. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    It's like a Bebop Major , mode 6 with a natural 4 instead of a #4 spelled out: 1-b2-b3-3-4-5-#5-6-7 where as a Bebop mode 6 would normally be 1-b2-b3-3-#4-5-#5-6-7. That the closest mode I could find to it the master scale being Bebop Major: 1-2-3-4-5-b6-6-7 . Not really a key perse but something to work with.
     
  4. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Good call on that scale - definitely works if you want one overall scale to fit, though of course some notes will be much more desirable on some bars than others. But those dissonances would hide well in fast licks allowing full use of the scale to imply the full pitch set of the progression. Could sound great!
     
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  5. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    I knew one day my Grimoire books would come in handy! :lol:
     
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  6. coreypla

    coreypla SS.org Regular

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    Thanks so much for the awesome comments! I definitely have that Grimoire book too. I love it, and a while back I was building chords over motifs in funny scales. I have some cool sections that need songs to live in from that. This serves as a reminder of that!

    The chords are being played on a guitar, and I don't think I am playing the full maj7th chords. So what I have is:


    Bb Maj 7 (Bb A D)
    Gb Maj 7 (Gb F Bb)
    Eb Maj 7 (Eb D G)
    C min7 (C Bb Eb) then B Maj 7 (B Bb Eb)

    and very easy moveable chords, like you found out!


    so the shape is the classic:

    -----3-
    -----3-
    ---X---
    --2----


    for that Gb Maj 7 for example


    So it looks like the only notes I am playing in the chords are:

    A Bb B C D Eb F Gb G

    (says this while playing 9 notes lol, why not just put an ending chord in there with the Db E and Ab ? )


    Winspear, do you think your drone would work well on a standard tuned guitar? Or it is more something that would translate best to piano? I can always pop it into the midi to help accompany. I like the idea of getting a dreamy, dream sequence out of this. Right now its sort of "Hack Jazz". I've been listening to too much Allan H, and not enough talent to bring the goods here.

    C7spheres, I will definitely check out some bebop major scale licks and lower that 4

    I was doing pentatonic licks by ear and found that the pentatonic scale works good by me, in a F minor box shape.

    Now, if I wanted to play scales that highlight the chords, what scales would sounds good for the transitions?

    Would I be able to get one scale per chord?

    What about one scale to work over the two consecutive chords?

    For example:

    One scale for
    Bb Maj 7 (Bb A D)
    Gb Maj 7 (Gb F Bb)

    One scale for
    Eb Maj 7 (Eb D G)
    C min7 (C Bb Eb) then B Maj 7 (B Bb Eb)


    Sorry if these are unintelligent questions. I am just trying to learn music theory and I'm not too bright lol!
     
  7. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Iit was more of an example of an overall voicing option that illustrates how minimal movement can be between chromatic mediant chords. I'd typically then see how close I can get to such a goal on guitar, splitting it across multiple guitars, the bass, and keys if necessary.
    But here is a possible way to play one of those versions:

    DGB strings: 776, 466, 574, 554, 444 - which then just needs the Bb bass drone adding on the 6th fret of the low E to complete each chord (which probably makes some quite awkward - second chord would be easier as 69x66x, but you get the point)
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 12:57 PM
  8. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Your 'chord scale' approach is the Berklee jazz approach known as chord scale theory.
    You look at a chord say C major CEG and any scale containing CEG is an option for that bar/moment, and the other notes they contain will vary the flavour and potentially sound stranger around the surrounding chords.
    Taking it in two chord segments like you've suggested;
    Bb D F Gb A - This is quite an unusual combination to find but the Bb Harmonic Major scale has it, along with C and Eb. This should fit quite nicely overall because we don't have any Es or C#s etc in the whole progression overall.

    Eb G Bb C D - Eb major fits.

    Going to need a scale change for that last chord to get a B/Cb, unless we're using some octatonic/bebop type scale with more than 7 notes. Lots of scale options containing Bmaj7 - B Lydian probably the most familiar
     
  9. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    pt 1 of 2

    *TLDR @ the bottom*

    - These are great questions! I might give long winded answers though. I get triggered into talking sometimes. Sorry in advance for the long winded novel. : )
    - To answer your question though, the way you do this is to just break down the intervals everything contains, eliminate commonality, then make a universal scale out of it and try to match it to an existing scale.
    - The problem with doing it this way is that once you get two or three chords, you've almost always used all the intervals. So why not just always use a chromatic scale with all 12 notes and have access to everything at all times? It's a bit impractical unless you're of the Miles Davis or Coltrane genius pedigree or using the LCCOTO systems, but that's pretty advanced.

    - In short, I wouldn't go down this path, personally. I mean, I did, and there's a reason why I don't look at things this way very often. Not there's anything wrong with it. But it kinda depends what you're going for. Do you want to get good at theory, get good at playing other peoples music, or get good at writing your own? There's no one perfect way to do this, but time flies and all this stuff takes a lot of time. Next thing you know you haven't got anything wirtten or got better at playing because you're now good at theory. It's what all the time was spent on. All is possible, certainly, but it's a monumental task. How's that saying go? "The jack of all trades is master of none"? Something like that. Just something to ponder.

    That being said:
    - There's many approaches to this. Like Winspear was talking about, the Chord Scale approach can work great. This is probably the way you'd want to go with what you're currently working on here.

    other stuff:
    - You could just line up whatever scales share the same intervals as the two chords, but there's a lot of scales that could be used. It can lead you down an infinite rabbit hole of trying things, which will definitly make you better, but not necessarliy the best approach, imo. Though this approach is very useful and can lead to new personal discovery.
    - Infinite scales to mess with isn't all it's cracked up to be. Infact, it might kinda suck.
    - I think the most important thing is to keep playing and messing around with new things WITH purpose.
    - It's usually faster to just come up with something you like, not even knowing what you're doing, than to use theory to, sort of, tell you what to play. Over time you get better at being creative anyways. There's a time and place for theory though.
    - I'm not a genius in music theory, but I know enough to get me in trouble.
    - What I know is that with practically all popular music of any style, you hear only a dozen or two scales really used much (if that many) most of the time. Obviously with some exceptions. You have your Major scale and it's modes, the Pentatonics, Melodic maj/min, Harmonic/maj/min, Bebop, Spanish, Chromatic etc.
    - Just those right there probably cover 90% of it. Think about that for a few minutes (like really think about it) and what's been done with those scales. Literally just about everything. Why? I think it's because scales are way less important than made out to be, honestly, and most music can be contained in a nice package in one of the common keys. Possibly controversial, I know.
    - I think their importance really depends on what you want to DO with music. If you want to play classical, Jazz, Blues and more "traditional" style they are going to be more relevant. Even in rock and metal they are very relevant, especially the pentatonics. If you're playing in an experimental noise band, maybe not so much. Scales have their place everywhere though, whether the people using them are aware or not. How much attention to give to them is another story. The main point is that across all these styles a small number of scales are normally used. Those are the scales to focus on, if any, and wanting to play an already existing genre of music.
    - I also think the scale is less important than what's actually being played. Things like scales and other naming conventions are great when "decoding" or exploring a current idea to try pushing it to it's limits or breaking a rut and impovising with other musicians or something. Which is great stuff, but I'd focus more on playing and experimenting. The above mentioned Chord Scale approach is great for that and will get things moving and sounding good too.

    - Everything sounds like it belongs together when using the Chord Scale approach. It's good stuff.
     
  10. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    pt 2 of 2

    - Theory stuff is an attempt to explain/communicate things that have been, or are to be, done. Further use can then lead to things that have not been done or tried out yet, like a kind of reverse engineering, but most of it has been done, it would seem. It's like trying to come up with a new word. It happens, but not often. Scales and chords are just ways to identify specific tones. Where freedom is really at is in the chromatic scale. Navigating that is like navigating language in a way. You don't think about all the words your using. You just talk and use words that come to you. Occasionally you learn a new word. How you speak is your own voice.
    - If you look at chords specifically, you'll notice sometimes chords have different names yet are literally exactly the same thing. It's just different names for the same stuff. This is enharmonic or substitutions. It just 12 tones recategorized a million different ways to point a group and call them a name so other know what you're talking about.. anyways..
    - The point of the chord scales is to get different sets of chords and progressions that work well together. Experimenting will also get you there. You'll know when you like how something sounds. Even if it's unconventional or not considered harmonious, it's your music. It's stuff you'd probably not come up with using theory. It's why they both are beneficial.
    - I always pull this Miles Davis quote out of my head/ass?, but I firmly believe it. He's says; “It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.” I like to modify it a bit into my own saying to read as; "It's not what you play, it's what you play next."
    - I think it's really profound, especialy with experimental noises and sounds. You can literally take any sound at all, and depending what you play next (including nothing) will determine the overall effect it has. Also the HOW you play it will be the other side of that same coin too. Just something to think about. - For example take something simple, like any chord. Play it softly and let it ring out to nothing. It's very calm and still. Now play that same chord softly and let it ring out to nothing just the same as last time but then hit it softly again and quickly mute it. Very different. One leaves you hanging or drifting and still, the other gives you a sense of completion, though the differences are extremely subtle, the effect is very different. That's a type of resolution theory won't really teach you. Getting something basic like that from a scale is impossible.
    - What you'll discover is that the notes themselves hardly even matter depending on how you play it. Now am I just talking crazy? Not according to Miles; “Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent.” Seriously, He knew what he's talking about and he knew a lot about music theory. Even he says the note is only 20%. I won't argue it. He didn't know about things like how to talk to Nancy Reagan, however. Maybe a little work needed in that area. : )

    - If you learn scales I'd focus on just getting really good at the one's I mentioned above.
    - The reality is that all these scales are just the Major scale being altered, limited, extended, which is just the Chromatic scale being altered/limited.

    - The main things I personally focus on would be the shared tones and intervals. For ex, the two chord groups you refer to above. There are hundreds of scales that will share these notes and intervals, so exploring that really isn't going to help much. It's more beneficial, imo, to explore what they do AND don't share, and explore what they are to begin with. Sometimes it's faster (and more eye opening) to just try every chord you can lead into and out of them. It's a bunch of options and sounds and experiments in a shor time. Doing it with theory you haven't even even decoded the chords to try yet in that amount of time. -- Do you see what I mean here? Check it out. No matter what scale you use, the progression is always going to be some type of chromatic interval. The chords will always be some variation or inversion of the same chord types. The 12 tones are the same tones too. The techniques and rhythms and personality used are what will make the difference. The other stuff is all the same stuff all the time. Nobody's really inventing new chords types etc. It's all about expression. Like words. It's the story you tell with them.
    - The theory is a seperate practice time reserved for a different level of skill honing. They're both very beneficial. theory is originally purposed to translate something into writing that can be reproduced on an instrument. To make things look good on paper and easier to read. - Then later it became a way to explore new ideas and concepts through a sort of reverse engineering or strctual engineering type process. -- It's an entirely different animal than it once was and is always being evolved even today, but it will never render new chords (for all practical purposes).

    - Basically, come up with a riff/part and explore and improvise with it. This includes changing the pitch, rhythm etc. When you hit a rut then analyze it to see what's going on with it and explore to get new ideas or chords to use etc.
    - Here's a catch though. Depending on how you personally look at a piece of music can determine differnt chords and areas of exploration. For example; The intialy example you gave asking what key it was in you were leaning in an A# direction. Winspear and Me both come up with different things as well. Each of these analyzations wil take the writing and experimenting in a totally different direction, because now the chords and intervals being used can begin to vary greatly. It's what's tricky, infinite, great, and crappy all at the same time about theory!
    - Scales and chords, progressions etc. are all great when communicatinig things to others or writing them down or analyzing them, obtaining related chords and notes to an existing part etc.. ,

    - I went down this rabbit hole a long time before I figured something out that makes music more fun while creating, makes a better player and brings our individual personality more. - You have basic ingredients; Scales, intervals, chords, progressions, rhythm, Rests/silence, articulation techniques, random noises and effects (like uncommon stuff like hitting the guitar, scraping the trem springs, yelling into the pickups, etc.) I found it's actually faster, more unique, and more satisfying to just constantly use the ingredients to create unique things. I spend a lot more time playing and getting better too.

    - Theory can tell you what ingredients should theoretically go well together or not, but experimenting will tell you what YOu like and don't like and what IS good for and to you. It will also make you a better chef that has experience and knows what they're about. - Theory tells you anchovy is gross on pizza, but some people like it. Some people just tried it and learned that they did or didn't like it. - Point is that if you just dive in and eat it then you'll really know what works for you or not and quickly develop your own sense of musical taste. - With theory you never know until you try it anyways, so why not skip it and start trying it? There's no shortcuts and it will take time, but even by being fast at theory, it takes time to figure things out to try out on the instument. By the time it takes to figure it out you will have already tried a ton more stuff by just experimenting. - But making theory a practice tool and a seperate area of focus will bring new things to try and aid in your experimenting. It will give you tools to work with that you wouldn't think up by yourself. So it helps it out too. They work well together and are symbiotic. How much time you devote to each one is a personal thing for whatever floats your boat and what works best for you.

    * TLDR;
    Practicing theory and experimenting are good. Miles Davis was a badass!
     
  11. coreypla

    coreypla SS.org Regular

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    Winspear, thank you so much for doing this. I am actually going to try out the chords later and see if I can get a cool sound coming from them.

    I am familiar with what you are talking about, where chord voicing that have minimal movement are a bit more smooth sounding. Definitely something I try to keep in mind when writing piano midi, for example.

    To be honest, I don't actively think about it while I am writing guitar riffs. But I do use open strings as drones a bit often. Which really is kind of similar now that I'm thinking about it.

    I'm also that Harmonic Major Scale for soloing. See what kind of ideas I can get from it. Thats a really good idea!
     
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  12. coreypla

    coreypla SS.org Regular

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    c7spheres,

    Thank you so much for writing all of that out. I completely empathize, since I am usually writing very long posts myself. I refer to them as "my Harry Potter Novels"

    Harry Potter and the enharmonic relationships:

    You are definitely right with all of the things that you mention here. And it moves beyond just theory. A while back I was really getting into the idea of Home Recording and Mixing and Mastering. I definitely love recording at home, no way would I want to go into a studio unless I had the extra cash to burn and kiss goodbye. But as far as mixing and mastering goes, I had to make a pivotal decision.

    You could spend a lifetime learning your instrument. You could spend a lifetime learning how to Mix and Master like a pro. I have a bit of a demanding job and I'm lazy, so I eventually decided that I wanted to focus more on guitar and less on mixing/mastering. What I can do myself is fine for a demo. But if I have something special to release, I don't want to be the one mixing it. It took a lot for me to admit this, but once I did I felt a lot better.

    Same with guitar stuff in general. I love refinishing guitars, swirl paint jobs, hand painting, other ideas, etc. Even veneer work! But then I wanted to learn how to build guitars and make my own. I actually bought a lot of supplies for this, which was a waste of money. After I got ready to do it all, I decided I didn't want to invest the time and effort in focusing on it. Again, it was admitting defeat, so I didn't want to, but I really realized that I want to focus on playing guitar and getting better at creating music.

    I don't need to build guitars. I don't need to mix and master my own music. I don't even need to adjust my own truss rod. I can bring the guitar into my local mom and pop shop here and support them and the amazing work that they do, since they have that lifetime of experience caring for the instrument that I love.

    Now, I'm digressing. But music theory is unique to me.

    You hit the nail on the head. Its just a nomenclature. We observe it first, and then we categorize it.

    I have no problem writing music organically with my own creativity. But I really want to understand it better. For example, I think I find passing tones naturally, like raising or lowering the 6 gives me a really nice accidental. So I find myself finding it by ear a lot, and using it.

    I think most of my tunes wind up using a lot of Major (Ionian). You can do so much and paint so many colors with this first mode. I just always want to explore a bit more of music theory. I think if I knew more of it, it would open many more doors to me. You do have to be careful though....because sometimes the best music is written by an "experienced" player who isn't fully cognizant of the music they are making, at least not thinking actively about making music. More of a, the music creates the player or creates itself, kind of mentality.

    This has been something I've done my whole life. So I'm trying to explore things a bit differently. I love this forum because there is so much knowledge here, with great people to help! If I have a crazy chord progression that I am trying to work with, then I am most likely going to post it all here and see what I can get away with.

    I'm definitely a beginner with this stuff, but I plan on stealing bits of knowledge from anyone that wants to talk about theory until I know enough. To come full circle, I actually know a lot about mixing and mastering and have been helping people on various forums about that. It makes me feel like a huge hypocrite though, since I don't practice what I preach.

    Music theory is so different to me. I actually love learning about it, but usually only as it relates to guitar. I could watch guitar jazz lessons on youTube all day. Tim Miller and John Stowell. And I spend even more time just watching players like Martin Miller, etc. I could list 100's.


    I'm discovering jazz later in life. But I am always interested in how it is created. Just as you mentioned, I am really trying to reverse engineer it in a way. I want to play like person A, means I want to play that lick or capture that feeling. So if I understand how its done. I can actually try to put it in my "own words" and use the idea to capture something unique to my playing.

    At least that is my life long journey, right?


    Thank you so much for all the help! I hope everyone here is healthy and safe! I'll be posting another question soon I'm sure. If anyone is bored and wants to help me learn a bit, I'll be nothing less than appreciative!

    And I did read the entire post. I had to ask someone at the end what TLDR meant. I think someone has used that in reference to one of my posts before! Too funny.
     
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  13. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    ^
    That's hilarious! :lol:

    - Wow, A lot of what you're talking about with your journey is very similar to mine regarding mixing/mastering , building guitars. I did that and kept coming back to guitar. I really just felt that the other stuff was taking away from my guitar, which is really what I love to do. I love to practice and explore around on my guitar. It's like going for a walk in nature or something.
    - I'm glad you've come to learn and know what you're after and like. I use theory in a similar way. I like it to shed light on something that's goiing on with my playing. It's a great tool, not the rule.
    - Since you're really interested in this theory stuff. I would suggest after you get more comfortable with the "normal" music theory that 99.9% of everyone uses, and since you're interested in Jazz, then check out the LCCOTO. Only check it out once you have the basics of normal theory down though, otherwise it might mess with your head.
    - LCCOTO is a Jazz theory that basically shifts the center of the musical universe to Lydian and uses the concept of gravity in order to aid in improvistion tailored specificalyl towards Jazz. It's crazy, but pretty neat to check out. I still stuick with "normal" theory, but occasionally revisit LCCOTO for fun. It's pretty nifty.
     
  14. coreypla

    coreypla SS.org Regular

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    Yeah! Thats exactly what I noticed.

    I think a lot about the end of days, especially now, but I did before.

    And I think there was a lot I could learn about myself and how my present waking life should be.

    I realized that I didn't care so much about these other things, that I just wanted to try to be the best guitarist I could be. And I started looking for the secret.

    Well, the secret is just time spent with the instrument. Any amazing player isn't amazing by happenstance. There wasn't some inside secret, or quick fix. Steve Vai played for 12 hours a day. Yngwie played until his fingers bled. John Petrucci shares his "workout" in Rock Discipline.

    It was sad at first, no magical secret or door to walk through?

    But then it was good---Anyone can do anything that they want, if they decide to put in the time and effort.

    So, okay, what do I want? To be better at guitar. Do I play 3 hours a day everyday? No. But I try to be mindful now of the goal and the steps to get there.


    I do understand a reasonable amount of basic theory. But not anywhere near what you are saying here. There are many holes in what I do and don't know. So far I've just been picking up a lot of the ideas and how to call them. Like you said, its just a language, words to describe it all.

    I definitely will check out the LCCOTO. It sounds right up my alley. YouTube has been crazy as well. Just seeing so much music and musicians at the click of a button.


    Getting back to something you were saying. I think one of the best way to write licks and tricks is to put the guitar down and sing or hum a melody. Thats really something great that I do if I can't think of a good part. Its always memorable and I don't have to worry about the key or the scale. A very organic way to write. I try not to forget about it.
     
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