How To Control A Melody

How many of you have heard Jeff Beck's version of "A Day In The Life?" I think it might be the coolest guitar instrumental I've ever heard. Is it a chops fest? No. What it is is a man who is in total control of his guitar and it speaks to the listener. There are very few players if any that are in his league at playing a melody.

This is something that anyone who truly wants to be a virtuoso should strive for. A good place to start is take a song that you really love the vocal to and figure out how to play it by ear. Once you have found the notes then start to make it your own by adding slides, vibrato, wah pedal, distortion, delay - you get the idea. Since you have figured it out by ear you will remember it easier, and you should also be able to phrase it better.

The next step is to find other positions on the guitar to play
it. Your goal should be to make the melody speak through your guitar so you can "hear" the lyric. Playing this way will add emotion and depth to everything else you play.

One of the best things you can do as a player is learn how to sing as well. Be like George Benson, and sing and play a melody at the same time. Another player that I would like to mention is Neal Schon, he can control a melody really well and you can tell that he plays from the heart. All the technique in the world doesn't mean
anything if you don't have any soul.

The question is simple "Do you want to play your guitar or do you want your guitar to play you?" With that thought, I'll close
out this column. I hope these ideas help.

Mike O'Malley's instrumental power trio is called No Walls and their latest CD is entitled "World Abroad". He has been playing guitar for almost 30 years and graduated from Music Tech in Minneapolis in 1988.

O'Malley currently has 45 guitar students that range in all ability levels and styles.

Mike O'Malley