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Black-Dog

Jimmy Page doesn't practice guitar

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Guitar teachers are always telling students to practice. You come in for your lesson having neglected structured studies in favor of jamming to your favorite tunes for the past week, and your teacher looks at you all disappointed that you flubbed an A Dorian scale. But did you really waste your time? Absolutely not.

Sure, that teacher can probably rip through every scale in existence in no time, and he probably can torch a lot of guys when trading solos, but practicing scales is not what got him (or her) there. Playing music is what got him there. Some of the world’s best guitarists can’t even play scales, let alone tear up the fretboard with a flurry of modes and weird eastern scales like authoritarian guitar teachers might force upon students.

Jimmy Page, the legendary guitarist of the Mighty Led Zeppelin, is one of those players. In an interview with Steve Rosen, he said, “I don’t just sit down and play scales and things. I should have done but I never did. I can’t play a scale. You think I’m kidding but I’m not. I can’t.” This is one of the world’s most beloved guitarists saying that he can’t play ANY scales. He didn’t just say there are some odd scales he’s unfamiliar with. He’s saying he would stumble over a C Major scale.

Apparently, you don’t need scales to be able to write or improvise incredible solos, like the many iconic journeys Page takes us on in songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir.” Instead of sitting down and practicing scales or techniques, Page just picks up “the acoustic guitar for a start and it’s usually in a tuning. I sort of change tunings around a bit and I’m searching for new chords and shapes and things.”

This isn’t to say that Jimmy Page doesn’t work really hard at exploring the guitar and becoming a better player, he just doesn’t use his time to practice finger patterns, or even to warm up. Although he “can’t play a bar chord. It’s true,” he does “I push [myself] as far as I can go within the instrument at that point in time.” To Page, “It’s just try to do whatever you can do on an instrument and give it 100 percent of what you can do with the time you have to do it.”

This revelation about scale playing may come as a surprise from Guitar International, because we post plenty of helpful lessons involving scales and patterns and left hand exercises, but it really all comes down to what kind of player you are or want to be. Jimmy Page is of the “sloppy” guitar school, definitely never classified as a technical player. There are plenty of guitar heroes, like Joe Satriani or Yngwie Malmsteen, who are “technical,” and I’m pretty sure they can play scales. Like, every one of them things.

You don’t have to pick a side, or anything. If technicality is a goal, though, hit the practice room. If not, hit the jam session. Learn to play by playing, like Page did. He learned the guitar by playing three recording sessions a day, coming in blind and using his ear. While there might not be a recording studio that will pay to do that, there are always people to jam with, and if there aren’t there is always an iPod. So get jammin’!

http://guitarinterna...tice-he-doesnt/

Edited by Black-Dog

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Jimmy can't play a bar chord?

Permit me to doubt.

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I love Jimmy's playing because he not only plays lead and rhythm but he plays by ear as well. He understands the feel of the music. That's why Jonsey and Bonham were so important to his playing. They underscored what he was communicating through his guitar. You can't learn that from a teacher and certainly not from practicing scales. I tried learning how to play piano but trying to learn how to play the scales was so massively frustrating.

Edited by MissMelanie

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If i understand right, he plays in STH bar chords.

Did you mean 5th? I'm not being a smart arse, I'm genuinely trying to learn.

Also, isn't it barre not bar? Why would a guitar web site spell it like bar, she wondered aloud...

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Well, l guess it can't hurt practicing scales for hours. However.... l got my first guitar for Xmas 1970, an Epiphone acoustic $55 @ Sam Ash. I started taking lessons and immediately got bored & frustrated. I'm thinking now, if my teacher had shown me a couple of easy intros to knock around with after practicing scales, l might've been a little more dedicated to it and actually become a rock god soon after....lol

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I'm familiar with that interview, and I've always taken it with a grain of salt. The guy played sessions for years, I find it very hard to believe that he doesn't know any scales and can't play a barre chord. Although if you've ever tried to play a barre chord with a Les Paul slung down to your knees it is damn near impossible! :-)

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LOL! JP plays scales and barre chords. I wouldn't read too much into that article. My translation is "Please don't bore me with the usual guitar geek questions. Let's move on". It's not happenstance his fingers moved to specific places on the guitar. You don't stumble into that. Repetition is another word for practice. You don't have to sit down with a instructor or book to practice.

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I don't practice as much as I am supposed too. I tought myself how to play "Smoke On The Water" the wrong way before I knew how to play it the right way. I just listened to it, then I experimented a bit. I think it's more fun to venture out on your own. You know, without a teacher. A teacher is nice, but you have to find your own technique & sound.

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I used to practice scales just to build up dexterity. I do think there also comes a point where you really don't need to do it on a regular basis either.

I honestly don't buy into this article either.

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I remember an article from the late 70's where JP said he practiced for several hours a day. Presumably he composes and improvs rather than playing pentatonic scales backwards & forwards :)

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I remember an article from the late 70's where JP said he practiced for several hours a day. Presumably he composes and improvs rather than playing pentatonic scales backwards & forwards :)

My thoughts exactly!

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This is clearly a load of bullshit.

Zeppelin songs USE barre chords,How can he write a song using barre chords if he doesn't know how to use them?

And he always uses scales,Just listen to Stairway,It uses the pentatonic scale.

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Jimmy Page, the legendary guitarist of the Mighty Led Zeppelin, is one of those players. In an interview with Steve Rosen, he said, “I don’t just sit down and play scales and things. I should have done but I never did. I can’t play a scale. You think I’m kidding but I’m not. I can’t.” This is one of the world’s most beloved guitarists saying that he can’t play ANY scales. He didn’t just say there are some odd scales he’s unfamiliar with. He’s saying he would stumble over a C Major scale.

Apparently, you don’t need scales to be able to write or improvise incredible solos, like the many iconic journeys Page takes us on in songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir.” Instead of sitting down and practicing scales or techniques, Page just picks up “the acoustic guitar for a start and it’s usually in a tuning. I sort of change tunings around a bit and I’m searching for new chords and shapes and things.”

Isn't this interview from 1977? Regardless, I take it with a grain of salt. JPJ was skeptical about Achilles Last Stand but Jimmy was adamant it would work as he had a scale all figured out for it.

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Much easier these days, of course - tabs, specialist ROCK teachers, blah blah....but I'm sure there are still plenty of kids out there who get forced into the wrong kind of learning, and end up losing interest.

Ahhhh the tabs ! When I first saw tablature(?) to all my favorite heavies from the 60s & 70s, my first thought was : Jesus Christ, these songs can't be this simple ! ! I had thought Dazed & Confused would look something like Beethoven's 5th on sheet. Anyway, ya still gotta practice them........and I'm still plunking along with those intros !

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But I'd rather listen to them than widdly-widdly nonsense like Yngwie J Bumstain, Satriani or Vai. Or bloody Dream Theatre. Nightmare Theatre, I call 'em. Music for trainspotters.

i could give a rats ass about yngwie malmsteen and any other guitarist of that type. it does nothing for me. they have not one ounce of soul or feel in their playing. it's like saying to your wife "hey, i don't know anything about foreplay or the art of making love-but i can fuck really really fast"

Edited by fenderbass

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i could give a rats ass about yngwie malmsteen and any other guitarist of that type. it does nothing for me. they have not one ounce of soul or feel in their playing. it's like saying to your wife "hey, i don't know anything about foreplay or the art of making love-but i can fuck really really fast"

:hysterical::yourock:

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i could give a rats ass about yngwie malmsteen and any other guitarist of that type. it does nothing for me. they have not one ounce of soul or feel in their playing. it's like saying to your wife "hey, i don't know anything about foreplay or the art of making love-but i can fuck really really fast"

:hysterical: my sediments exactly - you got dat rite son!

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It seems some people decided not to play scales. Then...

1-If you are playing in any band and they ask you to make a riff, a solo or something in Cm, just say:

"Oh dear, as I don't play scales I can't play in any key.

But hey, don't you think I am useless, just think I am gonna be the new Jimmy Page".

2-If you think Jimmy Page didn't know, play or used scales, then you may learn the basics someday. He OBVIOUSLY cheated you all. "I can't play scales= I can't stand playing scales, I don't like it". But he CAN play them, OF COURSE!!! He worked in a studio!

3-Do you think Malmsteen and Vai have no feeling? Then shut down if someone says: "Page, Hendrix... they only play pentatonics, they are dirty and always sound the same. No feeling".

Shut down because you share half a brain with this people.

4-Don't tell your girlfriend: "Oh baby, I don't know anything about woman' body, but I will make you feel nice tonight. By the way, why don't you have an "elephant" between your legs...? How surprising!!"

I think Page is a nice guitarist. Malmsteen and Vai are also good guitarists. Page or Hendrix haters show the same lack of whatever as Malmsteen&Vai haters.

Music is not hating=Is more close to enjoying and laughing. And I had to laugh when I read some comments. Most enjoyable, but somehow predictable.

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The end result is what counts... However a musician gets out their thoughts.

I think criticizing a player for not knowing scales is as crazy as knocking someone for knowing them...

It's like knocking a Drummer who plays a 45 pc kit... which is as dumb as knocking a drummer that plays a 4pc kit.

It doesn't matter either way as long as they use it well.

I would think knowing scales would help... but it could also hurt.. depending on the individual.

I was recently playing with a brilliant musician. This guy is classically trained... He plays Bass, Cello, Double Bass. Guitar, Mandolin, Keys, Church Organ... you name it.. anything with Strings or Keys... He could play really well. He can also read anything you put in front of him and can even conduct...

He couldn't jam or write though. I'm sure he could if he worked on it... but hadn't.

So all that knowledge was great in some ways and hurt him in others. Because he was schooled, in his case it took the spontanity out of it... But I'm sure there are also schooled musicians that rip and jam like there's no tomorrow...

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Jimmy Page, the legendary guitarist of the Mighty Led Zeppelin, is one of those players. In an interview with Steve Rosen, he said, “I don’t just sit down and play scales and things. I should have done but I never did. I can’t play a scale. You think I’m kidding but I’m not. I can’t.”

And it surely shows in his solos, which are really boring sometimes.

It is true that practising a scale doesn´t make you a songwriter. And Jimmy Page is a songwriter on the guitar.

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I'm not buying the fact that Jimmy Page doesn't know scales. I think he was taking the piss.

Hell, considering that interview was from 1977, when there was a good chance Jimmy was loaded on horse, anything from that interview should be viewed with a grain of salt.

I think Jimmy was feeding the mystique...and by saying he couldn't play scales, I think what he meant was that he DID know scales, he just didn't like the tedium of sitting down and playing them over and over.

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