Phrasing (Guitar Lesson)


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Brad Henecke

Phrasing

Brad introduces you to the importance of phrasing. Quality phrasing is essential when performing any melodic line.

Taught by Brad Henecke in Rock Guitar with Brad Henecke seriesLength: 14:19Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (2:00) Introduction Brad jams on a 12 bar blues in the key of A to kick off Lesson 20.
Chapter 2: (2:05) Intro to Phrasing Note: The following information regarding phrasing is taken from Lesson 2 of Matt Brown’s Phase 2 Rock series. Check this lesson out for additional phrasing information.
A phrase is the musical equivalent to a sentence. The same rules that exist regarding the sentence need to be observed in music as well. Run-on sentences are to be avoided. Do not play phrases that are too long for the listener to digest. Long phrases or sentences tend to ramble on, and the overall point gets lost. Appropriate space or punctuation must be left between sentences or phrases. Leaving space between phrases gives the listener much needed time to digest what you have just played. A phrase must also be a logical, complete thought rather than a fragment.

Most inexperienced players struggle with creating logical, complete phrases. They simply piddle around between notes rather than creating a cohesive statement. This mainly happens for one reason. Young players are so wrapped up in finding the correct notes to play that they forget to listen to what they are actually playing.

As Jim Deeming frequently preaches, “it is much easier to achieve success if you know what success sounds like.” Listen to these players to get some good phrasing ideas: Miles Davis, Dave Navarro, Jerry Cantrell, Billy Corgan, Slash, Mike McCready, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert King, Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, and John Scofield just to name a few.
Chapter 3: (3:04) Rhythmic Phrasing In his book Phrase Rhythm in Tonal Music, theorist William Rothstein writes that rhythmic phrasing "is not at all a cut-and-dried affair, but the very lifeblood of music and capable of infinite variety. Discovering a work's phrase rhythm is a gateway to its understanding and to effective performance." This statement accurately describes the importance of phrasing.

Rhythmic phrasing can be broken down into two basic areas of discussion: phrase placement and rhythm within the phrase.

A. Phrase Placement
Phrase placement is of the utmost importance. Solos begin to sound quite monotonous when the phrases begin and end in the same spots. Vary where the phrase enters (up beat, down beat, the end or beginning of the measure, etc.) to create an interesting solo. Also, make sure that you vary the lengths of your phrases. Study any melody that you enjoy regardless of whether it is a guitar solo, vocal melody, violin part, etc. Where does each phrase enter in relation to the rest of the music?
B. Rhythm within a Phrase
Exercise 1
In this scene, Brad demonstrates how to vary the rhythmic phrasing within a lick. By playing one note for an entire solo, the melodic aspect of the solo is taken away. Watch as Brad plays a 12 bar blues solo using only the tonic note. Eliminating the melodic portion of the solo allows you to focus on the rhythmic. Limiting the melodic content forces you to come up with interesting phrase rhythm.

Once you become comfortable improvising with one note from the scale, slowly add another. Add either G or C as the second note. Repeat this process until you are utilizing every note in the scale.
Exercise 2
Start with any lick that you are familiar with. Now, change up the rhythms within the phrase. This process requires that you shorten some notes, and lengthen others.

Note: Open the Supplemental Content tab for an example of this process.
Chapter 4: (3:19) Repetition and Variation Like Brad mentioned in the first scene, some phrases or sentences must be repeated “to make what you say more interesting.” Repeating a lick immediately draws attention to it. Repetition builds tension that grabs the listener’s ears. However, you don’t always want to repeat the phrase the exact same way each time. This will cause your solo to sound quite monotonous. Instead, slightly vary each repetition of the phrase. Brad provides a demonstration of this concept at 1:30. Practice these ideas within the context of a 12 bar blues improvisation.
Chapter 5: (4:00) Phrasing Tips and Tricks Playing a guitar solo is frequently compared to telling a story. A solo must have a logical beginning, middle, and end. Start the solo with a catchy lick that immediately grabs the listener’s attention. Do not immediately start shredding as fast as you can when you begin the solo. This will overwhelm your listeners and turn them away. Instead, gradually build toward a logical climax. Finally, the solo must resolve with some sort of logical conclusion.

As an exercise, write out a very brief short story. For each sentence of the story, play a musical phrase that fits the rhythm of the sentence. Since speaking and phrasing share the same set of rules, your phrasing will greatly improve as a result of this process. Don’t forget to pause between each phrase!

Brad demonstrates this concept with the sentence, “I went to the store to buy some ice cream, and it tasted really good.” For each syllable of the sentence Brad improvises a note from the A minor pentatonic scale.

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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


the_ANTIDRUGthe_ANTIDRUG replied on February 18th, 2014

This guy is so cool; I could take him home.

the_ANTIDRUGthe_ANTIDRUG replied on February 18th, 2014

And he has music in his blood and soul. Beyond technique, you can feel that he feels music

mandraxmandrax replied on June 20th, 2013

Wow, you know, I've been messing with pentatonics a fair bit lately, but my phrasing always sounded terrible. The tip to make it sound like you are telling a story has really hit home. Just from this lesson alone my soling has significantly improved. Thank you!

leinadleinad replied on April 22nd, 2014

I've been playing for a pretty long time and can rip all sorts of licks and scales but never has phrasing made so much sense to me as it did when this guy said to tell a story. Perfect!

jboothjbooth replied on September 6th, 2012

Glad you all like this lesson so much. It's one of the few that changed my playing for the better in an immediate and fast way.

MonetMonet replied on September 6th, 2012

Wow, one of the BEST,BEST lessons on this whole site. So simple, but as usual, "I can never see the forest for the trees",,,SUPERB lesson, down dirt basic to start, keep it up , Brad!!!

downunderdownunder replied on July 3rd, 2012

Another one of those aah haa moments during this lesson. So pumped...just wanna jam all day long. You're the best Brad!

lex783lex783 replied on February 28th, 2012

Probably my favorite lesson on this site so far. Preciate it!

thewizardthewizard replied on January 9th, 2012

Didn't expect too much from this lesson but boy was i wrong! Very cool lesson dude!!

timvo123timvo123 replied on September 12th, 2010

The most important lesson on this site

mbaribembaribe replied on July 17th, 2010

I SECOND THAT...WHERE IS BRAD? IS HE COMING BACK!

henry krinklehenry krinkle replied on April 4th, 2010

WHERE IS BRAD? IS HE COMING BACK!

sidksidk replied on March 10th, 2010

Hey Brad how do you get that squeeling blues sound? are you using certain effects?

analogkidanalogkid replied on December 27th, 2009

Another great lesson Brad. Makes sense and is very useful for the aspiring lead player. Thanks!

joel13joel13 replied on October 5th, 2009

brad, great lesson. just wondering, were u using finch harmonics in the improv?

guitarfoolguitarfool replied on April 5th, 2009

OK thanks, lead is a big hurdle for me, I think I'm too logical, I need to let go and let the guitar do the talking, my first sentence to use while playing is "I'm going to go fishing, fish all night", it worked, problem is I want to go fishing and it's cold out.

oorakhhyeoorakhhye replied on March 5th, 2009

Brad, this was a great lesson. Thanks for all these awesome videos.

sbryantsbryant replied on February 3rd, 2009

My wife always tells me I could not find anything under my own nose. Everytime she asks me to get he milk from the fridge, I am unable to find it and without fail, it turns out the milk was in plain view!! Such is the case with this lesson. The ideas presented here never even occurred to me before. Thanks Brad for lighting another path!!!!!

dash rendardash rendar replied on January 7th, 2009

You know what might make a cool addition to JamPlay? The ability to be able to mark a lesson as a "favourite", so you can always come back to it easily. That would be nice. Maybe you could mention it to Jeff? Anyway, this lesson would go down in my Favourites.

dash rendardash rendar replied on January 7th, 2009

This is really insightful stuff! This lesson goes a long way to turning my simple scale fragments into a real singing guitar. Thanks Brad. :)

t0pw0pt0pw0p replied on October 9th, 2008

That was really good. Is that backing track on this site?

guitarguy316guitarguy316 replied on August 15th, 2008

Brad definetely has the communication thing going on with the guitar. He makes a lot of sense! I will certainly put these points into consideration when playing lead... thanks Brad! Great lesson!

rialcorralesrialcorrales replied on April 6th, 2008

The best lesson of the set so far. Thanls for the tips!!!

bluedogbluedog replied on March 9th, 2008

The thing I learned from this leason was just keep it simple and play the hell out of it

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied on March 9th, 2008

(The thing I learned from this leason was just keep it simple and play the hell out of it ) You got man ! Simple is best . Some times people try to play to much and it loses it's feeling .You got to feel what you are playing .

lucemlucem replied on December 21st, 2007

Brad you are the man! This lesson was great!!

Rock Guitar with Brad Henecke

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

In this Phase 2 series Brad Henecke will school you in the art of rock guitar. You will not only learn how to play some of your favorite songs in this series, but you will also learn how to create your own.



Lesson 1

Basic Rock Guitar

This lesson covers the absolute basics of rock guitar. Learn about the electric guitar, pickups, amplifiers, changing strings, and more.

Length: 52:09 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Learning Chords

The first step of your rock guitar experience is learning some of the more popular chords and that is what this lesson is all about.

Length: 42:30 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Barre Chords and More

Brad Henecke introduces common strumming patterns and barre chords.

Length: 42:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Your First Song

In this lesson Brad covers some of the more advanced barre chord shapes. He applies these shapes to the song "Hotel California."

Length: 41:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Blues and Scales

Rock has its roots in the blues. Brad helps you explore the wonderful world of blues in this lesson. He also covers some chord theory.

Length: 48:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Tricks and Lead

This lesson is all about specific techniques used by lead guitarists.

Length: 52:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Jammin' with Scales

This lesson details how to improvise with the blues scale.

Length: 27:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

3 Songs

In this fun lesson, Brad Henecke teaches you riffs from 3 classic rock songs.

Length: 28:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Power Chords

Power chords help give rock music that "punch you in the face" feel. Learn basic power chords in this lesson.

Length: 13:22 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

2 New Songs

Are you ready to learn "Ain't Talking About Love" by Van Halen and "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC? That's what this lesson is all about.

Length: 27:32 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Pentatonic Scale

Brad teaches the first pattern of the minor pentatonic scale and explains how it relates to the blues scale.

Length: 14:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Second Pattern

Brad covers the second pattern for both the minor blues and minor pentatonic scales.

Length: 9:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Message in a Bottle

Learn the classic rock song "Message in a Bottle."

Length: 10:22 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Third Pattern

This great lesson covers the 3rd fretboard pattern of the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales.

Length: 7:19 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Colorful Chord Tension

Brad demonstrates how open strings can be added to chord shapes you are already familiar with.

Length: 9:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

The Fourth Pattern

Brad covers the fourth pattern of the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales.

Length: 8:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Daytripper

In this lesson Brad demonstrates how to play the Beatles song "Daytripper."

Length: 15:21 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Fifth Pattern

Brad demonstrates the 5th pattern of the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales. He also discusses practicing and memorizing them.

Length: 13:05 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

"Brown Eyed Girl"

Learn the classic rock song "Brown Eyed Girl" in this episode of Rock Guitar.

Length: 11:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Phrasing

Brad introduces you to the importance of phrasing. Quality phrasing is essential when performing any melodic line.

Length: 14:19 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Basics of Tapping

Tapping is an idiomatic guitar technique that offers a unique sound.

Length: 14:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Intro to Modes

Learning the modes is essential to the development of your scale vocabulary.

Length: 31:04 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Understanding Chord Shapes

Brad further explains what chord shapes are and how they relate to barre chords.

Length: 10:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Natural Harmonics

Learn the right and left hand mechanics involved in playing harmonics.

Length: 13:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Advanced Harmonics

Brad covers more advanced harmonic techniques such as harp harmonics, pinch harmonics and tap harmonics.

Length: 16:10 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

The Dorian Mode

Brad moves on in his modal lesson series to explain the Dorian mode. This lesson includes 2 backing tracks.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 27

Phrygian Mode

Brad explains and demonstrates the Phrygian mode.

Length: 13:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 28

The Lydian Mode

Brad continues his discussion of the modes. You will learn the Lydian mode in this lesson.

Length: 9:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

Mixolydian Mode

Brad explains the Mixolydian mode and its practical applications.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

The Aeolian Mode

Continuing with his modal lessons, Brad Henecke teaches the Aeolian mode.

Length: 9:09 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 31

The Locrian Mode

The final lesson in our modal series covers the Locrian mode.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

The Ace Zone

Brad teaches some licks inspired by Ace Frehley of KISS. Incorporate these licks into your own solos.

Length: 7:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

Learn Licks

In this lesson Brad Henecke teaches you some fun licks that can be used in your own guitar solos.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Blues Licks

Brad Henecke demonstrates some cool blues licks.

Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

Modes and Scales

Brad Henecke provides an alternate way of comparing modes and scales.

Length: 8:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

A Different View

In the last lesson, Brad Henecke compared some scales that are major or dominant in quality. Now, he repeats this process with minor scales.

Length: 7:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

One String Scales

This lesson is all about 1 string scales. Learning scales on 1 string is essential to your knowledge of the fretboard.

Length: 8:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

One String Ionian Mode

Brad demonstrates a one string version of the Ionian mode. This lesson demonstrates the importance of horizontal scales.

Length: 7:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Aeolian Mode on One String

Brad continues his discussion of single string scales. He explains how to play the Aeolian mode across a single string.

Length: 4:11 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 40

Octave Scales

Brad explains how to locate octaves within scale patterns. He demonstrates a cool lick that involves playing simultaneous octaves.

Length: 7:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 41

Using Octaves

Brad explains how to use octaves in the context of an exercise. Octaves can also be used to build effective licks.

Length: 5:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 42

Harmonic Minor Scale

Brad introduces the harmonic minor scale. He explains how it can be applied to the solo break in "Sweet Child O' Mine."

Length: 7:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 43

Learning by Ear

Brad Henecke provides valuable tips regarding the process of learning songs by ear.

Length: 23:00 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 44

Ear Training Game

Improve your ear training by playing "The Tone Is Right" with Brad Henecke.

Length: 29:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 45

Diminished Arpeggio

Brad Henecke explains diminished chords and provides a fun diminished arpeggio exercise.

Length: 19:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 46

Understanding Time Signatures

Brad Henecke addresses time signatures.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 47

Diminished Chords

Brad Henecke explains the construction of diminished seventh chords. He also provides a diminished chord exercise.

Length: 10:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 48

Open G Tuning

Brad Henecke introduces open G tuning in this lesson.

Length: 23:50 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 49

Drop D Tuning

Brad Henecke introduces drop D tuning in this lesson. He explains many advantages of this tuning.

Length: 12:57 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 50

G Major Pentatonic

Brad Henecke teaches the G major pentatonic scale. He demonstrates all 5 patterns and explains how they can be transposed to any key.

Length: 22:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 51

Changing Scales with Chords

In this lesson Brad Henecke talks about changing the pentatonic/blues scales with each chord in a chord progression.

Length: 11:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 52

Mixolydian Scale and Chords

Brad will show how to use the Mixolydian scale with a blues chord progression.

Length: 6:56 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 53

Gear and Effects

This lesson is all about gear and effects. Brad begins his discussion with power conditioning and removing hiss from your amplifier. He progresses to discuss a plethora of effects pedals. Brad explores...

Length: 52:48 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 54

The Wah Pedal

In this lesson, Brad Henecke introduces the wah pedal and demonstrates its many applications.

Length: 15:53 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only

About Brad Henecke View Full Biography Brad Henecke was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on May 5th of 1963. He has been a fan of music for as long as he & his family can remember. You could always find him running around the farm wailing on his cardboard guitar, pretending to be a member of the rock band KISS. Additional inspiration came during his first concert when he got the chance to see Boston & Sammy Hagar in the early 1970's.

This opened up a whole new world of rock and roll music for him; his parents noticed his growing interest in music and enrolled him into guitar lessons when he was 13.

From there he jumped into two years of lessons at a local music store in Cedar Rapids. After discovering Eddie Van Halen, Brad knew that the guitar would always be a part of his life. He took his love throughout the city as he played as a pit musician & jammed at parties for friends.

This made him thirsty for more. He enrolled classes at Kirkwood Community College & also took lessons from the one & only Craig-Erickson (www.craig-erickson.com).

His love for music landed him a gig opening for Molly Hatchet in Cedar Rapids with a band called "Slap & Tickle". He has also played in the Greeley Stampede show for quite a few years with "True North".

Brad is currently playing in Greeley, Colorado with a rock band titled "Ragged Doll". They play a wide variety of music with an emphasis on classic rock from the 60's to present, with Brad playing electric guitar in the five piece lineup.

He currently jams on his all-time favorite guitar: a Paul Reed Smith Custom 24. Beyond guitar, he plays also plays drums & bass guitar. He has also been known to thrash a banjo from time to time. He is still actively playing & passing his 31 years of playing experience on to others (you!).

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