View Full Version : Eureka

05-23-2012, 03:45 PM
Suddenly it all makes sense.

Up til now, I've been basically just playing first position chords, where I'd never venture below the 4th fret in order to get a shape.

Part of it was comfort, but part of it was also just not being able to remember all the higher shapes. Shootz, just getting the basic 12 chords, plus a handful of 7ths and one or two sus seemed like more than enough.

And then, just about five minutes ago, it clicked. Seriously, like someone just flipped a switch. I was just noodling about, when I just moved a shape up the neck. There I was, playing F, when I just went down one to F#/Gb, and then another to G.

Talk about enlightenment!

And honestly, I think I owe a big debt of this to the owner of Marina Music, in West LA (the shop I mentioned in another thread), because when it finally clicked, I wasn't thinking about the actual notes I was playing, which was the root, which was the fifth, etc. I was just thinking shapes.

See, I met Alex, the owner of Marina Music, by chance. I just stopped in to his shop for a look-see. It's been there for Donks, and I finally decided to see how it compared to other local shops. Anyway, we got to talking, and in only a couple of minutes, he took me to his back room, put a really nice guitar in my hand, and started to teach me about his theory of music, which he calls Echometry.

For him, the rules and regulations are too strict. It's all about shapes. Not on the fretboard, but in some bizarre three-dimensional space he tries to capture in circles. I was there for about 90 min taking it in. I'll admit, some of it was prety out there, but there was also some stuff that just sort of seemed to make sense ... in a total retro 70's free your mind and your ass will follow way.

Anyway, he was going on about how if you understand the shapes of music (not chords), you can take any instrument, and as soon as you learn it's layout, you can play anything. His universal is the circle, but a uke or violin string is just a circle cut and laid out straight. A keyboard is just a series of circles laid end-to-end. Etc. Then he made me play the guitar. I explained I was a four string guy and didn't know the guitar, but he said that if I got what he was talkng about, I could play the six stringer in my hands. So I tried. And while I wouldn't call it playing, I wouldn't say I was strangling any cats, either.

That was on Friday of last week. Today, just before posting this, what he was saying finally percolated into my sub-conscious and made sense.

I feel like I just stepped in to a bigger world. It makes sense, but not in a "root note and fifths and eigths" way. But in a more hippie way.

Too cool, man.

05-23-2012, 10:58 PM
Thats great to hear and very inspiring, I have no brain at all for learning music the traditional way (Ie reading manuscript), many people starting with my sister teaching me guitar when I was 7 have tried to teach me all that hocus pocus, pentatonic, root notes, circle of fifths relative majors and minors etc... waste of time with me, my brain just does not compute.

Sure I know the first position chords on guitar and uke but once I start moving up the neck unless it's a simple bar chord i have absolutely no idea what I'm playing, and at 45 years old I don't see that situation changing.

But it hasn't stopped me learning to play pretty good imo, I still watch how to play videos and follow the shapes which frets and strings are being played, but as soon as someone starts explaining "right now we put in a flat fourth or now we do a D minor Dorian lead run I just switch off, well I don't do it consciously, my brain shuts down on auto pilot now.

You will have to physically show me which note I need to play for it to be a flat 4, just show me the damned shape and I can play it, try getting me to convert words to finger positions and it's just not gonna happen.

So great to hear your story of the mad music shop owner with his own method and theory of music, all very encouraging for someone like me who has also pretty much fumbled his own way through music making to the point where I'm happy with what I know and don't yearn for a cert 5 in music theory.

Good luck with your progress too, maybe one day we can have a jam together and no one else will understand what we are talking about, well perhaps your music shop guy would lol.



05-24-2012, 12:59 AM
That's awesome. Or groovy.

I think music theory is a lot like physics. At first, it's complicated, but sort of gettable. Then, you delve deeper, and it becomes really complicated. Then you go deeper and it becomes mental. And then, suddenly, you pop out the other side, and realise it's all based on really simple, elegant things. And then you suddenly feel you're on the outside, looking in, and it all looks small and doable.

So maybe this guy is trying to get you to the other side of the maze without going through the middle. Gotta say, I enjoyed the middle. But it's not for everyone. Or everyone's not for it.

At any rate, enjoy the ride!

05-24-2012, 01:17 AM
Wow, that seems really cool! PoiDog, you should encourage him to put out a video/book/cd tutorial of his ideas! Sounds like something I've searched for all my life.

05-24-2012, 02:51 AM
Now somebody needs to flip the switch in my brain!

The Big Kahuna
05-24-2012, 03:34 AM

05-24-2012, 05:52 AM
Mahalo plenny for the comments (well, almost all of them, anyway).

As it turns out, Alex has a website at www.echometry.com where he tries to explain things somewhat. He's also got an app at the apple store for you iClones out there (nothing for us droiders) that provides a practical gadget. And, as he mentioned, he is working on a documentary, a book, and creating some sort of teaching module for schools.

There's no doubt there's a touch of madness about this fella, but it's the sort of crazy that makes the world a more fun place, not the sort that tries to control lives with stories of alien overlords.

The Big Kahuna
05-24-2012, 05:56 AM
You do realise it was meant as a joke, don't you ?

05-24-2012, 06:07 AM
You do realise it was meant as a joke, don't you ?

I assumed it was. But then again this guy and his theory are pretty far out there and some of it is kind of wild. So it wouldn't surprise me if some straights probably think he's just batsh*t crazy like Tommy and Johnny.

But no worries. We're cool.

05-24-2012, 07:24 AM
I've tried to understand music a few times and found it to be a huge waste of time for me. I just can't wrap my head around it. I would love it if someone could help me make sense of it all! I have a feeling that it isn't that complex but that there is a "language" issue. I don't understand the language so the rest of it is gibberish.

05-24-2012, 08:24 AM
I've been playing guitar for over 30 years, and over the years tried and tried to learn "therory" but just have a mental block and have never been able to master the science of music. I just played sounds, not notes. What sounded "right" to me. I still play like that. I play chords, and notes, and I can't even tell you what chord or note it is. When I played in a band, sometimes I would try to apply "therory" and everyone would tell me to just stop and play like I usually do, because it bears it's soul when I do. When I try to apply pricipals to it, it starts to sound too mechanical. Still does with me. I was told years ago by a blues guitarist just play in a specific "box" on the neck. Play the sounds that your soul hears. When it's time to move onto another box, play that box the same way. I didn't have a clue what he was talking about until I started looking at areas of a neck as individual boxes, and in those boxes I can make sounds that sound right. Each box has the same sounds, but different octives. It clicked to me like that many years ago, and I that is just how I have played now for many years. For me, that is just what worked. Great to hear you flipped your switch.. ;)