The Pataka Scale and why you should study music.

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I believe that experience is always the best teacher. You can have all the theoretical knowledge crammed into your brain but if you don’t apply it in a practical manner, you might as well just chuck those books out the window. So, before we start. Study, study, study. Get everything right according to your music teacher (if you enrolled in music school) and experiment every now and then.
When I first arrived in Manila, the first thing I sought out was to get some real guitar education. 
Before I picked up the guitar, I started out on bass. This was simply because I was the only one big enough to handle it when we were 15 years old.
My friends and first bass guitar teachers simply pointed out where the notes were on the neck and I was left to my own devises. I ended up renting the bass from the rehearsal space so I could spend more time with it at home before I eventually scraped enough money to get my own.
During that time, my buddies were taking lessons from the great Noli Aurillo and I’d often tag along to check out what they were doing and taking mental notes as I listened quietly in a small corner trying to be as invisible as possible so as not to disturb the proceedings. I’d memorize the scales by sight and practice them on my own using a beat up acoustic guitar at home.
I’d memorize how the scales sounded like in my mind and sing them back to myself while I figure out where exactly on the fretboard each finger went. I still do this to this day.
Sometimes I’d mess up the scales in my mind and end up with a totally different scale which sounded right to me somehow but was fundamentally wrong to others. That was my first experience in musical experimentation.
Still there was a very large hole in my playing because I was still not educated enough to know the relations of the notes.
So, when I got to Manila, I enrolled in Yamaha and learned how to play the guitar properly and also learned chord theory.
I learned how to do scales properly. But, it took all the fun out of playing guitar for me because now I was bound to a set of perceived rules that I could not, would not and should not break according to my guitar teacher. He’d play a chord pattern for me and expect me to play along using scales on the book. Any deviation from the usual scale pattern was met with a look of disapproval.
I eventually finished the course and my band began playing gigs in Manila.
It’s cool to learn all the basic scales. But, it should not be the only thing you have in mind. Otherwise, you’re just going to end up playing as if you were practicing onstage. You should know how to mix and match all the scales or come up with your own weird ones and trust your musical instincts.
When I first started making guitar solos, I based it usually on my bass playing because that was what I was accustomed to. One good example of this is the solo on “Her Silence” which heavily uses the bottom strings.
Here’s how I play it:
I start out with a passage on the low strings particularly the A and D strings and then progress to the G string before ending up on the B string and working my way up the neck. This is a very simple pattern but it worked musically and visually as picking all the notes made it all ring out and working my way up the neck gave the illusion that I was playing like my favorite guitarists who would employ all of the fretboard when they play their guitars.
That and making some really weird guitar faces usually helped make such a simple pattern work.
Other guitarists would have been all over the fretboard with fast licks. I chose not to simply because I did not have the necessary skills that time to employ a speed run on the fret board. And when i got to the speed I wanted, I realized I didn’t want to play fast all the time. I like playing fast every now and then but if you do it all the time, it begins to lose its impact. I like injecting some fast runs every now and then just to give my playing a jolt.
I made a scale just for that and I usually use it when I’m trying to impress people that I can play fast and I’ve called it the Pataka Scale. It’s loosely based on the blues scale and it sounds cool if you play it real fast. Visually, it has the same effect. Try it.
From there you you can use any scale pattern you can think of to complete the run. I prefer doing a Minor blues scale or a pentatonic scale to finish the Pataka scale. It’s not really meant to be musical all throughout, it’s just a lightning fast run to shock people musically and visually when you’re onstage.
Before I go, just because I said learning how to properly play guitar affected my playing adversely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t study music anymore. No, no, no. I still believe in getting the basics down and then allowing your fingers to get some muscle memory going before chucking all of that knowledge out the window and creating your own licks, scales and phrases.
Study music to the point that you’ve learned all the rules and then bend them to your own will. Play fast, play slow, play however you want as long as it sounds cool to you, it’ll end up impressing some people especially if you put some real emotion into it.


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