If you Meet Jimi Hendrix Or The Buddha On The Road; Kill Them Both!

The Great Buddhist master Lin-chi once said: “If you meet the Buddha, kill him”. An iconoclastic riddle that is engineered to bring a sense of  originality in the thinker, Lin-chi goes right for the heart of a fatal habit that many people do: make deities out of celebrities.

In his time, the Buddha was a celebrity to every young aspiring monk and there was a bit of a cult of personality that eponymously  followed the man. However, the Buddha was a real person who walked this earth and came up with his own ideas about the nature of the mind, life, & death and can only be relevant to the criteria of his life’s version of truth. Lin-chi’s words were not psychopathic advice meant to inflame the youth, it was advice that was meant to keep the mind from wandering into ignorance though devotion.

I say the same thing about all of the modern heroes of guitar: If you meet them in practice, kill them! That’s right, destroy them in your mind as soon as the image is made and keep repeating this little mental exercise until you are free from the tyranny of comparison or divine adoration.Moreover, these thoughts start to fester and then the nasty part comes out: the comparisons of relevant artists to legends from a golden age. You see these posters all over the place with the same hipster jargon about how its a tragedy that artists A only made $X and sell out artist B makes double that or got more awards than artist A and quite frankly, it all needs to end. This type of behavior does not relate to practice or learning anything and it does not engender a proper space for studying any of these said legends.

Learn with an unfettered mind and move into the future without clinging to the past and your guitar playing will be set free. Sorry no tabs for this lesson, the message is more important

Add A Little Raga To Your Guitar

 What do you get when you alter the Myxolydian mode a bit?

You get…

A style of Brit-Rock infused with healthy doses of Indian classical music and heavily drugged up cultural naivete’. It pops up from time to time in singles, so today let us check out a few ways to incorporate it into your pentatonic playing.

With a little access to the mixolydian mode, we can begin to sound like we are straight out of the Maharishi’s ashram, free loving ourselves into a groovy stupor. I say a little access because I’m not going to turn this into a modal lesson because that’s a great opportunity later.

raga7

Now let’s pluck out the ii and the vi ( the 2nd and 6th note of the mixolydian mode ) and we have a neat mixolydian pentatonic gateway to the Ganges.

 

raga tab

Don’t mess around with modes much? See it as this: The Pentatonic minor could be spelled out as: I-biii-IV-V-bvii, just step up the biii a half step ( one fret) We get a pentatonic scale altered to a very psychedelic vibe and ripe for playing “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles, Kula Shaker songs, or a homemade sitar. Let’s look at some components.

Before we go on to riffing out this scale, let’s look at a new technique that’s actually an old technique; the meend. The meend is a legato slide, but with a few extra features that the western legato doesn’t have; we will cover two of them. The first one a simple half step hop and slide forward:

raga 2

Well, lets now learn a triplet meend to glide across the scale.

However, we need to prep the guitar neck to support the watery legato with some kind of oil (mineral, coconut, the lemony stuff from your local music store, etc…).

Very overlooked detail for guitarists

Just apply the lubricant liberally to the fretboard and rub the it into the frets and your fingertips.  Triplet legato slides are very very difficult without a little grease.

Let’s take the meend out for a spin:

raga3

Sounds cool, right? So now let’s take this guy out for a spin with 2 more examples:

raga5
Editor note: the triplets are meend legatos.

raga6

This vibe is found all throughout the mid to late 90s raga rock/ brit pop revival efforts of Oasis, Chemical Brothers, Kula Shaker,The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Butthole Surfers, Beck, and The Tea Party.

Understand that I make a huge distinction between this “Raga Rock” variation of guitar playing and Indian classical music, which is much much more complicated and subtle than what I am presenting in this humble article. This is designed to give you new tools from another part of the world in your everyday average pentatonic minor or blues scale.

 

There will be a part 2 to this that will cover transitions between the this kind of sound and more conventional ones coming soon.