Since I was improvising in a Mixolydian mode the other day, I thought I would look up what other musicians do when improvising in Mixo. They all do the same which is tell you the notes of Mixolydian. They pick the key and then tell you to use the scale to improvise. One guy at least showed he draws out chords in his playing rather than just simply going up and down the scale.
Cool, but why is it great players sound so good. Why is that even when we know the notes to play, or even the theory behind scales and modes, we still sound like ass.
Brutal Truth: Its all about rhythm. Why does the great players sound so good? Its their sense of rhythm. Its the way they play with the rhythm. The spaces in between the notes. The pauses for a breath, the mixture of eighth notes and triplets, and on and on. You can’t see rhythm in a youtube video. If you watch your favorite player, you still won’t see the rhythm. You can see their hands, you can see their instrument. But you can’t see the rhythm.
Even when you sit and look at your guitar, you don’t see rhythm. It has to be felt. You can see the notes and patterns all day long, but the brutal truth is you won’t sound very good unless you really understand and feel rhythm.
The good news is that rhythm can be developed. The good news is that knowing less notes yet having a playful sense of rhythm always kills. Knowing lots of notes and patterns and having a bad sense of rhythm will put an audience into a coma.