Igor Bilykh

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Igor Bilykh

Course: Master of the Modes, Complete Chord Mastery, Scales For Blues Guitar

"I have been playing guitar since high school but the only thing I knew was a minor pentatonic. Perhaps some people are really creative and can figure out everything on their own but I prefer to have a toolbox and choose the "wrench" I want when I want it. I have been chasing such "toolbox" for a while and some of them out there, with guitar teachers and online sources are questionable and superficial.

"The first hard awakening was that playing by imitation did not do much good for me in terms of understanding, let along composing songs. The second one was that many teachers show the result or "do as I say" instead of explaining how the idea is constructed, and more importantly, how to use it. I thought you needed to memorize a million licks to unleash your own creativity but that led me to the third hard awakening- it did not work and it was boring.

"The next step in the search for the toolbox was taking lessons from a guitar teacher. He was very good but I still could not see how learning his piece of music or a mammoth arpeggio would allow me to plug it in my own things. The most important thing during those times was learning scale shapes, understanding basic harmonization and realizing that there is more out there than the "diatonic slash pentatonic" world. I am very thankful to this teacher for that. But I almost quit because it was not me in all those shapes and exercises.

"Purely by accident, three years later when I hardly played any guitar, I discovered the modal course by Tommaso. It took me six month to through lessons and I still have one more lesson to go (I am delaying getting it as I don't want a sense of completion in this case, I like the idea of work in progress, no matter how silly it sounds) I was sceptical initially as there is a lot of hit and miss out there online. Thankfully, this course worked for me.

"I am not what you call a "talented player" and I have an average ear, I can't sing at all, I don't have perfect pitch and I don't even know what degree of relative pitch I have if any. I only know what sounds good to my ear and what sounds interesting. I hated minor pentatonic for a long time, but wait, what if you combine it with melodic minor and the Dorian scale and some other interesting "tools" I learned from Tommaso. Now we are talking.

"The song that is attached is evidence that even someone average like me can write something that has fairly complicated and not boring harmony and melody. Surely, it may not be "good" in conventional-commercial sense, but as long as I have fun, I am past the point of worrying about that. I do it because I like playing.

"What are the results? As a minimum, I know how to dictate a modal harmony and how to combine modal progressions and play appropriate scales, I can dictate a degree of ambiguity if I want to as well. I know what fits what and I can deviate from the rule a little bit, where such deviation has an explanation as well. As a maximum, only time will tell.

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