Introduce Yourself First! We think of each other as being part of a community, and want to know who you are. Use this as an opportunity to honestly represent yourself and why you are here. Be Respectful of others when posting: There is a lot of leeway of what is acceptable here, but, your point should be able to be made without humiliating, hateful words, witch-hunts, ganging up, bullying, name calling, threats, or violence. (The types of things that you wouldn't find acceptable at a Dead Show.) Be Kind: a good rule of thumb when interacting on this site is to ask yourself: are you kind?
I can't remember where but I read an interview once in which Jerry said, when learning a new song, he first worked out the melody line in solo notes. Then he immediately had two ways to solo over every new song: with the melody; and (for lack of a better phrase) against it.
I like this advice. Melody is one way to go. But like most things in life, a steady diet of just melody can become tedious.
So, by all means, learn the melody and how to solo using it. But also learn know how to use your scales, modes, chord tones, and intervals.
@Jon S. or anybody else. Jon I understand the modal stuff & know the modes but have a hard time making them sound different. Since modes share the same 7 notes just in a different order/sequence how can you make them sound different? I know start on an A note for A major/ionian, B for B dorian, E for E mixo, etc... but once you get going it's all the same notes & I end up feeling like I am just playing the parent scale (major). Not sure if I am explaing very well. Franklins Tower for example is A mixo but how do you make it sound different than D major or any of the other modes beside starting on the A? Take hitting chord tones out just for this instance & focusing on playing the correct mode.
But a big part of it is the chord tones. Check out this video:
Discovered Michael Palmisano early in the sequestration. He got turned onto the dead about a year ago, and has a series of reaction videos where he's going through videos and assessing what Jerry and the rest of the band are doing from a theory point of view. Pretty interesting stuff, and it's very cool to see his reactions as someone relatively new to the Dead seeing and hearing a ripping performance.
He's got a great one where he goes through the album version, a live Jerry version and a Mayer version of US Blues talking about what is being done on each. He's by no means an expert on playing Jerry-style, but has a good way of figuring out what is being done, why it works and how to translate the theory to improve your playing.
Think he's picked up at least 50,000 followers on youtube once he started turning into a deadhead, and passed 100,000 a while back.