Help me slow down!

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by bobcs71, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    The more I listed to myself recorded...the more I realize I overplay. I don't play to overplay but often I write a check that my brain & hands can't cash! It's even worse with a guitar like my PRS that is so easy to play. Any suggestions for practice or methods for live playing?
     
  2. JonR

    JonR Member

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    METRONOME
    METRONOME
    METRONOME
    METRONOME
    ....

    did I say metronome?

    That will keep you in time.

    As for overplaying (because it's easy to do!), sing what you are about to play first. If you can't sing it - don't play it!
    If you really can't sing anything (and I sympathise :(), link what you play with breathing. One phrase per breath. Inhale a breath, play something while you exhale, and stop when that breath runs out. Pause while you inhale your next breath. IOW, think like a horn player (or indeed like a singer).
    Also, try not to play any note you couldn't justify in a court of law later... ;) If in doubt, leave it out. (Silence is as valuable as sound - it will also enhance every note you actually do play.)

    Another tip: try to think more about rhythm than about notes.
    Select (say) 3 notes from your scale, and play an entire solo with just those 3 notes. Think of all the ways you might make them interesting - which means forcing you to focus on the MORE IMPORTANT things like rhythm, accent, dynamics, long/short notes, bending/vibrato, tone, etc.
    Don't be afraid to repeat notes. Any dull little idea is made far more interesting by repeating it. (Not more than 3 times, though - start tweaking it after that.)

    Listen to the great masters of minimalism, like B B King and Miles Davis - how their simplicity draws you in.
     
  3. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Play w people that will call you on it.
     
  4. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    I do practice with a metronome & that is such a valuable tool! My timing isn't so bad.
    I really like your idea on focusing on the rhythm instead of just the notes. Good stuff there for me to be conscious of when practicing.
     
  5. Baminated

    Baminated Member

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    Dump play along tracks into audacity and practice at 50% speed for hours & hours. Then to 40%. Etc
     
  6. fezz parka

    fezz parka Member

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    JonR nails it again: breathe. Pay attention to your breathing.
     
  7. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    I've found I often hold my breath...good suggestion.
     
  8. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

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    Paying attention to your breathing is a good idea. Pretend you are a singer or a horn player who has to take breaths.

    Take your hand off of the neck sometimes.

    Limit yourself to playing on one string. Limit yourself to one finger (assuming you're talking about soloing, single note stuff).

    Stop and listen for what you want to hear. Don't let your fingers lead the way. Listen first, then play.

    It may be very uncomfortable doing this stuff at first. You may think you sound terrible and want to fill in all the empty space out of familiarity and habit. Try to resist the urge and get used to space.

    Listen to players in whatever genre you dig who use space.
     
  9. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    I can pull that off during solo's if I'm not using a pick, seems like when I get a pick in my hand I just start adding notes because I can.
     
  10. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

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    And that's really what it comes down to. Be aware that you're doing it and then stop yourself from doing it. It's takes some concentration, self control, restraint and it's easy to fall into old habits and patterns. In the end, it's your choice.
     
  11. fezz parka

    fezz parka Member

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  12. fezz parka

    fezz parka Member

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    My fave "no horns" version:

     
  13. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    Practiced last night. During solo parts I hold my breath! Never realized I do that. I'm glad I don't have really long solos or I'd pass out! :eeks
     
  14. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    practise & play more, and pay more attention to what & how you're practising & playing;
    do it with some relaxation, if possible..... see what you notice.

    record your practise sessions, and listen to them.
    see what you notice.
    don't be stupidly harsh with yourself, and don't obsess over how amazing you are, either:
    just keep focus:
    this is an area in which finding "middle ground" can prove to be of great value.

    ..... seems to me that if your tone matters so much to you, you might wanna simply pay attention to what you're making of it, on a moment-by-moment basis, since that's what it requires;
    tone-production is a critical part of the very nature of making music.

    that's it, really:
    maybe just make an effort to shut your musical trap until you've got something to say &/or until you feel that you actually "mean business";
    and, breathe --- yeah, breathe your way through it.
     
  15. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    Play with heart & mind leading the way, not fingers. I have to remind myself that I control my fingers.
     
  16. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    Thanks. I'm a guy with a day job who plays when he can. Most of the time I'm told "here's where you play a guitar solo". More practise/playing should help me make sure I have something to say then instead of forcing something.
     
  17. crifasta

    crifasta Gold Supporting Member

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    Play like you're singing. Think melody.
     
  18. SecondFloorTones

    SecondFloorTones Member

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    Throw away the pick (or put it in your pocket for now). I find it easier to concentrate on phrasing without the pick. Then, after my brain has caught up with my muscle memory, I can start making choices about pick/fingers based on timbre. Essentially I'm not allowing my fingers to make decisions on behalf of my brain.
     
  19. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    We're going to have to do a Harrison Bergeron treatment to you.
     
  20. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    to be fair, i don't think the day-job matters that much, when your musical focus becomes regularly offline..... when you're thinking & feeling music without any instrument-to-hand.
    but:
    yes, i think that more time-spent on useful practising & playing might be what helps you uncover what it is you might have to say, musically.

    if you feel that your practise sessions aren't bearing fruit, you might seek out & find a personally suitable teacher in your locale.

    still, there are many little things you can do every day, whether walking, riding the train or etc:
    you can sing;
    and, you can sing inside your head!

    find a melody, sing it repetitively enough to know it;
    when you know it, imagine playing it on the fretboard, visualise forming your hand to the board in order to re-create that melody:
    and, play it on the fretboard in your imagination, while singing it internally (or, externally).

    if that doesn't work that well at first, simply remember that melody &,
    when you get home or near a guitar with a few spare minutes in which to concentrate,
    sing the melody & work it out on the actual instrument, until you've got a position & fingering which seems efficient and comfortable for you;
    then play it, repetitively.

    ..... just a tiny example of an exercise in an applicable focus of the musical imagination, which can help and is not necessarily blocked by a non-musical day- or night-job.
     

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