How Did you Clean Up Your Technique?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by crazy4blues, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. crazy4blues

    crazy4blues Member

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    For the last couple of years, I've been practicing major, dorian, and mixolydian scales, including the arpeggios for them. I would like to believe that this is helping, but I'm not sure. Sometimes I think that just playing a lot every day and going through my usual licks is the cause of cleaning up my fingerings.

    What are some exercises you have done that seem to have a measurable impact on the precision of your playing? My goal isn't necessarily to play faster, but, rather, when more precision. Any suggestions?
     
  2. guitarz_dave

    guitarz_dave Member

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    Using a metronome really helps. Slower settings increase precision, while faster help speed.
     
  3. gassyndrome

    gassyndrome Member

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    Step 1 - buy Tomo's Accelerate Your Guitar Playing DVD, and insert into DVD player.
    Step 2 - pick your jaw up off the floor.
    Step 3 - spend some quality time with your metronome :)

    Seriously though, Tomo's DVD is awesome for the kind of thing your talking about. The man lives in the 'pocket', and the cleanliness and sheer groove in his playing is inspiring. The exercises and ideas presented can be applied to all kinds of styles, and I cant imagine anyone not getting some good ideas from it.

    :cool:
     
  4. crazy4blues

    crazy4blues Member

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    This, of course, sounds like a very good idea. I used to play a lot of jazz (double bass), and I found that I knew I was improving when I set the 'nome on 2 and 4. Then, I would try to make the metronome swing; if it was sounding "good", so was I.
     
  5. DigitalTube

    DigitalTube Member

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    I know this probably won't be a good answer for you, but what helped me alot was when I bought a guitar synth(AXON)years ago, I was forced to really clean up my technique, and pay attention to all the bad stuff my fingers were doing on the fretboard to be able to play musical with the synth, there was lots of things I wasn't even aware of when playing the guitar, and those were confusing the **** out of the synth.
    E.B.
     
  6. guitarz_dave

    guitarz_dave Member

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    I'm still new on The Gear Page. Could you share with me the link to Tomo's DVD, as well as how I can buy it?
     
  7. Priestunes

    Priestunes Member

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    Chords. Lots of alternate chords and positions forced me to bend my fingers to fit pertinent notes: muting included. Fingerpicking has never been my strength, but it sounds better the more I force myself to be particular rather than random, which necessitates slowing down and practicing patterns and eventually becoming automatic. I've heard "neurons that fire together wire together."
     
  8. tacorivers

    tacorivers Silver Supporting Member

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    For me, recording my practices and listening back to them. My usual "that was an incredible solo" quickly turned into a "why can't I bend notes properly".
     
  9. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    The most important thing you can do is practice correctly.

    When you are playing a gig and you miss a note or a string rings out or you get off beat, or bend out of tune, adjust and continue & forget about the error.

    When you practice, be aware of every sound you make and if you make a mistake, STOP!!!!

    Fix the mistake and do it again. Do not practice mistakes. Do not slough it off. Do not be lazy.

    If you hear a string ringing out, find it, damp it. Play the passage again and catch that string.

    If you clam a note, go back, play the passage again & again & again with zero clams.

    If you keep making mistakes in the passage, slow it down and find a tempo where you can do it perfectly.

    As everyone has already pointed out, use a metronome.

    Funny thing, the G on my tele rings out very easily, the A on my Les Paul often starts singing on its own. Classical gtr is a totally different technique. So not only does one have to practice technique but also adjust depending upon the instrument.
     
  10. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Sensei Tomo's stuff is here:

    http://www.tomofujita.com/

    Excellent help for exactly the issue you describe. The Accelerate DVD is what you want.

    Also a big +1 to Lance's post above. Even I slow down every once in a while for practice. You would be amazed how much 2 weeks of extremely careful and precise playing improves your accuracy and tone even when letting loose.

    Another +1 for tacorivers' advice to record yourself, even with just a crummy cassette player. What works and what doesn't work are totally different from what you think while playing. And all that string noise and clicks & clacks don't register with the player at the time.
     
  11. crazy4blues

    crazy4blues Member

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    It's funny, when I started out playing BITD, I did this a lot. I wasn't satisfied until I could play at least 4 different inversions of EVERY chord. I should really force myself to do this again, and not just with the dominant seventh chords I mostly use for blues playing.

    Regarding making mistakes: I agree; don't keep practicing "wrong." However, there is something to be said for the famous Monk quote: "If you play a wrong note, keep playing it until it sounds right.":p

    QUESTION regarding metronomes: If you are practicing slower tempos, how do you like to set your 'nome? 8ths, triplets? I have never really gotten into this because, for me, metronome practice is most effective when I set it to beats 2 and 4. Not too many 'nomes click off 30 bpm, so practicing a slow blues can be difficult.

     
  12. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Something I am going to do more of is practice extended arpeggios. For example, play a G7 arpeggio starting on the G at the fifth fret and run that up to the F at the sixth fret B string. Then from there move up the neck to the 12th fret and play the G on the G string and continue up the scale until you end up at the E string with the high G. This would create a two octave arpeggio which would cover the entire neck. Doing this kind of stuff without mistakes is a pain but you will really notice your weaknesses. You can do this with any arpeggio you just have to think it through before you start practicing.
     
  13. azgolfer

    azgolfer Member

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    Try playing along with something like a Chet Baker record, or Frank Sinatra singing. There is a whole world of subtle timing, dynamics, and phrasing that can be applied to just playing a melody.
     
  14. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    Hey, y'all. I'm new on the board.

    Here's my two cents on the matter:

    Take the tempo of whatever you're practicing and slow it down until you can play it without making mistakes.

    Good left and right hand muting technique makes a world of difference. So does picking technique. Exaggerated up and down strokes--when playing single note passages--can cause all sorts of problems.

    Being relaxed helps too.
     
  15. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

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    Agreed.

    I don't do dorian, and mixolydian scales, because I firmly believe the major and minor pentatonics are where the music I play lives.

    But no matter what you're doing, a metronome, or some other form of timekeeping, will help any player get better. When I had my back surgery (almost 10 years ago), I was not permitted to stand up with a guitar for three months. So I spent a lot of time in bed with my Tele and a tape off drum machine, kicked up a level in tempo about every five minutes. Granted it was just a straight 4, but playing those scales for 45 minutes at a time (and rewarding myself with little offshoots when I did well) really did a lot of me in terms of making my technique cleaner.

    I'll never be a shredder (so I guess it's good don't want to be one) but I play cleaner and better becauuse of that woodshedding. I need to do more of that NOW, than I do.

    It also works for slide guitar, which I play a lot of.
     
  16. crazy4blues

    crazy4blues Member

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    Thanks to all for your suggestions! The truth is, I have tried all of the things that have been mentioned, but I guess that I have gotten lazy and haven't kept with with a many of them.

    Basically, I think that my question was about a method, and that's what I'm willing to try. I have just ordered Tomo's book/DVD, so I'll give that a whirl. I just now noticed that there's a whole thread devoted to that!

    Also, I guess I should mention that I don't necessarily think that clean technique is the ultimate goal. It's really more like this: At the end of the day, I want to be able to play something that folks might want to listen to more than one time. I posted some sound clips on the sound clip section, and I didn't get ANY responses. All negative feedback would have meant more to me than "no comment." :rolleyes: Oh well . . .

    So it's time to get back the 'shed!
     
  17. noises ten

    noises ten Member

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    I always listen to something else... Like some saxophone, or vocal lines, then emulate the feel and groove of those lines. This helps me stay out of the typical "guitar" boxes and expands my ear.. Sometimes vocal melodies on guitar involve string skipping, and various other textures that can be difficult to master.

    D
     
  18. 1-Take-Wonder

    1-Take-Wonder Member

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    just learned this from a drummer...

    Once you think you're doing well at a quick tempo on the metronome, record using medium that allows you to vary playback speed. Play it back at half tempo or slower.

    ... and then stop crying. Apprarently drummers do this to check how well they're locking into a click on very fast/complex rhythms.

    I haven't tried it yet...very afraid...
     
  19. BFC

    BFC Supporting Member

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    Probably one of the very first technique books ever written for guitar (1962!) and still one of the best IMHO...

    Guitar Technic by Roger Filliberto

    Daily practice of this book at a moderate tempo (with a metronome!) will do wonders for your execution.
     
  20. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    The most revealing method of finding timing issues that I discovered years ago is when I started using digital recording where you can see the wave form of your guitar against the wave form of the metronome. You learn where you need to tighten things up in a glaringly obvious way.
     

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