Keeping up a high level of technique

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by dongrammar, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. DakotaRed

    DakotaRed Member

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    Hey, I'm working on that one too! That one not only forces you to have your scales and arpeggios together, but string skipping too. Quite a workout as well as a magnificent piece of music.

    Another Bach piece I'm working on is Prelude #3 from the Well Tempered Clavier. The 4th, 5th and 6th intervals, if played on adjacent strings, are rather demanding if you use a flatpick. The ending run is tough as well. I can't quite get that piece up to speed yet... YET!!!

    :cool:
     
  2. gpro34

    gpro34 Member

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    But a lot can, it's really no different. The only difference is some are meant to be athletes and some are not. This is how they're referred to in the classical guitar world. What most people don't realize, or want to admit, is not everyone can be an athlete. Hell, you can practice sprinting everyday, and you might get faster, but you'll never compete with Usain Bolt. The same concept applies to guitar. You might practice your technique everday, but you'll never play speeds like Michael Angelo or Rusty Cooley. Oh, in case you were wondering, Michael Angelo can play the hell out of Jazz too. In fact, he has a music degree in Jazz, and he knows tons of theory. I know because a friend of mine ( Jazz instructor) met him and put him to the test. He walked away very impressed, and he had a new found respect for "shredders."
     
  3. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    I guess the test then is 'what tunes do you know?' rather than what scales and such. I worked a NAMM show with a semi-famous shredophile who knew nada one. There are some who are deep and well-rounded. Of course, put me in tight leather pants, tatoos in front of a three stacks and I'm sure I'd sound dorky.
     
  4. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Nice! There are so many options for fingering certain passages. I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to one set yet. Do you have a tempo you like to work with? I need to pull out some of violin recordings.
     
  5. DakotaRed

    DakotaRed Member

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    Finding good fingerings is really important. One little change can have a ripple effect. I changed the low A at the start of bar 49 last nite and now the Bb in bar 50 flows smoother for me.

    The big jumps in bars 12-16 and 70-73 are slowing me down. I do strict alternate picking and it's helping my overall picking technique. But they are really holding back my tempo on the whole piece.

    Right now I'm practicing with the Amazing Slow Downer for iPhone, which is a nice tool. It forces me to play the piece very strictly, which is what I want.

    For the violin piece, I like Authur Grumiaux's version, but the big jumps I mentioned earlier have an unevenness to them when slowed down. That was tripping me up, so I found a MIDI file on the internet and am using that instead. I figured a MIDI file would keep me in perfect time for practice. I'm only in the 50%-60% speed range on the MIDI file, but I don't know what that translates into as BPM.

    For the piano piece, I use Sviatoslav Rickter's version. I can do that piece at 80%-82% normal speed. Any faster and I get tripped up on the string jumps and that run at the end.

    I also learned the Loure from BWV1006 but my problem there is remembering it all. Authur has such a nice vibrato on this! Guitar players should take note...
     
  6. DakotaRed

    DakotaRed Member

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    guitarjazz: Have you heard Bela Fleck do this piece?



    Jump to about 2:10. That's about the speed I'm doing it I think. Not very fast...
     
  7. gpro34

    gpro34 Member

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    I know a lot of schooled Jazz musicians, and I must say, there's a little bit of snobbery there. It's great that someone can rattle off theory to no end and enlighten everyone with their over-looming knowledge, but when it gets down to it, how does it sound? I've known some very schooled musicians that didn't move me, and I've listen to some "unschooled cats" that brought the house down. I like to remind my snobby friend that Wes Montgomery didn't read music, but he was an instinctive player. I don't think anyone would argue that he sucked because he didn't know tons of theory, etc. Once again, it's not just the shredders who are making music into a competition, but guys such as the ones described. In the end, who really cares. If your playing moves someone, yourself, and/or an entire audience that's all that really matters.
     
  8. RedTiger

    RedTiger Member

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    I agree about the part that the technique will come naturally, but what if your entire 'repertoire' is your own songs, and, for the sake of argument, they're not great, but not too bad.

    What it sounds like your saying is that this would be impossible without having an existing repertouire of other songs that aren't your own, like you're putting the cart before the horse if you try to go directly down the originals path.

    What about disecting parts of other songs for techniques to practice and then using that with a working understanding of theory to synthesize something of your own? Is that actually that difficult for some musicians? No arrogance intended, I'm honestly curious. You guys will know better than me.

    Basically, you, the musician have ears, right? You should know if what your playing is actually passable music or just wank. It's pretty obvious unless you've never heard music before.
     
  9. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    If your goal is just to play your own songs, I don't see a problem. Did Paul Simon really need Michael Angelo's chops to play Paul Simon songs?

    Your songs are your songs. If you don't think your own songs are "passable", would you still want to play them? What do you mean by "passable" anyway? In an artistic sense or in the "this song is hard enough to play, it will increase my ability to play fast and fancy stuff" sense?

    Does it matter what anyone other than you thinks of whether your songs are "passable"?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  10. RedTiger

    RedTiger Member

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    Passable as in they're actually musical; they have a recognizable musical motif. The casual listener can listen to them and recognize that it's music. You know the proverbial shredder kid on youtube wanking away that everyone loves to pick on? The opposite of that guy.

    It does matter if other think it's passable, at least in terms of what I stated about what passable means. I like to make coherent musical statements, even if I'm the only one hearing them. The 'casual listener' test is just a quick way of seeing if they're coherent. They don't have to actually like it. Kinda like how even an amateur writer may want to be able craft a decent story with strong characters rather than just writing a bunch of purple prose full of plot holes. FWIW, I'm talking about instrumental music here, so the music has to convey all this on its own without any lyrics.

    I do find that the coolest things I've ever thought of come from actually trying to create music rather than just picking apart technique. You know how you want it to sound, but you have to practice it until it gets where you want. In the process you learn something new.
     
  11. champion ruby

    champion ruby Member

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    It's usually the snobby jazz guys that try to mystify music because they don't feel so special anymore when an unschooled cat can hang with them.
     
  12. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    This I can agree with.

    I think the "technique" certain others are referring to is something else - the showy stuff that neither of us prioritize over quality composition/songwriting.
     
  13. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    I was only commenting for myself. There are lots of players I love listening to that I have no idea regarding thier practice habits - they could totally contradict mine. Music is not a linear path - different roads work for different people and one successful road for some is not necessarily for everyone.

    I write music too, but I would never dream of only doing my music. Some of my own music challenges me in some ways, and I've written a few 'practice etudes', musical things that are intended to also reinforce a certain technique. But I love music, and I love playing other people's music, sometimes it's people I know, sometimes it's something I learned from charts or a record. And I improvise, with other people's songs, with my songs, with nothing prepared at all. I don't live in a 'covers vs. originals' world
    .
    If that works for you, I say go for it. Sounds perfectly reasonable as a modus operandi to me.

    Well, one's person's 'wank' is another person's 'passable music', and vice-versa. I think it's it's important to have confidence in your own tastes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  14. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Going to be the odd man out here ...
    Speaking from my own experiences ...
    I've known & played with far too many cats who have memorized tons of tunes
    but can't play 'em worth a chit ..
    Far far too many (we're talking three or four different genres here FWIW)

    So the part about learning tunes & technique will follow doesn't hold up much ...

    As for myself, all I seem to do is learn tunes ... :YinYang
    & consequently don't get enough time to work on technique as I'd truly prefer ..
    Granted most of the kinds of tunes I learn may not be challenging enough to inspire such ...
    but hey... lol
     
  15. RichardB

    RichardB Senior Member

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    Sounds like you just joined my club, Joe. Upstream, I mentioned I know LOTS of musicians who talk a big game, maybe know lots of repertoire, are "seasoned", may have plenty chops, but still sound like shite. I have actually found this to be case most of the time.

    It is far rarer to meet a cat who can really play, and by play I mean, play in a way that FEELS good, and makes sense. Of course it is even rarer to find somebody who has a great feel, AND has their own sound.
    But an original sound is meaningless without the fundamental thing: A great FEEL. Without that, a cat can't play, and is not really a musician in the fullest sense....
     
  16. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    insulting but unfortunately all too true...
     
  17. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    for me?

    1)i write all of my music on keyboards. no danger of idiomatics. with that approach in mind, learn music that was not written for guitar. the stravinsky clarinet solos are brief and will challenge even the most facile guitarist.


    2)maintain a high level of active curiosity. i was recently introduced (by amit chatterjee) to the music of veena genius s balachander (who was a pivotal influence on shakti era johnny mac). applying his intervallic ornamental bending principles to guitar will be keeping me busy for more time than i'll be on this planet.


    3)there's more.
     
  18. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Member

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    That's my philosophy as well. I only practice technique as it applies to a specific piece of music or a specific passage that I'm struggling with.
     
  19. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    I love those pieces. I believe we've chatted about them before.

    There's so much incredible music in them, I'd much rather work on those than some technical exercises of a non-musical nature - personally.
     
  20. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Like I said, I can't and won't speak for anyone else, and there is a great deal of music I learn because it challenges my musical or technical chops in some way. I didn't come in here to recommend any blanket program for all guitarists and what ails them - just to answer the question of how I keep my chops up.
     

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