Next Step to Improve Technique/Playing?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by ofortuna, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. ofortuna

    ofortuna Guest


    I have been playing guitar for about 2 years straight with lessons. I can read tab but music notation is extemely hard. To put it into perspective, I am struggling with Bach Invention #1. And I do take music seriously (more than just a throw-away hobby), and am taking a music theory class at my high school (not geared towards guitar :( ) . I am considering some sort of a career in music and would love to attend a music college when the time comes.

    I really want to improve my technique, sight reading, speed, theory knowledge (and be able to apply it to guitar), and be able to comp and solo in differnt styles, etc.
    Right now my level of guitar playing is a little less than on par with Angus Young (in terms of speed, theory, tapping, soloing, etc). question is what should my next step be? Is there a definitive book (or book set) out there that has a bunch of exersices and other things to improve my playing? Im itching to get better. Oh I almost forgot, Im dying to learn how to sweep pick, but I cant seem to get it.

    Thanks in advance for any replies!
  2. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

    Nov 2, 2005
    Just South of the Colorado
    Well, obviously you need to be practicing everyday--and I assume you are.

    Concentrate on learning songs not riffs.

    Join a band and get out there and start gigging.

    Is there a jazz band at your high school? If so, see about auditioning for it.

    Don't be discouraged. It sounds like you're doing fine. Growth comes in spurts. Just keep playing and practicing, try to keep learning and more importantly keep having fun.

    Don't sweat it, you'll be fine. :)
  3. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    If you're serious you will need a good Jazz Guitar teacher to learn this stuff in a structured way so as to maximize your time. Don't worry about speed and technique, they are merely means to an end and will come in time with practice.
  4. drummondrs

    drummondrs Member

    Feb 28, 2005
    Same boat as you man. I really want to go to study music. Best way to improve is get yourself a metronome, amazing slow downer and get yourself a practice regime written down. Vary it so you don't get bored. If you are less then Angus Young you have some serious work to do if you want to go to college. No offence but its true. They don't want you to go in and tap triads a la VH, they want you to play what they put in front of you. Learn scales first not modes. Once you have the scales down then you can move on. Look on the net for info there is loads.
  5. ofortuna

    ofortuna Guest

    Any books?

    Ive heard the name Sheets of Sound thrown around alot on this forum. Is that a good book for what I am looking for? Any others?
  6. al carmichael

    al carmichael Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    I'd split my time and go in two directions at once. Get a good classical guitar method and work through that. Also, get a good jazz method and work on those concepts. Between the two, your knowledge of the fretboard will expand remarkably. In the end, all this stuff fits together. As a third source, just study music theory while working on the first two, and so many things will become clear.

    And--like another poster said--get out there and play! The bandstand is the great teacher--you'll know what you can do and what you need to work on, and you'll be working on everything when you are playing live. Nothing makes you better than HAVING to rise to the occasion.
  7. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    On top a mountain of Chocolate Chips
    A couple points, A: you haven't been playing too long and B: it takes along time in order to become a great musician.

    This is what I did, Berklee melodic rhythms for guitar, Real Book (jazz standards, learned chord melody) and the 1st and 2nd level of the Mel Bay books.

    Forget the tab, it's BS. Just give a sheet of tab to the piano player in your band and see what it gets you. It might be fine for stuff you want to do but has no real relevence when it comes to other instruments.

    I went through the melodic rhythms book 3 times, 1st time basic position, 2nd time another place on the neck and the 3rd time transposing the key signature on the fly. This is a great starting point but not necessarily the only way.
  8. Neilsonite

    Neilsonite Member

    Nov 10, 2005
    Hi, not sure if you're keen on jazz in particular or not (I only noticed Bach, Angus Young, speed, tapping, comping, and soloing in your post, but maybe the other guys know you better than I do!), but my advice is that if you want to get good at sweeping, Sheets of Sound is the book for you!

    On notation: I disagree slightly with harryjmic - I can read well, but IMHO standard notation is really poorly suited to the guitar, which is why tablature has been around for centuries... (A lot of Baroque lute music was written in tablature, for example.) It's obviously handy to be able to read standard notation (particularly rhythm notation), but there's a reason why there are lots of different staves - different instruments make different sounds, and are approached in different ways. Piano suits both treble and bass clef, but try giving your piano player something written in an alto clef, and see if they like it... Better yet, give them a percussion score... ;) I know I'm sounding critical of standard notation, but I'm not meaning to (it is vital for communication purposes), just wanting to stick up for tablature, and for the idea of having instrument-specific notation systems as an aid...

  9. derek_32999

    derek_32999 Member

    Sep 10, 2005
    what about the book fretboard logic... OMG that book was earth shattering to me!!!
  10. spencerbk

    spencerbk Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    New York, NY
    Sheets of Sound is a GREAT book for technique. However, it's certainly not a music theory book and there isn't much about where to play the different patterns introduced. I recommend it all the same, but it should be used in conjunction with other things.

    A favorite of mine is "The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine. It is not written for guitar, but the explanations of chords and scales and substitutions are wonderful
  11. spencer096

    spencer096 Member

    Sep 12, 2005
    cleveland, OH/denton, TX
    I was in the same boat as you a few years ago. Im now in one of the best jazz schools in the country (University of North Texas) and am still getting my ass kicked, but thats normal here.

    technique: honestly, listen and play along to yngwie, dream theater, jason becker, steve vai, van halen etc. anything fast really. just listen and absorb it all. when youre bored sitting around watching tv, sit with your guitar and run thru those licks until theyre clean and precise and quick. practice with a metronome and run scales in 8th and 16th notes. learn violin/clarinet/saxophone etudes and work the speed up. start slow, play it perfect, speed it up.

    reading: the thing i spend the most time on...basically, read EVERYTHING you can all the time. it comes with doing it.

    literature: advancing guitarist by mick goodrick is cool, but unorthodox. for chords, chord chemistry by ted greene is great. learning how to play changes, lines, developing a jazz language by jerry bergonzi. reading books, violin sonatas by bach, pretty much anything will do.

    sweeping: take it really slow and make sure your hands are coordinated. then practice arpeggios and get them comfortable in your left hand and just work it up. listen to sweep masters like john petrucci, yngwie, jason becker, rusty cooley, etc.

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