Practice question

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Kevinleeowen, Dec 17, 2009.


  1. Kevinleeowen

    Kevinleeowen Member

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    Hi,

    I know people have previously asked similar kind of questions on this, but I was wondering a couple of things:

    a) what REALLY works for people, or more specifically, what essential thing do people always practice?
    b)How long should you practice each - e.g, do you practice everything, such as specific scales until you've mastered them, or would you try and cover 'a bit of everything', kind of 'jack of all trades, but master of none' kind of approach?

    I think I'm at the point now where I just don't know what to do to get to the 'next level'. I enjoy just playing, but also want to really develop. But these days, I just seem at a loss, and just muddle about playing songs I already know. I try and do about an hour a night as that's really all I have, then at the weekends a few hours at a time.

    Also, my timing SUCKS. Any advice on improving this? I'm currently trying to play scales to the metronone. I'm fine with the 1-note-to-one-tick kind of approach, but afer that...

    Any help would be really appreciated guys - as I say, I'm just at a loss at the moment, which is either taking the enjoyment out of it, or I'm just getting really, really frustrated.

    Thanks:bow
     
  2. Redhouse-Blues

    Redhouse-Blues Member

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    That's a great question, I think we all need to learn how to get the most out of practice. I'm in the same boat in that I'm trying to learn how to practice in a way that leads to some growth.

    What I do for timing is work on my scales, but also different rhythms. The key is to start out slow around 40- 50 on the metronome and make sure at a slow speed you can nail it. You'll find starting slower you'll get better faster, even going slow is great for building up alt picking.

    With all the teachers around here, maybe one of them can do a post on practicing right, or getting to most out of it.
     
  3. AnthonyStauffer

    AnthonyStauffer Member

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    I never had much patience for anything other than playing along with songs, and while I do think that's great practice (depending on your goals) there was one thing I did otherwise that I think was essential, and one thing I wish I had done more of.

    I was obsessive about these spider drills and would do them at least two or sometimes 3 times a day, the whole way though. Had a huge effect on dexterity and hand strength, very quickly.

    I wish I had started playing along with backing tracks sooner, rather than just playing along with challenging songs on CD. You can't properly evaluate how bad your phrasing, timing, etc... are while the sound of the guitar on the song is masking your own mistakes. Playing with bare backing tracks really draws attention to what you need to work on.
     
  4. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Are you looking for more solid foundation for going up next level of playing?

    Tomo
     
  5. Ooogie

    Ooogie Member

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    A couple of thoughts on two of your questions...

    I've found it's not so much how long you practice as much as having a goal to work towards. Set some goals (Do you want to be a great fingerpicker or hybrid picker or learn the fretboard better, solo in different positions or whatever). Then develop some practice routines to help reach those goals and work on them daily for even 10 or 15 minutes if that's all you have.

    If you're just running scales without a good reason they're not going to stick. Always be thinking about how they relate to other scales or chords and where the notes sound good. Start on different intervals instead of always starting on the root, run them in 3rds, 4ths, etc.

    I think you have to master anything you want to be able to integrate into your playing, if you have to think about it then it won't be available when you need it. You need to really have it under your fingers so it comes out even when you're noodling.

    Timing - Tomo's AYGP is a valuable resource. Set the metronome slow (40-50bpm) and play quarter notes until you're feeling it on the beat, it might help to close your eyes and really feel the pulse. Then play 2 notes per beat (8ths), do this for awhile until each note feels even. Next, 3 notes per beat (triplets), same deal...then 4 notes per beat...

    Another thing that helped me a lot was transcribing solos, it really helps you to understand timing & rhythm. Even just writing out a few licks or solos you already know would help, things you play all the time but don't really think about. When you start to analyze the licks you play it will help you see where your timing needs work. That blues lick you play every day is really 3 triplets and an 8th note followed by a rest...that type of thing. Probably not a good example since the blues doesn't use strict timing like that but you get the idea...

    Of course different things work for different people so YMMV but these things helped me...also I still try to work on at least a couple of AYGP exercises every day.

    Mark
     
  6. Kevinleeowen

    Kevinleeowen Member

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    Thanks Tomo - essentialy, Yes, I think that's exactly what I'm after. It just seems to be I'm getting into the same routine, playing the same things every time I pick up my guitar. Improvising is something I'm really not great at, and the same with timing.
    I just don't feel I've moved on at all lately, despite all the hours I've put in
     
  7. Kevinleeowen

    Kevinleeowen Member

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    Thanks Mark - I think what you're saying does make a lot of sense. I'll definitely try that with the metrone playing quarters etc. I'm sort of doing it at the moment, but I have difficulty keeping time when it's playing maybe 3/4... notes per 'beat',

    As for targets, what you say in "learn the fretboard better, solo in different positions or whatever" - is BANG-ON where I want to get to. Just not sure how to get there!
     
  8. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    OK. So change your playing life. Make sure you set (put) amp, guitar, metronome, recorder... ready to use. A lot of use... here we do.. (not intend to..) right away playing licks. Before you do, you set up a few choices. A) Fingering & Picking ..chromatic warm up. 2) Study something... triads or major scale in intervals. etc. (not everyday) 3) Work on your chords, rhythm guitar... 4) Improvisation. (not jam) very specific to work on something.

    Like that. Set up your choices to choose from. Anything will help?

    If you plug in and just play something comes up.. soloing... that's not effective way to practice. Maybe it's great for entertainment.

    My goal is playing guitar freely. I love guitar so much! Big part of my life.
    So in order to do better... I shouldn't use my hour... whatever I feel like it..
    so I set several choices for improving my playing. Dies make any sense?

    Tomo
     
  9. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    I am not Mark. Thanks Mark great input!!! Now please work on using a metronome 2&4. Please don't worry about 3/4 yet. Better to stick to anything simple and without worry or concern others. Work on 4/4 really well. Within 4/4... if you like jazz... say, you can learn. "Straight No Chaser" in F... but practice all possible positions. Think about triads. (Degrees/Colors) don't think too much about CAGED form. Triads are better than just think Box positions.

    I think you got some ideas. Now it's time to make donuts!

    Tomo
     
  10. Ooogie

    Ooogie Member

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    Here's one exercise that might help. Spend a couple of minutes and just find all E's on the fretboard. I'm sure you already know more than half of them but most people have to hunt a little on the 4th, 3rd and 2nd strings at first.

    The next day find all the F's. Pick a different note every day and repeat the process, you can do it while you're warming up or even just sitting around watching TV. Do this for a couple of weeks and you'll probably find you start thinking more in terms of notes and intervals than strings and fret numbers.

    When you start studying Tomo's triad threads this will really help you find the different places on the neck you can build chords. Also practice playing licks you already know all over the neck. If a lick you usually play starts with an A, find an A somewhere else on the neck and learn the lick there.

    Happy Picking,
    Mark
     
  11. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Mark, great post! Thank you. Mick Goodrick would say.... find all Gb today... tomorrow... find all F#! Yes, triads are great way to connect.... with each name, degree, color..etc. Thanks for checking out my triad thread.

    Tomo
     
  12. Ooogie

    Ooogie Member

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    Thanks Tomo, I've been meaning to send you an e-mail about the Hot Set for a few weeks now. The last time we corresponded I had too much material to tackle anything new but I've been working on groove more lately, a lot of funk and thumb slap stuff so I think it's about time to dive into the Hot Set.

    I'll send an e-mail this weekend...thanks for spending so much time around here sharing your knowledge.

    Edit: I meant to add that I love Mick Goodrick's books, I pull out the Advancing Guitarist pretty often...never fails to stimulate new study areas.

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009

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