Practice

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by FiveG, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. FiveG

    FiveG Gold Supporting Member

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    OK. Let's assume you have one hour to practice. Guitar, piano, voice, whatever. Anybody have any suggestions on what is a good way to allocate the hour -- scales, modes, chords, songs, improv, smashing your guitar into Marshall stacks -- to efficiently improve?

    FiveG
     
  2. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    To efficiently improve as what? Someone who bangs out Christmas Tunes and a couple of popular tunes? An improviser? A bluegrass player? An 8-finger tapping shredder?
     
  3. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

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    Different scales than the ones you know - slowly and carefully. New chords - used in progressions.

    other half hour learning new tunes
     
  4. beePee

    beePee Member

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    IMO HOW to practice is the least understood aspect of learning and instrument.Most waste the majority of the time they "think" they are practicing.

    The first step is realisticly knowing how long you can practice. The average attention span t is much lower than than mostthink.I bet most folks attention span is around 30 seconds at tops before the space out.Then they waste that much time or more before they re-focus. ..and it gets worse as you go.That means an hour of unaware paractice is much less.

    The secret just like weight lifiting or any discipline ... don't over extimate and have a VERY specific goals
    example:

    C major scale
    one octave
    5-3 strings
    8th note rythm
    at 60 bpm
    alternate picking
    accenting the 1 and 3 downbeat 8th note
    15 seconds time frame

    Now you need a REALISTIC time frame.Do not undershoot or over shoot it.This is the hard part ....you have to be your own DR. and feel when your attention span is elasped...so pick a low time frame that you WILL suceed at.Suceeding is very important.

    The ideal situation is suceeding perfectly each time. because you haven't set too high of a goal.Once you have accomplished it enough time (again "feel") you up the time BPM difficulty level .etc.

    Success is the name of the game here."Practicing" (... wanking")for hours on a mechanical excursion with bad mechanics will make you very good!!!.. at bad mechanics..Habits die VERY hard.....it takes more time to erase a bad habit than it did to make one.

    That's the mountain of practice there is to climb.It's hugantic.But you can never even reach the foothills without understand and applying successfull practice techniques.You may as well be doing something else....:Spank

    BP
     
  5. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    FWIW, I have recently learned that I can get a lot more done by sitting down, putting on my band in a box and playing over a few standards 10X each.

    No warmups, no exotic stretching, no chai tea, just sitdown and play the damn thing. Start with the melody, then 1/4 notes and go on up from there. It gets everything working, both the physical side and mental side and you are playing music.

    The BIAB is a neet practice tool, it doesn't stop, doesn't complain and plays through 10X by default. Anyhow, that is my latest practice revolution.
     
  6. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    My routine is way loose. I play every day, but usually late night, unplugged in front of the TV. Every night I watch some old Law and Order episode, then pop in my Star Trek DVDs and watch those. While I am watching, especially the Star Treks, which I know almost forward and backwards, I play my guitar. Sometimes I play scales, sometimes, I just improvise, sometimes I work on something I heard somewhere that I'd like to cop. For me, the key is to play. Sometimes, I wish I had the guitar plugged into the computer to capture what I just played. I have had some amazing nights unplugged in front of the TV. If I am just not into it, I still play something, but those nights are usually not so productive as they are just keeping it going. Many signature riffs on my own songs were found sitting in front of the damn TV like this. I have never practiced plugged in. Since I was a kid, I have practiced unplugged. For me, nothing gets in the way of the notes. I know what my amps sound like, so I just sort of imagine them as I play. If I was into the tapping thing, I guess an amp would be necessary. But for the way I play, it is not at all needed. When I practice, I work on the playing, not the tone. I can usually get a good tone when I plug in, so the notes are more important to me.
    I have not read anything from anyone else that practices like this. Am I the only one who does this? I think I started doing this as a kid in my room, trying NOT to disturb my parents late night, learning songs off records.
     
  7. sinner

    sinner Member

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    Gee wiz, Scott, you're stealin' my practice routine--except I hate Law & Order and put in my Babylon 5 tapes while practicing unplugged on the couch.

    But I'm changing things up now: I put a little cheap Blues jr. between the furniture to muffle the sound a little, hooked up a Boss Loop Station and a Fulltone Fulldrive II Mosfet, then record backing tracks to play solo over the changes. But I confess, sometimes I just let the damn loop run over and over and accompany it unplugged...I like the sound of the strings crying along the wood.
     
  8. MGT

    MGT Member

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    I'm not alone!!!! I am constantly playing unplugged in front of the tv, playing along with Supernova, commercials or whatever I hear. Like you, Scott, I used to have to keep the "noise" down while figuring out how to play my favourites on the record player in my bedroom. I've been plugging in more lately but more often than not, I'll be ripping through scales, etc just like you. I think it's important to do that but also recognize that I need to formally address things that I need to work on...it's something that I'm working on.
     
  9. fyrwyr

    fyrwyr Member

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    I find practicing unplugged helps me stay focused and more relaxed. I also like the sound of my electric unplugged and it doesn't bother the rest of the family either! I used to play in front of the tv since I usually think of tv watching as "unproductive" but the family got annoyed with the clicking of my pick on the strings :(
     
  10. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I used to practice unplugged all the time, but I never got to hear all the crud noise and slop that was happening in between the notes I was playing until I was plugged in to an amp playing clean. Now 98% of my playing/practicing/noodling is done plugged in. For me it's too easy to let bad habits take root if I'm not really hearing all that I'm playing.
     
  11. jspax7

    jspax7 Member

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    Get an egg timer. And a metronome.

    15 min. Scales. Major, minor, dominant. (& substitutions)
    15 min. Chords. Major, minor, dominant. (& extensions)
    15 min. Rhythms. 8th's triplets, 16ths.
    15 min. Improvisation over a backing track.

    Change the material every week.
    Goal: Keep it interesting, challenging and fun.

    See what you can accomplish in 15 minutes. You may be surprised.
     
  12. Redhouse-Blues

    Redhouse-Blues Member

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    I agree with jspax7, my practice routine is a little different but the same concept.

    My guitar teacher gave me his G.I.T. practice routine and it works wonders. You do each for 10 minutes with an egg timer and when it goes off you stop and switch, in doing so you retain the info so much faster then doing it any other way. I still don't understand why it works but does!

    10 min, Reading
    10 min, Single String Improvisation (Scales/Arps.)
    10 min, Rhythm guitar
    10 min, Ear Training
    10 Jamming/New Song
    10 Break

    Rinse and Repeat.
     
  13. ronin32

    ronin32 Member

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    I also play unplugged infront of the tv watching baseball, Sports Center or Lost. Run up and down a few scales in different keys, pratice songs I know so I dont forget them. And work on new songs.
     
  14. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    This may sound dumb - take your guitar with you when watching the idjut box, and try to play and noodle over every chord progression, song, jingle, music you hear there. Do this as well as your formal practise, not replace it with. I find I start picking up progrsssions and stuff. Just watch and noodle with no amp letting your fingers and ears work constantly.
     
  15. TheTrowerFreak

    TheTrowerFreak Member

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    +1

    Hanky a wise man.

    TTF

     
  16. astainback

    astainback Member

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    My practice time has suffered a lot lately due to me being sick, and trying to buy a house.
    I have directv.. and I had a lot of fun on night about a month ago with the channel set to the XM blues music channel. I was plugged up with my tele into a Microcube (best little practice amp ever!!)
    I got a lot of blues-soloing practice of this.
    I really like playing in front of the tv too, but I don't ever feel like I am getting anywhere... haha
    I did recently get the Tomo AGP DVD. I also bought a metronome (the blue korg one). I have been practicing the first 3 exercises, but not with the metronome a whole lot. I definately do not feel disciplined in practice, and can't stand myself because of it. I guess I concentrate on gear too much. By the way, my BYOC vibrato kit came in yesterday.. Can't wait to start on it!!
     
  17. astainback

    astainback Member

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    Where do you guys get your scales and whatnot to practice??
    I feel like I am ok at the pentatonic (some of it.. I am a "in the box" player). I want to expand.. and take everything further..
    And I am going to assume that "in the box" means that I know some of the patterns and stay in each pattern without moving up and down the neck a whole lot..
    Is there a website that breaks down scales, pentatonic scales, blues scales, the majors and minors of each.. maybe has some printable pages for practice??

    Thanks,
    Adrian
     
  18. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Practice good techniques and habits but you need to play/practce like performance. It's hard to describe "the best of..." Clear individual goal, direction, tone, time and touch. Blues.

    Tomo
     
  19. gassyndrome

    gassyndrome Member

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    Mike Dodge (a TGP member) has this fantastic website. There is a ton of FREE info here, but go slowly and take your time.

    http://lessons.mikedodge.com/default.htm
     
  20. Brick

    Brick Member

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    On my good pracitce days, I watch the Doug Doppler 'Diatonic Theory and Harmony' video and work on my next 'lesson'.

    http://www.guitar411.com/g411_1.html

    I've learned more from that vid than any other I've ever had.


    Otherwise I'll create loops and play over them, or play old songs and learn new ones.
     

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