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What's the best practice method?
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cur
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way I see it is it mostly breaks down to muscle memory. True from sports to musical instruments. Muscle memory means repetition. This can become boring so maybe the key is to have a mix of the repetitive drills and learning new riffs and chord songs. If I went straight into only chord songs (strumming) from the beginning I know I would not have lasted very long, due to difficulty and lack of instant gratification. But I knew I had to learn chords. I got a beginner tab book for chord songs of classic rock tunes that I knew in my head. So get an ACDC tab book if you know those songs. Older Beatles songs are useful for this too.

Then what really got me motivated was getting tabs off of azchords.com for single note solos. For me Sublime stuff was great to learn. "What I got" solo sounds good and is not too hard. The "Santeria" solo runs are longer and sound good.

I also like to hit power chord songs like that of Green Day or the Hives.

So I like to work on something new, then something I know and then the chords and scales. Having success along the way helps. I have been doing this for almost two years now and my wife and kids don't get up and leave the room right away when I start playing now. So maybe I am getting better but, of course, still suck.
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Noirie.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

endsjustifymeans wrote:
I may take your advice and just hide lack of skill behind a wall of noise.


Look where its got Kevin shields Laughing
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kim
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in power of salad and milkshakes it always makes me smile when gibson says how anyone would sound great with his setup lol

don't stress yourself, if you get together for the first time to jam don't be too serious about it i think... look at it as fun, not like...a test...or task or something. maybe they feel the same insecurity about themselves ?
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Mityushikha
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I rarely listen to classic rock etc but a while ago I learned to play the solo in Iron Man. I don't like chilis much but I can fingerpick the intro to Under The Bridge. I learned to play the tremolo part in Misirlou by Dick Dale and I can play Spanish Two Step by John Fahey, the point being that all of these are from different genre's that I don't often listen to on a day to day basis but I would say it helps to learn a variety of different skills at the same time and in different genres that push you further in the required skill area, you won't get bored or frustrated so easily. I've also noodled away on the pentatonic scale to whatever music I happened to be listening to and I guess that helped.
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Shaguar
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know sometimes it helps to take a step back when learning something. I spent maybe 2-3 years learning how to play guitar on my own and like you I felt like it wasnt going anywhere and my playing was stagnating. There were numerous songs that I got tabs for with full intention of learning them and figured they were too hard.

Then I stopped playing for what turned out to be another 2-3 years. I put the amp and the guitar at the back of the closet and forgot I even had it. Then came a good friend of mine who all of a sudden developped a taste for playing drums (he was a snare drummer in his air cadet marching band as a teen) and started playing with some other dude.

Just his interest in my former guitar playing abilities forced me to dig the guitar out and start playing again. Oddly enough, those tabs I found too difficult to play when I quit were all of a sudden real easy. Then just riffing with my friend playing drums was really more natural than I ever thought it would be.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is just take a step back. A pause. Maybe not a 2-3 year pause, but just take a break.
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dots
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what works best for me in learning/writing/mastering new material is tracking it. when i make a demo (been a while, but this is the process) -- even if it's just for a reference to come back to later or so my band can hear my ideas -- i track it in cakewalk and take the performance as seriously as i would if it was for production. click track, panning, alternating parts, doubling. . . you name it, i put that all in there. and, depending on the complexity of the cover or how far i want to take the writing process, this adds up to hours of intense repetition and intimate exposure with the piece. if it's a new song, ideas for dynamic shifts and harmonies pop in and out; if it's a cover, the best interpretation i can come up with for replicating the tune emerges and sharpens. what measly skills i have in the way of solo work come from this as i always make myself play something a little more challenging each time i do this.

in fact, this process is so effective for me and takes so long that i almost never have time for it anymore. it's my gold standard, and if i really want to create/learn something special, this is what i do. unfortunately for my playing and writing, career and family time have usurped much of the time i used to spend doing this, so the output has all but dried up.

i'll back up a bit here, though, so i can share the genesis process which i still do because it's so simple, and without which, the gold standard probably wouldn't exist. i start by having a guitar always out and within easy reach in a room in the house i spend a lot of time in. in the old days, it was my office/den, and now it's the family room. then i just play it whenever the mood strikes me, or there's a free moment. . . and it literally can just be a moment sometimes, like that last two minutes before we're all going out for the evening, but it is typically in that last 5 - 30 minutes before bed. that length of time can vary based on whether i like what i'm playing or not. the only rule is to have no rules. i can play a song i've played a million times, something from the radio, a riff i'd all but forgotten from my college years, nonsensical notes as i hunt and peck up and down the fretboard. . . anything. if i find myself hating what sound is coming out, i put it down and come back to the guitar later, be that hours or days. if i come up with something i really like, the intention is to record it as soon as possible, even in a cursory format, so that i can come back to it later and decide if it's worth developing.

sorry for the wordiness, but these are the methods i've developed for myself over the last 16 or 17 years of playing. maybe you're somebody who needs something more rigid or structured, i dunno. i don't think there's one right way to do things, personally, so hopefully there's at least something in the above diatribe that you can either adopt or decide against. =]
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blacktaxi
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some really nice tips here!

Also, check this article out: http://www.heartwoodguitar.com/WordPressBlog/?p=12 . Some time ago really helped me, I think it covers most of it.

For me the main rule is to have fun. When I try to force myself it gets even worse, so I stopped trying long time ago. I just play when I want and what I want. Sometimes I'm getting interested with some new to me chord voicings or chord sequences, or I'm struck with some brilliant record and learn fav songs of it etc - that's where the progress comes from. Apart from this I don't put some goals for myself. I'm pretty sure it's not most effective way to learn guitar, it's just how it works for me.
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endsjustifymeans
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

blacktaxi wrote:
Some really nice tips here!

Also, check this article out: http://www.heartwoodguitar.com/WordPressBlog/?p=12 . Some time ago really helped me, I think it covers most of it.

For me the main rule is to have fun. When I try to force myself it gets even worse, so I stopped trying long time ago. I just play when I want and what I want. Sometimes I'm getting interested with some new to me chord voicings or chord sequences, or I'm struck with some brilliant record and learn fav songs of it etc - that's where the progress comes from. Apart from this I don't put some goals for myself. I'm pretty sure it's not most effective way to learn guitar, it's just how it works for me.


good link, thanks.

I'm one of those try a new piece at top speed folks... probably where I'm messing up. Time to slooooooooooooooooow down.
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dub
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My advice is probably wack because I'm rather strange and easily amused. What put me off learning guitar for quite a long time was my own silly expectations, I secretly felt I would suck balls, and being a noob at anything is hard and offputting. The fact I know lots of amazing players (including one who went from beginner to jazz school in under two years...) left me with a bit of anxiety. That and laziness.

One day I just realised it was something I had to do for myself and although I would probably suck, and it would be slow and hard work: it had to be done, for regrets are a terrible thing. Now I have so little expectation of myself, the smallest progress or achievement gets me totally stoked. Also my interest in repetitive stoner rock means I will quite happily play the same simple riff with massive fuzz for an hour at a time.

So even though my progress is slow, it doesn't put me off. It's a combination of having achievable goals, but realistic expectations. If I'm working on something and it really is too hard, I try for a while and switch to something else, usually when I come back to it, it's a lot easier. You can overthink guitar. As blacktaxi says, its supposed to be fun. Getting yourself frustrated... can blind you to how far you've come. I think everyone is guilty of trying to go too fast.

Another thing is I always try to come up with something of my own, every time I pick up the guitar, and so every new riff or scale I learn adds to the skillset and I can see my own ideas developing. While being unable to express your ideas can be equally as frustrating as not being able to play someone else's riffs, I think its a far more healthy motivating factor, and less discouraging.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd advise looking at a new style. I usually go through a period where I play loads of metal for a month about twice a year. It's good, because when I play metal, I start practising picking and such properly. I don't usually feel like I have to practise anymore, so it's nice having to.

Also, there will be times when inspiration runs out a bit. It'll come back, don't freak out. What you can do is put that time to good use and do boring things like scales or just practising technique.
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endsjustifymeans
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I decided to sort of take a step backwards... I figured a good band to learn songs for would be nirvana.
Started with bleach, had no idea how simple these songs were.

I should have been doing this when I was 14, not 31... feel like a nerdy little kid listening to bleach on repeat and playing along.
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Sloan
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Practice ain't shit if your not focused on a goal. Find something you want to achieve and spend 1-2hrs a day achieving that goal.


I fucking suck at practicing.
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Sloan
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, don't practice near any distractions. ESPECIALLY COMPUTER.

Dedicate that time to gettin' that goal ONLY and don't do anything else. TURN OFF THAT CELLPHONE BRO.

it's all about FOCUS and SPIN MOVES.
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Mungodora
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think learning guitar is the same as learning anything else, you naturally go along quite happily learning stuff pretty quickly and easily, and then suddenly bam! You hit a plateau. Then you are just sort of stuck a while, not really progressing, and everything seems harder, and you get annoyed because, there you were a week ago flying by thinking this is awesome, and then all of a sudden everything seems to suck.

It's happened to me several times since I started playing guitar, and I'm pretty sure it happens to most people, even the pro-players. I think the trick is to keep going, even if it means playing a bit less than you were. Because lets face it, it's a lot less fun when you are finding things harder than usual, so getting motivated to play can also suffer sometimes. But try to combat that and just keep going, as steadily as is comfortable for you.

Then a few weeks (or even months) or so down the line suddenly you will spurt off again and things will seem to start picking up the pace and start feeling natural again, only now you are able to play stuff that was too hard before. That's the best part because I find it really makes me feel good to find that, actually... I don't suck as much as I thought I did before, and things start being more fun so your excitement for playing increases again.

On a personal note, one thing that has really helped me when practicing, is always trying to use some sort of time keeping to play against. I mean sometimes this is as simple as tapping my foot along to keep the beat when you play, but usually when I am at home I use a drum machine on my computer playing through my speakers, but a metronome would work too.

I think it really helps you to develop musically on guitar, and I think you would benefit from it as you will feel a lot more natural when you start playing with your drummer friend and the rest of your band.

I like you're idea of playing along to bleach, but I'm surprised that YOU'RE surprised at how simple Nirvana songs are... all the best songs all simple heh Razz
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endsjustifymeans
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My strumming arm keeps going hurty then numb up around my upper biceps/shoulder, any advice? I think my picking style may be shit, I seem to strum mostly with my wrist/thumb muscle, keeping my hand in pretty much the same spot the whole time. If I try to strum more with a combined wrist/forearm motion it totally throws me off and my fingers don't know where the right string are any more.

I hate being a newb... I just want to be able to rock the fuck out already.
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society is crumbling because of asshoels like ends

brainfur wrote:
I'm having difficulty reconciling my desire to smash the state & kill all white people with my desire for a new telecaster
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hotrodperlmutter
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just keep playing really. i used to put "fresh cream" on and just noodle around, getting my fingers loose, and trying to match tones.

also just watching technique vids on youtube. john frusciante has a few, as does morello and jack white.

we will get you up to speed at n00bfesst2k10.
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mezzio13
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Practice on a shitty acoustic. you'll not believe the difference when you go to your rock guitar.

Also, just keep putting in the time. I lived in Harrisburg for a while, adn knew absolutely no one. I was practicing litterally 6 or seven hours a day. I could not believe the difference in my play, not that I'm suggestin you do anything close to that...
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

endsjustifymeans wrote:
My strumming arm keeps going hurty then numb up around my upper biceps/shoulder, any advice? I think my picking style may be shit, I seem to strum mostly with my wrist/thumb muscle, keeping my hand in pretty much the same spot the whole time. If I try to strum more with a combined wrist/forearm motion it totally throws me off and my fingers don't know where the right string are any more.

I hate being a newb... I just want to be able to rock the fuck out already.


Luckily enough, that's a good way to be strumming. Your wrist is a lot better and small controlled movements than your elbow/shoulder. Also, your hand is a lot lighter than your arm, so you should be able to play for longer. Be careful about the thumb thing though, I've usually found that it's better to keep that constant and use your wrist for variation, at least when practising. I know that when I'm improvising solos, I don't think of any of this stuff and use every means of control available, be that using my thumb to angle the pick and dig in, or even flicking random right hand fingers that aren't being used to pick across the strings.

As for tightness or, watch your posture, and try switching between sitting down and standing up. I assume you're sitting down if this is happening. Also, try to relax as much as possible. This will do you more good in the long run than can possible be emphasised now. Sit with your guitar, and try to relax everything from your neck to your lower back, across your shoulders to your wrists, thumbs, and fingers. Learning to play without tensing up will make things a lot easier, particularly if you ever decide to try your hand at shredding (easier than it sounds, it's all just one practise session at a time, how there's no limit to how far YOU can take this). I know that I'm quite a tense player. I was a tense pianist, and before performing anything on piano I would usually practise in the dark until I was able to play a piece perfectly in the dark five times in a row, and about twenty percent faster than was necessary. This meant that in the actual performance, I knew that my limit was well past what was needed for the performance. This is a bad way of doing things, as it means that I have difficulty playing close to my limit when playing guitar. If I were better at relaxing, I'd be a better performer (on guitar at any rate).

Stretches help too, as well as regular breaks (say after every hour) to go make a cup of coffee or go for a walk or something.

Watch out for pain, it's a sign that you're doing something wrong. Be extra vigilant of carpal tunnel and read about stretches you can do to alleviate it.
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endsjustifymeans
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great advice guys, can't tell you how much I appreciate it!
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dots wrote:
society is crumbling because of asshoels like ends

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I'm having difficulty reconciling my desire to smash the state & kill all white people with my desire for a new telecaster
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IroniaSudby
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to basically play Power Chords cause i really only wanted to play Teh Kurdtz.

As soon as The Stone Roses hit me, i saw the tabs for the song and said "This fucking hard...but i want to play these"

Id sit hours upon hours, taking breaks, just doing pentatonic scales.

Soon i realized i needed to learn chords, so i spend hours and hours doing that.

The most important thing is when i "practice". Im not working, im having fun. I just play

songs and when i got somewhat proficient, i kept learning songs. Pick up a chord or 2 and started

incorporating that into my playing.
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