Practice regiments.

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

RE: Practice regiments.

Postby david » Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:36 pm

I just caught the tail end of an interview on NPR; never heard who it was with. It was a musician talking about how his big musical break through came when he ran across a violin teacher that had his students study Bach. Not learn Bach, but study Bach.

The way he had them do it was to learn the tunes (can I get away with calling Bach's works "tunes?") and then play them VERY slowly, paying attention to what the hands were doing and how the patterns fit together.

The goal wasn't to learn to play Bach, but to get inside the patterns that worked and understand why they worked so that they could then be used in new combinations.

I suppose the same thing could be done with Robert Johnson or Willie Johnson.

For the last week or so I've been making a sort of game out of the limited time I have to play. I think of it as a sort of Junior Kimbrough approach to practice. I find a phrase of five or six notes and repeat it a few times and then just start doing variations with those notes. Lots of variations: backwards, sideways, etc.

When I get pretty fluid with varying that combination of notes, I start reaching out for other notes that will fit in the sequence and sound "right."

I think it is helping me learn my way around the guitar neck, plus its kind of fun for a change from just trying to polish up what I'm already playing (which isn't much).
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RE: Practice regiments.

Postby jellyroll baker » Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:03 pm

It's all too easy to fall into a rut with practise. You play the same stuff over and over again, up and down. That's why people suggest particular techniques and methods. I've tried some of them them but none of them really suit what I want to do with music. To try and add some discipline to my practise time but still suit my goals I;ve set myself my own method. It's a pretty simple one.

Write 30 songs in 30 days.

I've always found that new tricks and ideas only sink into my muscle memory when I'm trying to be creative. I can go through (say) Brozman's videos and play perfectly along with him but none of it sinks into my heart. Hopefully writing songs around it all will make it sink in.

I'm expecting most of the songs to be stinkers but maybe a few will be good to keep on riding with. We'll have to see. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
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RE: Practice regiments.

Postby jeffl » Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:20 pm

J-Ro,writing tunes can definitely help keep one motivated. I've been gettin' the itch again myself lately. One of my jammin' buddies who has played with me off 'n' on for 35 years brought it to my attention last week that I've never written a tune built around harp...they've all been written on piano and built around lyrics,piano,and guitar. I've got a friend who is a prolific songwriter,and he does almost all his writing with his 6-string in the bathtub.
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RE: Practice regiments.

Postby lorilu » Sat Apr 29, 2006 2:18 pm

Interesting. Is there water in the tub?

I call my practice of scales, rudiments(for the drums), and those chord progressions - warm ups. If I do that for 15 minutes or so (longer for drums) then it is like warming up and stretching for any kind of exercise. I have found when I start off any practice with this, my fun playing is more fluid and relaxed. I make more progress. I think scales and progressions are really fun. Plus, when I expand my skills a bit, I have more things that I can do in the future.

With that, I think that it can be good to break the rules from time to time. I find it necessary for me. I need structure somewhat but in ways that it doesn't feel too much like structure. So that's my 2 cents.
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RE: Practice regiments.

Postby jeffl » Sat Apr 29, 2006 2:24 pm

I've discovered that practicin' harp thru my bullet into my Roland Micro-Cube,with the headsets on,has helped me pay attention to some of the "edges" of my tone,especially when playing certain riffs; and,I can't be heard outside of the room. I practice both amplified,and unamplified. I mix up jammin',and practicin' riffs and learning tunes. The only time I have goals is when I have a number of tunes to learn,and I'm off that job presently.
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RE: Practice regiments.

Postby 1four5 » Tue May 02, 2006 4:17 pm

>Learn alot of songs first and enjoy making MUSIC<

Our set book is up to about 120 songs, and we play for the senior center twice a month. We stay current on 30 songs, once we've performed them, we rotate to another 30, and are always looking for new songs (or on a rare occasion write one). It's all I can do to stay ready, sometimes I feel like I get it together just in the nick of time. It's awesome. Maybe someday I'll feel like I've got a handle on what we play...but for now it keeps me on my toes, and my jam time is overflowing with making sure I'm ready. Blues is me and Tim3finger's break from our set lists..sometimes we just need it...an it's great how some of the riffs are sneeking into our old time and gospel stuff :D
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RE: Practice regiments.

Postby leftyguitarman » Wed May 03, 2006 10:19 pm

>Getting a guitar teacher is the best way to advance.
>Not only do you learn the correct way, but you have to
>practise or else you'll get into trouble next lesson for
>being a slacker!



Well, for me, and some other people I know, teachers bore me. I took piano lessons for 4 years, and I'll tell you what, my teacher (who was 93) made it feel more like a job that fun. I would suggest that if you find a teacher, then get one that will teach you what YOU want. In my opinion.
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RE: Practice regiments.

Postby ricochet » Thu May 04, 2006 12:41 am

> I would suggest that if you find a teacher, then get one that will teach you what YOU want.

Yes, of course!


"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: Practice regiments.

Postby david » Thu May 04, 2006 2:03 pm

I've only been able to find one teacher that claimed to be able to do slide. She was actually pretty good, but she was opposed to blues music, for religious reasons. (She always said her favorite music was "weather channel music.")

I only took five or six lessons. She thought she was teaching me to play the tabs she provided. What I got out of it was the little techniques (like muting the lower strings with the right palm while leaving the upper strings open, hammer ons and pull offs with a slide, putting my left thumb along the back of the neck and my right pinky resting just south of the high string on the coverplate to always know where your hands are as they move around, etc.).

These were things I might never have picked up on my own and they have made a real difference. I had read about them, but having somebody correct your form as you play makes it obvious.

I can see where a teacher that you really connected with would make a huge difference. I also think that any beginner (like I STILL am) can get a lot out of just a few lessons from somebody that knows more about it. More than that might actually hold you back if you have the wrong teacher.

One more thing I have been working on is to NOT watch what I'm doing, but to listen much more carefully. I think I had overlooked this because it is so obvious.

Just little things, like if you use a tuner, tune by ear first and then check with the tuner to see how close you were. Its amazing how quickly you come to recognize when you cross the "right spot."
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