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#2496538 - 05/26/13 09:58 AM Lets talk about bad playing habits.
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 2739
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
Here is mine;

I pick too hard on the strings, and spend lots of time playing lots of notes without pauses. So lately after hearing from other musical friends talking about moments of silence in any musical passage, it finally entered into my brain to start trying to add moments of silence to my licks.

Man it is hard to do when you are used to just jamming it out there note after note phrase after phrase without any pauses.

I was a bricklayer by trade, so after a day of handling hard heavy objects, I would have to force my hands to practice. Consequently my touch has been heavy all of my practicing days. Now that I have not laid any rocks, stones, or inserted baked and cast rectangular objects into walls for a while, it has finally dawned on me to lighten up..........
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#2496565 - 05/26/13 11:47 AM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: desertbluesman]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5222
Loc: Hwy 49, California
Too many to list LOL. Some of which I refuse to give up, like fretting with my thumb...

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#2496568 - 05/26/13 12:02 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Larryz]
Bartholomew Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/29/04
Posts: 389
Loc: Montreal
Too many notes is my pet peeve with most amateur & semi-pro players so I intentionally avoid it - less is more. Too loud is also right up there along with having no rhythm.

Too fast usually means no feel in the music but it sounds tight because the notes are closer together. Several known players have been quoted as saying the space is as important as the sound. It's important to know what a "rest" is & when to use it.

My goal on any Lead is to plant the lines in the mind of the audience. Playing too many notes is a guarantee they won't remember anything.

Flurry of bullshit is not artistic. No insult intended to anyone but most of the guys I hear doing this are not even playing in the right key at times.

One of my guitar teachers once told me to learn horn lines and phrase like a horn player - which is a good place to start but many of them overplay also.

I have useless technique, play with my thumb around the neck also, don't have any speed anyways, so had to learn what good taste is.
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#2496572 - 05/26/13 12:15 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Bartholomew]
picker Offline
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Registered: 06/13/04
Posts: 13106
Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
My worst playing habit is not playing. I get lazy about practicing, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say every so often, I get ambitious and actually pick the silly thing up for a few minutes.
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#2496575 - 05/26/13 12:49 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: picker]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 2739
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
My producer friends always say; if you can hum the line it will resonate with people. Plus they say you have to insert silences in lines with your breathing rhythm. that way it does not give an unsettling feeling.

I think that is excellent advice. I still like to do short speed flurries when improvising, but real short and only to accent some little melodic phrase just passed or upcoming. I got a lot of work to get there myself.
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#2496576 - 05/26/13 12:51 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Larryz]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 2739
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
Originally Posted By: Larryz
Too many to list LOL. Some of which I refuse to give up, like fretting with my thumb...


I use my thumb all of the time, not in chords much, but to mute the two bass strings when playing in overdrive. That habit stays amigo, proper or not. Gotta keep the squeal down to a dull roar..... ;~)
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#2496578 - 05/26/13 12:55 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: picker]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 2739
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
Originally Posted By: picker
My worst playing habit is not playing. I get lazy about practicing, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say every so often, I get ambitious and actually pick the silly thing up for a few minutes.


Emily Remler (one of my early guitar teachers) (and the one who had the greatest lasting influence over my playing), used to say to me. (about herself) Pointing at her guitar she would say, "I am a slave to this thing". I have to practice every day for hours and hours, and I can't take weekends off"
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#2496599 - 05/26/13 02:04 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: picker]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3086
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Originally Posted By: picker
My worst playing habit is not playing. I get lazy about practicing, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say every so often, I get ambitious and actually pick the silly thing up for a few minutes.


That would be me.

Also, even though I know my greatest weaknesses as a player are that I have basically forgotten how to read music properly- or at least as well as I used to- and have huge gaps of knowledge regarding the names of the chords & progressions, I DON'T PRACTICE WITH SHEET MUSIC AND CHORD SHEETS!


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (05/26/13 02:04 PM)
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#2496605 - 05/26/13 02:29 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: desertbluesman]
H-A Forgiven Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 198
Originally Posted By: desertbluesman

I use my thumb all of the time, not in chords much, but to mute the two bass strings

I do that a lot too, not just in overdrive though. I'm not sure if it's bad technique or not.. It sure helps, and makes it sound a lot clearer, especially if I'm really getting into it. I don't think that you can keep the low E and A from vibrating just a little when playing a Dmajor chord...
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#2496612 - 05/26/13 03:10 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: H-A Forgiven]
russclan Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 265
Fretting with your thumb, or wrapping it around to mute may be considered bad form in the classical school (not sure), but in pretty much all other genres, I think everything's fair game.

If what's in your head is coming out of your fingers, then you're doing it right, imho.
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#2496624 - 05/26/13 05:01 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: desertbluesman]
skipclone 1 Offline
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Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 6824
Loc: Japan
Well in fairness, I have heard playing from people who are obviously very well educated musically. All the notes make sense, they are always playing well-chosen accompaniments to the overall movement of the piece. And five minutes later I`ve forgotten everything they did, not because it`s difficult but becsause it`s predictable. You do have to take chances, take somethng that fits perfectly and turn it sideways and inside out and see where you end up. If you do that all the time you may end up with something like free jazz (if you`re good enough). But I do feel like there`s more than one way to play something memorable.

Anyway bad habits-yeah,more practice. And more reading, I rely too much on my ear. I can kinda sorta read but if someone drops something in front of me I`ll be like, this is homework right?


Edited by skipclone 1 (05/26/13 05:02 PM)
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#2496634 - 05/26/13 06:57 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: skipclone 1]
Bartholomew Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/29/04
Posts: 389
Loc: Montreal
Always had the opinion that if I can sing it I can play it so sometimes go from that point of view when jamming leads.

It's difficult to not be predictable as skipclone mentioned --- so one of the tricks I found/read is that starting on a different note will often produce a different lead.

Works for me usually to some degree. I can't be bothered memorizing anymore, don't know if that's a good thing or not.
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#2496657 - 05/26/13 09:02 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Bartholomew]
p90jr Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 1917
I have to sa y that I play for a lot of younger underground rock audiences, and they want "spectacle" and "attitude," not "taste." Of course they're just as happy when I attack the strings with a mic stand as when I play too many notes too fast during a solo.

Then, I have to abandon that mindset when I play more tasteful gigs and styles and play entirely differently.

There's a little turnaround lick I picked up from a piano solo somewhere, I think... and I'm trying to stop my fingers from playing it, because it's been showing up in every solo I play lately. Repeating things too much is what I'm hard on myself about.

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#2496700 - 05/27/13 05:55 AM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Winston Psmith Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1840
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz


Also, even though I know my greatest weaknesses as a player are that I have basically forgotten how to read music properly- or at least as well as I used to- and have huge gaps of knowledge regarding the names of the chords & progressions, I DON'T PRACTICE WITH SHEET MUSIC AND CHORD SHEETS!


Ah, man, I hear you. I just recently joined up with a bunch of guys who sit around and play old tunes, for just this reason. It forces me to go back to the basics. Once I started playing with these guys, I was amazed at all the stuff that came back to the surface. It wasn't really forgotten, just sort of buried under other stuff.

Regarding playing too fast: I worked with a young guy who was incredibly talented, but undisciplined. Once time, he brought me in a piece he was working on, for a school assignment. The arrangement was beautiful, everything was well done, then the solo came on. It had nothing to do with any of the themes he'd been building in the rest of the piece, just guitar pyrotechnics, brilliantly done, skillfully executed, but with no, let's say, emotional content. I told him to go back, and listen to the piece again, without the guitar solo, then to try to craft a solo that referenced, and built on, the overall musical theme, so listeners could hear the connection, and better appreciate the solo, otherwise, he was just shooting off fireworks, or playing for the enjoyment of other speed freaks. Shockingly, he thanked me for my input, and did as I suggested!?!?! It happens, sometimes . . .
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#2496706 - 05/27/13 06:27 AM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Winston Psmith]
Lokair Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Braeburn PA
Lately My timing is rushed, Seems after I get to the point where i can take off on my own I get going just a bit fast almost frantic. Its really killing my playing nowa days. My other problem is practice or goto the gym. If I practice its good , if I goto the gym , then do an abbreviated practice its great , my plying is much better after the gym, but lately again I goto the gym come home and skip practice. Not good.

Lok
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#2496725 - 05/27/13 08:52 AM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: picker]
whitefang Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 5677
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Originally Posted By: picker
My worst playing habit is not playing. I get lazy about practicing, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say every so often, I get ambitious and actually pick the silly thing up for a few minutes.


That's ME! I also use the thumb around the neck instead of "barre-ing" the chords. But my biggest bad habit is that I improperly finger many chords. Yeah, they sound the same, but still...
Whitefang
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#2496792 - 05/27/13 04:52 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: whitefang]
Bartholomew Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/29/04
Posts: 389
Loc: Montreal
I don't play live often enough so sometimes it takes me a whole damn set to warm-up.
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#2496793 - 05/27/13 05:10 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Bartholomew]
Scott Fraser Offline
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Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 3891
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Bartholomew
I don't play live often enough so sometimes it takes me a whole damn set to warm-up.


Pretty quick, by my standards. It can take me several days to really get in shape for a gig. Feels like I'm always starting over.
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#2496809 - 05/27/13 06:24 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Scott Fraser]
Sharkman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 264
I've discovered that when I play garbage really fast, a lot of people are impressed by it, even though it's pure garbage. As a result, when I can find the time to practice, I tend to gravitate towards playing fast garbage, instead of something that actually sounds good.

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#2496815 - 05/27/13 06:35 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Sharkman]
H-A Forgiven Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 198
One habit I'm guilty of is not using efficient picking a lot of times. I pick upwards all the time unless I force myself to do alternate or something like that. I'm not sure why, but it just is easier for me for some reason, until it the music starts getting too fast, and then it's not efficient enough.
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#2496838 - 05/27/13 09:43 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: H-A Forgiven]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 2739
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
I should practice more and invent things also, instead of just playing things I already know.
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If it sounds good, it is good !!
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#2496840 - 05/27/13 09:56 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: desertbluesman]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5222
Loc: Hwy 49, California
I have to pick up my guitar at least once a day or my day is not complete...but I'm rarely serious about my practice and play scales, improvised leads, bass lines and chord runs, that do add to my basic understanding of the guitar. The exception would be getting ready for a gig and going over my cover tunes and arrangements. My bad habit is not being serious about my practice sessions. On the other hand, I enjoy them...

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#2496843 - 05/27/13 11:10 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Larryz]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3086
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Its not so much a bad playing habit, but...

I don't record myself. I used to when I was taking lessons, but haven't done so in years.

And I have no excuse: I have a Tascam GT-R1 with two wonderful mics, a removable chip drive, and direct computer connectivity to boot.

What makes it worse is that my primary form of interaction with the guitar is composing new stuff. I'll find a slick groove, play it for a few days, come up with something else...and forget the one I worked on last week.
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#2496891 - 05/28/13 07:03 AM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1840
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz

What makes it worse is that my primary form of interaction with the guitar is composing new stuff. I'll find a slick groove, play it for a few days, come up with something else...and forget the one I worked on last week.


A useful piece of advice from David Torn - Always Be Looping. I'm not always plugged into my recording rig, but I am always plugged into one of my loopers. Makes it easy to catch some cool sound or idea, without stopping, re-cabling, and starting over.

If you're using a classical, or other acoustic guitar with no onboard electronics, get a cheap contact or soundhole pickup, to plug in. It'll pay for itself the next time you don't lose a great idea.
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#2496895 - 05/28/13 07:17 AM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Winston Psmith]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5222
Loc: Hwy 49, California
Originally Posted By: Winston Psmith
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz

What makes it worse is that my primary form of interaction with the guitar is composing new stuff. I'll find a slick groove, play it for a few days, come up with something else...and forget the one I worked on last week.


A useful piece of advice from David Torn - Always Be Looping. I'm not always plugged into my recording rig, but I am always plugged into one of my loopers. Makes it easy to catch some cool sound or idea, without stopping, re-cabling, and starting over.

If you're using a classical, or other acoustic guitar with no onboard electronics, get a cheap contact or soundhole pickup, to plug in. It'll pay for itself the next time you don't lose a great idea.


GUILTY! Unlike DannyA, I can forget what I did last night, I don't even get to keep the idea for a week LOL. I have a looper and have pondered many times, why haven't I plugged in? I pledge to have it set up before the next idea comes along and get it recorded. I can always delete it if it sounds lousy the next day... thu


Edited by Larryz (05/28/13 07:18 AM)

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#2496905 - 05/28/13 07:49 AM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Scott Fraser]
Bartholomew Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/29/04
Posts: 389
Loc: Montreal
Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
Originally Posted By: Bartholomew
I don't play live often enough so sometimes it takes me a whole damn set to warm-up.


Pretty quick, by my standards. It can take me several days to really get in shape for a gig. Feels like I'm always starting over.


Always starting over - thought that was my line.
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#2497566 - 05/30/13 08:29 AM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Bartholomew]
Eric Iverson Offline
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Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 4795
Loc: Jackson Heights, NY
Where do we start?
1. Sometimes I get lazy about tuning, the "close but no cigar" thing. Depending on the electronic tuner too much.
2. I often just jam in a vacuum, instead of to a record or Jamie Aebersold track for jazz. Then later you find out some of those cool licks don't really work as well as you thought they did!
3. I need to practice my exercises with a metronome.
4. Or not learning tunes ALL THE WAY THROUGH, which you must do on stage, in most circumstances... trusting too much in Real Books and other chord sheets.
5. On mandolin, being careless of upstrokes/downstrokes landing on the correct beat or half-beat. Yes, it DOES make a difference!
6. If I'm learning someone's solo, learn it right, as much as possible. For the discipline, if nothing else; since onstage I'll play parts verbatim sometimes, but rarely someone else's solo.

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#2497592 - 05/30/13 09:34 AM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Larryz]
Winston Psmith Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1840
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Originally Posted By: Larryz
GUILTY! Unlike DannyA, I can forget what I did last night, I don't even get to keep the idea for a week LOL. I have a looper and have pondered many times, why haven't I plugged in? I pledge to have it set up before the next idea comes along and get it recorded. I can always delete it if it sounds lousy the next day... thu


One of my personal tests, for anything new I'm working on. If it still sounds good the next morning, I know I have something - if I listen back, and just go "What the hell?", I know it's time to delete that track.
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#2497605 - 05/30/13 10:02 AM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Winston Psmith]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3086
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Like I said, I have no excuse for not recording.

I'm really feeling the pressure to start doing so because I have been playing in 2 tunings for years- standard & NST- and I haven't played in NST in months.* I don't even know what I have forgotten.








* not because I have fallen out of love with NST, 'cause I haven't, but because of my involvement with a guitar circle group.
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#2497698 - 05/30/13 01:11 PM Re: Lets talk about bad playing habits. [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
5 string Mike Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 08/23/07
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwestern Michigan USA
+1 about practice- need to dedicate more time to it, for bass and guitar.

+1 proper chording- I do some different things based on pure expediency (I have gorilla fingers so some chords I have to play different)

I worry too much about striving to play these crazy riffs and fills. My good guitar-playing friend is more of a chickin-pickin' player who tries to play kind of like Junior Brown. He's good at it, but I feel I need to be like that. It's not my style.

@ desertbluesman- I was an auto/truck tech for years and lost a lot of dexterity in my fingers (due to constant exposure to impact, chemicals, etc.) so my fingers don't move as coordinated as they could. I totally relate to what you mean by forcing your fingers.
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