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#2953614 - 10/19/18 12:10 AM Practice Suggestions
J. Dan Offline
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Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 12513
Loc: St. Louis, MO
A little background: I play keyboards, bass, guitar, and sax. I was formally trained on keyboards, then later sax. Bass and guitar I picked up on my own with the help of friends, mostly in college while rooming with my string playing friends. I started more in guitar and got ok playing by ear mostly rhythm and some simple leads. I later played bass in a couple different band and didn't pick up the guitar for a while. I played bass exclusively with my fingers and got pretty decent. Going back to guitar:
1) my pick to finger timing is lost - especially stuf that's repetitive or faster.... than think master of puppets, crazy train, eye of the tiger ......even picking with fretting synchronized with the picking.
2) I never really learned modes and the associated patterns. I learn well by ear but it seems that a lot of stuff is just made up of mostly standard scales and if I was comfortable with them, it would be easier to pick out parts.

Putting these together, it seems that there should be some decent exercises where I could combine picking patterns with scales and sort of mindlessly and repetitively run exercises that will kill two birds with one stone,

Any suggestions? Note, though I know some good guitar teachers, they typically want to do 30 min/week same time and day every week. I travel throughout the US and am rarely home during the week and have busy weekends with the kids, so that sort of schedule doesn't work for me. I'd love to meet a teacher 1 hr a month and just give me a regimen to work on all month on my own time,
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Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2953633 - 10/19/18 03:57 AM Re: Practice Suggestions [Re: J. Dan]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Find ways to play figures that intertwine with and/or bounce off from echo repeats, and then alter the timing in various ways. Start with a long echo/slow tempo, and speed it up more and more from there. This can be good for your musical creativity as well as your timing and tempo skills- and it can be FUN.
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#2953636 - 10/19/18 04:36 AM Re: Practice Suggestions [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 11102
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
I'm sure there's GOT to be an instructor who's "grown -up" enough and smart enough to realize that adults willing and trying to learn any musical instrument ARE indeed limited in their time opportunities for practice. You probably gotta go down the list in the "Yellow Pages", tell 'em what your situation is and maybe you can run into one who has some ideas.

Me? Hell, I just play what I can for as long as I can( mostly running up and down the fretboard, increasing the speed and starting points slowly) still slowed up from a "mini-stroke" a few years ago. Recently picked up a rubber "bag" type of deal filled with some kind of sand type material at a medical supply store. They were sold at the counter as "stress balls"
for about a buck and a half. I've seen things for finger strengthening at music stores ( from similar objects to bean-bags and rubber balls) for up to $15 or more! wink
Whitefang
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I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!

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#2953664 - 10/19/18 07:57 AM Re: Practice Suggestions [Re: whitefang]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11487
Loc: Northern California
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (paraphrasing Jack Nicolson LOL!). Don't forget to make it fun. I usually warm up with a few scales/modes up and down the neck (major, minor and pentatonic) and then work on a tune or two. The picking, timing and other stuff just seem to fall into place for me and I really don't focus on them. A good way to practice is to call up the tune on YouTube and plug your laptop into an amp. Play along with whatever song you like as you will be playing with the band and artist. You'll hear the tempo, chord changes, leads, etc., in the original key...


There is no substitute for a good teacher. Maybe run a seeking out an instructor ad. List what you want to learn, the one hour concept, the music you are interested in, etc. You already have a lot of talent and you just need to keep playing and keep your fingers (and pick) on the strings...Lessons on YouTube can also lead to finding an instructor or instructional DVD...Good luck with it and make it fun! cool
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#2953668 - 10/19/18 08:27 AM Re: Practice Suggestions [Re: whitefang]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 7043
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
My suggestions are more in general as far as musical practice but will have application to what you mentioned specifically.

First, always be in a relaxed mental & physical state when playing (I tend to even ignore the concept of "practice" when possible. There's a diff between performance & prep, certainly, but I think we come off better when we're more unified in our approach to music. Too philosophic ? rolleyes )
Anyhow, never "practice" if you feel tense or pressured.
That may be one thing affecting yer timing.
I personally think that my most free playing happens soon after awaking before the mind gets caught up in routines.
You might try making time for a session early in the mornings or take a few moments to do some physical or mental exercises to loosen up before starting.

I think it sometimes helps to also limit the length of whatever yer working on. Sometimes do the entire piece but if there are areas of difficulty, isolate them & play them separately, gradually building up to the larger work.

It also helps to play things at deliberately altered tempos. That will increase the fluidity of yer playing.
Start with the actually tempo yer trying to achieve & then slow that slightly (big changes in tempo are harder to maintain til you get accustomed to this). Then either slow it a bit more or try playing it a bit faster.
As you become accustomed to playing the same material at diff speeds you'll find that yer fine control over physical mistakes is improved.



On the subject of modes, etc., I think ppl put too much emphasis on that too soon.
It's worth increasing one's understanding of theory but the main thing to remember is that if you can hear what's happening (or intended to happen), that's what you'll always have to go by as you play.

Personally I ignore trying to learn all the nomenclature for scale/mode interactions. I remember some but don't mind looking up what I need to.
The names aren't what constitutes music, the sound is.

If you want specific exercises
for things like moving between strings, pick direction, fretting finger choice for notes in phrases, etc, there are a lotta choices for those things but simply analyzing the material you're dealing with can help.
Many are insistent on alternate picking. I'm not.
Take a phrase & look at whether alternate picking or "gliding" to the next string will be better in that particular phrase.
Similarly position shifts might actually be better in some places than others.
That can be particularly important when yer working from a transcription that suggests yer position. It may or may not be the best choice !

Depending on what's actually hanging you up in spots, you might consider size & shape of pick, pick thickness/flexibility or playing fingerstyle as solutions in diff situations.
Explore those things & try combinations.

Remember you should do what works for you rather than what some else, regardless of credentials, has decided is "best".
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#2953818 - 10/20/18 10:49 AM Re: Practice Suggestions [Re: d]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 11102
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Can't argue with a lot of that. wink
Whitefang
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I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!

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#2953977 - 10/21/18 04:49 PM Re: Practice Suggestions [Re: J. Dan]
hurricane hugo Offline
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Registered: 10/01/08
Posts: 2832
Here's a bit of guitar calisthenics that's been very useful to me. It teaches smooth movement up and down the neck, along and across the fretboard, and is great for hand coordination. smile

Start on low E string. 1st finger of fretting hand on 1st fret. Pick that note, then middle 2nd finger on 2nd fret, 3rd on 3rd, and 4th on 4th. You're doing this slowly at first. You can alterate pick, do all downstrokes, upstrokes, or fingerpick; indeed, at first you might want to experiment with all four.

Now move the action to the A string: 1st finger, 2nd fret, followed by 2nd on 3rd, 3rd on 4th and 4th on 5th. See the pattern? It's going to look like this:

Low E: F, F#, G, G#
A: B, C, C#, D
D: F, F#, G, G#
G: B, C, C#, D
B: E, F, F#, G
high E: A#, B, C, C#

You're not done yet - still climbing up the fretboard, you go back to the B string, G, and so on, continuing the pattern of starting each quartet of notes one fret higher. Do this as far up the fretboard as is comfortable; obviously, you'll be able to go much higher up the neck on an electric guitar as opposed to an acoustic.

When you've gone as far up the neck as is feasible, REVERSE THE WHOLE THING. Each quartet of notes will now begin with the 4th finger and end with the 1st. You should end up right back where you started, with your 1st finger on the 1st fret of the low E string. If you end up anywhere else, you f-ed up. If you hear an open string at any time while you're doing this exercise, you f-ed up. Go back and start over.

I got this from an interview with Anthrax's former lead guitarist Dan Spitz. It's a great exercise, especially when you have to spend an extended period away from the instrument. It'll get your hands back to talking to each other like nothing else.
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#2954031 - 10/22/18 07:04 AM Re: Practice Suggestions [Re: hurricane hugo]
DocPate Online   content
Gold Member

Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 875
Loc: Virginia
@HurricaneHugo: Nice suggestion. I would recommend you sing out each note's name as you do this. Great teaching tool.


Edited by DocPate (10/22/18 07:05 AM)

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#2954073 - 10/22/18 12:06 PM Re: Practice Suggestions [Re: DocPate]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 7043
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
As an addendum, let's not forget that sometimes skills can carry over from one utilization to another.
As I type this it occurss to me that typing (or more musically) keyboard playing might provide some other ways of developing finger dexterity.
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#2954168 - 10/23/18 04:26 AM Re: Practice Suggestions [Re: d]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 11102
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Well sure, if one actually TYPES, and not "hunt and peck" like probably most here are doing. wink

I did take a course called "personal typing" in high school, but over time forgot most of what I learned there as it was many moons until I acquired a typewriter for home use. Even my EX( who in school achieved a 110 wpm rate) lost a lot of HER "moxie" by then. wink

But sure, I can see it's benefit.
Whitefang
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I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!

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#2954301 - 10/23/18 04:28 PM Re: Practice Suggestions [Re: whitefang]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 7043
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Fang, I'm suggesting that developing typing skills might increase the independent dexterity of one's fingers.
If one already types well that dexterity would already be there.
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