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Old 12-04-2012, 09:22 PM   #1
B&J
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Technique is overrated

I had this chat with my guitar teacher today about technique, and how it is overrated to actually practise on technique for any length of time.

When i work on a song, i want it to sound perfect. This means, my technique should be perfect, so by playing this song i work on technique. If there is one bar i cant play perfectly i work on it until i can, i am actually working on technique then.

So does it make sense to play boring technique exercises when you do the very same by playing music, in my opinion it doesn't... (you didnt see that coming did you) since you train technique by learning songs. Unless you are easily satisfied i think learing technique is not necessary. Rather learn them in a musical context; hence songs.

What is your idea about this.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:09 PM   #2
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Congrats. You discovered what many others before you have!

Here's my view. The technique excerises have a point and a use. I do them all the time, you use them to focus strictly on technique. Are you relaxed enough? Is your stretching ok? Can you repeat this many times with ease? Are the notes clear? Are the notes precise?

Then you have many of these excerises, some focus on your rhythm along with technique, some focus on can you can flow between hand movements, some focus on getting warmed up, some focus on other things etc.

You shouldn't rely on those excerises only though. You have to strive for musical ways to play what you practiced technique wise. The excerises just help with the bumps in it. Would you start learning a song with six string sweeps with never sweeping before? No. You should start with a three string sweep and work your way up slowly. How? By making excerises out of it till you can apply what you practiced.

Simple thought yes? Learn, apply, develop, apply, learn, apply, modify, apply, and apply.

Technique = Control, tone, how relaxed you are, and ability.

To put it simple; You contradicted yourself by saying you hate practicing boring excerises, but make excerises out of what you can't play in a song till your technique is on par, but technique is still overrated.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:11 PM   #3
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Practice in general is never overrated, who said this anyway?

But you are right, learning techniques in context is always the best way, but also repitition of certain weaker areas may also be needed.

Like say there is a sequence of phrase I'm not very confident with playing, but the rest of the song plays fine, so I would spend more time on that specific sequence for maybe 2-3 times longer than I would the rest, but still spend time playing the whole song to see how cohesive what I've learnt fits together
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:23 PM   #4
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Practise is never overrated, but hey i needed ppl to watch this topic. What i was trying to say is practising in technique is gonna make you a great technical player but does it make you a musician? To me it seems by learning a song, and putting my self to the max on it, like learning every bit perfectly i work on technique and this is "practical technique" training. Which, to me, seems more important.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:57 AM   #5
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I'm in the same boat as you man. Never really got into a lot of exercising. I learned everything by imitating my favorite guitarists. Perhaps slowing down the tempo and gradually increasing it till I get it. A difference is that when I'm playing exercises I'm solely focused on technique and usually that makes me improve more. On the other hand, when I play a song I don't really care about getting it perfect cause I'm just having fun. So yeah, I'm pretty sure that I would have a better technique if I did more exercises.

Last edited by Sethis : 12-05-2012 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
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Technique isn't overrated. Technique is a means to an end, that end being expression.

Over-emphasizing technique in your practice and never bothering to learn to play music is a mistake, but technique itself is just a set of tools with which you express yourself.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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Dude I totally agree. I used to be serious about an exercise routine but its like when you start down that path you keep adding an exercise for this, an excersize for that untill its like a hour long and when do you play music? You can get alternate exersize from Yngwie solos, arpeggios with Jason Becker solos, .... Chopin was against that too and he made music for exersizing specific techniques. Now I do a list of techniques on saturday morning and thats it. Only music.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
So does it make sense to play boring technique exercises when you do the very same by playing music, in my opinion it doesn't... (you didnt see that coming did you) since you train technique by learning songs. Unless you are easily satisfied i think learing technique is not necessary. Rather learn them in a musical context; hence songs.


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Old 12-06-2012, 10:56 AM   #9
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There's obviously a balancing act. We have all seen players with remarkable technique yet little of that elusive "musicality". They seem to be playing exercises on stage. We have seen others with technique that's technically rather poor, yet they make great music.

It's certainly arguable as to where that line gets crossed. Some folks get hung up on "perfection"; we know a fellow who's a remarkable guitarist... Head and shoulders above most of the area guitarists... Yet he was so unhappy with his own vision of perfection that he quit playing. He was never good enough to satisfy himself... Rather sad.
On the other hand, a fellow walked into our club one night, pulled the ratty "house" Ovation off the wall, and did 3-chord rock-and-roll for an hour.... The audience ate it up.
Performance vs. "perfection". In an ideal world, you'd have both, perhaps. But that's rare.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B&J
What is your idea about this.


Technique exercises remove the distractions that may be present when you play music proper. If you find them boring why not compromise and do them only for particular techniques that you or your teacher judge as weak in your playing?
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:39 AM   #11
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This day i don't practice exercises except some speed ones, or for warming up, but i guess there are many things i learned in my 13 years of playing by practicing exercises, boring or not, like someone said, as means to an end.

Streching, independence of fingers, scale developing, speed, rhythm, chords, inversions, for all of them i had exercises till i had enough, and applied them.

But i guess in the other hand, you could make exercises less boring, by making them out of songs you like, i think that's a valid point of view, wish i'd done it with some annoying ones
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:03 PM   #12
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I create exercises around any difficulties I have in a song, it's the way it's been done for a good long time and I'm not about to change it.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:53 PM   #13
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In my opinion, the hallmark of a great musician is the ability to compose impactful and tasteful music, and secondly the ability to play the said music in way that conveys its purpose.

Everything else that does not contribute to those goals is just guitar masturbation and ego wanking (mindless shredding cough cough)



If you need to practice technique in order to play it, go ahead. but if you are practicing technique in order to play a 7 string ascending sweep pattern with tapping when you have no need for it, are naturally terrible at it, and it sounds like shiz in a composition, then you are SOOO wasting your time.

Also, I think people spend way too much time trying to nail down a specific way of playing something rather than finding an EASIER way to play it that suits them but still conveys their musical idea (or even better). Example - I will often use hammer-ons and even notes per string with alternate picking so I dont have to inside pick. Im absolutely atrocious at inside picking and it doesnt add any value from a musical sense so I try to find an equal alternate way around it.

I'm also very naturally good at tapping, for some odd reason. so I try to turn alot of alternate picking/legato riffs into tapping riffs. I dont give two shits as long as it still conveys my musical idea.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:58 PM   #14
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Good technique makes it a lot easier to learn and improvise and gives more tools to compose with. It also makes you improve faster, able to play faster and less prone to injury.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychosylocibin
In my opinion, the hallmark of a great musician is the ability to compose impactful and tasteful music, and secondly the ability to play the said music in way that conveys its purpose.

Everything else that does not contribute to those goals is just guitar masturbation and ego wanking (mindless shredding cough cough)


I was just talking about this to someone the other day. Before I started to learn to play the guitar, I thought shredding was the be all end all, if the only way to solo. Now? Most of the solo's I loved are pure noise to me. I've grown to appreciate guys like Slash (or made me remember why he inspired me to get a guitar in the first place) and Joe B because their solo's are awesome. Zakk Wylde? I still like his stuff, but his solo was noise when I saw him back in October. Pure noise. Still like his stuff, just not his solo's anymore (few exceptions) because they are mindless wanking now. His mellow piano driven stuff has the better solo's now imo.

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Old 12-06-2012, 08:49 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Freepower



Very articulate and to-the-point video. Well done.

I agree that the best way to learn this instrument we love is to learn it musically. Guys like Clapton, EVH, and Page, according to what I've read on them, didn't learn by doing scales and exercises. They copied and learned the music they liked. Same with the old bluesmen. They would slow a record down and learn songs note per note. This not only develops your ear but your chops as well.

I've learned this way for 12 years and I can improvise just as well as someone who is bit with exercises. All the phrasings you learn in songs is branded on your brain and you will figure out what works with what.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowofravenwo
Zakk Wylde? I still like his stuff, but his solo was noise when I saw him back in October. Pure noise. Still like his stuff, just not his solo's anymore (few exceptions) because they are mindless wanking now. His mellow piano driven stuff has the better solo's now imo.

I was with you up to here, but Zakk isn't a great example of shredding to begin with. There are some really creative guys out there in the shred scene who can play exceptionally fast while still maintaining interest. I'm a big fan of Guthrie Govan's sound - the dude has immense chops and he takes full advantage of them, but he's always very musical in his playing.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:57 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Geldin
I was with you up to here, but Zakk isn't a great example of shredding to begin with. There are some really creative guys out there in the shred scene who can play exceptionally fast while still maintaining interest. I'm a big fan of Guthrie Govan's sound - the dude has immense chops and he takes full advantage of them, but he's always very musical in his playing.


I'll check him out.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:52 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Shadowofravenwo
I'll check him out.

If you like Govan, you might also want to give Shawn Lane and Stevie Ray Vaughn a shot if you haven't already. They're in the same boat - very technically advanced, but never sacrificing musicality.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:44 PM   #20
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Tommy Emmanuel - never met anyone who disliked the guy's music.
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