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#1
So I keep hearing about these guys who practice like 2 hours of scaleruns and picking patterns each day.

But tbh isnt it smarter to practice lets say 10-30 mins of technique and then practice other stuff like transcribing, theory, eartraining, improvisation and all that?

It seems that many focus way too much on technique.
Share your opinions.
#2
What I do is have three or fours days a week of like hour + of scales and stuff, then use the other days to just play and the things you mentioned.
#3
everyones gonna have their own practice habits. thats how people develop their own playing style. Paul Gilbert focused on picking style, Eddie Van Halen focused on tone and new ideas, Alex Lifeson focused on signature playing and big open chords, John Petrucci focused on left and right hand synchronization, etc.....

you work on whatever it is YOU want to improve so you can develop how you choose to at your own pace.
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#5
Quote by TisPyon
or you could practice 5 hours a day and do a bit of everything


That's what I've been doing/am doing. It's nice to be a business owner, all the time in the world.

Edit: Also a student...tons of free time too.
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#6
how some of you practice 5 hours a day baffles me, you must have no lives.

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#7
If you just do Metallica covers and stuff like I do, you don't need theory and all that stuff. Think about it, you're not going to be making your own music at least until you've COMPLETELY mastered your technique. Leave all the theory for later. Ear training is important I agree with that. But you don't really "practice" it, you just get the hang of it the more you play really.
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#8
Quote by glenthemann
how some of you practice 5 hours a day baffles me, you must have no lives.


or they simply have a goal of making that their career... in which case working for 5 hours a day on that is nothing.

I personally play between 3-5 hours a day with practice thrown in between jams. I'm 22, I work 40 hours a week to make money. And becoming a musician is my lifes goal, so throw on about 30+ hours of playing per week. No I have no time for life right now, I'm working on setting myself up for the future.

I partied from the age of 14 till 21, I'm done with that, its time for me to work on whats important to me. Others probably feel the same
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#9
Quote by falconthefirst
If you just do Metallica covers and stuff like I do, you don't need theory and all that stuff. Think about it, you're not going to be making your own music at least until you've COMPLETELY mastered your technique. Leave all the theory for later. Ear training is important I agree with that. But you don't really "practice" it, you just get the hang of it the more you play really.

If you knew any theory you'd understand how much quicker it makes the learning process.

Far better to understand what you're doing than be the musical equivalent of a talking parrot.
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#10
I think you should build a solid music foundation (understand theory, chords, scales, etc) before you need to work heavily on your speed. Speed will come over time. You see guys all the time that know a few fast sweeps that sound cool, but that's all they can do. Ultimately it's a personal decision, so I'm not going to criticize anyone for their choices, but I"ve spent a lot of wasted time running through the same scale patterns over and over trying to play them faster, even though I didn't know how to actually use them to "create music." I wish I could get that time back.
#11
Quote by falconthefirst
If you just do Metallica covers and stuff like I do, you don't need theory and all that stuff. Think about it, you're not going to be making your own music at least until you've COMPLETELY mastered your technique. Leave all the theory for later. Ear training is important I agree with that. But you don't really "practice" it, you just get the hang of it the more you play really.

Thats pretty much not true, ear training will come by using your ear, sure playing metallica by using tabs or just listening to music in general will increase your earskillz, however using your ears to transcribe, singing intervals and scales will help much more way faster
#12
Yeah man totally a lot of people are just thinking about how fast they can play, man i tell you those arpeggios sound like crap when played fast. Its not a ****ing race contest i mean damn.
#13
I know all about too much technique. I should have focused on learning chords and stuff and theory, but i jumped right in to shredding. After one year of guitar playing i can blaze through a bunch of scales stuff, and I can tap 3 octave arpeggios and whatnot but i know only 2 chords. I have no freaking clue what i am doing musically. So practising properly and not focusing on only a few things is very important so you don't end up like me.
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#14
Quote by falconthefirst
If you just do Metallica covers and stuff like I do, you don't need theory and all that stuff. Think about it, you're not going to be making your own music at least until you've COMPLETELY mastered your technique. Leave all the theory for later. Ear training is important I agree with that. But you don't really "practice" it, you just get the hang of it the more you play really.

Okay, so you're going to master your technique which will take several years, then realize you have no idea how to make music and spend another several years learning theory. Personally I'd rather learn musical ability and technical ability simultaneously... But that's just me.
#15
Quote by falconthefirst
If you just do Metallica covers and stuff like I do, you don't need theory and all that stuff. Think about it, you're not going to be making your own music at least until you've COMPLETELY mastered your technique. Leave all the theory for later. Ear training is important I agree with that. But you don't really "practice" it, you just get the hang of it the more you play really.

Are you kidding? How long would you think it takes to completely master technique? You don't need technique to write songs.
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#16
I think it depends on where you are at in your path as a guitarist. Do you routinely run into stuff that you want to play and can't (or can, but it doesn't sound good or confident)? In that case, it can make sense to woodshed the technique for a while. Or are you coming up with ideas for new sh*t all the time, able to play (or at least work around the odd thing) most of them, and generally having a blast? In that case, keep doing what you are doing!

I think we cycle between phases of each of these many times during our lives as guitarists. Oftentimes, one phase can lead to a phase of the other. For example, you are writing tons of cool stuff, but exploring all those ideas leads to new ideas which are beyond your technique, so you are motivated to work on technique some. Or you've been working on your technique and suddenly you can play all this stuff that you couldn't before. Well guess what - you're going to want to do something with it!

I think the only thing that's bad is when someone stays too long in one phase. Like feeling that you have to "master" (there's no such thing) technique before you can write anything, or at the other extreme just playing easy stuff all the time while avoiding more challenging ideas because of the technique work you'd have to do.

That's my 2c anyway.
#17
Well, to the debate on theory or technique, some guy had a column a few weeks back about combining everything into one. Your theory, your technique- all of it. If you can be bothered to find it, I suggest you read it. It's very useful.

Technique is something you NEED to work on. But that's only one part of guitar. There's the musical side as well which we all leave out at some point. Now, the more I develop my ear(Which isn't great yet), transcribe stuff, learn theory, and all of that boring stuff it turns out to help my playing. Have you ever had this awesome song idea in your head but have no idea how to write that song? Or riff at least? Well, that's where all of that comes into play. When some of us try to pull off some cool improv solo or write some cool solo it just is all too repetitive or has no even flow. That's where the theory comes into play. When you understand what you're doing, know where the notes are, can hear the notes in your head(at least to some small bit..or if you're like Mozart, damn you're one lucky guitarist) then everything you write becomes much smoother, musical, etc.

You watch Satch, Gilbert, Vai..Those big three guys right there, they have some complex stuff, yes. Without knowing what they do know in music, they could never write that great music. It's all a matter of knowing your music, having creativity, and having great technique. All of these things must work together. You can't have one or the other and write great music contrary to what an above poster said.
#18
First and foremost, technique plays a major role in what you want to compose/transcribe with your music. If you have a melody in your head that involves sweeping for instance, but you can't sweep, then you should learn sweeping. Learn as many techniques and unconventional techniques to broaden what you can do with your instrument. For instance, lately, I've seen a lot of players looking toward Jazz and Fusion for chords, doing very drastic and different sounding chord voicings or even incorporating Piano style chords (Eric Johnson, maybe Holdsworth(?)).

However, I do think some people focus on their technique and then never focus on making music. Also, everytime I hear people say you don't need theory, you really do. You don't need the whole in depth things, even though I'd recommend it, but theory is a fantastic thing to have. Let's say you ended up where Steve Vai and Malmsteen were. They performed with orchestras and had to transcribe all of their pieces for the other instruments. Without theory you probably will never be able to do that.

So learn your theory, your technique (as much as you can, even if you won't need it for what you play, it'll just be helpful to have), and make music.
#19
I just practice about 10-15 minutes doing scale and picking.. the rest I just practice songs and learn new songs...



Id say... do whatever u want.. what kind of guitarist u wannabe?? Im just playing guitar as a hobby...
#20
It depends what you want out of your playing. Maybe people do focus too much on technique to begin with, but doing it right to start with is easier than relearning technique down the road.

However, a lot of the best songs don't require outstanding technique to play, and if you think about technique vs popularity there isn't really any correlation. While that comparison will probably get me flamed I'm just saying; awesome technique doesn't automatically make you a good guitarist.

People tend to do a fair bit of work on their technique probably also because it's easier for yourself to hear problems in your technique rather than your compositions, improvisation and dynamics.
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#21
Quote by Dragonis
or they simply have a goal of making that their career... in which case working for 5 hours a day on that is nothing.

I personally play between 3-5 hours a day with practice thrown in between jams. I'm 22, I work 40 hours a week to make money. And becoming a musician is my lifes goal, so throw on about 30+ hours of playing per week. No I have no time for life right now, I'm working on setting myself up for the future.

I partied from the age of 14 till 21, I'm done with that, its time for me to work on whats important to me. Others probably feel the same

i dont know about you but i work from 7-5 and im pretty tired, counting making dinner and everything else theres no way to fit in more than an hour or two, max 3.

Guess im shafted

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They never had dragons..
Who didnt?
The world..
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#22
Your first problem is that you refer to it as practicing. You only need to practice if you are performing, otherwise you refer to it as playing. If you play, then feeling will arise, which is the most important aspect of music. Granted you need some technique, but watch and learn off of someone else's licks. If you need to develop finger strength, then play a few fast riffs and licks to practice. I would try the fast riff on master of puppets, and using all of your fingers. Start slow and work faster. Rock and Roll and Black dog by Zeppelin are good ones to learn to.
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#23
Quote by falconthefirst
If you just do Metallica covers and stuff like I do, you don't need theory and all that stuff. Think about it, you're not going to be making your own music at least until you've COMPLETELY mastered your technique. Leave all the theory for later. Ear training is important I agree with that. But you don't really "practice" it, you just get the hang of it the more you play really.

This is the biggest load of green smelly balls I have ever come across. To completely master a technique... are you nuts? Leave the theory for later? I'm not a big theory head but this statement alone is pure crap. You can practice ear training, thats why Earmaster Pro was released to train the ear and sight reading. And "just" doing Metallica may teach you a bit... but not enough. Writing your own songs a test of your ability of understanding what you have learned thus far in your musical path/career... leaving it till you've mastered a technique? The only technique to master before writing your own songs is learning how to hold the guitar on your lap without it sliding off... Once it has stopped sliding away from you, guess what... YOU MASTERED IT!!! Now you can begin songwriting.

You need to practice what you feel you need to work on. Each player is different and becomes adept at only a few techniques in their life... and by adept I mean that those techniques fuse into your playing style which becomes different to everyone else's version. Focus on playing and not just technique alone. I have found that a lot of tech-heads who focus more on technique than necessary, well, their playing suffers for it. Dry, lifeless creations of "music" is not where its at.

I play roughly 3 to 6 hours a day... not practicing... creating. If I want a particular feel over one part, then I "practice" it till its close enough, then record a few times till its nailed. But to each his own in the end...
#24
Quote by glenthemann
how some of you practice 5 hours a day baffles me, you must have no lives.

No life because we're dedicated? I play in my spare time, instead of playing Xbox, etc.
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#25
Basically what everyone else has been saying; it's up to you to decide what you want to do with your playing career. I put more effort into learning theory and doing ear training because in the long run I want to be able to write amazing songs. Sure, I may not be as impressive as the guy that can play every Metallica song, but in the end I can show off my own songs.
#26
Quote by Bluesy...
Your first problem is that you refer to it as practicing. You only need to practice if you are performing, otherwise you refer to it as playing. If you play, then feeling will arise, which is the most important aspect of music. Granted you need some technique, but watch and learn off of someone else's licks. If you need to develop finger strength, then play a few fast riffs and licks to practice. I would try the fast riff on master of puppets, and using all of your fingers. Start slow and work faster. Rock and Roll and Black dog by Zeppelin are good ones to learn to.

No.

Practicing and playing are always separate no matter how far along you are.
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#27
You may as well focus as much on your playing technique/ability as much as you can. Learning theory is easy. I don't get what is so hard about it. If you graduated from high school it should be no problem. If you went to college it should be an absolute breeze. I haven't gotten that far into it learning on my own but I've yet to come to something that makes me say "I have no idea whats going on here".

In the end, theory is nothing more than knowledge. You don't need to "practice it" to get better at it. Once you know it and understand it, your don't have to worry about it anymore. You just use it with the next step and keep building upon it. You can "practice" music theory any time. Riding the bus to work and your bored? Think about some music and the theory behind it. Think about the songs your learning and whats going on beyond the tab when you you have down time. You can work on your theory all damn day.
#28
Quote by big_aug
You may as well focus as much on your playing technique/ability as much as you can. Learning theory is easy. I don't get what is so hard about it. If you graduated from high school it should be no problem. If you went to college it should be an absolute breeze. I haven't gotten that far into it learning on my own but I've yet to come to something that makes me say "I have no idea whats going on here".

In the end, theory is nothing more than knowledge. You don't need to "practice it" to get better at it. Once you know it and understand it, your don't have to worry about it anymore. You just use it with the next step and keep building upon it. You can "practice" music theory any time. Riding the bus to work and your bored? Think about some music and the theory behind it. Think about the songs your learning and whats going on beyond the tab when you you have down time. You can work on your theory all damn day.


I agree. And you actually need to play to improve your technique.
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#29
Quote by big_aug
You may as well focus as much on your playing technique/ability as much as you can. Learning theory is easy. I don't get what is so hard about it. If you graduated from high school it should be no problem. If you went to college it should be an absolute breeze. I haven't gotten that far into it learning on my own but I've yet to come to something that makes me say "I have no idea whats going on here".

In the end, theory is nothing more than knowledge. You don't need to "practice it" to get better at it. Once you know it and understand it, your don't have to worry about it anymore. You just use it with the next step and keep building upon it. You can "practice" music theory any time. Riding the bus to work and your bored? Think about some music and the theory behind it. Think about the songs your learning and whats going on beyond the tab when you you have down time. You can work on your theory all damn day.


I wouldn't say theory is easy, but theory is somewhat easier than what people make it out to be. Granted, there are definitely some parts that are very complicated to understand, but that's into the more deeper theory.
#30
Quote by FallsDownStairs
I wouldn't say theory is easy, but theory is somewhat easier than what people make it out to be. Granted, there are definitely some parts that are very complicated to understand, but that's into the more deeper theory.



Exactly. Learn it in an organized, hierarchical fashion, so that when you get to that complicated stuff its not so complicated. We don't try to learn things covered in Calculus II before we take Algebra I. Once you go through all those courses though, the concepts covered in Calculus III are likely to be nothing more than ideas extending and building upon things already learned.

Music theory is no more difficult than learning anything else. People just do not want to put forth the time or effort to learn it the right way. I suppose its hard for some people to do it on their own in the right way though.
Last edited by big_aug at Sep 19, 2009,
#31
There's no such thing as having too much technique. There is however, a problem with substituting technique with originality.

All of these arguments end up being between actual technicians, ****ty guitarists who insult technique because they have none (i.e. the "music is not a race" analogy), and people like me who view this topic with a jaded cynicism.
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#32
Quote by FallsDownStairs
However, I do think some people focus on their technique and then never focus on making music. Also, everytime I hear people say you don't need theory, you really do. You don't need the whole in depth things, even though I'd recommend it, but theory is a fantastic thing to have. Let's say you ended up where Steve Vai and Malmsteen were. They performed with orchestras and had to transcribe all of their pieces for the other instruments. Without theory you probably will never be able to do that.


Steve Vai and Malmsteen chose to work with orchestras. An orchestra didn't come up to them and demand it.

"Theory" is sort of way to singular a word. When someone says that they know theory, they assume they know very in-depth things to know that don't improve your playing but rather improve your knowledge and understanding of music. Like reading music.

For me personally, I can't sightread, I probably couldn't tell you what key the score is in unless i looked at it for a minute, and it would take me about a minute apiece for every bar of music. But you could ask me to play in any key and I could whip out a tasty solo all over the neck, no problem.

People focus on the wrong things with "theory." Knowing how to sightread music flawlessly will not improve anything except your sight reading. Then again, it's also hard to sightread without a great technique that could handle whatever comes up.
#33
Quote by evolucian
This is the biggest load of green smelly balls I have ever come across. To completely master a technique... are you nuts? Leave the theory for later? I'm not a big theory head but this statement alone is pure crap. You can practice ear training, thats why Earmaster Pro was released to train the ear and sight reading. And "just" doing Metallica may teach you a bit... but not enough. Writing your own songs a test of your ability of understanding what you have learned thus far in your musical path/career... leaving it till you've mastered a technique? The only technique to master before writing your own songs is learning how to hold the guitar on your lap without it sliding off... Once it has stopped sliding away from you, guess what... YOU MASTERED IT!!! Now you can begin songwriting.


I think the guy was stating he doesn't care about making his own music, he just wants to play music he likes. Which is fine, honestly, not everyone who picks up a guitar wants to make it there career or even gives half a **** about anything other then playing some licks he/she likes.

Approaching an instrument like a guitar as more of a focused songwriter then a player, first, is kind of strange. When I started, I probably wanted to be in a band, but I guarantee it wasn't for original music. I wanted to cover my favorite music.

I'm pretty sure guitar is the go-to instrument to covering music because it's so easy to pick up with such a large amount of guitar players, teachers and stores around the globe. Which is why 60% of guitar players don't care about learning music theory, or anything. They just want to play a few licks, maybe a full song or two, and that's it.
#34
Just practice and play whatever you want. If you feel like your making progress towards your goals, whatever they may be, then that's the perfect scenario.

The internet is full of people who will tell you what your doing is wrong. Its also full of people who will tell you that the people saying you are wrong are also wrong.
#35
I do 3-5+ hrs a day, mostly to backing tracks. I do about an hour a day of new things I can't do well yet. I also have to force myself to play my acoustic and do some fingerpicking or classical stuff so I don't lose it. Too much stuff really.

It kind of feels like work to me lately so that's not too inspiring really, seeing a result is inspiring but it's getting harder to notice now. I think I am going to start composing and recording at least 2 hrs a day and cut back on the practice now for a while.
#36
Quote by steven seagull
If you knew any theory you'd understand how much quicker it makes the learning process.


Far better to understand what you're doing than be the musical equivalent of a talking parrot.

+1
I started learning music theory because I couldnt finish songs. I studied a book for 3 weeks and when I finished I still couldnt finish songs.

That time I was having trouble because I was so overwhelmed with options..it was hard to decide.
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#37
Quote by Mauser1
So I keep hearing about these guys who practice like 2 hours of scaleruns and picking patterns each day.

But tbh isnt it smarter to practice lets say 10-30 mins of technique and then practice other stuff like transcribing, theory, eartraining, improvisation and all that?

It seems that many focus way too much on technique.
Share your opinions.


I usually hear songs with solos/riffs/licks that i find impossible to pull off and i sit down and try to play those. That's how I learn everything. I rarely practice anything specific because that has no practical application in songwriting. I always try my best to practice them in context. And I do think that technique is very important, but its vital that we learn not only the techniques but also to apply those techniques to songwriting situations. Scale runs alone don't do much, scale runs in context can make a solo memorable.
Last edited by Limaj_daas at Sep 19, 2009,
#38
People usually like to practice their weak points, or what they would like to turn into their strong points. At the biggining of their musical journey, this is usually technique becaue it takes technique to play songs you like, and people figure it will take technique to play whats on their head as well. While this approach has worked for many people learning instruments, its not very balanced whatsoever.

There is a mexican guitarist who shared his practice schedule over youtube, name is cesar huesca, and he said his basic schedule consists of 60 minutes of practice with 6 different 10 minute blocks. He says you should divide your practice basically in these sections:
-Theory
-Sight reading (Transcribing, melodic reading, rhythmic reading)
-Chords (how to use, when to use, creating new chords, etc)
-Scales (how to use, when to use them, where do they come from (this is studying the scales, not playing them as fast as possible))
-Technique
-Repertoire (learning new songs (by ear mostly), composing your own songs, improvising over backing tracks)

He says its important to keep a balance because technique is a dangerous thing to study, sometimes guitarists focus so much on it that they loose musicality and become monotonous.
Also this is a basic 60 minute schedule, which is an amount of time that anyone can afford to play their instrument. If you have more time to play the guitar, focus extra time on areas you need to work more without loosing a balance between everything that's needed to become a good guitar player and musician.
#39
Here's my opinion:
You can never have too much technique, but it's very, very easy to have too little of everything else. It's important to have a balance of the two. Too little technique and you'll sound terrible (think The Shaggs....unless that's the sound you want, in which case go ahead), and too little of every thing else and you get into the land of guys like Francesco Fareri. Again, if that's what you want, go for it, but most people I've met don't aspire to sound like francesco fareri.
Last edited by TheShred201 at Sep 20, 2009,
#40
^ Hey, Shred! Good to see you back in these parts!

Quote by Limaj_daas
I usually hear songs with solos/riffs/licks that i find impossible to pull off and i sit down and try to play those. That's how I learn everything. I rarely practice anything specific because that has no practical application in songwriting. I always try my best to practice them in context. And I do think that technique is very important, but its vital that we learn not only the techniques but also to apply those techniques to songwriting situations. Scale runs alone don't do much, scale runs in context can make a solo memorable.


Hell, yeah! That is exactly how I practice. I do exercises from time to time too - but always when I am having trouble working on an actually lick and need something that isolates the problem area more.
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