#1
Now I always see threads on here of guys asking for "practice techniquies" and "schedules" and riffs and licks to improve this or that etc..

Now basically I have ignored all that crap, and taught myself a lot of theory. Most of my time spent playing guitar is either playing bits of songs I know, or just messing around in different keys/modes/scales. Ill find the notes within whatever scale I feel like playing and Ill mess around making riffs that include string skipping, arpeggios, chromatics starting and landing on "key" notes, creating something that I find somewhat hard/fun to play, then I take a metronome to it and practice it until I get it more fluid.

If I create a cool sounding riff ill write it down - Ive actually been thinking of writing it down on a staff to further increase my comprehension of where the notes are on the fretboard.

Does anyone see any flaw to this? In my opinion at the same time as im teaching myself and enforcing different techniques, im enforcing theory ive learned, learning how to get certain modal sounds, and enforcing my knowledge of the notes on the fretboard. I woudlnt consider it just totally mucking around, as im in key and things i come up with sound pretty decent and I give my fingers a serious work out, stretching, string skipping, pretty much everything you can think of..

I find it very bland to practice some lick someone else came up with to improve "this or that" when I can come up with all kinds of things on my own that touch on pretty much every aspect of techniquie and theory I can think of *shrug*

Stuff like this:

I was messing around in A minor and came up with this last night and I decided I should write it down as I liekd how it sounded.. I keep within the notes of A minor, but there is a shift to E and C, so I assume if I am right it goes from a minor to e phrygian to c major and back to a minor - Although I was thinking since the "pivot" or most occuring note in each bar is actually the 5th of what it starts on that perhaps that is the root and that is what the 'mode' should be based on? (I know to get the real modal sound you have to play over the chords which compliment what im going for but i have no backing track/way to make one at the moment)..

I mean, I am noticing myself improving, tremolo picking, my accuracy and everything is improving, and my improv skills are also as well since I am trying to keep theory a big aspect. So I dont really see any negatives to my approach, but im wondering if anyone else does?

Thanks

Are you telling me theyre out of dragons?
They never had dragons..
Who didnt?
The world..
GET THIS GUY OUT OF HERE, FIND ME A DRAGON
#2
You're doing more than a lot of people. I just learn songs, getting physically better, but i dont know any theory at all. And im ****ing proud of it.
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#3
I see one. shrugging off others peoples exercises, licks and ideas and not letting them help wont be a hindrance, but those are things you might find useful in the long run. Some of the best riffs have come about from changing just a few notes of something people have already heard, and changing it, however slightly , into something new. as for the rest your pretty much progressing like any normal good musician, i'd say.
#4
Well you seem like you know your theory so your ahead of most people as is.
From your details it seems like you focus a larger amount of your time on theory and not actually playing? But you might want to start actually playing more. Yea, it's good if you know what mixes well with this and that, but if you can't play it, then...what have you really to show for all your theory?
"I prefer the concept of abstract music."

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#5
I also thought id throw it in since I forgot to mention that I practice chord shapes all over and come up with different progressions in key, but with chords sometimes thrown in that arent on key but still sound good, like the progression Bsus2/F# - G - Em etc.. I really think im touching on all kinds of areas even though I have no set practice schedule.

And ot be honest, the time I get on guitar id rather not be practicing some stupid not good sounding lick someone came up with to "improve" this or that, since I find it hard to get even in an hour some days.

Are you telling me theyre out of dragons?
They never had dragons..
Who didnt?
The world..
GET THIS GUY OUT OF HERE, FIND ME A DRAGON
#6
Quote by Fenderlicous
Well you seem like you know your theory so your ahead of most people as is.
From your details it seems like you focus a larger amount of your time on theory and not actually playing? But you might want to start actually playing more. Yea, it's good if you know what mixes well with this and that, but if you can't play it, then...what have you really to show for all your theory?

Thats what im saying, I do play it, im not just an armchair theorist who cannot apply the knowledge ive learned - atleast I dont think so. Most of the theory I learn and teach myself and discover I do at work or at times when I cant get to a guitar - then when Im able to get to my guitar I try to apply it; I like the sound of Sus2 chords and I also like the sound of the G-Em progression (relative minor i know) and I was thinking at work how I could fit in a sus chord and I applied theory I know, and how notes pull to each other and came up with Bsus2/F# - G - Em in my head and I knew it must sound decent - I got home and played it and well to my surprise (not so much) it sounded good.

I just seem to prefer mixing in everything I am learning at once rather than focusing on one set area at a time for 15 minutes and then the next then the next, I dont have that kind of time and like I said I seem to be progressing fairly well.

Are you telling me theyre out of dragons?
They never had dragons..
Who didnt?
The world..
GET THIS GUY OUT OF HERE, FIND ME A DRAGON
Last edited by glenthemann at Oct 4, 2009,
#7
I cant see any problems with it. But you might want to learn some licks/riffs by other people to help you to come up with new ideas for your own licks/riffs ect. some times i find it good to learn a lick from some one else and then play around with the same patterns of notes to come up with a new lick.


:




.............................I Got Bored.
#8
To be honest theory isn't all that important unless you're in a band and you're making your own songs. I mean sure it's fun to come up with some fancy blues lick off the top of your head but it's best to just mainly focus on technique as a beginner.
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#9
Quote by falconthefirst
To be honest theory isn't all that important unless you're in a band and you're making your own songs. I mean sure it's fun to come up with some fancy blues lick off the top of your head but it's best to just mainly focus on technique as a beginner.


Well my goal is to write my own songs..

Everyone says its best just to focus on this or that, but answer this question, if youre focusing on "technique" then the way to do that is to practice some sort of riff or lick or whatever you want to call it and work on the technique required for that lick, right?. So why not just come up with your own lick that makes you work on a certain technique and do that? To me it seems like killing two birds with one stone.

To the previous poster, of course I learn licks and stuff from other bands

I guess im not trying to defend my method, I guess you could see myself as doing that in a way, but really im just looking for any glaring defects to what I am doing. I personally have focused so much on theory cause thats the kind of person I am, I love math and science and the theory behind every day things. I dont let it go to my head and only do that and then never touch the guitar and think im a great guitarist or anything, but I really believe theory is a much larger part than people like to think.. Im at the point where I know enough to start applying it, and that is what I am doing by making my own riffs and improvs etc that apply the theory I know, as well as forcing me to work on different techniques.

I often do take riffs from other bands and change them up. I took one from the btbam song mordecai (I cant really explain what part) and threw in a 3 string sweep rather than alt picking the notes on the strings, no I cannot really sweep but I can get a 3 string upsweep atleast in this riff to sound perfectly clean.. Just another way I mess around with a lick I create to add in another technique Ill be learning.

~fyi ive only been playing seriously since June

Are you telling me theyre out of dragons?
They never had dragons..
Who didnt?
The world..
GET THIS GUY OUT OF HERE, FIND ME A DRAGON
Last edited by glenthemann at Oct 4, 2009,
#10
All i do is **** around for an hour or so improvising. I don't have the attention span to learn other peoples songs, i either improvise it myself or look at tabs if i have too. I'm doing it all wrong and your doing it all right.
#11
Quote by glenthemann
Well my goal is to write my own songs..

Everyone says its best just to focus on this or that, but answer this question, if youre focusing on "technique" then the way to do that is to practice some sort of riff or lick or whatever you want to call it and work on the technique required for that lick, right?. So why not just come up with your own lick that makes you work on a certain technique and do that? To me it seems like killing two birds with one stone.

To the previous poster, of course I learn licks and stuff from other bands

I guess im not trying to defend my method, I guess you could see myself as doing that in a way, but really im just looking for any glaring defects to what I am doing. I personally have focused so much on theory cause thats the kind of person I am, I love math and science and the theory behind every day things. I dont let it go to my head and only do that and then never touch the guitar and think im a great guitarist or anything, but I really believe theory is a much larger part than people like to think.. Im at the point where I know enough to start applying it, and that is what I am doing by making my own riffs and improvs etc that apply the theory I know, as well as forcing me to work on different techniques.

I often do take riffs from other bands and change them up. I took one from the btbam song mordecai (I cant really explain what part) and threw in a 3 string sweep rather than alt picking the notes on the strings, no I cannot really sweep but I can get a 3 string upsweep atleast in this riff to sound perfectly clean.. Just another way I mess around with a lick I create to add in another technique Ill be learning.

~fyi ive only been playing seriously since June

It is important to learn theory, no doubt about it, but for a guitar player, unless you're playing some serious jazz or classical music, it's the least important compared to other instruments. That's not to say you shouldn't be learning it. But doing exercises and generally learning other people's stuff to improve your technique is just as, if not more important for a beginner. You won't get anywhere technique-wise if you just play your own stuff. Try learning a few simple solos from a tab or by ear (if you can at your skill level) and you'll notice a big difference in your technique.

Here's the thing: Most guitarists just play in the key of E, because the lowest note of their instrument is just that. So it's basically, soloing in E minor, while playing chords in the key of G major. Now it's great you don't want to do just that, but that's just to demonstrate how little musical theory has an impact on playing the guitar, when compared to playing other instruments. For example, you CAN'T play a piano at any reasonable skill level if you don't know a decent amount of theory. However, you CAN play a guitar pretty good if you know the chromatic scale, the E minor and chords in the key of G major, and most people won't even notice a difference.

EDIT: I forgot to add that, even if you do know a ****load of theory, sometimes it can be pretty restricting when you want to be creative. Sometimes you just have to go by ear, while staying in key more or less. A great example of this is Jimi Hendrix, he knew almost nothing about music theory, yet he's revered as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and universally accepted as a genius at what he did. Now there will never be another Jimi Hendrix, but as long as you're creative enough and have a good ear, you don't have to depend on theory all the time, as it can, as I said, be pretty restricting at times. But that comes with experience mainly, so just keep playing man, the longer you play, the better you'll get at writing your own stuff, too.
Last edited by Dzamija at Oct 4, 2009,
#13
That is a good way of teaching yourself,
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#14
I think you're doing pretty well, you'll end up a damn site better than most people at actually writing music.
You may be doing this already, but I think it's important to learn at least a few of other people's songs. They may challenge you technically and force some improvement in your actual playing. Also it's likely that you'll pick up musical ideas from the bands you like.
I'd also suggest putting in some time on practicing technique (even if it's just using your own licks) because no matter how much theory you know you won't ever be able to play fast shred style stuff without practicing technique.
Note: I'm not saying you want to play fast shred, it was just an example of something that would require practice as many techniques in guitar do.
Speed is a by-product of shut the fuck up.
#15
Quote by Aleksi
I think you're doing pretty well, you'll end up a damn site better than most people at actually writing music.
You may be doing this already, but I think it's important to learn at least a few of other people's songs. They may challenge you technically and force some improvement in your actual playing. Also it's likely that you'll pick up musical ideas from the bands you like.
I'd also suggest putting in some time on practicing technique (even if it's just using your own licks) because no matter how much theory you know you won't ever be able to play fast shred style stuff without practicing technique.
Note: I'm not saying you want to play fast shred, it was just an example of something that would require practice as many techniques in guitar do.

Oh, I plan to be able to play as much as I can - I enjoy all types of guitar, from heavy heavy breakdowns to neoclassical to simple but strongly emotional songs like pink floyd, and everything inbetween, literally. Even country.

I do have a metronome, and I can play the little blurb I wrote above clean at about 70bpm (iirc, havnt tried today ).

I mean of course I do learn other bands songs, but sometimes I just like to mess around, but I like to make the messing around somewhat worth while. If it means anything I can play pretty much all of "bed of razors" by CoB minus the solo, its kinda the first song I started with (dont ask why haha) and I have the intro and main riffs down pat cleanly and at proper speed. A lot of what I have found is that most of the songs I really, really want to learn are a few months (maybe years) above my level.

Like I said I listen to everything, so my playing also kinda takes that course, I make sure I spend ample time working on my chords (as well as coming up with progressions and "new" chords to use) and changing positions etc, rather than just focusing on shred fast single note stuff (what would you even call music that is just individual notes rather than chord playing?).

My next goal within the following months is to get a recording interface so I can record some progressions and then practice improving over them, its just not the same without a backing track. However I have to move out on my own first and money will be tight for a while :/

Thanks for the kind words and advice

Are you telling me theyre out of dragons?
They never had dragons..
Who didnt?
The world..
GET THIS GUY OUT OF HERE, FIND ME A DRAGON
Last edited by glenthemann at Oct 5, 2009,
#16
Haha, I practice exactly the same. Best to get the creative juices flowing early!!!

Do you live in the UK by any chance?
#17
Did you take lessons before you started to practice like this? You seem to know a lot of theory for a beginner. :\
#18
I just played what you wrote, and it was very boring no offense. If that is your idea of interesting melody then..... i'm going to have to come to a disagreement with your practicing style.

I just do not like how you say you learn a ton of "theory", but you clearly demonstrate that you do not know a lot ... You need a teacher. I'm sorry but I try to be as constructive as I can.
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Last edited by Calibunga! at Oct 8, 2009,
#19
i would definately recommend learning some licks or your favorite artists...here's a site that I use which has licks from a bunch of traditional jazz artists http://jazzguitar.yolasite.com/jazz-licks.php.

Another useful tool are backing tracks which you can jam over all day...the same site as above has a huuuge list of studio quality backing tracks that were actually played by humans...not midi. here's the link for backing tracks: http://jazzguitar.yolasite.com/backing-tracks.php

-hope this helps, i dont know if you are into playing jazz, but keep an open mind
#20
The main flaw I see is that it doesn't appear that you are learning full songs, how how to approach playing with other people. It's good that you are learning theory, if you learn that stuff you will find it a lot easier to write your own songs - it takes the guesswork out of it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#21
Wow, this was a huge bump.

But, anyways, I'm exactly like the OP: instead of learning a lot of songs, I'm more into perfecting technique and theory as it applies to guitars. Of course, the best way to perfect technique is by playing songs but I rarely learn a song just to learn a song, save from bands that I'm very into; they're good inspiration.

I've always felt that if you can play a guitar, you're a guitarist, but you aren't a musician until you know music theory and I'm trying to become a musician that plays the guitar rather than simply a guitarist.