#1
To get to a proficient level of lets say 180 bpm/16ths, you need to have usually gone over the pattern so many times that it's not worth counting. Around 10,000 hours is usually enough (of proper practice) to get you embedded firmly in your genre of choice. It could take even more than this if you want to cover two. Some styles like Jazz and classical can easily exceed this due to the sheer amount of stuff you can do. It's an amazing thing really.


Though I always run into problems. I found that now when I play... I'm able to somewhat do scale runs pretty good each time-- but now I feel like I've entered into that rut that I promised myself I never would have. I usually end up turning everything into some known form that I use. In turn this is sort of limiting me.

Music theory thus far has helped me quite a bit because I know what goes with what, how to harmonize, what notes in a scale to stay the hell away from (unless we include bending to resolve something dissonant)...etc. As many of you will say: "It's just a tool".

It is just a tool in the end, but I feel that to get to a proficient level to write music that I want to hear, I need to practice an insane amount of hours just to get the technique down. This doesn't even include song-writing really.
My way of making solos is to think of it in my head, and then transcribe. That's usually helped me... though I feel now that due to the sheer repetition in my OCD quest to be super-clean and perform flawlessly most of the time (which is still a far ways away) that I'm sort of heading down that route we never want to go down. I don't want to be a robot.


How do (or would) you get around this? Should one set aside time for music creation? This probably is something I've shot myself in the foot with.
I find that my best pieces come from emotional situations (be it super-energy, sadness...etc); but I'm fortunately/unfortunately not always in those situations.
What about practicing unique scales? I've tried to pick up some new/interesting ones due to people like Marty Friedman.


In addition to bring this full circle, is the notion of practicing these techniques to perfection the double edged sword that dooms a lot of guitarists to just doing monotonous scale runs because it's fancy (for a few seconds)?


Also, maybe debatable: The only technique you can't practice enough is vibrato
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Last edited by AtomicBirdy at Oct 18, 2011,
#2
Sometimes even scale runs can sound good - provided it's done tastefully. You'd be shocked how many shred runs are just going up the scale in triads.

The trick is to expand your repertoire of generic scale runs. Skip certain notes, experiment with new intervals, just do anything you can think of until you have a nice list of runs. It's just like listening to your favorite guitarists and adding their licks to your memory - you don't want to rely on them purely, but having a lot of variations up your sleeve can really help you out in a rut compositionally as well as improvisationally.
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#3
no.
you practice the techniques (coming from someone who is all about working on scales) to get the technical facility to play whatever you want. then you play whatever you want. there will be a point in the middle where you will sound kind of robotic, and then the next hurdle is remembering why you got the technical shit together, and start actually using it. if you have nothing to say, you need to find something to say--if you can't say what you want, it doesn't really matter what you have to say.

also: when you improvise go out of your way (unless its an improvisational excersize--like improvising through a song, and always playing a certain lick at a certain point, and working on developing it, and leading into and out of it) to NOT plug in licks, but to make yourself do new stuff (which hopefully your partially pre-hearing). if your improvising and you notice your hands taking over you need to stop and play slower and more deliberatly--sometimes even one note at a time.
all the best.
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Last edited by tehREALcaptain at Oct 19, 2011,
#4
use melodic patterns of the scale in between the run...use some melodic themes/cliches..jingles from ads that are current and well known..use some symmetric harmony with the the melodies..play them in minor 3rds etc..

but don't get into playing them without feeling..or they will all sound mechanical...i throw in the opening bars of well know standards during some blues solos..or some beatles riffs...she loves ya yeah yeah...or play the first five notes of coltrane's giant steps..arpeggiate the first five chords..nice change in the solo and makes the listener pay attention..

keep stretching your ears

play well

wolf
#5
Quote by wolflen
i throw in the opening bars of well know standards during some blues solos..or some beatles riffs...she loves ya yeah yeah...or play the first five notes of coltrane's giant steps..arpeggiate the first five chords..nice change in the solo and makes the listener pay attention..f

That's so cool. It's almost like an "in-joke" between the band members and maybe some well versed ppl in the audience. Great man.
#6
How do (or would) you get around this? Should one set aside time for music creation? This probably is something I've shot myself in the foot with.


Well, yes. You're already doing the most important thing, which is composing with your imagination, then bringing the chops into play.

If your imagination is getting stunted, I find the best way is to restrict yourself - use only 2 strings today, or a out of tune guitar, or anything that gets you out of your rut.

What about practicing unique scales? I've tried to pick up some new/interesting ones due to people like Marty Friedman.


Well, sure - thinking about choosing different notes will always help open your ears and mind.

In addition to bring this full circle, is the notion of practicing these techniques to perfection the double edged sword that dooms a lot of guitarists to just doing monotonous scale runs because it's fancy (for a few seconds)?


No, ego and a lack of imagination do that. I would also blame a practice regime with too many monotonous scale runs.
#7
I'm curious as to where you're getting this 10,000 hours number. If you practice for 8 hours/day that's about 3 and a half straight years of practicing. Every single day for 8 hours a day. Somehow I don't think this is what people do.
#8
trust you subconscious and just play randomly. let your spirit guide you. yea
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
#9
Quote by alexbass
I'm curious as to where you're getting this 10,000 hours number. If you practice for 8 hours/day that's about 3 and a half straight years of practicing. Every single day for 8 hours a day. Somehow I don't think this is what people do.



Or three hours each day for ten years, perhaps?
#10
Or... you can avoid those 10,000 hours...
Understand nothing, in order to learn everything.

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#11
Quote by vampirelazarus
Or... you can avoid those 10,000 hours...


But as soon as you hit 10,000 hours, you're a master!

Before that, you can be as shitty as you like, so long as you hit that big 10k.
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#12
Quote by Hail
But as soon as you hit 10,000 hours, you're a master!

Before that, you can be as shitty as you like, so long as you hit that big 10k.


Oh... in that case, go for it.
Understand nothing, in order to learn everything.

Quote by liampje
I can write a coherent tune ... But 3/4? I play rock, not polka.
#14
practicing technique is not a bad thing. clean playing is good.

neglecting other aspects is bad.

you get good at what you practice. Yes set aside some time to just play and enjoy listening and making music. Speed is handy to have but it is not everything.

You haven't shot yourself in the foot it's never too late to start. Just try to throw everything out and play purely by ear and feel.

Best of luck.
Si
#15
I could tell you to try and come up with some original runs that you like that perhaps move in a less predictable fashion, but I think that's just compounding the problem - eventually every lick you know becomes stale to your ears, and you find yourself searching for something else.
The key thing to learn to do is sing your melodies in your head before you play them. You need to step away from the guitar for a second and listen to the chord progression that you're improvising over. Think about what you want to hear over that progression, and then (I'm being totally serious here) sing it. It might be harder if you're a metal guy, but it's still an applicable exercise. Start simple with like a i-iv-v blues and sing a couple bars, really trying to get into the feel of the song and create an original statement. Eliminating the link between your head and your fingers allows you to immediately vocalize any musical idea you have, which reduces the amount of "safety licks" you let your fingers play without really wanting them to. It doesn't matter if you can't sing well, as long as you hear the notes you're making.
Step 2 of this process is to do the same thing while also playing the notes on the guitar. Bear in mind, you'll be singing and playing at the same time, so be careful not to just start singing the notes that you play on the guitar instead of coming up with ideas in your head and then finding the notes on the guitar to match them. The former is nothing more than a singing exercise.
Step 3 is to simply continue with this practice in every improvisation you do, increasing the difficulty of the songs while maintaining creative control. Eventually you might want to stop actually singing and instead just sing in your head. This is necessary when the runs you play become faster than you can physically sing them. However, this sort of transition requires a lot of self control, as it's very easy to slip from singing something in your head to not really singing anything at all, if you get what I mean.

This sounds like an uncommon exercise, I know. After all, it isn't something you'd see on youtube along with all the shredding lessons and the like. However, you'll be sold on the exercise if you just try it out for 5 minutes. Take a blues or some simple progression and record a couple improvised solos over it. Then record a couple solos that you came up with using the singing exercise. They may be slower, but I guarantee they'll be more original.
#16
Quote by Zanon
If you learn The Major scale and know you're circle of 5ths /keys and know the notes on the fretboard, then you need only learn one scale... Saves time right ?

You still want to learn some of the exotic scales (melodic and harmonic minor, maybe like Hungarian and Japanese scales), and the modes. That way you'll be able to bring a different flavor to to what you're doing. If you just move the major scale to your key, then all of your solos will end up starting with the same sonic color.
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#17
Quote by kumamilesbear
You still want to learn some of the exotic scales like Hungarian and Japanese scales), and the modes.


Urgh...


Quote by kumamilesbear
exotic scales (melodic and harmonic minor)


Say what?
#18
Just practising scales and technique is the road to monotony. I predict you'll get get bored with playing, like getting sick of the sound of your own voice.

If you've got enough spare time to build up to the magical 10,000 hours (I know I haven't), try breaking it up a bit.

How about something like this, if you were doing two hours:

1) Half-hour working on your own ideas.
2) Half hour ear training, trying to work out how those other people do what they do,
3) 1 hour technique.
#19
Quote by kumamilesbear
You still want to learn some of the exotic scales (melodic and harmonic minor, maybe like Hungarian and Japanese scales), and the modes. That way you'll be able to bring a different flavor to to what you're doing. If you just move the major scale to your key, then all of your solos will end up starting with the same sonic color.


...no.
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