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#1
Growth of music skill is not linear. Rather, you are in a rut for sometimes years, and then you learn something new, and wham, you're playing just jumped up more in 1 day than in the last year or two.

Was there a certain technique or bit of theory that abruptly elevated your playing to a new level? Something that took maybe only an hour to learn, yet had huge implications on your playing by opening a whole new door you never knew about.

This is not meant to sound like some shortcut for becoming good. I have been playing 20 years, and know there are no shortcuts in anything complex. But there may be some keys that open some doors that you never knew about b/c you didn't take lessons, or didn't do deliberate practice, etc.

For example, the simple act of moving the minor pentatonic scale down 3 frets opens up an whole new major sounding scale. Instantly. Nice to know. Or, maybe you learned a new mode like Dorian/Mixolydian where your solo sound changed instantly, just by moving the major scale up or down a few frets

Or, maybe it was it finally learning chord construction which allowed you to understand the intervals in the chord tones, and opened the door for including 7th chords (or some other kind) into your vocabulary. etc. One hour, and suddenly, you understand chords, and are now exploring and expanding, since it's not just dots to be memorized.

Can you think of something that was a real "Eurekha!" moment that you had wished you had learned years sooner?
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#5
the mindset that your left and right hands are separate. for difficult solos, i used to forget that just because i had to tense up my left hand for a stretch or something didn't mean i had to tense up my picking hand as well.
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#6
A couple things stand out in particular to me. 1) Open-G Tuning and 2) Finally getting around to using the slide I bought. I'm no Duane Allman but those two things combined was like having a new eye opened.
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#7
i think what really helped my musicianship was when i sold my guitars
modes are a social construct
#8
Alternate picking instead of downpicking all the time. Learning that my right hand should move like a pendulum when I strum.
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#9
Multifinger tapping. Not because I use it a lot in songs (Almost never do actually) but because it opened my eyes into a very interesting approach to the fretboard. I'm able to take the notes of a chord, play part of it with my left hand then tap notes with my right and hear how tapping different intervals or how a note played an octave or two higher than the rest of the notes effects the "quality" of the chord. I started hearing unique melodies that I wouldn't have necessarily have thought to play had I just been jamming. Some of my coolest riffs started because I tapped a note or two and it made me interested in what combination of notes I was using that created that sound.
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#10
Quote by mdc
Yeah. Minor chords.


LOL +1

For me it was actually listening to what I play, and later realising that I should play to improve the song, rather than wank off.
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#13
Working out where my left thumb should be for certain things, and stopping anchoring.
#15
Quote by mdc
Yeah. Minor chords.

lmao!


Learning the major scale
Last edited by Peaceful Rocker at May 8, 2013,
#17
Not even theory, and it's more applied to my bassoon playing, but it's valuable to all musicians.

Hear yourself play.

That does not mean to record yourself, it means to listen to the notes that you play while you are playing them. Harder than it seems.
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absolutely what will said

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#18
I did a crazy triad exercise recommended by a guy called Sheldon King, it took a couple of months to get good at it, but afterwards I could play pretty much anything I wanted do.

That's just pure technique, but it helped an AWFUL lot with everything else. It's an important balance to get right, but I think ultimately technique can really be a limiting factor. When you find it easy to hit any note you want it makes it a lot easier to play by ear.
Luke Mosse Guitar Teacher in Bristol, UK
#19
Two things.

I dicked around to learn some of the rhythms for the intro to Teras by Sylosis for an hour straight and for the last month it feels like I'm a far better rhythm guitarist and I can downpick at 180 bpm (still not THAT fast) now out of nowhere. It literally felt like I was an RPG character and once I finally leveled up that I got a new skill as well

The other was one session with this lead guitarist we're trying to get in our band and taught me about the 3rd/Flat 3rd harmonies on the scale I was using. He also taught me some diminished runs and how to harmonize with him during it.

Both of these happened within the last month. It sure is nice to meet a guitarist that's waaaaaaaay better than you
#20
The day I decided to actually spend quality time getting my pinky involved. That's not limited to guitar playing either.
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#21
Quote by MissingSomethin
For example, the simple act of moving the minor pentatonic scale down 3 frets opens up an whole new major sounding scale


Does this mean what ever position your playing in the minor pentatonic scale, play that shape/position three frets down and it will be 5 notes from the relevant major scale,
I know if you play a major A then go 3 frets down, its the relative minor being F# minor, I think
#22
Quote by will42
Not even theory, and it's more applied to my bassoon playing, but it's valuable to all musicians.

Hear yourself play.

That does not mean to record yourself, it means to listen to the notes that you play while you are playing them. Harder than it seems.

This. Listening, using your ears. At least learning that it's really important to use your ears.

Quote by skilly1
Does this mean what ever position your playing in the minor pentatonic scale, play that shape/position three frets down and it will be 5 notes from the relevant major scale,
I know if you play a major A then go 3 frets down, its the relative minor being F# minor, I think

No. What you get is the parallel major. If you play F# minor scale (same notes as A major) and play the same position 3 frets lower, you get F# major scale.

It kind of works in blues if you want to mix minor and major scales (for example you play A pentatonic over blues progression in A and by moving the position 3 frets down you get the A major pentatonic). But that kind of thinking is pretty limiting.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 8, 2013,
#23
Quote by skilly1
Does this mean what ever position your playing in the minor pentatonic scale, play that shape/position three frets down and it will be 5 notes from the relevant major scale,
I know if you play a major A then go 3 frets down, its the relative minor being F# minor, I think


That is the relative minor, but that's not exactly what they're talking about.

You have the remember the minor pentatonic isn't the major scale, it's derived from flattening the 3rd and 7th of the scale.

Your'e just playing the 1,2,3,5,6 of the key your in when ever you shift the minor pentatonic box shapes down. As apposed to the 1,3b,4,5,7b of the minor pentatonic. So you're just leaving out the 4th and 7th of the major scale. This is also the 5th position of the major pentatonic scale.

If you need a visual go here and then switch between the minor pentatonic in A and the major pentatonic in A, you'll notice the box shapes are the same, they're just shifted. Then look at the A major scale and see how it all fits. Then if you look at the dorian mode, you can see it's where the minor pentatonic comes from and how it fits in.

This is why learning the major scale is important.
#24
^
How about we just ignore box shapes altogether and instead focus on the intervals alone?

Edit:
I guess, for me, it was realizing I wasn't just stuck to the notes of whatever scale or stuck to the note of the key signature and so on. I could play any notes I wanted, as long as I did it in a way that served the song.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 8, 2013,
#25
Quote by MetalFriend
Alternate picking instead of downpicking all the time. Learning that my right hand should move like a pendulum when I strum.


I find that interesting. And confusing because a pendulum goes back and forth, side to side, but strumming is up and down. So what do you mean by "my right hand should move like a pendulum when I strum"

#26
Quote by rutle_me_this
I find that interesting. And confusing because a pendulum goes back and forth, side to side, but strumming is up and down. So what do you mean by "my right hand should move like a pendulum when I strum"



it's relative to the motion of the fulcrum...
modes are a social construct
#27
Quote by MetalFriend
Learning that my right hand should move like a pendulum when I strum.


Quote by rutle_me_this
I find that interesting. And confusing because a pendulum goes back and forth, side to side, but strumming is up and down. So what do you mean by "my right hand should move like a pendulum when I strum"




Quote by Hail
it's relative to the motion of the fulcrum...


I have to plead ignorance, big time. I don't know anything about "motion of a fulcrum."

This idea of pendulum or fulcrum: is there a youtube video that would demonstrate what you and MetalFriend are both talking about? I've always strummed in an "up and down motion". If I've been doing it wrong all this time, I'd like to learn the correct way to strum.

thanks
Last edited by rutle_me_this at May 8, 2013,
#28
Quote by rutle_me_this
I have to plead ignorance, big time. I don't know anything about "motion of a fulcrum."

This idea of pendulum or fulcrum: is there a youtube video that would demonstrate what you and MetalFriend are both talking about? I've always strummed in an "up and down motion". If I've been doing it wrong all this time, I'd like to learn the correct way to strum.

thanks


They mean move from the elbow, not so much from the wrist. If you do it this way it sounds and feels more rhythmically assured.

Allow the weight of the arm to carry the arm down on the downstroke, so it's very relaxed, then engage the muscles to bring the arm up.

Some people do a sort of rotation movement with the wrist, and the downside of this is that it is unclear where the pulse is in a circular movement.

The movement is like a pendulum turned on it's side. That way, like a pendulum, the swing takes on it's own sense of gravity and pulse. It's much better for many reasons.
Luke Mosse Guitar Teacher in Bristol, UK
#29
Quote by afromoose
They mean move from the elbow, not so much from the wrist. If you do it this way it sounds and feels more rhythmically assured.


whoa, what? this is inefficient and causes unnecessary tension. you absolutely should be picking from the wrist to minimize movement and stress on the muscles you're relying on
modes are a social construct
#31
Quote by Hail
whoa, what? this is inefficient and causes unnecessary tension. you absolutely should be picking from the wrist to minimize movement and stress on the muscles you're relying on

I would have to agree. It's all about economy of motion. To put it simply, you only want to strum across the strings that need to be played. No need to strum across half of the guitar.
#33
Yay, I made a funny. But srslly, +1 to the following, since I'm pretty big on that stuff myself.

Especially useful if your part in the band happens to be "rhythm guitarist".
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Quote by Hail
i think what really helped my musicianship was when i sold my guitars

**** you
#34
full arm strumming is only good if you need that much power, such as when playing an acoustic. Certainly wouldn't use it for single note picking. On electric you'll rarely need to use more than your wrist.
#37
My eureka moment?

The moment I realized that the "traditional way" that everything has been taught and is still taught today is wildly impractical and worthless.

When I realized I could have learned it so much easier, but then realized that the reason I hadn't seen these observations out there, is because they AREN'T out there.

I also realized that technique in itself doesn't teach me anything, but what it is. It doesn't make me smart, or elevate my playing if I don't know WHAT to play and why it works. In the words of one of my close friends, who can play very well:

"I'm faking". Many players are faking it, playing functionally, while not understanding a thing about it.

Best,

Sean
#38
Quote by Sean0913
The moment I realized that the "traditional way" that everything has been taught and is still taught today is wildly impractical and worthless.

The "traditional way" being what exactly?
#39
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
The "traditional way" being what exactly?

traditional ways = glance at chord dictionary... now you know some theory.
#40
Quote by afromoose
They mean move from the elbow, not so much from the wrist. If you do it this way it sounds and feels more rhythmically assured.


One only has to look at a professional player to know this isn't right....
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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