#1
I'm not 100% sure this is the right forum to post this, but I've always received great help in this forum so here it goes.

I'd like some pointers as to where I go now in order to get better. Whilst I'm happy with the progress I've made in the past 2 years, there is soooo much more to learn, technique and theory wise. I guess I'm just looking for exercises/things I should be doing to get better, I'm prepared to put in the time for it.

I've been playing for over 2 years now, and I would rate my technique intermediate/advanced, and my knowledge of theory intermediate if not lower. I'll tell you what I can do and what I want to be able to do, and then you can tell me what I should work on from here (like a practice plan )

What I can do:

-Basic techniques (bends, vibrato, finger picking, alternate picking etc)
-play in all keys (major/minor, pentatonic and blues scales) all over the neck
-understand the theory behind keys/chords, cadences
-understand modes (ionian, dorian etc)
-solo over music (if i know what key its in)
-mostly understand written music, can read it but it takes me a while to get it onto the guitar
-learn pieces of music which I want to play (i use tab as a starting point, obviously work out the rhythm and any extra notes etc)
-name the notes I'm playing (usually takes me about 2 seconds to name each note)

What i want to be able to do:

-know what notes I'm playing without thinking about it/knowing the notes immediately by looking at the frets
-be able to play any chord I want, any way I want to (inversions, different voicings/positions on the neck) without thinking about it
-play faster
-solo without thinking about shapes and staying on key (this is mostly muscle memory by now, but I still think about scale positions)
-be able to work out songs accurately by ear (I've started doing this, but can only work out simple melodies/riffs, having trouble with chords)
-put the phrase/melody I can hear in my head onto the guitar on the spot (e.g. whilst playing a solo)
-more advanced techniques (sweep picking is the only one that comes to mind haha)

What I do to reach these goals:

-Practice with the miles.be 'functional ear trainer'
-practice with the music theory.net interval ear trainer, and try to find these intervals in songs
-memorize notes on the guitar neck each day
-try to work out simple phrases by ear
-practice tremolo picking as well as up and down picking separately

Okay, congrats if anyone actually read through all of that can you recommend any exercises or things I should be doing in order to reach these goals?
Thanks
#3
Quote by mickel_w


What i want to be able to do:



Gonna focus on this, cause that's what you want to do.


Quote by mickel_w

know what notes I'm playing without thinking about it/knowing the notes immediately by looking at the frets



Fretboard knowledge is your problem here, and there is a number of ways to improve that helps. One way is to pick a note, lets say C, and play it everywhere you can on the neck between the nut and the 12th fret (cause everything repeats after the 12th fret). I used to do this through the cycle of fourths & fifths, aswell as saying the note out loud when i played it.

So i played all the C's, then all the F's etc, through the cycle of fourths. Then to make sure this didn't just become a pattern that i memorized i would also practicing doing every other note in the cycle of fourths. So instead of going C F Bb Eb i would go C Bb F Eb etc, or maybe even every third note in the cycle of fourths sos C Eb F Ab etc. Just brainwashing yourself with that helps.


Quote by mickel_w

-be able to play any chord I want, any way I want to (inversions, different voicings/positions on the neck) without thinking about it


Same as the last one. You have to really drill it in. Go through some sort of cycle and say the name of the notes of the chord out loud, aswell as the chords name. So taking Cmaj7 for example i would go. "C major 7, C E G B" and then play the chord, then maybe "C major 7 first inversion, E G B C" and then play that inversion.

Studying chord construction is a huge aid here aswell. Since you only want to be able to read/ hear the name of the chord and then recognize what intervalls that chord is made up of, and then finding a way to play it.

Quote by mickel_w

play faster


This has been covered in the GT forum alot recently, so i am just going to give a short answer to this. You can't actually work on getting faster. You will get faster naturally, but only if you make sure you are practicing correctly. If you make sure you are playing accurately and relaxed, and don't try to stress the speed, you will eventually get faster.

The day you stop chasing speed and focus solely on how well you are playing and the musician aspect of things, you will be much happier. I used to be a metronome warrior, trying to crank the speed and speed up, i was very unsatisfied with that. When i focused solely on the music and playing well, my speed came naturally.

Quote by mickel_w

-solo without thinking about shapes and staying on key (this is mostly muscle memory by now, but I still think about scale positions)


This is just about improving your ear. You still want to practice your scales and have them intact, but when it comes to this it is more about the ear. There are a few ways you can work on this, but the most beneficial one is basically singing a line (with your voice or in your head) and the playing it on the guitar.

Play a chord, let's say a C major chord. Then sing something, then try to play it. This is painfully hard in the beginning cause you will most likely only be able to imagine the chord tones, or nothing at all. But that is the start, it's really hard going about stuff solely by ear, but it will help you improve alot.

Another thing you can do aswell is playing a chord and trying singing the scale over it, that is a good start to it. It's even better if you can get someone else to do it/record yourself playing chords so you don't know what key you are in and have to use your ear to the maximum.

Learning by ear overall will help you with this. That's why i abandoned learning from sheet music or tab a long time ago. I still use it today, but only in teaching or notating down what i've written, i don't learn from it.

This will also help with the next thing on your list.

Quote by mickel_w

-more advanced techniques (sweep picking is the only one that comes to mind haha)


As said about the speed, don't push it. If you do the technique you want to learn at a tempo were you can actually execute it then it will develop naturally as you do it more. As Guthrie Govan said, everything is hard until we have done it a million times and it's not hard anymore. Tying your shoes was hard until you did it a million times, you just had to do it slow and make sure you got it right.

I hope that was helpful.

Best Regards
Sickz
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
Last edited by Sickz at Feb 21, 2014,
#4
I agree with most of the rest of what you've posted, but is that true about the speed thing? Common sense (which might be bollocks, admittedly) says that practising something will make you better at it than not practising. This might be a false analogy, but usain bolt, for example, didn't become a badass sprinter by not concentrating on running fast but practising walking really, really well instead and just hoping that the speed would come. Which is kind of what you're suggesting regarding playing quickly.

I agree that only worrying about speed gets demoralising very quickly (like you, I've felt better since I've obsessed less about it), but most of the (famous and good) shredders do drills and stuff like that and if you ask me that improves your speed far more than not even trying to practise speed.

Don't get me wrong- you shouldn't do drills all day every day or anything like that, and you should practise more musical stuff, too. Mainly musical stuff, really. But a few targeted drills will probably help rather than hinder, as long as you're doing them right and not obsessing over them or ignoring other equally (arguably more) important things too when you're practising.

I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#5
Quote by Dave_Mc
I agree with most of the rest of what you've posted, but is that true about the speed thing? Common sense (which might be bollocks, admittedly) says that practising something will make you better at it than not practising. This might be a false analogy, but usain bolt, for example, didn't become a badass sprinter by not concentrating on running fast but practising walking really, really well instead and just hoping that the speed would come. Which is kind of what you're suggesting regarding playing quickly.

I agree that only worrying about speed gets demoralising very quickly (like you, I've felt better since I've obsessed less about it), but most of the (famous and good) shredders do drills and stuff like that and if you ask me that improves your speed far more than not even trying to practise speed.

Don't get me wrong- you shouldn't do drills all day every day or anything like that, and you should practise more musical stuff, too. Mainly musical stuff, really. But a few targeted drills will probably help rather than hinder, as long as you're doing them right and not obsessing over them or ignoring other equally (arguably more) important things too when you're practising.



I might have expressed myself wrongly. I am not saying that speed will come if you sit around and wait for it, i am merely saying that practicing speed is a bad idea. Those famous and good shredders did not sit and practice speed, like "i can play okay around 120 bpm, now i am going up to 130". They practiced playing accurately and relaxed at lower tempos for long times. I talked with a gypsy guitarist called Bireli Lagrene once after one of his gigs (amazing guitar player) and he said that when he was learning stuff he didn't actively work at building speed, he was making sure his movements were smaller and that he was constantly playing relaxed and properly, and that enabled him to play faster.

What i am saying is that there shouldn't be a section of your practicing that is like "practice speed for 30 minutes". If you practice stuff you are already working on (scales, songs, solos) at the highest tempo you can play it perfectly and playing relaxed, you will develop naturally. Guthrie Govan has said the same thing, he didn't practice with a metronome, but he practiced actual songs and worked at them at a tempo were he could play them properly.

So what i am basically saying is practice stuff at a tempo were you can play them comfortably, but were they are still a challenge.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#6
Ah I see what you mean. I've never really used a metronome either. I meant more like drills designed to practise things like legato chops, picking chops, sweeping etc.

Seems we were talking at cross purposes
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#7
Sickz to the rescue again ^^

no seriously though man, thanks for the help, appreciate it
#9
Quote by Sean0913
The things you want to be able to do, I teach...every skill set listed. If you have questions, feel free to PM me, or check out the link in My sig, and get in touch with me, and I'll be happy to send you a catalog of all the courses we teach.

Best,

Sean


will definitely check it out. thanks