So, to start off, I do have a jazz background since I played in jazz band in college. Yet, I took two courses in guitar (both of which were kind of useless because I always overpracticed, not to say I was jazz level anyway).

Anyway, so even in Jazz band, I had difficulty with reading music, but I would take it home and tab it out on Finale about my 3rd year in.

Up until that point, I just only played rhythm parts, but even then I only played on the 1st and 3rd beats without variation (Freddy Green style bs).

Anyway, so I still practice and play, and write songs. I like math rock a lot so I've been trying to really learn out of the Complete Jazz Method to learn scales, and learn new chords and theory to try to get it together.

So far, learning triads have been great, and I write out chords in the given key I'm working on.

Here's a sheet from two days worth of stuff (though now, I do 6 keys a week, and then the rest of the other 6 remaining keys the next week):

Here's a sheet of the techniques I like to hone in on every day (finger picking is key to math rock hence the patterns):

What I'm having trouble is really finding a path in terms of knowing the notes in the chord shapes I know, as well as how to memorize the chord formulas to begin with. They have been becoming very convoluted. I think I really got up to the "6" chords in terms of memorizing formulas, and now since minor 7's, the formulas are mega long.

Though, should I just start memorizing intervals and just being able to be like, "Okay so that's the root, oh okay, that above it is b7, etc"

I do know where root + octaves are, same with root and b7's, as well as root + 5th's and 3rd's.

Should I take an interval approach and really try to learn my intervals?

Also, I'm still finding sheet music outside of the open notes on the first frets to still be a pain. I do work out of a classical book so far, but really it goes along the first two strings (B and high E) if the song is really going up in terms of pitch.

Anyway, so I also try to learn a math rock song (take the Tera Melos song I'm working on), and I write my own stuff (actually have a couple albums of material).

What I want to know is how to really design off pattern rhythms and apply them.

And also how to play scales and actually use them. What angers me is that I only play scales up and down, and then go onto the next shape to try to combine them, but even that doesn't work out.

Without further ado, here is my practice schedule, comment for advice please:

- Get a 5/4 beat going (could be any math-y beat)
- Do chromatic scales (vertical or horizontal depending on the day)
- Fingerpick pattern based on the day of each triad for that day (with the inversions) --> this is where the confusion comes in sometimes, because I can easily recall the chord shape, but not really the exact formula, or the notes (though major and minors are pretty easy)
- Tap out the three major notes that make up the key for the day, ex: C E G for C Major on each string (first two strings with the first finger, next two strings with the second finger, etc, to get the blood flowing)
SIDE NOTE: I find it way easier to play after I've done this tapping exercise which is both pinnacle to math rock, and I guess to warm up --> could be a key to do away with boredom heh
- Play two scales in the major key, and the two shapes depend on the day, ex: 6-1 and 6-2 might be used for Monday, etc (6th string root, starts on the first finger is how the author likes to notate it), but again I just play scales up and down to that single beat again but nothing too exciting
- Do this weird strumming thing to the beat with the open chords I know, and end with the major chord I'm in --> weird small 10 second habit, cannot explain it except maybe just for habit
- Work on notating ONE measure from a classical song from that pdf book on my computer in Finale, play it (and if all the measures are complete, I'll raise the entire song from 60 BPM aka the speed I always begin to learn songs, and speed it up to 90 BPM and be done with it)
- Work on an already tabbed song cover (though I don't really go back and play stuff I've learned already, I really only want to use them as stepping stones for technique
- Play two of my own songs, and work on a new one (usually takes me a few months for a new demo to be really fleshed out, and even now, I've become a bit lazy and haven't actually recorded in a while)


Crazy I know right? Well, I don't have a teacher, so at least I'm trying. Lemme know if you can help or need more explanations for this wall of text. Thanks!
The problem I see with your approach is that you are learning a ton of things in a technical vacuum that you will eventually simply forget. It's not terrible to spend some time on that, but not the majority of your time. You should focus more on learning things within an actual musical context, rather than hammering away at countless keys and patterns.
What on earth is math rock when it's at home..? Never heard of that before.
Okay, I understand the criticism.

But do you have tips to offer honestly to change it up then?

Now, I understand most dudes on here are into metal and stuff like that, but honestly I don't want to be some Dream Theater rip-off so if anyone knows how to play either math rock, or jazz type stuff with some good practice advice, can you please give me some advice then?

For the dude who doesn't know what math rock is, here are a couple of videos:





Well, as a jazz player i could say some of the things that i think are essential to a practice session.

1) Transcription. Every practice session should have you transcribe something (not transcribing as in writing it down, simply taking it out by ear). Musical vocabulary and language is the key to getting natural with any style, and it helps with all aspects of your playing.

2) Improvisation. Developing the ability to come up with good stuff on the spot is also a key component in experimental music styles such as jazz. There are loads of variations you can do on improvising, for example limiting yourself to only using chord tones, or only soloing using chords etc.

3) Chordal knowledge and embellishing the melody. Many players think jazz is a lot of chord scales and that you have to know them all, i dont believe so. (There is no historical evidence of chord scales being the way to go about improvising, it came about as an "easy-to-do" method when the jazz schools were starting up). Knowing about the chords is way more useful, both in soloing and for harmony. Embellishment of the melody is one of the key factors in improvisation, "let the melody be your guide" is a very common saying and it works.

Those are the key aspects, much of what you have written down can be fit under the sole topic of transcription. Cause i believe rather than practicing the, for example, Bb major and Eb major that you could transcribe language in those keys, or transpose language you know in other keys into those aswell. Learning musical ideas will stop you from seeing the key as just a scale all over and rather as lines you know and can play around.

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."
I second the improvisation piece suggested up above. It's also a great idea to record your improvs and review it afterwards. This is a great way to spot any flaws or weaknesses in your playing off the cuff.

The only other piece of advice I could offer you is to focus on what is going to help you reach your current goals. Is transcribing one measure of classical music and raising the bpm really beneficial towards your goal? If so, then go for it. Just remember not to overload yourself.

One tip for your scale problem that was suggested by a Jazz guitarist (can't think of his name) is to improvise solos using only 1 string. This forces you to be more conscious of your note choices, as opposed to basic scale patterns.
Small tip : record yourself improvising and then re-learn the better and more creative passages ( happy accidents)- eventually you'll build up a repertoire of your own phrases, which helps get your own style going.
Yeah, I've tried to transcribe a couple of songs within the last couple of months and this is what it turned up being 0_o (they took forever to make, and this is not even 1/3 of what actually exists in both files):

Of course, I can really only pay attention to the tab. That's the problem, I wish I could read sheet music, and be like, okay I play that in this position on the neck, no problem.

Improvising is one thing, but does anyone have any more scale sequence ideas or tapping practice ideas, or any more advice?

Even how to become better at tabbing as well would be a help. Reason being, it was so much harder in Finale since its not very guitar based. I mean, its cool because if I ever listen to that Miles Davis song, I can literally pay SO MUCH MORE ATTENTION to each line that either McLaughlin or Davis plays, because I tabbed out either of their lines (since McLaughlin does a lot of boring rhythm parts near the middle section, hence why I just continued on with tabbing Miles' trumpet part).

Anyway, I have been learning Tera Melos's A Spoonful Of Slurry at 60 BPM (even though its at 240 BPM, crazy stuff), and have been working on speeding up a new measure every day (and then playing the song still at 60 BPM up until that new measure).
I have a few simple ideas. Learn your whole scales. Ionian, Phrygian, and Aeolian. I can cover the entire fingerboard of the guitar know every note with just those three. Mixolydian and Dorian you can use to get more positions. Once you know where all the notes are in a given key you just move them. I leaned them in the key of G initially I know 1 step up is A 1 step down is F and i can extrapolate the notes of the entire fingerboard that way.

Another thing to do is practice with a beat get the feel of the beat. Syncopate do whole notes triplets half notes etc. I got a lot better by recording myself and doing compositions on a 4 track now I have an 8 track. You can lay down your own rhythm and bass tracks with drum tracks then you need to remember what chords you played and come up with leads hooks etc.

You can pick up a micro BR pretty cheap and use that for a lot of things and work out compositions.
Yeah lol, please provide me the tabs for Stanley Jordan. Yeah right... there are none.

Anyway, good ideas about practicing scales with beats. I've been trying that but they only come out as deliberately awkward sounding eighth notes to the beat, and never anything original.

Any good ways to get some free practice drum beats that are in odd time signatures?

Plus, maybe its in my scale practice too. I can play with the first, second, and fourth fingers on the left hand, but I've always found that to be awkward when most of the those scales need that stretch.

Any good idea to really warm them up to be playing like that?

Is it just a matter of looping stuff, and stealing stuff from songs that I learn into my own music?
Quote by SamGuitar91

Plus, maybe its in my scale practice too. I can play with the first, second, and fourth fingers on the left hand, but I've always found that to be awkward when most of the those scales need that stretch.

Any good idea to really warm them up to be playing like that?

It's important not to simply learn scale shapes from a book, you should really develop your own approach as to what is more comfortable so that when you improvise to you give yourself more flexibility. Django had everything done with like two fingers ( his hand was crippled in a fire) and he could rip all over the fretboard. Sometimes playing a big stretchy shape , like a 3 note shape on one string, is much less efficient than simply playing it on two strings. It all depends on context, and I'm definitely not advising you to forgo practicing more difficult stretches, but when you're in the heat of an improv, efficiency and practicality become much more important.