Howdy folks,

Well, it's been a long long time since I've posted here on UG... maybe a few years. I actually stopped playing guitar for a while. I sort of hit a ceiling where I just wasn't getting much better. Then I got more involved with work and other stuff...

Anyways, a few months ago I retired from working (yay!) I picked up my guitars again and started noodling around. I really wasn't playing any songs. Mostly what I was doing was this practice I used to do which I always thought was useful for improvising: I take a major, minor or diminished arpeggio and sweep pick across all 6 strings and walk my left hand continuously up and down the neck in the various arpeggio patterns I'd work out. I started getting pretty good at it.

Then I started playing a few tunes I used to play and... something happened. I'm not sure how to describe it. It was like I was "gifted" something. I know it sounds crazy. But, I'm now tapping into the same source that all the guitar legends have tapped into. I'm sure of it. Suddenly all this stuff is coming out of me and its all so easy. Almost like I can't hit a bad note if I tried.

It's not like I suddenly know everything about music and guitar technique. I don't. I still have lots to learn. But, I've tapped into this source now. My playing has jumped mega-levels. It seems to be here permanently whereas before I maybe got flashes here and there. I dunno.

Just so people don't think I'm nuts, I'm trying to get as much of this recorded as possible right now. I'm pushing it here the last few days and will continue with new stuff for a while:


I'm laying these tracks down almost as quickly as I can play them. I'm not doing much editing of my takes right now. Not trying to cover over my mistakes. Just playing. I lay a few tracks down for strum, bass and drums then loop them. Then generally do an improvised rhythm and leader guitar all in 1 take each. This just seems to be the tip of the iceberg....

I generally don't care to promote myself very much. I've already got everything I want and need. But I thought it would be interesting to get comments from my fellow guitar players. Has anything like this ever happened to you?
sometimes stuff just clicks.
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sometimes stuff just clicks.

Yeah, I've had the "just clicks" moments. Probably eventually everybody does at some point. This seems different. It's like I can't even take credit for it. I'm just a channel for it. I'm hardly even doing anything. I just pick up the guitar and all this stuff comes gushing out. It's weird and hard to describe... Also it's not going away like usual. This happened last week and its been like this for days. It seems kinda permanent. But who knows? We'll see...

Maybe it's just that sometimes we need to set the guitar down for a while. Even though we're not actually practicing, the subconscious is still working on it. Like I said, I've hardly even played the past few years. I have no idea.
Like your stuff man. How does every man and his dog have stuff on sound hound? Are they recording with their phones and how is this stuff sounding so clean?
Would you try and describe your method? Did you use a lot of brute force memorization and drilling like with your arpeggio practice? Are you able to visualize intervals? Can you play whatever you hear in your head?
I just use Garageband with a Line6 Guitarport. Screw purity trying to get a nice track with Mic'd real equipment. I used to use Live, but long have forgotten it and Garageband was easy to pick up. More than adequate for my needs. I'm not a sound engineer and I'm happy with the recording quality. Garageband has a key feature I really like (it's a must really): easily chop a track up into parts and move them around and/or loop them. The amp presets it comes with sound really good with little or no fiddling. The drum accompaniments are super easy to do. It's super easy to do a bass track with guitar using the transpose feature and bass amp presets. Apple has done a decent job with it and it more than meets my needs.

The arpeggio practice I was doing was definitely key in the breakthrough IMO. First, there's something about controlled sweeping across the strings that relax's the pick hand (at least for me). Second, if you know where to find a chord note anywhere on the neck quickly in a song you always can find a note that's going to sound great on the changes. Third, when improvising and you want to do a sweep. it's pretty easy to add something in that sounds good over the chord by using these simple arpeggios.

A major or minor arpeggio has 3 basic forms going up the neck across all 6 strings. 3 inversions = 3 forms. Each form is composed of the chord inversion on the top 3 strings with the same inversion on the bottom 3 strings 1 octave lower. If you're thinking CAGED the rough equivalents are form1 = E, form2 = DC and form3 = A. Forms 1 & 3 are very diagonal, form2 is boxy.

To walk this up and down the neck just connect the top strings of one form with an adjacent form's bottom strings. It's easiest to start with top and bottom 3 strings, but there's other ways to connect.

Start your practice off by just picking 1 key to practice in. I like A or E because the lowest position on the neck has open strings. Don't neglect to practice there! It also sounds really nice. It should get to the point where you can do a nice semi-improvised sweep up & down the neck until the cows come home to roost. Next move on to other keys. Next try switching back and forth between 2 keys. Next pick some simple songs and follow the chord changes.

Finally, do similar with diminished and whole tone arpeggios. These are even easier. There's only one basic form for each that just slides up the neck by 3 frets (diminished) or 2 frets (whole tone). Again, work out patterns that connect the forms.

Once you get good at these, you have some very mean tools in your arsenal and have really great fretboard visibility.

I have a pretty good visualization of intervals, but I've used other practice for that. It's not really all that necessary unless you happen to want to do an interval-based riff. I don't really hear what I'm playing in my head first. I don't think it really works that way and it's more simultaneous than that could ever be. I sort of have an idea what it will sound like-ish. I'm often as surprised at what comes out as somebody listening might be. Closest I can come to describing it is I'm channelling something that's WAY bigger than me and I'm just pushing it in directions.
Last edited by edg at Aug 22, 2015,
It's a cool story but not really relevant to the technique forum - I'd recommend posting your recordings in the Recordings forum.
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