#1
Hello All!

I am currently in a practice slump. Although I have never confirmed it, I feel like I have ADHD lol my mind wanders uncontrollably when I try to practice guitar. I'll think of a song and I can nail the simple chord progression of the song down no problem. Like today, I practiced for two hours. I learned 3 songs' chord progressions (one Johnny Cash song, and two Taylor Swift songs... Don't laugh haha) Took me maybe 25 minutes to get singing along with playing then the rest was playing some riffs I knew, and some exercises. I have been playing for maybe 2.5 years off and on, and I really want to starty playing more complex lead playing. I know I really need to practice exercises and designate time for individual techniques. However, as you all know, there are so many techniques to cover. So I am wondering how do you guys cover everything?

Do you practice guitar like going to the gym? Where a day works out a muscle group? Like Monday is chest day for the gym, and sweep picking for guitar? Please feel free to share your practice schedule. I usually try to practice for at least an hour and a half.
#2
Quote by rhythman93
(a) I learned 3 songs' chord progressions (one Johnny Cash song, and two Taylor Swift songs... Don't laugh haha)

(b) Do you practice guitar like going to the gym? Where a day works out a muscle group?


(a) Why would I laugh at Johnny Cash?

(Seriously though taylor swift's awesome)

(b) Yep, exactly like that.

I don't go to the gym either.

I basically just play when I feel like it. It's definitely not the most efficient approach, but on the other hand I still enjoy guitar as much as the first day I picked one up so...

serious answer, though, if there's a technique you're struggling with then exercises are good, and even a little bit of exercises every time you play probably do help, but personally i'd rather play solos for most of my practice session (assuming trying to get better at lead was my aim, which it usually is) since it's more like music. obviously you want to have the chops but you want to have the feels as well, and exercises aren't so great for the feels.
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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
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jul 12, 2016,
#3
I've only played for 7 months so yeah I have no qualifications, but what I do is I play songs like Stairway to Heaven, Nothing Else Matters, Little wing etc. Songs with alot of different stuff to deal with. That takes a long time to nail.

Atleast for a n00b like me. Dont know about you though.
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#4
While exercises can be good, I think it's much more productive and easier to stay focused by learning actual music that uses whatever techniques you want to focus on. If you want to get better at solos find a solo you want to learn that uses whatever technique you want to work on and just work through it at very slow speeds, one phrase at a time, until you can nail it perfectly at slow speeds, and then slowly increase the tempo until you can play along with the song. Much more interesting and useful than just running through some boring exercise. That way you're learning how other people use those skills to make something musical instead of getting really good at running up and down a scale or whatever.

That's not to say that you shouldn't do those exercises at all, just that I don't think they should be the primary focus. They're better in short bursts, like 5 or 10 minutes or whenever you start getting bored with them. Focused practice where you're really paying attention to what you're doing is better than mindless distracted practice.

And if you're not already, spending time on ear training is another thing that can help you at a lot with music in general that a lot of musicians neglect. I know I did for a very long time and because of that my technical ability was way better than my ear. Start with simple stuff and try to figure it out by ear. It helps to hum or sing the notes you're looking for. It gets easier the more you do it.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Jul 13, 2016,
#5
Quote by rhythman93

Do you practice guitar like going to the gym? Where a day works out a muscle group? Like Monday is chest day for the gym, and sweep picking for guitar? Please feel free to share your practice schedule. I usually try to practice for at least an hour and a half.


My approach has always been the one that gets me closest to playing real music. Only time i have ever practiced techniques by themselves have been to figure out how they are initially done. Once that is figured out (which doesn't take that long) i continue to practice tunes to improve. The best exercises to playing stuff you want to play is playing stuff you want to play, just slow it down until you can play it. I mainly work on technique by learning challenging solos, melodies, rhythmic parts etc.

My practice process usually looks something like this:

1. Find 1-3 tunes i really like to learn (doesn't have to be entire tunes either, can be just the part you like, or just single phrase)
2. Listen to the part i'm about to learn until i can sing it.
3. Figure it out on the neck.
4. Analyze the harmony. (The A section is a vi-ii-V-I-IV in Ab for example)
5. Analyze the melody.
6. Analyze the bassline/voicings/solo (whatever i want to learn basically)
7. Conceptualize what i have just learned.
8. Practice the concepts over different tunes until they are natural in my playing.

I think for me the most important part of my practice is that it is done by ear, and that i can sing and really hear everything i am doing.
This clip is not me, but it is very much a good representation of how i work through things:



Once you have gotten through a couple of songs this just becomes easier and easier. Learning to sing it is very important (at least to me) because it allows me to develop my own creativity and improvisational skills. It is a great ear training tool and more useful in my opinion than the usual interval exercises you often see people doing.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

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#6

Dave_Mc


Hey friend, thanks for your input. I get you on the feeling of the music. Guitar exercises while probably necessary, are so boring haha I have tried practicing solos... For example, I tried playing Nightrain by Gun's N' Roses, and I got the entire song except the solo down pretty solid. But whether it be the Nightrain solo, or the solo from the song Faithfully by Journey, it seems like I hit a wall at 80% speed. I got a few apps on my phone that can slow down the tempo of the song when I practice. Its like I hit a wall, a week later, I am still at that same speed, whenever I go over that threshold, it gets sloppy. It's like some solos get so fast, that you need it memorized before you can play it. Yet I do some spider exercises, and some of them I can hit over 120 bpm w/ each note 8th notes... And its a pretty clean run. That's why I don't get it... These solos are only like 400bpm.. So I should be able to do it no problem. Do you have a similar problem? If so, how do you overcome it?
#7

The4thHorsemen


Thanks for the input friend, thats some good info on the focused training... That is wise, because I do find my mind wanders after a while. Ear training is something I will start practicing too... Thanks for your wisdom.
#8
Quote by rhythman93


Dave_Mc


Hey friend, thanks for your input. I get you on the feeling of the music. Guitar exercises while probably necessary, are so boring haha I have tried practicing solos... For example, I tried playing Nightrain by Gun's N' Roses, and I got the entire song except the solo down pretty solid. But whether it be the Nightrain solo, or the solo from the song Faithfully by Journey, it seems like I hit a wall at 80% speed. I got a few apps on my phone that can slow down the tempo of the song when I practice. Its like I hit a wall, a week later, I am still at that same speed, whenever I go over that threshold, it gets sloppy. It's like some solos get so fast, that you need it memorized before you can play it. Yet I do some spider exercises, and some of them I can hit over 120 bpm w/ each note 8th notes... And its a pretty clean run. That's why I don't get it... These solos are only like 400bpm.. So I should be able to do it no problem. Do you have a similar problem? If so, how do you overcome it?


yeah being able to do it as an exercise doesn't mean you can do it in a solo. you don't get a run-up in a solo like you do with exercises, you can keep playing exercises until you get it right, with a solo you have one chance.
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?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jul 13, 2016,
#9
I get an insane surge of motivation randomly, which lasts for a few days, and then stop doing any music for a month or more. Not the most effective way of "practicing"

I don't know why, but I don't even listen to much music nowadays. I used to listen to music more or less 24/7.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Jul 14, 2016,
#10
I practice economy picking, sweep picking, and tapping consistently to advance my technique

The gym analogy is interesting, but music isnt as routine as you imagine it sometimes; there are days when you pick up the guitar and just jam for hours

Practice things that will contribute to what you want to achieve on the guitar: i want to be able to play like a god so i ve been working on difficult material like beethoven and paganini
#11
rhythman93

The best advice I can give anyone is - squeeze in as many hours as you can. Don't over obsess about the content of your practicing,just make sure you're putting in the time and learning new things. Get in the habit of playing guitar while watching movies, tv shows etc and just running small exercises and looping repetitive techniques. You should dedicate serious focused time as well, but those extra hours you can get by combining repetitive playing with less productive activities like movies etc. really add up. A lot of being a great guitar player is muscle memory - and that part can be hammered in while doing other things. Jimi Hendrix always had his guitar with him - he'd be playing while cooking his eggs in the kitchen in the morning - he didn't accidentally become amazing - he played ALL the time. Nearly every great player played for hours upon hours on end.

If you need exercises - check out John Pettrucci's Rock Discipline video - it's on you tube - there's some great beginner exercises there and he covers basically everything to get started.