#1
Erm... ok I've been playin about three years.
I'm decently good. I know theory fairly well and I'm pretty quick.

How long are you guys practicing everyday?
Using a metronome and seriously, really practicing, instead of just jerking around with the guitar strumming and picking random sequences.

I'm going about three to four hours a day and I want to know if I need to up that or not...

Your feedback's very much appreciated.
#2
Hm... I never use a metronome... ever.

[IN PHIL WE TRUST]


Quote by Trowzaa
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#3
Quote by SteveHouse
Hm... I never use a metronome... ever.
Fascinating. I personally find the the metronome to be one of the most valuable musical tools available to us guitarists. Why, pray tell, don't you ever use one?
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
Quote by Freepower
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#4
Quote by gpb0216
Fascinating. I personally find the the metronome to be one of the most valuable musical tools available to us guitarists. Why, pray tell, don't you ever use one?

Perhaps "never" was too harsh... I do use one when recording. Forgot that little tidbit, but when practicing, I don't. Usually because I practice with a backing track, and that already is on a steady beat, so I don't need another one.

[IN PHIL WE TRUST]


Quote by Trowzaa
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#5
Quote by gpb0216
Fascinating. I personally find the the metronome to be one of the most valuable musical tools available to us guitarists. Why, pray tell, don't you ever use one?
I'd agree, but I'd also mention that there is a right way, an ok way, and a wrong way to use a metronome, and most people fit into the last two categories.

To the threadstarter, generally your most effective practice time is in the first two hours you sit down and actually practice. Usually for beginners its the first hour or so (working 20 minutes and taking 10 minute breaks), and you pick up endurance quickly. For most people who haven't worked on specifically extending their valuable practice time, after about 2 hours you're mentally spent, even if not physically.

I'm not talking about 2 hours worth of scales here, anybody can monkey on scales almost all day long; I'm talking about dedicated practice time, working things out in your head, trying to translate from written to physical music, etc.

A few things increase how quickly you get worn out, one is playing with a band/group. It's louder, loud music is harder to hear, it makes you tired trying to concentrate on staying with the group, staying in tune, sounding good, and getting everything right (groups also tend to break less often, and the breaks you take in your practice are just as important as what you do while you're working). To a lesser degree, working with a metronome; same concept, you're concentrating on staying with the beat, sounding good, and getting your stuff right. Any time you add an element to your practice that you have to concentrate on and merge into you're playing, it's a higher level of concentration, and it's harder to stay mentally focused over time.

Your valuable practice time is in your head, not your hands. Valuable practice time is good, obviously. Everything else can hurt your playing.

Two to three hours is generally a safe amount of time for focused practice, taking 10 minute breaks every 20-30 minutes or so, until you know you can handle more without breaking down. It's not hard to work up to four or more hours, if you work up very gradually, it just takes time to make that practice time worth anything.

Generally speaking, any time you start to get physically tired, or mentally tired (inc. rubbing your eyes, wondering wtf you're doing, thinking "I'm just not getting this") then it's time to do something else, at least for a little wile.

That said, a lot of people gon't grok what 'practice time' means. Scales practice, while it is practice, generally isn't (but neither is it "break time", or "doing something else"). Your warm ups are, tone practice is, phrasing practice, learning a song, or developing a song. Those are all practice. Playing a song is not, if you're playing it just to play it (that's what you practice -for-). Unless it's part of your warm-ups, and one or two songs should be. Warm up time is practice time. Ex. Half hour warm up, 2 hours of practice, and then an hour on scales. Later in the day you play about half an hour for friends/family. That's two and a half hours of working practice time; an hour on scales, and then some time using those well earned skills to impress the people most important to you. 2.5 hours, not 3.5, not 4.
Quote by les_kris
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#6
Quote by gpb0216
Fascinating. I personally find the the metronome to be one of the most valuable musical tools available to us guitarists. Why, pray tell, don't you ever use one?

I don't either. I never really got what to do with it.
Quote by thefoldarsoldar
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#7
Ok.... yes. Thank you.
My warmup is about half an hour running through cromatics and playing through a few challenging songs just to loosen me up. I also take the modes at different speeds about 10 times each.
Then... my practice really consists mostly of... well they're not scales. It's for the most part sequences (thirds scales [and yeah, I know that IS a scale, haha] ladder sequences, gilbert sequence, etc) running through modes. About 20 minutes a piece. And then running through sweeping practice, hitting arpeggios of all kinds. They're mostly sequences. Here's a good example.

e-- 8-5-7-8-10-7-8-10-12-8-10-12-13-10-12-13-15-12-13-15-17-13-15-17-19-15-17-19

and then descending:

e-- 19-17-15-13-17-15-13-12-15-13-12-10-13-12-10-8-12-10-8-7-10-8-7-5~

I have about 20 different sequences like that [but different, excercising different things]
And after I get done with all that, I go and write songs for my band and learn other songs other people have written, maybe take some time to learn some theory from this site or sit down with my friends and have a jam session.
#8
Quote by Corwinoid
Your valuable practice time is in your head, not your hands.

Generally speaking, any time you start to get physically tired, or mentally tired (inc. rubbing your eyes, wondering wtf you're doing, thinking "I'm just not getting this") then it's time to do something else, at least for a little while.
Not to take anything at all away from the rest of Corwinoid's post, but these two statements in particular are genuine nuggets, my fellow guitarists!
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
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#10
Quote by Tenacious Me
I don't either. I never really got what to do with it.

Then it's time you learned. Timing is more important than anything else in your playing. In fact, so much so that it's usually the difference between an amature band and a professional band. I'll let the cat out of the bag for a minute -- people always ask why "****ty bands" get signed, while much better acts don't. Believe it or not, 90% of the time it's because of timing, but it's not what you think. Almost anybody with half a brain can pick up together, and hit notes at the same time. Hey, that's the biggest part of being in a band, right? The difference between an amature band, and a professional band: The professional band ends their notes at the same time.

That's timing. A metronome helps. At least, it's one part of your timing.

Almost everybody's got natural rhythm, you develop it at an incredibly young age. Very very small kids, even kids who can't walk, can't talk, and can't do much of anything, have an innate knowledge of rhythm. Don't believe me? Give a kid a drumstick (or a cup) and let them bang around with it on something for a few minutes. Use a plastic cup if you go that route. . . You'll notice two things.

1) They have rhythm, they'll even try to divide it. They'll even accent, naturally in 4.
2) They'll speed up.

Want another example of a small kid with rhythm? Next time you're around a crying baby, pay attention to its crying. I know, it's the third most annoying sound in the world, but take the time to actually notice it. Babyies cry in time. Rhythm is just that natural to most people.

Unfortunately, babies don't make very good metronomes, because of point #2 above. While most people have an innate sense of rhythm, most people don't know how to control it. Ask one of your not-musician friends to tap a consistent, moderate pace, just one - two - three - four, with their hands, clapping or tapping one handed on a table. Most of the time you'll find someone who can hang pretty consistently. Now ask them to double it, so they're playing 8ths. 90% of the time they'll speed up. The same is true going from 8ths to 16ths, and so on and so forth. Normally, if you're the one speeding up, you don't notice it.

A metronome doesn't speed up. And that's the first use of the thing. You set it to the beat, you play with the beat, you subdivide the beat, you learn to control your rhythm. It's that simple. Ways to subdivide the beat -- if you treat the beat as a quarter note, then playing twice per click is 8ths, three times is 8th note triplets, four is 16ths, 5 is a quintuplet grouping, 6 is 16th note triplets, 7 is a septuplet group, 8 is 32nd notes. And so on (notice the two/four/eight division, and the three/six divisions, that relationship continues. . . that seems obvious to a lot of us, but I want to make sure it's clear).

Sometimes it's necessary to practice "boring" things. Legato studies tend to bore the **** out of me. But they're an awesome skill developer, probably one of the best. Most legato studies are written as 8th note or 16th note triplets, and are meant to be played slowly. Somewhat oddly, the point of legato studies is to build finger strength and independance. The strange part is that the most important part of that -- having that triplet pattern played in a strict rhythm. A metronome's good for that.

Use #1 of the metronome is to learn to control your rhythm, and get a better feel for the subdivisions.

It would kind of suck if that's all it's good for, so what else? It's good for developing speed. A metronome lets you mark what tempo you're at, and be able to sonsistently return to that tempo. You get something solid at a certain tempo, and you can turn it up and play it faster, and know that you're playing it in time (#1) at the right speed, and that the speed is faster than it was a few minutes ago. On day 2 you can come back and set it, and you know the relationship back to what you were playing yesterday. This isn't guesswork, you're not saying "well, that was about as fast as last time, now I'm going to speed up." This is an exact science.

Ways to use a metronome to improve speed -- same as #1, using it for scales with various subdivisions, and consistently upping it every day, one or two bpm. You can also use it on a short riff/pattern; start with the metronome at a moderate to slow tempo, play some blazing riff, set a goal speed, and then work up in 5bpm/10bpm increments, every time you get it set perfect at the speed you're at. This is a great way to learn something new also, since you can get it set in a relative time, and then build it up to speed and not have your fingers flying all over the place.

Use #2 of the metronome is to build speed, and to build songs/riffs/solos up to speed, in a productive, safe, consistent manner.

Now we've got two, but wait, there's more. A metronome can help your phrasing. Ever listened to different people play staccatto notes? Some of them sound bad, and others sound good. It's easy to point it out, "Hey guy, that sounds like crap." But it's hard to tell them how to fix it. Staccatto notes, generally, should be about half of their written length (and actually, just a hair over half isn't too bad of an idea). A metronome can help you work on that, especially when dealing with it in fast subdivisions, or at a high speed. What about held notes? Sometimes a note should be held it's entire length, right up until the next one gets played, a metronome helps you keep that type of phrasing steady. There are hundreds of ideas that fall into this vein.

Combined with points #1 and #2, rhythmic consistency, speed, and a really good understanding of how to divide the beat, you know when to end your notes. Read that last paragraph again, and then relate it to the very first point I made. A metronome will help you learn when to end your notes, and make it easier when you have 3, 4, or 70, musicians working together, figure out how to end together (everyone's a little different, even if they all sound great independantly... so a band generally needs to work that out).

Use #3 of the metronome: Building up your phrasing, and learning when to end your notes (for that awesome professional sound).

[BTW, as an aside, there are techniques for building phrasing, especially in your hands, so that it's easier to get it into sound. They work well without a metronome, but work better with it.]
Quote by les_kris
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#11
Those first three points are enough to make a metronome worth it. The logic is simple, if a metronome helps you get consistent, fast, and sound good, then it is the primary tool for taking your playing from sounding like someone playing, and someone who's a quality musician.

That's the "ok" way to use a metronome that I mentioned in my frist sopt.

The killer way to use a metronome, however, is to turn it down. Way, way down. You know how you spent all of that time on that song you just learned, and it took forever to get it up to speed, get the rhythm right, get the phrasing right, get all of the ideas in place. That solo was hard as hell wasn't it? The bad news is that you don't really have it together yet, you just think you do.

Half the speed of your metronome. Playing something at 160? Set the clicky-toy to 80. Now play it at tempo, so that the beat is every half click, and keep it together. Still not good enough. Got it at 80? Set it to 40 so that the thing clicks once every measure, and keep your tempo and phrasing together. If you've got one that will go lower, half it again, so that you get one click every two measures. Now keep your phrasing, tempo, and sound together.

Got that nailed? You'll sound ****ing awesome when it's time to go play it. If you can do that, you've got the damn thing nailed toghether, air tight. Unfortunately, you're not quite in control of it when it's time to play it. Want to get in control? Speed it up a little, work up the original tempo to 180 or 200 if you started at 160. Get it up to a faster speed, and then work backwards with the same idea.

If you can play it over-tempo, nailed together with the idea of the metronome only giving you guide pulses, and not playing every beat, then when it's time to go play you'll be in absolute control.

Use #4 of the metronome: Mastering your music.

(There's a few caveats I'd like to point out here. First, backing tracks are nice... they're good for developing your ear, practicing with, playing along when you don't have a band, running up solo ideas, and yeah they're ok for getting your rhythm together... not as versatile as a metronome, but they're ok for rhythm... They're nowhere near as good as working without them though. All of the other sound masks your mistakes, including your phrasing glitches, notes that aren't /quite/ right, little rhythm errors. A band, especially drums (!), does a lot to hide all of the little things that you **** up. By the same token, so do distortion and reverb. It's important to practice with all of the elements that you'll be playing with, so that you can get the overall sound together. But it's more important to practice without them, so that you can fine tune your playing, and note hide little things behind other noise; those of us who have a well developed sense of listening to other people play and knowing when they've ****ed up -- and yes, we're better at it than you think -- will notice.

Second, as good as a metronome is, and I've spent all this time explaining why it's one of your most important tools, there's another truth that needs to be made. It's just as important to turn the damned thing off. Sometimes working with a metronome is not the right thing to do. If you're figuring out fingerings or working on hand dexterity, and not trying to play something tempoed, then the damn thing gets turned off. Real easy to burn your hands up forcing them into position more quickly than they're ready, and besides, it's harder to learn if you're forcing your hand into a position faster than it knows how to get there. Same idea if you're working out a new melody, or fiddling with some instrumentation stuff. If you're trying to figure out how something sounds, generally you need time to think about it, and concentrate on it, and, well, time to figure it out. No metronome. Whenever rhythm doesn't matter, shut the ****er down.

In contrast, once you've got everything nailed together, turn it off and practice without it for a bit. You won't have it on stage, and you need to be together without it. Use it to develop, but don't develop a crutch on it either. Sounding good without a metronome is a lot harder than sounding good with it... so generally learning something should go along like this -- 1) Learn the fingerings, without a metronome 2) Get it into rhythm, up to tempo, get it set with a metronome 3) practice with and without the metronome, and slowly phase it out of what you're learning so that you no longer need it.

Metronomes are great, but sometimes it needs to get taken out of the practice routine.)
Quote by les_kris
Corwinoid is God
I'm not even God-like... I've officially usurped the Almighty's throne.
Click here to worship me.

Member #3 of the Corwinoid Fan Club
#12
Corwinoid seems to make a bunch of sense, guys... I may even use the old click track from time to time after reading that one.

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Quote by Trowzaa
I only play bots. Bots never abandon me. (´・ω・`)

#13
My eyes are bleeding, Cor... BLEEDING!

Well played. I've got this old-school, title-wore-off book with a section on metronome use, and you pretty much were verbatim with this book. You ARE a book, aren't you, Cor? A DIRTY DIRTY BOOK!


red
Looking for my India/Django.
#14
LOL, that's awesome... what book? I wish I'd read that somewhere, man... it took me forever to learn that. Sitting around picking up little tidbits from people here and there "a metronome is really good polishing up your work" and **** like that, then one day in a guitar class the teacher mentioned the half tempo thing and I was like... son of a... that really works!

I guess I did actually learn something in college (see kids? It pays to go to school!). Seriously though, how to use a metronome and phrase control are probably the two most important things you can learn... and not really phrase control, that just comes, but how to develop it. You pick up the good developmental techniques, learn how to play each note, and how to make each note sound how you want, and learn when to do it, and you can play anything and still make it sound good. Hit the most hideously wrong notes in the middle of a solo and just stand there looking like "Yep, I meant to make that sound just as awesome as it did."

These are mostly things you just pick up over time though, from other musicians, teachers, etc. I've never seen a good book on using a metronome, or really a good book on developing technique... a lot of books that are like "yeah, so do this, and then eventually get it to where you can play it like this, and figure out how you want to sound on your own." When they should be more like "So if you want to play this, here's a trick on how to practice this and similar passages. Don't make the mistake of X, because the idea works like -this- and you should get -that- sort of sound out of it."
Quote by les_kris
Corwinoid is God
I'm not even God-like... I've officially usurped the Almighty's throne.
Click here to worship me.

Member #3 of the Corwinoid Fan Club
#15
I don't know... once again, the cover is all worn out and there are no copyright things at the beginning... it's like 100 pages of random musical stuff.
Looking for my India/Django.
#16
Wow thanks Corwinoid. I think I"m gonna get one soon.
Quote by thefoldarsoldar
10
you sir, are funny as hell.



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