hey guys, Ive been playing for about a year now and so far have mainly been practicing a lot of scales, modes, lots of finger exercises, reading a little theory and just going over some songs I know, but I want something different to practice besides these typical things that i already do, to help me become a more well rounded. If you have any unique ideas, or things you do to step up your game, help me out. Thanks in advance.
i like to download some backing tracks and jam along with them, its good for working on your rhythm and soloing abilities. If you can find a band to jam along with thats even better.
Quote by Randy_Rhoads4
i like to download some backing tracks and jam along with them, its good for working on your rhythm and soloing abilities. If you can find a band to jam along with thats even better.

Definitely - I do that everyday. Download a random backing track in a random key and fuck around with it for a couple of hours - those couple of hours you spend with just you and your guitar are priceless.

To me it sounds like you're bored of practicing - which inevitably leads me into thinking you're not practicing correctly. If you were, you'd be seeing results and you'd be enjoying the results, along with every note you play. I'd advise you to read up on correct practicing - that is how to practice all these excercises that get thrown at you and how to use them to improve your playing, instead of playing for the sake of playing them with the hope you're going to improve. For starters, you should check out... www.guitarprinciples.com.

Anyway - something I've found that actually works to help people get out the habit of thinking 'Ah, fuck! Chromatic excercises! ' is to attempt a song. But not in the sense, just 'attempt a song' - what I mean is, take a song that you know contains something above your current skill level in a certain aspect of something you want to improve, whether that be alternate picking, legato or sweep picking, whatever.

Now, take a passage from that song that focusses on that particular technique or problem - and use that as your excercise. Substitute those boring chromatic excercises with a complete new look on things - you're learning a new song, or on your way to learning a new song by mastering a certain passage, you're improving said technique AND you're enjoying yourself.

Another way to look at spicing it up would be to add another element - that is, invite a friend or jam buddy round for a practicing session. I've found that encouraging people to play with friends and other people does wonders for confidence and helps alleviate the whole boredom aspect normally associated with practicing.

So, invite a friend round - and practice with him/her. Practice everything together - challenge each other - steal licks from eachother - swap practicing tips, whatever. It helps.

An example would be something I hold in high regard - modes. You think modes, you think 'Fuck' - You probably find them boring, monotonous and down-right a pain in the arse - I used to and I completely understand where you're coming from in saying that your practice sessions will become boring and long-winded.

Take your friend, your guitar and pick a key. One of you plays each chord in that key, while the other plays the respective mode over it - no phrasing, licks or soloing - just the mode. The 'pattern' if you will. An example would be...

[B]Chord[/B]    [B]Mode[/B]
Cmaj     C Ionian
Dmin     D Dorian
Emin     E Phrygian
Fmaj     F Lydian
Gmaj     G Mixolydian
Amin     A Aeolian
Bdim     B Locrian

One of you plays the chord, while the other plays the mode over the respective chord - this is invaluable practice time. What you're doing is making modes & practice fun - but at the same time, developing your ear, branching your theory knowledge, forming your personal basis on what mode you think sounds good over particular chords - you're having fun and you're making progress, which is what practicing is all about. That's a pretty basic example, and of course you can expand it and use progressions, different modes choices and so forth - but that's the basis of it, and it works.
Work on your rhythm and timing. Use a metronome. This is a week area for most guitar players.
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