#1
i have absolutly no patience to sit there with a metronome and go through some type of alternate picking exercise.

what i do have the patience for is to learn songs or licks from songs that i like, that utilize a certain technique. i take that song into amazing slow downer, and slow it way down. and gradually build it up.

not only is this a lot more fun because i am playing along to a song i like, but it drills certain techniques, and it forces you to do it because well, if you don't do it, then you won't learn the song.

so if i decide that today i'm going to work on my alternate picking, i'll pick a paul gilbert song, or al di meola song. and learn sections of them that make heavy use of alternate picking.

if i want to work on sweep picking, i'll pop in jason becker's altitudes into amazing slow downer, it seems to go through all the common sweep shapes. or put in some frank gambale.

if i want to work on getting out of familiar rhythmic patterns and shapes, i'll pop in some john coltrane, charlie parker, george benson, etc. and learn stuff from them.

if i want to study jimi hendrix's blues guitar playing and his phrasing, i pop in red house, and cop licks from that.

while sitting there with a metronome for hours doing monotonous exercises may be great for some. i'm a huge supporter of the idea that you should "just play" and have fun, and the speed stuff will sort itself out sooner or later.
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"Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible."
#2
^ while I mostly agree, what about the merit of simply developing your ability to focus and concentrate? Have you heard of Steve Vai's "one note and vibrato for an hour" exercise? It's as much about focus as anything else...
#3
you are not supposed to sit there for hours and mindlessly do exercises. That gets boring for everyone.

What you should do is if anything mix up your routine... start off for the first 10 mins of practice or so and do some rote exercises.... then go into learning some stuff that you don't know and practice that.... when you're done with that, stretch a lil and then do a few more rote exercises in another area. I'd try and focus the rote exercises on stuff you need to work on. and make it more of a battle of how fast can you do it with keeping everything precise.... everytime i click up the metronome to wear I can just barely do it its a struggle, and that keeps my blood pumping for a bit.... but deffinetely DO NOT practice one rote exercise for hours on hand... they are meant as warm ups or basic building blocks for certain techniques. For example, start learning to sweep by looking at building arpeggios, and don't just do one up and down 300 times in a row; do one up and down like 2 or 4 times, than do another pattern in the same key, than another, maybe jump all over the fretboard, or change keys even, switch it from minor to major and do it there.

Deffinetely practicing on chromatic scale will get very boring so I suggest what time you do use to practice be used for scales, arpeggios, and other more musical things.

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#4
Quote by Freepower
^ while I mostly agree, what about the merit of simply developing your ability to focus and concentrate? Have you heard of Steve Vai's "one note and vibrato for an hour" exercise? It's as much about focus as anything else...


sorry, but i can't be that kind of guitar player and don't want to be. i can focus just fine if what i am working on in the end gives me the satisfaction of playing what i set out to play in the first place.


you are not supposed to sit there for hours and mindlessly do exercises. That gets boring for everyone.

What you should do is if anything mix up your routine... start off for the first 10 mins of practice or so and do some rote exercises.... then go into learning some stuff that you don't know and practice that.... when you're done with that, stretch a lil and then do a few more rote exercises in another area. I'd try and focus the rote exercises on stuff you need to work on. and make it more of a battle of how fast can you do it with keeping everything precise.... everytime i click up the metronome to wear I can just barely do it its a struggle, and that keeps my blood pumping for a bit.... but deffinetely DO NOT practice one rote exercise for hours on hand... they are meant as warm ups or basic building blocks for certain techniques. For example, start learning to sweep by looking at building arpeggios, and don't just do one up and down 300 times in a row; do one up and down like 2 or 4 times, than do another pattern in the same key, than another, maybe jump all over the fretboard, or change keys even, switch it from minor to major and do it there.

Deffinetely practicing on chromatic scale will get very boring so I suggest what time you do use to practice be used for scales, arpeggios, and other more musical things.


that still is boring.

i like to practice everything i know in context. Some people, I guess, enjoy that weight training/gym philosophy of punishing themselves with scale exercises, and that’s great – it’s just never appealed to me.
http://richmusic.dmusic.com

"Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible."
Last edited by rich2k4 at May 29, 2008,
#5
I agree for the most part, but I do like scalar practice with a metronome.
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#6
that still is boring.

No, it's not boring, you find it boring.
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#7
Quote by Freepower
^ while I mostly agree, what about the merit of simply developing your ability to focus and concentrate? Have you heard of Steve Vai's "one note and vibrato for an hour" exercise? It's as much about focus as anything else...


As much as I respect Vai's talent, and even enjoy some of his playing. I think thats one of the dumbest concepts I've ever heard of for an exercise. Im not really a big fan of the 10 hour work out idea either. My opinion ofcourse.

Quote by rich2k4
i have absolutly no patience to sit there with a metronome and go through some type of alternate picking exercise.

what i do have the patience for is to learn songs or licks from songs that i like, that utilize a certain technique. i take that song into amazing slow downer, and slow it way down. and gradually build it up.

not only is this a lot more fun because i am playing along to a song i like, but it drills certain techniques, and it forces you to do it because well, if you don't do it, then you won't learn the song.

so if i decide that today i'm going to work on my alternate picking, i'll pick a paul gilbert song, or al di meola song. and learn sections of them that make heavy use of alternate picking.

if i want to work on sweep picking, i'll pop in jason becker's altitudes into amazing slow downer, it seems to go through all the common sweep shapes. or put in some frank gambale.

if i want to work on getting out of familiar rhythmic patterns and shapes, i'll pop in some john coltrane, charlie parker, george benson, etc. and learn stuff from them.

if i want to study jimi hendrix's blues guitar playing and his phrasing, i pop in red house, and cop licks from that.

while sitting there with a metronome for hours doing monotonous exercises may be great for some. i'm a huge supporter of the idea that you should "just play" and have fun, and the speed stuff will sort itself out sooner or later.


Yeah I agree with you more or less. Exercises can be helpful. They allow you to focus on a certain concept, be it a technique or musical idea, however as you suggest, ALOT can be gained straight from the music itself. Personally I find that approach alot more inspirational, and seem to get the best results from it. That being said, I do still work exercises, and they have helped me in certain areas.


Good post.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at May 29, 2008,
#8
Quote by J.A.M
No, it's not boring, you find it boring.


no ****, sherlock
http://richmusic.dmusic.com

"Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible."
#9
So why do you feel inclined to come onto the Internet and tell us that, when we clearly don't give a damn?
Call me Batman.
#10
Quote by J.A.M
So why do you feel inclined to come onto the Internet and tell us that, when we clearly don't give a damn?


Well, he actually has some really good points. Worth thinking about IMO.
#11
As much as I respect Vai's talent, and even enjoy some of his playing. I think thats one of the dumbest concepts I've ever heard of for an exercise.


Perhaps if explained by the man itself it'll make more sense to you - http://www.vai.com/LittleBlackDots/MLS_02.html

It's as much about knowing the subtlety of your instrument and developing your ears and mind as it is about just "playing the guitar" - and as such, i really like the exercise. (but have never been able to go the full hour)


Im not really a big fan of the 10 hour work out idea either. My opinion ofcourse.


Well, in the first place, it's important to realise that while Vai often did 10 hours a day of practice, only very rarely were they all technique - the 10 hour workout is meant to be stretched across a week, the 30 hour workout is for a long weekend. The rest of the time he spent on transcription, composition and sight reading. The 10 hour workout is kinda poor by itself, it's part of a whole that is fantastic.
#12
Is there any extra benefit from practicing an alternate picking exercise for an hour than say....practicing an alternate picking lick from a song?

I still do both but it's only because I don't know if there's any specific difference and I want to cover all my bases.
#13
your still going through the motion
http://richmusic.dmusic.com

"Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible."
#14
Quote by rich2k4
your still going through the motion



That's what I'm thinking. Though I've always thought there was some extra "benefit" to doing exercises as apposed to selected licks. I still don't know what that benefit is. It's a serious question I still have.

I suppose in the end....if you can play what you want to play....and play it well....you win
#15
Quote by Freepower
Perhaps if explained by the man itself it'll make more sense to you - http://www.vai.com/LittleBlackDots/MLS_02.html

It's as much about knowing the subtlety of your instrument and developing your ears and mind as it is about just "playing the guitar" - and as such, i really like the exercise. (but have never been able to go the full hour)


Well, in the first place, it's important to realise that while Vai often did 10 hours a day of practice, only very rarely were they all technique - the 10 hour workout is meant to be stretched across a week, the 30 hour workout is for a long weekend. The rest of the time he spent on transcription, composition and sight reading. The 10 hour workout is kinda poor by itself, it's part of a whole that is fantastic.


I understand that.... just not a fan of it thats all. Obviously whatever Vai did worked out quite well for him.
#16
Quote by yearzero
Is there any extra benefit from practicing an alternate picking exercise for an hour than say....practicing an alternate picking lick from a song?


Well, what's the difference between the two? There isn't one really. An good exercise is something that's been composed to drill something specific in a concentrated way, which most licks from songs don't.
#17
Quote by Freepower
Well, what's the difference between the two? There isn't one really. An good exercise is something that's been composed to drill something specific in a concentrated way, which most licks from songs don't.


Did I read this wrong, or did you just say there is no difference, and then go on to explain how they are different?


If you are saying they are different I agree. Like you said the exercise is designed specifically to drill a particular technique and/or musical concept.

A lick is generally created out of expression.

I think you can benefit from both. If I had to pick just 1 though (and of-course I don't)..... I would go with the lick, over the exercise.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at May 29, 2008,
#18
take technical difficulties for example. toward the begening of the song there is a huge alternate picking run from the bottom of the neck to the top.

if i learn that song and i get it up to speed, it serves the same concept as me doing some other alternate picking exercise, only i actually enjoyed learning it, and i can actually use it in a song.


by learning altitudes by jason becker, it goes through all common sweep shapes. if someone took that, learned it, and got it up to speed. they have essentially learned a lot of common sweep shapes. not only that but they can play them at a fast tempo, and now when those same shapes appear somewhere else, you can easily play it.

the thing is, you actually wanted to practice those sweep patterns, because they were part of the song, and if you hadn't done them, you wouldn't have been able to play the song correctly.
http://richmusic.dmusic.com

"Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible."
#19
Quote by rich2k4
take technical difficulties for example. toward the begening of the song there is a huge alternate picking run from the bottom of the neck to the top.

if i learn that song and i get it up to speed, it serves the same concept as me doing some other alternate picking exercise, only i actually enjoyed learning it, and i can actually use it in a song.


by learning altitudes by jason becker, it goes through all common sweep shapes. if someone took that, learned it, and got it up to speed. they have essentially learned a lot of common sweep shapes. not only that but they can play them at a fast tempo, and now when those same shapes appear somewhere else, you can easily play it.

the thing is, you actually wanted to practice those sweep patterns, because they were part of the song, and if you hadn't done them, you wouldn't have been able to play the song correctly.


I couldn't agree more. I've thought and said that many times.

I will say though that there is nothing wrong with doing some exercises that focus on a particular technique or idea. I think the problem lies when someone's practice routine focuses more on exercise than actually playing music.

Either way, to each their own, but im with you on the idea of keeping things musical.
#21
Quote by GuitarMunky
I couldn't agree more. I've thought and said that many times.

I will say though that there is nothing wrong with doing some exercises that focus on a particular technique or idea. I think the problem lies when someone's practice routine focuses more on exercise than actually playing music.

Either way, to each their own, but im with you on the idea of keeping things musical.


yep, thereare some things you might need to really drill. for me these were chord inversions, and comping over jazz standards. but i took those inversions and applied them to songs, that is how i practice them.
http://richmusic.dmusic.com

"Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible."
#22
Well, I for one, don't find exercises boring. I'd just point out that they don't have
a property of boring, or interesting for that matter. It's something you decided they
were for whatever reasons you did.

There's certainly benefit to had to working on songs rather than doing exercises.
I do that when I'm interested in seeing how someone else did something or used
a scale or just because I like it. But, in terms of my own playing which is mostly
improvisation, I find working on exercises to be a lot more beneficial for two
reasons: specificity and generalizeability.

By specificity I mean 1 exercise can really focus on training a specific technique or
two in many permutations. For example doing ascending/descending diatonic 4ths
can really work on finger rolls and inside/outside picking. The many permutations
come in from doing it in all finger positions up and down the neck, using different
finger combinations, on all strings.

By generalizeability, I mean that the musical feature of the exercize can potentially
be used in any number of ways -- incorporated into the structure of a lick, or part of
a lick, or as a basis for a lick -- based on something I'm just making up on the spot.
Using 4ths again as an example... I've gained both an ear for 4ths from doing a
lot of them and the finger dexterity from doing them all over the place, that I can
quite comfortably come up with a 4th-based lick on the spot with a high degree
of likelyhood of success, pretty much anywhere on the neck I want and when I feel
like it. That's one out of many musical ideas I've generalized that way.

When I learn a song or solo, I just don't get the same level of benefits. But I've
spent time learning a lot of songs in the past, that may be why I find it pretty easy
to generalize an exercise into music. So I focus a lot on making sure my fingers
are going to be ready to do what I want them to do.
#23
Quote by rich2k4
yep, thereare some things you might need to really drill. for me these were chord inversions, and comping over jazz standards. but i took those inversions and applied them to songs, that is how i practice them.


right, I did the same. Definitely got more out of my practice when applying them to actual tunes, but at 1st I had to spend time just with the chord voicings alone.
#24
Quote by GuitarMunky
Did I read this wrong, or did you just say there is no difference, and then go on to explain how they are different?


If you are saying they are different I agree. Like you said the exercise is designed specifically to drill a particular technique and/or musical concept.


Ah, well i said there was essentially no difference between an alternate picking "exercise" and a "lick" - it's just the context it's played in and intention you play it with. I said that a good exercise focuses on something specific.