#1
We get a lot of threads in here about apathy, writer's block, a rut, burn-out, whatever. I personally don't mind them, but the same responses are given every time, and I personally think that instead of just responding to them the same robot way every time, we just merely redirect them here. If this thread is a bad idea, is cheesy, been-done, etc, then Mods, please delete it. Otherwise I'll leave this and periodically update it with ideas to over-come writer's block, etc.


Alright, if you've read this far, thanks for not mercilessly slaughtering me yet. Let's get started.

EDIT (07/25/08): Revised some minor grammatical errors. Added a section.


Q. I don't have the passion to play my <instrument> anymore. It feels like a burden to pick it up. What should I do?

A. Set it down for a week. Don't even pick it up to re-tune it. Don't read theory or anything, just step out. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. What you need to do is get your mind off playing your instrument for a little while. Listen to new music that you normally wouldn't. If you listen to Indie, why not branch out and try a new genre, like metal? If you like metal, try an acoustic band.

The point is, listen to new music and just don't play your instrument. When that week is finally up, you may have some ideas of something you want to. I suggest not just diving and going back to robot practice. Pick a few easy songs (Like a 5 chord song) and learn them through and through. After you do that, you'll feel healed and fine. Never doubt this method, it's saved me more times than I can count.



Q. All my solos sound the same. My material is becoming boring and generic. What should I do?

A. This is a broader subject, and is open to debate depending on what you play. If you play a -core genre like me, or anything else that's power chord heavy, try using full barre chords. Use chords that sound weird with distortion. Try using different progressions instead of straight-up 5th chords.

Practice phrasing for your melodies. Try bending a note, wide vibrato, slides, trills. They're simple things that turn boring into amazing.

If you find yourself in a rut, try not writing anything for a while, and if it's that severe, see the above Q&A for suggestions on what to do for a little time off.



Q. I can never finish learning a song. What am I doing wrong?

A. You lack conviction. Unfortunately, this isn't something that can be earned or bought. I am the same way, but what I did was I played air guitar to a few songs, and if I really loved doing it, then I wrote the song title down. I now have a few pieces of paper filled up with songs I want to learn. Every other day I pick one up, pick a song, then I get to learning it. It sounds stupid, but it's just a matter of sitting down and forcing yourself through it. It may suck at times, especially when it's a really hard passage that requires hours of practice, but the end result is so worth it, it's priceless.

Just sit down and force yourself to do it. Take a break after 20 or so measures, stretch, sit back down. I normally say to myself, "Okay, this is X pages long in sheet music. Let's get to page Y, then I'll go and get a soda. When I get to page Z I can take a shower for 15 minutes, and when I get to page A I'll be on the home stretch."

Little things like that make learning songs much easier.



Q. How the hell do I phrase?

A. Phrasing is how you play your notes. It's like how you say a word. If you say the word with an upwards inflection, you're asking a question. If you say the word with the same pitch, it's just a statement. If you scream the word, it's an exclamation. This analogy also applies to music.

For example, if you played a passage with a lot of wide vibrato, this would give it a sadder-spacier sound, then say sweep picking and then having a pinch harmonic. There are certain feels associated to each technique. However, there is little I can tell you to make you sound like Steve Vai or Joe Satriani.

Still though, there is something I can tell you. Actually listen to yourself play, while you're playing, and see if what you're playing is interesting. Be brutally honest. If you find it boring, add in a slide where it's appropriate. Add a full-step/half-step bend where needed. Add a quick arpeggio, a quick vibrato lick, a tap, anything to make it that much more interesting to your listeners and you. Phrasing isn't something that you can practice, you just get it one day. My advice to you is to find a tape recorder or a friend, play a chord progression, and work on making that solo you. Tap the emotion of the song and you, and let your guitar sing a song.
Last edited by VIRUSDETECTED at Jul 25, 2008,
#2
very good, ill try these when the time comes along :P another thing is if u set a time slot to create a piece of music and really want to get a song down, but u cant coz writers block ect. try not plan. "masterpieces are made through spontaneity and are not planned" quoted by me from me :O
#5
I just found this in search and it helped me out alot....

But if you add more description on phrasing and other stuff like that I'd say:

STICKY THISSSSS
#6
I agree with it all.

When guitarists tell me that their solos all sound the same..

I tell them that music is a language and your knowledge of music theory
is your vocabulary. When you don't have a wide selection of tekniks to use
you are very limited in what you can say with your music.
I bet Charlie Brown's teacher's name was Mrs.Hammett
#7
This is an amazing post.

Seriously, very awesome. This has helped me greatly.
#8
Looks like good stuff, but you should submit this as a column in "UG Contribution."

Some people don't like it, but I think the Friedman video in my sig could be part of this as well.
#9
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Looks like good stuff, but you should submit this as a column in "UG Contribution."

Some people don't like it, but I think the Friedman video in my sig could be part of this as well.


Gotcha' BGC. I'll also link to that. Thanks for the kind words, as well.
#10
Pretty cool. I disagree with the first one though. When I'm lacking motivation and think jeez I can't be bothered today I pick up the guitar and start my practice routine anyway. After playing for about thirty minutes I'm in a groove and so glad I picked it up.

It's the same as the gym or all sorts of things. If I can't be bothered I go anyway and feel so good for pushing myself. Other days I can't wait to get there. It's pushing myself on those days that I don't want to that I feel are the ones that make me better. And the self discipline is great.

I make sure I end my guitar playing session with jamming and messing around and just having fun with it. I have found if I'm having fun when I put it down i tend to look back on it as an enjoyable session and look forward to picking it up the next time.

Just thought I'd share. I honestly don't think it's a good idea to stop practicing for a week. Instead mix the practice schedule up a bit and just jam out and have fun - do something different find a new song to learn or a new technique or see a new lesson.
Si
#11
This is a really good post, which is getting very rare on UG these days. I think most, if not all musicians experience a lack of will to pick up their instrument at some point or another. I suffer from this at least 2-3 times a week. I'll tell myself it's time to plug in and turn on that damn click and once I see the guitar something tells me its not a good time. Then I think to myself, how could it ever be a bad time to improve my skill in regards to my only passion? There are so many variables as to why a musician may not have that same flare as they used to. I over come this by challenging myself to learn at least 2 new licks/riffs per day. I'm mainly a metal shredder, and I really do not enjoy country music. The other day I found a few tabbed licks and I thought to myself, why the hell not? Now if im ever sitting around I can bust out some chicken pickin hillbilly licks and it just makes me smile. Break down my ramblings and the point im trying to get across is: learn something new everyday that challenges you to achieve greatness. Sometimes the biggest problem is that you're exposing yourself to the same thing over and over, and something new will keep your interests in check.
#12
Quote by VIRUSDETECTED
see original post


Some good points, but there is alot a disagree with here, mainly:


Q. How the hell do I phrase?

Quote by VIRUSDETECTED

A. Phrasing is how you play your notes. It's like how you say a word. If you say the word with an upwards inflection, you're asking a question. If you say the word with the same pitch, it's just a statement. If you scream the word, it's an exclamation. This analogy also applies to music.

For example, if you played a passage with a lot of wide vibrato, this would give it a sadder-spacier sound, then say sweep picking and then having a pinch harmonic. There are certain feels associated to each technique. However, there is little I can tell you to make you sound like Steve Vai or Joe Satriani.

Still though, there is something I can tell you. Actually listen to yourself play, while you're playing, and see if what you're playing is interesting. Be brutally honest. If you find it boring, add in a slide where it's appropriate. Add a full-step/half-step bend where needed. Add a quick arpeggio, a quick vibrato lick, a tap, anything to make it that much more interesting to your listeners and you. Phrasing isn't something that you can practice, you just get it one day. My advice to you is to find a tape recorder or a friend, play a chord progression, and work on making that solo you. Tap the emotion of the song and you, and let your guitar sing a song.



You absolutely can practice phrasing. You 1st have to understand what phrasing is though or you won't know what to practice. Phrasing is not "how you play your notes". Its "how you play phrases". How you play your notes can affect or enhance a phrase, but on its own does not constitute phrasing.

Quote by VIRUSDETECTED

It's like how you say a word. If you say the word with an upwards inflection, you're asking a question. If you say the word with the same pitch, it's just a statement. If you scream the word, it's an exclamation. This analogy also applies to music.

^What you describe here has more to do with dynamics.....which can enhance a phrase, but on its own does not = phrasing.


what is a phrase?

A phrase is a musical idea that can be measured by how long it lasts, or as Wiki describes it: " a section of music that is relatively self contained and coherent over a medium time scale".

* there are different types of phrases that you should learn such as antecedent and consequent phrases, but keep in mind that they are variations, all of which conform to the concept of a phrase in general (as described by the wiki quote).

so how do you practice phrasing?

know what phrases are. Listen to and be able to recognize phrases and be aware of how long those phrases last. (are they 4 bars? 8 bars? 2 bars?).

Once you know what phrases are...... practice playing phrases. You could start by learning phrases of existing music (any phrase from any style of music that you are interested in will do). When you have enough of those in your head/ears and under you fingers you will have something to work with as you develop your own style of phrasing.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Sep 15, 2008,
#13
I agree with most posts...
Apart from the phrasing-dynamics bit, it is very helpful (specially the Guitar Pro thing, I alwasy do it )...

Why don't we make a subforum with all these columns/lessons/articles? Instead of having them in the lessons forum since there are a lot of stuff in there and most topics are overdone while others are not etc...