In this post I will try to give you some idea on my current status, my background, goals, problems etc.
My name is Roger, am from the Netherlands, 33 years old, and I have been playing the guitar effectively for about a year back in the early '90s, however lacked completely a proper lesson-plan etc etc. I was basically just trying to hit the strings and get proper sounds out of it (which to a certain extend even worked ). After this, I remained playing very minimal (sometimes once a month) for another 2 years, but then the guitars went to the attic.
Since about 1.5 years I have picked up my guitars again, and decided that this time things would go differently. I took lessons (which is extremely helpful getting the theory linked to the actual playing), but somehow it did not give me full joy. I came across GMC a while ago and since then I have developed myself quite a bit due to all the lessons, very valuable forum info and also the collabs. Since about 5 months I also play in a band, and am starting to write material for it
Besides playing the guitar, I have been frequently involved in playing music (piano, keyboards, drums), which certainly is helpful for rhythmic feeling etc.
I am interested in quite a few musical styles of which Jazz, Blues, Funk, Rock and Hard Rock are the most important ones. However, I would very much like to get more into other styles as I believe it will make me a better musician in the end.
Current status & problems
I have progressed quite considerably during the last couple of months, due the extreme increase in practicing and making it more focussed and organised. Generally speaking you can also notice this in the collabs I took part in (maybe not in all, but there is a certain line going upwards ).
In terms of techniques I practiced most of them already on a regular basis, however there are a couple of technical points which require a lot of attention currently:
- Vibrato (no. 1 for sure)
- Sweep picking
- Alternate picking (higher speeds)
Basically, the main objective for technique I have put myself in the forthcoming weeks is to actually achieve a controlled vibrato throughout a solo/song which is confident and contributing to the 'feeling' of the thing I am playing.
Nevertheless, besides vibrato and controlled bending, I would also really make some progress in really developing sweep picking and arpeggiated alternate picking runs at higher speeds.
In terms of rhythm playing, I am currently learning more and more chord shapes, however I would like to implement combining these chords with lead lines (hybrid picking), especially developing them in my own music (example I quite like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSM3FL7zUdw).
Although I would like to be able to playing some very fast runs if required, my ultimate goal is to become a good musician, and playing speed should only be a tool to reach that goal.
In terms of timing I could also learn quite a lot, although people keep telling me that I have quite a good feel for rhythm.
Theory wise, I am currently at a stage that I know e.g. the 7 3 nps boxes of the major modes, working on the harmonic minor scale currently and trying to connect all those boxes (e.g. sliding shapes through 3 boxes etc) to have proper fretboard knowledge instantly when improvising. It's really getting better and better due to a much structured approach.
Also, things as which chords to use with which modes, playing around chords, more jazz-related theory is something I am quite far in I guess (due to having teaching from a jazz player I guess ). But I certainly can learn loads more!!!!!
My major goal in terms of theory in relation to my playing would be to effectively being able to improvise on the spot using different modes. Part of this would also be developing a proper ear training to recognize all intervals.
A couple of key video's recorded in order of recording
20 Oct 2008 - Slow Blues Improv (first video recorded ever, quite happy with the licks produced, timing could have been better)
14 Dec 2008 - Christmas Rock Improv (was very happy at the time with the used techniques, maybe a bit simple here and there)
24 Jan 2009 - Stop Blues Improv (being able to switch relatively easy between the pentatonic boxes, not good use of vibrato)
12 Feb 2009 - Lick Construction Improv (achieved a fair level of picking speed and melodic/chord following improvisation, not very well controlled vibrato)
15 Feb 2009 - Fusion Jam Improv (not happy at all technique wise (vibrato/bending), first video in which I used a bit of sweep picking (yay ), timing could have been better, composing wise I am quite happy to actually compose something which is following chords, using arpeggios etc.)
Current lesson of Muris to practice
I started with the Phrygian Soloing - Intermediate, 2 weeks ago, learned the notes but then stopped it due to all the collabs etc and some personal things. Nevertheless will start this one up again tonight (update: can play the whole thing a bit sloppy at 60 bpm now). I noticed that some of the faster parts (legato + alternate picking are giving quite some problems).
Overall goal in the MTP
Improve myself as a musician and playing the guitar, which means that I will be able to make well thought own composed music which goes a bit further than the standard ABC. Furthermore, as part of this I would like to develop heavily my technique as this is definitely one of my weak spots currently (and that also limits my speed and other aspects of my playing).
I am extremely motivated to really make this one of the best experiences in my guitar playing life ever, and looking forward to start working with you Muris
If you wanna know any more details, just ask as I will probably have forgotten quite some stuff