Your Oppinions On What You Should Practise
Mr Mayhem
Dec 11 2010, 10:30 PM
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Hi everyone.

I had a thought today about practise.

One of the exercises i do during my practise is a scale pattern where you start a scale playing the first four notes. Then you play another four notes from the same scale but starting on the second note. Then you play another four notes starting from the third note and so on.

When you play this its quite a work out. Especially if you then decend the scale in the same fashion.

The thing is this exercise i find is really demanding, and usually i find it takes a good few attempts to get it right. Me being me i tend to keep going at it until it works, and on a bad day this can mean i play it over and over sometimes spending a whole hour on just that one exercise. On the other hand its quite delightful when it goes right first time and i complete the exercise in 10 mins or so. However this rarely happens because its so tricky.

The exercise was given to me by my old guitar teacher because it is good for working your outside alternate picking when ascending, and good for your inside pick when descending. I've just hung on to this exercise i suppose mainly because its hard.

Now the point i want to raise is this. This exercise is not musical really, and i can't see any real practical use for it during a solo. Some scale patterns are great as both an exercise but also sound cool and can be used in a solo say. But not this one, its purely boring chromatic pattern repetition stuff.

The question is this. Is there any point practicing something just because its hard, even though if serves no real practical purpose other than to improve a particular skill?

Im pretty sure now that i can play what i want to play, without going over and over this same old exercise. Should i be sacrificing so much time on something i can never really use when i could be spending that time on something i can use?

How do we know when to leave an old exercise behind and not bother with it anymore?

Jon Mayhem.

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MonkeyDAthos
Dec 11 2010, 11:09 PM
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i take practise in a dif way biggrin.gif, i simple pick a hard song that i like and that makes my skills rise and train it

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Ivan Milenkovic
Dec 12 2010, 12:56 AM
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Interesting question. You can leave old exercise once it becomes boring. There are plenty of ways to practice something, and you can invent hundreds of combinations. Why not make it interesting along the way? smile.gif

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maharzan
Dec 12 2010, 01:34 AM
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I have found Paul Gilberts short exercises (licks) on YouTube are really helpful. Hes an amazing teacher plus, you can implement them on your own licks and are not limited to just exercises. Move on with new ones that does the same thing or get serious to nail it perfectly. smile.gif I also pick difficult part of a song and practice instead of practicing all those 1-2-3-4 exercises. smile.gif

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Cosmin Lupu
Dec 12 2010, 08:19 AM
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A good exercise would be to listen to some weird phrase that you invent while imitating a guitar with your voice (like in the air guitar thing - see wayne's world or bill and ted's bogus journey biggrin.gif) try to play that on your guitar then. Not only will it be difficult, because your brain is way too advanced in comparison with your hands, but it will also be ... YOURS wink.gif

this is just a path.. there are many more!

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Bluesberry
Dec 12 2010, 11:04 AM
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I know a lot of people here don't practice like this, but. These days I hardly practice any technique at all. I do play some scales and I do keep repeating some harder licks, but I definitely don't put hours and hours of hard work into them everyday. I train the "touch". I'm trying to make everything sound right - each note, phrase and lick I'm playing. It's a lot about dynamics, and I think that's what making music is all about. I can play a billion notes in a second, but if I don't feel them, it's all for nothing. So mostly I just play and listen and try new things.

I learned to train like this when I was jamming with a blues guitarist friend of mine, and even though we played the same things, it never sounded the same. He blew me off with every single phrase and I couldn't understand why. He had the touch.

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Mr Mayhem
Dec 12 2010, 09:07 PM
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Yeah thanks for the advice and opinions.

I think there is a place for exercises of that nature, but sometimes i think i can get so pre-occupied with nailing an exercise that im wasting time i could be spending on something musical. After all no one is going to want to listen to a scale, it drives my poor wife barmy!

I think i read somewhere the Eddie Van Halen never did any exercises at all, and never really did much theory either. He just learned lick after lick after lick, and built us such a huge repertoire that he could pick one out of the hat in almost any situation. Im sure i read that once in an interview. Im not saying i want to be Eddie neccesarily, but it does prove a point i suppose.

Maybe a better approach is to study a song or solo i like, and then if im noticing i have trouble with a certain part of it (say that tricky sweep in the middle) I should then use an exercise just to help speed that bit along. Rather than practising exercises in advance for a situation that might not even arise.

I like the idea about singing a tune and then trying to play it.

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Ivan Milenkovic
Dec 16 2010, 08:54 PM
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You have a good point there, and finding a nice balance between exercises and regular playing is very important. Have you made some kind of practice plan?

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Mr Mayhem
Dec 19 2010, 03:02 AM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Dec 16 2010, 07:54 PM) *
You have a good point there, and finding a nice balance between exercises and regular playing is very important. Have you made some kind of practice plan?


Yes i have made several, but i find i have to keep changing it because its not working. So far its always been far too exercise intensive and not enough music.

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Ivan Milenkovic
Dec 29 2010, 01:41 AM
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Break down your exercises into more shorter and accomplish-able tasks, and insert some music/songs! smile.gif

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Bogdan Radovic
Dec 31 2010, 05:44 PM
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Posts: 15.614
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QUOTE (Mr Mayhem @ Dec 11 2010, 10:30 PM) *
Hi everyone.

I had a thought today about practise.

One of the exercises i do during my practise is a scale pattern where you start a scale playing the first four notes. Then you play another four notes from the same scale but starting on the second note. Then you play another four notes starting from the third note and so on.

When you play this its quite a work out. Especially if you then decend the scale in the same fashion.

The thing is this exercise i find is really demanding, and usually i find it takes a good few attempts to get it right. Me being me i tend to keep going at it until it works, and on a bad day this can mean i play it over and over sometimes spending a whole hour on just that one exercise. On the other hand its quite delightful when it goes right first time and i complete the exercise in 10 mins or so. However this rarely happens because its so tricky.

The exercise was given to me by my old guitar teacher because it is good for working your outside alternate picking when ascending, and good for your inside pick when descending. I've just hung on to this exercise i suppose mainly because its hard.

Now the point i want to raise is this. This exercise is not musical really, and i can't see any real practical use for it during a solo. Some scale patterns are great as both an exercise but also sound cool and can be used in a solo say. But not this one, its purely boring chromatic pattern repetition stuff.

The question is this. Is there any point practicing something just because its hard, even though if serves no real practical purpose other than to improve a particular skill?

Im pretty sure now that i can play what i want to play, without going over and over this same old exercise. Should i be sacrificing so much time on something i can never really use when i could be spending that time on something i can use?

How do we know when to leave an old exercise behind and not bother with it anymore?

Jon Mayhem.


That exercise you do is called "Progressive sequencing". What are you doing is making sequences when playing scale. By playing 2 notes, 3 notes , 4 notes , 5 notes etc up and down the scale and starting each sequence on each note of the scale. It is confusing but very good workout and I recommend it. It will also make your brain work a lot. Your hands will get used to all the different combination of fingering the scale. It can actually be very musical in a solo situation. If you would just play scale up and down straight it won't sound musical. But make it in sequences of 3 or 4 notes and go all the way up at a decent tempo? It will sound like a very cool speed run which can be very useful in lead playing.

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