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> What should I practice?
Mareng
post Nov 3 2006, 01:06 AM
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Hello guys!

Many of you have the goals of being ultimate shredders. That's not the case with me though. I do feel that it's very cool etc. and certainly something nice to show off with and I listen to some music that has shredders in their bands.. But in the long term I'm not interested in playing hard rock/metal where this kind of playing fits best..
I like Nirvana, Oasis, 3 Doors Down and so on and I'm also a big fan of Eric Clapton.. That is also the kind of music that I want to play and if/when I have a band that is the kind of music I would write.. I want to be a good improviser using the techniques that "fits" in the music category I just described..

Therefore I wonder if anyone can tell me what I should focus on in my practicing. I realize ofcourse that I need to have a good technique to be able to play "ordinary" rock as well but I don't need tapping for instance, I'm not interested in that and I don't need to push some of the speed limits to crazy speeds.. Should I learn alot of famous musicians solos/songs/licks that I like and try to use that and create my own stuff around that or should I spend alot of time in the boxes and scales and try to come up with my own stuff?

I'm totally useless at improvising. My problem is not connecting boxes or theory or anything like that, it's just that I don't have any creativity at all in the boxes, the latest Phrasing lesson didn't help me much either..

Anyone have any suggestions on what things I should practice on?
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Doofs
post Nov 3 2006, 01:53 AM
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Hey Mareng

I'm going to be the voice of enthusiasm here I guess, being new to GMC, but like you I had a solid view of where I wanted to go with the guitar - Brian May was my god, and of course, I made a statement like "The day i can run off all of his songs, plus the solo to Dry County (Bon Jovi) I'll hang up my guitar and pick up a new instrument... maybe the washboard or something"

And then I really got into playing different things in the chase for perfecting one thing in particular, found I loved blues, rock, metal, and even folk... everything I tried was fantastic, however I'm not particularly good at anything!! lol.

So don't rule out tapping, or the good old boxes, even if you just brush over them for now and know enough to remember them in the future - one day they may be the source of inspiration for something new - or better still - something old but new...

Its the beautiful thing about music, it never really gets old if you keep learning and improving, and I don't believe any of us will ever stop learning until our hands fall off from one too many arpeggios... And even then, most of us will discover new limbs to fret with!

And now, in answer to your question... I don't know, I was about to ask the same question myself!! lol, sorry smile.gif


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Mareng
post Nov 3 2006, 10:32 AM
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Hehe yeah I'm not saying I'll never play metal but at the moment I'm not that interested in that smile.gif So that's why I'm not going for every shredding-technique because I want to reach my goals as fast as possible..

Haha cool, it's not easy to know what to practice tongue.gif
I feel that I need to get my improvisation going but I don't know how..
How do one practice improvisation?
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Doofs
post Nov 3 2006, 02:09 PM
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I've been using Kris's Phrasing lesson.... but I only took enough from it to make my life complicated, and force me to make it more organised...

So what I've done, last night:

• Watched the video, understood as much as I could...
• Wrote the scales I know down on some paper
• Drew the diagrams with them, then highlighted 1 note on each string in red
• Then highlighted one note on the 3rd 4th and 5th string in green

Then allowed myself to play only the red notes in bar one, the green notes in bar two, any notes in bar three, and the green notes again in bar four.

messed around with that for like an hour, getting pretty bored, but trying out things I've seen on this site over the last few days, and finding the same notes in different places on the fret board.

Then I whistled something... random, recording it into my Phone as i did - it actually sounded like a brian may riff, then set it to play back on repeat and tried to play it with my allocated notes...

Then when I was as close as I could be to that (bends, forbidden notes etc) reversed it, and allowed myself to play all the UNMARKED notes in my scale chart...

I'm a writer, mostly poetry and occasional short fiction, but I learnt long ago that limitation is your best tool for breaking out of the cliche... so I use it a lot when looking for something new...

Just give it a shot - it works great if you have someone else working along with the opposite notes (the ones you didn't mark) and you can compare riffs at the end.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 3 2006, 02:13 PM
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How do one practice improvisation... Well the answer is pretty simple - you sit all day long and try to improvise.

Now when you have run out of inspiration, that's when you need some specific advice: Perhaps it's time for some new licks, a solo, a new scale or some new approaches (maybe such as the one mentioned in the phrasing lesson?) . smile.gif


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robostrat
post Nov 3 2006, 04:54 PM
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That's nice said Kris.... and that is what i want to do, but i still have to work blink.gif
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raqroso
post Nov 3 2006, 09:22 PM
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I think your might be looking for specifics so maybe I can help with a couple quick tips:

Although I defer to the more experienced players on the board and of course to Kris, who I invite to
correct anything if he thinks I'm misleading you:

1. Learn the Clapton solo to Layla unplugged Kris teaches from the "freelicks" section

2. Find the tab for Oasis' "Live Forever" it's on the net - it has the solo tabbed out and it demponstrates how they play solos in the major pentatonic scale (you can think of it as the minor pentatonic box played three frets up (pinky on the root note) changes the whole sound (try it if you haven't yet) Oasis lives in this position and the whole solo to Live Forever is played in that box.

3. Learn the AC/DC Solo from Freelicks guest lesson section - these licks show up again and again in different ways/ changed here and there

4. Learn this little riff:

In the minor pent box at - say the 8th fret (anywhere really) finger the b string (11th fret) and the
g string (1oth) hit the double stop then hold the b string down while you bend the g string up ..... this little double stop bend is a cliche /but a cool one and shows up in countless rock songs in the styles you cite....
try playing holding both the b and the high e string down, play all three notes and slowly bend up the g string and it should sound like country-ish/ rock lick /sort of Rolling Stones-ish. Play around with it...

5. Learn the 5 pentatonic boxes inside and out -then learn how they relate to the 5 C-A-G-E-D chord shapes - (look for CAGED on the guitar sites on the net to learn these)
that way when you are playing an "E" shape bar chord somewhere you can just
riff a few notes from the pentatonic box your chord is sitting in... same goes for A
shapes, D shapes etc... it's how a lot of players mix rhythm and lead together in they styles you
mentioned..

good luck ...
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Nick
post Nov 4 2006, 03:44 AM
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hah Kris....

Once you've memorized how to improvise.....

That and being able to fake sincerity and I've got it made.

But seriously, I wonder how much true improv there is going on. You only play what you know and stick together licks you can play right? I don't mean to belittle that skill, but it suddenly occurred to me that what appears to be magic is hours of practice just as you say.

Wow that looks so effortless, I think to myself. The way it got to look effortless is through hours of effort.

Still it's nice to know that if I apply myself I may get there someday.
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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 4 2006, 10:26 AM
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QUOTE (Nick @ Nov 4 2006, 05:44 AM) *
hah Kris....

Once you've memorized how to improvise.....

That and being able to fake sincerity and I've got it made.

But seriously, I wonder how much true improv there is going on. You only play what you know and stick together licks you can play right? I don't mean to belittle that skill, but it suddenly occurred to me that what appears to be magic is hours of practice just as you say.

Wow that looks so effortless, I think to myself. The way it got to look effortless is through hours of effort.

Still it's nice to know that if I apply myself I may get there someday.


The definition of improvisdation is tricky. I believe true improvisation occurs when a complete beginner picks up the guitar and tries to play something for the first time - without knowing a single chord or anything.

After that, it's impossible to completely improvise - even if you follow a melody you are hearing in your head (if you manage to - I couldn't...!) . That melody will still be somewhat inspired of what you have heard before.

However, if we look at improvisation as way of combining different phrases which we are aleady comfortable with -then I believe it's possible to improvise.

Don't know if that made any sense... blink.gif

--Kris smile.gif


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Nick
post Nov 4 2006, 12:48 PM
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absolutely, and if I came off as flip that wasn't my intent. I really wanted to convey two things:

1. Playing effortlessly requires a lot of effort.
2. Given time and knowledge even I can solo and improvise as long as I understand rule 1.

Those eureka moments were uplifting to me. Now I can not only see where I want to be but how to get there.

And yet another old joke:

There's a guy on the corner looking at a map in New York City. He looks lost as so many tourists do.

He yells out to a passerby:

"Hey, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?"

To which the passerby replies:

"Practice."
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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 4 2006, 01:54 PM
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blink.gif biggrin.gif Yes that's true!

Regarding efortless playing - the easier something looks - the harder it usually is. Something really hard requires you to practice for years and years - thus resulting in "effortless perfection". That's the only way to get through it...


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