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post Sep 8 2009, 05:12 PM
Post #1

Learning Rock Star

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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Hey Pedja,

Sorry for the delay on my CV, but as you know, I have not had any internet connection here for some weeks. I will try to sum up my guitar playing as best as I can.

You probably already know a bit about my playing, composing etc., but I'll repeat it anyway.

Favorite Bands
I've liked the Prog Metal style of music since I first heard it back when I didn't even play guitar, so that is definately the momentum of my taste of music and favorite bands. To name a few: Dream Theater, Psychotic Waltz, Symphony X, Circus Maximus. One thing I have to mention too is that I do not like (or rather... do not enjoy as much..) Dream Theater's last couple of albums (that's actually dating back to any album released after 1993 laugh.gif). Unlike most, I actually really enjoy When Dream and Day Unite. Same goes for Symphony X - I'm more into some of their older material.
In general one could say I'm more of a 80's/early 90's kind of guy, rather than modern music.

If we exclude the metal section of my musical taste for a minute, one could then mention bands and musicians such as Saul Williams (check him out, if you don't know him...I'd categorize him as (very) intelligent rap/hip hop), Chick Corea's Elektric Band, Jethro Tull, Chroma Key etc.

Though I have not been practicing guitar for a while, I'd say there are some clear influences from other players in my style. I used to spend some time (about 4 years back) studying and trying to incorporate as much as John Petrucci's style as possible into my own playing. I still don't mind his playing - as long as we're sticking to the When Dream and Day Unite, Images and Words and Awake-days. Besides that I started concentrating a lot more on improvising (maybe 1½ year ago), mainly through watching Frank Gambale's videos explaining modes etc.

I've always had a VERY easy time learning new things and adapting to new styles, and I geuss that's both a strength as well as it having become a weakness, which I'll explain further on.

I have a good solid knowledge of theory, I would say. I often find myself being a little insecure whether what I'm saying is correct, when asked something, but in 99% of all cases, it is indeed correct.

Though it's something I'm still working on - the whole mental side of playing guitar has become a thing I've been focusing on a lot, while spending the last couple of years not actually practicing. That is: playing with more and more security and playing like "you mean it". All those small things that add to the big picture, but which I've always felt seperates one group from the other. You just don't (or rarely see or hear it) a professional guitarist play insecurely.

Another strength is my compositions, which is one of my better assets, I'd say. Though it takes 2 years to write 4 minutes of music, I still feel it's one of the things I can be proud of. Then of course it's a matter of trying not to inflict yourself with a Writer's Block (as I geuss you'd call it) through perfectionism.

If I actually sit down and practice, I can improve A LOT and revamp a technique totally in a very short time. Last summer I sat down with some legato exercises and practiced them for an hour. The improvement impressed even myself.
We also talked on the chat once about upstroke/downstrokes at turning points in arpeggios (especially 3-string arpeggios) - I sat down and focused on it for 15 minutes, and after that I haven't played a single upstroke when "I'm not supposed to".

EG. "wrong" upstroke:

----u----u u d d

The above is an example of what we discussed not to do. smile.gif

Though I've been focusing on the mental part of playing guitar, one thing has escaped me in the meanwhile and still does. The actually motivation, inspiration and "wanting to practice". I just don't feel like sitting down for hours, though when I've finally done it, even during one day of practicing for maybe 4-5 hours, there has been, without exaggeration, an improvement in my playing of at least 20-25% or more. Of course this development won't continue at that rate, and especially not when not practicing.

I would like to be motivated to practice and through practicing more technical aspects of guitar playing having the possibility to include that into what I write.

About having an easy time learning new things, it has also become an obstacle in this way: I often don't feel that I have to practice a certain arpeggio shape, exercise or whatever for 10 minutes or 20 minutes, because I get it under my grasp pretty quickly (unless it's a totally out of reach kinda thing.). So instead of practicing an exercise for 10-20 minutes, which would mean massive improvement, I play it for 15 seconds and feel comfortable with it.

As mentioned earlier I think I have a good solid basis of theory knowledge (and more so than just basis). As long as it's logical, I have no problem understanding and incorporating it into my playing. I know about modes, though I still don't really know what to associate with certain modes in my head. (E.g. Lydian = Vai, Phrygian or phrygian dominant = Malmsteen, Ionian = just generally happy, Aeolian = generally sad, Mixolydian = Rock-ish...)

Of course, that is only what I associate the different modes with, and that would vary from person to person.

MTP goals
In short: I'd like to find my inspiration and motivation to actually practice guitar instead of just once or twice a week sit and improvise for 15 minutes. I'd like to fight my perfectionism a bit, so it won't take 60 years to finish "Lex Naturae".

I'd also like to improve technically, but that would come with actually finding the inspiration and motivation to practice. The more you practice (to a certain extent) the better you'll get.

I know that are some logical and easy to do things, but I still find it hard actually doing so. Yes, I could just find inspiration to practice through getting better and better, but even though that's kind of logical, it just doesn't work that way.

I geuss I could add all of the things I already feel I have a somewhat good grasp at and write: "I want to improve my legato, theory, etc.", but I also know that will come with more practicing.


I hope that explains some of where I'm at and want to go. Otherwise, feel free to ask more smile.gif

For some prog metal made by yours truly, check out:

And subscribe to my Youtube Channel and Instagram here! and here!
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Pedja Simovic
post Sep 8 2009, 09:50 PM
Post #2

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Group: GMC Instructor
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From: Nis, Serbia
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This is perfect Ben, love it man!

We start with your assignments tomorrow wink.gif

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