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> Lazy Guitarist No More!
Hardtail
post Jan 20 2011, 04:32 AM
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I have been playing guitar for about 17 years and my skill and knowledge are sad. I was always a lazy guitarist and only learned the chords I needed to play the songs I was playing. If a song included chords that were too complex I simply used the more basic forms of the chords and fudged it. Every time I tried to learn scales or how to solo I got frustrated and gave up... I just went around saying "I'm a rhythm guy, not lead". Well, it's been 4 years since I picked up the guitar and I am dedicated to mastering it this time around. I have been practicing more than I ever have and my older age has apparently given me more patience because I'm not putting it down anymore and am working through my frustrations.

WHAT I KNOW

I know rhythm well.
Freeform Arpeggio.
Palm Muting (various techniques).
Lots of chords (I don't cheat anymore smile.gif ).
The first position of the Pentatonic Scale.

MY PREFERRED STYLE

Blues
Blues Rock

WHAT I'D LIKE TO BE ABLE TO DO

I am a realist when it comes to this. I do not have aspirations to become the next SRV. But, I would like to learn as much as I can about blues and blues rock for my own playing pleasure. I also would like to become proficient enough at lead that I could take an existing song and add my own riffs here or there... and eventually develop off of that. Most of the music I perform is Christian Worship in major keys such as G, C, D, E, and F mainly. Every person I've ever heard play lead at churches sounds like a roadie from an 80's hair band. I'd like to add a modern sound to the music I play and possible utilize my blues roots.

I currently am learning all my church's songs but I would like some tips on how I can:

Learn the Scales I need to do what I want to do.
Increase Speed.
Learn to improvise.

I'd like to be able to go to practice, listen to a new song and, after being told what key we are going to play it in, be able to lay down a couple transitional riffs or even a solo part by the end of the night. Right now I am far from that.

Do I need to learn notes? Do I need to learn more than the Pentatonic Scale? Do I need to memorize all the positions for the scales? I am willing to put in the time and hours to advance my skill now. I just feel like there is so much to learn I don't know what I should be working on next. Any pointers or suggestions of what i need to learn and in what order to accomplish my goals would be hugely appreciated!

Hardtail



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maharzan
post Jan 20 2011, 10:14 AM
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Hardtail, you and me are on the same boat. I think it just take more will power to learn each and every bits of mastering the guitar. Yes, you will have to know all the shapes and notes on a scale which can takes years to master. Start with the pentatonic scale in all positions and I am sure you can grab things pretty fast.


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dark dude
post Jan 20 2011, 01:29 PM
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1) Learn the Scales I need to do what I want to do.
2) Increase Speed.
3) Learn to improvise.

Right, so smile.gif

1) The scales you said you need are major (for worship) and blues (for yourself). If you learn a position of the minor pentatonic daily, and get comfortable playing those boxes, that'll be a start. When comfortable, learn the scale so you can play it horizontally and diagonally (you've done vertically by now). Lastly, go over the scale 2 strings at a time to solidify knowing the scale in that key. Find a youtube backing track for that key and start to experiment. (in fact, play to backing tracks as soon as you can)

When you are comfortable with the notes of that scale, I'd insert the blues notes and get comfortable with that. So you'll now have minor pentatonic and blues down. Practice with backing tracks or songs.

Lastly, start on the major scale. It involves 3 notes per string so will be more memory intensive. Follow the same guidelines as above.

2) Metronome. The most boring way, also the most effective way. If you know which licks you want to play faster, put them to a metronome and increase the bpm by 3 when you're able to play it a few times without mistakes. If you don't know where to improve, I'd suggest a technique intensive guide such as Troy Stetina's Speed Mechanics or John Petrucci's Rock Discipline. Plenty of exercise in various areas to get you making progress there. Just be sure to put aside some daily practice time and in a few weeks, you'll be faster! Don't cheat yourself.

3) If you know the scales (above), you're halfway there. Obviously, you can't just play up and down boxes. Incorporate any licks you know, or go find licks in some GMC lessons or songs you like. Observe how the player uses the fretboard and you'll pick up some tips.

---

All in all, just practice regularly. Good luck!


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SirJamsalot
post Jan 20 2011, 06:50 PM
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First of all, learn what the scales you want to learn sound like and be able to sing them to yourself without an instrument. learning scales on the instrument might help you visualize where to place the whole and half steps while humming/singing them, but the important part is getting to know what they sound like. For instance, if I were to ask you to hum a melodic minor scale in any key right now, could you do it? if you say no, then how can you possibly play it or know how to transition to it?

I'm finding that knowing theory and how to finger scales, arpeggios and chords, while all are important, really are secondary to being able to do what you say you want to do - that is improvise. You need to learn to be able to hear what you want to play in the context of a song, then you need to be able to get your hands to do what you are hearing. The opposite is not improvisation - it's mindless exercises in chaos theory.

My recommendation is therefore two-fold.

1. Spend time every day, singing or humming an improvisation to a backing track, or improvise over a song you're listening to while in your car. This includes everything from timing, slurs, perceived volume control - everything that makes the improvisation sound good to YOU.

check out luciana's singing improv lessons. here's one
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/misc-less...singing-lesson/


2. Spend time every day trying to follow the notes of a tune you know on your instrument - start with simple things like mary had a lilttle lamb, or the national anthem to your country. Be sure to include the fluxuations in volume, bends, stylings, slurs, anything to duplicate the sounds the song makes. Do this with lots of tunes that you know, then start doing it with the tunes you formulate in your mind from step 1 above - yeah, hum while you play.

The transition from 1 to 2 is a life long endeavor, but there is a time, just like when you realized you could type, where the translation from your mind to your hands will become linked to some degree where you can say that you can communicate through your hands. The degree to which you are able to do this depends entirely on how committed you are to making it happen.

Because I'm not an instructor, I yield any corrections to what I'm saying to them, but I'm finding there to be direct correlation between the two in my own experience.

regards

This post has been edited by SirJamsalot: Jan 20 2011, 07:01 PM


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Daniel Realpe
post Jan 21 2011, 04:17 AM
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QUOTE (dark dude @ Jan 20 2011, 02:29 PM) *
1) Learn the Scales I need to do what I want to do.
2) Increase Speed.
3) Learn to improvise.

Right, so smile.gif

1) The scales you said you need are major (for worship) and blues (for yourself). If you learn a position of the minor pentatonic daily, and get comfortable playing those boxes, that'll be a start. When comfortable, learn the scale so you can play it horizontally and diagonally (you've done vertically by now). Lastly, go over the scale 2 strings at a time to solidify knowing the scale in that key. Find a youtube backing track for that key and start to experiment. (in fact, play to backing tracks as soon as you can)

When you are comfortable with the notes of that scale, I'd insert the blues notes and get comfortable with that. So you'll now have minor pentatonic and blues down. Practice with backing tracks or songs.

Lastly, start on the major scale. It involves 3 notes per string so will be more memory intensive. Follow the same guidelines as above.

2) Metronome. The most boring way, also the most effective way. If you know which licks you want to play faster, put them to a metronome and increase the bpm by 3 when you're able to play it a few times without mistakes. If you don't know where to improve, I'd suggest a technique intensive guide such as Troy Stetina's Speed Mechanics or John Petrucci's Rock Discipline. Plenty of exercise in various areas to get you making progress there. Just be sure to put aside some daily practice time and in a few weeks, you'll be faster! Don't cheat yourself.

3) If you know the scales (above), you're halfway there. Obviously, you can't just play up and down boxes. Incorporate any licks you know, or go find licks in some GMC lessons or songs you like. Observe how the player uses the fretboard and you'll pick up some tips.

---

All in all, just practice regularly. Good luck!

Great advice!

I would add: Don't just play your scales up and down. Get used also to DO JUMPS between the different notes. This way more musical melodies would start popping out!


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Hardtail
post Jan 21 2011, 05:26 AM
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Wow! Great information guys. Thank you for taking the time to put that all out for me. I will definitely start setting time aside everyday to practice learning all the boxes for the pentatonic scale to start, using backing tracks for improv practicing, and using a metronome to build speed while I am working on my scales.

A follow-up question: I've always wondered, do you guys memorize every note for every finger position on the fret board? I have a problem with short-term memory (I don't make short term memories very well) so it takes A LOT more repetition and practice to create long-term memories. Trying to memorize all those notes seems daunting to me.

Thanks again guys! I remember now why this is the best musician community on the internet.

Hardtail

This post has been edited by Hardtail: Jan 21 2011, 05:28 AM


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Beginner's Amp & Guitar Gear Guide
My Keeley Blues Driver BD-2 Review
My Line6 Flextone II Review

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Amps: Fender Blues Junior Special Edition & Fender Studio 85 (Simultaneous... yummy)
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dark dude
post Jan 21 2011, 11:16 AM
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QUOTE (Hardtail @ Jan 21 2011, 04:26 AM) *
I've always wondered, do you guys memorize every note for every finger position on the fret board?

Once you've played the scale up and down the various ways, you'll be very used to the fingerings! Just make sure to figure out the most comfortable fingerings for you when you're learning the boxes. For example, there's only one 3 note/string section on the major scale where I use a weird fingering, purely because it's more comfortable.

Yeah, there are loads of notes to memorise, so take it easy smile.gif

One bit at a time, keep your motivation up by using a backing track and having fun with what you've just learned! Try play the scale through a few times unplugged before you go to bed, when you get up, before lunch, etc. You have to keep testing yourself! After a few days, it's easy smile.gif

PS I have to put a disclaimer for my above post that Daniel and Ramiro deserve some credit for their input when I asked about scales, haha. Cheers guys! \m/


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Hardtail
post Jan 22 2011, 05:22 AM
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Just wanted to say thanks again guys. I got really frustrated at the last night's band practice... they were playing some really advanced stuff that just left me in the dust. My first instinct was to cancel my audition (yeah I'm not technically part of the band yet) throw all my gear against the wall when I got home... but I cooled down today... re-organized my studio... and sat down to begin working on learning the rest of the Pentatonic boxes. It only took about 30 minutes and I was already moving along in the second box. I can't believe I never attempted to learn more.

Anyway... it's late for me now but I am totally stoked about practicing all day tomorrow smile.gif

Thanks again guys... keep being the best!

PS - I'm auditioning for a rhythm acoustic position to start off with so I am fairly ready for the audition since that has always been my cup of tea anyway.

Hardtail


--------------------

Beginner's Amp & Guitar Gear Guide
My Keeley Blues Driver BD-2 Review
My Line6 Flextone II Review

Guitars: Martin D-16RGT with B-Band UST & '99 Fender "Big Apple" Hardtail HH Strat
Amps: Fender Blues Junior Special Edition & Fender Studio 85 (Simultaneous... yummy)
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