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> Advice From Greg Howe, What to practice
klasaine
post Jun 9 2013, 04:33 PM
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I don't know if I totally agree with this (I'm pretty OCD when it comes to music) but he makes a very good case ...

Greg Howe and clear purpose to practice.

In all of your years of giving lessons, what’s the one thing you believe most guitarists seem to lack?

"The toughest thing for a lot of guitarists to do is to come to terms with what their goals really are. When people are trying to become great guitar players, they’re usually basing that on some objective view instead of their own view. I doubt very much that Robben Ford ever stresses out over the fact that he can’t play three-octave diminished arpeggios a million miles an hour. I don’t think that’s a goal of his or adds anything to his music. There’s no purpose for him to do that.

Guitarists have to recognize what it is they want to do musically and then have a clear vision about the musical statement they want to make and work toward it. It’s pointless to learn a million Hungarian minor scales if you’re intending to become a blues guitar player.

If you want to be the guitar player in the American Idol band (where you have to learn 15 new songs a day) then you should be working on sight-reading. If your goal is to be an artist, you should work on composition. If your goal is to be technically proficient, you should be doing exercises. If your goal is to be a great blues player, you should be spending time on nuance and the importance of your tone.

The truth is there’s no such thing as being the best guitar player in the world. There’s only a such thing as being the best you can be, and that will reveal itself when you figure out what your goals are."

http://www.guitaraficionado.com/greg...l-circuit.html


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AK Rich
post Jun 9 2013, 06:18 PM
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I think I would have to agree with this, I kind of follow this logic myself. Why spend a bunch of time working on and practicing scales or techniques that you know you will most likely never use? Sure, it's great to be well versed and proficient in all styles and techniques but it's not for everyone.Take what you know you will use and throw the rest out, and as you progress over the years and then decide later that you want to incorporate some new scales and techniques it will be easier to do so simply because of the level of dexterity you will have already developed.
Speaking of Greg Howe, I just got a notice today of a new video he posted of a solo to one of the songs on his newest project Maragold. Here is the solo for "Oracle".

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Britishampfan
post Jun 9 2013, 06:55 PM
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Yeah I don`t agree, I think the more well versed a player is the better. I guess I believe in invention

I watched the clip great player obviously, I don`t mean to be rude but I heard that riff in 1985 and the tone is pretty cookie cutter.


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AK Rich
post Jun 9 2013, 07:30 PM
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QUOTE (Britishampfan @ Jun 9 2013, 09:55 AM) *
Yeah I don`t agree, I think the more well versed a player is the better. I guess I believe in invention

I watched the clip great player obviously, I don`t mean to be rude but I heard that riff in 1985 and the tone is pretty cookie cutter.


Ah maybe you will be more impressed by his solo work if you are not familiar with it.

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Britishampfan
post Jun 9 2013, 07:59 PM
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I did say he was a great player, sorry could`nt get through that second clip.


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Darius Wave
post Jun 9 2013, 08:59 PM
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Great punchline! Vey supporting at the moments when You doi something You think some of people just don't understand and say that it sucks...because they don't understand the purpose...


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Headbanger
post Jun 9 2013, 10:23 PM
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I tend to agree with concentrating on on certain areas. What's the point in being Jack of all trades and master of none? cool.gif

This post has been edited by Headbanger: Jun 9 2013, 10:24 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Jun 9 2013, 10:41 PM
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I"d say I agree with pretty much everything that was said in one way or another. I don't fall in to the "focus only on these bits" or the "learn everything" and truth is most musicians don't. In my experience a a teacher, students generally have a rough idea of what they want to play and tend to have a "center of gravity" in terms of licks/approach, etc. but I"ve yet to meet one that wasn't open to learning pretty much anything that seemed interesting.

So it's important to realize that no matter which approach you think seems more like the way to go, probably a bit of both will go a long way. As Bruce Lee said, "Listen to everything, but only absorb what is useful"

We each have to define "Useful" for ourselves. smile.gif

Todd


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jun 10 2013, 09:53 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Jun 9 2013, 09:41 PM) *
So it's important to realize that no matter which approach you think seems more like the way to go, probably a bit of both will go a long way. As Bruce Lee said, "Listen to everything, but only absorb what is useful"

We each have to define "Useful" for ourselves. smile.gif

Todd


True words here! Todd is right and Greg is right - in the beginning of a journey, you don't really know where you want to arrive, but the more you pursue your road, the better you understand yourself and your goals, if you really want to know who you are.

This is nothing but a musical way that allows us to discover who we truly are. I for one, have given up studying sweep picking for instance, because I don't use it in my playing enough. I think it is way better to focus on becoming good at things that I use and that define me as a player/musician/human being, rather than wanting to learn things that will just be there when someone asks 'hey can you do that?' - you will say yes, I can, but the actual purpose doesn't exist.


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Britishampfan
post Jun 10 2013, 12:20 PM
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There are so many sub divisions of guitar playing and music, there are the theory aspects, there are techniques and styles, there is genere and the kinds of music and there is composing and writing.

And there is what we like and what feels right.

I can appreciate a players skill and knowledge and not really dig the writing and composing.

There is a whole aspect of taste and tone and phrasing outside of the theory and technical aspects and that to me is the artistry.

Sweep picking was brought up, can I sweep pick like a mad man? yes I can, do I constantly use it on everything. No and that could be said about modes and whammy bar tricks and all the other stuff guitar players can do.



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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jun 11 2013, 02:08 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jun 10 2013, 05:53 AM) *
True words here! Todd is right and Greg is right - in the beginning of a journey, you don't really know where you want to arrive, but the more you pursue your road, the better you understand yourself and your goals, if you really want to know who you are.

This is nothing but a musical way that allows us to discover who we truly are. I for one, have given up studying sweep picking for instance, because I don't use it in my playing enough. I think it is way better to focus on becoming good at things that I use and that define me as a player/musician/human being, rather than wanting to learn things that will just be there when someone asks 'hey can you do that?' - you will say yes, I can, but the actual purpose doesn't exist.



I definitely agree with you Cosmin. That's the main goal that every musician should have in mind: Finding yourself. This is the real journey. Sometimes it can take some time and having a mentor that helps you during this journey can really guide you.

From Steve Vai's words:

"Uniqueness. Individuality. These are traits that ambitious musicians aspire to. When these qualities are recognized in others, trends are set and fashions are established. Everyone has the ability to be unique, because no two personalities are exactly the same.

Individuality is developed by the mind. The first step is to believe that we’re unique, and that if it’s not blatantly apparent in our art form (music, taste, or whatever), it can be developed. In this series, I will take an unorthodox approach to helping you develop your own personal style and expression. Some of the methods may seem a little ‘out there’, but stick with it."

http://www.vai.com/part-one/


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jun 12 2013, 07:31 AM
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Ah yes! If there's someone who can talk about that, it's Vai indeed smile.gif I think that many people tend to want to be like someone else, forgetting that they should want to be the best self version possible in every moment.

This is by far, one of the most important factors that can make the difference in getting an artist become recognized in what regards personality.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jun 12 2013, 02:22 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jun 12 2013, 03:31 AM) *
Ah yes! If there's someone who can talk about that, it's Vai indeed smile.gif I think that many people tend to want to be like someone else, forgetting that they should want to be the best self version possible in every moment.

This is by far, one of the most important factors that can make the difference in getting an artist become recognized in what regards personality.



Vai's speeches and writings rules. smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Jun 12 2013, 09:15 PM
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Well Said!! It does take a bit of time quite often for us to learn more about the road we are traveling as musicians. Our views evolve as our playing evolves and hopefully we become more inclusive along the way instead of less inclusive, in terms of keeping "open ears" and borrowing liberally from pretty much everything smile.gif

It's tempting, especially at first, to develop "TUNNEL VISION" as a player. E.g. "I only care about learning sweep picking", " I only wanna learn NeoClassical Shred", " I only wanna learn xyz, I"ll do the rest later". This serves a purpose in that it provides focus for what we are trying to learn. However, after a while you start learning things a bit more organically.

So no matter what, dont't beat yourself up as a player because you feel you "should have learned xyz" or spent more time on "abc technique". Every minute spent with an instrument is a minute well spent. Spend more of them smile.gif

Todd


QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jun 11 2013, 09:08 AM) *
I definitely agree with you Cosmin. That's the main goal that every musician should have in mind: Finding yourself. This is the real journey. Sometimes it can take some time and having a mentor that helps you during this journey can really guide you.

From Steve Vai's words:

"Uniqueness. Individuality. These are traits that ambitious musicians aspire to. When these qualities are recognized in others, trends are set and fashions are established. Everyone has the ability to be unique, because no two personalities are exactly the same.

Individuality is developed by the mind. The first step is to believe that we’re unique, and that if it’s not blatantly apparent in our art form (music, taste, or whatever), it can be developed. In this series, I will take an unorthodox approach to helping you develop your own personal style and expression. Some of the methods may seem a little ‘out there’, but stick with it."

http://www.vai.com/part-one/



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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jun 12 2013, 10:22 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Jun 12 2013, 05:15 PM) *
So no matter what, dont't beat yourself up as a player because you feel you "should have learned xyz" or spent more time on "abc technique". Every minute spent with an instrument is a minute well spent. Spend more of them smile.gif

Todd


Wise words. smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jun 13 2013, 07:55 AM
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Personally, I think that from a point on, the uniqueness of a musical individual will come from borrowing things from totally different instruments. Anything other BUT the guitar smile.gif You will be amazed to find out how different your guitar will sound!

The best example of a personal experience, was when I tried to emulate Ravi Shankar's violin, in that piece he played on the sound track of 'Queen of the Damned'. Too many microbends at once - was my first thought laugh.gif


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Larry F
post Jun 19 2013, 03:32 AM
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I need to spend more time on this forum, as I am a practice junkie like others, here. When I was finishing my junior year of high school, in 1970, our English teacher had us write down our goals for the summer. We put them in SASEs and handed them in to her. Well, the end of August rolled around and I got mine. It is so sweet that I wish I would have saved it. It read, in part, "memorize all of the major scales and be able to play them in all positions, etc." Just a bunch the kind of stuff that aspiring musicians sometimes work toward. I hadn't fulfilled those goals, but I did work on them. In fact, I would return to them year after year, until, finally, I pretty much had that aspect of playing guitar down. Somehow, I got it in my head that I needed to be fluent in knowledge and technique. This would help me unlock the door to playing beautiful, unrestricted guitar solos. I rarely played licks, worked them out, copied them, or anything. This was back in the days when anyone who could play reliably could actually make a living at gigs, and I was lucky to be part of that generation. My goal was to dive into a solo as freshly as I could. If I had noticed myself playing, say, high tweedly tweedly stuff at the beginning of a solo, the next night, I would start low, slow, and melodic. And whatnot. The point was to play each solo differently every night. The downside of this was that I didn't develop my ear and try to learn better pitch selection and methods of phrasing. That was to be later.

I like the idea of not practicing stuff that you won't use. In general, I think this is a very dangerous approach, as sometimes things that are un-musical, or anti-musical, at the time, may be the key that unlocks a special door later.
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klasaine
post Jun 19 2013, 04:18 AM
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QUOTE (Larry F @ Jun 18 2013, 07:32 PM) *
I like the idea of not practicing stuff that you won't use. In general, I think this is a very dangerous approach, as sometimes things that are un-musical, or anti-musical, at the time, may be the key that unlocks a special door later.


Context is everything.
Greg Howe can play a lot of different things. He's got great ears and he reads,
I 'think' what he's alluding too in that paragraph is, work towards what you really want to do within the near/foreseeable future. He uses the example of wanting to be a guy that lands a gig on a weekly or nightly TV show (a session player essentially). For that, reading is gonna be a big deal as well as having a lot of sounds at your disposal as wel as being a very quick study, having great time and feel and working under pressure. Rock, soul, funk and some metal will be your main styles (maybe a little jazz ... maybe?). So at that point in your development spending a lot of time on Celtic fiddle tunes or Ghanaian folk music is probably not the wisest use of your time. If you're truly interested in that stuff you will eventually get to it.
That's basically my story. Lots of different stuff over time. No rush.



This post has been edited by klasaine: Jun 19 2013, 04:18 AM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jun 19 2013, 09:54 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jun 19 2013, 03:18 AM) *
Context is everything.
Greg Howe can play a lot of different things. He's got great ears and he reads,
I 'think' what he's alluding too in that paragraph is, work towards what you really want to do within the near/foreseeable future. He uses the example of wanting to be a guy that lands a gig on a weekly or nightly TV show (a session player essentially). For that, reading is gonna be a big deal as well as having a lot of sounds at your disposal as wel as being a very quick study, having great time and feel and working under pressure. Rock, soul, funk and some metal will be your main styles (maybe a little jazz ... maybe?). So at that point in your development spending a lot of time on Celtic fiddle tunes or Ghanaian folk music is probably not the wisest use of your time. If you're truly interested in that stuff you will eventually get to it.
That's basically my story. Lots of different stuff over time. No rush.


Wise words Ken - it is an approach based on different contexts. Now if you wish to play for your own pleasure, you can focus on the things you like and work on those with great consistency, but if the context obliges you in a certain direction, well you have to make your little list and see what you need in order to shine out there. It's like baking a cake and making up your groceries list smile.gif


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Tharn
post Jun 27 2013, 03:04 AM
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Thats a great answer from Greg Howe. I think he is spot on.
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