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> What Is Balanced Practise?
Ben Higgins
post May 21 2015, 03:59 PM
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We're often told that the best kind of practise regimen is a balanced one. I think most of us would agree with that.

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Balanced because guitar playing involves a lot of different elements. Physical dexterity, putting expression into things like bending, vibrato and phrasing. Improving tone. Learning new ideas. Learning songs. Sometimes just picking it up to play it for fun.

There's always something more to be done, more to discover and we can always improve that which we've already learned. It really depends on what you want to get out of it.

When most of us start playing, we don't have any clearly defined goals other than a vague notion of just being able to do cool stuff that we hear other people doing. That's the way it should be too. But the better we get, we eventually start needing to keep things fresh so we always keep moving forward. So, we will usually be working on a number of things in order to keep learning progress going and also to stop getting burnt out on the same kind of licks.

Somebody who practises only speedy technique will find their phrasing and emotive expression lacking. Somebody who only practises the soulful stuff will, at some point, have to push their technical ability a bit more in order to express themselves over anything other than a slow blues. Others need to work more on vibrato, others on composing, others on eliminating string noise, muting and controlling tone.

Sometimes, if we're learning something very new then we might need to work on several of those things at once!

So what is a balanced practise schedule? Most people advocate packing in several different areas of focus in one practise session. It might look something like:

5-10 mins warm up (whatever that involves for you)
15 mins picking exercises
15 mins bending
10 mins vibrato
20 mins jamming

That tackles several areas in concise chunks which ensures you're working on more than one aspect of your guitar playing. A lot of people use this approach.

But how do we define balance in the context of time? One could say that balance can occur over a longer period of time. Let's say that you discover some new lick ideas and decide to immerse yourself in those ideas for 2 weeks. During those 2 weeks you only practise those things but you're really enjoying it and are not getting burnt out or uninspired. After 2 weeks you feel you've got a good handle on these ideas and can actually work them into your own phrasing now.

After those 2 weeks you start focusing on other things again. So, rather than having a balanced practise session every time you pick up the guitar, your practise focus occurs during more of an ongoing cycle. So you might be immersed in one thing for a particular time, then it will be another thing, then another thing, then another. So, although you're not mixing it up every time you play, the overall cycle of your practise interests balances out your playing ability over time.

What do you think? Do you identify with either of those approaches or maybe you veer between both? Or maybe it's neither. Maybe you absorb your practise skills through osmosis if you stand close enough to another player?

"Hey Guthrie, do you mind if we come and stand near you for a while......?"


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TJHarrison5252
post May 22 2015, 02:21 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ May 21 2015, 02:59 PM) *
We're often told that the best kind of practise regimen is a balanced one. I think most of us would agree with that.

Attached Image

Balanced because guitar playing involves a lot of different elements. Physical dexterity, putting expression into things like bending, vibrato and phrasing. Improving tone. Learning new ideas. Learning songs. Sometimes just picking it up to play it for fun.

There's always something more to be done, more to discover and we can always improve that which we've already learned. It really depends on what you want to get out of it.

When most of us start playing, we don't have any clearly defined goals other than a vague notion of just being able to do cool stuff that we hear other people doing. That's the way it should be too. But the better we get, we eventually start needing to keep things fresh so we always keep moving forward. So, we will usually be working on a number of things in order to keep learning progress going and also to stop getting burnt out on the same kind of licks.

Somebody who practises only speedy technique will find their phrasing and emotive expression lacking. Somebody who only practises the soulful stuff will, at some point, have to push their technical ability a bit more in order to express themselves over anything other than a slow blues. Others need to work more on vibrato, others on composing, others on eliminating string noise, muting and controlling tone.

Sometimes, if we're learning something very new then we might need to work on several of those things at once!

So what is a balanced practise schedule? Most people advocate packing in several different areas of focus in one practise session. It might look something like:

5-10 mins warm up (whatever that involves for you)
15 mins picking exercises
15 mins bending
10 mins vibrato
20 mins jamming

That tackles several areas in concise chunks which ensures you're working on more than one aspect of your guitar playing. A lot of people use this approach.

But how do we define balance in the context of time? One could say that balance can occur over a longer period of time. Let's say that you discover some new lick ideas and decide to immerse yourself in those ideas for 2 weeks. During those 2 weeks you only practise those things but you're really enjoying it and are not getting burnt out or uninspired. After 2 weeks you feel you've got a good handle on these ideas and can actually work them into your own phrasing now.

After those 2 weeks you start focusing on other things again. So, rather than having a balanced practise session every time you pick up the guitar, your practise focus occurs during more of an ongoing cycle. So you might be immersed in one thing for a particular time, then it will be another thing, then another thing, then another. So, although you're not mixing it up every time you play, the overall cycle of your practise interests balances out your playing ability over time.

What do you think? Do you identify with either of those approaches or maybe you veer between both? Or maybe it's neither. Maybe you absorb your practise skills through osmosis if you stand close enough to another player?

"Hey Guthrie, do you mind if we come and stand near you for a while......?"

I bought a dvd awhile back Frank Gambale's Monster Lick video. He shows how to perform a pentatonic sweep then I started practicing that still practicing. I played it over a backing tracking and noticed it sounded more like rock if I added pull offs. The lick is mainly economy based. 4 notes followed by the sweep. I have to start over w/ every exercise learning guitar all over including the licks (mainly blues) that I already knew how to play. There is some alternate in there I just played it lol it is a little shapy. Nothing wrong w/ shapy either. I'm a little like Marty Friedman I only like to play one or two sweeps. Diminished sweeps I'll take four or five of them.

This post has been edited by TJHarrison5252: May 22 2015, 03:06 AM
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Ben Higgins
post May 22 2015, 08:38 AM
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QUOTE (TJHarrison5252 @ May 22 2015, 01:21 AM) *
I bought a dvd awhile back Frank Gambale's Monster Lick video. He shows how to perform a pentatonic sweep then I started practicing that still practicing. I played it over a backing tracking and noticed it sounded more like rock if I added pull offs. The lick is mainly economy based. 4 notes followed by the sweep. I have to start over w/ every exercise learning guitar all over including the licks (mainly blues) that I already knew how to play. There is some alternate in there I just played it lol it is a little shapy. Nothing wrong w/ shapy either. I'm a little like Marty Friedman I only like to play one or two sweeps. Diminished sweeps I'll take four or five of them.


Frank's stuff does require a different approach to shapes which can totally throw you off. I personally only use a bit of economy when it suits but I generally don't rearrange shapes and licks just to allow me to use it all the time, that just seems a bit OTT to me.

Alternate and economy can sit side by side in one's technique, I believe. If you work well by using alternate for most of your licks then I'd stay that way. The trouble with investing in certain teaching methods is that, although they promise a "better way" with "less effort", they don't mention the fact that you've got to totally re-learn everything and so it might be months down the line until you've built yourself back up to the level you were previously at before you made the change anyway.

I dunno, that might not be your experience at all, it's just that somebody else's approach (which they've spent a lifetime on) can't be bestowed on somebody else in a short period of time.

That's quite a controversial thought, actually. What do you guys think about it? Do you agree or no?


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TJHarrison5252
post May 22 2015, 11:25 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ May 22 2015, 07:38 AM) *
Frank's stuff does require a different approach to shapes which can totally throw you off. I personally only use a bit of economy when it suits but I generally don't rearrange shapes and licks just to allow me to use it all the time, that just seems a bit OTT to me.

Alternate and economy can sit side by side in one's technique, I believe. If you work well by using alternate for most of your licks then I'd stay that way. The trouble with investing in certain teaching methods is that, although they promise a "better way" with "less effort", they don't mention the fact that you've got to totally re-learn everything and so it might be months down the line until you've built yourself back up to the level you were previously at before you made the change anyway.

I dunno, that might not be your experience at all, it's just that somebody else's approach (which they've spent a lifetime on) can't be bestowed on somebody else in a short period of time.

That's quite a controversial thought, actually. What do you guys think about it? Do you agree or no?

50/50 my opinion, in my case the level to were I was previously wasn't clean but since my hands are little different I'm going to have to accept how it looks. It is also kinda rude to do that to yourself. Ahh you need to relearn everything all over again blah blah blah. That's what I wanna do push myself to a whole new level for my accomplishments. A footstool would help and smaller body.

This post has been edited by TJHarrison5252: May 22 2015, 11:31 AM
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Phil66
post May 22 2015, 07:57 PM
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One thing I find with practice is it's like space invaders!!!!! When I'm trying to get something right, I keep saying, "One more go then that's it until tomorrow", an hour and a half later I'm still trying, just like when I got my first Atari, I kept on trying to beat my last score rolleyes.gif Same thing happens with a lick or new solo/rhythm then all my time has gone and I've done nothing else rolleyes.gif .
How do you develop the inner strength to combat that?????



This post has been edited by Phil66: May 23 2015, 07:18 AM


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bleez
post May 22 2015, 09:39 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ May 21 2015, 03:59 PM) *
So what is a balanced practise schedule? Most people advocate packing in several different areas of focus in one practise session. It might look something like:

5-10 mins warm up (whatever that involves for you)
15 mins picking exercises
15 mins bending
10 mins vibrato
20 mins jamming


Ive seen these types of schedules but Ive never been able to stick to something like it. I always play less techniques but for a longer time. I average out at about 2 hours per day but I usually split that into 30 - 45 minute slots. I also tend to favour picking practice heavily over anything tasteful rolleyes.gif
maybe if I had a routine more like that one Id be able to bend a string properly by now cool.gif


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You say 'minor pentatonic ' like it's a bad thing
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Ben Higgins
post May 23 2015, 10:15 AM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ May 22 2015, 06:57 PM) *
One thing I find with practice is it's like space invaders!!!!! When I'm trying to get something right, I keep saying, "One more go then that's it until tomorrow", an hour and a half later I'm still trying, just like when I got my first Atari, I kept on trying to beat my last score rolleyes.gif Same thing happens with a lick or new solo/rhythm then all my time has gone and I've done nothing else rolleyes.gif .
How do you develop the inner strength to combat that?????


Haha, having the discipline to stop before you overdo it has to be one the hardest things ever!

Sometimes I can do it, sometimes I can't wink.gif

QUOTE (bleez @ May 22 2015, 08:39 PM) *
Ive seen these types of schedules but Ive never been able to stick to something like it. I always play less techniques but for a longer time. I average out at about 2 hours per day but I usually split that into 30 - 45 minute slots. I also tend to favour picking practice heavily over anything tasteful rolleyes.gif
maybe if I had a routine more like that one Id be able to bend a string properly by now cool.gif


I've never been able to stick with a routine like that either, they just don't work for me.

QUOTE (bleez @ May 22 2015, 08:39 PM) *
I also tend to favour picking practice heavily over anything tasteful rolleyes.gif


How about tasteful picking licks? There must be some, somewhere??? laugh.gif


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