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I want to be the best guitarist ever...

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AudioBoy
(@audioboy)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Topic starter  

I want to be the best guitarist ever...

...That's not too much to ask is it?

I have been playing the guitar for maybe two years now. I still feel like I am playing like I never received a formal lesson in my life (and I did...about 4 or 5 months of them) Now I am getting serious. I want to improve my skill in as short a period of time as I can. I am growing tired of playing the same scales and chords over and over again and I don't feel like that benefits me in any sort of way. It would be nice if some of you more experience players could give me some better and more fun ways to practice. :|


   
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dhutson
(@dhutson)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil, but given the antics I've seen on the evening news and on YouTube, I think the futures market on souls has dropped considerably since then. :cry:

Seriously, I don't think practicing is necessarily the issue. Learning on the other hand could be the keys to the kingdom. You might consider starting up your lessons again and include everything from theory and sight reading to power riffs and beyond. That which makes you well rounded will allow you to be the best ever.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an appointment with Beelzebub.

http://www.soundclick.com/wayneroberts


   
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kingpatzer
(@kingpatzer)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Many people consider Andres Segovia to be the greatest guitarists ever.

He, by his own account, spent between 4 and 6 hours a day playing scales.

The key to making scales usefull, though, is to not merely play shapes, but to engage your instrument. Learn and understand the relationship between notes and tones on the instrument. Be able to navigate your scales as easily as you carry on a conversation with your best friend.

For example, if you're playing the note "A," how many major does that "A" appear in? What are they? What degree of each of those scales is that A? What are the relative minors of those scales? What is it's degree in those scales?

Most people just run through scales. That is somewhat, but not very usefull.

But if you engage your scales, you unlock the structure of music and mastery of your instrument.

Oh, you probably will need to learn a thousand other things, but anyone who dismisses scales doesn't get how much musical depth there is in the practice of scales.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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Dommy09
(@dommy09)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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I want to be the best guitarist ever...

...That's not too much to ask is it?

I have been playing the guitar for maybe two years now. I still feel like I am playing like I never received a formal lesson in my life (and I did...about 4 or 5 months of them) Now I am getting serious. I want to improve my skill in as short a period of time as I can. I am growing tired of playing the same scales and chords over and over again and I don't feel like that benefits me in any sort of way. It would be nice if some of you more experience players could give me some better and more fun ways to practice. :|

I don't think this is the sort of thing that comes overnight, from what i can tell, you need to live, breathe and eat guitar. You need to play it whenever you have the chance, and when you're not playing, be reading about music theory. To become the best you really need to be become obsessed.

"We all have always shared a common belief that music is meant to be played as loud as possible, really raw and raunchy, and I'll punch out anyone who doesn't like it the way I do." -Bon Scott


   
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rdix33
(@rdix33)
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Let me start by saying, I'm not the best guitarist ever, but here is my opinion of what has helped me. I played for about 5 or 6 years starting at age 15 or so. I did OK. I only practiced for maybe two hours a day and never really learned anything. I just wanted to be fast. And I was, but I also was very sloppy and it sounded crappy. So I put the guitar down for about 15 years. When I decided to pick it back up, I changed the way I practiced. I started playing scales and riffs much slower to teach my fingers accuracy. To keep it fun I learn a lot of songs, but I start out playing them at like 75% tempo so that it sounds good. Then I build up to 125% tempo. It really doesn't take too long either. I'll choose many differert styles of music to keep me learning different stuff. Right now I'm on a Randy Rhoads kick. It's really helps me learn and it's fun to.

Also I never really used a metronome when I was younger, but I decided it would be a good idea this time around. That has also helped me play much better. It just sounds cleaner.

Now I really don't learn a lot about theory, but when someone's style sounds really cool to me I'll do some research and learn thier style better.

I'm still not a great guitar player, but I am just as fast as I was when I was a kid and I'm twice as accurate. And I've only been at it for about 2 years this go round.

I hope this helped. Just what I've been doing. I agree with everyone else that you must learning theory and scales if you ever want to be truely great. I just don't have the time or the patience for that.

Good luck.


   
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AudioBoy
(@audioboy)
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Topic starter  

Okay. This is all very useful information. But now I have a stupid question...How exactly should I use my metronome??? (You more experienced musicians please don't hit me :wink: )


   
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Noff
 Noff
(@noff)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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You can set it to different speeds and play scales or chords in time to it, and play whole songs with it going so you can make sure you're not slowing down/speeding up at different parts. In fact it's something I should use more often...


   
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Clau20
(@clau20)
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Okay. This is all very useful information. But now I have a stupid question...How exactly should I use my metronome??? (You more experienced musicians please don't hit me :wink: )

There are no stupid question :wink:

As an advenced beginner, I can tell you that it's very important to use a metronome... I personally didn't use one until my 2nd teacher insist that it was necessary if I wanted to be "in time"

My timing is now WAY better and it makes a BIG difference

" First time I heard the music
I thought it was my own
I could feel it in my heartbeat
I could feel it in my bones
... Blame it on the love of Rock'n'Roll! "


   
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NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
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There are two basic metronome strategies I teach my students. Both are important, but for different reasons.

Strategy 1:

The way to get the fastest improvement in speed is by "leapfrogging" the metronome. Let's say you can play something well at 80bpm, but you start making mistakes at higher speeds. Set your metronome at 160, and try to play it (VERY IMPORTANT: just play it once at that speed!!!). Now set the metronome at 84, and play it again.

You can probably play it better than you ever had before... because in comparison, 84 now seems like a snail's pace. Maybe you even played it perfectly - if so, try 160bpm again, then try 88bpm. If you didn't play it perfectly at 84, do it again at 80, then try 160 again, then 84 again. The reason you want to do it only once at 160, and the reason you want to play it perfectly at some speed before trying 160 again is critical - practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes permanent. So you don't want to be practicing mistakes!

This strategy will lead to faster gains in speed than any other I've ever found. But... and it's a big but... your top speed will be lower with this approach than with the next strategy, which takes a lot longer.

Strategy 2:

Play it at a speed where you can play perfectly - absolutely no mistakes.

What's important in this strategy isn't your speed - it's your technique. At this speed, which will be slow, you want to be aware of - and minimize - every motion: finger movement, pick movement, wrist movement, elbow movement, shoulder movement, everything... focus on understanding what you're doing mechanically, and do it better.

When you've got the bugs worked out of your mechanics (and only then) turn it up a notch. Practice at this new speed, correcting all the errors that the higher speed brought into play.

The core of this method is perfecting your motions. When people tell you "you get to be fast by practicing slow", this is what they mean - it's not the slow practice that makes you fast, it's the attention to detail during the slow practice. Perfect practice allows you to execute perfect performances.

For best results, mix the two. But I'd go with about 3:1 favoring strategy 2.

In my own practice, I keep a log of what I do, and at what speed. I only "pass" a level if I can do it perfectly, right out of the gate, two days running. If I can do that, I'm ready to move ahead... if I can't, I need more work at slow speed.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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Dommy09
(@dommy09)
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great as always noteboat!

"We all have always shared a common belief that music is meant to be played as loud as possible, really raw and raunchy, and I'll punch out anyone who doesn't like it the way I do." -Bon Scott


   
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Alan Green
(@alangreen)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

I was taught a slightly different metronome strategy. Start slow - say 80 bpm, and don't change until you can play what it is you want to play correctly at that speed, then go to 83 and repeat, 85 and repeat, 88, 90 and so on. When you get to 100 bpm and think you've got it nailed, drop back down to 90 and watch it all fall apart. Start building up again from 90 to 110, then from 100 to 120, and so on.

The important thing to get right is accuracy at the slower speeds. If you can't play two octaves of C Major without falling apart at 80 bpm, then you don't stand a chance at 160.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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Joseph1337
(@joseph1337)
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One advice, hope it helps - play hard, go pro :wink:

My blog, check it out and comment - http://www.joseph1337.websitemanaged.com/


   
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yournightmare
(@yournightmare)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 108
 

But if you engage your scales, you unlock the structure of music and mastery of your instrument.

I'd recommend to the OP the book "Fretboard Logic." It, in my opinion, teaches the very thing you are talking about in a way that makes so much sense and makes it so easy to learn. After mastering Fretboard Logic, I'd recommend NoteBoat's book, "Music Theory For Guitarists."

The reason I recommend Fretboard Logic first is because it teaches the notes on the fretboard, and how scales and chord forms intertwine up and down the fretboard. It really helps you quickly name/find scales, chords, and notes. Music Theory For Guitarists goes deeper into theory, and an already working knowledge of the fretboard will help to get the most out of the book.

Take my recommendations with a grain of salt, because I've only been playing seriously for about a year and a half.


   
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