Kido's Practice approach. Methodic.
Im starting this thread mainly because the most difficult thing I found about the guitar, was that I couldnt find a step by step approach to a good practice session schedule. Now notice I didnt say "perfect" practice schedule. This is because, as we all know, there is no perfect method with everyone being at very different technical levels and ability. This has worked for me and is an informed approach using my private teacher of seven years and many of the following books:
"The Guitar Cook Book" Jesse Gress
"The Guitar Grimoire Series" Adam Kadmon
The Hal Leonard Series
Many of the Berklee Press issues
formost. "Guitar Voice Leading" John Thomas
Jazz Improvisation and Technique Dale Harbour
and lots of others that I dont have with me.
I have filled volumes of fretboard paper, chord grids, and tab sheets for hours at my job ( I work at a hotel front desk with lots of spare time) and have broken down all the information in to the most easy to remember sequence I could think of. I have mapped out the intervals for all scales and modes using both dot and note sequences and ended up with an OVERWHELMING amount of unsurmountable information which would take months to unravel. Luckilly I had months.
Now I have been playing for almost 8 years, with weekly live performance around town to my credit. But I am by no means better then most of you and would never claim to be. But I have learned a ton about theory in my free time and I hope some of this would be of use to you. Any feedback would be appreciated along with input to how I could make the procedure better.
So lets begin with the fundamentals of what in my opinion we should be practicing on a daily basis. You may revise as you see necessary.
1. Scale study
2. Arpeggio study (would include triads)
3. Chords and voicings
4. Sight reading
5. Vocal and Song contruction depending on your personal goals.
Now before you start to ask questions about some things you may not see here, or something which doesnt belong let me repeat you may include or remove things as you see fit. Im just laying down what I practice daily which seems most applicaple. The following will be my approach to each of the 5 sections. This will be the most summarized and methodic approach I have found to date for practicing.
Section One: Scale Study
Now we all have the books. I know we do. Its one of the things that we do, buy them that is. Because every book we purchase is another step to being the best, isnt it? No its not. And we know it. So youve seen the charts endless strings of black dots saying put your finger here because this is how it goes and thats it. Maybe this works for you, it didnt for me. This is what I think you should do.
Note: Since it would take an extremely long time to approach all the exotic scales I will exclude Melodic, Harmonic minor, Whole tone, half tone, diminished scales. This is mainly because to play well it isnt REQUIRED to know them regardless of what you may have been told, these are the scales I will be dealing with.
The major scale and seven modes.
Seven modes, seven notes. Easy. Im making the assumption that we all know what modes are, even if we dont know the fingerings or relationships. To abbreviate each mode is a corresponding interval of the primary major scale. Each number next to the mode designates its relationship note wise to the original major scale in the key of C it looks like this (DONT WORRY IM NOT WRITING A THEORY BOOK HERE, THIS IS THE ONLY TIME YOULL SEE A BORING CHART.)
C MAJOR SCALE
So why would we learn the modes and not just the major scale?
Because if your like me, OCD enriched and a creature of habit, you will have a very hard time taking your C major scale and starting and ending on any note besides C. And I guarantee that any solo you want to play is not going to be interesting if you run up and down the C major scale in perfect sequence around a relative chord proggression.
Long story short. To learn the major scale you need to learn every note within it and thus the modes, the whole story so to speak. So lets ditch the theory stuff for a quick sec and see what it is we actually should be practicing.
I BET YOU KNOW WHAT THAT IS. IF YOU DONT EMAIL ME AND ILL EXPLAIN. I DONT USE IT. WHY? THIS IS WHY.....
Caged format is an approach to learning the major scale and modes based on taking the open possition chords and applying fingerings to them. Most of you will eventually practice scales using caged format. Good idea? Yes. Great idea? No.
Why is caged format not the best approach? Well let me show you.
First of all caged format is alot of unecessary repitition. It states that there are 5 fingering patterns for the major scale. This is true only because of the interval change between the 2nd and 3rd strings. There are in fact less.
This is how I do it.
THREE FINGERING POSSIBILITIES. USING EACH OF THE FOLLOWING.
These are the fingers you start each scale with. CAGED format says there are five fingerings because it compensates the different possitioning when you adjust to the 2nd and third strings...but why not just use three fingerings and adjust those ANYWHERE on the fretboard?
So heres your book work. Download and print each of the following sheets I have created for you.
Once you have mastered the 3 fingerings of each of the 4 tetrachord types you can take on the 3 fingerings for each of the 7 modes. There are a few different ways to memorize the formations quickly. You can memorize the "I" Ionian major mode first, and then take on the corresponding modes and compare how they differ. If you count out scale degrees while you play, 1,2,3,4... youll be able to see how each of the modes differ from one another in a single key.
Or you can take on one mode at a time and memorize the 3 fingerings for that specific one.
Since there are three fingerings and seven modes thats a total of 21 total scales you can memorize. With the caged format it would be significantly more, not to mention very difficult to discover the notes outside of the major scale box. IE: The "D" fingering runs across one octave and is in the center register of the fretboard, leaving lots of notes on the outside. If you remember the three fingerings for each mode you can then work on finding out which notes are in a certain key and what their possition is in reference to the mode. For example in the key of C, D would be the dorian mode therefore you can play any of the three fingering from any D on the fretboard and also be picking out notes from the C major scale.
Theres little doubt that a thourough understanding of music theory would go a long way to help you understand the relationships better, but Im assuming most of you reading this have either similar methods as mine or those which use the caged format. I think this is better.
Im sure alot of you who use the CAGED format notice a couple of different fingerings here, such as the 7th note of the 4th fingering of the Ionian scale. Normaly it would be a first finger stretch and not a fourth finger. MY explanation for this is as follows.
A.) If you combine all the fingerings together onto one fretboard grid you get a very tidy 8 fret connection of all notes in the corresponding scale, rather then having that one 7th note poking into the top 9th fret.
B.) If you are to follow my system and always make sure that a mode is a combination of Two tetrachords you must make a few finger adjustments so the system is never contradictory.
MY SYSTEM IS NEVER CONTRADICTORY :)
C.) The fingerings for a few of the modes would need to be adjusted to compensate for the adjusted Ionian, which is unnecessary, and a lot of extra work.
So in summary of the scale section of the practice regimen. Begin by saving the pictures on this page and printing them out so you dont need to be at your computer to use them.
1. Begin by practicing the tetrachords in any manner you see fit. Generally every day I like to dedicate myself to one finger for tetrachords, scales and modes, arpeggios and triads. This works well because the arpeggio and chord part of this section will be derived from the sheets posted above, and I think you will have a great understanding of how the chords are derived from the fingering patterns. Just my 2 cents.
Section 2: Arpeggio Study (Triads included)
This is where my system starts to get fun, because once you have all those sheets printed it makes the rest of the work really easy...IE the work ive already done for you.
Now for starters when I practice arpeggios, I like to add the sevenths in there...why? Mainly because your still practicing major and minor arpeggios (and diminished) even if you add the 7th. So when your playing them be constantly counting 1,3,5,7 and back down while you play. This will ensure you can tell the difference between the different types, Major 7th, minor 7th etc....
Once you have your 21 fingering patterns for your modes, you can map out the arpeggios taking only chord tones from the scales. Thus for the modes you will receive the following.
I - Major 7th arpeggio
II - Minor 7th arpeggio
III - Minor 7th arpeggio
IV - Major 7th arpeggio
V - Dominant 7th arpeggio (b7)
VI - Minor 7th arpeggio
VII - Diminished minor 7th arpeggio (b5,b7)
So even though there is 7 scales and 21 fingerings, you only have to memorize 4 arpeggio types for each fingering, so 16 different arpeggio fingerings.
Heres a chart based on what we have. You can also do this yourself so you have a better understanding of what Ive done.
TO GET YOUR ARPEGGIOS ALL YOU DO IS TAKE THE CHARTS YOU ALREADY HAVE AND ONLY INCLUDE THE 1ST, 3RD, 5TH, AND 7TH OF THE SCALE. OR JUST REMOVE THE 2ND, 4TH AND 6TH OF THE SCALES.
THE NEAT THING ABOUT THIS IS THAT SINCE ONLY MINOR ADJUSTMENTS ARE MADE TO EACH MODE YOU CAN EASILLY SEE HOW A CHORD IS DERIVED FROM EACH MODE. THIS MAKES SONGWRITING A LOT EASIER WHEN DEVELOPING CHORD PROGGRESSIONS... DONT WANT TO LOSE YOU THOUGH SO ILL STOP RAMBLING.
IVE CHOSEN TO USE CHORD GRIDS FOR THIS BUT YOU COULD USE ANOTHER FRETBOARD CHART IF YOU SO CHOOSE.
YOU CAN AQUIRE YOUR TRIADS BY USING THE 21 FINGERING PATTERNS AND CHOOSING THE NOTES YOULL NEED.
MAJOR - 1, 3, 5 (I, IV)
MINOR - 1, B3, 5 (II, III, VI)
ETC FOR DIMINISHED AND AUGMENTED
3. YOU ALL KNOW WHAT TO DO FOR SIGHT READING, I RECCOMEND JAZZ FAKEBOOKS EVEN IF YOU DONT REALLY LIKE JAZZ. BECAUSE THEY CAN VARY FROM SIMPLE TO VERY TECHNICAL AND USE SOME REALLY NICE CHORD SHAPES. ALSO CLASSICAL GUITAR EXCERPTS ARE GOOD.
4. VOCAL EXCERSISES AND SONG PRODUCTION ARE YOUR OWN DEAL.
I HOPE SOME OF THE ABOVE HELPED YOU OUT IN YOUR MUSIC.
If anyone has questions dont hesitate to email me. I got the time.