July 6th, 2012, 07:56 PM
I was just sitting down playing away for myself earlier when I realized....I'm not happy with my playing.
I didn't feel every note sing to me and a lot of my licks sounded almost forced. My playing just didn't flow in the way I want to.
What do you guys think the best way to practice and improve technique is? Ideally I want my vibrato and bending to be perfect and for each note to really roll into the next sweetly.
I also want to continue learning new stuff as well as being allowed time to play what I already have in my guitar library.
So any advice on a practice plan, or exercises that improve technique, best way to approach new material etc would be greatly appreciated!
July 6th, 2012, 08:07 PM
How long have you been playing? Everybody goes through stages where inspiration is hard to come by. I either battle through it by playing scales and exercises, listen to and play different styles or simply put the guitar down for a couple of days.
I'm assuming you're playing a couple of hours a day?
July 6th, 2012, 08:08 PM
Ipod player sat on the amp, play along with the greats ..............
July 7th, 2012, 05:07 PM
When I get in a funk, I learn something new I can't physically perform.
Like some kind of trick, or weird hammer on pull off lick that involves left and right hand techniques I haven't mastered. Sometimes learning these can take months to do well.
Other times, I just learn songs that are intentionally selected to pull me out of my comfort zones. Or, theory that is beyond my current level of comprehension.
These ALWAYS serve to improve my abilities one way or another.
Practice with purpose, not just doing the same old licks....that's not practice...it's just comfortable because you can already do it. Sure, part of practice is doing what you already know to retain it. but to improve, you have to do something either new, or better than you can now. That's how you get better, by pushing yourself and loving every minute of the learning process. It never ends and that's what I love about guitar.
July 7th, 2012, 05:28 PM
Find something personally and musically worthwhile to do you can't do yet and difficult for you to do and practice that. An idea: Arpeggios, not necessarily sweeping neoclassical stuff but just 3 and 4 note arps are not guitaristic and need to be studied to be able to improvise with them. Just working them around a blues form creating accents on different notes is something easy but somewhat challenging to do.
On bending: Just make sure you are using as many fingers as you can to grab and bend that string up. Practice doing prebends of say, a whole step, then slide up to that note you were reaching for and see how accurate your pitch is with them. Work on developing a good vibrato too, so often overlooked by many guitarists. A nice clean, even, and musical vibrato that is either wide or light, fast or slow depending on what you are going for...
Have fun, don't expect a miracle every time... :wink:
July 7th, 2012, 05:29 PM
I post audio or video of myself playing here when I want constructive criticism.
July 9th, 2012, 06:29 PM
Clonakilty, long time since I been there. Good times.
I really enjoy and improved my playing with a looper. Great fun, and great for trying different things over a vamp. Tightens up your timing too. And you are hearing yourself played back, which can be fn awful in my case but at least it is a reality check.
July 31st, 2012, 09:37 PM
I try alcohol, yoga, meditation, gluten free food.
then I try to learn something new and it really helps. I realize I'm a guitar hack but it's a hobby so it's still fun!
August 2nd, 2012, 05:59 PM
Are you getting any kind of lessons at all? It's a good idea to have a plan before you go into the practice room or pick up the instrument.
Maybe try and keep a diary or journal and write down what your'e going to practice that day e.g.....
10 minutes playing major scales from root 5 and 6 strings around the cycle of 5ths, 10 minutes playing all diatonic arpeggios (maj 7, dominant 7, diminished, half diminished etc) in the keys of Bb, Eb, C and F, 20 minutes playing to backing track (dorian groove in D minor), 20 minutes transcribing blues solo in F for trumpet, 10 minutes free time i.e this could be just jamming along to something or maybe trying to write a little piece.
Another great idea is trying to write your own licks and notating them down or, if you don't write music, simply record them. So you might say 'I'm going to write a lick in G7 today that takes me from the 3rd fret on the low E and ends up on the 15t fret on the treble E.'
I got this idea from Carl Verheyen who says he has done this for 30 years now and has a huge library of licks at his fingertips. He calls it 'Money in the bank!'.
August 2nd, 2012, 06:58 PM
One of the most important tools for an improvising musician is learning how to deal with ruts. I don't like it when people recommend taking time off. True, one's playing does sound fresher, but I prefer to do battle with music. I have learned so much in trying to get out of ruts, both as a guitarist and composer.