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The Tipping Point - A question for advanced players

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by matrix, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    This may sound trite, but the great leap for me arrived when I figured out that I could learn just about anything if I was willing to work at it. Then the problem became one of will and knowledge, rather than 'talent'.

    Which is not to say I'm much chop at this - just that one day I realised things had started to get a lot easier, because I'd been investing some will and knowledge.
     
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  2. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    This is the essence of it really.
     
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  3. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    Bam. Thanks, Ken.
     
  4. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    My tipping point came when a more advanced player commented on my playing by saying: yeah, lots of notes, but where is the story"? I was young and asked him what he meant and he told me you don't just ramble words together but want to say something. Less and more effective words.
    Same with music. It still took me a long time to actually put it into practice. Now and then i have to remind myself when i ramble on.
    I think it was Springsteen who said that guitar players should listen to saxophonists. Funny then that he wanted Clarence to play his solos like a guitar player!
     
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  5. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    My tipping point came after I came back to playing guitar after a 30 year hiatus. When I came back I wanted to play country. That meant breaking out of the blues box. In high school and college I played pentatonic solos over simple chords. Country got me playing solos off of chords. That meant learning to use 7 note major and minor scales. It meant learning about the creative use of dominant 7ths and minor 3rds in the mixolydian mode. It meant learning 9, maj 9, sus4, maj7, 13, and all sorts of other chords I never found in rock. I learned finger style so I could play using stops. Once I learned these things, I began to explore the Dorian mode for blues and jazz. My interests broadened beyond country. But the tipping point was surely breaking out of the blues box. THAT made everything else possible and none of it would have been possible had I still been trapped in the box.
     
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  6. Toast

    Toast Tele-Afflicted

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    Great advice. I have an instrumental I'm working on. It originated from just noodling around on my guitar, but those noodles have coalesced. However, they lack a structure or form. So now I'm trying to give the tune a beginning, middle, and end because without those, it just sounds like pointless pleasant plinking. These days I try to give my melodies, even short runs, a recognizable structure and meaning (ironic, serious, ridiculous . . .) that emerges from the direction of the melody. So I'm constantly asking myself things like, "Do I want this to ascend or descend or drone or what?" That's when I start considering what meaning I want the melody to convey. Even when I'm improvising things, I still have an idea of the direction I want my melody to go and that's connected to some notion of meaning for the tune.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
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  7. Tele22

    Tele22 Tele-Meister

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    I’m still waiting to tip. But a big step forward was learning how to use a metronome - when I record myself, it actually sounds half decent now, as opposed to pre-metronome days.
     
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  8. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

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    This is so important. I believe learning to work with a metronome is one of the most important things you can do for improving your #1 most important ability as a musician - rhythm.

    Nearly 20 years after first starting to take the metronome seriously, I still notice any practice session goes better if the first 10 minutes are spent working on some metronome challenge.
     
  9. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Afflicted

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    Well.... I've been playing over 50 years, and I'm still not sure I have the answer. And I am not sure I am "an advanced player" But....
    IMHO
    There are many elements to advancing as a player, and everyone learns differently.

    I am fortunate to have two good friends that are real pro ax men. One is very technical the other is very feel oriented. I learned a lot but different things from both.

    For me understanding that music is 3 things all equally important was a biggie-rhythm, melody and harmony.
    The other biggies:
    Think chord shapes and intervals instead of scales. But you still must understand and know scales. Especially the major scale, it is the root of all scales and music.
    The other was the caged system- not for chords, but as a map to know and understand the fretboard.
    Last but not least Ear training. I do this by learning songs and licks by ear. Doing this gets easier the more you do it. INMHO all advanced players have good to golden ears. Some people are born with golden ears, the rest of us have to work at it to get good ears.

    YMMV!

    Peace,
    Jim
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Along with putting high value on both meaning of what I play and of putting emotion into what I play, I've also tried to phrase more like saxes, but partly because I played saxes for years and love both the fluidity of phrasing that's possible, and the vocal quality as well.

    One thing I've always considered a weakness is that I have my range that is smaller that all guitar players ranges.

    On the sax forum in a discussion, an accomplished player who also makes mods and sells soprano sax mouthpieces said something like (the player was referring to a third party commenting on his playing):

    "(Somebody) said to me: "Wow, you can do a lot of things with a saxophone", and that hurt a little because it's not the point of music"

    I need to focus less on my limitations and more on my gifts.
    OTOH
    I need to keep increasing my technical ability to play whatever I think and feel.
    OTOH
    I need to focus first and foremost on what moves an audience, music is not about me as a player.
    OTOH
    My tool of self expression is the guitar, and if my skills with my tools are poor, my potential for artistic, meaningful and emotional self expression will forever be limited.
    OTOH
    A man has got to know his limitations.
    OTOH
    We are only limited by our imaginations and our devotion to our craft.

    So, finding that balance where I have enough skills to fully express myself, while serving the music and the audience (which is more important? The music or the audience?), yet my skills are not held above my larger picture musician self that is more than a machine.
    Finding that balance might be the tipping point.

    More than the ideal of balance, I drift back and forth across that yellow line between furthering skills and total immersion in making music.

    Part of my attempted devotion to the latter is that i accept that I will make mistakes in performance.
    But that is a reflection of what I value as an artist in the medium of music.
    My feeling is that if we can get through an entire performance without a single mistake, we have limited our creative leeway to exclude trying anything risky.

    This would likely be a minority view of making music.
    Notably we can look at somebody like Sonny Rollins, who was upset when he felt that he was failing to deliver in a given performance, yet the audience loved those "bad" nights even more because they got to see him fight and struggle.
    He was probably not exactly accepting of his mistakes and his struggles on bad nights may not have been what I'm talking about.

    But I've seen shows like Cecil Taylor where it seemed clear that he missed a few things here and there, because he was trying to push past the ragged edge of his own limitations.

    I LOVE that stuff!
    Screwing up is not the equivalent of being creative, or of forging new paths, by any means.
    But if you push yourself to find even a small new thing as often as possible, mistakes or less successful results will follow.

    I've actually made my 2020 efforts focused more on eliminating weaknesses, including slurred inarticulate passages, little noises, and other more blatant mistakes. I often use a lot of gain to get a sax like voice, and feedback is a tool in that box.
    The better my sound, the worse the mistakes explode.
    Bought a noise reduction pedal and learned to work with that, including revisiting my skills in silence.

    Overall I expect to die without ever mastering the guitar!
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think I've always had or tried to have "drums in my guitar".
    But after sever years of guitar I finally sat down at a drum kit and got a new perspective.
    I can go both ways with keeping on time when playing alone.
    If I get excited I may rush and lose my time,plus I love to play with time and push it around, but that works better with a rhythm section.

    I tried the Digitech Trio for a drum track and it sucks too much.
    Gotta find a dummy box that requires no computer skills to provide a musical sounding percussion track in a box.
    Mooer makes a mini.
    Can't hear a metronome at feedback volume!
     
  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    A furthering of what I was trying to get to is that now we have such advanced players, that very few of us will get that skilled.
    Yet we probably all compare our own playing to the fastest Country pickers etc and might miss out on our own individual potential trying to ape some shredder.

    Pushing my own limits is more about ideas and ways to surprise with a turn that still fits but is not familiar.
    Speed and clarity is nice too though and requires regular practice.
    Skills in speed also allow more to be done withing a phrase, like alter articulation, add some bends, jump further or throw on some salt for a half second.

    I still get the ocassional sense of why do I even bother after hearing some monster kill me with the whole thing I wish I could attain.
     
  13. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    I disagree. The chic's have never really even noticed me playing and if they did they gave me weird looks when I walk around campus with a guitar or set up to practice for my self in the campus center. Or maybe it's just that I'm not that good.o_O(shrug emoji) I'd just like to make enough to pay for my toys...not gonna happen this year.
     
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  14. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you have a looper pedal you can make a workable drum beat that is more interesting than a metronome just by whacking on your guitar. Boom boom whack! Boom boom whack!, or whatever.
    With an acoustic is sounds more drum-like, but you can do it with a solid body guitar string by hitting the muted strings in slightly different ways.

    Also with a metronome you can subdivide the time in different ways. The metronome doesn't have to always play quarter notes. It could be half notes, whole notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, triplets--
    whatever. For example, try playing triplets on your guitar against a metronome playing 16th notes. That will work your brain in a new way. Then do it vice versa.
     
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  15. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Les Paul invented this stuff ...
     
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  16. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I actually responded on page 1 with a few 'tipping point' events and stand by them.

    But after re-reading part of OP's thread title, I'm really questioning if I'm really an 'advanced player' (?), so much as someone who has played the same stuff ( good stuff, I think) for a VERY long time now.

    You'd think I'd be a better guitar player!
     
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well attracting girls is pretty big so if you can do that with a guitar you’re past the tipping point and if you can’t then you still have work to do!
     
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  18. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    My playing attracted just one, 40 years ago!
    ( just celebrated Anniversary)
     
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  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well if it attracted a good one you wouldn’t have noticed the rest that came calling...
     
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  20. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    For years I would progress and plateau over and over. In the past five years I have been picking up songs more easily, dialing in the right tone and, especially, gaining more confidence. I attribute this to playing in a three piece. But having better gear definitely helps.
     
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