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Thread: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

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    Default Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Hey guys. Been practicing about 1-2 hours a day some days skipped for the past 4-6 monthsish now.


    Been working on this solo (and the song in general for pretty much that whole time. First song I wanted to play).

    Can you offer some advice for areas to work on to make it sound better? I feel like I'm hitting the right notes but both the tone and the general sound just isnt good to my ear . I understand it will take time, but any help is appreciated. Thanks a lot you guys. Hope it doesn't hurt your ears too bad lol.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OHT...w?usp=drivesdk
    Last edited by chillytouch; 10-31-2019 at 11:54 AM.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Practice is learning the mechanics of playing, it's not playing music.

    I'm referring to learning scales, running finger and strumming exercises, etc. It's stuff we do, so we can then... play music.

    You are actually talking about rehearsing....

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    There is an exercise that I learned as an alternating picking exercise. Anyway, way you start and the 1st fret on the low e string and then pick note and then go to the 2nd fret with your next finger and pick that note (alternate picking direction each time) and do the same for the 3rd and 4th frets. Then go to the A string and to the same thing, keep moving down the strings until you finish on the high e string. Then play the 5th fret on the high e with your pinky finger and then the 4th fret with you next finger and continue for the 3rd and 2nd frets. Then go to the B string and do the same, and keep moving up the strings. When you get to the top go up one fret and play 3,4,5,6 and go down the strings again and then you play 7,6,5,4. You just keep repeating this until around the 12-15th frets. I'm sorry if this was confusing but it is a really good exercise for any skill of player and everybody should learn it. I'll try to add an audio file of it if I have time later.

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    First of all, your playing isn't bad at all for someone starting out . . . you should be proud of what you've learned so far! I think the tones you're getting from the amp and guitar sound just fine too.

    A quick listen makes me think that you might benefit from focusing on three areas for a little while, two are technique related and one is more theory:

    - Vibrato. Especially focusing on applying a deeper/wider vibrato to held notes in time with the piece of music . . . especially at the end of those long bends. Listen to how singers often add a little vibrato at the end of a held note and then try imitating that.

    - Picking dynamics. Work on picking the strings at different locations in a solo piece to get a different sound (up high near the neck gets you a deeper more bell-like sound, down near the bridge is more plinky/biting sound). Use harder/softer picking and the difference between the pick and legato while playing for additional variation. Try to use this to build to an emotional high point in your solo.

    - Note targeting. You've already got a handle on appropriate scale selection . . . there aren't any conflicting notes being played. But the money notes, the ones that you're hitting and holding . . . they're not always the best choices for the chords that you're playing over. I'd start by really focusing on making sure that for those money notes you're hitting chord tones . . . the root, third (or minor third), and the fifth of the chord that you're playing over. (Once doing this is easy and you're getting a feel for how they sound, then start experimenting with other intervals in the scale - probably starting with the 7th/b7th)
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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    First of all, your playing isn't bad at all for someone starting out . . . you should be proud of what you've learned so far! I think the tones you're getting from the amp and guitar sound just fine too.

    A quick listen makes me think that you might benefit from focusing on three areas for a little while, two are technique related and one is more theory:

    - Vibrato. Especially focusing on applying a deeper/wider vibrato to held notes in time with the piece of music . . . especially at the end of those long bends. Listen to how singers often add a little vibrato at the end of a held note and then try imitating that.

    - Picking dynamics. Work on picking the strings at different locations in a solo piece to get a different sound (up high near the neck gets you a deeper more bell-like sound, down near the bridge is more plinky/biting sound). Use harder/softer picking and the difference between the pick and legato while playing for additional variation. Try to use this to build to an emotional high point in your solo.

    - Note targeting. You've already got a handle on appropriate scale selection . . . there aren't any conflicting notes being played. But the money notes, the ones that you're hitting and holding . . . they're not always the best choices for the chords that you're playing over. I'd start by really focusing on making sure that for those money notes you're hitting chord tones . . . the root, third (or minor third), and the fifth of the chord that you're playing over. (Once doing this is easy and you're getting a feel for how they sound, then start experimenting with other intervals in the scale - probably starting with the 7th/b7th)

    Thanks for the advice!

    @picking dynamics - I will definitely experiment with this. I didn't even know it made a difference. Only thing I really knew was that pick harmonics made different tones up and down the string but I didn't know it changed the articulation. It sounds like I want to be playing more up towards the neck.

    @vibrato - I'm going to work on this. I definitely have trouble with this because when I try to vibrato on a bend I make a huge oscillation with the tone instead of little ones. Maybe it's something that will come in time. I will keep working.

    Thank you again for the response!

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Quote Originally Posted by LesPaulPlayer001 View Post
    There is an exercise that I learned as an alternating picking exercise. Anyway, way you start and the 1st fret on the low e string and then pick note and then go to the 2nd fret with your next finger and pick that note (alternate picking direction each time) and do the same for the 3rd and 4th frets. Then go to the A string and to the same thing, keep moving down the strings until you finish on the high e string. Then play the 5th fret on the high e with your pinky finger and then the 4th fret with you next finger and continue for the 3rd and 2nd frets. Then go to the B string and do the same, and keep moving up the strings. When you get to the top go up one fret and play 3,4,5,6 and go down the strings again and then you play 7,6,5,4. You just keep repeating this until around the 12-15th frets. I'm sorry if this was confusing but it is a really good exercise for any skill of player and everybody should learn it. I'll try to add an audio file of it if I have time later.
    Thank you!

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Quote Originally Posted by ICTGoober View Post
    Practice is learning the mechanics of playing, it's not playing music.

    I'm referring to learning scales, running finger and strumming exercises, etc. It's stuff we do, so we can then... play music.

    You are actually talking about rehearsing....
    Thank you for the response. You're right maybe I'm just too focused on learning the solo.

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    first congrats on putting in the work and having fun.

    One, you need to work on listening to the notes -work on training your ear. Example you're over-bending notes in a places -so pay attention to that. Suggest listening to some playerss with really smooth bending and excellent vibratos and try and replicate it for educational purposes -dudes like David Gilmour and Gary Moore and Mike Campbell. also, once you are familiar enough with relative pitch -don't using a tuner for a whole year -use only your ear . -this will serve you well for a lifetime.

    -your finger movements are still a bit overly "mechanical" in nature -which is normal for players with only a few years under their belt, just stay relaxed and keep playing and your fluidity of motion will improve month by month... year by year....

    Also suggest to start learning some multi-finger rhythmic right hand techniques early -like travis picking etc.... this will greatly improve your timing, coordination and synchronization between hands much earlier in your development -instead of trying it later.... dabble now. Maybe buy a little parlor acoustic guitar to just sit around and exercise this kind of stuff.
    Last edited by NegativeEase; 11-02-2019 at 01:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Not bad at all. My advice would be to play it slower.
    Work on your technique (nailing bends, vibrato, easing
    into the slides, etc.) Try to play with more fluidity. Just
    relax and let it flow. You’re doing great so far!
    Keep up the good work!

    Peace,

    Darrin

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Yeah to add on to what Negative Ease said on "mechanical" playing, that is something I see with a lot of new players. When you watch them play you can tell that something looks a bit off, but it will just come with practice. Even for playing metal I still don't like having a super mechanical feel to it, I'm not sure if you can work on this though other than just playing for more time.

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Groove first. Get the groove and bombproof rhythm playing. Solos are tempting but a good song is about 10% of solo and the rest is killer rhythm. Thinking like a drummer a little can be a valuable asset.

    Ears. Having a ton of tutorial videos, tabs sheet and so on around is really tempting but nothing improves your ears better than learning stuff by ears.

    Define long-term goals. If you have a clear destination it will define your way. Imagine what your goal / dream is with the guitar / music and think of it every time you grab the guitar.

    Break away from the heroes. You start to be yourself somewhere around the time you start noodling around, just the way you feel in the moment. You can play fast like a machine gun and be a complete copy of someone - but if you don't have your own story to tell with your own anger (or happiness) it will always fail to become alive.

    If you feel to be rigid it always happens in the mind and not in the hands / mechanics. A human being is a liquid substance instead of a solid one. We are around 60% of water anyway, right? Ease it up.

    Don't take anyone saying anything seriously.

    Quote Originally Posted by ICTGoober View Post
    Practice is learning the mechanics of playing, it's not playing music.

    I'm referring to learning scales, running finger and strumming exercises, etc. It's stuff we do, so we can then... play music.

    You are actually talking about rehearsing....
    Yep OP is schooled about terms, great help, alright. Your advice, then, anyway?
    Last edited by NecroPolo; 11-02-2019 at 06:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    I've been able to learn things by thinking about music abstractly, like with Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies.
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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Thanks for all of the advice guys. I will keep plugging away.

    One of you asked what my long term goal was. Well funny enough, this is actually it, I wanted to be able to play this song on guitar, just, make it sound good lol.

    Also I am sort of getting what you guys are saying about the mechanical playing thing. The intro solo for the song is not very hard, but when I recorded myself playing it, it was similar to this, it just didnt sound so good, was always worrying about hitting the right notes. But yesterday I plugged in and instead of worrying about the notes I just relaxed and let my hands do their own thing and tried to feel it. To my surprise. It actually sounded 10x better than before. So hopefully this will keep happening! Lol!

    Another thing too that I think gets frustrating is, this is the only song I know the notes to all the way through, all other songs I only know small solo sections, or small rhythm sections, and for me personally I have way more fun playing a full song through. So I'm going to look for some songs that are a little easier to play through the full thing. Dance the night away, Acdc back in black comes to mind (ignoring the solo) and enter sandman.

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    I'd also add some techniques for 'passive' practice, like listening to diverse players (outside of the genre you are comfortable in) and going out and seeing live music a lot.
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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I'd also add some techniques for 'passive' practice, like listening to diverse players (outside of the genre you are comfortable in) and going out and seeing live music a lot.
    Definitely listen to dudes doing it differently! some of mine were Leo Kottke, Ali Farke Toure, Robert Fripp, James Blood Ulmur, Zoot Horn Rolo, Allan Holdsworth etc etc etc
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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Quote Originally Posted by ICTGoober View Post
    Practice is learning the mechanics of playing, it's not playing music.

    I'm referring to learning scales, running finger and strumming exercises, etc. It's stuff we do, so we can then... play music.

    You are actually talking about rehearsing....
    To piggyback off this, as someone who has felt very limited by my playing, is in addition to learning scales also learn you modes. It will help a lot later when you start to write your own music. I fell into having a lot of my music using the same chords/key and eventually it felt like it was all i could write. If i had learned the basics earlier i honestly feel I would be much better than i was/am.

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    You seemed to nail the hardest part - that tapping/harmonic stuff. That part sounded great.

    I kinda don't like the beginning part of the solo in general. I'd do your own thing over that part, maybe keeping some of the original.

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Quote Originally Posted by NoOnesFang13 View Post
    To piggyback off this, as someone who has felt very limited by my playing, is in addition to learning scales also learn you modes. It will help a lot later when you start to write your own music. I fell into having a lot of my music using the same chords/key and eventually it felt like it was all i could write. If i had learned the basics earlier i honestly feel I would be much better than i was/am.
    Once you know the major scale, you know all the modes. It's just a matter of learning to target intervals at that point.
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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    Once you know the major scale, you know all the modes. It's just a matter of learning to target intervals at that point.
    Sorry I didn't even see these later replies. I really need to work on that though. Unfortunately, I don't really know many scales or chords I've been focused so much on playing tabs or songs that I like that I really have neglected that. I need to get back to it. Especially since I can only practice for 1 hr 2 hrs max a day I tend to gravitate towards what I like playing which is the songs/licks. I will put some more discipline into this though. I know the G major scale, And the C Major scale run (From the video above), the e minor pentatonic, the open G chord, D, A, Em, and a few power chords and that's it lol.
    Last edited by chillytouch; 11-13-2019 at 11:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Newer player - can you tell me some areas to focus on?

    Sometime a real life meetup group can help, and of course, if you can, a teacher- who can set goals for you to achieve.
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