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I'm sure most of you during your playing times, or learning times, have had revelations that have made something in your understanding of the guitar, or your musical understanding, click.

 

When I was learning chords and chord structure, I learned fret distances from the I, to the II, III, IV, etc. But when I realized that working from the 6th string to the first on the same fret that the 6th string being the I, the 5th string on the same fret is the IV, the 4th string same fret is the bVII, the 3rd string is the bIII, the second string is the V, and the first string is the I, it made it very easy for me the quickly shape and grab a target chord.

 

Of course, if the I is on the fifth string then you have to make a slight adjustment.

 

Anybody else have any tricks they'd like to reveal?

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One thing I learned is that when jamming with others, its not a competition.

I used to be shy and reserved when exchanging chops and ideas. I always thought id get laughed at or people would think

my ideas were amateur or silly. It took a lot of fun out of the jam session.

Then when I was in my late 20's it dawned on me....who cares!

 

When I do get together with other music lovers now, its a blast. No one cares who has the best chops or who can razzle-dazzle

the most...Its for pure fun and love of the intstrument.

Sometimes ill come up with a lick thats sooo cool...other times im happy to jam along with power chords....its all good and I

have a ball.

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When I realized you only have to push down on the strings hard enough to sound the note. Excessive Pressure just deadens the note, wears out frets, Slows you down, and tires out you hand.

 

Feel the neck, literally. Just touch it hard enough to feel it. The day I figured that out was the day I got fast and accurate.

 

Then there was the day all the "Positions" just melted away, leaving one big scale all over the neck. The day I stopped thinking in "positions" and started playing the Whole Neck, I got better.

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OK. It's no trick, just a bit of knowledge.

 

Sometimes mediocre is good enough. Keep practicing and honing your craft but don't hide yourself away because you think you're "not good enough" yet. I've never considered myself better than mediocre at any instrument I play but I've always had work when I've wanted it. I haven't played out in more years than many of our members have been alive but now, simply because I recently decided to accept an invitation to jam with some friends, I've been asked to contribute to a recording project and do a few supporting gigs. These guys play all the time and they want ME. I don't get it.

 

But that's the way it's been my entire life. When I put myself out there and have some fun with other musicians, it always leads to paying work. (Yes, you actually get paid for doing this!)

 

So don't hide! Don't be shy! Don't think you're not good enough. Practice, practice, practice...and put yourself out there with some other musicians and have some fun. And don't be surprised when someone wants to hook up with you.

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OK. It's no trick' date=' just a bit of knowledge.

 

Sometimes mediocre is good enough. Keep practicing and honing your craft but don't hide yourself away because you think you're "not good enough" yet. I've never considered myself better than mediocre at any instrument I play but I've always had work when I've wanted it. I haven't played out in more years than many of our members have been alive but now, simply because I recently decided to accept an invitation to jam with some friends, I've been asked to contribute to a recording project and do a few supporting gigs. These guys play all the time and they want ME. I don't get it.

 

But that's the way it's been my entire life. When I put myself out there and have some fun with other musicians, it always leads to paying work. (Yes, you actually get paid for doing this!)

 

So don't hide! Don't be shy! Don't think you're not good enough. Practice, practice, practice...and put yourself out there with some other musicians and have some fun. And don't be surprised when someone wants to hook up with you.

 

Great advise Cruzn.... Thanks! I was just thinking after band rehearsal tonight how much I suck and I'm the worst player in the band. i still can't figure out why they want me....[confused]

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Great advise Cruzn.... Thanks! I was just thinking after band rehearsal tonight how much I suck and I'm the worst player in the band. i still can't figure out why they want me....[confused]

 

Dave' date=' my friend, if you're musical and easy to get along with, that's quite likely more desirable in a band-mate than extreme proficiency. It's a lot easier to make music with someone whose company you enjoy, regardless of their playing abilities. Assuming, of course, that they (we) aren't completely tone-deaf and devoid of rhythm. If they are, they can be the drummer. [img']http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/BBS/images/smiles/LOL_smilie.gif[/img]

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Well' date=' Cruzn and Dave, the answer is simple, you have "It". All the skill in the world won't replace "It".

 

Good to hear about the Recording and subsequent gigging Cruzn. [biggrin

 

Thanks, FM, I 'preciate that. It's funny how we sometimes put things away when we're really not yet done with them. That's sorta how I had begun to feel about playing.

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Then there was the day all the "Positions" just melted away' date=' leaving one big scale all over the neck. The day I stopped thinking in "positions" and started playing the Whole Neck, I got better.[/quote']

 

Great advice. Unfortunately, to get there takes years of practicing (scales). I'm getting there.

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Great advice. Unfortunately' date=' to get there takes years of practicing (scales). I'm getting there.

[/quote']

It does take years, but not so much "practicing scales" as using them, and it happened a little at a time. for me it happened with E and A minor pentatonic first, then the blues b5th, then the full minor and relative major scales. I didn't know what to call them until after I could play them, which was another couple revelations. Finding out that the scales I had "Figured Out" had names like A minor Pentatonic. I knew it as "The Blues Sale", which I thought was a colloquialism. found the "Diatonic" scales I was using were the Minor, Melodic Minor, Major, and whatever. Thought I figured out a "New Hybrid Scale" made up of element of the Major and Minor scales.........turned out it was a mixolydian scale (or mode...whatever).

 

And....I don't think we should measure guitar playing in years, but rather hours, Like aircraft pilots. It does take hours and hours of practice and jamming to really get to know the fret board.

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I've been playing off and on for over 40 years, but really seriously for just over the last fourteen. Around 5 years ago, I figured that I wasn't really improving. I got to a point where I couldn't teach myself anything else- just learned songs. Deciding to take lessons was the best thing I could have done. I found not just a teacher but an excellent musician who didn't just teach me songs, but he also taught me music. Not just learning scales, but learning to improvise using that knowledge improved my playing exponentially. I'm not saying that improvisation through strict adherance to scales is the way it should be done, but the practicing of scales is the most direct route to acquiring a feel for the fretboard.

 

The old saying about how to get to Carnegie Hall is right. I actually benefitted from getting away from lessons to apply what I had learned and just have fun; doing that was hugely beneficial. The three best things I've done to improve have been to take lessons, stop taking lessons, and learn (and practice) scales horizonally in two and three string groups up and down the neck. And btw, I've picked up taking lessons again.

 

Also, not having other people to jam with, I bought Band in a Box last Christmas. That has helped me a lot. And playing to a metronome has also helped.

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me too :D

 

Geez' date=' I hope it doesn't end up in my epitaph. [biggrin

 

I s'pose I should clarify somewhat. I hope it doesn't sound as if I'm suggesting we should settle for anything less than the best we have to give in our efforts to learn and play guitar. My point is that we shouldn't use our own self-perceived middling skills as an excuse to not put ourselves out there among our peers. We're not all going to be Al Di Meola or Vai or Slash, et al, and that's just fine. Just do it! [cool]

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And practice make make up for lack of natural born talent.

 

With respect, I think it depends a great deal upon which talent is lacking. The undefinable "it" will never be replaced by ANY amount of practice. Skills improve with practice. But musicality is either there...or not. I keep thinking back to my old jamming partner, who has taken lessons for about 15 years now, and still plays the same as he did 6 months after he first started. Frankly, jamming became a horrible experience because of him, unbearable to the point that I just quit jamming all together. No matter how much he wants it, he'll never get it. I feel sorry for him but he ought to have figured it out by now.

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  • 10 years later...
On 2/6/2010 at 4:05 AM, Cruznolfart said:

 

With respect, I think it depends a great deal upon which talent is lacking. The undefinable "it" will never be replaced by ANY amount of practice. Skills improve with practice. But musicality is either there...or not. I keep thinking back to my old jamming partner, who has taken lessons for about 15 years now, and still plays the same as he did 6 months after he first started. Frankly, jamming became a horrible experience because of him, unbearable to the point that I just quit jamming all together. No matter how much he wants it, he'll never get it. I feel sorry for him but he ought to have figured it out by now.

My wife was a school teacher, and had a motto,  "Never Teach A Pig To Sing, It Both Annoys The Teacher And Wastes Your Time."  Way back at Burlington, a close friend asked me to teach him how to play the game of chess. So I did, I spent 3 months teaching him all the basics, rules, openings, strategy and so on. He kept wanting to play me a game. I kept telling him, he wasn't ready yet.  He kept making mistakes a lot with mostly not moving the pieces correctly and after the 3rd month, he insisted on playing me a game. He moved 3 pieces wrong, illegal moves. and then told me, "I'll get this right, I really want to learn."  I told him my wife's  saying,  "Never Teach A Pig To Sing,  Yes, It Was Annoying The Teacher And Wasting My Time." Nothing to do with a guitar, but same principles.   My Sisters daughter's son is taking guitar lessons and has spent months with a professional teacher. She posted his success on facebook and thinks he is great. He can't even push down a string and only strums and that's way out of rhythm. Same thing. Just saying, some things aren't for everyone. 

Edited by Retired
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When I figured out how to extract the Mixolydian mode from a regular major scale. I didnt know the name of it back then. It was just 'that scale with the dropped 7th that Garcia uses'. I already knew about relative minors and how that worked but this one opened up the floodgates. Experimentation then led to extracting the Dorian mode and others. 

The significance was being able to use existing muscle memory to play all these other scales. Just transpose in your head.  

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