Some questions from an absolute beginner

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by ncfiala, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. ncfiala

    ncfiala Silence you bastard

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    Hey guys, just registered on the forum. I just started playing guitar and I decided to just start with a seven string (black Jeff Loomis model). I listen mostly to metal, especially instrumental stuff like Jeff Loomis, Blotted Science, Behold...The Arctopus, Scale the Summit, Animals as Leaders, Canvas Solaris, etc. Favorite guitarists are guys like Jeff Loomis, Rusty Cooley, Paul Gilbert, Ron Jarzombek, Tosin Abasi, Chris Letchford, etc. I'm interested in using seven string guitars more for being able to do extended lead runs and not for that djent stuff (my guitar is tuned BEADGBe).

    Anyway, my problem is I don't really know what to practice or how to practice and I don't just want to be spinning my wheels and accomplishing nothing. I've done some reading and I understand some basic music theory like intervals, octaves, roots, keys, scales, modes, etc. I'm a mathematician (got my Ph.D. in mathematics from Ohio State back in 2002 doing work in combinatorics) so the basic theory comes easy for me. I've also memorized and been practicing the seven three-note-per-string major scale patterns (the 3nps method was more appealing to me than the CAGED method) and the five major and minor pentatonic CAGED patterns. Just as an exercise I also contructed some two-note-per-string fingerings of some more or less random tetratonic scales I came up with (most of them didn't sound very good though). I also practice with a 3nps fingering of whole-tone, 3nps and 4nps fingerings of chromatic, and a 2nps fingering of a symmetric tetratonic scale I made up that I call the one-and-a-half tone scale (I'm sure there's probably another name for it) that I think actually sounds pretty cool. Anyway, like I said, I'm interested in more experienced players (which would be anybody) advice on what to practice, how to practice, and for how long. Thanks
     
  2. Splinterhead

    Splinterhead Sojourner Contributor

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    whew! where to begin.
    I thoroughly applaud your efforts so far. You seem very determined and that's great! If you are into Loomis, Cooley, Gilbert etc. I'd go and check out their influences. I know Gilbert is a fan of a lot of the classic rock players and from those guys you can really learn a lot. While Loomis, and Rusty are great players they are really technique-centric players. I like to think of melody first and use technique to support that melody. Basic skills like proper bending and vibrato are taken for granted so I'd focus on that initially as well. A great player to check out is Jeff Beck. His sense of melody is fantastic!

    As far as practicing I've been using a evolving schedule for years. I like to know exactly what I need to work on and put time into my weaknesses (of which I have a lot of:lol:) If you're a beginner, go easy. Guitar can be a physically demanding instrument on the tendons and connective tissue of the hands so don't over do it.
     
  3. GSingleton

    GSingleton Sleep on, Fly on Vendor

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    SLOW PRACTICE WITH A METRONOME. :lol:

    Then anything is possible. :yesway:
     
  4. asilayamazing

    asilayamazing SS.org Regular

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    tableture is your friend!:yesway:
     
  5. ncfiala

    ncfiala Silence you bastard

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    I do still need to buy a metronome. I've been looking at them and I'm not sure what to get. I'll probably just end up springing for a Boss DB-90.

    I know how to read tab, but I really have little to no interest in playing other people's stuff without having the knowledge and skills to know where it comes from. I'm not looking for a quick route to playing my favorite songs. I want to really develop the skills, no matter how long it takes. If that means I don't play any real music for years, I'm ok with that. I just want to know that I'm practicing the right stuff the right way (of course I know that this is highly subjective). I know people who have played guitar for years and they never get any better. I don't want to fall into that trap.

    Anyway, like I said, I'm looking for specific content, techniques, and exercises that anyone at this stage should be practicing. Thanks

    By the way, I just bought Rusty Cooley's Fretboard Autopsy DVDs and Chris Letchford's Technique book so I will have those at my disposal.
     
  6. JStraitiff

    JStraitiff Melodic Mamma Jamma

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    i wouldnt write off playing other people's music. Its not harmful to learn other musician's songs and play them blindly because despite not knowing the theory behind them you are forced to learn the physical technique behind playing that stuff. Some players develop theory understanding before they learn to really play and some people learn to play proficiently before they understand what they're playing. Your way makes it way too much like science for my tastes :p
     
  7. ncfiala

    ncfiala Silence you bastard

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    Point taken. I just don't want to turn into that guy in a cover band who has no clue what he's doing and could never come up with something of his own. As far as my way sounding too much like science, I guess that is probably true for some people. My personality and background make me a very technically oriented person in pretty much all aspects of my life, which is probably why I really like listening to the kind of stuff I do.
     
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  8. VBCheeseGrater

    VBCheeseGrater not quite a shredder

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    in the meantime.... METRONOME ONLINE - free!

    works fine.
     
  9. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    This one?

    Code:
    e--------------------------9-12
    b---------------------8-11
    G-----------------6-9
    D-------------5-8
    A---------4-7
    E-----3-6
    B-2-5
    
    Sounds like you should spend some time learning about chords. That's a diminished seventh chord. And don't forget to train your ear, either. Understanding and performance of music is made much easier when you develop an ear for intervals and chords and such. This website's good for some basic theory and ear training: Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net

    It seems that you have an innate desire to explore and experiment. That's a good thing to have.

    You mention that you have no immediate desire to reproduce the music of others. However, I'll point out that the best method for learning technique and theory is to study and play the music of others. We don't live in a vacuum, after all.

    I might suggest that you look into the music of Stéphan Forté. Very technical stuff, written for seven string.

     
  10. JStraitiff

    JStraitiff Melodic Mamma Jamma

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    I know what you mean. Thats something we all face. Comes down to confidence for me. In your quest to attain all the knowledge you require, try not to lose your feel. Its all about feel. There are extremely technical players out there who can play any lick you throw at them but they just dont have any feel whatsoever. Try not to turn into the VAI2000 haha

    Oh and if you own an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad i recommend you check out the app "GuitarToolkit". It has a spectacular metronome function that i use regularly. It is also a fantastic reference.
     
  11. ncfiala

    ncfiala Silence you bastard

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    Yeah that's the one. I do need to learn about chords as I know virtually nothing about their construction and naming or what scales sound good played over them. I guess I also need to learn about them so I can eventually begin to play arpeggios and work seriously on sweep picking. I made up some simple 3, 4, and 5 string shapes and attempted to sweep pick them and I found that after a while I was able to coordinate my hands pretty well and do it pretty fast. I also discovered that I economy pick naturally without even thinking about it. I've read good and bad things about that, but I just don't see the point of training myself out of it to do something less efficient like strict alternate picking.
     
  12. JStraitiff

    JStraitiff Melodic Mamma Jamma

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    ^ you would only need to train yourself to use a certain technique if its going to help you execute a part more efficiently or rather if your current technique is impairing your ability to execute it.
     
  13. The Reverend

    The Reverend GHETTO KING OF SWAG

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    I know you've heard it before, but practice SLOW.

    Play through some scales utilizing the utmost in good technique. Then, while still playing slowly, call out various intervals using a root note against other notes in the scale. It'll be good in creating a sense of what different intervals sound like, if you lack that knowledge already, and will also create the best foundation of muscle memory for tougher stuff.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that you can also analyze songs you're learning. For a person with a really technical mindset, you should get through it pretty easily. It will also help you understand just how fluid the physical act of playing guitar is. It's truly not a rigid methodology of rote memorization, sometimes things that seem like bad ideas can be the right thing to do.
     
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  14. ncfiala

    ncfiala Silence you bastard

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    Yeah I've read that many times and I do. Although I frequently get tempted to try and play faster than I am capable of.

    I know the general consensus for developing speed is to play slow and clean and then gradually increase the speed. I saw a video once of Shawn Lane talking about speed and he talked about playing fast and sloppy from the get go and then gradually cleaning it up. That probably isn't a good strategy for me or most people though. After all, it's Shawn Lane we're talking about here.
     
  15. Sephael

    Sephael Divine Paradøx Contributor

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    Don't rule out works of others in helping you to learn. Take a piece, learn it and then start to break it down and analyze why they did specific things. Things like why they deviated from a standard chord progression and the effect it had on the feel of the piece lets you not only play something that sounds good but also helps you to understand theory to apply it to your own works.
     
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  16. CRaul87

    CRaul87 SS.org Regular

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    Man, we must be identical twins or something cause that's the same mentality I had when first starting.

    Here is the advice I can give you: A practicing schedule is something that never stops evolving as long as you don't loose your desire to evolve and in order to know what you must practice you first must ask yourself what do you want to be able to play.

    Now you can start with basics for each distinct technique...
    Alternate Picking -> I strongly recommend Paul Gilbert's Intense Rock vol I and II here
    Legato -> same DVD because although Paul is renowned for his alternate picking he is also a monster legato player believe it or not, he just chooses to add a lot of pick strokes to his licks....
    Sweep picking -> I think Mr. Cooley can help u here:)

    Another method of finding out what techniques your should learn/practice is to start composing your own material as soon as possible... it's gonna suck and your going to reiterate on it a 1000 times but that is going to teach you rhythm, cadence, melody and what in God's name you should do with all that technique when the rhythm part for the solo section is done.

    I recommend that you start with these fundamentals for now....
    What you need from us is not a complete answer to what you must practice but a solid starting point I believe and once you have firmly grasped these fundamentals I have no doubt that you can point yourself in the right direction from then on...
     
  17. Davey

    Davey SS.org Regular

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    Seeing as you know some scales already I really reccomend you get into doing some improvisation. Sticking with the minor pentatonic at first is a good way to start and seeing as you're learning different positions of it already then improv is a great way to put it to use and really take the positions and commit them to memory where you don't even need to think about it. There's loads of jam tracks on youtube. Some are more complex (changing key signatures frequently) so I would avoid those at first. Being able to improvise is a really good skill to have. Oh and don't feel like you gotta play a million notes a second, just take it easy and make each note count. If you want I could find a jamtrack suitable for a beginner :)

    One other thing, which isn't a directly guitar related thing but more a general musician thing, is to take all the chances you can to play with other people who are better than you. Honestly you can learn a lot even from just watching someone play.

    Hope that was helpful!
     
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