what exercises have helped your technique the most?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by coregod, Dec 9, 2021.

  1. coregod

    coregod SS.org Regular

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    hello, I've been working on my technique a lot lately trying to get my chops up so I can start playing with other people and do shows in the future. im wondering what has helped you the most with playing live, becoming comfortable with the instrument and technical efficiency. Im learing how to play lefty because every time ive done an activity ambidextrously it always made my good side improve, ever since my gym teacher in grade 6 told me to throw a dodgeball with the other hand and said it would improve my dominant hand ive been using this trick for everything. I wear my guitar super low on the strap as I feel it makes it harder to play then when you raise it up again it feels easier, same kinda idea. tilting my fretboard towards the ceiling facing the guitar up wards and facing it downward so you get different angles making the normal stance in the middle feel more at home. ive found spiderwalks to be pretty neat and helpful but everything else is just like normal playing but slowed down and playing precisely, sure i practice alternate picking and sweeping, string skipping etc but all of this is exercised when learning almost any song, whereas a spiderwalk isnt how you would actually play but is just an exercise. would love to know what kinda exercises and ways you train guitar that helped you!!!
     
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  2. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    I have a bunch. I like the fact that you understand that doing things the hard way makes the easier way… easier. We had a lesson in martial arts long ago about, when faced with a choice, pick the hard way over the easy way.

    I also like doing warmups or fretboard workouts that are nonsensical and don’t relate to music or scales.

    I’m a big fan of the chromatic spider.

    Another one I like to do is play scales neglecting my index finger totally, just using my middle, ring, and pinky.

    I literally feel like all of my playing these days is just making up ridiculous warmup exercises.

    Edit: And as for the ambidextrous thing, I went to engineering school with a girl who was a BME (Biomedical Engineering) and she took a semester long class about doing activities with the opposite of the dominant limb. So they would go shoot pool, bowling, etc. My father knew I would be right handed, and he wanted a very good soccer player, so he overtrained my left leg. So my whole life I’ve been dominant left leg/dominant right hand so my brain is wired rather strange.
     
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  3. coregod

    coregod SS.org Regular

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    ya im really into martial arts and apply the concepts to a lot of things so thats cool that you mentioned and picked up on that. I feel a lot of training modalities form sports and martial arts can be applied to instruments because it is also a form of physical technical proficiency.
     
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  4. coregod

    coregod SS.org Regular

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    ridiculous warmups is a good idea
     
  5. HungryGuitarStudent

    HungryGuitarStudent SS.org Regular

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    Learning whole songs helps me the most with performance, endurance and technique. Silly things like playing standing up whole sets of songs might help for gigs.
     
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  6. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    I don't play fast or "shred" but I have been playing for a lot of years.

    I like the spider-walk. Other than that, I do 2-3min sets of a combination of parts from songs I'm working on and general technique, honestly very little of the second tho. Right now I work on tremolo picking in isolation and that's about it for pure technical exercises, but I try to have the utmost level of awareness and attention during these sets so that I am focusing on technique and actually improving how I'm playing the part.

    Something that I heard from JustinGuitar on YT is "don't do an exercise unless you know why you're doing it." I thought this was great advice and threw out most of the mindless exercises I'd been doing for years, random little things I'd picked up from GuitarOne or whatever. Maybe that stuff is more important if you're a shredder, idk.


    As for performing, lots of open mic is how I cut my teeth and worked through nervous jitters and how to interact with a crowd. I still do stretches and sometimes even some pilates if I feel really jittery before a show.

    Also if there are any Pickup Band Leagues in your area, those are an awesome way to meet new people and get some performing experience. All of this of course being subject to Covid.
     
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  7. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    As far as speed and shred, there are some tricks that are often overlooked.

    This is going to be hard for me to explain without some tabs or a video, but it's essentially this:

    Economy of motion, and being able to create a "lick" using a fret finger for multiple notes (a very common one is a basic 5 string major arpeggio) can be made to sound very "fast". There is a thing I like to do where I will play ascending arpeggios in note groups of three, so in some instances I may have my pinky fretting two strings, at at some point on the ascend I'm getting a 4-note bang for the buck on just that pinky staying put on the two strings. I'll try to tab this out:

    e-----------------------------------------------------
    B-----------------------------------------------------
    G--------------------------------------------------11
    D---------------------------------12--------12------
    A----------9----12----9----12--------12------------
    E---10------------------------------------------------
    m i p i p p p p i

    So that pinky on the 12th is just staying put and I'm just economy/sweeping away with very minimum motion and a staccato-like attack.

    Fuck it you guys are gonna make me crawl out of the woodwork and post a video.

     
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  8. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    I don't know if I'd say I agree with this at surface level. I guess you could always know why you're doing it, even if it's a mindless exercise if you dig deeper. There were plenty of things I'd say I borrowed from other styles (finger or travis picking, etc.) that I could incorporate into my style or expand upon. Like @coregod suggested with the martial arts background and transposing the thought process to different disciplines, it really comes down to tackling the technique and utilizing it for your style. I'd say the most important thing is not doing the exercise the generic way, but adding your own style to it.
     
  9. coregod

    coregod SS.org Regular

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    I’m having trouble seeing what you’re doing there sorry man aha are you like barring with your pinky ? I’m pretty interested as I’ve never seen that technique I don’t think
     
  10. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, pretty much. Like that tab up there, just barring two strings with the pinky, but getting a lot of mileage out of it. There are a lot of major arpeggio patterns that lend well to this technique.
     
  11. Kolaniak

    Kolaniak SS.org Regular

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    Technique is context-specific, so to say. I don't believe there are exercises that will improve your overall technique, but your technique as related to certain aspects.
     
  12. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, what's helped me the most was really just learning how to identify areas of my technique that were weak, figure out what EXACTLY was causing the weakness, and then thinking up very targeted drills to improve that area. If there's something you struggle with, figure out what the exact motions are that are tripping you up, and work out a drill that will hone those exact motions.
     
  13. Nag

    Nag chugs and screams

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    What has helped me :
    1) Practicing while standing up
    2) Master Of Puppets.
     
  14. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade John Bohlinger's Miyagi-Fang Karate

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    Nuno's Play With Me solo.
     
  15. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    Another thing I'd like to add that's fun, can add depth, and help facilitate longer sounds note runs is playing a three nps run, but skipping a note, so something like:

    e------------------------------------------------------------------------------14---15---17---15---14
    B--------------------------------------------------------------12---15---17----------------------------17---15---12
    G----------------------------------------------11---12---14-----------------------------------------------------------14---12---11
    D-------------------------------9---12---14-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------14---12---9
    A-----------------9---10---12-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12---10---9
    E---7---10---12---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12---10---7

    That one is a very good one for economy picking.
     
  16. moraghath107360

    moraghath107360 SS.org Regular

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    I second this. Practicing while standing up in particular makes sitting feel so much easier. I find it also helps me with practicing a better hand position (I tend to place my fingers too flat on the frets).
     

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