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Author Topic: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?  (Read 5502 times)

Offline Obsidian

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With the forum being a bit quiet as of late, I figured I'd just put the question up. Was it a chance meeting? Obsessing over an idol? Playing with other people? A special piece of kit?

/curious

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline Notes_Norton

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Practice.

Seriously, that's it.

Other than that, when a friend told me not to press the strings so hard and instead, develop a light touch.

Other than practice, what improves me the most as a musician? Listening to all forms of music and music by different instruments. From Blues to Symphonies, from Peking Opera to Tuvan Throat Singing, and from guitarists to saxophonists to organists to vocalists and so on.

Guitar is my 7th instrument, so I brought a lot of baggage with me. I also played bass for a while during the psychedelic era when nobody wanted to hire a sax player.

Notes
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Bob "Notes" Norton

Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com aftermarket styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft Songsmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com the best duo in South FLorida

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

paulj1

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Warming up with scales in varying keys.

paulj1

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline Notes_Norton

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Yes, scales and all the other fundamentals. Getting these under your fingers so you no longer have to think about them is IMHO essential.

The fundamentals may be boring to some, but in the long run they save you a lot of time, give you a better understanding about what you are playing, and IMHO make you a better player in the long run.

And after coming from sax, flute, wind synth, and keyboard synth I feel like I'm cheating on the guitar.

On the guitar, the same scale is fingered the same in all keys, it just starts on a different fret. The same scale on the woodwinds or keys is fingered entirely differently in different keys.

OK, there are 5 hand different positions to play each scale on the guitar. On the woodwinds and keys there are 12. And the fingerings aren't even close.

But there is a trade off, it's more difficult to read music on the guitar.

Insights and incites by Notes
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Bob "Notes" Norton

Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com aftermarket styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft Songsmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com the best duo in South FLorida

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline bno

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Time. 

And playing with new musicians.  If I can't play with other musicians, then what's the point?  Sure, you need to do all the shed work and technical and theory and lessons and jibber jabber and everything else.  But your musician improves by playing with other musicians. 

Unless you are a solo performer, then your inner musician improves by playing in front of people.   So, playing with other musicians or playing in front of people.  More than anything else.  We do all the work so we can get out and play. 

Unless you are a hermit who only does recording.  Then I would say getting out of your studio and  going out and listening to other people play. 

So, time.  Doing whatever it is you want to to, but doing it for a long time.  20, 30, 40 years.

And trying new things, new styles, new sounds. 

And learing how to practice slowly.  Oh, so slowly.  Which I guess goes back to time. 

Take the time to take your time and you'll have a good time all the time.   That's what she said.
'94 Fly Deluxe
Listen first, then play.

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline Bill

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Playing with others--I spent way too many years playing by myself.

Playing other instruments-- My guitar playing jumped up another notch after learning to play some mandolin.
A few Flys in my soup

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline billy

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Singing.  Sing your parts, then play on the guitar.  Play and sing.

To be able to sing your parts you must be able to hear them very clearly in your head.  If you can't hear the parts in your head, then your playing will almost certainly reflect that.

Same applies for tricky rhythms, same reasons- clap your parts.  This is also useful to help tighten up a group when things are a bit loose.  Everyone claps their parts together. You will immediately hear the problems.  Be gentle when you point fingers...  ;-)

Most of all, have fun and don't take things too seriously!
Billy

[always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.  e. e. cummings]

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline Patzag

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Listening to other musicians and timing.
Slowing down.  There's lots of time to get to that next note.  Don't rush.  Best advice I got.  I started to enjoy time.  Played less. Made each not more significant.
Second best advice:  Play only what you hear. Don;t let the fingers do the playing.  Cause your own music.  Decide to play something and then play it.
Teal Fly Classic 1998 / White Deluxe Hard Tail 1994 /Axe FX II

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline bembamboo

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really thoughtful question.  join a band.  play live.  play fewer notes.  play a good guitar.  as a kid it took about 5 years to get fairly decent.  prolly lots quicker these days.  btw, high volume can improve tone using tubes, but destroys hearing.  getting sustain and distortion brought a rewarding interaction with the amp, guitar and playing, which improved playing and excitement of playing.  and then adrenalin set in....
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 01:24:24 AM by bembamboo »

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline bno

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really thoughtful question.  join a band.  play live.  play fewer notes.  play a good guitar. . .
This hits on a very important point.  A good guitar.  When I got my first Fly, my playing improved dramatically.  I'd be willing to wager that at a certain point in your development, this is a critical transition point.  What it can do for your self-confidence, sense of musical joy, etc.  Of course on the other hand if you get this quality guitar and still suck, well, that's sometimes how it goes.   
'94 Fly Deluxe
Listen first, then play.

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline ubo

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Probably switching my distortion pedal off in 1993  ;D

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline Obsidian

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Great stuff everyone! Inspiring! :D


I gave it some thought, but for me it is neigh impossible to pin one thing down. There's a couple of things that stand out, of course.

Practice - without focus on specific goals I would not be where I am. And I could have done so much better still!

Playing with other people - What sticks out is my turn in a funkrock band where they couldn't find people for a horns section, had previously kicked the keyboard player and the other guitarist left. Leaving me the one man army in the midfrequencies. Locking in with the rest of the rythym section (more than playing in a metal band) and showing restraint in solo's so things stay interesting for 2-3 sets. have taught me quite a bit. (next to all those other inspiring things that come from playing with people)

Fly - Got my fly when I was dead set on becoming a professional musician. I suppose it helped more having invested every single penny I owned in a wonderful instrument that I just had to pick up and play. But the motivation was there to begin with.

recording yourself - from painful first tape recordings over jamtracks till better recordings, studio time. And finally realizing that I kept getting closer to playing what was actually in my head instead of just following the interesting things my fingers did.

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline guitarmanuk

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There is the obvious practice and picking up snippets of information from YouTube or teaching DVDs, although I never have been good at working my way through entire programs.

For me, the biggest jump in my playing was not only playing with other people, but playing with people who are better than you.  I am not saying don't play with others on your level, far from it, but players who are a level or 2 up on you will force you to raise your game.  They will also do things you have not seen or heard before.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to play with a bunch of very talented musicians who accept me as 'the weak link' in the chain.  One of them is a wonderful sax player and her mastery of the instrument inspires me to play better.
David

1997 Parker Fly Classic transparent Teal Green
1997 Parker Fly Concert Butterscotch

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline David Tomkins

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playing guitar whilst watching tv :)

either playing the mindless scales/patterns that would otherwise leave me bored rigid,
or
more importantly trying to play along with theme tunes and melodies. 

as a result I reckon I have a pretty good ear for hearing a melody then being able to play it straight away.  nothing prodigious or complicated but enough to save me a lot of time and impress other peeps/musicians and make it look like I know what I am doing.  I teach in secondary (high) school (not music though) and the number of orchestra musicians that can read but have (almost literally) no ear is always surprising to me.  They think I have some magical ability or have been secretly learning melodies!
2005 Green Quilted Maple Custom Mojo signed by Steve Vai, 2006 Parker Fly T-Shirt, 2006 Parker Fly Baseball Cap.  A triple-whammy of Parker goodness!!

Re: So... What's the thing (things?) that have improved you most as a guitar player?

Offline Notes_Norton

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I used to play my sax along with the radio and pick out the melodies. It's good ear training. The result was that I am very good at faking songs that I don't know and it also helped my ability to play melodically while improvising.
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Bob "Notes" Norton

Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com aftermarket styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft Songsmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com the best duo in South FLorida