View Full Version : EV-Rant: Gathering instructional material

02-27-2004, 08:35 AM
Time for another EV-rant. Just felt like it, I guess.

Reason for that is that I have been looking through some of the emails I have gotten by members of the ibreathe-community or people who have known me from other places.
A lot of people send me email regarding certain instructional books, videos etc.
Itīs usually like "Hey, I wanna get this book / video. Is it good ? Will it help me ?"
What makes me think is that there are some people among those who sent emails like that who have asked questions like this several times. One guy ahs asked me about, like, 9 different books or videos.
Now, I can understand that you wanna make sure that the video or book youīre onna spend your dough on is a good investment. That it will help you. Iīd like to point out that itīs tough to decide for me whether it is or not sometimes. After all, some methods might work for one guy and might not work for someone else.
Itīs almost impossible to say whether that and that book is a good investment for someone I have never met, someone I never heard play, someone I know nothing about.
But thatīs not the point of this rant.
The point is that those emails make me think of a certain common mistake... a lot of people tend to make it. I am talking about wasting way too much time and money looking for just another book or video to buy, blowing a bunch of money on geting all these books within a short amount of time.
Thereīs nothing wrong with building up a library of stuff you can refer to for exercises and information. However, it sometimes seems as if a lot of people waste way too much time on looking for some book that will help them to get out of a rut, or turn them into a guitar-wizard just like that. Precious time, which could be used for other things... lkike, for example, practicing.

Really... I always hear "is this book any good ? Do I need it ? Will it help me ?". I hardly ever hear "I have been practicing and I have this problem." or "I have been practicing. That and that happened"
I used to do the same thing, buying books and vids, buying all the magazines, collecting the columns in folders. I went through every book, playing a few exercises, then I thought of that OTHER really cool book I had, went through a few exercises in that one etc.
I never did anything thoroughly. I was lookin for some magic thing to make me better, and I didnīt realize that I was wasting too much time on looking for another cool book, time I could have used for practicing.
For some reason I noticed that one day. I stopped buying stuff. I picked ONE BOOK and ONE VIDEO and worked on those for a few weeks.
And I noticed how much more I got out of the books now, how much more efficiently I used my practicing time. I then realized that what I had been doing before was actually a waste of time...going from one book to the next without spending enough time on each one, wasting all my money on MORE BOOKS and videos.
I thought "This is like buying 20 novels, reading the first chapter of the first one, then reading the first ( or second ) or not even a whole chapter of the secomnd one etc. Or like spending 20 hours at the library, collecting a huge pile of books...wasting time I could have used for reading one book. ACTUALLY READING IT".

The point is:
I admit there are good books and videos, and there are bad ones. This is highly subjective. What works for me might not work for you.
However, there is no book that will turn you into a guitar god just by being your property. You have to work through it thoroughly. And before you have done so, you shouldnīt get the next one. And the best moment to start practicing is RIGHT NOW.
So pick one book or video and work through it.
Also, although itīs a good idea to keep some variety in your practicing schedule, thereīs not much sense in skipping from one subject to the next... whatīs the point in trying to learn how to shred like Yngwie one day and then trying to get into jazz improvisation the next ? You never explore one of those aspects thoroughly if you go from one to the next. And that will be frustrating after a while.
Pick a book or video, pick it carefully, and then work through it. A huge library of instructional material wonīt make you better if you donīt use it.
And no one can tell you ( well, maybe your guitar teacher can ) whatīs the best method for you, or whether that and that book will work for you.
Sorry for rambling, thanks for your time

NP: Richie Kotzen - Fever Dream

02-27-2004, 12:14 PM
YES!!! I noticed a few months ago I spent more time collecting material to practice than I actually spent practicing. So I threw out or deleted most of my collection and kept only a few things. I was doing well for so long until just recently where I started collecting again from various websites and was even at the music store yesterday looking at books and videos:o Thanks for the reminder to get my focus back!!

Oh the numerous chops from hell cd roms don't count, I buy those just because I like watching/listening to the guys play. :)

02-27-2004, 12:39 PM
I really agree. I'm always looking for the next piece of info that will make me good. This could be an on line lesson, book, or DVD. I amassed stacks of lessons from the internet and a fair amount of books. I ended up being frustrated because I was all over the place and did't have structure to my practice sessions. I actually don't think I knew or understood half of what I had in this pile of info.

Eric, your articles on practicing really helped. Also, even though I'm relatively new I though Rock Discipline was a good book. Maybe I couldn't do all the exercises at the speed and accuracy that JP does but it made me divide my practice session to actually work on specific aspects of guitar playing. i.e. left hand technique, right hand technique scales, arps etc. You know its funny, I started lessons about 2 months ago and my teacher wrote out very simple exercises to help right hand technique, left hand technique, scales, modes, arps, and chord progressions. He makes me practice this over the circle of fifths around the guitar and makes me sing out the notes by name and scale degrees as i play them. He really believes that to learn theory and playing you should do these at the same time. Its amazing, these simple exercises and structure have made me realize that my practicing needs structure and that I need to really concentrate on simple exercises to really improve.

So the TV is off! I have gone back to basics. Slowed my tempo down to really concentrate on technique and my playing has noticable improved.

Go figure. I guess there is no shortcut



02-27-2004, 01:59 PM
Yeah when I was learning how to play I started with one book. When I got frustrated I bought another book, went partially through it, then grabbed another and another. Now I have about 6 books that I haven't completed and if you hear me play you can tell that something was wrong. Luckly I wised up not to long ago and now I'm actually improving skillwise. Books are nice but not as good as teachers. Basically kids don't end up like me, the founder of Book Gatherers Anonymous... my name is Dan and I'm a recovering Book Gatherer :)

02-27-2004, 08:09 PM
......my name is Dan........
Hi, Dan

....and I'm a recovering book gatherer


I though that was pretty darn funny !
you make an, excellent point for practice discipline. I could stand too follow through a little better on the things I start. Between, old school "stuff" and print-outs from here I've got a nice collection of things I'll never use........er, I mean for reference.
A "catch phrase" that was floating around the workplace, some time ago ; work smarter, not harder................I wonder if I could apply that.,?

:D -weekend

02-27-2004, 08:30 PM
* Sighs and looks over at his big pile of guitar books and magazines *.......:rolleyes:

Your abolutely right Eric, its time i started resisting the temptation to buy that new mag, cos it has a transcription of 'Eruption' in it, when i'm light years away from being able to play that peice since i dont spend enough time practicing properly!

Time for things to change.

02-27-2004, 08:39 PM
my name is larry.

And i am also a recovering book gatherer.
But its worse than that...I also have a large collection of videos

I dont see the problem with collecting books and videos. It's not so much that when you buy a new one, and old one goes to waste, its more that you never planned to practice in the first place, because you don't have the dedication. Buying new books is just away out, it makes me think "oh if I get this book on theory I'll know all about theory!" and since I dont have the dedication I dont stick with it.

In other words, buying books is just an outlet for our own laziness/lack of dedication and persistance. Thats the real problem at work, not the numerous books on your bookshelf. If you took one book a day, and learned / practiced one excersize randomly from a different book each day you'd still get good, although what you learn may not work together. I dont look at my piles of books and say "i wonder what I'll practice today, theres just too much info!" its more that I just dont look at my piles of books when I go to pick up the guitar, and instead mess around playing random stuff or stuff I've learned a year ago.

02-27-2004, 08:40 PM
I remember when i first came to IBreathe you (shaman_santana) said instead of practicing I just say i am practicing and just doodle.....or sumthing like that...man i have that problem too....sit down to practice and end up goofing off :( anyone know anything that could keep my mind on the right track while trying to practice? later,


02-27-2004, 08:59 PM
Hey Ryan,
Have you tried writing an outline to follow for your practice sessions ? or, check out Erics article on practicing.
Since I've started playing again, (I took a, very long hiatus), I've been through several practice outlines - I'll have several more to go too, I think. Sticking to it is, definately the tough part........................I'll either end up as a pretty good musician or,...........a really good drinker :rolleyes: ........I'll let you know........


02-27-2004, 09:04 PM
lol...i have an outline it is just hard for me to really stick to it...:mad: ....

02-27-2004, 09:33 PM
Regarding what Kramer_man said about noodling. Its something that i know is really holding me back from progressing, and i get annoyed at myself sometimes.

I think what it is about, is that you get to a certain level after perhaps 6 months to a year, when you can now actually play the guitar ok. The first few months, you cant play at all, so you spend all your time practicing and focusing on one thing at a time learning to do that thing - as you should when you practice. You get to the point though, where you can strum ok, pick ok, your technique is ok - so you can 'play' the guitar now. From then on, its easier just to pick it up and mess around a bit, just noodle and goof around cos you get lazy to start work on other stuff, or just improoving on you general playing. Thats kinda where i am now. Its frustrating but sometimes i struggle to find the motivation. I start doing something, cant do it, so just give up on it too quick and just go back to what i can do and noodle around.

I know its something that i've gotta get out of the habit of doing. I beleive i will, i've just gotta work on it i guess.

One thing i will add, so i'm not being so enitrely negative, lol, is that i think there has been some positives from all this noodling. I learnt the five pentatonic scales and the major scales a few months back, and i think through just noodling my improvisational skills have improoved. I think its helped to just get me to know the scales without thnking about it.

Still, it really is time to learn and work on something new.

02-27-2004, 10:20 PM
Originally posted by EricV
Time for another EV-rant. Just felt like it, I guess.

For some reason I noticed that one day. I stopped buying stuff. I picked ONE BOOK and ONE VIDEO and worked on those for a few weeks.
And I noticed how much more I got out of the books now, how much more efficiently I used my practicing time. I then realized that what I had been doing before was actually a waste of time...going from one book to the next without spending enough time on each one, wasting all my money on MORE BOOKS and videos.

And the best moment to start practicing is RIGHT NOW.

Amen Eric... This is the best advice for learning guitar I have ever heard but unfortunately I think we've all learnt the hard way buy wasting time and money on too many books. Thanks again for the great advice, I'm going to go practice now!

02-27-2004, 10:33 PM
The reason for this is simple human nature. It is easier to buy something than invest time in something. All people want a quick fix, take a pill etc.. The only way to get better is to play, no amount of gear is gonna help unless you actually invest the time in actually working on those things that you are NOT good at.
That is the other problem, everybody wants to work on the easy stuff because it is more fun, that is not how you get really good. The guys who are great have worked on their weaknesses.
Sure there are times when you should build on your strengths, mostly those are ths times when you are actually PLAYING not practicing.

The other problem is too many people practice without ever learning to actually PLAY and enjoy it.

At least a few times during he week just pick up your guitar and PLAY. Hopefully all the investment in practice will start to show itself in your playing.

02-27-2004, 11:17 PM
see the problem is all I do is 'PLAY' and I think i am holding my playing back and as for what shaman said...I think we are 1 in the same brother...later,


02-28-2004, 03:29 AM
Well a few years ago I bought Troy Stetinas Mechanics for Lead Guitar book, and worked with it all summer. Since my practice routine was very week(maybe 30 minutes a day on average) I showed very little progress, and I didn't understand how to use a metrenome. I got fruststrated, and found myself playing 1 or 2 of the exercises I found easy every day, never even getting them any faster.

Last year, my friend invited me to join his band. I went for the tryout, and needless to say, I sucked. I could tell. I didn't know how to improvise, and my technique in general was virtually non exisitent. Then I started practicing. About an hour a day, which was ok for me. I grabbed out my Troy Stetina book, but still struggled. I gave up, for the second time. Then one day I just decided I wanted to become a real guitar player. I already had a love of music, I just didn't have a drive to practice. I imagined myself playing infront of thousands of people doing crazy solos and everyone cheering for me... I ran out and bought John Petrucci's Rock Discipline book. I worked through it, using the metrenome "correctly". I practiced a few hours a day. My technique was improving. Then I decided to buy 2 more books, at the same time. When the books arrived I read through them, but had no clue where to start, since I now had 4 solid instructional books and countless exercises.

Well, now I do a good amount of exercises from those books each day, and my technique is improving. But where do I get at least half of my exercises from? You guessed it... iBreathe

Sorry if that was really drawn out, I just wanted to show you how I got sucked in to buying more and more books.

03-13-2004, 01:00 PM
i alway get intructional video cuz i always can learn something from somebody ;)