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Thread: Making the most of books...

  1. #1
    Registered User shyboy12's Avatar
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    Making the most of books...

    I'm currently using the Modern Method For Guitar Vol. 1 by William Leavitt to improve my sight reading and some of the Troy Stetina books (which seem excessively easy to me) just to recap some of my technique. I'm self-taught you see so I just want to make sure what I'm doing is right. Basically I just want to know how to make the most of these books. I've heard from before that you shouldn't memorise the Modern Method For Guitar books as that would eliminate the need for sight reading so how should I go about with this then? Same with the Troy Stetina books... To be honest the licks and songs in the Stetina books are much too basic for me (I've been playing guitar intensively for nearly 5 years now) and I'm only really interested in correcting minor details about my technique. Any help is much appreciated, Sid.
    I'd kill for a noble peace prize...

  2. #2
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    I like your quote..

    Quote Originally Posted by shyboy12
    I'm currently using the Modern Method For Guitar Vol. 1 by William Leavitt to improve my sight reading and some of the Troy Stetina books (which seem excessively easy to me) just to recap some of my technique. I'm self-taught you see so I just want to make sure what I'm doing is right. Basically I just want to know how to make the most of these books. I've heard from before that you shouldn't memorise the Modern Method For Guitar books as that would eliminate the need for sight reading so how should I go about with this then? Same with the Troy Stetina books... To be honest the licks and songs in the Stetina books are much too basic for me (I've been playing guitar intensively for nearly 5 years now) and I'm only really interested in correcting minor details about my technique. Any help is much appreciated, Sid.
    Hi. I am not familiar with that book. Are you studying intervals and how they move around on the guitar? I had trouble reading music for guitar until I started to look more at intervals.

    For example, if you play an open E chord, the most basic one out there, take a look at the interval movement. The notes from low to high are
    E, B, E, G#, B, E

    The interval movemt, starting from low E is

    Perfect 5th E to B, Perfect 4th B to E, Major third E to G#, minor 3rd G# to B, Perfect 4th B to E.

    My point is that once I started understanding ALL chord forms from an interval standpoint, and even scale movement, I realized that I am able to write out guitar parts I am thinking of just by visualizing the intervals in the chord and/or scale. I can do this without the guitar in front of me.

    If you visualize a D minor 7 on the 5th fret, (omitting the 6th string) You have D A C F A

    D to A is a P5, A to C is a m3, C to F is a P4, F to A is a M3.

    This concept works with any chord or scale. You can traval around in your mind on the fretboard, which is what it is all about. The cool part is it requires no memorization because you are using your mind every time you do this... the skill only improves but you must study and understand intervals and how they look and work on the guitar.

    A good way to practice is to write out the intervals in every key and try playing through them. One thing I have learned from studio musicians who are awsome sight readers is to never read the same thing twice. Once you dedicate it to memory you are not reading.

    This is why I write out intervals, chords, or whatever, and just practice "reading", then I toss the page and write out a new one. Becoming a sight reader takes time but you definitely want to stay away from memorizing any one piece.

    The thing is that once you master the art of sight reading it is like riding a bike, you really never forget but you have to do it every day.. Let me know if you would like to know more about this, I think I can help you out.

    P.S. HOw long have you been playing, and what is your main style?
    Last edited by joeyd929; 05-14-2006 at 02:16 PM.
    Joey D




  3. #3
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    I'm actually the opposite. I don't think of intervals at all. I know them all faster then I can think of them, but to me the fretboard is just a piece of wood with a whole bunch of notes on it. As far as I can tell, when I'm playing or sight reading, intervals don't really even register. I suppose on some level they would have to, but it's somewhere in the background...but that's just me and there are many ways of doing things.

    As for the books, don't worry about getting every possible thing out of any book you are working on. You don't have to digest everything for it to be worth while. For some reason everyone, myself included, seem to think that in order for a book to be worth while you have to work it front to back and that's just not the case. Just dabble in whatever you want. I have a lot of books lying around and they all come out every now and then, but I've never worked one front to back. They are more for inspiration and giving fresh ideas. They allow me to see how other people do things differently then myself and taking pieces that I want and adding it to my own way of doing things, rather then learning complete concepts.

  4. #4
    Registered User shyboy12's Avatar
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    Thanks alot for the responses guys. In terms of sight reading I've never really looked at it as intervals, I tend to just memorise the notes in relation to their position on the guitar and just read and play... Oh and I've been playing for over 4 years and my main style is generally progressive metal although I also do a fair bit of jazz/fusion and classical...
    I'd kill for a noble peace prize...

  5. #5
    Registered Abuser widdly widdly's Avatar
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    Troy Stetina books excessively easy? Which ones are you talking about? I'd love it if I found his version of Flight of the Bumblebee from speed mechanics excessively easy!

    If you can think in terms of intervals then transposing stuff is easier. Also if you want to do any sight singing, then intervals are the go. It helps for reading chords too. I think a combination of the two is helpful.
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    Last edited by widdly widdly; 04-11-2011 at 07:27 AM.

  6. #6
    Registered User shyboy12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by widdly widdly
    Troy Stetina books excessively easy? Which ones are you talking about? I'd love it if I found his version of Flight of the Bumblebee from speed mechanics excessively easy!

    If you can think in terms of intervals then transposing stuff is easier. Also if you want to do any sight singing, then intervals are the go. It helps for reading chords too. I think a combination of the two is helpful.
    Lol not the speed mechanics book. The metal rhythm guitar and metal lead guitar books...
    I'd kill for a noble peace prize...

  7. #7
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    As far as technique goes I would definitely recommend "Mechanics for Speed". It has a lot of useful exercises that gave me ideas to trigger my own mechanical/symetrical stuff for development of my hands (which is proving to be amazingly useful right now). If you can get a hold of Joe Satriani's Guitar Secrets (it goes for like 10 bucks in Amazon) it has that and a bit more on the things you want to work on, like intervals, ear training and improvisation. Since those are mini-lessons you can get a lot of mileage out of that book (I seem to find new stuff every time I look at it, and I've had it for a couple of years now).

    All the books in the Leavit series are great for sight reading and you can get some interesting exercises (chord etudes specially) out of it.

    A word on sight reading: When you do it, you need to read. I know it sounds obvious, but a lot of students tend to stop at every note and try and figure out and then move on to the next, that will lead to memorization and it's not what you want. You need to look ahead and simply identify the notes as you are going. If you are new to notation I would spend a few months working through a beginner's book like Mel Bay book 1, Hall Leonard Method 1, even those fast track books or the progressive method will do (I think alfred has come up with "essential elements for guitar" as well) the point on that is that the stuff will be so dead-brain easy for you that you won't need to figure out how to play it and you can focus on note identification on the spot. Once you have one or two months of that under your belt then tackle the Leavit Books and approach them the same way, just play right through the examples. You will mess up in the beginning but as you move farther and your reading gets better you won't make as many mistakes. It is imperative that you spend enough time in the "boring sections" of the book, where you are playing only in half notes or quarter notes through fairly predictable sequences, make sure you internalize those and they will help you later in the book. Other than that, simply follow Mr Leavit's instructions. He is a much better teacher than I am (I mean he was chair of the guitar department in Berklee for a reason ).

    Anyway, I hope this helps.

    -Jorge

    I am glad we play guitar because:
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  8. #8
    Registered User shyboy12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by forgottenking2
    As far as technique goes I would definitely recommend "Mechanics for Speed". It has a lot of useful exercises that gave me ideas to trigger my own mechanical/symetrical stuff for development of my hands (which is proving to be amazingly useful right now). If you can get a hold of Joe Satriani's Guitar Secrets (it goes for like 10 bucks in Amazon) it has that and a bit more on the things you want to work on, like intervals, ear training and improvisation. Since those are mini-lessons you can get a lot of mileage out of that book (I seem to find new stuff every time I look at it, and I've had it for a couple of years now).

    All the books in the Leavit series are great for sight reading and you can get some interesting exercises (chord etudes specially) out of it.

    A word on sight reading: When you do it, you need to read. I know it sounds obvious, but a lot of students tend to stop at every note and try and figure out and then move on to the next, that will lead to memorization and it's not what you want. You need to look ahead and simply identify the notes as you are going. If you are new to notation I would spend a few months working through a beginner's book like Mel Bay book 1, Hall Leonard Method 1, even those fast track books or the progressive method will do (I think alfred has come up with "essential elements for guitar" as well) the point on that is that the stuff will be so dead-brain easy for you that you won't need to figure out how to play it and you can focus on note identification on the spot. Once you have one or two months of that under your belt then tackle the Leavit Books and approach them the same way, just play right through the examples. You will mess up in the beginning but as you move farther and your reading gets better you won't make as many mistakes. It is imperative that you spend enough time in the "boring sections" of the book, where you are playing only in half notes or quarter notes through fairly predictable sequences, make sure you internalize those and they will help you later in the book. Other than that, simply follow Mr Leavit's instructions. He is a much better teacher than I am (I mean he was chair of the guitar department in Berklee for a reason ).

    Anyway, I hope this helps.

    -Jorge

    I am glad we play guitar because:

    Ooh thanks, I'll check out those books sometime... But can you elaborate a bit on what you mean by the sight READING? Thanks...
    I'd kill for a noble peace prize...

  9. #9
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    silent-storm

    I'm actually the opposite. I don't think of intervals at all. I know them all faster then I can think of them, but to me the fretboard is just a piece of wood with a whole bunch of notes on it. As far as I can tell, when I'm playing or sight reading, intervals don't really even register. I suppose on some level they would have to, but it's somewhere in the background...but that's just me and there are many ways of doing things.
    How do you do it then? Just curious the Phantom is..
    If you look at the fretboard as a piece of wood with a whole bunch of notes on it, don't you have any patterns, or groupings in mind?

  10. #10
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    A lot of students think they are "sight reading" when they are simply memorizing a piece by working slowly through each measure. There is nothing wrong with this, and it's a great way to LEARN how to read but it's not reading. When you are practicing your sight reading you need to pick up music (of the appropriate level) that you have never seen before and read through it like you are reading this post. You are not stopping on each word going "W-H-A-T oh ok What! T-H-E oh the! H-E-C-K oh heck!!" etc you just read the words and recognize them instantly. This took you a lot of work in Kinder Garden and 1st grade (some people take up to 6th grade to become decent readers... sad but true) and you were reading stuff like "The cat is on the table" and stuff like that. Think in those terms when you are reading music (hence my suggestion to start on a beginners book before you tackle Leavit's stuff). If the music is simple enough, you will recognize those patterns easily later on, once you start getting better at it then you can work through things like tunes from The Real Book or pieces from the classical repertoire (I still suck at reading some things but my issues are mainly rhythmic... a common pitfall for guitarists I am steadily working at it though).

    The bottom line is: Start at a level where you can do the stuff perfectly and work from there. I hope this helps.

    Good Luck

    -Jorge
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  11. #11
    Registered User shyboy12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by forgottenking2
    A lot of students think they are "sight reading" when they are simply memorizing a piece by working slowly through each measure. There is nothing wrong with this, and it's a great way to LEARN how to read but it's not reading. When you are practicing your sight reading you need to pick up music (of the appropriate level) that you have never seen before and read through it like you are reading this post. You are not stopping on each word going "W-H-A-T oh ok What! T-H-E oh the! H-E-C-K oh heck!!" etc you just read the words and recognize them instantly. This took you a lot of work in Kinder Garden and 1st grade (some people take up to 6th grade to become decent readers... sad but true) and you were reading stuff like "The cat is on the table" and stuff like that. Think in those terms when you are reading music (hence my suggestion to start on a beginners book before you tackle Leavit's stuff). If the music is simple enough, you will recognize those patterns easily later on, once you start getting better at it then you can work through things like tunes from The Real Book or pieces from the classical repertoire (I still suck at reading some things but my issues are mainly rhythmic... a common pitfall for guitarists I am steadily working at it though).

    The bottom line is: Start at a level where you can do the stuff perfectly and work from there. I hope this helps.

    Good Luck

    -Jorge
    Thanks alot Jorge, that's really gonna help me with getting my sight reading down.
    I'd kill for a noble peace prize...

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    for some reason I can't quote or respond...only quick respond (is there even any difference?) So this ones in response to Phantom.

    I've thought about this for a while...how do I actually play? and I have to say that I make a clear distinction between purely melodic intervals, which the first resonse was mostly elluding to, and how a note functions in relation to a key centre. So say you have a minor third of D-F. If I hear, or play that in relation to C Major I wont think or necessarily even hear the minor third. I will just think/hear 2nd to 4th. Well actually, I will think and hear D-F, but I have worked very hard to get to the point where thinking of a note in relation to a key kind of goes hand and hand with it's numerical function...the two exist simultaniously. I went a long ways in ear training never actually knowing what specific melodic intervals sounded like. I just hear them in relation to a key and I think the two ways can actually exist completely independantly. Even to this day it takes a very harmonically ambigious environment for me to start thinking and more importantly hearing specific melodic intervals. If it's D, F, B, E in the key of C I don't think or hear minor 3rd, b5, P4, but I do think/hear 2nd, 4th, 7th, 3rd. The former doesn't even register and intellectualizing the later as specific funcitons only register if I think about it after the fact because I only need the notes to automatically know the functions...if that makes any sense. So really I only ever think in terms of notes in relation to the chord of the moment and the funtion of the individual notes just happens automatically. Is that thinking in intervals? maybe, depending on what your definition of intervals is.

    So when I play do I have any patterns or groupings? There are certainly areas of the neck that I gravitate to in particularily difficult songs. I tend to favour the area generally in and around the 8th fret when things get tough. But that is regardless of key, so does that really count? I'm not sure. If I know a song really well and am on top of my game on a given day I'd have to say no I don't really gravitate anywhere, every note is equally accessable and I purposely try and move around a lot.

    I play a lot of piano as well, so I try and think as similar as possible on both instruments. You have to think in terms of notes on piano, so I don't really want to switch methods when I switch instruments. Only pattern a piano player may have is where they gravitate to in terms of register. It's a lot harder, especially for chords, to do all this on guitar, but once you have the theory down you are dealing with the same things every time you pick your instrument up, so all you are going to do is become faster.

    if there's one thing I've learned is that it pays to come up with your own method. Although it really helps if you can explain it, which it remains to be seen if I actually can.

  13. #13
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    ...if that makes any sense.
    It surely does.


    So really I only ever think in terms of notes in relation to the chord of the moment and the funtion of the individual notes just happens automatically. Is that thinking in intervals?
    That is how i think as well.. the notes in relation to the chord underneath- not necessarily in relation to the note before or after. May that be good or bad, but it seems to work for me also.

    I just guess that for sightreading purposes it might be easier to be able to read the intervalls from one note to the other, not thinking about the harmonical function or relation to the key and chord.
    So improvising and reading has probably different approaches in terms of intervall-thinking.
    Just my guess..
    Last edited by phantom; 05-18-2006 at 07:55 AM.

  14. #14
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    Notes in relation to the chord is how I think as well when playing keyboards too. So over G major I'll know instantly when I hit a D that it's the 5th in respect of the chord. In fact unless I'm really going for it (or I only know what key I'm playing over) I think that way on keys all the time = I'm not thinking about scales at all, only what I can use against that chord of the moment and whats strong/weak/exotic over it and where it's going for the chord coming next. I never worked on that it's just what I did.

    When it comes to guitar I have some serious work to do to reach that same point. I probably have much more physical technique on guitar, even though I'm still rubbish (well it's infinitely harder anyways) but so much less musicality....

  15. #15
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    I think note/chord relationship when I am improvising but when I am sightreading I simply read it like you would a graph. I am always trying to internalize the patterns that seem to happen a lot (scale sequences, arpegios etc) and that seems to help (just like when you work on aural skills, you learn straight scales first, then intervals, then short little motives then 8 bar melodies then 12 to 16 bar melodies which become increasingly chromatic etc) now when I see a lot of stuff I know where to play it. I still have trouble when sight reading extremely chromatic passages (for some reason the whole ton of accidentals seem to throw me off, particularly in keys like Db or Gb) or intricate rhythm parts (like what you would find in those syncopated jazz ensemble soli parts) but I am working on it a little a day Anyways... I got side tracked... so are you guys (phantom and silent storm) thinking in note to chord relationship as you are reading? Or am I missunderstanding?

    This is interesting and I would really like to hear how you guys approach it.

    Thanks,

    -Jorge
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

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