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Thread: Multiple techniques... do I learn them all?

  1. #1
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    Multiple techniques... do I learn them all?

    Hello all! I have a simple question to a fairly complex issue. I recently started playing the guitar again after many years of putting it down to pursue my career (a real job ). After I settled into my career and things became predictable and boring, the itch to play music again came on with a vengence. That was a year ago, and I've ben playing everyday since then.

    Up until a few months ago I never really used a metronome regularly. I regret not using one in my past practices regularly, as I have gotten my alt. picking so fast lately with this wonderful device!

    This brings me to my question. I am going through the Rock Discipline video and book by Petrucci, and I am loving it. Difficult, but rewarding. I want to learn all the techniques in the book (sweeping, tapping, legato, etc.) But I am not sure if I should just pick one section and stay with it until I master it (i.e. alt. picking with the metronome), or if I should pick several exercises from each section and practice them all in a single session.

    I am currently practicing several different techniques in a single practice session.

    1. I warm up with various chromatic scale exercises to the metronome gradually getting up to top speed. (30 mins to an hour)

    2. Once I am warmed up I practice a few more alt. picking exercises. (30 mins)

    3. Then I practice a few of the legato exercises (30 mins to an hour)

    4. Then I "attempt" some sweeping. Easily my worst technique. (30 mins to an hour).

    5. I usually end by free form jamming to some backing tracks or drum loops to cool down and end the practice with a good feeling.


    What do you guys practice? I am trying to do too much? I don't want to be counter-productive by taking on too many things at once.

    Thanks!

    Ryan

  2. #2
    Freestyle Bluesman Yukon Jack's Avatar
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    I would never say that you're practicing too much. Anything you learn will make you a better player. No one can really tell you what to practice to best suit your music. How you put the techniques together is what can make your music unique. But a focused practice routine with a certain goal in mind makes the most sense. Practicing the techniques you'll use for your type of music will help streamline your practice routine.

    As far as getting back into playing after a long layoff, I did the same thing. When I first picked up my guitar I focused on my rhythm for a while before getting back into soloing. It really helped me to get the feel of the songs I wanted to work on before learning the lead lines.

    If you're already in shape for lead playing, read all of Eric Vandenberg's articles on this site. There is a lot of good practice advice in them.

  3. #3
    Freestyle Bluesman Yukon Jack's Avatar
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    Ryan,

    I read some of your previous posts and noted that you've already gone through the technique articles by Eric V. on the site. In some of your previous posts you've discussed the virtues of learning technique vs. songs. You can easily get bogged down in practicing only technique exercises. I did. But the music is what matters.

    When I started I learned all the opening riffs to all the songs I liked. I practiced only the techniques required for playing the most identifiable parts of the songs. The guitar became stale for me since I wasn't really playing music. I quit for a while. When I picked up the guitar again I decided to always learn the entire rhythm structure of a song before I learned the riffs and solos. It completely changed my musical understanding and really helped become a better player.

    YJ

  4. #4
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rrhea
    1. I warm up with various chromatic scale exercises to the metronome gradually getting up to top speed. (30 mins to an hour)

    2. Once I am warmed up I practice a few more alt. picking exercises. (30 mins)

    3. Then I practice a few of the legato exercises (30 mins to an hour)

    4. Then I "attempt" some sweeping. Easily my worst technique. (30 mins to an hour).

    5. I usually end by free form jamming to some backing tracks or drum loops to cool down and end the practice with a good feeling.
    it's great that you are practicing! Keep in mind that the only thing you mentioned above that reaaly addressed musicality is the last step, the jamming. Scales and technique without a sense of music are no good. Be carefull to balance what you practice to include making music, Improvising and ear training also. Rock on and keep up the good work.

  5. #5
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    I'd spend a bit more time, percentage-wise, working on songs and improvising. You should try make those parts just as structured as your other practice, and set goals, songs to learn, etc.

    Ear training is huge too. I think 30 minutes/day of this will pay off in spades...
    -Bizarro
    Google is your friend

  6. #6
    Since 1988 Carvinite's Avatar
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    MY NAMES RYAN ALSO!!!! As far as the thechnique questions, ill tell you how I done it, these guys can tell you if im wrong or right! All I did for awhile was practice ETB (eugenes trickbag) that got my ALT picking chops up, then I used ericV's Sweeping articles and played those shapes all day, I got my tapping chops up with Satch's song midnight, and then I just started writing my own music, I got enough thechnique under my belt to start jamming. It wasnt exactly the most unifor method, but itr got the job done for me.

    -Ryan

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Jack
    Ryan,

    I read some of your previous posts and noted that you've already gone through the technique articles by Eric V. on the site. In some of your previous posts you've discussed the virtues of learning technique vs. songs. You can easily get bogged down in practicing only technique exercises. I did. But the music is what matters...

    YJ
    Thanks for the response! BTW, I finally sorted out the issue with my crazy teacher (if that was the post you read). Turns out she was nuts and was leading me down the wrong path. I now have a great teacher and he is helping me tremendously with theory.

    You're right about learning music. In fact, I just salvaged a huge box of guitar magazines from my parents attic on a recent trip back home. They are mostly from the 80s and have the tab transcriptions of entire songs. There are tons of them, so I am currently photocopying the songs I want to learn (so I can continue to preserve the magazines).

    It is so easy to become obssessed with technique and forget about learning music, and that is what I have done lately. I just want to get the lick up to 200 bpm! It's all you can think about sometimes. But I am ready now to pick out a moderately difficult song and learn it. Practice is starting to burn me out a little due to the repetition. Mixing things up with a song to learn should definitely help.

    Thanks to all of you for your advice!

    Ryan

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