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Musician's Thread

Discussion in 'Permanent Threads' started by iczorro, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. iczorro

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I've been playing guitar for years, on and off. I'm very good at picking up ryhtms and chord progressions, but I never really got into lead guitar. Are there any specific exercises (other than scales, which I know), techniques, or instructional videos/pamphlets/etc that anyone can recommend?
     
  2. effinshenanigans

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I've played guitar for about 6 years now. My roommate in college taught me how to play using tabs and basic chord charts and I've gotten along pretty well from there. If I hear a song, I can generally look it up and play it decently well. My problem is that I want to understand chord progressions better, namely blues progressions.

    I've got a few that I tool around with from time to time, but I'd like to know more about how they work so that I can start to create my own. I know that there is a ton of stuff on the internet that I can look at (and that by saying I want to learn blues chord progressions I'm being painfully general) but is there any specific place that I should look for this type of stuff?
     
  3. Primer

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I've been learning to play bass for about 8-9 months, while I'm no expert or even close to awesome, I can still help point out the way for people wanting to learn. Tips, tricks and even the songs I've thus learned (perhaps I'll write up a list of songs and tabs if I can find them) and the literature I've used.
     
  4. Bloochies

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    Been playing guitar on and off for about seven years now, I started off with lessons but wasn't really interested in the theory behind the music so I stopped going. Now here I am trying to learn/relearn scales, progressions, and what have you in addition to training my ear. Shoulda just stuck with those lessons. Anyway, these resources have been helpful so far.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.guitarstatic.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.guitarstatic.com/</a> Basic lessons ranging from your fundamental rock chords to more complicated stuff

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.musictheory.net/trainers/html/id90_en.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.musictheory.net/trainers/html/id90_en.html</a> Interval ear trainer

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.chordbook.com/guitarchords.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.chordbook.com/guitarchords.php</a> Interactive chordbook

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.musictheory.net/trainers/html/id81_en.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.musictheory.net/trainers/html/id81_en.html</a> Basic notation
     
  5. Sam N

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    In regards to your questions regarding learning guitar theory and all the nitty gritty in that:

    I spent years trying to figure out this same damn shit online and through books. And you know what? I never really learned much. It seemed like a lot of resources gave different and conflicting information about scales and modes and triads, etc..., but in reality I just couldn't wrap my brain around it. I could see something, and I could read how it related to a certain key or whatever, but it never stuck. Then I took lessons with a guy solely focused on guitar theory for about a year. And fuck, I learned that shit no problem. It helps if you are good enough to jam a bit so you can actually dive into it with some context.

    So my recommendation if you really want to learn the theory behind guitars? Get some lessons with someone that knows their shit. Not the dude down the street that can totally play the solo in Freebird. (edit - obviously the two aren't mutually exclusive)

    For what it's worth though, this site has some decent stuff:

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.zentao.com/guitar/theory/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.zentao.com/guitar/theory/</a>
     
  6. Disgustipated

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I used to play bass in a band, without ever having had a lesson. I therefore kid myself that I am "punk".

    I spent years noodling around on guitars, and still do, but never really had the knack for it. For some reason it just never gelled for me. I found bass to be the complete opposite and could immediately start jamming with a few fundamental concepts (most of which are the same between guitar and bass).

    I found that playing with other guys with some experience really helped as I had to push myself to be better to not fuck up around them, so my skills got better quickly. Obviously, having band mates that can tolerate someone on a steep learning curve is essential here.

    I've found out that I have a knack for rhythm and no gift for melody. I even visualise music in patterns, and will curse if forced to ready musical script. So bass and drums it is for me.
     
  7. BadBrains

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I've been playing guitar and piano since I was 13, along with various other fretted instruments. A great site for beginners or those of you looking for exercises check out -

    http://www.justinguitar.com/index.php

    I recommend this site to everyone for a few reasons - the guy who runs it is a phenomenal instructor, and it is structured very, very well, which is a HUGE problem with a lot of the other sites out there. Be wary of them - they will teach you fingerings for the major scales that are pretty much useless and put far too much emphasis on technique. Also, don't pay attention to sites that teach advanced theory. There is no point in learning the circle of fifths if you don't know what a "5th" is.

    Feel free to hit me with any questions!
     
  8. toytoy88

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I've played guitar for 39 years now. (I just had to do the math in my head. I had to think of what year I was born and what year it is now...Jesus I'm getting old.)

    The only advice I can give anyone is that once you reach a certain point, you're going to have to sit down and learn music theory. It's boring as hell, but the whole idea is to learn it and then forget it and just play...ie...it becomes imprinted on your brain and you know instinctively what the next chord should be and which notes work with which chords.

    As far as playing blues, the theory is simple. It's usually a I, IV, V progression played over 12 bars. Say you're play in the key of E, you're going to play a progression of E, A, & B. When I play blues I tend to play a I, IV, I, V, IV progression, but that's just me.

    Lead work, I dunno...that's something you're either born with or you're not. I've been forced to play lead a few times, but I'm not that good at it. Learn all the major and minor scales and once again...learn theory. You need to know how to apply those scales over certain chords and progressions.

    I'll be more then happy to give any advice I can. I've taught guitar for years and had more then one student that hadn't learned anything from other teachers suddenly learn when I worked with them. I don't bore them with stuff they don't want to know right away. I teach them something they want to know right away and that seems to inspire them to practice.

    Practice though is an ugly word. It implies something that is forced. Playing any instrument should be something that comes from deep inside...a deep, abiding love of music no matter what type of music you favor.

    The best advice I can give to anyone wanting to learn or better themselves on any instrument is to play, experiment, and listen to as many styles of music as you can. You'd be amazed what you can pick up from different music then you normally listen to...be it an odd chord progression, or and unusual time change. At some point in time you'll remember it and it will become part of your playing.
     
  9. Obviously5Believer

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I've been playing guitar, drums, and keyboards for about 8 years now, in addition to fucking around with related instruments like mandolin or accordion. I started on guitar and mostly got into the others because I always wanted to record music but couldn't find people to play with me. I took guitar lessons for 2 years to learn music theory (which I've pretty much forgotten) and taught myself all the others.

    I recommend to every musician, no matter what instrument you play; record yourself, even if it's just a shitty laptop mic while you are practicing. I can't really overestimate how much it will help you realize your weaknesses, especially if you are trying to record an entire song straight through. Sloppy bends, poor fretwork, poor dynamics and tempo, an off time bass drum...all these things should jump out at you while you're listening to the recording that you did not notice while you were actually playing. It is a lot harder to sound like a professional on a recording that can be analyzed forever than a one time performance, where a lot of mistakes you make are unnoticed by your grandpa/mom/girlfriend/ whoever you play for.

    Noticing these mistakes and learning how to correct them will really come in handy if you ever want to play in a band where things like, you know, tempo and musicianship are important. I sucked at keeping a steady tempo until I forced myself to start playing with drum loops and recording the result.

    Also, I think knowing theory is overrated by some people. It's useful stuff for sure, but your favorite musician probably doesn't know shit about reading music and the circle of fifths. People like John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix listened to lots and lots of music and played all damn day. That is how you get really good.
     
  10. toytoy88

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I should of elaborated and said "Basic Music Theory." I've never even heard of the circle of fifths. I can read music if I try really hard, but I can't sit and play it by sight on guitar. I'm a bit better with a piano, but not by much. I never learned theory beyond progressions and the basic make up of chords. (Which is also the foundation of lead work and how to apply scales.)

    Your advice of recording yourself is spot on. To this day I cringe when I realize how badly I butchered a piece of music when it sounded perfect when I originally played it.

    And playing with a metronome or drum machine can not be overemphasized enough, at least in my experience. I tend to rush things and I need a beat to slow my ass down. I've had plenty of musicians tell me "You're in time, but it's the oddest sense of time I've ever heard." For some reason my sense of time is best described as frantic. If I don't have something to slow me down and keep me in line, I play way to fast with my own sense of timing. Which is all well and good when you're writing original stuff, but pretty messed up when you're trying to cover someone else's song and playing with others.
     
  11. Denver

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I've been playing guitar for probably 4-5 years now, and I'm not too bad. Problem being I've kind of plateaued, since I can't always practice when I want (i.e. I live in an apartment and anytime I dare strike a chord the fat bitches above me pound on the ceiling, and I can't have another noise complaint).

    I'm much more into acoustic than electric (although I do have an amp and a Strat), and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice for getting better at singing and playing at the same time. When people find out I play guitar they always ask me to play for them, which I'm apprehensive to do because I'm not quite good enough to do anything impressive on the old acoustic that is purely instrumental, but if I could sing along it'd be a lot more impressive. The problem being that I can never seem to play and sing at the same time (ignoring the fact for a moment that I have a shitty singing voice anyway). If the strumming pattern is even remotely complex I will completely lose my rhythm the moment I open my mouth to sing. And God help me if I'm trying to sing and play something that requires picking around the chords rather than just strumming them.

    So, any advice for singing and playing at the same time?
     
  12. effinshenanigans

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    Practice.

    I know I'm here asking for advice as well, but I feel like you and I are in a rather similar place, skill-wise, and that's the only thing that's helped me. Practice the song until the muscle memory of the chords and timing overwhelm any outside disturbance. Then sing along.
     
  13. Angel_1756

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I'm a classically trained pianist but I can't figure out jazz for the life of me. When I play it, it sounds stiff and uncoordinated. Practicing isn't improving it - it's almost like my hands are fighting it. Hard to explain.

    Anyway, anyone here play jazz piano? I need tips.
     
  14. toytoy88

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    Practice, practice, practice.

    I wrote music for a long time, but couldn't sing. I grew tired of waiting around for the singers I worked with to show up, so I started recording myself while playing and singing at the same time and quite honestly I sucked ass. It hurt my ears to listen to what I was doing, but ever so slowly, I learned to do it.

    I was never musically gifted so it took me a lot longer then most people, then add in the fact that I sing like cats fucking and you have a recipe for disaster. If I can teach myself to do it, anyone can. It's going to be a painful assault on your eardrums for a bit, but with a bit of work you'll find it gets easier and easier.
     
  15. toytoy88

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    As Chater wrote, playing Jazz is a whole different animal. It's all about improvising and just playing what's inside your own heart.

    There are no rules. You just play. That's it, pure and simple.

    It's kind of hard to wrap your head around that after you spent years learning there are rules.

    No one can teach you the art of improvising and playing the music you hear in your head. Not many people have that gift. You have to break through the barrier of parroting music you've heard and just letting what is inside of yourself come out.
     
  16. scotchcrotch

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    My guitar of choice is a Breedlove that I picked up just recently. Before that it was a Fender acoustic, and the difference in tone is night and day.

    I've been playing off and on for 5 years.

    Music theory sucks balls. But it's the foundation and without it, you're just a mimic.
     
  17. ssycko

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I've been playing guitar for 7 years, bass for 8 and piano on and off for about... 13 years? Having said that, my main instrument is the guitar. I know that I'm pretty good but not great, but that doesn't seem to be the opinion of most people that I play with. It's just weird when people (who aren't just my mom) say, "Holy shit you're so much better than me" when I really don't think I sound that great. I know it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn but I'm really not, I have tons to learn.

    That being said, learning music theory has been pretty much nothing but fun for me. If you're having trouble with all the online mumbo jumbo, whoever said that taking lessons/ classes on it works was right. http://www.musictheory.net is a good resource, but it's hard to learn without a teacher.

    If you're saying that you can't learn to be a better improviser, you're wrong. I know all the "play what's in your heart" and "you either got it or you don't" shit sounds romantic, but how the fuck do you think the best got to be the best? By practicing. They weren't born with that ability. And as for the "theory is overrated," maybe it is, but there's no denying that it will help you become a better player. Sure, Hendrix never sat down and learned four part harmony, but if you're going to say that he didn't know his shit in regards to theory, well, that just isn't true. Learning theory doesn't make you a lesser player.

    Backing tracks and Hendrix. I was in the same boat as you for a little while, playing lead was a little overwhelming and I wasn't terribly great at it, until I started listening to and learning from Hendrix. If you can't play Little Wing, learn it. There's also a wealth of backing tracks on the internet in a variety of styles. Just play along with those until you start to become more comfortable with the whole thing. Learning "licks" and shit like that is generally kind of useless, if you're just spitting out lick after lick that you learned from some Ultimate Guitar lesson, you're gonna sound like a robot.
     
  18. toytoy88

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    I understand what you're saying, but I'm not romanticizing the idea. If you don't feel music and hear music in your head, you're not going to be able to improvise. The music comes from inside of you and if you can't hear it in your head in the first place, you're not going to be able to play it.

    It's a gift that some have and some don't. I have it to some degree, but not as much as others. I hear melodies in my dreams, wake up, and play them on my guitar or whatever else instrument is handy. I've gone as far as writing a song simply by banging my hands on a bed in a hotel room in a rhythm because I had nothing else available.

    Practicing until your fingers bleed is going to carry you a long ways in learning how to play riffs, but that's all your going to learn how to do. Be a mimic. It's the Peter Principle (For those unfamiliar with the Peter Principle...People rise to their own level of incompetency.)

    If you don't hear the melodies in your own head there is no way in hell you're going to create music. That would be like a person who doesn't read, write, or understand German trying to write a novel in that language because they saw a movie written in German. They can mimic it with enough practice, but they have no idea what they're saying and even less idea of what they're doing if they set out to write in German.

    That's all improvising is...speaking in a different language except rather then using words you're using notes. And just like speaking and writing, some people are gifted with the ability to tell a story and some aren't.
     
  19. BadBrains

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    The site I linked earlier has some great exercises for developing left-hand (picking hand) technique - http://www.justinguitar.com/en/TE-000-Technique.php. I'm a fan of "The Spider" myself.

    Practice with a metronome, start slow, and practice CLEAN. Meaning, shut off the effects and distortion.
     
  20. BadBrains

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    Re: Instruments and Music Thread

    Actually, Hendrix didn't know theory. He understood what he heard and knew what went were from years of playing, but I doubt if he could have told you why he played "X" chord other than, "Hey man, it sounds good." A little bit of theory and a whole lot of ear is the best recipe.

    Jazz is a different animal, though. I'm currently studying jazz guitar, and without theory you're going nowhere fast.