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countrygypsy S@nderV MaxGuitar

What is your practice regimen?

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  • Sbob Reynolds tenor sax player with Snarky Puppy among others was just writing in an email that being a full time pro with 2 young kids can get very hectic and stressful. He gets himself centered by playing slowly. Like 6 major scales on sax in 90 minutes slowly. This from a guy who can burn the keys off his instrument.

    Slow is where its at if you want to be fast.
    Buco
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    Posts: 226
    90 minutes for six scales, that is quite impressive.
    I am still trying to figure out how to make the best use of the time I have to practice. Since my background for guitar is rock music, I have been just baning away on learning all these chords - in fact, I am crazy about all the altered chords I am learnig, coolest stuff ever.
    This means though that I don't have time for much else - la pompe, or rest strokes, any of that. I am trying to work thru the stadard GJ songs from my class, but even that is a bit slow as I get up to speed on the chords and the chord substiutions.
    If anyone has any suggestions on how best to progress, I would happily take them.
  • A few things that have helped my old fingers get happy with complex movements.....

    Say the new chord to learn is F7/A with the 7th as the top note. I very slowly place the fingers in the right position (4-5 seconds slow) watching carefully and making sure I feel relaxed and calm in my head and ,y hand. I repeat this motion until I can do it fluidly always keeping relaxed and speed it up to a 1 second motion.

    Then I will practice moving to and from another chord in the tune, i will use C6/9 for example. Move between the two very slowly at first as above. Make sure you always give time for your fingers to go to the right places without confusion or tension. Then work that up to speed. Then try the movement between the next chord in the song.

    It will seem slow at first, but after years of trying to power my way through, after discovering this methodology I find it much faster for me.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    Posts: 226
    That's a great idea Jazzaferri - I have this tune with a D6/9 that moves to a D9 and then G6- Gm6. Its a really cool, complicated movement, and the barre that I used with the D6/9 in particular causes me problems.
    I will try this tonight for sure
    Thanks!
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 560
    Hey Woodamand

    You may be trying to learn too many songs at once. Narrow it down to just a few songs, maybe 2 or 3 easy ones like Minor swing, Dark eyes, and All of me, and get really good at those. Eliminate any unnecessary substitutions. Often the fake books have too many of those. Dennis Chang's lead sheets often are pretty scaled down with minimal subs. You might check those out.

    As far as new chords go, I agree with Jazzaferi - always go back to the basics - "Grab" the chord over and over (in other words, make the chord with your left and, and then remove your hand and remake it).

    Then switch from chord to chord without strumming just to improve the feel.

    Anthony






  • NylonDaveNylonDave Glasgow✭✭✭ Perez Valbuena Flamenca 1991
    Posts: 444
    Hi I'm David,this is my first post. Looks like you already have loads of good stuff Jim. Reading through though I noticed that noone has mentioned transposition. Mostly my practice is playing tunes in open position using open strings going through the keys. This seems to really help my ear out in a way that playing licks with moveable fingerings doesn't. Really seems to help my understanding of harmony too. Also since I can't rely on finger memory I need to keep thinking, I find the technical stuff quite easy but as a classical player the thinking on my feet things need constant work. If I need to generate fingerings in the moment and I have a concrete tune in mind then there is no room for self deception or mental laziness.

    Also I have been trying to focus on embellishing the melody. Since a good melody contains all the information about what the harmony is. So I will try and find the one or two notes in a bar that are needed to sum up the melody and then play the tune over and over adding figures and notes using the simplified melody as a rigid skeleton and then as I embellish I need to keep my knowledge of harmony in mind to decorate it. This seems to help my ear in a way that shoehorning licks never did.

    I note that most books on how to practice don't really have tunes. This is a problem. I am enjoying practicing a lot just now, probably because what makes a tune is the tune which is a tune and I get a lot more easily inspired by tunes as it is the tune which I connect with emotionally. And this emotional connection is the thing which I believe makes a practice sessional memorable and useful and therefore 'sticky'.

    I don't think that a chord sequence makes a tune, I think the tune does. But a tune sure does make a chord sequence.

    I have practiced loads of different ways, (haven't we all ?), and all the things which seemed to work as technical or theoretical practice work a whole load better when I use a tune as a controlling framework.

    When I used the technical and theoretical practice as a framework to try and superimpose tunes on then I didn't have nearly as much fun. I am pretty certain that a listener would have the same experience with the tune first approach.

    Does anyone else feel that if no book had ever been written on jazz we would be wasting less time playing stuff that didn't really have a lot to do with playing a tune ?

    D.

  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 560
    NylonDave wrote: »
    I note that most books on how to practice don't really have tunes. This is a problem. I am enjoying practicing a lot just now, probably because what makes a tune is the tune which is a tune and I get a lot more easily inspired by tunes as it is the tune which I connect with emotionally. And this emotional connection is the thing which I believe makes a practice sessional memorable and useful and therefore 'sticky'.
    Hey Dave,

    Yes you're right, most books don't have the melody and there's a reason for this. Publishing the melody in a book will cost far more in licensing rights.
    Ultimately I think this for the best, as it is a great exercise to work out the melody by ear. Also, when you work out melodies on your own, you figure them out using fingerings and fret positions that best suit you, as opposed to how someone else would do it.
    As far as shoehorning lick, I hear you. Some people like to approach playing from a phrase and lick standpoint, and use those phrases to create their own language (I'm one of those).

    Others, such as the other guitarist in my group, prefer to start with the melody and build off of it. When I listen to Django, I find he strays quite far from the standard melody. Often times, when the melody was presented in a hot club paris song verbatim, it was Grapelli playing it, otherwise it was greatly altered and embellished.

    Anthony
  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    Posts: 226
    Great suggestion Stuart The tune I am learning is Belleville, with all the tricky added changes that my instructor put in there.
    Relaxing is helping! And just as much, getting out the metronome and slowing it down. Now if I can just keep remembering to play correctly as the speed I can play, I might actually make some progress.
    I am as suggested cut down on the number of songs that I play, and concentrate the on the chord routines I was given at my class. Gawd knows when I will get to be able to start working on arpeggios..............
    Thanks all!
  • NylonDaveNylonDave Glasgow✭✭✭ Perez Valbuena Flamenca 1991
    Posts: 444
    Hey Woodman. I am aware of the problem of copyright and have noticed that Django seldom plays the tune straight.

    The failure of books to work with melody has in my opinion given a false impression of how a working player approaches practice.

    In jams the strongest players never have any difficulty stating the melody simply. Lots of guys, like me, can play what seem like accomplished guitar solos but one song sounds much like the last..... The guys who can state a tune simply by ear usually play less fingery but much more unique solos.

    I think that Django could do both. And I suspect that the fact that Django was so intuitive and could at any time state the melody if he wished allowed him the freedom to hold his train of thought so well that his solos always stayed loyal to the spirit of the melody.

    Regardless of what he chose to play on a recording date I think he probably learned the tune inside out first. And although this work is undocumented I think that trying to find a similar way of working will ultimately pay more dividends than trying to skip to the end by copping a solo note for note.

    I've learned loads of stuff note for note only to find that afterwards it was hard to use the stuff in a new context.

    D.
    Buco
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 560
    Hey Dave, I'm anthony not woodamand.

    Anyway, I hear you. I struggle mightily to memorize the heads of songs. I always forget them. It's the next step for me. I've been dedicating most of my time to having as thorough an overall note map as possible on ever song I play, and heads/melodies tend to take a back seat all the time.

    How do you keep from forgetting the actual melody ?

    I believe Django had such an amazing ear, that he could just play shit on his guitar, and know every note he wanted to play, and where to do to play it. Maybe that's what separates the mortals from the greatest of greats. Having such an amazing ear.

    Mozart I think was the same.

    Anthony
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