How to Practice Correctly?

Discuss playing styles and techniques, or share your own here.
SPQR
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Hey i have posted this post because not only myself but a few of my friends encounter problems of how to really practice correcly and efficently.

I.e how to practice certain techniques and for how long.?? :?: :guitar
Should i practice on a clean or distorted tone.?? :?:
Should i use effects when practicing?? :?:

Thank you , please help US we r gratful :) :) :)
badhorsie551
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Well im going to say some of the obvious things.

Be sure you play with the correct posture.


How to practice techniques? Make a list of techniques you want to learn sweep picking/tapping/legato/scales/theory/chords/ blah blah and always practice everything SLOWLY then gradually speed up once you can play it clean and smooth.

For how long? I guess it depends . Experiment with different intervals of time 5min/15min/30 on certain techniques. I find a smaller amount of time is much more managable but for some people they like longer. Whatever really works for you as long as you get results.


Clean or distorted? How about both. Practice with clean then see how it sounds distorted and vice versa.

Use effects? I'd suggest to NOT use them intially but then you can always experiment. You may come up with an idea while using an effect while practicing so that can be up to you.
UndeadMoogle3
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I agree with the poster above me to a large degree. For me, I find that I don't really start learning new things until I've been playing at least an hour and a half. So, in that time, I warm up and work on strengthening what I already know. This is my speed building time. After you're warmed up, I say go wild. I personally break up my practice time into several different things. The first on my agenda is to learn a new scale, and if I'm not learning one, then I'm taking one that I know and am doing something new with it. I always try to build strange chords out of them, break the chords down into arpeggios, and then work on sweeping said arpeggios. I do think that practicing with and without distortion is good. But I say go a step farther. Instead of playing without distortion, play on an accoustic if you can. It'll make for a much easier time of it when playing clean electric. I do think playing with different grades of distortion is important, though. Different levels require different techniques to control them. So, if you can use slight overdrive as well as soem death metal stuff, you're all set. Effects are good. Don't over-use them, but things like a wah are good to know how to use. Also, if you can find a classical guy, have him critique your playing style. Tell him to be harsh. You'll get a lot of bad habbits cleaned up that way. The first two things my original teacher (classical guy) made me work on was:

1. never letting the thumb drift up to the top of the neck. Gotta keep it anchored on the back.

2. When playing sitting down, don't sit the guitar like most electric guitarists do and sit it across your right knee. If held like a classical guitar, you have a much better range of movement and your hand movement isn't restricted.

Hope that stuff helped. Peace.
jackdaniels101
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personally i found that when i played mind mumbingly boring exercises i never improved. when learning new techniques it may be an idea to pick a song that incorporates all or a lot of the techniques you want to learn and practise them with a view to being able to play the song. you will keep motivated because you will want to really play that song.

cant stress this enough - PLAY REALLY SLOWLY, like the above advice. i know you will get impatient and try it fast, dont, cause you will never get anywhere. play small parts of solos and the key is concentration. if you have a lick you want to play and somewhere in the lick your playing starts to break down, only practise the part that is the most difficult, you may find it's just a case of fixing one upstroke leading to a new string - if you just gloss over it every time you play, you will always play it badly.
bubble
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I agree with most of the suggestions, but whatever your doing make sure that you have a metronome handy... this is by far THE BEST tool for improving accuracy and as a by product speed.

Also practice is what it says, but don't let it be boring. If learning a new scale is not that much fun, find a track with it in (if were talking vai, malmsteen track etc, they'll be an extended scale run in there somewhere) and have a go at that at slow speeds. At least when it's up to speed it sounds awesome, and in the meantime you know that you're gonna sound like the s**t!

Make practice productive, which is easily done if you set out goals before each session as well as having long term objectives (taking over the world with sweeping etc).

Finally, document everything - new licks that grab u by the balls, tempo's that you can play each exercise at cleanly and accurately etc.... this gives you a guide, and you'll find that a few weeks of this and u'll be ripping the arse out of your instrument.
SPQR
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Thank you all i undertstand what you are saying, however musicians like yourselves say always practice slowly until you can play it clean and smooth. what exackly do you mean by clean and smooth, is it being bale to play the piece with no buzzing noise's, correctly etc.??
UndeadMoogle3
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Pretty much. Just so you don't get tied up. One thing I've worked on to develop speed is to take a lick or run or something I know and practice it at my comfort speed...and then making it a little faster until it gets comfortable. Then, do it again. But if it's a new thing, stay slow. You'll pick more up.
jackdaniels101
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this is what works for me and it NEVER fails to make you constantly improve. ok, lets say for example you really wanted to learn sweep picking. this is what i would do - try the same and see if you start to notice results within a week. i'll take this from the perspective of what to do if you were learning a new technique from the VERY beginning, because once you have mastered a few licks with the same technique then others wont take so much effort to learn.

1. hmm what exercise will i practise, there is so much sweep picking licks out there. ok, what is cool - ah i know, the small section in the song 'The Animal' , right lets get to it.

2. some players prefer to start with a clean tone, nope because you might be able to play this absolutely amazing on clean but as soon as you switch to distortion it will be like starting from scratch and depress you.

3. ok, first of all i would play the section so slow its unbelievable, and NO METRONOME YET. you want to get a feel for the lick and work out your weak spots first.

4. RIGHT, after you have played around with the lick for a good ten minutes, then the real work begins - - here is my process, read carefully and try it for yourself.


i'll try and play just the left hand fingering, mute the strings with my right hand over the neck, ah my third finger gets stuck between a couple of notes there, slow it down even more , concentrate rigourously on left hand, ok think i'll try the right hand picking, oh no why cant i play it right even without the left hand, concentrate on the right hand picking motions, aargh still getting it wrong, break it down even more, concentrate on only four notes, nope still a pain in the ass, AH i see the problem, break it down to two notes, now i can see my pick is falling too short of the string for that note, work on it for a while, right now got that sorted, try it again really slow, still catching slightly, slow down to a near stop, work at it those two notes for half an hour, ah right now ive got it , try the whole lick now and again to see how its progressing slowly,

FINALLY i can play it EXTREMELY SLOWLY without stopping and have full confidence in playing it really slowly without making mistakes, but there is a problem, the first three notes are ringing into each other , damn damn damn, can play it really slow but the SOUND aint right, work on muting each string as i sweep the rest of the lick - ok this process might go on and repeat itself for a couple of days, especially if it is a completely new technique your trying to learn

ok the groundwork is COMPLETE, there is no string buzz, no ringing , i can quite EASILY - GET UP OUT OF BED AND PLAY THIS EVERY DAY - great i have progressed - i can play it 100 percent accurate

THIS IS T.H.E MOST IMPORTANT PROCESS, IF YOU NEGLECT THIS FOUNDATION WORK YOU WILL NEVER EVER EVER EVER GET THIS LICK FAST.

Now the work really does start, dig out the metronome put it at a very slow tempo , say 60bpm and play every note to evey click - here is the important part - PLAY THE LICK OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER UNTIL IT BECOMES 2ND NATURE - JUST KEEP ON PLAYING AT THIS SPEED FOR DAYS UNTIL YOU CAN PLAY IT WITHOUT THINKING - then you know its time to put the metronome up , repeat this process until you reach your goal tempo and woo hoo, you can play it - - - - - - now when you attempt to learn a new sweep picking pattern, your fingers and pick will be accustomed to the movement so you will probably learn it in days - - - - - but if this is the very firat atempt at a new technique - - - - i aint gonna lie, it could take weeks, even a couple of months just to get the foundation perfect, but once its perfect, you will find that when you start to use the metronome, you will pick up speed QUICKLY and not get frustrated every time you play - obviously every guitarist has their own way of progressing, but if thi helps even one person then i will be pleased - - so it was really really really long.
SPQR
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is 4 hours a day enough to practice guitar??
jackdaniels101
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4 hours is enough - if you can do more on any given day then do that. but if and when you start to get bored, either leave the guitar or jam for a bit. all depends on how you feel. i think its not about the time, its about the quality - people who practise for ten hours are the sort of people who really want to develop all aspects of their playing including theory, yet again it all depends how far you want to go with the instrument.
SPQR
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what if i said to you i want to serouisly put all my time and effort into being a virtuso
jackdaniels101
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if you want to be a virtuoso, then you gonna have to work DAMN hard! - you will need to eat , shit and sleep guitar - lol - to cover everything u would need around 8-10 hours a day.
SPQR
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well i have only been playing guitar 4 a year and 3 months now however i started @ the age of 17 do u think that is 2 late 2 start playing if i really want 2 be a virtuoso r @ least be dame good
Mr_Guitarman
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fortheloveofgod wrote:well i have only been playing guitar 4 a year and 3 months now however i started @ the age of 17 do u think that is 2 late 2 start playing if i really want 2 be a virtuoso r @ least be dame good
No that is a bunch of crap people are always saying that you have to start at a very young age like 8 to become a great virtuoso. Don't listen to that negativity becoming great is more then just how old you start or how much techniques you have. It's the way you look at it the way you practice. you have to love music work hard and expand your mind there lies where the real skill is. I have met players who have been playing twice as long as me who aren't that good and I have seen people that have been playing for only a short while how are getting really good. It is the enviornment if you are around good players it is easyer to get good go and find some pros to jam with this is the best advice i can give you be around greatness will help bring yours out.
Bold_As_Love
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UndeadMoogle3 wrote: never letting the thumb drift up to the top of the neck. Gotta keep it anchored on the back.
Actually, some players like to use their thumbs alot. And it makes sense. Sure, you can still anchor it to the back when your barring or something like that, but it can help you form chords that would other wise be impossible without your thumb. And you can do some crazy licks. I wouldn't practice not using the thumb.
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