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  • What kind of question is this?DateSun Oct 21, 2012 1:19 am

    My favourite guitarist is Jack White. Sue me.

    On first reading it appears to me that the guy was just asking an honest question. Then again I am not one for youtube guitar wars.

  • I have been learning the drums for a few months now and initially you need to spend 99% of your time with a metronome playing at speeds that induce fatigue. If you do not and just use your 'internal metronome' then nothing will ever challenge you to play faster and you will not improve. If you are fatiguing badly then take a break, whether it is 5 minutes or 5 hours doesn't matter. What is assured is that when you play that first drum beat after your break it will be 100% spot on, then you will see it die again 10 seconds later. You continue the process until your muscles and brain can do the task at that speed for longer, which is why we need to practice everyday so our body is challenged consistently.

    The same thing applies to guitar, you need to be pushing yourself. Getting pissed off is one way to do it, that will take your mind off fatigue. But I do like Slashiepie's idea as well, if you can not play something at a really fast tempo then slow it down to a snail's pace and try it there. Anyone can play fast but playing slow with control is just as hard if not harder. In most cases you could probably attribute your lack of success to technique anyway, so playing it extremely slowly and concentrating on using the best technique possible certainly will not hurt.

    Getting pissed off is one way to do it but I like Slashiepie's idea as well.

  • Get yourself a circle of fifths:

    Play a Bb on the 5th string 1st fret. Then F on the 6th string 1st fret. C on the 5th string 3rd fret and G on the 6th string 3rd fret. Basically you are playing 5th string and 6th string, skipping a fret and playing 5th and 6th string, skipping a fret and playing 5th and 6th string etc.

    A couple rules you must follow:

    1.) Use only one finger to play every note. Do not swap fingers constantly, this is not a left hand/right hand exercise. You are trying to learn your notes so we want to keep things as simple as possible. So I would use either my first or second finger for the entirety of the exercise. This will also prepare you for scale/chord changes which are fairly common in music, so make sure you use only one finger.

    2.) Do not look at your fretboard, keep your eyes on the circle of fifths. This will encourage you to be more aware of where you are on your fretboard. Obviously guitar frets are more closely spaced at the top so you will need to put in a lot of effort to make sure you are hitting the right notes. If you are really struggling with this then you can look at your guitar at times but you want to keep your eyes off it for the most part.

    3.) Say the notes out loud. Make sure you are saying the full note, so if the note is a Bb then say 'B FLAT' and not 'B'.

    4.) Once you get to the top of your fretboard, play it all the way back down again. It is one thing to know the next note you are playing going up the fretboard but it is entirely different when you are going down. When I teach basic scales like C major I get my students to say their musical alphabet (C D E F G A B C), then I ask them to say it backwards. 9/10 they will really struggle, it is crucial you can do this both ways so make sure you play all the way UP and DOWN the neck.

    If you do not follow these rules then the exercise will not be nearly as helpful. I get my students to do this once a day with great success, takes about 60 seconds but you can do it as many times as you like.

    Learning the notes on the 5th and 6th strings will be extremely beneficial to your guitar playing. After you learn those REALLY well you should move on to the rest of the fretboard. You can use this circle of fifths exercise on other sets of strings but not all of them. Doing this exercise will also help you to learn your circle of fifths extremely well which will help you later down the track with more advanced music concepts.

    As has already been said, writing out your fretboard is a really good way to learn it as well. But I like this way because it prepares your guitar playing for other things such as moveable chord/scale shapes and makes you more aware of your position on the fretboard.

  • Developing Concentration SkillsDateWed Apr 18, 2012 4:12 am

    Great stuff, will have to get my hands on those.

  • Developing Concentration SkillsDateTue Apr 17, 2012 9:11 pm


    Having seen you play on youtube I do not doubt that you have done some serious hours. The point I was making is that most people do not know what it means to do that kind of work.

    I think one of the best videos on your youtube channel is the hour long video covering just picking skills. That video gave an insight into real practice, and that was basically the warm up. It would be a big ask but I think a 7-8 hour companion video featuring all the skills in a real time 'practice session' would be a real winner. That way students could practice for the duration of the dvd and truly experience those kind of hours.

  • Starting with 5 position systemDateMon Apr 16, 2012 3:37 pm


    You need to keep things simple. You should probably just stick with the 6th string for a while and invest a lot of time learning those positions. I know that from experience, I ended up just confusing myself by over-complicating things and learning too much at once. The scale diagrams Pebber has put up on his website will keep you occupied for a very long time.

  • Developing Concentration SkillsDateSun Apr 15, 2012 5:34 pm

    I had a 5 year old student enroll yesterday, we had a short conversation to start the lesson:

    Me - 'How many times a week should you practice guitar?'

    Student - 'Everyday!'

    Me - 'Good, and how long do you think you should practice for?'

    Student - '...For more hours than in existence.'

    Me - 'Well we only have 24 hours in a many of those should be used for practice?'

    Student - '16 hours.'

    He might only be 5 but he is thinking the same way as a lot of people in this world. Until you dive in you can not know how deep the water is. 16 hours to a 5 year old is the same as 10 minutes waiting at the doctor's could probably say the same thing for teenagers and many adults as well.

    If you are physically struggling to attain your practice goals then you need to increase your time in small increments. Sleep, physical exercise etc are all side issues, they can increase the quality but not so much the quantity of your practice. If you can only manage an hour then aim for 90 minutes or maybe 70 minutes if you are really having trouble.

    Also, do not get trapped into the cycle of watching the clock. Set aside a time for practice and do not let anything disrupt that. I used to set an alarm for say 1 hour, either side of that alarm and I could not practice. This made me hungry for more practice and made me make the most of the time I had each day.

  • Improvising DateFri Mar 23, 2012 10:14 pm
    Forum post by tplu7234. Topic: Improvising

    Correct, just make sure you spend a lot of time on the Ionian mode and treat it as your starting point.

  • MetronomeDateThu Mar 22, 2012 7:27 pm
    Forum post by tplu7234. Topic: Metronome

    The metronome is perfect, it is never ahead or behind the beat. It makes sense to play along with it rather than trying to keep time yourself because we human beings are not perfect...but the metronome is ;).

  • Improvising DateThu Mar 22, 2012 7:22 pm
    Forum post by tplu7234. Topic: Improvising

    You should be using your G Major scale against the G Major backing track. D Major for the D Major backing track, A Major for the A Major backing track etc. You should match your scales against the chord you are playing...

    Watch this video series. Around 5 minutes into part 2 Pebber explains why you should play certain scales with certain chords. Once you really saturate the sound of the G Major scale against a G Major backing track you should look to try the scale against different chords/backing tracks. Also take note of how Pebber is singing the notes, playing patterns or picking notes 2-3 times. You want to try different things while playing the scale so you can fully absorb every note of the scale.

    On pentatonic scales...they sound good with nearly anything. They have only 5 notes compared to a Major scale with 7. Pentatonic scales essentially get rid of odd or blue notes which might sound strange to the ears of most people like yourself. This is a big reason for its popularity, the scale is the easiest on the ears. But that does not mean you should avoid the Major scale, nor does it mean that you can not play guitar or you 'suck'...your ears are simply not used to the sounds you are hearing.

    I strongly suggest you forget about the pentatonic scale for a while and keep focusing on the Major scale. If you have a really good understanding of the major scale then it will make it a lot easier when you begin to look at other scales like minor and pentatonic. It will be also better for your technique, you can get away with using 1-2 fingers on the Pentatonic scale but you will need to use all 4 fingers to play the Major scale well.

    Pebber puts up plenty of scale shapes and patterns, these are so you can use as much of your fretboard as possible. But you are right, there is not much point of learning them if they do not sound good. That is why you must persevere with the Major scale and make sure you absorb it completely before playing it against different backing tracks. Your ears will eventually hear things differently, just keep at it.

  • Measuring PracticeDateFri Mar 09, 2012 8:45 pm
    Forum post by tplu7234. Topic: Measuring Practice


    I agree with what you are saying, but I think it is important to break things up into smaller increments. It is not necessarily about logging your minutes/hours weekly and seeing whether you have improved. As you would know, sometimes it takes a lot longer to achieve certain goals eg. you cannot expect to go from benching 60kg to 100kg in a week at the gym.

    I think measuring practice will assist you in forming good habits. I am aware that I am speaking to guys on this forum who already play for 4-5+ hours a day as a habit, and others who are somewhere below or even just starting but I still think the principle applies. We were taught by our parents to brush our teeth from a very young might miss a day or two but you know it is something you must do otherwise your teeth will fall out. As students we want guitar practice to be the same thing (a good habit) and I think something like a log can be of great assistance.

    The video recorder and mirror is also an excellent idea, and 2 weeks or more is probably a better time to set if you are purely looking for results...but if you are not practicing enough/at all then obviously you will be watching the same video every week. I think when measuring practice it should not be results based (particularly in the short term) but rather goal based...setting yourself a goal and achieving it through dedicated practice. No one ever climbed Mount Everest with one giant step...and for many of us our Everest is guitar virtuosity.

    As Pebber says...a lack of effort gives you a lack of results.

  • Measuring PracticeDateThu Mar 08, 2012 6:56 pm

    How important do you think it is to do this?

    I can say personally that measuring my practice has been a key part of my learning. Lately I have been filling one out for both drums and guitar. If at times I feel that I am struggling or stuck I only have to look at my practice log to realise the amount of work that has come before reaching this point in time. It puts things in perspective.

    Athletes measure their sprint times on the track, their BMI and a lot of other things in order to maximize their potential. As musicians, how many of you measure your practice?

  • Pick or no pick?DateThu Mar 01, 2012 10:57 pm
    Forum post by tplu7234. Topic: Pick or no pick?


    Sorry about the misunderstanding, but do not be let down if you cannot afford a teacher. There are other resources like the internet and books which help massively, when you are not playing just read away. But like I said, even a handful of lessons with an experienced teacher will help you technique wise, just keep that in mind for down the track.

  • Bass TuitionDateThu Mar 01, 2012 8:30 pm
    Forum post by tplu7234. Topic: Bass Tuition

    Bueller...Anyone?... -_-

    I have a new student, a 6 year old learning bass guitar. She is having great difficulty reaching notes on the fretboard, any ideas on how to help her with this? Should I try and teach her to play further up the neck to start so it is easier to reach or throw her in the deep end?

  • Pick or no pick?DateThu Mar 01, 2012 8:25 pm
    Forum post by tplu7234. Topic: Pick or no pick?

    Not sure if you realise, but I am not Pebber Brown...just someone who posts on the forum.

    If you are doing the chromatic scale (or any scale for that matter) use the classical position. By the sounds of things you are doing most of these exercises with your guitar on your right leg, keep that up and you will put yourself in a lot of pain. Your practice needs to be done with the best technique possible, so get a stool for your left leg or a guitar strap and get that guitar neck up. You have had tendonitis before, is that guitar related? Anyway you will know very well the pain and trouble that can cause, if that happens to your wrist then you know it will be a massive issue, so try not to bend the wrist when playing guitar.

    I think we all have short pinkies so we need to compensate by giving ourselves the best seating position so all of our fingers are able to reach the fretboard. I play rock and blues music myself, but when it comes to practice (scales in particular) I always practice using the best seating position possible. It is not just to avoid injury, but to develop our technique. If you only use 2-3 fingers you will not develop the others, you want your pinky to be up to scratch with the rest.

    The thumb is also extremely important. It must be in the middle of the neck, if you play all 4 fingers across 4 adjacent frets then your thumb should basically be in line with your second/middle finger. Again, I know that rock/blues players have that habit of resting it up on top of the neck but remember what I said about using all the fingers evenly. If your thumb is in the middle of the neck then you will be able to stretch your fingers much further than you would with any other thumb position, and that gives you the best opportunity to develop all our fingers, especially the weak pinky. If you are practicing, put your thumb in the middle of the neck.

    Pebber has a huge amount of videos on picking technique, just spool through his youtube channel and you will find them.

    Also, you said you were doing 'lessons' in your first post? Did you mean 'exercises'? I thought that by 'lessons' you meant you had a teacher, so on to my next piece of advice: get yourself a good teacher. Even 10x30 minute lessons with a classical guitar teacher will change your playing, they will show you proper technique. It will be up to you to be honest with yourself and keep at it but a quality teacher will put you on the right track.

    So then, the main points:

    - Classical seating position
    - Thumb in the middle of the neck
    - Get a teacher

    Hope this helps.

  • Pick or no pick?DateThu Mar 01, 2012 2:52 pm
    Forum post by tplu7234. Topic: Pick or no pick?

    It is better to have as many styles and techniques as possible rather than sticking to one method. It will make you a more versatile player, there are things you can do with a pick that you can not do with your fingers and vice versa. It will probably feel like you are starting guitar again when using a pick but stick with it and you will see its value.

    As for your pain, I can not be sure whether that is serious or not. I believe only you would know how much is too much, so the best advice I can give is take extreme caution. Last thing you want is an overuse injury, it can and will stop you from playing guitar from an extended period (maybe forever if you are not careful). If I play for 5-6 hours I do get tired but I have never had a 'burning' pain.

    I do notice you said that you keep your wrist 'bent'. If you look up the classical seating position and watch Pebber's videos you will notice only a very slight bend in his wrist, most of the time it is flat. This seating position protects the left hand wrist, the right arm shoulder and your general posture. If you are self taught you might be taking a few short cuts or you may be unaware as to what is good/bad/dangerous guitar technique. Are you using the correct seating position? Ask your teacher about it in lessons.

  • Anyone heard of this brand of guitar?DateSat Feb 18, 2012 2:47 pm

    Cort guitars are just fine, very popular throughout Australia. What is important is that you sit down and actually try playing the guitar before you buy it. I made the mistake years ago of watching youtube demos or simply reading online reviews about a guitar before purchase. The guitar I bought was fine in the end...but I could have done much better with the money I spent.

    It is all about what suits you best, not what suits others. The sound of the guitar is important, you play as many as you can and decide which one sounds best to your ears. There are also many different guitar sizes. Full sized guitars (dreadnought) are not necessarily for adults, you may enjoy playing on half sized guitars more.

  • At my guitar school we have 3-4 guys over 70, who are just beginning guitar. One has had a few broken fingers and is going to face huge challenges as we progress but he has racked up near the most hours of practice at the school. He is retired, so he does have more time than some other people but he is spending it wisely doing something he wants. I asked him what made him want to play guitar: 'I wanted to years ago and never I have a chance to change that'.

    I guess the message here is that you should not worry about your age, just worry about what you want to do most. I used to worry that I was starting guitar too late at 18, I would see guys who had played for 10+ years thinking they were awesome...4 years later I realised they really weren't and were too busy worrying how their hair looks rather than how well they play. '50 years old' should really be '50 years young' if you think about it, you have stacks of time.

    If you enjoy it and want to take it to the next level then practice practice practice, you have to decide how important it is to you. Do you have a teacher Theo? If you are serious about improving then it would be wise to find the best one in your area.

  • The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance.
    By Ericsson, K. Anders (1993, Psychological Review)

    For anyone interested in expert performance ^^ The 10,000 hour rule. This puts a grounding on success, if you at any time have any doubts about your quantity of practice then give this read, instant reality checker.

    Just remember Theo, the greater your technique the better you will be able to play in any type of music. It is hard to over-practice this kind of thing, ideally you want to be at a level where you can focus mainly on songs but your technique must come first. Be realistic and proportionate, the daily practice routine on this website will put you on the right track.

    There is nothing wrong with practicing 1 hour a day, or 10, but the latter will get your there much quicker. It all depends on your goals.

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