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  • Left hand exersisesDateSat Aug 15, 2015 2:41 pm
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Left hand exersises


    When doing trills, I think that you should concentrate on the sound of each note. You want them to ring true and clear each time. If that means you have to cut your speed way down, then so be it. To get them to ring true and clear I find that I have to keep all 4 of my fretting hand fingers tight and in position ready to hit at any time. Also, when your hand starts to tire, stop and shake it off (literally). Maybe switch fingers, or even exercises. When you do trills like this every day, perhaps many times a day, for a long time you will see tremendous benefit.

    Here's a video that I posted back in Nov. '12 showing my trill practice during warmups that day. Not claiming it's good or bad, just offering you a look at another person practicing them. You should watch Pebber do them and soak up everything you can detect...

  • I'm new to the forum.DateWed Aug 05, 2015 11:03 am
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: I'm new to the forum.


    I'm a father of 3 boys a bit younger than you. Based on my experiences I feel that it is a blessing for you to have found something you love this early on in your life. If you're able to maintain that feeling and are willing to work it with a positive attitude, you have a bright future ahead of you.

    I don't really contribute on this forum much anymore, but I check in from time to time to make sure I don't miss anything golden. Your videos caught my eye and after showing them to my sons they said I had to pass along the message "Awesome dude, keep it up!"

    So there you have it. Awesome dude, keep it up, and here's hoping you continue to progress for years to come.

    PS., love the FZ avatar!

  • Diminished 8 note 14 positions questionDateMon Mar 23, 2015 2:35 pm

    It's W-H-W-H.... or H-W-H-W...., so maybe think of it in terms of intervals instead:

    Whole-tone first: 1 w 2 h b3 w 4 h b5 w #5 h 6 w 7 h 1
    Half-tone first: 1 h b2 w b3 h 3 w b5 h 5 w 6 h b7 w 1

    Formally there's probably a better way to write the half-tone first version by calling 3 a diminished 4 or by calling b5 an augmented 4, but hopefully you get the picture even if there's no 4 in the half-tone first version above.

    First, notice that each of these patterns contain the dim7 chord (= 1 b3 b5 6). So how do you give the two versions different names? Well, pick which note you want to be the 1 and then see if the next tone is a half-step away or a whole-step away. (I forget what Pebber calls the two varieties, but this should be easy to find in his videos though. Heck, I might even use the names Pebber uses in what follows.)

    I gather from your post that your pattern has F# and G in it.

    If you want the F# to be the 1, then you're using the half-tone first version because G comes next. Because that version has 1 3 5 and b7 in it, I think some people would call that the F# dominant-8 tone scale (since dom7 or just 7 = 1 3 5 b7).

    If you want the G to be the 1, then you're using the whole-tone first version because you came from F#. Because that version doesn't have the b7, I think some people would just call that the G diminished-8 tone scale and leave it at that.

    Now if you're itching to give either of these even more names, you can. The pattern of W-H or H-W repeats every three semi-tones, so just change which tone you call the 1. The F# dominant-8 tone scale will have the same 8 notes as the A, C, and Eb dominant-8 tone scales. And the G diminished-8 tone scale will have the same 8 notes as the Bb, Db, and E diminished-8 tone scales.

    Anyway, forget trying to fit these "in" a natural minor scale though. You can't fit 8 tones in a 7 tone scale. How about the reverse? Nope. In neither of these 8-tone scales do you have all of the tones you need for the natural minor scale ( 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 ). You either have the b3 and b6 (#5) or the b3 and b7, but not all 3.

    Hope this helps.

    (Ok, see you all next quarter...)

  • Holding the pick properlyDateSat Oct 11, 2014 2:01 pm
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Holding the pick properly

    Scott, I offered feedback to musical ideas exactly once on thus forum. It wasn't received well, which is when I noticed such feedback is purely subjective anyway. Vowed never to do that again. This explains why I haven't contributed to many of your musical ideas threads. Sticking to practice and performance topics keeps it objective for me. No hard feelings I hope.

  • Chord SubstituitionsDateSat Oct 11, 2014 6:59 am
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Chord Substituitions

    Guitar Player, on the one hand I feel a little bad harping on this--that you really need to post videos to express ideas such as these in context--so please forgive me if you find this irritating. That's not my intention. But on the other hand, I'm not sure any information is really conveyed to other players without providing more than text. Grab a web-cam, hide your face if you like, and let us see/hear you. No need for embarrassment, we all suck in various ways.

    Your latest ideas:

    1. Sus chords & message in a bottle. Ok. Not much else to say. Easy to learn, unique sound, boring as heck to repeat for 4 minutes. Some of the fill licks over this progression towards the end of the song are cool too. What makes them work? Are they simple licks that can be used anywhere, or does the suspended harmony allow for more?

    2. A 1-6-2-5 in C you got from a video. I bet the instructor didn't say, hey, instead of using C, Am, Dm, G just use Cmaj7, Amin9, Dmin11, G7 to sound jazzy. For what purpose were these substitutions used, and how did it open up the possibilities for melodies over this harmony compared to the diatonic triads? Oh, and MOST importantly, how does it sound? Just reading there's a difference isn't helping most people.

    3. The 1-6-2-5 in E. Same idea.

    4. The 4nps in A. Look up Pebber's scaletone form system, in particular the 4:4 variety, for all the 4nps shapes. I personally feel the 3:3, 3:4, and 4:3 are more practical, but to each their own. At some point the goal is to fluidly play anything without the crutch of shapes/patterns anyway.

    5. Playing minor 3rds. Not a bad hand stretching exercise. I used that for awhile (3 finger ladders), but even better would be to include shifts so you can remain in minor 3rds across strings (e.g. 3 nps, 1 nps, 3 nps, etc just for one example). There are other good symmetrical patterns for this too, some more melodic than others. For example, you could play two adjacent pentatonic positions. Once you get that down, you can add a third shape (skipping one or not) using a tapping finger.

  • Holding the pick properlyDateSat Oct 11, 2014 6:25 am
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Holding the pick properly

    I paid for Pebber's lessons for a year, and have followed his syllabus (the way he intended) in total for about 3. I've improved more in these 3 years than I did in the prior 17. Aside from practicing every day, implementing his scalpel technique is what I believe to have been the single biggest reason for my improvement. (Finger independence ala spiders/ladders/permutations is #2). For learning technique, I would classify Pebber's lesson plan as excellent. Pebber would probably say that I stopped too early; still on the first floor of his mansion of lessons. I have no doubt this was true, but like an itchy teenager, I wasn't patient enough to wait to be invited upstairs.

    Cliff, I read and I have some memory of responding to Tuck's analysis of picking. It fit my style of rigorous analysis quite well, and after reading it I even spent a couple weeks applying the Benson technique. That wasn't nearly long enough, but I had honed already scalpel so well that beginning again with a new technique for maybe 10-12 bpm wasn't worth it for me. [Plus strumming with the Benson technique felt super-awkward for me. I use Sarod for strumming and the feel was totally different.] But anyway, I'm almost certain Pebber has a video that discusses the Benson technique. I don't have his comments on it memorized, but Pebber has always represented the "learn everything" and "add it to your arsenal" camp rather than learn A but never learn B. But anyway posting that analysis for a new player blurs the picture, in my opinion. Teachers with novice students need one single method that they know will provide a lasting foundation. If you present several ways of doing the same task to a brand new student, most will feel overwhelmed and spend too little time on any one of them to get the progress they need to see in themselves to stay motivated. So providing an array of what *can* work instead of one method that is easy to understand and arguably as good or better than all others doesn't seem wise for an instructor.

    Grandmaster, I too would be surprised if you could play cleaner & faster than *several* of the posters on this site. I'll throw my name into the ring too. Show us. Also, Nick was not an example of a student that followed Pebber's syllabus they way it was intended. If you spend time reading back-posts you'll see several of us attempted to guide Nick before losing the energy to do so.

  • Gmaj scale sequences questionDateWed Oct 08, 2014 12:45 pm

    Don't get hung up on the various ways one can name a string of notes. G Ionian, F# Locrian, A Dorian, etc. Save that for later, and it's debatable how much knowing the language will help you. It *may* ultimately help you communicate musical ideas to and from others, but just playing ideas is another way to communicate ideas to and from others as well.

    When you're playing these scale sequences, the biggest 2 goals are to get the sound of them in your head (sing them!) and to learn the shapes each of the intervals make all over the fretboard. Just don't worry about what note you're "supposed" to start on or end on. There are no rules like that. Get the sounds in your head and play them everywhere you can.

  • Picking across stringsDateMon Sep 22, 2014 4:59 pm
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Picking across strings

    Heavier gauges is one solution, but that's going to make your bends harder to intonate properly. If you can still pull them off in tune, then great, problem solved. If you can't, you might want to grip the pick closer to the tip so that it snags less of the string. Just my 2 cents.

  • Chromatic ScaleDateMon Sep 22, 2014 4:36 pm
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Chromatic Scale

    Case, happy to at least try to help... On this:

    I'm hoping the more control I have the less string noise will be produced...

    This will be true to some extent. More control clearly will keep you from hitting the other strings more than you should. However, there's really something to be said about experimenting with your muting technique early on. Both your picking and fretting hand should help you here. If you can't control string noise at the slowest tempos, I'm afraid it will NOT magically get better when you play even faster.

    No clue about right vs. wrong, so I'll just share the way I like to mute. I like to use scalpel or wrist picking, and when I do I like to rest my palm on the strings above the one I'm picking. Some people are hell bent on Sarod, but my opinion is that nearly everyone that contributes to this forum should just use scalpel and wrist picking and work on their timing instead of trying to pick as fast as possible. Anyway, if I'm picking the low E, then my hand floats. If I'm picking the A string, then my palm mutes the low E. Etc. With my fretting hand's index finger, I like to mute the strings below the one I'm picking. If I'm picking the G string, my index finger lightly mutes the B string and occasionally also the E string. The cool thing is that learning this is pretty easy. It sounds complicated, but if you run scales really slowly only concentrating on this muting for a little bit you'll find that you can catch on pretty quickly. You'll learn this way faster with a ridiculously distorted electric, but acoustic is just fine.

    But yeah, let's see those videos after a bit of practice.

  • Chromatic ScaleDateFri Sep 19, 2014 3:44 pm
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Chromatic Scale

    Case, watched the videos. Keep it up man. Looks real good. Sound is getting there too. Keep focused on nailing the time and not on the speed. You could even slow down more to nail the time more often, or you can continue at that speed and just gradually lock-in more often. I think you hit the beat enough to know that both your left & right hands are ready for that speed.

    You also mentioned getting faster. This chromatic pattern in 7s is not a great one to use to increase your speed. I think it's just too tricky on your hands, and ears to use this one. Can you? Sure, but your progress is going to be really, really slow.

    If you want to increase your speed, I would suggest one of a zillion other patterns that involve fewer than 5 or 6 picks per string. Here's one option. Go to the picking across strings thread and open up the old school picking drills link in post #17. Spend a few minutes on each of the 7 exercises and post them at a speed that you can mostly get, but is really pushing it for you. (Just play them an octave lower...) Then let's see if we can figure things out in the manner Nick suggested. We can isolate the movement in your picking hand to see if that one is slower, or we can isolate the movement in your fretting hand to see if that's the culprit. Then you know what you need to work on to get back in synch. How?

    Take figure 1 an octave lower (cycling 5-7-9, 5-7-9 on the B and E strings over and over). Say you fail at speed X. Staying at speed X, try to pick 3 opens on B and 3 opens on E. If you can't, you need to work on picking. Alternatively, try legato either with zero picking or only picking the first note of a new string (either pick-pick, or pick-finger). If you can't, work on the left hand. If you can't do either at speed X, then you're not ready for speed X.

    Just my 2 cents. Lot's of people are chiming in. Wish they would post videos instead...

  • Chromatic ScaleDateFri Sep 19, 2014 8:38 am
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Chromatic Scale

    I've been out of town and so I haven't watched your latest videos yet Case (but I will), but I just want to quickly type that it's ESSENTIAL to accent the 1s. You nailed why. You need the sound and feel of them to become as second nature to you as 3s and 4s likely already are to you. 5s take work too, though 7s are harder. There are zillions of examples of 7s out there from super stars. I'll offer Pink Floyd's Money, Soundgarden (maybe Outshined was offered by Ursin in historical posts?), and Steve Vai has a very large selection of 7s just to span the easy/medium/hard spectrum of technical difficulties. Your favorite artists probably have examples too. Anyway, I don't agree with inserting zero accenting when playing varied timings. Sure, you don't need to ALWAYS hammer the 1. Many feels emerge by accenting others. But accenting is what ends up being interesting to the listener and also helps the player keep time.

  • Picking across stringsDateMon Sep 08, 2014 4:24 pm
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Picking across strings

    Ray, you would benefit from slowing down the metronome. I know it's boring, but when you use 92 bpm like your video and miss (often, but not always) the timing on 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s you know you're shooting too high. For now I think you should go back to about 50 and spend an equal amount of time on 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s. Try to heavily accent the beat hard enough to drown out the sound of the metronome. Make it disappear. After you're really hitting the metronome basically every single time (I'm talking 99%+ accuracy), start mixing in 5s, 6s, 7s and 8s.

    Nail all of these at 50. You'll find the quarter notes boring, but I'm betting you aren't nailing them every single time yet. That's your goal so defeat that boredom and pay attention to what you're practicing. Don't speed it up though because while quarter notes are boring, you might find 7s at 50 impossible right now. Practice this every day and they will come and you'll then speed up the metronome.

    Timing is the most critical part of music and is WAY more important than the notes you select. Do the timing practice correctly or your progress will be severely hindered. It's only AFTER you can nail various timings at a given speed that you should begin to push yourself by attempting speeds just beyond reach. If you can't nail any speed yet, it's silly to push forward.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents. Take them or leave them.

  • Attention new(ish) postersDateThu Sep 04, 2014 6:43 am
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Attention new(ish) posters

    Fair enough. Post a video of yourself playing anything you'd like. Whatever floats your boat. This way we can get a better sense of your musical background and what you have to offer this forum. You've posted nearly 30 times in a very short time period, responding to tons of random threads. Cool, glad you're interested in the posts. Can you please now contribute with music/exercises/etc as well?

    It's never too late to begin honing your technique. Diving in right now to modules 1 and 2 certainly won't hurt anything. Maybe you're to a point where it won't help you either, but with no offense intended I kind of doubt that. Many of the forum members here started Pebber's syllabus later in life, myself included. I've been playing for 21 years now but only started with Pebber's syllabus just under 3 years ago. The improvements I've attained in that time are HUGE. I believe Scottulus was also an experienced musician who began module 1 in search of a way to make his picking more proficient and relaxed. He's posted on his quest numerous times.

    Anyway, post a video. Same with all the other newish posters out there. You are not the only one. There are a few other (highly active) posters that have yet to reveal themselves.

  • Attention new(ish) postersDateMon Sep 01, 2014 5:28 am

    If you haven't posted a video yet, this post is directed to you. Yes, YOU.

    Please introduce yourself with videos that show you playing a couple of sections from Pebber's syllabus. Guitar and music concepts involve a lifetime of learning that continually builds upon earlier concepts. To get the most appropriate advice from peers on this forum, as opposed to hot air from the blind leading the blind, you need to swallow your pride and post your videos. This way your peers have a shot at tailoring their advice to your skill level.

    I don't want to list names, but lots of fairly new posters have still not shown themselves. As such, its tough to take what they are writing seriously.

  • Chromatic ScaleDateFri Aug 29, 2014 4:36 pm
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Chromatic Scale

    Case, that looks really good. If I was to offer you any advice it would be to REALLY accent the 1 in each group of 7. Exaggerating the accent when practicing will really help to hammer home the sound of 7s and will pay-off when you apply them musically. Keep it up!

  • Picking Practice Part IIDateMon Aug 25, 2014 6:43 am
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Picking Practice Part II

    Who's transcription did you use there? That one seems a lot easier to play than some of popular ones (stetina, petrucci, etc.). If that's your own, well done!

  • Sightreading AwesomenessDateMon Aug 25, 2014 6:40 am
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Sightreading Awesomeness

    Long time no read Scott. Not much advanced discussion on here these days. Here's my sight-reading experience.

    I've spent 20+ years now reading dual clef standard+tablature notation and I feel I'm really good at it now. I typically can take a new piece of music and just play (obviously governed a bit by how technical it is vs my skill sets, but that would be true of standard notation too). When the tab is electronic, I regularly modify the wacky fingerings the net can provide to what "makes sense" to me. Actually, this is probably the main reason why I find it hard to memorize full pieces (something I've posted about before). If I'm just playing/recording (i.e. not gig'ing), why not just sight-read? As you already wrote, the more you play pieces the more your fingers remember them on their own. So "reading" in such cases is really muscle memory refreshing. If there's a huge gap in one's ability to "read" old favorites and new pieces, I'd say you're probably not really sight-reading much at all. If there isn't, then I'd say you have developed a great skill.

    To me the complete key to effectively sight-reading tablature is DUAL staff reading. The rhythms presented by the standard notation staff are MORE IMPORTANT than the tablature staff. Granted I'm no professional, and really don't ever intend to be, but for me shedding the tablature staff and using only standard notation doesn't seem to have much upside. Now if you have a treasure trove of pieces available to you only in standard notation AND you don't want to invest the time to transcribe them with your favorite music notation software then fine. Or if your job is to spot read lead sheets + heads, then fine.

    Having written that, I've had a run at the Berklee modern method volumes and I just recently started going through them again in search of the answer to "what am I missing?" While doing so I'm transcribing many of the duets in guitar pro so I can have it play one part while I play the other. Entry is slow going, but I feel this manual process is really solidifying the fretboard and staff. But that can be achieved in many ways. So the answer for me so far is that it's really getting me to understand composition a bit better. I get that the examples are pretty simple, but harmonization, voice-leading, and even a bit of modulation is coming through. In my experience, these skills don't develop when reading tab.

  • The Gear Thread: Guitars, Amps, Effects discussionDateMon Jul 14, 2014 6:32 am

    I looked into the Dinky. The website says the body is indeed 7/8ths that of a normal super strat, but the scale length is still a full 25.5".

  • The Gear Thread: Guitars, Amps, Effects discussionDateSun Jul 13, 2014 5:11 am

    I have two questions for the instructors out there, if you don't mind. My eldest son has been picking up my Carvins so it might be time to scout out a guitar of his own. He's almost 9 and is 4'6" but full scale guitars are still way too big for him.

    1. Who can recommend a fixed bridge 3/4-scale electric that stays in tune for at least a couple hours of play?
    2. I've taught him some picking and fretting exercises, but is there a book that you frequently use to try to keep your students engaged? Or do you just ask them what songs they like and then teach them some chords/melodies?

  • Learning ChordsDateFri Jun 06, 2014 2:30 pm
    Forum post by dlraben. Topic: Learning Chords

    The advancing guitarist is going to take you years to get through. If you're looking for a quick hitter, check out the PDF in the chord thread further down the first page of posts. I created it based off of fingerings in a book by a well known guitarist and a co-writer. Making your own charts really can't be beat though.

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