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  1. #1
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    Feb 2010
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    Technique Another Howard Roberts Super Chops thread

    I'll be starting the Howard Roberts Super Chops programme on Monday. Or should I say, re-starting. I was with the other HR SC group going now, but had to stop a few weeks ago due to an accident and injury. I seem to be fully healed now, so it's time to start up again. I'll be re-starting from week 1, so if anyone is interested in joining me in forming a mutual support and encouragement group, please respond to this thread.

    I hope to hear from some of you.

    -Travis
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    We're headed into the home stretch on the 20 week program I started. Be interested in seeing what people might do with a second run, or a second start on a stalled run. It's also gotten really quiet, I wonder what obstacles people have run into. Anyway Travis, hope things are smooth and productive for you!

    David
    Thanks David. I'm actually glad to be starting over at the beginning. I've decided recently to change my picking technique and I'll be focusing on my right-hand mechanics while going through the routine each day. Hopefully I'll be able to develop a fluid and economical alternate picking technique and break through the speed barrier that's been plaguing me all these years. I've always wanted to play bebop, but I'm stuck playing ballads and medium swing tempo tunes.
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  3. #3
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    Would I like the HR SC? I'm hungry for more haha

  4. #4
    I will do my best to keep up. I am in too many groups already. I am interested


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Okay. I read through the entire other thread and now I'm sorry I skipped over that thread. It's exactly what I want to work on.

    I can also see it's a great companion study to the Fishman etude thread. I want to do both. That's going to be a challenge in itself but I'm game for starting newly on this HR thread.

  6. #6
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    It's great to see others on board. I'm going to try to journal my experiences daily as a way of keeping track of progress and keeping myself motivated. Hopefully we can keep this thread going for the next 20 weeks.

    One thing I've been doing that's a slight departure from HRs recommended routine involves Step 5 - prerecording the chords. To begin with, I have the Super Chops iRealPro files, so I use those as backing tracks for Steps 7, 9, and 11. I still think Step 5 is important, however - just not as a way to produce backing tracks.

    Instead, I approach Step 5 the following way: I set up the relevant iRealPro backing track for just Bass and a simple brush pattern on Drums. Then I play along for 10 minutes. My goal here is to twofold: I want to focus in on hearing how the song flows and moves (I have a slight touch of synesthesia - I experience sounds as coloured shapes, and harmonies as complex forms of colours. That's not quite it, exactly. I really can't explain it.) so I can begin to anticipate the changes when I improvise; I'm also trying to memorize the chord progression so I don't have to read it off the page. The better I am at playing the chords without looking at the page, the better I am at improvising through the changes. I should also add that I don't really pay attention to Robert's suggested chord shapes. I'm sure they're an interesting and useful resource, but for this iteration of my attempt at SC, I intend to focus more on my right hand picking mechanics.
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  7. #7
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    Well, day 1 went fine - 0.83% of the way through the programme.

    It's late, and I've had a busy day, so I'm not going to write much of anything; I'm just logging my progress. I do have some thoughts and ideas I will share sometime later this week. If anyone else is participating, I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

    For those of you who are interested but hesitating, I look at it like this: sure, the programme looks a little intimidating, but 20 weeks from now, I'm still going to be playing the guitar - the only question is how good I'll be playing in 20 weeks. And following the HRSC programme seems to give me a method of getting closer to my goals in that respect. I'll let you know for sure one way or another in approximately 4 months.

    -Travis
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  8. #8
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    May 2010
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    Mystic CT
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    Improvement has no end with focused, dedicated, intelligent and knowledgable practice and study. You can still get better for your entire life, if you take care and observe yourself while you work. Accept no limits, and be prepared to abandon what you thought worked before. Study groups are a great tool with which to share exciting discoveries, but nothing beats playing with others: learning to listen, the most important of all music skills.

  9. #9
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    Just wanted to let you know I started on this today and wow...ok...this is...fun....I think

  10. #10
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    So just some observations from Day 3: this routine really exposes one's habits and weaknesses. I noticed, for instance, that I tend to play certain tonal centres on certain areas of the neck - for example, I tend to play Bb in the 11-14 fret area, or the 3-6 fret area, but rarely in-between. Also, when I get to chords that I'm less certain about how to play over, I tend to start a line on the root note, high E string - that way I know I'll be in key. But jumping around like that makes for some unmusical sounding lines at times.

    This all became apparent during the first 10 minute run today. So for the second run through, I committed to playing only on strings 5 through 2, and only in the first 6 frets. For run 3, I again omitted the E strings, but this time played exclusively from frets 7 through 12. It was difficult at first, but doable at 54 bmp. I'll keep working at this until playing through changes in a single position becomes natural (that's the goal, at least). I could see expanded this approach down the line. For instance, limiting myself to different sets of 3 strings.

    Glad to have you aboard Michael Kaye.
    Last edited by Socraticaster; 07-26-2017 at 11:17 PM.
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  11. #11
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    I'm finding "10 minutes uninterrupted" challenging to say the least. I can't resist correcting that clam now and again.

    I've spent 2 days now breaking the impulse to add creative rhythms. I thought this would be easy, taking the rhythmic phrasing out of it, but it's not. This requiring much more discipline than I imagined.

    I, too, find myself gravitating to known areas of the neck. It's really pointing out that I don't have as much fretboard knowledge as I'd like. So I keep bouncing out of the exercise to grasp a fresh look at a position. Well worthwhile but not the exercise. I expect to get better at this with time.

    As a separate study, I am finding HR chord voicings helpful for exploring positions and fingerings. But, I did resort to using my own voicings for the track. I don't think it hurts the exercise.

    I haven't touched the tempo. 50 is just fine for now. I am happy with my nots choices. I do feel I'm creating some nice lines using chord tones,, approach notes, enclosures and such. That's where the etude study is really helping me.

    Overall, I'm loving this exercise. I expect to be a different player in 3 months for sure.

  12. #12
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    Day 4 went well. I haven't been focusing on enclosures and chord tones so much - I'm concentrating on trying to get the changes off the page and into my head. I think I'll start focusing in on trying to hit chord tones on the downbeat on Friday and Saturday.

    -Travis
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  13. #13

    Another Howard Roberts Super Chops thread

    Glad to see you guys doing this! It's a great way (as I think the OP pointed out) to identify weaknesses. I have lots and wish I had more time to devote outside of the program to work on them.

    As far as HR's voicings go, I am a bit torn. I've definitely learned a lot about harmony as voices in motion. We've revisited some of the tunes 1 or 2 times in David's group, and sometimes it takes a lot of exposure for me to begin to understand a change harmonically, let alone how to improvise over it. When we first started I couldn't comp a lot of the changes using HR's voicing even at my pitiful slow tempo, so I'd cobble together a chorus in Logic and then loop it for 10 minutes. I've improved enough in 15 weeks (wow!!) to record the chords for most of the tunes as written at slightly faster tempos (I'm in the mid 40s to low 50s now). This has helped with my problem of getting off the page, and I think that's just one of the skills I am developing.

    While I think the voicings really are helpful, sometimes I feel like I'm sinking rather than swimming. Part of me feels like I should have just played shell voicing to practice improvising melodies and master the basics I know half-assed rather than really flub a bunch of more complicated stuff. On the other hand the complex harmonies, altered voicings, substitutions, etc. have been an education for the ears that I might never have approached with my old practice regimen.

    Anyways, have fun and pop into the other thread to say hi once in a while. Maybe when you guys finish this go-round we can merge groups.
    Last edited by wzpgsr; 07-27-2017 at 11:29 PM.

  14. #14
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    Well I've been following on this round since last time I was just too overextended. Day two, and I am shocked at my progress. Now before anyone calls me out for bragging I don't think anyone else would be shocked. Still at 40bpm, and still flubbing a lot. But day one was painful. Today I looked at the clock and said, "10 minutes old boy. You can do it." Looked up again and I had been at it for 30! I can tell that if I really put in the time and follow the program it will be transformative.

  15. #15
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    Well, I've finished Week 1, so I guess that means I'm 5% of the way through. I think I'll stick with this - it might be premature to judge at this point, but this appears to be a very good practice routine.
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  16. #16
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    Intellectually, I still love this routine. But today I hit some kind of a wall. I had to force myself to persist through the exercise. Mind numbing. I learned nothing today. But I'm sticking with it.

    I'm switching to the etude exercises now.

  17. #17
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    I hear what you're saying. Truthfully, the routine can be a bit of a grind if you're not feeling it. And there have definitely been a few days where I just wasn't feeling it. BUT, I'm working through the routine in the hopes that this approach will just become a habit. Plus, I like to think that even on the days where I don't think I'm getting anything out of it, I'm still gaining something by not back-sliding a day.

    -Travis
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

  18. #18
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    Switching to the other exercise helped me out a bit. The contrast was nice.

    i have to remind myself that this exercise is just that - exercise. It's not "music" yet. It's an exercise in knowledge and agility. It's like driving around the track, getting to know the road, the curves and elevation. It's not racing yet. I keep bumping in to my natural desire to make it music. I don't think it's a bad thing. I'm definitely learning from this. I'm also trying not to alter the program too much. I'm just gonna let it do its thing.

    Okay, 19 weeks to go.....

  19. #19
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    Okay, this week I got side tracked by HR phrasing examples and now I'm off using this like an etude study. There are lots of great lines here using all the tools. I know this is not part of the exercise directly but I'm really enjoying it so I don't mind lagging on the exercise while I study these side pursuits.

    Im not posting much because I'm really buried in these exercises but I'm very much involved with this daily. This is game changing for me and I'm thrilled with my own progress although I recognize I'm months and months away from the beginnings of a firm grasp on freely using this and incorporating it routinely. The road ahead looks pretty promising and exciting.

  20. #20
    Since I have been devoting the majority of my practice time to this for the past 4 months, I recorded myself improvising over some tunes from my repertoire. I noticed huge improvement. Stick with it! It will pay off, guaranteed.

  21. #21
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    I'm working through three different approaches/ideas that I wanted to develop (for guitar in general) and am finding them blending together in a weird way. I don't know if each is suffering for lack of focus or there is synergy.

    In any case, @wzpgsr recently posted on the Barry Harris Harmonic Method study group and that inspired me to practice arpeggiating those chords at 40bpm for 10min bursts. Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to join the Conti's Ticket To Improve Study Group and have been forcing myself to start with 60bpm practice of those lines (40 was just too hard for my poor little brain.) Again for 10 min straight at a time. I hope I am not neglecting just following the Howard Roberts technique too much by blending them with other studies. But it sure is making me play those Conti lines in a new way!

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