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  1. #1

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    Okay it's Jan. 1st... 8:15 AM on Jan 1st in Melbourne.

    So let the fun begin. This week, through Jan. 8th, we will be discussing and working on pages 1 through 7 (next week will be pages 8 through 11.

    Here are the links where you can post questions, comments, recordings etc. not specific to this thread:

    anyone else using Leavitt?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Here is a list of the links to all the 'Study Group' threads for 'A Modern Method For Guitar Vol 1':

    https://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/getti...tml#post214220
    Last edited by fep; 03-26-2012 at 09:03 PM.

  4. #3

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    There is a lot of material presented on page 3. But it's just a matter of memorization. For those of you that this is new, feel free to chime in with questions.

    Once you get into the exercises and tunes, how do intend to schedule your practice?

    If your are tight for time, I'm a believer in short focused practice sessions. I think two 15 minute practice sessions can be better than one 40 minute practice session.

    Sometimes it's a pain to use a metronome and I don't practice enough with one. I vow to always use a metronome while going through the Modern Method for Guitar Vol 1 (MM1) book.
    Last edited by fep; 12-31-2011 at 05:37 PM.

  5. #4

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    There are some things that are skipped on page 3. Like how to hold the guitar. So this topic is not actually on page 3, but I think it should be one of the first things learned.

    I wanted to start a disicussion of left hand position and risk of wrist injuries. Especially for the beginners, this is the time to develop good habits.

    Anyways, this is how I do it:



    I do use my thumb to grab the sixth string occasionally for chord playing, but more than 95% of the time I keep my thumb near the middle of the neck as pictured.

  6. #5

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    ooh! let the fun begin...

    metronome, that sounds like a new years resolution?

    ok, i will share something a guitar teacher once told me. i did need to be told, it wasn't in any of the books, or any youtube vids i had seen. simple thing. he told me to fret the string just behind the fret - course you can fret it anywhere, and as a beginner the middle seemed like a good spot - but if you stop the string just behind the fret, then you greatly reduce the pressure needed.

    pg 3 is a lot to take in. its memory work, also a lot of just plain accepting that's how it is, and understanding the system. in real life people take a while to learn to read music.

    its fun looking over these pages again and i'll try to make a recording this week. i remember being entranced by the duet.

  7. #6

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    like the video, fep, you're a natural for the camera.

    i remember internet discussions about not putting the thumb over, but leaving it on the back of the neck, and *totally* not understanding. where else would i put my thumb? the i realised that most guitarists have hand a couple sizes up from me and the thumb actually *can* go over top. lol

  8. #7

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    Pages 1 to 7.Two things do you guys and girls think we should be playing using all down strokes as i believe that's were the book heads later playing down strokes on the downbeats.The other thing ,is it worth mentioning what the chords are just in case anyone is wondering about the inverted triads etc,or should we leave that until the book explains them later.

  9. #8

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    I play a Telecaster and have larger hands. They measure 8 inches from heel to tip of middle finger.

    I find my thumb being all over the place when I play. But I think the secret to that is that I don't put a lot of pressure with my hand when gripping chords or playing lines. Sometimes I even find myself having my thumb off of the neck when playing. I know this is somewhat unique.

    I've attached 3 pictures to show how when my thumb does go over the neck I still don't get my wrist into a position that is painful.

    Picture 1 is me playing a Bb13 chord , Picture 2 is me gripping a Eb9, and the 3rd picture is me running some major scale up the neck.

    If you see something here that should be corrected let me know. I feel like it's comfortable and as I said I consider myself to have large hands. I am open to be corrected though. Especially if it helps me avoid future pain and heartache.

    Personally I think some discussion while we go through the exercises would prove beneficial in the end. For example, exercise 2 includes arpeggios for some chords. 1-3-5. C-E-G. THen the chord.

    EDIT: Nice video. I was trying to figure out how to do a video like that using my audiobox for the sound but couldn't get it to work.
    Last edited by PirateNigel; 12-31-2011 at 09:10 PM.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by PirateNigel
    I've attached 3 pictures to show how when my thumb does go over the neck I still don't get my wrist into a position that is painful.

    EDIT: Nice video. I was trying to figure out how to do a video like that using my audiobox for the sound but couldn't get it to work.
    Looks good to me, I think the key is to keep the wrist from doing that reverse bend. Same thing they talked about at work regarding typing and then gave us those pads to raise our wrists. You have the luxury of having big hands, and what you're doing looks like it's working.

    I think I'm going to address how I do videos over at the other thread, probably not until tomorrow.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by gingerjazz
    Pages 1 to 7.Two things do you guys and girls think we should be playing using all down strokes as i believe that's were the book heads later playing down strokes on the downbeats.The other thing ,is it worth mentioning what the chords are just in case anyone is wondering about the inverted triads etc,or should we leave that until the book explains them later.
    I'd say "yes" to downstrokes. As far as chord names, I'd call that "extra credit".

    Learning to read these three-note voicings in notation is the challenge here, even if you've worked through single-note or classical reading methods previously. Also, playing some of these voicings without muting the open string in the middle can be a challenge and requires a different technique from classical playing.

    With a non-classical nut width, you have to err on the side of touching adjacent non-played strings to let these inner, open notes ring. Of course, this mutes the non-played strings -- and that's a good thing, but, again, different from a traditional classical technique.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 12-31-2011 at 11:06 PM.

  12. #11

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    When I recorded this is occurred to me that some might use this as a play-along. So I recorded it with two tempos, twice at each tempo on the first one. I didn't count out load because I was recording, Leavitt recommends that you count.

    Self critique:

    - My pinky is flying away from the fretboard, I need to all my fingers close to the fretboard.

    - The dynamics aren't as consistent as I'd like.

    - It doesn't sound like music, it sounds like an exercise. This kind of exercise might be hard to make it sound like music but one should try.

    One observation, is it's hard to play that slow. Kind of like walking but at a pace of one step every three seconds, try it it's hard. You might find it easier at the faster tempo. Another difficulty is knowing the tape is running, we'll all probably get over that the more we record.



    Last edited by fep; 01-01-2012 at 12:23 AM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billnc
    So that bend on the far right picture is okay? I've always tried to keep mine straighter than that though for some barres it gets close.
    First, a sincere thanks to fep: You are going way above and beyond the call of duty!

    Now about the hand position: In order to achieve a unbent wrist, I angle the head of my guitar higher than you (fep) - about 45 degrees. Also, my thumb is in the center of the neck, but it points more or less towards the head - more directly toward the head in higher positions. Finally - and I'm not sure if this is to far ahead but it relates to Pirate Nigel's pictures above: My wrist bends forwards when doing bar chords. The forward bend seems unavoidable but it is not always the most comfortable. Is that okay?

    Thx.

  14. #13

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    fep: I did not even notice some of the things you mentioned - like the pinky flying away. Thanks for reminding me (us) to pay attention to our body mechanics. Presumably this will help us develop fluid, easy motions.

    What I did notice is how even and clean your picking sounds - not so for yours truly. I don't even hit the correct string sometimes, and other times the attack sounds either heavy handed, or like a near miss, or as though the pick is scraping the string.

  15. #14

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    There is a general rule that if you are playing something sloppily, it's better to slow down.

    What surprised me is that I find it easier to play the exercises on page 4 at 68 half notes per minute than at 68 quarter notes per minute. When playing at the slower tempo, my left hand seems to forget where to go. Any thoughts on this?

  16. #15

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    First of all, thank to fep for taking the trouble to make those videos. People learn best by imitation, and those help a lot.

    Now some comments and questions...

    What I've been trying to do is sing each note's letter name as I play it. It's harder for me that way, but I think I will learn more in the long run. I can see that I need to have the sight reading of individual notes down absolutely cold if I'm going to have any hope of parsing new chords rapidly. I've put this in the same category as learning your multiplication tables when you're a kid.

    It's significantly more difficult for me to play this stuff in time with a metronome, so I don't think I really learn much without using one. Is it better to slow down the metronome to the point where I make almost no mistakes. or set it to push me a little at the cost of some mistakes? When I do make mistakes, is it better to stop and start over or just keep going?

    I've been careless about doing alternate up down picking. Should I not do that at this point?

    Once you've played an exercise a few times, you sort of learn it by heart, and then it's ruined for practicing sight-reading. Does anyone know of an internet source for lots of very simple music, preferably free and downloadable?

    OK, sorry for all the pesky questions. I'll give it a rest now (even though we haven't covered rests yet).
    Last edited by strumcat; 01-01-2012 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Added proper title

  17. #16

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    Great questions strumcat,i will attempt to give you my thoughts on those things.I believe you should slow down the metronome until you can play the piece with no ,mistakes and then build up the tempo.This is quite widely accepted as the correct method,its often said if you cannot play it slow you wont play it fast.When i make a mistake i always start over,thats just me though i don't know if this is the accepted practice or not.The book moves on later to playing down strokes on down beats and up strokes on upbeats so i think it is best to play these that way.It would have probably been better if the book had mentioned the picking technique to be used.I dont think these exercises are meant to be reading studies they come later i think these are more about learning the positions,so memorising at this stage is ok i think.I think TLT can point you towards some free resources on the net regarding reading studies,i have the reading studies books that accompany this book.Hope this helps a bit,i am not a music teacher so these are only my own take on things.Peace
    Last edited by gingerjazz; 01-01-2012 at 06:16 AM.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by strumcat

    It's significantly more difficult for me to play this stuff in time with a metronome, so I don't think I really learn much without using one. Is it better to slow down the metronome to the point where I make almost no mistakes. or set it to push me a little at the cost of some mistakes? When I do make mistakes, is it better to stop and start over or just keep going?
    as ginger says, slow it down, get it right, then you can speed up. some passages this book has had me to 40bpm, which is the slowest my ticker goes. exception is if you are banging yr head off a brick wall, in which case, break it down.

    tips for breaking things down (to avoid head-banging)

    chunking. *do not* play piece from beginning to end. break it into 4 bar chunks (2 bars, 1 bar, whatever). use postits to hide from view the notes you are not interested in. only once you can play 4 bar chunks correctly, put together into 8 bars, etc

    notes and rhythm separate. once through, disregard notes and play rhythm only. clap, or play down strokes on single note. once through, disregard rhythm and play notes only. turn metronome off.

    I've been careless about doing alternate up down picking. Should I not do that at this point?
    man on video says down strokes only for now.

    Once you've played an exercise a few times, you sort of learn it by heart, and then it's ruined for practicing sight-reading. Does anyone know of an internet source for lots of very simple music, preferably free and downloadable?

    OK, sorry for all the pesky questions. I'll give it a rest now (even though we haven't covered rests yet).
    i first learned guitar-reading from an old teach-yorself recorder book that was lying around. anything simple will do. try this:
    Beginner Piano Music for Kids -- Printable Free Sheet Music

    try mary had a little lamb, jingle bells, etc. ignore wormies and snakes as they only work on piano. if the bass clef has notes, ignore it.

    don't worry too much that you memorize. you still practice reading even when memorized (though, true, not to the same extent). got kids? remember when they're learning to read and they memorise their fav book and read it constantly again and again. there is something and familiarity and comfort that helps - not the constant fear that the next word will be difficult. and then over time it just happens.

  19. #18

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    Hi strumcat,

    I think if you are at an early beginner stage to sight reading you need to supplement leavitt's method with something like melbay's grade one book. For instance, it has you reading on one string at a time before you play them simultaneously. As you work through the exercises say the note names out loud as you play them. As ten left thumb mentioned, read the rhythms w/o reading the notes. By internalizing the rhythms and knowing the note names by sight can you sight reading fluently. Then and only then, should you think about bumping the bpm level. Also as far as the chords, you need not worry too much about those. Focus on single lines for right now. Get those down cold. You need to do a lot of easy drills first.

    Leavitt's book is good for any level, but it must be supplemented with something more basic for absolute beginners to sight reading. Just my 2cents.
    Last edited by smokinguit; 01-01-2012 at 08:00 AM.

  20. #19

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    I think knowing how to sight read at a basic level is important to get through the first part of this book w/ ease as the book has no tabs. But you can learn the notes on the strings and create your own tabs. That way you can figure out how to play the exercises by continuous practice. Don't let not knowing how to sight read frustrate you too much. Just figure out how it is played and follow along with this thread and the DVD if you have it. Again you can supplement this book with a basic reading book if you want to learn how to do it at this stage in MM. I find David Oak's book on reading for guitarist to be good cause he really break things down.
    Last edited by smokinguit; 01-01-2012 at 10:44 AM.

  21. #20

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    Yea, This is going well. Thanks to the questions and the answers that everyone has been providing.

    Only thing I can think of adding, is in my opinion it is best to avoid tab at this point. I believe Leavitt didn't include tab because this book is about teaching you to read. And if you use tab you won't have to memorize the notes. Just my opinion.

    Thanks Ron, it's so helpful to have someone like you.

    A Question for Ronjazz

    After the 1st page a lot of the exercises have chords on the inside strings like F A C or E G C in the first position. There are various ways to play those; 1) with hybrid picking, 2) with a rest strong (landing on the high E string) or 3) muting the high E string with the side of your pinky (this one I don't care for).

    Can you give us advice on how Leavitt might instruct one on how to approach this?

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by PirateNigel
    I play a Telecaster and have larger hands. They measure 8 inches from heel to tip of middle finger.

    I find my thumb being all over the place when I play. But I think the secret to that is that I don't put a lot of pressure with my hand when gripping chords or playing lines. Sometimes I even find myself having my thumb off of the neck when playing. I know this is somewhat unique.

    I've attached 3 pictures to show how when my thumb does go over the neck I still don't get my wrist into a position that is painful.

    Picture 1 is me playing a Bb13 chord , Picture 2 is me gripping a Eb9, and the 3rd picture is me running some major scale up the neck.

    If you see something here that should be corrected let me know. I feel like it's comfortable and as I said I consider myself to have large hands. I am open to be corrected though. Especially if it helps me avoid future pain and heartache.

    Personally I think some discussion while we go through the exercises would prove beneficial in the end. For example, exercise 2 includes arpeggios for some chords. 1-3-5. C-E-G. THen the chord.

    EDIT: Nice video. I was trying to figure out how to do a video like that using my audiobox for the sound but couldn't get it to work.
    i wanted to reply to this. when i started out on guitar i was keen to avoid mistakes, so i took advice from a youtube vid (by a guitar teacher) who basically said, keep the wrist straight. well, i could keep it straight for a d chord fine. keeping it straight for an f chord was another matter, but i tried. it meant i had to bend a funny way at the knuckles, which hurt, but i expected an f chord to hurt anyway, so i kept going.

    eventually the pain made me stop playing. after two months, no guitar, but still sore, i finally made doc's appointment. to cut long story short, the physio spent ages pressing on one bit, and when i asked her why she said one of the bones in the arch in my wrist was out of place so she had to put it back.

    clever woman she was. so, when i pick up guitar again, i went back to the internet guy who had made the vid on 'posture', and asked him. i also looked him up on youtube, and for a barre chord, he had his hand right down, fingers straight down, bent at the wrist. so i asked him and he said, yes, i suppose you do bend the wrist for some chords. so much for that!

    it took me a long time to train my wrist to bend like that. by 'wrist bent' i mean the rightmost-pic of Nigel.

    the moral of the story? when someone says something like 'keep yr thumb at the back' or 'don't bend the wrist' - there is probably some truth in what they are saying. but, we are all different shapes and sizes and we have little anomalies that matter, what works for one chord/style of playing doesn't necessarily work for all chords/all styles of playing. so, to a point, everyone has to be their own teacher and think about what is going on and how that can be made most efficient - and least likely to cause injury.

  23. #22

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    Sea to Sea Duet, 1st Guitar in vid (playing along with 2nd guitar)

    A quandary; It's so much easier for me to do the chords with hybrid or finger picking. Maybe I should just stick with it?

    I did hybrid picking on this



    Okay, now I can relax for the rest of the week

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Yea, This is going well. Thanks to the questions and the answers that everyone has been providing.

    A Question for Ronjazz

    After the 1st page a lot of the exercises have chords on the inside strings like F A C or E G C in the first position. There are various ways to play those; 1) with hybrid picking, 2) with a rest strong (landing on the high E string) or 3) muting the high E string with the side of your pinky (this one I don't care for).

    Can you give us advice on how Leavitt might instruct one on how to approach this?
    Bill showed me that the pick moves in a "flicking" motion from the wrist, and an arc is created. The lowest part of the arc should be on the final string you're playing, with the pick coming to rest on the next string. This is a Van Eps/Johnny Smith dictum as well, and the ideal result is that the highest note in the chord will be the loudest, generally the best for melodic voice-leading, and demands quite a bit of control and practice to become natural. If you have a chance to watch the great rhythm guitarists on youtube, you'll see that they "flick" across the strings in a seemingly effortless fashion, bringing out the highest note and creating a harmony part with the bass. An alternate method is to mute the unused strings with the left hand; this gives you the ability to "bounce" over the strings for a lighter feel. In any event, hybrid picking will not work in this context, although I have no objection at all to it as a technique, but it is not strong enough for this type of playing. Having said that, there aren't any rules not made to be bent!

  25. #24

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    Pg 5 Exercise 2 Bar 5-6?

    Leavitt uses this chord and arp throughout the first few pages a lot.

    It's F-G-B. What is this chord? It's not coming to me. I've thought about it but this one eludes me. Is this a Fsus2? If it is, then why is it? I'm probably way off base here trying to figure this out on my own.

    EDIT: I'm even more confused. I looked up sus2 triads and they seem to be 1-2-5. Correct?

    Another question from same exercise: In 1-2 bars it's a 1-3-5 of C and bars 7-8 he uses the 3-5-1 of C. Is the second instance known as the first inversion?

    Theory and fretboard knowledge are my weakest. I hate that I've only played cowboy chords for so long but I am changing that. Slowly, but it is changing.
    Last edited by PirateNigel; 01-01-2012 at 07:18 PM.

  26. #25

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    PirateNigel, it's a G7. As Leavitt says later on, chords are named from their harmonic function, not from their shapes. The chord in question contains the "tritone", the interval from B-F. Try this: play B on the open 2nd string along with F on the first string, then move the first finger to the second string and play C, along with the open 1st string E. Now you can hear the strength of the tritone, which I consider the keystone of the arch of modern music.

    I believe you have the answer to the second question just right.

  27. #26

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    Yes as ronjazz says its a G7 with the seventh in the bass, but without the fifth,it is very common to miss out the fifth in chord voicings.All should become clearer later on in the book.

  28. #27

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    Hello All,

    Here's my recording of Sea to Sea Duet with metronome - (The bane of my existence)

    I've just recorded clean into my new Zoom portable recorder. Don't have any effects. Can someone recommend a good effects program - preferably free?

    12_01_01_Leavitt_SeaToSeaDuet.mp3 - File Shared from Box - Free Online File Storage


    Cheers,
    fs

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerstyler
    Hello All,

    Here's my recording of Sea to Sea Duet with metronome - (The bane of my existence)

    I've just recorded clean into my new Zoom portable recorder. Don't have any effects. Can someone recommend a good effects program - preferably free?

    12_01_01_Leavitt_SeaToSeaDuet.mp3 - File Shared from Box - Free Online File Storage


    Cheers,
    fs
    Both voices ring out real pretty, good balance, good tone. It sounds real good. The only critique that I can think of is the rhythm, although good mostly, there were a couple places were the timing got just a wee bit off. (The timing is something I wouldn't mention to many, but you play well so it's fair game to nit pick, imo ).

    Good job, thanks for posting.

    I use Reaper for recording software which has plenty of effects, it costs $60. The free one that a lot of folks use is Audacity. I have a lot of fun playing around with recordings in Reaper and I record directly into Reaper.

    To that recording, for me it would just be panning (which it seems you already have the two tracks panned), I always play around with eq to see if I can find anything I like and I cut everything below about 60hz and everything above about 20khz, and i add some stereo reverb to taste on each track. I might use a wee bit of compression to tame some of the highest peaks, just a little so it's transparent.
    Last edited by fep; 01-02-2012 at 01:53 AM.

  30. #29

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    Wow fingerstyler, I really enjoyed listening to your mp3. You obviously have some technical skills, and it sounds like music - not just an exercise. One thing I did notice was the slowing of tempo at the end of measure 8. I'm not sure if you were slowing intentionally but it did not sound intentional to me. To repeat however, that was musical and enjoyable for me. BTW, are you picking or using your fingers?

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Both voices ring out real pretty, good balance, good tone. It sounds real good. The only critique that I can think of is the rhythm, although good mostly, there were a couple places were the timing got just a wee bit off. (The timing is something I wouldn't mention to many, but you play well so it's fair game to nit pick, imo ).

    Good job, thanks for posting.

    I use Reaper for recording software which has plenty of effects, it costs $60. The free one that a lot of folks use is Audacity. I have a lot of fun playing around with recordings in Reaper and I record directly into Reaper.

    To that recording, for me it would just be panning (which it seems you already have the two tracks panned), I always play around with eq to see if I can find anything I like and I cut everything below about 60hz and everything above about 20khz, and i add some stereo reverb to taste on each track. I might use a wee bit of compression to tame some of the highest peaks, just a little so it's transparent.
    Thanks for the comments fep. Yes the timing is fair game and needs work. I need to figure a way to record the second track while listening to the first - that might make the timing a bit easier. Or get better with metronome I currently use Audacity and really don't like any of the digital effects included with it. I really just want to add a tiny bit of reverb - since the room I record in is very small and dead. Maybe I'll break down and buy Reaper.

    Maybe I'll clean it up and post later this week.

    Thanks again.
    fs

  32. #31

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    wow fingerstyler that was great! was that with fingers, and did you play both parts together? either way, very impressive. one thing, which really is picky, but the last note of line two (2nd part), written note is G.

    but really, you have such a steady beat, you should be able to play to metronome. what kind do you have, and what click does it give you? some folks need a mechanical one. i think the wee digital one set us up for failure, myself.

    i use audacity, all i ever do is top, tail and normalise.

    (i am going to try to play today)

  33. #32

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    ok i played today. here is pg 5 ex 2, 3:



    and ex 4:


    self- critique? well, my playing here is fairly rubbish, but i'm glad i got somwthing down and can contribute here a bit.

    i think for our beginner-readers this page is really important before the duet.

  34. #33

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    Hi everyone - I should probably introduce myself to those of you who don't know me. I used to participate a lot in the Practical Standards threads, but this last 9-12 months I've not had the chance due to medical and ongoing educational commitments.

    Up until a couple of years ago, I was a good blues and rock guitarist and I've taught hundreds of students. Neurological disorder came along and makes it really challenging for my fingers to do what my brain tell them too, plus the noise literally hurts my head. Anyway, these last couple of years I've lost probably 90% of my technique due to these combined issues. I've spent many months looking for a jazz archtop guitar so that once I relaunch myself I can dedicate my (re)learning to jazz and jazz-blues. I bought that guitar just before Christmas!

    I'm looking forward to participating here and will start submitting things just as soon as I can figure out my recording issues :-) And as soon as the book arrives from Amazon!

    It's great to see the amount of time and effort which you've collectively contributed. And of course, many thanks are due to Frank!

    See you soon,
    Tony

  35. #34

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    would someone tell me what the last exercise on page 11 is? I got the digital copy and it does not go by pages because it depends on the size of your font.

  36. #35

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    do you count intervals or make a connection between notes and position on guitar or will that eventually come? I find myself going in intervals on the staff and scale on the guitar, but if I loose my starting point on the staff (C) i loose my place in the scale, does this make since to anyone?
    not that i loose the C more like I cant identify how many steps it is to stay in time
    Last edited by oldskoolchop; 01-02-2012 at 03:28 PM.

  37. #36

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    hi oldskool,

    this weeks portion is to to sea to sea.

    pg 11 takes us to 1,2,3,4 and rhythm accomp (next week)

    if i understand your second question, you will need to learn notes on the fret board ie instant recognition that A is A (not just A is 2 frets up from G).

    this website has exercises you can customise for learning notes and fretboard.

    it can be helpful to also read intervalically, but that only takes you so far.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyknight

    Now to get those fingers walking... or working at least.

    Oh, there are some great role models out there of people who had to do the whole learning thing more than once. Django comes to mind. What a player, with and without fingers!
    It must be frustrating to have to re-learn from scratch. We forget sometimes that our brains are still plastic as adults, and we can rewire a bit, just by regular practice. I think doing so is good for the soul.

    But just because you've done it once, doesn't mean it's necessarily going to be easy. Just like, if you've learned two languages, then learning another is still a task. You may have the confidence to say 'yes I can do this' - but each irregular verb needs to be learned...

  39. #38

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    After being away from home for the holiday, I'm finally back home with my guitars. I've been waiting to get started on this. I've had the book for about a year, but never really worked through it. Being able to discuss it with others will help keep me focused and motivated.


    I'd consider myself a beginner/early intermediate rock guitarist, but I also have a growing interest in jazz. I have some basic experience reading music for guitar, especially in the open position.


    I played through the first 11 pages today just to see what I was in for and had a few questions. I was wondering how other people were approaching it.


    1. I’m curious if most people are working on all of the exercises and songs, or if they are taking them one at a time until they have “mastered” it. If so, what criteria are you using to determine that you are ready to move on? Are you setting a BPM goal?


    2. Are you giving parts you are having difficulty with more attention and working them out bar by bar, or are you doing it from start to finish every time?


    3. Is anyone concerned about “memorizing” the exercise, so that it becomes less of a reading exercise?


    4. I’m curious what technique people are using to play the triads. I seem to be relying on my right hand to play the right strings and using kind of a rest stroke technique to prevent myself from playing other strings. Is anyone primarily using left hand muting? I saw that ronjazz mentioned a little about it.


    5. Just an observation - one thing I’m finding is that it seems awkward for me to hold down the whole chord in advance. I guess I primarily just move my hand for whatever I have to do to play the current notes and don’t usually look ahead. I’m hoping this observation will help me play better in the future by looking ahead in the music.


    6. I have a question for fep. You say you use Reaper. I was wondering if you are using a guitar interface, of if you are just plugging your guitar into the mic input, or using a microphone near your amp?

    Thanks to all who are contributing to this thread.

  40. #39

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    Hi jsepguitar, my 2 cents for what they're worth:

    Quote Originally Posted by jsepguitar
    1. I’m curious if most people are working on all of the exercises and songs, or if they are taking them one at a time until they have “mastered” it. If so, what criteria are you using to determine that you are ready to move on? Are you setting a BPM goal?
    Well, if I followed correctly, reviewing the material is part of the plan and mastering them at 200 bpm is not really required. I basically play the parts until I'm able to actually play them, then move on, then get back to those parts to improve. Skipping parts looks ok if you make sure you review the material at one point, it does not make much sense to avoid difficulties forever.

    Concerning the bpm, as far as I'm concerned I don't have any goal specifically, but to practice slowly at first.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsepguitar
    2. Are you giving parts you are having difficulty with more attention and working them out bar by bar, or are you doing it from start to finish every time?
    Usually from start to finish, with eventually extra work on the tricky parts, but this might change later when the material gets more complicated. It's personnaly challenging to begin sight reading music.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsepguitar
    3. Is anyone concerned about “memorizing” the exercise, so that it becomes less of a reading exercise?
    It might become an issue at one point, but then I suppose it allows to concentrate on the technic rather than on the reading itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsepguitar
    6. I have a question for fep. You say you use Reaper. I was wondering if you are using a guitar interface, of if you are just plugging your guitar into the mic input, or using a microphone near your amp?
    I know this one is addressed to fep, but my opinion is that you get a better sound with an interface or microphone near the amp than with the computer's mic input.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsepguitar
    After being away from home for the holiday, I'm finally back home with my guitars. I've been waiting to get started on this. I've had the book for about a year, but never really worked through it. Being able to discuss it with others will help keep me focused and motivated.

    I'll add my two cents also:

    Q1. I’m curious if most people are working on all of the exercises and songs, or if they are taking them one at a time until they have “mastered” it. If so, what criteria are you using to determine that you are ready to move on? Are you setting a BPM goal?

    A1. I'm working on them all each day. BPM is what I can play reasonably cleanly. Rightly or wrongly, I am not working for max speed now, but for cleanliness.


    Q2. Are you giving parts you are having difficulty with more attention and working them out bar by bar, or are you doing it from start to finish every time?

    A2. Working from start to finish is an end-stage goal. It comes after working on fragments. I spend way more time on the hard parts and break them down into sometimes very small fragments - even grabbing a particular chord, or transitioning from one string to a different string. After the pieces are coming along, I work on putting them together, but not necessarily playing the whole piece.

    Stop. Fix mistakes. Work on performance (an uninterrupted, in-tempo presentation) last - if at all!


    Q3. Is anyone concerned about “memorizing” the exercise …?

    A3. Not me; YMMV


    Q4. I’m curious what technique people are using to play the triads. …

    A4. The earlier post by ronjazz was helpful to me. The technique that he mentioned where the pick sweeps an arc and comes to rest on the next unplayed string has been immediately helpful to me.
    Last edited by HighSpeedSpoon; 01-03-2012 at 02:39 PM.

  42. #41

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    Hi jsepguitar,

    HSS covered your questions well, I'll just add a little bit... Oh, and welcome aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsepguitar
    3. Is anyone concerned about “memorizing” the exercise, so that it becomes less of a reading exercise?
    Good question. I think if the material is technically difficult hand dexterity wise, then don't worry about memorizing.

    Otherwise, (from the book's introduction) Leavitt said, "Do not attempt to "completely perfect" any one lesson before going on. Playing technique is an accumulative process and you will find that each time you review material already studied it will seem easier to play."

    Quote Originally Posted by jsepguitar
    5. Just an observation - one thing I’m finding is that it seems awkward for me to hold down the whole chord in advance. I guess I primarily just move my hand for whatever I have to do to play the current notes and don’t usually look ahead. I’m hoping this observation will help me play better in the future by looking ahead in the music.
    Yes I agree, looking ahead is something you should eventually try to develop.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsepguitar
    6. I have a question for fep. You say you use Reaper. I was wondering if you are using a guitar interface, of if you are just plugging your guitar into the mic input, or using a microphone near your amp?
    My path is either:

    1) Acoustic guitar to condenser mic to mixer to PC soundcard input to Reaper.

    2) Electric guitar to amp modeler to mixer to PC soundcard input to Reaper.

    So as you can see, when playing electric I'm not using an amp or a mic.

    All this is always left hooked up and ready to go.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
    if i understand your second question, you will need to learn notes on the fret board ie instant recognition that A is A (not just A is 2 frets up from G). this website has exercises you can customise for learning notes and fretboard. it can be helpful to also read intervalically, but that only takes you so far.
    TLT & Leavitt study group: Buy a box of index cards; customize them to your needs. Stave; Guitar Grids; chord construction; triads; key sigs; Cycle of 5ths; et al. For myself, I recently made up loads of copies of an large 8x11 map of the fretboard because right now I'm working on connecting arps; great to take out a pencil if you have some down time. There's so many ways you can progress without having the instrument as there's so much visualization involved in all of this. Use your time wisely. Hang in guys. Happy 2012!

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyknight
    Hi Strumcat - thanks for the encouragement! Lovely version there - sounds sort of Christmassy I think.
    Likewise, thanks so much for the encouragement, man. I was able to use my regular setup for that one (strat-clone to emu0202 to cakewalk music creator) before it crapped out on me. Used Voxengo Marvel Graphic EQ, Voxengo Boogex amp simulator, and just a hint of TAL Reverb III (all free vst plugins) to improve the sound a little. The other stuff I just used a little Roland Mobile Cube into a laptop mic input and Audacity.

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyknight
    Oh, there are some great role models out there of people who had to do the whole learning thing more than once. Django comes to mind. What a player, with and without fingers!
    You're not kidding. I was just watching a video of Django on YouTube the other day, and that guy just blows me away! I guess once it's in your blood, you just find a way, whatever it takes. And whoever would have thought a guy who sounds like he has a mouthful of gravel like Satchmo would sing something as great as "What A Wonderful World"?

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyknight
    Now to get those fingers walking... or working at least.
    Yeh! You're gonna do great! Just put in the time and it will happen. Adversity just makes it sweeter.

    I spent the bulk of my time on Exercise 1, over and over until I began to recognize the notes on the staff. My neighbors must have thought there was a 3rd grader in here learning guitar. Hey, I'm not proud...

  45. #44

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    I think it's important to re-emphasize Leavitt's comments on guitar playing being an "accumulative" process. Everything one practices well and conscientiously helps everything else. Scales help arpeggios, duets help chords, etc. This is partially because the guitar is such a physical instrument, and partially because the end result is music. While everything at the beginning stages is a bit overwhelming and sticky, just imagine the day (not too far off, by the way) where you'll be able to read any melody in the Real Book with little real trouble, or say, in 6 months, when you look at the first few pages of Vol. 1 of the book and tear those exercises off like a virtuoso.

    Another rather important aspect of this study, for those intent on being musicians, is that this method teaches excellent basic principles to be applied in your own teaching practice. While MMG is not really the best choice for young beginners, it can make teaching out of Mel Bay or Alfred a lot more fun and more productive.

    I would like to add an exercise for those who are ambitious. Starting at the 10th fret, play 1, 2, 3, 4 on frets 10, 11, 12, 13 (D, Eb, E, F). Keep each finger on the string, but release the pressure as you drop the next finger. When you're done, proceed to the 5th string, 10th fret and repeat, then the 4th, 3rd, 2nd, then the first string, all in 10th position. Play evenly, not too slowly, trying to get a good, consistent pick stroke and a fat sound from each note. Once you've reached the 1st string, move down to 9th position, over to the 2nd string and do the same (1,2,3,4), back to the 6th string, always keeping fingers on the current string, but not pressing hard except with the finger actually playing. Then 8th position, 5th string, across to the first, then 7th position, 2nd string, across to the 6th, all the way down to position 1.

    I think it's best to start up high where the frets are closer and the string pressure less. If you can keep all fingers on the string you're playing until done with that string, you will develop a nice stretch in the left hand, as well as strength. This is not a speed study, more of a coordination between the two hands exercise. It won't take more than a few minutes, but done daily will really improve muscle tone.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by strumcat
    I spent the bulk of my time on Exercise 1, over and over until I began to recognize the notes on the staff. My neighbors must have thought there was a 3rd grader in here learning guitar. Hey, I'm not proud...
    Getting comfortable with these notes is a huge achievement. I know this is going to sound trite, but, the steepest part of the learning curve in learning to read music is right at the beginning. The system is designed to convey a large amount of quite detailed info with as little ink as possible so that the initiated can take in the info quickly, while playing. This means that the devil is in the detail of the symbols (lines, spaces, etc).

    And I know this all comes under the title 'reading' which sounds like it's for kids, but in order to 'read' you need to take on board theory too (whether you like it or not), so it's actually a lot.

    Thanks for that exercise ronjazz, I will add it do my daily warm up.

    Fep, just printed out the duet and can try it out tomorrow. Looks good!

  47. #46

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    Here's my Ho Ho Ho Duet, the music notation pdf is at post #89 of this thread.

    Self critique, seems a little sloppy. Oops, I used a lot of alternate picking, we are suppose to use all down strokes at this point.

    Last edited by fep; 01-03-2012 at 08:00 PM.

  48. #47

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    I have a little stash of cool exercises I've learned over the years from Kessell, Ellis, Pass, Coryel and a few others I've had lessons with. For years, I would ask any guitarist coming through Boston for a private lesson, both jazz and classical players, and almost all the time they were happy to have me come to their hotel room in the afternoon and spend an hour and a few bucks. Classical touring artists as well, i got to trade jazz lessons for classical with John Williams. I will drop one of these in every once in a while, it's good to have some studies that don't involve reading as a balancing point. I'm glad some are finding this first one useful; we'll build on it as we go. And fep, down-stokes are more important for the less advanced players, but keeping to them will actually help you later on.

  49. #48

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    Ok, my initial impression of MM1 in one word: FRUSTRATION! It feels like learning to walk or talk from scratch. The closest thing I can compare it to is learning a foreign language or computer programming. However, the satisfaction of playing music notation is great, even if they are only simple exercises and it's cool to see how simple stuff can still sound good, plus it has opened up a new dimension in music for me. Keep up the good work everybody!

  50. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by jsepguitar
    3. Is anyone concerned about “memorizing” the exercise, so that it becomes less of a reading exercise?
    I think there's a distinction to be made between reading and sightreading. You've got to learn to read before you can practice sightreading (in time, the first time through).

    Beginning students in school band and choral programs work through progressive reading studies. They add new rhythms and pitches and practice them over and over. They stop and count out problem spots and go over it several times. They take the stuff home and practice it until it's memorized. They go back and review constantly. At the end of the year, they can read "at sight" material comparable to the tunes at the beginning of the book.

    If you only work on material that's easy enough to play at sight, are you really learning enough? I think it would be of greater value to work on basic "reading" at a level that is much higher than your ability to play "at sight".

    At the same time, practice sightreading (a completely separate skill) at a level that's low enough for you to have some degree of success in reading the first time through. You should have plenty of this material so that you're not playing it often enough to memorize.

    If you're working on something new and difficult, don't worry about memorizing it. Acquire the basic skills needed to read and play the music. When I was in primary school, I read the same story 20 times and each time I felt better about my reading. Even though it was basically memorized, each time through solidified my knowledge, reading skill, and built my confidence.

    Of course, now I can read those stories without "practice". It's not because I practice "sightreading" books at a primary school level. It's because I read things that are many times harder than that all of the time.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 01-03-2012 at 11:50 PM.

  51. #50

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    Ron's exercise is an excellent way to build muscle memory. Once you feel comfortable with it, there are two things that I used to add to keep my students motivated to continue doing it. I'll offer the exercises here, but as with everything else and to Ron's point about feeling ambitious, they should only be started when you're ready.

    First extension: simply play the notes slowly IN TIME and say or better, sing, the note names. This will help with mastering the names of each note on each string. I'd start this initially only in one position (for example the tenth suggested by Ron).

    Second extension: This is challenging. Use different finger permutations, for example, starting at the tenth fret, play finger one (10), then finger three (12), then finger two (11), and finally finger four (13). Believe me - this is an exercise which I do daily now to try to make the right fingers walk!

    Composing tunes is a great idea. I'll commit to doing one but it'll take a few days as I generally have to type out every note using a graphics programme so it's not very efficient :-)

    To Frank and Ron - it is a real challenge to NOT use alternate picking! Also, as I used to continuously lose my pick when playing on stage, I sort of gave up and work almost exclusively with the fingers. I never mastered hybrid picking, and when I first go to see Mark Knopfler, I decided that it was way out of my league. So here, I'll be trying (again) to learn to use the pick properly, and if not, I guess I'll use thumb and or fingers. Ron, what were you referring to when you mentioned that down picking would be useful later on?