Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 75
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    This is less of a guitar and even jazz question and more of a general music question, but ...

    ... how can you better hear the flaws in your own playing. I've been playing the guitar for a long time, as many here have I'm sure and from time to time, I'll have people really check out my playing. And one of the comments I hear is that my time is bad. Both in and out of the realm of jazz.

    That's fine, and I've spent time working on it, but the problem is I can't really hear it. I can hear it in spots but overall, to my ears it sounds fine. I would never give somebody a recording of something I thought was horrendous.

    I'll hear some guy on another more rock oriented forum I'm on play a solo, and they're in the wrong key for a section, or make up a bass line for blues and the notes are just wrong. Those really basic flaws/stuff I think most everybody here can hear. But would it be worth me telling them, because how can they REALLY work on it unless they can really hear it's wrong themselves?

    It's funny, it's the first time it's occurred to me, but I think true musical talent, the innate kind, is being able to hear exactly what's wrong with your playing so you can work on it.

    But the more subtle stuff, the timing, the intonation, the phrasing. If somebody is just telling you how to do it, and you can't hear it yourself, how much mileage can you really get out that?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Maybe try recording yourself playing to a backing track or metronome or something? I thought my time was ok until I started making recordings, when I listened back to them I was pretty depressed, for the first time I could objectively hear how lousy my time actually was. Just being able to hear it like that was a big step towards working on improving it.

  4. #3
    Do you record yourself. Do it, when you're practicing, when you're playing with another person. Play with others, duo is good exercise. Work with a metronome set on 2 and 4. Work SLOW and with awareness of every space and nuance of your note placement. The slower you practice, the better your tempo work will be.
    It's natural not to hear yourself or your time when you're playing; your focus is on your fingers, not your ears. When you practice with a metronome, it holds you accountable. It's unforgiving. On 2 and 4 your feel has to swing and it's not there to correct you, just there as another player.
    Practice phrases and ideas that aren't habit or impulse motivated. Learn to think with good time. It's the hesitation that comes from the decision process that can hang you up, even just a moment. You're concentrating on playing something that's not fluid and of course you're not going to hear it. But record yourself. Listen to yourself. You'll hear the sound of indecision. It sounds like bad time.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Perhaps the most crucial question for someone wanting to really, profoundly improve.

    I also always have always struggled with evenness of time, one short segment of a chorus or verse will be very slightly either faster or slower than the rest of it. Yet the vast majority of my tune is spot on.

    Like you, I can't hear or feel it. I've learned that practicing with a metronome app on my phone helps. But it is still something I must be aware of.

    At the same time, I seem to be far more aware of some things like buzzing the next sting over than many guys and gals I've played with. So I work much at playing "clean".

    While some of the ones I played with are very tight on time but to my ear have too much extraneous sound they generate. We drove each other nuts.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I find that I sometimes play something and it feels fine. Then, if I listen to a recording of it, I can hear problems with the time. That's a challenge. If I can't hear it while I'm playing how can I improve?

    For a while I recorded everything I played in a group setting. The recordings with really good players were most important -- because on those recordings, if there was a problem, it probably wasn't them. I think that sharpened my ability to hear timing problems, but only to a degree. It's as if I just hear things on a different schedule. That is, just a bit late.

    So, I'd suggest playing with the best players you can find and recording everything. This may be the only useful line in this post. I think it's the only thing that has helped me with this problem at all.

    A teacher who is willing to be blunt can be painful, but it's a gift when somebody tells you an uncomfortable truth. In music, it's generally true that you get better if you can handle the blows to your self esteem.

    Recently, I've been recording tracks in Reaper and critiquing my time both by sound and by wave form. The ability to solo a track is very helpful. Whatever you play should have good time feel, even when you can't hear any other musician in the group. It helps to do take after take with the sole purpose of having your part, when solo'ed, feel good.

    This is more about awareness than mechanics. I know some people swear by the metronome. I know players some with great time and others with poor time who use the metronome a lot. I know one player with great time who teaches others to use the metronome, but privately admits that he never has. On balance, I think the evidence supports metronome use, but I prefer backing tracks. One great player recommends Time Guru, which will randomly drop out a selectable percentage of the clicks. Works for him. I can't say it worked for me, but maybe I didn't work with it enough.

    Oh, one other point. It's very easy to fall in love with an idea that you can't execute. Rule: NEVER sacrifice time to play something that's beyond your ability to play perfectly in time. So, if you're checking out your basic time feel, make sure you're playing stuff that you can physically execute with ease. If that stuff is in good time, then your problem is in execution not awareness.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Ya, recording oneself playing with a metronome, a backing track, etc. The tape don't lie, as the saying goes. Time is critical to playing well- the wrong note in time is often better than the right note out of time. Interestingly guitarists seem to not develop good time more often than many other instruments, maybe because we don't usually simultaneously learn to read like everyone else does- reading music forces an awareness of time. Listen to classical guitarists, they usually have excellent (if stiff) time but they learned to read from the beginning. Also, we tend to rely on the pendulum like motion of strumming to define time rather than counting. There is a very helpful book by drummer Peter Erskine (Time Awareness For All Musicians).

    And I'd like to reinforce what was mentioned above of having the metronome of 2 and 4 not 1 2 3 4; think of it as the high hat. This will push your sense of time. Few people are born with perfect time just as few are born with perfect pitch. The great Emily Remler locked herself away for months with a metronome on 2 and 4 to improve her time, and she ended up with rock solid swinging time. Eventually time is internalized and we feel it- Pat Metheny has talked about feeling the swing time groove in his chest whenever he plays- it's just there and he always knows where the beat is.

    Notice when he plays Moose the Mooch over the metronome on 2 & 4, how it sounds like the metronome is swinging instead of being rigid- but it is really being rigid. When good musicians play, the time is exact even when it sounds rubbery.


  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Maybe try recording yourself playing to a backing track or metronome or something? I thought my time was ok until I started making recordings, when I listened back to them I was pretty depressed, for the first time I could objectively hear how lousy my time actually was. Just being able to hear it like that was a big step towards working on improving it.
    Yes, I record. That's how people were able to tell me my time stinks.

    Yea, thinking something sounds good in real time and then bad after listening to the recording, that's a completely different thing.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Recording yourself is a great way to hear weaknesses. Generally, we first improve as listeners, and then as players. Some things that i feel have helped me a lot are:

    Listen to A LOT of music, in the thousands of cds.
    Always practice with a time reference. Metronome for square time, cds for different variations of feel and groove.
    A lot of transcriptions, but play them until you can really play them together with the cd, because that's when details like phrasing, time feel etc, come together.
    Take some lessons with a good drummer. Work on really difficult time stuff that drummers practice a lot, like poly-rhythms, playing right on, behind, and on top of the beat etc. Put in some serious work with rhythm solfege, like Agostini volume 4 stuff. Transcribe drummers for time stuff, singers for feel and expressiveness.
    Pay a lot of attention not only at what you play, but also on how it sounds.
    Get used to really listening when playing, meaning let melodies and not fingers guide what you play. Listen to the whole band while playing, focus on everyone else but yourself as an exercise.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I find that I sometimes play something and it feels fine. Then, if I listen to a recording of it, I can hear problems with the time. That's a challenge. If I can't hear it while I'm playing how can I improve?

    For a while I recorded everything I played in a group setting. The recordings with really good players were most important -- because on those recordings, if there was a problem, it probably wasn't them. I think that sharpened my ability to hear timing problems, but only to a degree. It's as if I just hear things on a different schedule. That is, just a bit late.

    So, I'd suggest playing with the best players you can find and recording everything. This may be the only useful line in this post. I think it's the only thing that has helped me with this problem at all.

    A teacher who is willing to be blunt can be painful, but it's a gift when somebody tells you an uncomfortable truth. In music, it's generally true that you get better if you can handle the blows to your self esteem.

    Recently, I've been recording tracks in Reaper and critiquing my time both by sound and by wave form. The ability to solo a track is very helpful. Whatever you play should have good time feel, even when you can't hear any other musician in the group. It helps to do take after take with the sole purpose of having your part, when solo'ed, feel good.

    This is more about awareness than mechanics. I know some people swear by the metronome. I know players some with great time and others with poor time who use the metronome a lot. I know one player with great time who teaches others to use the metronome, but privately admits that he never has. On balance, I think the evidence supports metronome use, but I prefer backing tracks. One great player recommends Time Guru, which will randomly drop out a selectable percentage of the clicks. Works for him. I can't say it worked for me, but maybe I didn't work with it enough.

    Oh, one other point. It's very easy to fall in love with an idea that you can't execute. Rule: NEVER sacrifice time to play something that's beyond your ability to play perfectly in time. So, if you're checking out your basic time feel, make sure you're playing stuff that you can physically execute with ease. If that stuff is in good time, then your problem is in execution not awareness.
    Thanks for advice man. Good in spirit, but in practice, I think ... difficult to find players to play jazz at ALL let alone people who are better than me and want to play with me, unless I pay them all.

    Should have stuck with Playstation and Xbox.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jobabrinks
    Thanks for advice man. Good in spirit, but in practice, I think ... difficult to find players to play jazz at ALL let alone people who are better than me and want to play with me, unless I pay them all.

    Should have stuck with Playstation and Xbox.
    I've posted here before about hiring top pros to come in and coach and/or play with my groups.

    Even pro players will pay a highly regarded pro for that kind of lesson.

    As a guitarist, you can get started with just a bassist.

    If you can't find a decent bassist, it's going to be difficult to get on the right track to become a great combo jazz player.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I've posted here before about hiring top pros to come in and coach and/or play with my groups.

    Even pro players will pay a highly regarded pro for that kind of lesson.

    As a guitarist, you can get started with just a bassist.

    If you can't find a decent bassist, it's going to be difficult to get on the right track to become a great combo jazz player.
    Yea, we did that when I had a combo a while back. Those guys live far, far away from me now.

    It really has been difficult to find anybody to play with, jazz is not that popular, to listen to, let alone be serious enough to try and play it. I don't live the boonies either.

    It does seem like you don't 'really' improve at jazz, stuff like learning to hear your flaws, unless you spend a lot of time playing with better people. I don't know how practical that is as a middle aged person. As a teen or even somebody in my 20s, it'd be more straightforward.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    What a great lesson. Thank you for this post.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jobabrinks
    Yea, we did that when I had a combo a while back. Those guys live far, far away from me now.

    It really has been difficult to find anybody to play with, jazz is not that popular, to listen to, let alone be serious enough to try and play it. I don't live the boonies either.

    It does seem like you don't 'really' improve at jazz, stuff like learning to hear your flaws, unless you spend a lot of time playing with better people. I don't know how practical that is as a middle aged person. As a teen or even somebody in my 20s, it'd be more straightforward.
    I started studying at the Jazzschool in Berkeley, California when I was in my 50s. Combo classes. The class is a band. The teacher puts music on your stand, counts it off and a moment later corrects the first error. That goes on for 10 weeks. Did it for years. Great experience.

    If the goal is to be a better combo musician, how can you do that without playing in combos with players who support and inspire improvement?

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I started studying at the Jazzschool in Berkeley, California when I was in my 50s. Combo classes. The class is a band. The teacher puts music on your stand, counts it off and a moment later corrects the first error. That goes on for 10 weeks. Did it for years. Great experience.

    If the goal is to be a better combo musician, how can you do that without playing in combos with players who support and inspire improvement?
    Thanks again for the response.

    How long had you been playing guitar, or at least playing jazz, when you started that group combo?

    I was living in NYC for a while, so I've been in combos/classes like that. One I was in was mostly kids (and was when I myself was relatively young, now 40s). There's a similar thing for adults that meets around here, but they're filled. In NYC, probably easier to find people at your level to jam with but not easy.

    It's a little bit of a unique endeavor, getting 'decent' at real jazz, if you know what I mean. It's a world only a small amount of people are involved in, yet the bar is quite high. It's tricky...

    I agree with you though, probably essential to play with good players for many, many hours to even approach decent.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    But record yourself. Listen to yourself. You'll hear the sound of indecision. It sounds like bad time.
    This is so true. If one is suffering from bad meter, there are usually two reasons: 1) not having a solid sense of meter, which is cured by practicing with a metronome or backing tracks with solid time; and 2) not knowing where you want to go with your next bit of melody. The latter is harder to fix, but it helps to know your scales and modes, and you need to internalize the changes so that you always know where you are in the song. The hardest part of fixing this is learning how to imagine your next notes while you're playing the current notes. Sometimes mental practice without a guitar at hand is useful to address this. Get a groove going in your head, and now start imagining the lines you'd play over it. Analyze what you're hearing in your head and start figuring out what scales, modes, or arpeggios you're using.

    As with any sort of practice, start slow, and add speed as your comfort level rises.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jobabrinks
    Thanks again for the response.

    How long had you been playing guitar, or at least playing jazz, when you started that group combo?

    I was living in NYC for a while, so I've been in combos/classes like that. One I was in was mostly kids (and was when I myself was relatively young, now 40s). There's a similar thing for adults that meets around here, but they're filled. In NYC, probably easier to find people at your level to jam with but not easy.

    It's a little bit of a unique endeavor, getting 'decent' at real jazz, if you know what I mean. It's a world only a small amount of people are involved in, yet the bar is quite high. It's tricky...

    I agree with you though, probably essential to play with good players for many, many hours to even approach decent.
    When I started at the jazz school I'd been playing for more than 35 years. I could play some RealBook sort of jazz and had gigged with groups doing that.

    When the school started, within the first two years, they had 700 students come through. A lot of people want to play. To me, the key is the bassist. You can play with just a bassist. Horn players seem to be abundant. So, there's a trio.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    When I started at the jazz school I'd been playing for more than 35 years. I could play some RealBook sort of jazz and had gigged with groups doing that.

    When the school started, within the first two years, they had 700 students come through. A lot of people want to play. To me, the key is the bassist. You can play with just a bassist. Horn players seem to be abundant. So, there's a trio.
    Thanks bro. This is encouraging.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Listening to recordings of yourself is definitely helpful, but I find that it's more helpful if you wait a while first. I'm sure there are benefits to immediate listening too but, for me, I find I'm too emotionally connected to it if I listen to it right away. A month later I can be more objective.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    I will Use a Loop pedal to record on it will hold 5 mins on a loop. I will use either a metronome or a backing track to record to. I then play the loop back by itself and see what's what. I also will play into a loop no backing track or metronome and when I play the loop back I will start the metronome and see how far out of the beat I get.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    I've never done the following, but I've done some things that are similar.

    Load an Aebersold track into Reaper.

    Then, record yourself comping with it. Listen back and critique your groove.

    I think there may be some with guitar comping, in which case you can compare yourself to the recording, if there's a way to drop the recorded guitar out.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jobabrinks
    This is less of a guitar and even jazz question and more of a general music question, but ...

    ... how can you better hear the flaws in your own playing. I've been playing the guitar for a long time, as many here have I'm sure and from time to time, I'll have people really check out my playing. And one of the comments I hear is that my time is bad. Both in and out of the realm of jazz.

    That's fine, and I've spent time working on it, but the problem is I can't really hear it. I can hear it in spots but overall, to my ears it sounds fine. I would never give somebody a recording of something I thought was horrendous.

    I'll hear some guy on another more rock oriented forum I'm on play a solo, and they're in the wrong key for a section, or make up a bass line for blues and the notes are just wrong. Those really basic flaws/stuff I think most everybody here can hear. But would it be worth me telling them, because how can they REALLY work on it unless they can really hear it's wrong themselves?

    It's funny, it's the first time it's occurred to me, but I think true musical talent, the innate kind, is being able to hear exactly what's wrong with your playing so you can work on it.

    But the more subtle stuff, the timing, the intonation, the phrasing. If somebody is just telling you how to do it, and you can't hear it yourself, how much mileage can you really get out that?
    I sympathise. this happened to me; it is GOOD THING. Because now you can work on it.

    So here is one way to understand how you are to play with. Record yourself playing a melody or a solo unaccompanied. Now try to comp for the recording ‘1 2 3 4’ through the tune.

    to improve your basic time, you can work with a metronome, but one excellent exercise is to speak the beat ‘1 2 3 4’ through everything you play.

    You will not be able to do this at all at first. It’s OK.

    slowly, your rhythmic perception will improve. It takes time. I’m crap at it naturally, but I work on it all the time, and I have got better. I still get roasted.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by JaxJaxon
    I will Use a Loop pedal to record on it will hold 5 mins on a loop. I will use either a metronome or a backing track to record to. I then play the loop back by itself and see what's what. I also will play into a loop no backing track or metronome and when I play the loop back I will start the metronome and see how far out of the beat I get.
    Loop pedals are great for this type of work. The less you play, the harder it is to stay in time.

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I sympathise. this happened to me; it is GOOD THING. Because now you can work on it.

    So here is one way to understand how you are to play with. Record yourself playing a melody or a solo unaccompanied. Now try to comp for the recording ‘1 2 3 4’ through the tune.

    to improve your basic time, you can work with a metronome, but one excellent exercise is to speak the beat ‘1 2 3 4’ through everything you play.

    You will not be able to do this at all at first. It’s OK.

    slowly, your rhythmic perception will improve. It takes time. I’m crap at it naturally, but I work on it all the time, and I have got better. I still get roasted.
    Thanks Christian,

    I know you're an educator.

    One of the things that's curious to me is how you don't just naturally pick up the time from years and years of jamming to Jimi Hendrix, Oasis, Sheryl Crow, Guns and Roses, whatever. Spending hours jamming to blues backing tracks.

    Obviously, timing out rock solos with all of the chicken scratch tabs etc... is kind of impossible, you just have to feel it.

    Is that part of the problem? Are the subdivisions different in rock?

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jobabrinks
    ... I've been playing the guitar for a long time, as many here have I'm sure and from time to time, I'll have people really check out my playing. And one of the comments I hear is that my time is bad. Both in and out of the realm of jazz.

    That's fine, and I've spent time working on it, but the problem is I can't really hear it. I can hear it in spots but overall, to my ears it sounds fine. ...
    I think “bad time” could mean a few different things, so I think you should find someone who can really diagnose your issues, demonstrate for you what you are doing wrong and what it would sound like to do it better, then suggest some exercises for overcoming the problems.

    It’s helped me to do exercises of grooves with various subdivisions, starting simple, moving to more complex. Latin and African music has a wealth of syncopated grooves to work on. Don’t try to play any complicated lines while starting out—all that’s important is being in the pocket, even if you just stay on one note.

    Maybe try to find an online class on latin rhythms. I took a couple of clinics from a latin percussionist and a Brazilian guitarist a few years ago and got a lot of ideas and inspiration and improved my rhythm a bit.
    Last edited by KirkP; 05-09-2020 at 10:29 PM.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jobabrinks

    One of the things that's curious to me is how you don't just naturally pick up the time from years and years of jamming to Jimi Hendrix, Oasis, Sheryl Crow, Guns and Roses, whatever. Spending hours jamming to blues backing tracks.

    Obviously, timing out rock solos with all of the chicken scratch tabs etc... is kind of impossible, you just have to feel it.

    Is that part of the problem? Are the subdivisions different in rock?
    fellow "bad timer" here. I think that saying the beats out loud was one of the biggest improvements i made. Ive been doing it about a year, and its really paying off. I knew my time "wasnt great" previously but i didnt realise how awful it truly was until i kept doing this exercise.

    if youre anything like me (and thousands of people who play alone) you dont realise you are just bluffing time & phrasing. saying it out loud gives you nowhere to hide.

    also you start to recognise patterns in music you are listening to, and this means you can multiply your practicing time by listening to music anywhere

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jobabrinks
    Thanks Christian,

    I know you're an educator.

    One of the things that's curious to me is how you don't just naturally pick up the time from years and years of jamming to Jimi Hendrix, Oasis, Sheryl Crow, Guns and Roses, whatever. Spending hours jamming to blues backing tracks.

    Obviously, timing out rock solos with all of the chicken scratch tabs etc... is kind of impossible, you just have to feel it.

    Is that part of the problem? Are the subdivisions different in rock?
    No, I think it’s more that rock is forgiving of a floating time feel when it comes to soloing. Even a great rhythm guitarist like EVH can be quite loose and floating when soloing. It’s kind of his style... also rock players might not be terribly interested in using rhythm as a resource for soloing. Their phrasing might be regular on the beat and so on, and the interest comes from other aspects.

    That said there are some great rock players who do use subdivisions and groove in their soloing. Jimi of course would be an example.

    i just don’t think budding rock musicians notice it as much?

    In jazz when you play everything you play is a rhythm that has to swing and communicate to the other band members. There is a place for sheets of sound etc but that’s advanced stuff... at a basic level you need to be able to lock in eighth note lines.

    OTOH picking up anything by just jamming ... doesn’t always happen. You need to sensitise yourself sometimes to certain rhythmic things that you might be getting subtly wrong. That music isn’t really dance music so it’s a little more forgiving.

    You have to learn what drummers learn... and of course if you choose to go back into rock with this knowledge it will give you a different vibe even you just play the pentatonic scale... a big part of what makes Larry Carlton or Robben Ford sound jazzy and hip compared to other blues and rock players is the way they phrase, for instance. The way they use 16th syncopations and so on.

    playing with funk and R&B records would be better training perhaps. Jimi is getting into that, especially band of gypsies. But Jimi learned by getting his butt kicked in James Browns band. There’s no replacement for that sort of thing!

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    ......

    playing with funk and R&B records would be better training perhaps. Jimi is getting into that, especially band of gypsies. But Jimi learned by getting his butt kicked in James Browns band. There’s no replacement for that sort of thing!
    I'm pretty sure Jimi didn't play in James Brown's band. He did play with Little Richard, but I don't think he played with JB.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlD
    I'm pretty sure Jimi didn't play in James Brown's band. He did play with Little Richard, but I don't think he played with JB.
    Aha - interesting. I think you are right.

    I have such a strong memory of reading about this that I had to check it out, I can't find a reliable source for this... I think this must be:

    M A N D E L A E F F E C T

    Because obviously it is UNPOSSIBLE I could be mistaken. They changed something in the Matrix! (The ME is just about my favourite example of internet stupidness BTW)

    So I think this might be an example of a myth that gets reported as fact, similar to the belief quite common in the 60s that JH. It seems that James Brown saw Jimi peform with Little Richard, and that gets conflated with the idea that he performed with Brown.

    Which of course doesn't mean that it doesn't get written up by credulous or under researched biographers as fact...

    Jazz is also full of stories like this of course.

    Anyway what is not in doubt is that Hendrix had an apprenticeship playing professional gigs with R&B acts like the Isley Brothers, as well as RIchard.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    .....

    Anyway what is not in doubt is that Hendrix had an apprenticeship playing professional gigs with R&B acts like the Isley Brothers, as well as RIchard.
    LOL indeed .. also that Jimi had immaculate time.

    This is a great thread. I spent all morning working with The Clicking Monster. I played for years just playing along with it, not really focusing intently enough playing WITH it.

    I think one of the biggest differences with rock and jazz, from a "time" perspective is simply how much more explicitly rock rhythm sections play time. It's kinda easy to "wander" as a (lead) guitar player in a rock setting because the meter underneath it all is so pronounced, all the time (unless a drummer plays a fill, LOL). In jazz the time can be a little more implied and abstract ... so as a player in that setting you really have to have a much stronger feel for the time yourself.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Some time ago I figured out a neat way to practice with the help of Reaper DAW.
    I put Cockos's own delay on the track. Set it so it would have a long delay - 8 bars. So when I play some comping first 8 bars, then the comping would play back and I play a solo. Then the solo gets played by the delay and I comp again.
    Now, this is not possible without using the local metronome - there is no human person alive that could keep the exact time for 8 bars.
    So far, I've had the illusion of my timing being alright when freshening it up and getting back to shape. But with this exercise - hell no!
    When I was drifting even slightly, the next 8 bars would get worse.. and the next even worse.

    So, to the OP. Try this, then you get the idea how much your timing needs to be improved to be ideal. Dunno if this is the best way to practice but at least you get the idea about how long you can keep a good steady time. 2 bars? 4? What happens with your timing when you do something.. "interesting"? Its easy to test yourself like that.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu
    Some time ago I figured out a neat way to practice with the help of Reaper DAW.
    I put Cockos's own delay on the track. Set it so it would have a long delay - 8 bars. So when I play some comping first 8 bars, then the comping would play back and I play a solo. Then the solo gets played by the delay and I comp again.
    Now, this is not possible without using the local metronome - there is no human person alive that could keep the exact time for 8 bars.
    So far, I've had the illusion of my timing being alright when freshening it up and getting back to shape. But with this exercise - hell no!
    When I was drifting even slightly, the next 8 bars would get worse.. and the next even worse.

    So, to the OP. Try this, then you get the idea how much your timing needs to be improved to be ideal. Dunno if this is the best way to practice but at least you get the idea about how long you can keep a good steady time. 2 bars? 4? What happens with your timing when you do something.. "interesting"? Its easy to test yourself like that.
    A kb playing friend uses his DAW this way. In addition, he slows down playback to make the errors really obvious. And, he is a working pro player.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I've never done the following, but I've done some things that are similar.

    Load an Aebersold track into Reaper.

    Then, record yourself comping with it. Listen back and critique your groove.

    I think there may be some with guitar comping, in which case you can compare yourself to the recording, if there's a way to drop the recorded guitar out.
    This made me think of a book I have on my shelf... Maiden Voyage Guitar Voicings by Jamey Aebersold. It has the comping for 15 jazz standards with the guitar isolated on one side so it's easy to turn off the guitar comping on the track.

    You could load the tracks from the CD into Reaper, then explode the stereo track to two mono tracks (just a couple clicks in Reaper). Put both tracks down the center, toggle mute/unmute the guitar track... At that point it would be a great setup to compare your own comping/rhythm to that of the pro guitarist. You could do it first by ear and if you wanted you could actually see it also, see how you are lining up with the pro guitarist.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    There is a distinct advantage to study music formally. You learn the foundations of Music and good practice habits which helps you progress more quickly. One of the first purchases for a beginning student is a metronome. My Mini Taktell(German made mechanical movement--tick tock tick tock) is over 50 years old. I do own a digital that I bought over 25 years ago. They are indispensable to serious growth however, in my opinion, they should not be considered as anything other than a valuable practice tool--you don't get inherent rhythm //timing from a metronome . . . it is instinctive in some and is developed over a lifetime of playing for others.
    How to hear the flaws in your playing?: record it. Good playing . . . Marinero

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    There is a distinct advantage to study music formally. You learn the foundations of Music and good practice habits which helps you progress more quickly. One of the first purchases for a beginning student is a metronome. My Mini Taktell(German made mechanical movement--tick tock tick tock) is over 50 years old. I do own a digital that I bought over 25 years ago. They are indispensable to serious growth however, in my opinion, they should not be considered as anything other than a valuable practice tool--you don't get inherent rhythm //timing from a metronome . . . it is instinctive in some and is developed over a lifetime of playing for others.
    How to hear the flaws in your playing?: record it. Good playing . . . Marinero
    Formal study and recording are both excellent ideas.

    One gift a teacher can give is to point out exactly what you need to improve. Even some teachers don't do that. It can be hard to accept the feedback, but if you can handle it, you can improve.

    Recording jam sessions and gigs is also a great idea. The idea is to listen critically to your time. When I listen back, I often find cringeworthy material in my playing that I was blissfully unaware of when I played it. This seems to be long slow work to improve, but I can't see how to do it at all without the benefit of the recordings.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    For time, simply count a solo off, record, then play back and tap your foot.

    For any other issues, play a tele on the bridge pickup clean with no reverb. You'll hear EVERYTHING.

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    For time, simply count a solo off, record, then play back and tap your foot.

    For any other issues, play a tele on the bridge pickup clean with no reverb. You'll hear EVERYTHING.
    Hi, MB,
    Reverb can hide/disguise many flaws in a musician's sound. When one plays an acoustic, unamplified guitar, he/she learns quickly not only the "nature" of the specific instrument but, also, how it readily exposes inherent problems in technique, attack, dynamics, etc. that are not as apparent in an electric guitar. And, that is why I am not a big fan of excessive reverb. On a personal note, I've recently returned to my '66 Gibson ES125 after playing Classical guitars for the last 28 years and I'm re-discovering that there is a fine line between allowing the instrument to speak naturally with amplification versus total electronic manipulation. And, there is also a major difference in technique required for these two very different instruments(acoustic/electric) where exploring the various colors of an acoustic instrument are created by developing ,organically, the tonal possibilities created by sound technique whereas, an electric instrument's sound can be created by as little effort as volume/tone controls on the guitar and the assortment of adjustments on the amplifier. Good playing . . . Marinero

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    A related issue which I don't recall seeing discussed directly is this ...

    I have repeatedly had the experience of playing something which I thought was fine and then, later, when I listen to the recording, it might be cringe-worthy.

    So, the issue would seem to be improving my awareness of how I'm fitting into the ensemble.

    I have heard some very high level players talk about the same experience -- when they were trying to play in a style they weren't accustomed to.

    I have heard one band leader talk about trying to get a certain sound out of his sidemen when "they don't know what they don't know".

    The best strategy I've been able to come up with is 1) playing with the best players I can get to play with me and 2) recording everything and critiqueing it.

    This strategy has probably produced some improvement, but the pace feels glacial.

    Thoughts?

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Maybe they are not flaws; maybe they are idiosyncrasies.

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Here's another point - live performance is not like recording. What the audience needs from you is vastly different in both cases.

    I actually think, in the end, it's not actually that great an idea to record too many live performances. Here's the case against:

    These days, its an occupational hazard for well known performers due to smartphones and YouTube. Some, such as Metheny, have been outspoken against it.

    The reason? Realising you are being recorded changes the way you approach music. You will be more careful, more exact. You will start to play live as if you were laying down tracks.

    Ask any pro musican. The two things are COMPLETELY different.

    Also there's a risk you may start taking over mindsets and attitudes that are appropriate in the practice room onto the stage. Practicing on stage is the biggest sin as far as I'm concerned.

    So, as a sometime inveterate recorder of myself, I seldom do this any more. I don't actually think it helps. If you want to make a recording or record your practice to critique it, great. In performance, be a performer. Try to exercise control where it is appropriate, and let the bandstand be the bandstand.

    I'm recording a lot a the moment, obviously, it's great for detail work. But sometimes you can forget the bigger picture.

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Maybe they are not flaws; maybe they are idiosyncrasies.
    Sco said he stopped listening to recordings of his gigs when he realised he couldn't tell if they were any good or not.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    I'm recording a lot a the moment, obviously, it's great for detail work. But sometimes you can forget the bigger picture.
    But for me, recording is the bigger picture.

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    But for me, recording is the bigger picture.
    Well, it can be... Obviously - 'Physical Graffiti' or 'Bitches Brew' is a big picture. But the recording and so on here is towards an artistic goal.

    Recording in practice session is often looking to carefully examine specific parameters of your playing. This could be 'big picture' stuff, but in terms, of, for instance, getting a single part or piece right, you are often critiquing details, and the more you do it, the more exacting you become.

    At least that's been my experience.

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    "I have repeatedly had the experience of playing something which I thought was fine and then, later, when I listen to the recording, it might be cringe-worthy.' RP


    Hi, RP,
    This, for me, is a trademark of a good/great musician. And, for me, it is simply that we become so focused in our playing and, perhaps, lost in the feeling/emotion of the moment that we hear things differently than, perhaps, they really are in reality. However, we can never really play at our best if we are always concentrating on the black dots and the wood in our hands. We must become one with the music, our instrument and our unique voice--only then, will we make music. Everything else is just good Math. Good playing . . . Marinero

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Here's another point - live performance is not like recording. What the audience needs from you is vastly different in both cases.

    I actually think, in the end, it's not actually that great an idea to record too many live performances. Here's the case against:

    These days, its an occupational hazard for well known performers due to smartphones and YouTube. Some, such as Metheny, have been outspoken against it.

    The reason? Realising you are being recorded changes the way you approach music. You will be more careful, more exact. You will start to play live as if you were laying down tracks.

    Ask any pro musican. The two things are COMPLETELY different.

    Also there's a risk you may start taking over mindsets and attitudes that are appropriate in the practice room onto the stage. Practicing on stage is the biggest sin as far as I'm concerned.

    So, as a sometime inveterate recorder of myself, I seldom do this any more. I don't actually think it helps. If you want to make a recording or record your practice to critique it, great. In performance, be a performer. Try to exercise control where it is appropriate, and let the bandstand be the bandstand.

    I'm recording a lot a the moment, obviously, it's great for detail work. But sometimes you can forget the bigger picture.
    I'm not sure if you're describing a situation in which the recording is made public vs one for your own private assessment/critique.

    I've recorded a lot for my own review. I turn the recorder on before the group starts playing and I turn it off when we're done for the evening. I know people who turn the recorder off between tunes, but I find that makes it hard to simply forget about the recorder and play. I find it irritating. Also, it's easy enough to trim or divide the recording later anyway. I can't recall ever changing what I play because I'm worried about the recording, although I'm sure there are times when it would have been better if I had done so.

    I'm convinced that recording has been a help, not a hindrance, but it's music, so there are a lot of different paths up the mountain.

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    For beginners and student level players it is probably best to seek a good player/educator to assess one's own playing. Personally even alone "educator" won't do it for me. I would want a guy that can actually play well and has credentials.

    From a low skill set perspective, the real understanding of what to work on requires an outside source judging from a higher knowledge or skill level. Why? Because you cannot miss in your own playing what you do not know. You cannot find flaws that you are not aware of yourself.

    A student of the jazz language may not speak that language yet. You need feedback and feed forward from somebody that does.

    Later, once you have advanced, your self assessment becomes much more reliable. Ironically the self doubt will set in more too.

    People of low skill typically think they perform better than they really do. And people of a more advanced skill set tend to doubt themselves more than those of a low skill set. That is the Dunning Kruger effect. Check it out. Click here.

    In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence.[1]
    As described by social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the bias results from an internal illusion in people of low ability and from an external misperception in people of high ability; that is, "the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others."[1]
    Science is pretty clear about the issue.

    Just my 2 cents.

    DB
    Last edited by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog; 07-12-2020 at 07:15 AM.

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    "People of low skill typically think they perform better than they really do. And people of a more advanced skill set tend to doubt themselves more than those of a low skill set. That is the Dunning Kruger effect. Check it out. Click here." DB



    Hi, D,
    You are receiving Marinero's "Brilliant Quote of the Day" award. However, don't expect any remuneration. Good playing . . . Marinero

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I'm not sure if you're describing a situation in which the recording is made public vs one for your own private assessment/critique.

    I've recorded a lot for my own review. I turn the recorder on before the group starts playing and I turn it off when we're done for the evening. I know people who turn the recorder off between tunes, but I find that makes it hard to simply forget about the recorder and play. I find it irritating. Also, it's easy enough to trim or divide the recording later anyway. I can't recall ever changing what I play because I'm worried about the recording, although I'm sure there are times when it would have been better if I had done so.

    I'm convinced that recording has been a help, not a hindrance, but it's music, so there are a lot of different paths up the mountain.
    Try switching it on for some gigs and off for others and see if it affects the way you play the gig subjectively.

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog
    For beginners and student level players it is probably best to seek a good player/educator to assess one's own playing. Personally even alone "educator" won't do it for me. I would want a guy that can actually play well and has credentials.

    From a low skill set perspective, the real understanding of what to work on requires an outside source judging from a higher knowledge or skill level. Why? Because you cannot miss in your own playing what you do not know. You cannot find flaws that you are not aware of yourself.

    A student of the jazz language may not speak that language yet. You need feedback and feed forward from somebody that does.

    Later, once you have advanced, your self assessment becomes much more reliable. Ironically the self doubt will set in more too.

    People of low skill typically think they perform better than they really do. And people of a more advanced skill set tend to doubt themselves more than those of a low skill set. That is the Dunning Kruger effect. Check it out. Click here.



    Science is pretty clear about the issue.

    Just my 2 cents.

    DB
    I agree with this. I think it’s very hard to know what to listen for. I certainly got a shock when I went to my first proper jazz guitar lesson after mucking around at jams for a few years - the stuff that they brought up wasn’t anything I’d really considered before.

    I also think you have to form an amicable relationship with self doubt. Self doubt will drive you to improve and work on things, but you also have to keep it close to your chest.

    (Sometimes it is incredibly difficult not to apologise for your playing. Resist that temptation.)

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I also think you have to form an amicable relationship with self doubt. Self doubt will drive you to improve and work on things, but you also have to keep it close to your chest.
    Dunning Kruger is a weird thing. Beginners or unskilled players think they sound pretty great often and advancing players are full of self doubt.

    Here is the competence/confidence relationship visualised.


    How to better hear the flaws in your own playing?-1-dunning-kruger-jpg

  51. #50

    User Info Menu

    The chart you showed... I think it's more complicated. Like I honestly get the impression Holdsworth thought he played badly most nights (from what I hear) but he must have known OTOH guitarists flocked to hear him play. So I'm not sure he ever thought 'I'm pretty good but I know my limitations' - it was much more complex than that. He must have known he was a legendary figure, even if it may have baffled him.

    Most good musicians strike up a working relationship with their natural perfectionism and the needs of their profession.

    One thing that is easy to underestimate is preparation and the quality of preparation of music. If I had to identify one issue among the many reams of problems I have with my own playing, it would be that. You have to get on top of music to play it at all well... that's why the 1000 tunes is a useful milestone; you'll have seen most of it....

    It's always a sobering thing when you turn up to the gig and everyone knows your tunes better than you do.

    More than anything else proper day in day out Professional musicians are MACHINES for learning and/or reading music. They are incredibly good at it. They pay it no thought, because it's what they do day in day out, and every time they slip up it's like a huge deal for them. The audience won't even notice. 'Oh no I played that note a millisecond early.'

    So I've been exercising the muscle of learning music and recording it. Which makes me a total perfectionist who hates their own playing, but I'm OK with that. It's fine, I actually think it's really healthy. I'll put the music there anyway, and maybe some people will like it because they are not me. I can let go of it enough to do that.