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  1. #1

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    hello jazzguitar-community,

    i have a little and simple question for you, because i dont know..

    how do you train your technique???

    i mean i play all day some scales and chords and read about theory, but i total forgot, that i also have to improve my technique!

    how do you train your technique, do you know great exercises or tutorials?

    Many thanks,
    mace

    happy new year to all of you!!!!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Mace,

    In addition to the exercise you get from practicing tunes, transcribing solos, etc., I have Jody Fisher's book 30 Day Guitar Workout. Wonderful book full of all kinds of exercises to build strength, flexibility, and dexterity. Here is a link;

    Amazon.com: 30-Day Guitar Workout: Jody Fisher: Books

    This one is a book with cd examples. He also sells a dvd so you can see him doing the exercises. I have been doing many of these for the past 5 years or so, and they have really changed my hands. Good luck

  4. #3

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    The way I improve my technique is to slow my playing way down whether it be chord melody, improvisation or comping. I pay very careful attention to finger position, string noise and clean chord switches. As I play slowly, I make the necessary corrections I need and then keep going. As time progresses, I try to gently speed up the music to a point where I can easily keep up what I'm doing. I do this over several days, weeks or whatever it takes to get to full playing speed. If I hear I'm getting sloppy again, I slow down slightly until the slop goes away. A metronome will reall help here. Like pierre says, " time on the instrument".

  5. #4

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    I've tried drills and they are just too boring for me to stick with. This is one of the pitfalls of being self-taught - you don't have anyone to hold you accountable.

    But, I have improved my technique measurably by just noodling around. For example, I'll record a comping loop, then just run improvised lines over it trying various things. I'll play arps in octaves - jumping all over the neck. Or I'll focus on trying to construct lines where each successive note is on a different string, so I have to skip strings a lot. That improves my fretting/picking hand coordination and reinforces fretboard knowledge, but at the same time is fun because I'm still being musical and creative.

    I also will do things like force myself to play with just selected fingers.

    I also will comp a song forcing myself to use unusual voicings that I rarely use to improve my coordination, flexibility, and fretboard knowledge.

  6. #5

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    classical studies

  7. #6

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    i basically do what hot ford coupe and goofsus4 said, the goofsus4 method is the one i use the most since that's really fun and it's not repetitive, so you get to have some fun too.

    i also have a booklet that lists some of steve vai's favorite exercises and things to practice and i use those whenever i feel i need to practice something specific (like finger stretching, strengthening an specific finger [my middle finger, specially] or string skipping).

  8. #7
    great hints, my friends! i order the book, derek! thank you ver much

    thanks to all for the current answers and the futur answers!

  9. #8

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    look within yourself

  10. #9

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    violin studies man violin studies..lots on the net...
    great tecnique builders
    another is clarinet studies.....
    any good music store will have these...
    time on the instrument..pierre...

  11. #10
    Flute studies are great as well. Also, drum rudiments can be good for picking exercises. Simply substitute right and left sticking for up and down picking. So, a paradiddle would be, instead of RLRR or LRLL, DUDD or UDUU. Getting inspiration from other instruments can be extremely helpful. Try practicing vibrato like a violin player does as well.

  12. #11

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    yea JT...I have some advanced students play a full page of drum rudiments using a scale of their choice...just 8 notes with the rhythm dictated by the value of the note ...a brain teaser??...it works for technique building...

    time on the instrument is devine....pierre

  13. #12

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    I used to do scale runs as well as sequenced scales from 40bpm on the metronome to 200...

    At some point I stopped doing that and just playing as fast as I could whilst making no mistakes, as I felt the going extremely slow didn't help if I could go 3 or 4 times that without errors. That worked to increase my speed like crazy.

    Since starting Jazz though, a little over a week... I've just been playing standards slowly well improvising, thinking about note choice and the way I accent each note... Because before, I would accent on beats, and never improvise, instead composing it before hand. And now I'm realizing that I suck at accenting notes... But, time, marching time!

  14. #13

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    Berklee press puts out a book called, "classical studies for pick style guitar".

    If you can read music, there are some really good picking workout's in that book, but the point is is that they are exercises and etudes that allow you to practice being musical as well.

    If you can't read, going through the pieces like Invention no. 4 , caprice and allegro will improve your sight reading abilities or if you have a teacher, have him or her help you work through the tunes.

    also, with any given exercise, going slow at first is a must.

  15. #14

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    Amazon.com: Sheets of Sound for Guitar: Jack A. Zucker: Books

    For me this was a book filled with killer workouts that still had everyday use in my improvisation.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by dante
    Amazon.com: Sheets of Sound for Guitar: Jack A. Zucker: Books

    For me this was a book filled with killer workouts that still had everyday use in my improvisation.
    Yeah, Jack's books are pretty good. He has a pretty high profile on a couple of online groups and is pretty accessible if you have a question on anything. I have spoken to him on many topics, particularly gear. You can find his gear demos and lessons on youtube under sheetsofsound. At one time, he had dozens up.

    Dweezil Zappa was quoted in GP, saying that he used Jack's books to get his chops up for the Zappa Does Zappa tour. Not a bad endorsement.

  17. #16

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    I know Jimmy Bruno's a big fan, as are a lot of session guys.

    What really makes it good though is the scope that he covers as well as the application all of the examples have, so you're not just doing chrome scales 24/7 to get speed up. You can get speed plus some other nice bonuses.

  18. #17

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    I 100% agree about sheets of sound as I have it as well. I haven't picked up the second volume as the first book has enough information for me to swallow for years to come.

    any experience with the second book?

  19. #18

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    The second book is pretty good too,
    he pulls a little more artist-related material here and there,
    which helps more in terms of application,
    and there are some helpful patterns too.

    The first is still the best, and the second is more of the same.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Mace
    hello jazzguitar-community,


    i mean i play all day some scales and chords and read about theory, but i total forgot, that i also have to improve my technique!
    Usually scale and chord practice is a great way to improve your technique. If you're doing that all day and you've hit a roadblock, that's the best time to seek outside guidance. Find the local guitar hotshot, no matter what style he plays, and give him whatever he charges for a lesson, and treat it as a master class if you can't afford actual weekly lessons. There may be a basic flaw in your technique or practice regimen that you need to isolate and fix. You can work through books all day long, but if your technique has a fundamental flaw, you'll hit roadblocks, or worse, potentially injure yourself.

    If you can't afford even one lesson, and believe me I've been there, videotape yourself playing some stuff that sits at the edge of your technical ability. Then ask one of the guys here to watch and see if you're making any clear mistakes. You're welcome to send it to me, but I'm in Iraq and won't be able to get a clear connection for a few months. However, there are probably some guys on here who would be able to give you a look and some quick pointers. Record your left hand closely for a few minutes, then your right. Then watch yourself first, to see if you can isolate any problem areas.

    Finally, relax relax relax!! If your body, arms, and hands are tense while you play, then your muscles have to fight that tension in order to move fast. You may actually be doing everything right, but just be at a temporary plateau. Keep playing, and sooner or later your technique will improve just because you've got a guitar in your hands all the time. I think Pierre would say something about time on the guitar at this point...

  21. #20

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    Divide your practise time so that all areas, including just noodling around, get a fair share. If you practise scales all day, that's what you will be good at. Scales.
    If you want to learn to play beautiful music, you must play beautiful music, listen to beautiful music, study it.

  22. #21

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    Ever notice that every great player uses a DIFFERENT technique? So much has been written about this, I shouldn't have to repeat it. However, what is the lesson to draw from this fact? The lesson is that technique is not the answer. BB King cannot shred, but his music will last forever. As will the music of Wes Montgomery. But no one will remember Larry Coryell (as much as I may admire his technique) in another few years.

    From what I've heard great players say, I think there are 3 keys:

    1) Learn to play the melody first. As Les Paul used to say, it's ALL about the melody. The audience wants to hear melody. Learn to play the melody straight, then work on varying a note here or there. "Theme and variation" has been always been a basic principle of music - primitive, folk, jazz, classical. That brings us to point 2.

    2) Pat Metheny says he never pays attention to scales, etc. He "hears" a note or a sound in his head -- then he figures out how to play it on the guitar. Many great players have said this. It's all about hearing a vamp, then playing it.

    3) Find your own voice. Every great player has a different voice (just like they all have different techniques). At the end of the day, the only thing that audiences will ever respond to is a musician playing true to his/her own voice. Your own voice will probably be what comes naturally to you - and you won't need to get anxious over technique.

    The alternative is to play fast, meaningless scales and patterns, resulting in overly long boring solos that only appeal to other coked-out guitar players -- and you'll be just as boring as all of those posers who only play as a form of masturbation. So, decide if you want to make music, i.e., beautiful sounds that AUDIENCES enjoy hearing, or if you're just trying to prove that you are the top gun and bore audiences to death.

  23. #22

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    you're so right roy...

    I remember Joe Pass saying..."learn and play melodies"..

    filling up the measures with 1/16 ths is the easy part...but playing less as to make a melody is more rewarding..the audience may leave the gig humming one of your melodies...thats sweet..

    time on the instrument is most important..pierre

  24. #23

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    Strong post, Roy, but a good one.

  25. #24

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    You can expend a lot of effort in the pursuit of speed. I remember a guitar player I used to know who claimed to be able to play jazz because he ‘knew the theory’ and had a very precise and extremely refined technique from hours of drills. But he couldn’t play jazz. He didn’t know what it meant to swing and his improvisation was so devoid of anything approaching a jazz melody it made me want to leave the room.

    BTW In one of the warm-up drills from this site I use, which involves pairs of fingers going across and up the neck, I play it slowly enough so that in my head I can recite each note name per fret as I play it.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.T.Slominsky
    Simply substitute right and left sticking for up and down picking. So, a paradiddle would be, instead of RLRR or LRLL, DUDD or UDUU.
    what a brilliant concept! I can't believe I've never thought of that...!

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmy
    look within yourself
    oooommmm

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by royswan
    2) Pat Metheny says he never pays attention to scales, etc. He "hears" a note or a sound in his head -- then he figures out how to play it on the guitar. Many great players have said this. It's all about hearing a vamp, then playing it.
    I've read from the man himself, that it isn't the way to work improvising in his opinion. It's on his website.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by derek
    Mace,

    In addition to the exercise you get from practicing tunes, transcribing solos, etc., I have Jody Fisher's book 30 Day Guitar Workout. Wonderful book full of all kinds of exercises to build strength, flexibility, and dexterity. Here is a link;

    Amazon.com: 30-Day Guitar Workout: Jody Fisher: Books

    This one is a book with cd examples. He also sells a dvd so you can see him doing the exercises. I have been doing many of these for the past 5 years or so, and they have really changed my hands. Good luck
    anybody else bought this book? is it good, i don't want to buy on impulse.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by royswan
    no one will remember Larry Coryell (as much as I may admire his technique) in another few years.
    Did you suffer some type of head injury?

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    ...
    Were you not the one who blamed some for putting up old dead topics, and answering members who have long been absent? Unless your intentions in doing so are of a different order... If you don't understand, I can tell you in Slovak

  32. #31

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    Cosmic Gumbos motivations are ineffable

  33. #32

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    Those few years have passed, as has Larry Coryell. He is still remembered.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Those few years have passed, as has Larry Coryell. He is still remembered.
    while royswan is forgotten...

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    while royswan is forgotten...
    Who?

  36. #35

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    Since this old thread has been dug up and is now walking around, I'll provide the answer no one seems to have offered.

    The development of technique has a front end of musical judgement (selection of what to play and how to play it), and a back end of quality control (confirmation that what you selected and how you played it came out as intended)... and both these front and back ends of technique require listening, audiating, and experiencing the way music feels phenomonologically.

    Lessons, method plans, exercises, etc. will be powerless if you aren't focused on actively listening to every sound you make on the instrument because in music you can't control nor improve what you don't hear...

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    ...
    very correct remark. One should have a musical purpose with exercises and routines, even scales, always try to make them sound like a song. If exercises are considered an apprenticeship, it is also a training to make music, work the sound, etc. as you say

  38. #37

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    Technique comes from playing (practicing), and the course of that development connects pretty tightly to what you play (practice). Sometimes the path forward is boosted by occasionally taking something other than what would appear to be the direct path.

    An example is something as simple as playing (practicing) with the reverb turned all the way up to maximum. This does a lot of interesting things...

    - first of all it slows you way down (like to Ray Charles speed... very ssslllooowww)

    - the nature of full reverb refocuses on deliberate notes (wrong notes have long hang times)

    - full reverb's effect on harmonies of chords and lines changes your choices (you can't just play, you have to anticipate which kinds of chords, which internal voice shifts, and which melodic forms will blend and sound nice vs others that tend to smudge dissonant)

    - it is an interesting way of examining a tune (any point in a tune has an envelope that harmonically "looks around", full reverb widens that aperture by explicitly mimicking your own internal process of harmonically "looking around")

    - after an hour or so of full reverb, your hands will have adjusted to minimize noises and artifacts of fingering, picking, and strumming imprecision

    - it's a bit like playing another instrument, getting a shifted perspective, hopefully picking up some things you would never have found playing (practicing) normally

  39. #38

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    It's been years since I've posted about this exercise/experiment. Take a pencil and tape it to your left index finger until finger is totally immobilized. Next, proceed to play your guitar without the benefit of having use of that digit.

    Observe how after a bit of playing that your brain begins to rewire itself and shifts your motor skills to compensate for losing use of the index finger. Continue playing, and it becomes more natural for your pinky to have more dexterity as it operates as a sub for the ring finger. Same with middle and ring fingers. You might find yourself attempting bars with the middle finger and other odd things as you've tricked your brain into managing w/o the index finger.

    Now, untape your index finger and play with all four fingers. It's like your left hand technique has expanded to another level. The brain wants to compensate for physical limitations. I used to do it regularly to help improve, but, it's worth trying just to experience it.

  40. #39

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    12341234123412341234ZZzzzzzzzzz........

  41. #40

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    How to improve?

    Answer: Buy More Gear.