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  1. #1

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    It would be easiest to phrase my question as a scenario. Say you're testing out 3-4 guitars at a shop to compare. What comes out when you're just trying feel the guitar, what comes out before you start thinking? I mean don't we all play something right when we pick it up? If you literally pick up the guitar guitar, take a breath, and begin a complete performance of a tune that's fine. But what do your fingers want to do on COMPLETE auto pilot?
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  3. #2

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    An artifact of playing exclusively by ear is that my fingers are connected to my ears, they can never be on auto pilot; now my ears can be on auto pilot and probably are most of the time, but not my fingers - they do what my ears ask.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  4. #3

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    Funny you'd ask... I always sit down with a guitar and unconsciously play an Ab13 chord. Almost like that's how I hold the neck up.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  5. #4

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    The first thing I do is to start playing chords all over the neck from 1st position to 12th position.

    This immediately lets me know if the intonation is accurate as well as if the guitar "sings" and has sustain in all areas of the neck.

    Sometimes the intonation is off do to inaccurate fret placement and sometimes guitars have dead spots in different areas on the neck - things I like to know immediately.

    Regards,
    Steven Herron
    Learn To Play All Styles Of Jazz Guitar

  6. #5

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    Boring, but I do scales up and down the neck. Looking for dead spots, rattles and fret issues.
    Build bridges, not walls.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Funny you'd ask... I always sit down with a guitar and unconsciously play an Ab13 chord. Almost like that's how I hold the neck up.
    rght this is exactly what im talking about
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  8. #7
    Steve, you play random chords and progression fragments or do you play the chords through a song? i usually just do little out of context chord moves
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  9. #8

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    I go through some warm up stuff..triad inversions on all sets of strings up and down the neck..parts of some stuff I wrote some that others have wrote..of course some well worn licks and runs..nothing "random" Its all stuff I value-my music tools-as it were

    by doing this Im looking/hearing for tone and the feel of the neck..amp set flat ..then adjust to my normal settings a touch of reverb a bit of treble mids and bass..If i hear my self Ill continue..if not..I try another guitar..

    It has to be some combination of factors that meet the "I going to take you home.."
    play well ...
    wolf

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Funny you'd ask... I always sit down with a guitar and unconsciously play an Ab13 chord. Almost like that's how I hold the neck up.
    I mean, it IS the best chord

    Complete auto pilot, my fingers play crap.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
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    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    I mean, it IS the best chord

    Complete auto pilot, my fingers play crap.
    Strange for me... if I just go complete auto-pilot, my playing sucks so much less than when I am trying to be all focused. I wish I could figure out how to make my more relaxed "just fooling around with the guitar" serve my soloing. I play some pretty nice stuff when Im not thinking about it.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  12. #11

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    Rubato, some chords, some single lines. Maybe a Wes riff like Full House or Four on Six.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    Steve, you play random chords and progression fragments or do you play the chords through a song? i usually just do little out of context chord moves
    Hi Joe,

    Basically they are little out of context chord moves - but also certain chords like 3 or 4 note stable major chords (E Ma, A Ma, D Ma etc) with open bass notes that really let you hear the intonation clearly all over the neck.

    Regards,
    Steven Herron
    Learn To Play Chord Melody Solos

  14. #13

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    I usually listen for the guy playing "Stairway to Heaven" and see how discordant I can sound in the mix.

    Actually I play single note lines everywhere on the neck to see about dead spots and buzzing. Then I try out some 4 note chords, 5 note chords and barre chords to see if I like the neck shape and fretboard radius. I actually avoid playing songs in stores, but I will play phrases. I am not there for the entertainment and I would assume that most other people aren't either.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    It would be easiest to phrase my question as a scenario. Say you're testing out 3-4 guitars at a shop to compare. What comes out when you're just trying feel the guitar, what comes out before you start thinking? I mean don't we all play something right when we pick it up? If you literally pick up the guitar guitar, take a breath, and begin a complete performance of a tune that's fine. But what do your fingers want to do on COMPLETE auto pilot?
    I usually play blues, mixing single line, chords, and walking bass lines. Then a couple of standards and some random riffing/noodling. Sometimes I'll try to explore it a little more systematically to check the whole neck, all sounds, etc., but I don't walk in with a plan.

    John

  16. #15

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    When trying an unfamiliar guitar I’ll usually start with a relaxed tune that I’ve played so often in the past few weeks that I can play it in several keys without thinking too hard. That way I can totally focus on how I feel about the instrument. Today that first tune might be Nuages. In a few weeks it might be something else.

  17. #16

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    First thing I do is feel the girth of the neck around the 10th fret. If my hand isn't comfortable, I'm done.

    If I sit down with it and plug it in, I tend to play a chord melody. Blue in Green is one I recall using that way. There a tune called Jungle that has a lot of changes that I also use.

  18. #17

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    I usually start playing the Nile Rodgers riff from Le Freak and segue into a chord melody version of Nardis, then I'll noodle on Epistrophy. If it's at Guitar Center, I'll end by jamming some Aerosmith tunes with someone else.

  19. #18

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    When I worked for Ibanez, we'd have to finish the inspection and QC of every guitar with a complete chromatic run of every note on the guitar. It didn't matter what order but you had to play every note on the guitar clearly and if you didn't want to waste your time, you had to do it fast and efficiently. I learned to play every four chromatic note combination in every permutation from string to string and then across the adjacent strings and then with string skips. Some of the guys would play insanely fast renditions of Bach pieces.
    You haven't lived until you're in a room filled with wired young metalheads "noodling" for a living...trying not to die of boredom doing it 9 hours a day. It's probably why I can't spend more than 40 seconds in a Guitar Center showroom.
    David

  20. #19

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    Depends who's watching. If someone's staring at me I go terribly quiet and see if I can see my face in the varnish, really close up :-)

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    An artifact of playing exclusively by ear is that my fingers are connected to my ears, they can never be on auto pilot; now my ears can be on auto pilot and probably are most of the time, but not my fingers - they do what my ears ask.

  22. #21

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    Whadya mean mindless noodling? Hey man, that's my style!
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  23. #22

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    I play songs... That is why we play this thing...right...maybe...? It certainly gets you attention in the store because hardly anyone plays a song straight through anymore. I feel sorry for the employees that have to listen to amped up mindless noodling and 50 year old blues licks played out of context and out of time. It strikes me as odd that this is what guitar is becoming.