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Be honest about your guitar ability...

Discussion in 'Music, Box Office, TV & Books' started by cleanbluesky, 5 Mar 2006.

  1. cleanbluesky

    Capodecina

    Joined: 2 Nov 2004

    Posts: 24,654

    Thinking about DmPoole's nice thread I've been wondering what I could do to improve myself as a guitar player, and asking myself what makes a good guitar player...

    1) Timing

    2) Notes

    3) Dynamic

    These seem to the be the three most important aspects of being a good guitar player... and the ability to mix them all up...

    So lets be honest... here is how I rate myself with regard to improv...

    1) Timing. I feel that I have a darn good sense of timing when I play guitar, probably better than anything else - I can pick up on the timing of a piece and play around with it instantly, knowing what is expected and what is unexpected and how to fit what I play into the song

    2) Notes. I feel this is my weakest area. I just dont think that I can be original enough with the notes that I play, and when I look at the fretboard it seems confusing to me. I can play a lot of stuff by ear, unless I have to go fast and then I fall back on sticking together various fragments of riffs that i am comfortable with - coming up with nothing I like...

    3) Dynamics. I think that this fits in with No1 a lot, and I feel that I can do this fairly well - fitting it into the expression of the piece and find it very instintctive....


    DISCUSS
     
  2. lemonkettaz

    Capodecina

    Joined: 28 Nov 2005

    Posts: 12,339

    im good in all areas

    i should be better for my 6year of playing, but im pretty confident.

    im not like shred king, i wouldnt want to be, i can whack all my settings up and play fast with any note formation and it can be classed as a party trick..

    i like rythem more than anything, and a few fills in between chords, thats what im best at, maybe some solo but its all for impressing your friends that.

    i prefer playing the bass though, i love rythem and i love good bass in songs, even though i dont have a bass, anytime i can have a go on bass i do
     
  3. SexyGreyFox

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 29 Mar 2003

    Posts: 52,383

    Location: Stoke on Trent

    I should hope in my 35 years of playing that I should have the 3 in abundance but I'm nowhere near the skill of some of those who've entered the Guitar Warriors thread. There is a 4th which is experience.
    Once again I've had some superb musicians in front of me with your 3 points in abundance but no experience and experience counts for a lot.
    I've never failed an audition because of experience and I've gone for the jobs I know I could get eg rhythm guitarist with voclas needed, keyboard player with vocals needed etc. I wouldn't go for a lead guitarist wanted advert.
    Being able to adapt is most important too.
     
  4. Andelusion

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Oct 2003

    Posts: 14,339

    Location: Huddersfield

    Timing, rhythm etc

    This is my weakest area. For years I noodled and didn't practise properly with anything to give me a click or beat and neglected rhythm playing. In the past few years i've worked with a metronome a lot, have a good selection of backing tracks to play along to, and have had the opportunity to play in a band situation with other musicians so i'm definately improving gradually.

    I'm pretty good at transcribing rhythms off the guitar and working out music in odd metres (just listen to some Dream Theater :D) so this area is alright I think.

    Notes

    Probably one of my strongest areas. I've got a good grasp of all the basic major, minor pentatonics and diatonic scales as well as their associated modes and the modes of the harmonic minor scale. I'm working on my chord library at the moment and jazz improvisation but still find myself going back to the usual pentatonic stuff sometimes which sometimes is all you need :p

    Dynamics

    I also think i'm good in this area, I love guitar as I think it's one of the best instruments for expressive phrasing and dynamics. I believe i've developed good control over my instrument (oo-er) and can vary my attack and phrasing to realise the musical ideas I have in my head :)
     
  5. bcjames

    Soldato

    Joined: 7 Jun 2003

    Posts: 6,227

    Location: Leicestershire

    1) Timing. I play drums too, so I dont think I have problems with timing, although I could work on non 'standard' timings, for sure.

    2) Notes. Im way too set in my ways with this. Aside from some on and off gigging and jamming, ive not been playing in a band for about 5 months now, and its definately changed the way I play. Picking up a guitar now I tend to play the same old stuff, I need a bit of a kick up the rear to get going on some new stuff. So, I think I can play the style I play pretty well, but theres a lot of other areas I can go into, and learn from.

    3) Dynamics. Again, not being in a band changes dynamics a lot, although I seem to pick it up again when I jam. Again, could use work.

    I feel im a compentant player, and I can turn my hand to most stuff, original or cover, but theres a whole world of guitar music out there ive yet to encompass. So thats my BIG downside, im too set in my ways over the last few months.

    Ill be pushing to turn that around now, especially seeing how some of the guys on this forum smoke me in some ways :D[/QUOTE]
     
  6. cleanbluesky

    Capodecina

    Joined: 2 Nov 2004

    Posts: 24,654

    Okay, lets compare notes...

    As far as 1) and 3) are concerned, i think that listening to non-guitar music and music you wouldn't usually listen to would do a lot to teach someone about these... I don't think that merely playing with a metronome is somthing that would teach you timing, unless you want to get not more interesting that 4/4... look at Frank Zappa - such a wonderful sense of timing yet nothing conventional...

    As far as notes and scales are concerned, could someone recommend me how I could improve?
     
  7. bcjames

    Soldato

    Joined: 7 Jun 2003

    Posts: 6,227

    Location: Leicestershire

    If you know the scales and modes etc, get in a band if your not already! Im certain my biggest improvement in phrasing and note selection was when I jammed in a band. You dont feel the need to fill white space.
     
  8. Andelusion

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Oct 2003

    Posts: 14,339

    Location: Huddersfield

    Learn your root position major and minor pentatonics first, they're the first scales anyone should learn in my opinion as they're the simplest and can be used in most situations.

    Also, it's incredibly important in my opinion to learn the notes on the fretboard if you want to become a competant imporviser. Once you've done this you'll find it much easier to move away from the 'box-shape' scales which will also help you start to play new things, instead of playing the same old licks you're used to.

    If you get a grasp of how keys work then instead of playing X Scale you can think 'Right if i'm in G Major I can play these notes...' Then you can work around the fretboard from top to bottom, wherever you want to go, and completely avoid the normal box-shape scales.

    EDIT: Should have also mentioned really that you should move on to your root position major and minor diatonic scales after the pentatonics. Guitar's one of the best instruments for learning chords and scale shapes as it's a perfectly transposing (You can move things around) instrument, once you learn a chord (not all chords transpose perfectly) or scale all you have to do is move it to the root note you're wanting to play said chord/scale in and you've got it.
     
    Last edited: 5 Mar 2006
  9. Garp

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 10,573

    Location: Seattle

    1) Timing

    Definately my strongest area. I have a good solid sense of rhythm, born out of having been singing in numerous choirs or playing instruments for most of my life. That translates nicely to the guitar and certainly for the first while made me sound so much better than someone of my then experience should sound. If I hear a song I can generally pick up the guitar and get the rhythm correct, or be 95% near it with a strong idea of where my technique needs polishing to achieve the sound I'm going for.

    2) Notes

    Good knowledge of chords, developing nicely across the fretboard. Doing regular exercises still with my left hand to strengthen my barre chords. Can play them, just need more strength to make life generally easier in that regard.

    3) Dynamic

    Yes.. and No. I can do Dynamic reasonably well.. but my playing is very much solo oriented. 99% of the time when I'm playing its just me and my guitar. When I'm suddenly playing with a group thats where I struggle. The key area I'm working on in this regard is learning not to play. Less is more. When you've got a drummer you don't need to strum so much, and especially if you've got a bassist too. Rhythm guitar should be dropping down to much more of an emphasis basis rather than providing the rhythm. Allows a lot more freedom to do more fancy chord work too.


    Other aspects:

    Fingerwork - Really need to improve this generally. Can't play lead to save my life, and struggle playing along with tab. Fingerpicking proves to be a chore and requires intensive concentration to be able to pull it off, and certainly can't sing and fingerpick at the same time.
     
    Last edited: 5 Mar 2006
  10. Nitefly

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 24 Sep 2005

    Posts: 33,997

    1). Not being in a band and not playing normally with backing tracks or metranomes, I have no idea! Proberly average, due to lack of experience.

    2). Not quite sure what notes means.... if its fitting certain notes to a piece of music I would say I am poor. I am good at impersonating, but not doing improvisation to a piece of music. I can widdle free style, but.... that doesnt count for much.

    3). Dynamics? As in phrasing? Err again no idea. This implies I can adapt to playing environments etc, which I can't as I've never tried. If it means somehting playing well, possibly! I can phrase most things well if I put the time in but by myself? Not really.

    Basically I'm a bedroom rocker with minimal experience. I've played for 6 years and whilst having some good technique, have leart most of the scales (I can't get of the harmonic minor mode I'm thinking of...... A harmonic minor scale starting from E anyone?) but I have no idea how to use them in a group.

    I even get nervous and jittery when asked to 'demonstrate' my playing, although people will sometimes come into my room and say 'wow that sounds amazing!', but I'll stop playing if they stand there to listen.

    I need to stop being a wimp, get out there, form a band, win over the world.
     
  11. SexyGreyFox

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 29 Mar 2003

    Posts: 52,383

    Location: Stoke on Trent

    Theres a 5th aspect to playing also - tuning up.

    I went to see a local band on saturday and they suffered from the 'not bothering to tune up' syndrome. I expect this from 18 year olds but these were seasoned musicians who've been around the block. Their first spot was bob on but before the 2nd set I didn't see anybody use their tuners and as soon as they kicked in we're all looking at each other.
    It slowly got worse and the worst thing you can do is then try and tune your instrument by ear which puts it even further out.
    So advice for all bands - 5 mins before you go on all of you tune up with the same tuner (there can be a difference between tuners). If you go out of tune don't be embarassed to pick up the tuner mid set to tune up - far better to be in tune than play a set out of tune.
     
  12. Sic

    Capodecina

    Joined: 9 Nov 2004

    Posts: 15,365

    Location: SO16

    ugh, i hate when i see a band and either a) their instruments arent in tune or b) they've turned them up so loud/distorted them so much that you couldn't tell. there's no point!!

    because nowadays i only really play to support my singing (which i should hopefully be able to do again soon...bloody colds/whatever this is!) my "notes" arent as good as other aspects of my playing. i like to think that i've got a great sense of rhythm, but then i think anyone who's ever played in a band or had a jam can develop, if only, a temporary sense of rhythm :p

    the notes aspect suffers because i dont really care about being a technically great guitarist. i like being able to play chords, and finding interesting chord progressions...i dont go for all this widdly widdly guitar (that's not to say i'm not impressed when i see it!) so i tend to stick to chordal stuff, which i think allows me to emote more when i play.

    dynamics - any musician who cant get a hold of this should seriously consider the reason they started playing. the whole point of playing an instrument for me, is that it allows me to convey emotions unspoken, and it's almost a certainty that even when im practicing, no 2 versions of the same song will sound the same because there's a chance that my mood will change. still, it's all fun and games. it's good to see a decent proportion of the boards actually taking an active interest in music rather than playing guitar for the poon.
     
  13. Ev0

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 13,920

    I'm terrible, a bedroom player that just likes to have a jam along with a few tunes coming out of the stereo now and again :)
     
  14. penski

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 9 May 2005

    Posts: 20,834

    Location: NE8

    Negligable at best....But I can programme okay.

    *n
     
  15. Gaijin

    Don

    Joined: 18 Feb 2003

    Posts: 8,561

    Location: Brighton/West Wicklow

    Timing - Hopeless, I've not been playing that long and haven't really had as much time as i would like to dedicate to it

    Notes - See Above

    Dynamic - See above



    All that matters to me is that I enjoy playing and that doing so or learning something new or tricky, no matter how badly I play it, raises my mood and that , to me, is what guitar playing is all about. Sure i'd love to be much better, but you cant get great at guitar in a year. Especially if you are cack handed like me.
     
  16. lemonkettaz

    Capodecina

    Joined: 28 Nov 2005

    Posts: 12,339

    im desperate to get in a band again. although everybody plays the guitar.

    looks like ill be going to university as a bass player.. which isnt a bad thing
     
  17. 4T5

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 30 Aug 2004

    Posts: 27,745

    Location: Middle of England

    For me its always been Not what you play but How you play it.
    I have been around many guitarists over the years some good some bad.
    The technical guys seem to forget expression and the exspressive ones seem to lack technical skills. The guys for me are odviously those that combine the two.
    I can make a guitar emit a nice sound but my lack of memory makes me stool after a while. Also i haven't played regularly for years.
    I know when i fall back into my guitar and feel the resonance vibrate through the guitars body and up my spine that all is well. It used to give me goosebumps at times.
    I don't get my point over well here but basically its about the emotion that flows from your fingertips through the strings into the body then onto the air.
    Not about been able to play an Augmented 7th without looking.
     
  18. lemonkettaz

    Capodecina

    Joined: 28 Nov 2005

    Posts: 12,339

    spot on about the technical and expression

    id say im am more expressive than technical

    my hands cant whizz about, but it sounds good along with the chord changes what i do.
     
  19. SidewinderINC

    Soldato

    Joined: 8 Feb 2004

    Posts: 5,213

    Location: Dartford, Kent

    i'm terrible in most aspects and ive been playing nigh on 10 years now :(
     
  20. Sparky191

    Hitman

    Joined: 6 Dec 2005

    Posts: 790

    Same here. I never really took it seriously enough. I think a few years ago I could manage to play a few solos of GnR's, Zep and Ozzy stuff. I could always make up stuff and jam with other people without much toruble. Never gigged and I stopped playing for a few years. Recently picked it up again. Can't even remember what I used to now. Oddly enough I've ended up with a steel string, when I much prefer a nylon string or an electric quitar. Which doesn't help.