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What one thing helped your playing the most?


Minitruth
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I regularly hear people say "I picked up guitar' date=' but didn't have the time". My reply is usually "I've never had a choice". :D[/quote']

 

You just nailed it, I think. SOMETHING draws me back to it, time and again. I'm a creative person, a guitar is a paintbrush, a tool to express myself.

 

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Practice and teachin guitar. Teaching forces you to closly examine how you do a thing and organize the information you need to pass that information along. Before I began teaching I found that I could do a lot of things that I had never closly examined. Examining the how and why made me a better player.

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A healthy competition playing with other musicians is what gives you a passion to play well. You still have to find music to learn and put in the hours' date=' but you're scramble to learn your parts much more effectively when you know you have a gig coming up. Females in the audience have been known to motivate many male guitarist to play well too.[/quote']

 

This is one of my problems, as well. Since my wife is disabled, I don't get out much. Lived in north N. Jersey for almost eight years and really don't know anybody here. Maybe some HCEG people live in the area, I'll welcome any help, from anyone.

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I'd never heard of Richard Thompson until Tuesday night. Some of the guys I play with in an acoustic band seem to know him (Fairport are a local band and occasionally Chris Lesley sits in) and they were talking about a gig coming up that he's playing. He does have a unique style and is clearly an incredibly able musician, though not one I'd have cared to emulate musically.

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Having the basic tools given to me - major and minor scales - then listening to how they fitted into music by playing with other people.

 

I'm an improvising guitarist, in that I string together the musical cliches I know in various patterns that fit what's happening. To a degree, the more I practice the worse I get - good playing and inspiration only really happens during the discovery phase, and one I've rehearsed a song a couple of times, the inspiration tank is empty. There can be exceptions, and when we did the recording thing regularly on here I recorded a Santana-based track by going back again and again until I 'got it right' but that's unusual.

 

Play stuff that inspires you. If it's dull & a chore (not if it's hard or difficult) find something else that makes you want to try.

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I was going to say something like, practice, scales, practice, chords, theory, practice, playing out with others, practice..... then I realized what helped me. NOT thinking about it. NOT worrying if that is/will be a bad note. following Frank's advice and "Shut up N play yer guitar."

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I was going to say something like' date=' practice, scales, practice, chords, theory, practice, playing out with others, practice..... then I realized what helped me. NOT thinking about it. NOT worrying if that is/will be a bad note. following Frank's advice and "Shut up N play yer guitar."[/quote']

 

The first time I heard Larry Carlton was with The Crusaders in the early '70s.

 

I thought 'that guy knows everything there is to know about the guitar but he just closes his eyes and plays" - I was young at the time but it stuck with me.

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Learning a handful of scales and a little bit of theory helped my songwriting at least. Lessons can help if you're willing to put in the time. I kind of miss having regular lessons, but you need to have an instructor you click with.

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I've been thinking about this more and I actually pinpointed my "tipping point" moment.

 

When I was 14 and had been playing electric guitar for about 6 months I got introduced to a slightly older guy from our school who was a real musician. By this point I knew a bit of basic pentatonic scales and a bunch of chords, but acted like I was a big shot guitarist.

 

We headed over to the guy's house and had a long talk about playing and music, then had a jam.

 

After the jam he said: "I thought you'd be better than that."

 

I was angry for a long time and went into a 2 year period of hard woodshedding and learning. This was ultimately the most important time in my musical (and personal) development. I later figured out that he was right.

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Forgot to mention the software known as Transcribe! Made more real and practical progress with that than any other tool I've used. More than just working stuff in slow motion, it helps develop slow itself. I can now practice music at glacial tempi. There is no western music that will defy slow.

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I grew in love with lead guitarist playing. Where were they going to take the song when it was their time to shine. Ted Nugent, Ace Frehley, Rick Neilsen and so on. Tried to learn some acoustic at 14 and 15. There were no teachers in my area. There was no where to buy guitars in my area and so I got a Sear model something. No electric turners and well I gave up. March ahead 20 years and my love for heavy hard rock music never dies. I see a Guitar magazine with one of my favorite players on the cover and buy it. I read and discover that there's now hand held electronic turners that don't cost much. So I decide to give it another try. I didn't want to put much cash into it so my grandmother-in-law surprises me by getting her Old Kraftsman guitar restrung and set up by a family member who plays. I bought a copy of eMedia Guitar Method and went to work. I was given a copy of Rock Guitar for Dummies. You may laugh, but I read every page. I played guitar everyday for probably the first year. I couldn't seem to get a enough.

 

So for me...

1. A tuner

2. Practice material that let me listen to how something sounded and that I could play too. That included simple songs as well and there was an archive of like 10,000 three or four chord songs.

3. There was no iTunes and I found these band in your pocket cds to jam to.

4. And 3 pages from Rock Guitar for Dummies that explained 5 pentatonic major and minor positions and how they interlock from one end of the neck to the other.

 

I've learned very few famous guitarist leads note for note. I just wanted to be able to play lead and have it sound in key and put different things that made those people special to me. So far it's given me 18 years of fantastic fun. At the same time I've studied guitar maintenance, building, wiring, refinishing, different tunings, playing slide, and so on.

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It was five years of good, old-fashioned lessons from two great blues/rock players in my hometown, then incessant YouTube lesson searches (chord melodies, strategies for playing over certain tunes, sick licks, etc.) and a few months of Skype lessons from a kicka$$ jazz player.

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