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How did you improve as a player?

Discussion in 'MyMusic Forum' started by Morf2540, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. Morf2540

    Morf2540 Strat-Talker

    Nov 8, 2017
    Philadelphia, PA
    Here's a question for everyone: what did you do that most helped your playing improve? Don't just say "practice." Be more specific!
    Yaralag and Nate D like this.
  2. Dick Blackmore

    Dick Blackmore Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2017
    San Diego
    I quit thinking about modalities and started concentrating on chord forms and intervals. Once I learned all chords and their inversions and extensions I no longer had to think in one dimensional modal terms and could start applying my ear to my compositions instead of trying to fit a modality like a paint by numbers watercolor. When I look back on the wasted years of running scales as practice...I don't like to use the word regret, but I regret wasting my time on that useless practice. I pick this out for a reason because it is something that guitar players over-practice to the point of detriment and bad guitar teacher's over emphasize to the point of detriment. It is my humble opinion that thinking in modalities is harmonically and melodically limited and stifles creativity. If I never hear another pure lydian or dorian solo over some wrote IV-V-I progression I will die a happy man.
  3. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    Without a doubt and by far more than anything else that I've done: Playing in person with people more talented than me.
  4. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 10, 2012
    stamford, CT
    playing with other musicians and challenging myself to learn songs that, at one time, I thought would be too difficult
    ocean, Yaralag, Mansonienne and 5 others like this.
  5. rolandson

    rolandson Most Honored Senior Member

    The single greatest contribution was learning to read music. Everything I wanted to know was at my fingertips. All I needed was access to a library. Now there's the internet... don't even need the library anymore.

    Following that, critical listening... because even the best transcriptions can be mistaken.
    The goal: Never stop improving upon your vocabulary.

    Lastly, learning to count. Keeping accurate time is, without question, essential. Without that, the most comprehensive vocabulary is next to useless if no one will accompany you.
  6. Sarnodude

    Sarnodude Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 26, 2015
    The largest improvements I have experienced came about after days of NOT playing. I would come back from vacation and play licks that I could'nt play before. The subconcious mind works in wondrous ways.
  7. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    I improved as a player by getting a job in a music store when I was 17. I came from a little tiny town, pre-internet and I kinda thought I could play the guitar. That notion of mine was shown to be false within a few days of waiting on customers and then reinforced over years of having people walk in and pick up guitars and play great. I was mortified and shedded a lot just to get halfway up to speed. :D
  8. MagnusR

    MagnusR Strat-O-Master

    Feb 21, 2013
    Playing with other people, playing to LPs, CDs, FM radio or Spotify. I very seldom play guitar stand alone. I get bored after 5 minutes if doing that. Perhaps when i was younger i probably spent some time playing gtr stand alone just to explore the instrument.
    ocean, Yaralag and Nate D like this.
  9. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 2, 2016
    Philly, PA
    For me listening to music is crucial. If you’re in a rut in your playing I’m going to guess you’re in a rut in your listening as well.

    Then take it another step; start playing along to different music. I found one of the best things about having digital music libraries is that I can hit shuffle and play along to literally any song that comes along. It makes your talent and skill level work within the context of a different or uncomfortable genre for you to play in. It also trains the ear fantastically.

    Lastly, and maybe most importantly, is to play with others in a live setting. I rarely get The chance to do this anymore, but it’s where growth really happens.

    *Edit: please keep in mind these are the things that work for me. Others will have different experiences and insights here.
  10. Virgman

    Virgman Strat-O-Master

    Nov 2, 2012
    A couple things...

    1) For technique practice do no more than a few things at a time. For example, 3 things would be downstrokes, gallop picking, and a scale run. Do each for 3 minutes using a metronome. Don't spend hours doing this stuff.

    2) Learn songs. If you like AC/DC then learn a bunch of their songs. Spend the majority of your time learning songs. The technique is in the songs and you will have something to play when someone asks the inevitable question: "Play me something".
    Yaralag, xland and Nate D like this.
  11. Wrighty

    Wrighty Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 7, 2013
    Harlow, Essex, UK
    I resumed lessons with a teacher I first met 20 years ago. There’s never a curriculum, or even a plan for the lesson. Starts off just noodling with a mate and pretty soon I’ll ask a question, there’s a theme and I start to learn stuff. Sometimes I’ll turn up with a song I’m looking at. We’ll just decide on how it needs to sound and away we go. I couldn’t handle learning by rote, dozens of exercises and scales. Dany’s way suits me and, judging by his waiting list, lots of others
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
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  12. Swingbass

    Swingbass Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 21, 2011
    Nature Coast Florida
    play the weekly challenges here on ST. These sure helped me get a better
    Stratoskater, ocean, Yaralag and 2 others like this.
  13. strat_strummer

    strat_strummer Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 17, 2017
    In the shop...
    Here are a couple different things that helped me quite a bit. When I sit and watch TV I play my guitar without it plugged in and practice scales, only about 3 or 4 notes at a time. I play them over and over and it really has helped muscle memory and speed. Another way is I pull up youtube and type in guitar songs chords and lyrics and several different songs come up that has the player playing the songs and shows the chords. This has really helped with my rhythm playing and timing as well. I try different strumming patterns and eventually come up with really cool different ways to play the songs. One more thing I have just started doing and it helps on bar chords and learning positions is harmonizing the Major scale in all positions.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
    ocean, Yaralag, Virgman and 1 other person like this.
  14. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    Playing in time and playing in tune.

    Finally buckling down and learning stuff note for note.
    ocean, Nate D, Yaralag and 2 others like this.
  15. Malurkey

    Malurkey Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 28, 2016
    Yousician. I’d like to give a more romantic answer, but that’s what forces me to practice things I haven’t done before.
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  16. RHL87

    RHL87 Strat-Talk Member

    Feb 23, 2017
  17. Williamwolka

    Williamwolka Strat-Talker

    Dec 10, 2017
    I've always been an introvert, made it easy for me to want to spend time practicing. Therapeutic for me.
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  18. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    1) Play with other people

    2) Record yourself playing and listen to it not just once but several times. You will hear things that you don't hear while you are playing. Some good, some not so good. Work on the not so good stuff.

    3) Play with other people
    ocean, simoncroft, Yaralag and 5 others like this.
  19. davidKOS

    davidKOS Musical Hermit Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 28, 2012
    I was taught that you can get away with a lot if you are in tune and in time.
    ocean, simoncroft, Electgumbo and 5 others like this.
  20. Morf2540

    Morf2540 Strat-Talker

    Nov 8, 2017
    Philadelphia, PA
    Good answers so far, keep em coming! Looks like the first thing I need to do is learn what a "modality" is! (I think the message is, "don't just play classic rock."
    Yaralag likes this.