GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?

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Green Gecko
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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:08 pm

For a lot of people the process of making something is boring and torturous and so clicking a bunch of stuff together is just fine for them to get their dopamine hit. I used to do that with things like eJay when I was about 10 but then I was interested in dance music and beats although I would seldom admit it.

It's just another way for session musicians and composers to make money, so I wouldn't get too caught up in the whole YouTube content creation -> monetisation game. Everyone knows it's a shortcut, nobody would pretend otherwise. Salesy talk about solving your problems and blah, music is no stranger to this.

However the right person might quickly move on from that.

I've never downloaded such MIDI melody or profession snippets I take it you're talking about, I just bash together chords I know or make up on the spot. I've never been trained on piano for example, but I might use a drum loop to get a beat going etc. Although come to think of it, I don't really do that anymore either because I have pads so I can program my own. Ideally I want to get a good skin on a pearl export snare I inherited (my infamous brother sold the rest of the kit without permission from my family :roll:) so I can sample that and one good cymbal and hi-hat.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:39 pm

Every time I have confidence issues about my singing voice, I should listen to the happy Mondays. The music is good in a dancy way, and then the 'singing' starts. I sound like Freddie mercury by comparison :dread:

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Kezzer » Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:21 pm

Question for you cool guitar dudes. In the market for an effects pedal or two. Looking to get that ambient vibe of The War on Drugs.

Always ran clean set up or dabbling with reverb, but never really been into effects as I don't know where to start.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:27 pm



I see your Happy Mondays and raise it with Motley Crue live.

Kezzer wrote:Question for you cool guitar dudes. In the market for an effects pedal or two. Looking to get that ambient vibe of The War on Drugs.

Always ran clean set up or dabbling with reverb, but never really been into effects as I don't know where to start.


Hall of Fame 2 pedal by TC electronic?

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:39 pm

My best reference from punk is the Fall, I'm pretty sure there are no words at all.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by OldSoulCyborg » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:12 am

I've been practicing guitar on and off for over 10 years, and I'm not that much better than when I started. Probably 'cause of that whole "on and off" thing, and lacking focus the times I have been practicing.

The most success I've had so far has been with Rocksmith, but with that I think I'm less learning to play guitar and more just learning how to go through the motions the game prescribes for each song. And that could lead to knowing how to play a few songs, but I probably wouldn't get any good with just that. I'd know how to play a few songs, but not very well.

I'm trying to move towards more traditional practice, but I have no idea where to even begin. At the moment I'm just practicing playing scales as smoothly and cleanly as I can while building up speed, but I have no idea where to go from there.
I know there are tons of resources online (both paid and free) and many of them are probably good, but I'm not sure which ones or where to begin. Any ideas?

(I have an electric guitar in case that helps to narrow down suggestions)

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:01 am

You've already started ear training with the scales you are playing. A bit of time dedicated to that can help push you further along.

Taking yourself out of Rocksmith and learning songs independently is a good thing. You could give it a shot at learning something without any tablature in front of you, just using your ear to figure out what is played.

Start with a simple track, and don't get discouraged. You will get better. It's a really good skill to have, and there's a sense of accomplishment as well when you learn something and are able to play along with it.

Probably the most important thing I would say about building speed, is to play slow with a metronome and work on economy of movement. Speed comes from accuracy, trying to eliminate unnecessary movement has helped me (although my picking is still strawberry floating rubbish). Also pay attention to the picking direction when you are transfering from one string to another.

As far as resources go, Justin Guitar is the best one I've seen for anyone starting out. He's helped many people start up on the instrument, and his stuff is pretty much all free, I think.

Books, I never really got much out of them. Probably the best one I own is Guthrie Govan's first Creative guitar book. Honestly, I would just stick to online stuff, it will save you a bit of money.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:50 pm

Tbh, I've always found scales a bit of a waste of time. They aren't fun to play and a lot of different types of music already incorporate them together with broken chords.

There is one exercise I practice most times, which is literally just playing chromatically 4 notes up using all four fingers (on bottom E), net fret up and next string up (A) for the next bar/run, next string and next fret up for the next run (D) etc etc. When you hit the top of the neck (E string) change direction and move up the fret board. THen down, etc etc, until you are freely able to play all over the range of the instrument up to the 12 fret at least. Doing this regularly and focusing on CLARITY not speed will dramatically improve your playing.

I'd recommend some classical studies like Carcassi Study in A or Aminor (there are several so it's hard to identify one) as these focus on more practical left hand work which is really where most of the skill is. Speed comes with time an practice, focus on left hand work.

I feel that the monophonic nature of most rock/pop music on guitar can be a stumbling point for progression in a lot of people trying to work the instrument. You end up railroaded into essentially playing different combinations of notes in succession that pretty rigidly adhere to scales.

Another stumbling block for most guitarists at around grade 4 or 5 and beyond is not really being able to play scales while holding a barre with the index finger clearly. Don't use your thumb. It massively restricts left hand finger movement. Again this comes with time, and requires practice. The other is not using the pinky (little finger, 4th) for left hand work, because it is hard to develop strength with it. To be hard on it, you will never really be able to excel with left hand fretwork without using all four fingers. You may just need to develop a callus on that finger. If you find it difficult at first, consider different scales of fingerboard, different frets (jumbo, flat frets etc), a scalloped neck, lighter guage strings, etc, maybe you are playing the wrong sort of guitar for you. Experiment with different tunings, half barre chords and ease into the process. There are a lot of fingerings for traditional Latin American guitar music that incorporate all of these things including more open tuning transpositions of music written in other keys or tunings.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by OldSoulCyborg » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:18 pm

Squinty wrote:

Thanks for all of that.

Squinty wrote:Also pay attention to the picking direction when you are transfering from one string to another.

I've just been focusing on a down-up-down-up pattern regardless. Seems like a sensible thing for rhythm if the picking hand is always doing the same thing. No?


A big part of the reason I've had trouble with learning guitar is anxiety around just how much stuff there is to learn, and how it just seems to keep going and going. There are scales, like a ton of them. Also there are different scale shapes up and down the neck, also like a ton of them. Also... etc.
And then there's chords, and you have a similar kind of rabbit hole with that. And rhythm. And dozens of different techniques that all take hours to get any good at. Don't forget to practice each one even once you've got good at them so you don't get rusty! Have you started learning music theory yet?

Thanks brain. Ugh.
Taking it slowly with a more focused approach to the whole thing should help. I'll check out Justin Guitar and stick with the Beginner lessons.

Squinty wrote:You've already started ear training with the scales you are playing. A bit of time dedicated to that can help push you further along.
Green Gecko wrote:Tbh, I've always found scales a bit of a waste of time.

Great. The other source of my anxiety: finding differing views on what/how to practice and being unsure what to believe.

(Only half serious. Thanks for all of the advice.)

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:43 pm

You aren't gonna ever master every facet of it. It's one of those things you will never really stop learning.

Ultimately, you should just try different ways of learning and see what sticks with you. I find it difficult learning by books and I can't really follow tab or notation all that well. But I really enjoy sitting down and working things out by ear. Audacity (a freeware program) helps if you want to slow down songs to learn them.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:45 pm

There is no "right" way to learn an instrument mate. Play whatever it is you enjoy playing.

I just happen to not really enjoy rehearsing scales. I much preferred learning studies that were composed in such a away that they teach you things (the word "study" refers more to the composer "investigating" different chord structures, progressions and scales). But they tend to include lots of scales and chords without literally being, let's play this scale over and over again for days and expect this to be an enjoyable excercise, something I just never really understood. I maybe started practising some scales about 9 years after I started playing guitar! One major reason people give up any musical instrument is they haven't discovered that balance of mastery and playing that is all about HAVING FUN and the satisfying from learning a new techniques, even if it's just a single chord.

It's well known you can play 90% of pop songs with a capo and chords E, A and D. THen start mapping finger style patterns to those chords. Then try variations of those chords, such as 7ths, or find note that is nice to add in a little bit of melody. Practice slurs and ornamentation a like slides, hammer-ones and pull-offs on those chords. Practice different strumming patterns and rhythms.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:51 pm

To be honest, I haven't practiced scales in years. I found it useful to have that knowledge later on, but as Gecko says, they are boring as strawberry float at the time.

The 1-2-3-4 chromatic exercise that Gecko touched on is something I do as well. And you can vary the patterns somewhat (like 4-3-2-1, 1-4-3-2 etc). It's not the most musical sounding thing, but it helps tremendously. Great warm up tool as well.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:58 pm

They key thing is that it's something you're supposed to do for your enjoyment. It's not for anyone else. Do what makes you happy, if scales are boring (I've never bothered with them) then just learn music you like. I remember a breakthrough being learning a song I liked by ear alone, just sitting and trying chords, then figuring out how to modify them to make it sound like the record. Widdly stuff I've learned from playing along with live music bootlegs, then those bits can be used in your own stuff (if you want to do your own stuff of course).

Just have fun with it. Stick a CD on, play along, make some noise even if you can't play most of it.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by OldSoulCyborg » Sun Jul 19, 2020 4:15 pm

Squinty wrote:You aren't gonna ever master every facet of it. It's one of those things you will never really stop learning.


Yeah, I know. Knowing alone doesn't reduce the anxiety much, but I suppose it is at least the first step.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Sun Jul 19, 2020 4:59 pm

One thing I can definitely say from experience is that every single new piece suggested to me (I did have a teacher fortunately to push me incrementally for a long time) I was not convinced at all I could play that to speed. But after a few weeks, each time addressing the specific areas I was having difficulty with and trying different fingering techniques (there was never a "right" way to play something, just whatever I could actually pull off and used all the fingers, after all, if you're playing from music it literally doesn't matter at all where you choose to play a note, just do whatever comes naturally. I don't read music btw), I could get most of it down and then it was just a case of rehearsing at least once a week sometimes for months or even years in some cases to play some pieces, but I'm talking about literally the hardest things you can play on the guitar at this point, like the equivalent of a Rachmaninov concerto on the guitar. I always felt the same way every time I looked at a new tab even if I had been playing for 13 years, and then I kind of stopped learning tabs and just made stuff up on my own. That anxiety doesn't go away but it's a good kind of anxiety to a degree because there wouldn't really be any reward if any of this stuff came easily. If you really want to learn the piece and you practice you will get better, however bit by bit it may feel. I still go back to pieces I struggle to play anymore and re-learn them one bar at a time. The more you do this the more you can think about and remember the struggle of playing that crazy chord or lick and now you can pull it off say at least half of the time. It'll never be "easy" to play anything because playing an instrument is not easy and not natural but you may surprise yourself reflecting like this.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:40 pm

One thing I've actually been trying to learn for a while now is that thumb fretting the root note technique. There's a few examples of it that I've been trying to get down (In the City by The Jam, and Old chests by Damien Rice utilises it).

It's breaking my balls.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:43 pm

Squinty wrote:One thing I've actually been trying to learn for a while now is that thumb fretting the root note technique. There's a few examples of it that I've been trying to get down (In the City by The Jam, and Old chests by Damien Rice utilises it).

It's breaking my balls.


John Mayer uses that a lot, and i found learning his stuff a pain because of it, but now it's second nature and I use it quite a lot with other stuff.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Squinty » Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:49 pm

Victor Mildew wrote:
Squinty wrote:One thing I've actually been trying to learn for a while now is that thumb fretting the root note technique. There's a few examples of it that I've been trying to get down (In the City by The Jam, and Old chests by Damien Rice utilises it).

It's breaking my balls.


John Mayer uses that a lot, and i found learning his stuff a pain because of it, but now it's second nature and I use it quite a lot with other stuff.


Yeah, I think it's a useful thing to develop. I decided to do it for learning acoustic, because it does open up the fretboard somewhat.

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Victor Mildew » Sun Jul 19, 2020 6:12 pm

It's great to help make semi open chords further up the next sound a bit more interesting

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PostRe: GRcade Musician's Club - Do You "Do" Music?
by Green Gecko » Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:25 pm

Without being the arbiter of such things, you can use it for stuff like that, I just mean rather than an alternative to / instead of fretting basic major/minor shape chords (E and A shape). That's much more restrictive to not develop that strength in a flattened left index finger at all.

It's really hard to do on a classical neck so there's that.

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