Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Basics of Basics

Like in the words of John Petrucci in his instructional CD, Rock Discipline, the first few things you want to consider about the guitar, are the types of practices you will be performing on the fretboard with your fretting hand, and the picking hand.

So the first thing you should do with the guitar, is to put away the guitar.

What you have to think, and consider, is a very important step before you begin touching the guitar. A few things you should keep in mind when it comes to the physical side:

  • You should never slouch. Even I tend to slouch naturally whenever I play the guitar due to long hours of practice. But it’s just not good because it’ll become a habit eventually.
  • Be disciplined.
  • Always be aware if what you’re playing is right. Just because you nailed your first tough solo, it doesn’t mean that you’ve made it through in a ‘clean’ sounding sense. It’s common to hear your guitar instructor, or guitar buddies, to tell you to record yourself while you’re practising certain riffs, so you can listen to your own playback, which is the best advice to offer, really.
  • As much as you hate it, practice with the metronome. I begin to do that daily and it’s pretty beneficial. Especially when you plan to record your own material.
  • Never think that solo-ing is hard. Rhythm guitar riffs are usually harder than expected, and harder to record. This will be covered if there were to be a recording section in this blog. Try to treat both aspects equally.
  • Watch your practices. Try not to be a rock star in an instant by pushing yourself beyond your limit in certain aspects, such as finger stretching, power bending or, commonly, playing really fast at light speed. Never ever go against your body’s nature and capabilities as it will affect the muscles responsible in playing the guitar.

On a mental note, sometimes what you think in your mind, would be the best presentable notes that you might have. Remember to try and practice all sorts of tunes, and know what you’re actually playing. It’ll help out drastically whenever you listen to a song, and try to pick up the tune, keys and the chords being used over its respective scales or modal progressions.

That, we shall cover in the near future about the types of basic scales and modes.

For modes, the easiest way I can explain, would be the alternate “scales” that you can use in certain parts of songs. It could be an augmented 4th note (sharpened 4th note) that produces a Lydian mode if it were to be a major scale. That sort of a sound can be usually heard by the playing likes of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson and plenty more. It gives a very dynamic twist, and usually an aero-ic sort of sound.

Just keep this in mind. Get a proper stool that has no handles, or a chair with a backrest without handles, and always sit straight to play, and never ever go beyond your nature talent in playing the guitar.

Sometimes the best way to play the guitar, is to play as little notes as possible. It’s not a compulsory thing to play in ultra speed to be a good guitarist. A good example would be that there is this kid that goes by the name of Tallan Latz. For a boy who got recognised at 8 years old, he had idolised the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert King, and mark my words, he is not a shredder of any sort. But the way he plays the Blues, is no joke at all. It’s a fact to many guitar buddies I know, that to play blues, you require a different talent. If it were possible, you dissect your soul, and place it as the strings. That’s how you play blues – through your feelings. And Tallan Latz plays it extremely natural. You can YouTube him up, to check out how a small kid is able to play such riffs. It's always great to learn and appreciate music of other people.

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