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Thread: Exercises, scales, etc?

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    Exercises, scales, etc?

    Do any of you have any exercises/scales/etc that you do when you practice that helps you out? Or that you did at one time? They aren't as glamorous as playing songs but I figure they would help me get better and get better acquainted with doing different things along the fretboard.

    Just wondering if there is anything more structured that works better than wanking away in the minor pentatonic and major scales.
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    Forum Member Doc W's Avatar
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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    Just playing scales is only a start and just tells you where your fingers will go.

    For students who want to learn basic improvisation, I begin by teaching them major scale patterns in only a few positions, emphasizing arpeggios so they know where the notes are in relation to chord shapes. If you know the notes in the chord shapes, you have a good idea of what notes work with what chords.

    The real work begins when you start to improvise over chord changes, making interesting melodies that accentuate the harmonic structure underneath. Start improvising by limiting yourself to one or maybe two basic scale patterns, i.e., don't go all over the fretboard but learn to create interesting melodies within the limits of one (or two) patterns.

    Pentatonic improvisation is very limited and limiting.
    "The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation."

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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc W View Post
    Just playing scales is only a start and just tells you where your fingers will go.

    For students who want to learn basic improvisation, I begin by teaching them major scale patterns in only a few positions, emphasizing arpeggios so they know where the notes are in relation to chord shapes. If you know the notes in the chord shapes, you have a good idea of what notes work with what chords.

    The real work begins when you start to improvise over chord changes, making interesting melodies that accentuate the harmonic structure underneath. Start improvising by limiting yourself to one or maybe two basic scale patterns, i.e., don't go all over the fretboard but learn to create interesting melodies within the limits of one (or two) patterns.

    Pentatonic improvisation is very limited and limiting.
    Thanks Doc, good info! That's the kind of stuff I'm looking for. My aspirations for the guitar aren't quite to be an improvisational jazz genius but I would like to know enough to have some fun and fake like I know what I'm doing! Just enough so that I don't have to resort to memorizing every solo.
    "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." -Muhammad Ali

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    Forum Member Doc W's Avatar
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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    Another thing is to try to get transcriptions of pieces you like and learn them. You don't have to play them note for note, but learn them note for note and you will learn a lot about how that person improvises. Don't just learn the notes, but use your knowledge of theory to understand why the notes work.
    "The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation."

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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    Another good idea! I actually have a couple transcription books already, just never used them that way. Are there any good theory books that you've used?
    "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." -Muhammad Ali

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    Forum Member refin's Avatar
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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    Think of a note....,now,find that note on every string.
    Next,think of that note's neighboring relatives,major or minor....invite everyone for a family reunion.
    Season with feel,and a conviction for phrasing....baste with an attitude of playing less,saying more,while listening to Peter Green and Jeff Beck.
    Serve with a side of great tone------and smile!
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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    This one might be a bit obvious but it helped me. Play three notes of a scale, then go back one note and play the next three, back one and next three...so you play C D E - D E F - E F G - F G A - G A B - A B C for example (but for all sorts of scales, whatever you can think of). It helped me with dexterity and helped me break out of playing linear notes all the time.

    (And I'm gonna keep an eye on this thread for tips too )
    i bet this really annoy's you if your a grammar freak.

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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    Doc,

    I've started doing what you recommended and I've had quite a few "so THAT's what that note is!!" moments. The oddest thing is, being a piano player for 11 years, translating that to a fretted instrument. There's no black keys to help orient you! I'm paying attention to the notes around the fretboard markers to compensate.

    I've started in G major for the heck of it. I can start in the first "box" or "mode" (whatever the correct term is) high up the fretboard and there's only one sharp in the scale.

    The guitar is such a "pattern" instrument (for lack of a better term) that it's easy to get lazy and regurgitate, not really learning anything.

    Refin, I like your Jeff Beck reference! He's becoming one of my favorite guitarists! I have a 2 disc Yardbirds collection, one disc with Clapton and the second disc with Beck. Needless to say (IMHO) when it comes to the Yardbirds Beck plays circles around Clapton. I didn't even bother ripping the Clapton disc into my iTunes library. He didn't get good until he met John Mayall.
    "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." -Muhammad Ali

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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Power_13 View Post
    This one might be a bit obvious but it helped me. Play three notes of a scale, then go back one note and play the next three, back one and next three...so you play C D E - D E F - E F G - F G A - G A B - A B C for example (but for all sorts of scales, whatever you can think of). It helped me with dexterity and helped me break out of playing linear notes all the time.

    (And I'm gonna keep an eye on this thread for tips too )
    Yes, and the variations like

    C D E F - D E F G - E F G A etc.
    C E D F E G B A C etc

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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    If you search for Steve Vai's 10 hour Guitar Workout (later expanded to the 30 hour guitar workout) you will find a pretty complete compilation of scale exercises.

    Not that I have covered even a tiny fraction of it, but there are some pretty useful exercises that I do regularly.

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    I practice NOT playing adjacent notes. I write down something like

    AGEBDCF and then play it. Then I practice that in octaves.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    A variation of Power 13's & NDRU's excercises, I'll play scale degrees like so:
    1-3, 2-4, 3-5, 4-6, 5-7, 6-1, 7-2, 1-3...
    That's a third. After you do that awhile then try 6ths, 7ths, whatever. Fun stuff

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    Re: Exercises, scales, etc?

    Thanks for the help everyone! Gonna slowly work them all in! I especially need to strengthen my dang pinky finger.
    "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." -Muhammad Ali

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