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Zharth's Forum • View topic - Guitar Practice

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 Post subject: Guitar Practice
PostPosted: 090305 12:03 
Legendary Overfiend
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At the risk of jinxing myself for stating it outright, I've made a resolution to practice guitar for at least one hour every day - with the possibility of excusal only under extreme circumstances. And to do so standing, for two reasons: 1) I need more practice playing while standing (currently, my best position for playing is "incredibly slouched" - this is something I need to work on); and 2) because it's a perfect excuse to get up out of the chair and get some semblance of regular exercise. A sort of two birds with one stone deal.

I've managed for two days in a row already, so it's a good start. But I have like a massive headache right now and I'm really tired and hoping to get to bed early to get some rest, and I'm thinking, god, if it makes me feel like this, then I can understand why I never wanted to do it before. If the price for accomplishing anything in this world is being miserable in exchange, is it really worth it, after all? Because that's my angle. But maybe I'll get used to it, and get stronger, and I'll be better off in the long run. At any rate, it's good to actually be tired enough to go to sleep rather than sit up much later than I should be just because, and end up not getting enough rest...

Anyhow, it's nice that my playing repertoire is large enough that I can actually play songs I already know for an hour at least, so that if I'm not in the mood for learning and crafting and the *reallly* tough stuff, I can just force myself along, going through the stuff I know. You can never have too much practice.

At any rate, if you were curious, here are the songs that are currently in my active playing repertoire:

Ten Years After -
I'm Going Home Intro Solo
Love Like A Man (vocals are iffy)
50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain (vocals are good but I need to memorize the order of the last ones better)
I'd Love To Change The World (vocals are not so good)

Robin Trower -
Too Rolling Stoned (vocals are poor)
Bridge of Sighs (vocals are poor)
I Can't Wait Much Longer (vocals are poor)

Fleetwood Mac -
Jumping At Shadows (vocals are good)
The Green Manalishi (vocals are good)
Man of the World (vocals are good)
World Keep On Turning (this one is actually pending; I haven't learned it yet, but I really want to, and I've been working on it...er, meaning to)

Led Zeppelin -
Since I've Been Loving You Intro Solo/No Quarter Main Riff (I know, lame, they're just pieces, but still - good pieces)
Ten Years Gone (I only know up to the first few bars of the guitar solo, and vocals are terrible - still, it does sound nice, what I've got)

Neil Young -
Cortez The Killer (vocals are good)
Words (vocals are okay)
Winterlong (vocals are mostly good)
Love To Burn (vocals are mostly good)
Down By The River (vocals are good)
Cowgirl in the Sand (vocals are good)

Obviously, these aren't all the songs I know, but the ones I like and have been playing lately. The ones where the vocals are less than good I usually just play instrumental, although I *should* learn the vocals better, ideally. Down By The River and Cowgirl in the Sand are totally awesome. Cowgirl is self-explanatory, because I've practically made it *my* song, and while River isn't quite as flashy, I've been playing it for so long, and there's little bits and pieces here and there that I think make it sound great, and plus I think the song suits my voice fairly well (at least that's what people have told me).

Anyhow, yeah, for what it's worth. I still want to learn Shinken, Aoyama Motoko's character image song (in Japanese :D ), as it's such an amazing song, but it's a little tricky, so it will likely take time (assuming I actually practice). Whatever, I'm going to bed. x_x

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 Post subject: Re: Guitar Practice
PostPosted: 090317 02:30 
Legendary Overfiend
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For the first time in my life, I actually have some idea of what it's like to play a setlist night after night. And I now have a better appreciation for why bands tend not to mix up a setlist much during a tour. You play the songs you've rehearsed for a reason, and there's not much sense in spending time rehearsing something you're not planning on playing much.

As I go through the songs in my "setlist" gradually, playing them at Open Stages, I find that I have the desire to learn new and different songs (or at least practice other ones that I haven't played in awhile), so as to stay fresh. And from the perspective of the nightly setlist, it's kind of like learning some new songs for a second tour. Of course, I'm just learning pre-existing songs and not creating them, but it's kind of like I feel I'm at a stage where the band would release an album, and shuffle the setlist a bit. Course, songs take a while to learn, and all the time spent learning one song is time that can't be spent keeping two or three other songs fresh on your mind.

Anyway, I'm still working on Shinken, and getting better at it. It's tricky, between the Japanese lyrics, which I'm actually not that bad at, and the prevalence of bar chords throughout the song. It's one of those high hand-cramp factor songs. But it's a great song, and I think that if I keep practicing it, I'll reach a point where I'll be able to play it for people. Which would be awesome.

I also want to learn more of Ten Years Gone (the Led Zeppelin song). Since it's a beautiful song, and I know a lot of it already. I think I could pull something together if I learn some more of the later parts - even without knowing the full solo. Vocals are tough, I haven't even *tried*, but even if I did it instrumental, I think it'd still sound great.

Speaking of vocals, I've been practicing the vocals on the songs where I have a lot of trouble with the vocals, and that's great, because I may actually be able to sing some of those songs in the future instead of merely play them. I'm thinking mostly of the Robin Trower songs in this case. Plus, it's great practice in multi-tasking, and increasing my overall base level of being able to play and sing simultaneously, even when the melodies are not entirely in synch, I think. It's a tough skill, though, but that means any and all practice helps.

They say that really good tribute bands don't have it so bad these days. I tried writing my own music in the past, and it wasn't that bad, but... Well, it's complicated. Of course, writing a song is harder than learning one, and writing a really good one is particularly tough. And people at the venues I play at are naturally gonna respond more to old songs that they know than new ones. Just a thought.

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 Post subject: Re: Guitar Practice
PostPosted: 090318 08:22 
Legendary Overfiend
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So I've been thinking about the songs that I am able to play, and I think it's great that I can play a few from my favorite less popular artists, like Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac and Robin Trower. And then of course, I can do tons of Neil Young songs. Just for the hell of it, I'm gonna try to think of all the Neil Young songs I've ever played in the past...

Down By The River
Cowgirl In The Sand
Winterlong
Words (Between The Lines of Age)
On The Beach
Cortez The Killer
Like A Hurricane
Love Is A Rose
Powderfinger
Sedan Delivery
Hey Hey, My My (Out of the Black)
Rockin' In The Free World
Love To Burn
Blowin' In The Wind (live Weld version)

Hm, is that it? It's no coincidence that the majority of those are Crazy Horse songs. Anyway, that was just a diversion. The real issue I wanted to discuss was this: I can't really play any songs from my favorite more popular bands. It's probably because those were the bands I was really into when I first picked up the guitar - since I can play a lot of pieces of songs by those bands. Then, by the time I got good enough to actually play full songs, I was getting into the more obscure bands that I do know songs from.

At any rate, I want to be able to play some songs from those bands. I'm talking about Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Who - those are the main ones. Not only would it be awesome to play those bands, but more people would recognize the songs as well. So if you have any suggestions for songs from those bands that you think would suit my playing style, as well as you know it, I'm all ears. It's tricky because easy songs can turn out to be complicated, and complicated songs can sometimes be simplified, and some songs are more my type than others, and I have to like the song enough in the first place to justify spending time learning it. Also, for example, I could probably play Comfortably Numb with a couple days' practice (mm, maybe weeks), since I've learned the chords/words in the past, but I definitely wouldn't be able to play the guitar solo without vastly more time and effort, and I'm not entirely sure that song would be effective played without the solo. It's like, I don't want to play the song if I can't play the solo. But anyway, suggestions?

Also, I was listening to The Who recently, and I think Pete Townshend's style of "rhythmic lead playing" or whatever you want to call it is very interesting. Although I'm mostly interested in traditional lead playing, that stuff is difficult to learn, and, I don't want to downplay Townshend here but, it seems like learning "solos" that consist of chord changes might be an interesting and somewhat less challenging endeavor. I dunno, it's just a thought. In any case, I do want one or more Who songs in my repertoire, if possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Guitar Practice
PostPosted: 090318 13:46 
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I'm just kind of wondering how effective it would be to play those songs without the band, even. I mean, the percussion is a huge part of a lot of the more energetic rock songs.

There's also your stage personality to consider... for example, a lot of my favorite songs by The Who take full advantage of Roger Daltrey's... frontmanship? Like Long Live Rock, for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Guitar Practice
PostPosted: 090318 23:11 
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You make some good points. Like with the Robin Trower songs I play, they're really not as effective without a fuller band. Stickman's been telling me how he wants to play some of them with me, since he could play the bass part, and possibly sing, and he mentioned using some kind of drum machine to get a good beat going. When or if that'll ever happen remains to be seen.

Still, playing a stripped down version of a song is more fun than not playing one at all. Though it remains to be determined which songs work better in such a format. On the other hand, when I do learn and practice songs, as hard as it may be to imagine, I do kind of learn them with the vague idea that some day, somewhere down the line, I might be able to play them with a fuller band. Kind of like, "this is a song I'd love to play in a band, I should learn it so I know that I can play it first, and then the rest will follow."

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 Post subject: Re: Guitar Practice
PostPosted: 090319 08:58 
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The Song Remains The Same is one of my favorite Zep songs, if you could somehow pull that off.


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 Post subject: Re: Guitar Practice
PostPosted: 090319 10:05 
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That is a really great song, and I'd love to be able to play it. I remember trying it in the past, but I was stumped by the fact that it's in an alternate tuning (yet, ironically, that didn't stop me from playing The Rain Song once upon a time). But I just stumbled across a tab that's in standard tuning, so I'll have to give it a look. No promises, though. Maybe you've never seen it on video, but Jimmy uses his double neck on that song, so...

Today's practice started out poorly, as I couldn't get a satisfying tone out of my amp, but I'm happy right now because I found something I'd been looking for for days. Over the past few days I've been trying to relearn the Dead Man Theme, since it's such an amazing song - it's got a haunting acoustic melody and a biting electric lead. Trouble is, the tab I have only had the chords and not the lead, and the two different tabbed versions of the lead I could find online were different from the way I remember playing it - and neither one was as smooth or sounded as good as the way I remember playing it. But I couldn't remember how I played it, and it didn't make sense that it wasn't in my personal tab file...

Well, today I was desperately searching all my tab folders, wondering where the hell that lead could have got to, and then I remembered I had an old folder of Powertabs I haven't looked at in ages. Sure enough, Dead Man was in there, complete with the lead, the way I remember playing it. So now I'm happy. That's such a great song. It's hard to do the rhythm and the lead together, though, because they go so well together and it's tough to play just one or switch between them. It would be a good song to do, I imagine, with my looper pedal, but you know what a hassle that is...

Still, I'm happy I can play the song the way I like it again!

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 Post subject: Re: Guitar Practice
PostPosted: 090320 09:17 
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I was able to get a couple pieces of the intro to The Song Remains The Same, and it sounds really cool, but honestly, I don't know what more I can do. The standard tuning version seems to be the studio version, and it has like three different parts going simultaneously. The live version looks a bit simpler, but again, it's in an alternate tuning, which itself is a pain. Jimmy Page is lightyears ahead of my current ability...

I really need to get headphones. The only working pair I have is about fifteen years old. That's not an exaggeration, that's an estimate. Even though it's pretty worn out, it still works relatively well, except that the cord is pretty short, and I always have problems using the extension I've got (it ends up simulating the "deaf in one ear" experience, which is simply unacceptable). I dunno if the problem's in the headphones or the cord, but I've been needing to get a new pair for awhile. Something substantial could be nice. But the point is to be able to crank up my amp and hear what the tone actually sounds like, without disturbing others. As it is now, there's a threshold on the volume level, towards the bottom, after which the actual tone kicks in, but that point is already way too loud to play. So I have to listen to half-tones, and simply guess what it's gonna sound like later...

Now that I have this pedal, setup is starting to get more complicated. I know other people go to the open stages and use pedals and stuff, but I'm a regular, and I kind of feel like it's a lot of effort for just my set. An open stage is a place you go with your acoustic guitar to play a few tunes. But I've never been that kind of player. I shouldn't be playing open stages. I should be in a band, and I should be playing shows. :mad:

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 Post subject: Re: Guitar Practice
PostPosted: 090321 11:37 
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zharth wrote:
it ends up simulating the "deaf in one ear" experience, which is simply unacceptable


Welcome to my life.

zharth wrote:
Something substantial could be nice. But the point is to be able to crank up my amp and hear what the tone actually sounds like, without disturbing others. As it is now, there's a threshold on the volume level, towards the bottom, after which the actual tone kicks in, but that point is already way too loud to play.


I recommend Grado headphones.


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 Post subject: Re: Guitar Practice
PostPosted: 090329 10:45 
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The "learn popular songs" plan hasn't really gotten anywhere, but that's okay. I think I'll shelve it for the time being. The advantage to learning the less popular songs is that there's less competition, and although less people are bound to recognize them, the ones that do are likely to enjoy it even more, because they'd never expect to hear some random guy do that song.

For example, a guy walked in a couple weeks ago at the Stage, while I was playing Love Like A Man, and as he passed me, right in the middle of the song, was like, "yeah, Alvin Lee!" And that was really cool.

Anyhow, here's some songs I'm learning or want to learn:

Dead Man (Neil Young) - I think I'm pretty good on this one, just haven't had a chance to play it at a Stage lately. Of course, there's the difficulty doing the acoustic/electric parts together, but it's manageable, I guess.

Shinken (from Love Hina) - still working on this one. I think I'm getting better at it, but it's still a lot of bar chords. I need to memorize the lyrics, as I can sing them fine looking at them, but I need to know them from memory.

On The Beach (Neil Young) - great song, that I've played once before. I looked it up again and I want to play it again. I have it in two sets of chords - open, and bar. I played it with open chords the last time, but it sounds so much better with the bar chords, so I want to learn it with the bar chords now. It's a great song.

Day of the Eagle (Robin Trower) - Stickman showed me a couple parts of this song, and now I want to learn how to do it more completely. If possible.

You Give Me Loving (Ten Years After) - I've known the main riff for this song for years, but I've never learned any more of it. I'm gonna have to give it a try, if I have the resources. Tough thing about these less popular songs is that it's much harder to find tabs (and good ones).

I Woke Up This Morning (Ten Years After) - this is another one I've known the riff for, but never did much with. I'll have to take a look at it. If I can throw a couple more TYA songs into my repertoire, that would be pretty cool.

World Keep On Turning (Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac) - I know, I haven't really been working on this one. Everytime I look at the tab I have, I get so confused. And it's not even all that complicated. It's just that it's one of those meticulous powertabs - which is great, because it has *everything*, but also bad, because the important parts get drowned in all the little flourishes. Anyway, I want to learn Oh Well, too, but the tabs I have for it are iffy, and I'm having trouble putting it together. I really want more PGFM songs in my repertoire, though, because I'm really big on Peter Green.

Oh yeah, and I want to try to add a few (short) lead lines to I'd Love To Change The World (TYA), to make it more interesting.

Oh yeah (x2), another TYA song I'd really like to learn is One Of These Days. It doesn't even sound like it would be all that difficult, but I don't have a tab for it. :frown: Hm, Joe Bonamassa covered that song, maybe he'll spill the beans...

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