Zharth's Forum

Guitar Practice
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Author:  zharth [ 090702 12:04 ]
Post subject:  Re: Guitar Practice

I know I haven't updated this in awhile, but three months? Has it really been three months? It's weird how, as a kid, I always lamented how slowly time passed ("A year? But that's like forever!"), and yet now, I'm constantly noticing how quickly time passes by ("A month? Pfsh, that's like a day."). Anyhow, I'm happy to say that I actually have something to show for the past three months of steady practice.

I've learned as many as four new songs, all currently up to performing level. The first is Day of the Eagle, which wasn't too difficult after Stickman showed me the basics. I figured out one other part, then threw it together, practiced it profusely, till I nailed it. It's a great song, it rocks, and it's the kinda song that's really fun to play. I've performed it twice, and both times, Stickman missed it. :( One of these days... It's nice to now have a good four Trower songs in my repertoire. But I still want to learn something from the album For Earth Below. I've got my eye on Shame The Devil, which is a great one - I even found a youtube video where some guy plays it. But still, it's tricky enough to figure out what he's playing, let alone being able to play it.

The next two songs are both Japanese songs, which, beside being good songs, are a novelty, because the people 'round these parts don't hear Japanese songs sung to 'em very offen. The first is Shinken, the song I previously mentioned that I was working on. Finally got it to performing level, lyrics and everything. It's a mouthful, tends to take my breath away, and I can't sing as well as Asakawa Yuu, but hey. It's really cool to be able to play it.

The other Japanese song is the ending theme from Serial Experiments Lain; it's called Tooi Sakebi (A Distant Cry), and is a really awesome song. I've had a tab for it forever, but each time I tried the opening notes, it sounded completely wrong. But then, this time, I tried it with the heavy fuzz tone on my Zoom 505 that Stickman gave me earlier this year, and it finally sounded right. So I learned the rest of it.

And, rounding it out, is the song I just learned over the last few weeks. It's a classic blues tune recorded by Otis Rush, called All Your Love (I Miss Loving), and covered by just about every band and bluesman who ever picked up a guitar. The version on the seminal 60's British blues album Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton in John Mayall's band is of particular note, but I went back to Otis Rush's more simplistic version (with one or two Clapton flourishes), also because that's the version I had tabbed in the Blues Guitar Bible I've been holding onto, yet I hadn't actually learned anything out of, UNTIL NOW. All Your Love is another really fun song to play, and it's tricky with all the different parts going on (I know, I said it was simplistic), but I think I managed to put the parts together to fill out the sound. Plus, the singing fits in snugly between the guitar parts, which is bluesy, and makes it easier on me, plus it's just fun to play that way (you know, like B.B. King, sing a bar, then throw out a few licks, then sing another bar kinda thing). Still gotta polish the solo, which was a real pain to throw together, but I think it'll fall into place if I just play it enough times.

Author:  zharth [ 090723 04:32 ]
Post subject:  Re: Guitar Practice

The best thing I ever did for my guitar practice, after making a commitment to practice regularly, was deciding to actually practice amplified on a regular basis. The sound issue is inconsequential compared to the benefit of learning how to play amplified (even though there's still a volume discrepancy between practicing at home and playing out). My vibrato has gotten a lot better, as I am sure my bending also has (on account of my actually being able to hear such things clearly). And in general, I'm getting better at singling out the strings I'm playing while muting the others (when necessary), in order to reduce extraneous noise/distortion - which is even harder than it might sound, but makes a huge difference and is essential to playing so as to sound "professional".

Author:  zharth [ 090726 08:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: Guitar Practice

I recently noticed that, as a result of all my practicing, my guitar pick had become rather worn down. So I replaced it today with a fresh one, with a nice sharp (relatively speaking) point. To my surprise, as small as the size/length difference was, using the new pick kind of threw me off a bit, in terms of the extra "reach" I had and the distance my fingers needed to be from the strings for the pick to make contact. Funny how such a small thing can affect you.

Author:  zharth [ 091103 13:07 ]
Post subject:  Re: Guitar Practice

My current practice playlist, which switches up from time to time:

Steppin' Out Intro (just for warmup, I have really got to learn the rest of this song)
I'm Goin' Home Intro/Love Like A Man
All Your Love (I Miss Loving)
Shame The Devil Intro/Too Rolling Stoned
Day of the Eagle
Bridge of Sighs
Cowgirl in the Sand
Zelda Main Theme/Zelda II Palace Theme
Red House
The Messiah Will Come Again

It's carved a little short, but that leaves some time at the end to work on a new song. The one I'm currently working on, though having a tiny bit of trouble with, is a love song by Eric Clapton. I'll leave it to you to guess which one.

I'm starting to think it might be helpful to, at the very least, try to get some kind of metronome or basic drum track going to play over. Because I think it would be good practice in terms of learning to play on time, and keep in tempo. As it is now, I just play at my own pace. I'm not saying my pacing's bad, but I think it would help prepare me for the inconceivable future in which I might get a chance to actually play with somebody else holdin' up the beat. (Actually, if we consider Stickman on bass, it's a bit less inconceivable - but only slightly so, considering his schedule. :lol:)

Author:  zharth [ 091109 09:58 ]
Post subject:  Re: Guitar Practice

Ever since I started playing The Messiah Will Come Again (which has insane bends), my B string has refused to stay in tune for very long.

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