Beyond the music: Things to help you progress

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons, Tutorials & Tips' started by vipin_slash, Aug 18, 2005.

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  1. vipin_slash

    vipin_slash New Member

    Health & Safety while Playing Guitar

    Hi Folks,
    Its a bit unusual thread but I wud like to draw u'r attention towards
    One Common but serious problem for all of us is "Hearing Loss".
    Those of us who has attended Concerts might have experienced it.
    I went to Satch Concert in Bang'lore and I cud feel the ringing in my
    ears even days after it.
    Now comes playing the guitar.Especially we do not have any control
    over the sound Intensity of an Acoustic Guitar , Most of the time
    we look towards Fretboard So Left Ear is Exposed to soundboard
    which gradually effects the Left ear.Heavy Strumming makes it worst.

    When it comes to Electric Pls suggest the safety guards.Say regding
    proper Earthing of Amp and Also suggest any Tripping Devices to
    cut off the Current If Anyone Knows + other safety tips.

    Thanks and Regards
  2. nishantsomani

    nishantsomani Guitarist

    This is something which most of here dont care while playing. Listen! be honest, think and answer to yourself that how many of you play guitars with nails being cut properly viz. "SHORT". Let me answer....its few. Just a small thing to do and trust me, it'll just improve your playing and technique enormously. I know quite a bit of them must be having proper short nails. But this is for the members in large cos i know most of them dont care to cut their nails short. Unless you get you nails cut short you wont be able to play proficiently nor perfectly.. by just NO means! And if you are so lazy to do that then atleast cut short the nails of your fretting hand. Please!

    Just do it! And you will surely feel better grip and command over your fretting board! And you wont find any distorted noise or atleast it'll get reduced by large.

    Give respect to the instrument and just cut short your nails!

  3. dharmatma

    dharmatma Banned igt less..and play ur guitar more.
    2.worry abt ur "gear" when u learn how to play. along with will help u to get down stuff faster.
    4.stop using guitar-pro and tabs as a crutch while figuring stuff out..try to figure songs and solos out by ear..and use tabs and guitar-pro only as a tool..
    5.most guitar players..forget that dynamics is an imp part of playing..and emoting.
    sixstringsin likes this.
  4. ats

    ats Oldie

    1) take good care of your instrument... put it in the cover everynight before going to sleep. Do not rest the guitar on the bridge too much ..... it might bend it ..... thus increasing the gap between the fretboard and the strings ... and making it harder to play ...... and don't ever EVER let it get wet

    2) keep some boroline and moov handy, if you are a beginner and really enthusiastic, your fingertips and the base of your fingers might hurt like anything

    3) do some basic stretching exercises for your arms

    4) keep some extra strings with you

    5) practice in front of a mirror if possible ...that will boost your confidence ... other than giving you a better idea of the fret positions (look at yourself while in front of the mirror .. don't look down at your guitar ...... kind of beats the purpose :) )

    and remember that there is no shortcut for learning the guitar (or any other instrument for that matter) ... it all hard work ..... believe in yourself......

  5. DrSaurabh

    DrSaurabh Wh@+s Up D0C

    Always..ALWAYS...ALWAYS ALWAYS use a metronome when practicing....a screwd up sense of timing can be hell to correct ( am still trying :eek:: )
  6. nishantsomani

    nishantsomani Guitarist

    I know it'll be tiring reading but please do because it's yet another small thing with literally no effort which will go on to improve your playing and increase the much demanded SPEED enormously. It has got to do with the playing posture. I'm not talking with reference to sitting posture though it helps a lot in maintaining the needed balance. But the posture will rather help you a lot in gaining CONTROL and thereby SPEED.

    Firstly, I'd like to define Speed for them who generally fail to understand the term. In a layman's language, the Speed refers to the number of notes being played per second. That is very simple. But now, lot of people get confused while counting the notes. Some feel that plucking the string one at a time means playing one note. You are wrong! That isn't it! Note essentially means the number of times your fingers are hitting the fretboard and not that your pick (plectrum) is hitting the strings!

    Again switching back and emphasizing the main point, one should make sure that he/she maintains a good distance between waist and elbow while playing. Let me elaborate on it very lucidly. When you hold on to your guitar, your fretting hand's elbow is near your waistline. BUT most of you fail to realise the importance of maintaining a bit of distance between these two body parts. In most cases that i've encountered is that guys generally tend to stick their elbows to their lower abdomen or waist which should NEVER be done. (For heavens sake, don't interpret the meaning of sticking w.r.t some glue... please!) Now with your elbow being almost stuck by the waist, you cant move your fretting hand easily over the fretboard. And unless you cant move your hand along the fretboard with ease, you can never play the instrument with speed!!!
    For instance:- Can you play piano sticking your both hands by your waists??? NO! You will have to stretch your hands out in order to reach the keys. And that is essentially the same logic that u should apply behind playing guitars too.

    Dont be lazy! And stretch out! And you will gain contol and speed, for sure.

  7. sumit

    sumit HaNdS uPPP!!

    alys keep a plectrum in ur wallet. so that u can find em easily...i mean always play wid a plectrum...make it a pont that u alys play wid a plectrum
  8. DrSaurabh

    DrSaurabh Wh@+s Up D0C

    what about finger picking?? :think:

    WRT to speed, always remember what slash said, "Speed is the by-product of accuracy"

    and this is just a bit of advice for tone......which i find useful

    keep the plectrum at an angle to the strings not perfectly parallel and notice the differnece in the tone.......kinda like making the plec more "aerodynamic"
  9. nishantsomani

    nishantsomani Guitarist

    Hello Dr Saurabh, it was nice to learn your advice but i would rather suggest something materially important. As you must have tried out holding the pick with both the options viz. at some space of angle and with parallel postion w.r.t strings. I agree with you on the note that the sound is simply beautiful when you play with inclined angle BUT that is at the cost of speed. The speed gets seriously affected while playing with an inclined angle. Though the tone is really different when one plays with inclined angle as opposed to parallel postioning. But to this note i'd rather advice all that if in case you need speed, always try to keep the pick virtually parallel to the strings while playing. And remember, it doesn't mean absolute parallel. But yes, if in case you need to experience a different tone then try holding the pick at an inclined angle as suggested by Dr. Saurabh.
    And Sorry Dr. Saurabh for adding a bit of conflicting opinion.
  10. nishantsomani

    nishantsomani Guitarist

    Oops! I think i should've mentioned it...... for them who doesn't know what "PICK is?
    Pick means Plectrum.
  11. slash_i_m

    slash_i_m Laid to Rest

    i got a proper shock performing in a gig.the grounding wasn't proper.
  12. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    1) Always try and practice on a guitar which is perfectly tuned. It's very important to get that perfect sound into your system.

    2) There is more to IGT than cricket discussions in the Chit Chat lounge. Use your resources well.

    3) It is always better to learn from someone who knows what they are doing rather than taking lessons of the internet and practising. It is very difficult to "unlearn" something if you've done it wrong. I'm not saying that you cannot learn on your will, however, learn faster with help.

    4) Alternate picking is your best friend. Use it.

    5) Do not ever make the excuse that you do not have the time to practice. Practice does not have to be actually taking time out to sit with the guitar. You can even practice while doodling infront of the TV. This is especially useful when you're doing finger patterns or alt. picking practices.
  13. nishantsomani

    nishantsomani Guitarist

    The thing on which I’m about to inscribe is yet another way to increase speed, specifically while playing chords and obviously leads too.

    I can categorize the technique of holding the pick in two ways which generally anyone of us does. One is with a closed grip viz. with fingers folded and enclosed inside the palm. And the other is where the fingers are generally being left loose and stretched hanging out. It might look a bit confusing and so I’ll try to post the pictures of the two customs of holding, soon and if possible.

    You'd find the former being suggested worldwide and/or even if you would've gone through articles on how to hold the pick then you must have got the hint by now! But still, many hold the pick with latter pattern just because it feels comfortable to them. No doubts they'll keep continuing to play like that eternally since they feel comfortable. But unfortunately they are doing it at the cost of some speed. Let me try to explain why the latter positioning is at a cost of speed. You won’t be able to play fast numbers on chords or infact leads too with latter mentioned grip!

    Look what happens with the latter technique is that when you hold a pick with help of thumb and index finger then generally there is a tendency to leave the rest of the fingers hanging which without any doubt weakens the speed. There is essentially a scientific reason behind! Actually when you strum a chord, then with the movement of your hands the speed gets reduced caused by friction as the hanging fingers are getting resistances of movement from the air. But with the former technique, when the fingers are folded and enclosed inside the palm then there is no scope for air to hit against the loose & hanging fingers which helps your strumming hand to move quite rapidly with minimal effort and with much better and controlled movement. And that will certainly go on to amplify the speed.

    I would like to add and suggest you all who hold the pick with latter positioning to switch-off to former suggested pattern because it’ll help you achieve better command and control over the movements and speed too! You will undeniably feel in the beginning that you are uncomfortable playing with former technique. But remember that it’s for the long run which will go on to help you immensely when it'll come to speed and power play. And there you’ll find an edge.

    Just a suggestion to them who play with latter technique to change the way of holding the pick to the former!

  14. Luthier

    Luthier New Member

    I'd say do all the above and most of all ....
    It'll save u a lot of scratches and wear.
  15. abhijitnath

    abhijitnath Fighting GAS frantically

    @ Nishantsomani- The technique youve outlined is fine from a purely speed perspective. However it keeps your hand much more tense and rigid and reduces playing dynamics. Secondly, if you do anything besides alt picking, eg Lenny Breau harmonics, fret tapping or hybrid picking, this system is not useful and limits you.
    Furthermore, the parallel/ curved pick thing is not necessarily true..its just a question of getting used to either method. Shawn Lane and Eric Johnson both make a point of the angled technique for better tone, and frankly I've never heard anyone consistently faster than the former.
  16. slash_i_m

    slash_i_m Laid to Rest

    dr saurabh's right angle of the pick makes a hell lot of difference.cutting nails is very important.
    i'm used to keeping my finger nails cut or else i find it really tough to play.very nice advice
  17. nishantsomani

    nishantsomani Guitarist

    Hello @abhijitnath - Though it was nice to see you to come up with few points but I’m really mystified by your kind of your post for the fact it seems you haven't read the probable suggestions properly as indicated. Either you've got grossly confused or it’s something else. I don’t know because you have come up with such things which were never being raised or discussed to its true sense.

    Firstly I would like to know the technique you were talking about which seems to you that it promotes speed but keeps hand much more tense, rigid and reduces playing dynamics. I'm not clear on that. So please specify which technique were you referring to. Moreover I’m being left totally bewildered because how can a person play with speed with hands being tensed and rigid? One simply can’t! One can't play with speed unless his hands and fingers are very relaxed and flexible. So I’m afraid how you came up with that conclusion. It’s simple enough that one can’t play speedily with stressed hands. It’s just next to impossible!

    It’s true that the methods being suggested were restricted to obvious alternate picking. Else I wonder that how can one tap with the help of the pick! The role of a pick doesn't arise only. Tapping and all are different things in itself. System has to limit as the two things have different ways to play.

    Personally I’d entirely contradict your perception when said "the parallel/ curved pick thing is not necessarily true..its just a question of getting used to either method". I would say that it should never be a question of getting used to “either” method BUT of getting used to the “correct” method. I think that is going to sound more rational and realistic. It was being appreciated earlier that the sound which Dr Saurabh was referring to, no doubts produces a hell lot of very different and better soothing tone. But “better tone” and “speed” are two different things. It’s obvious that you didn't take a clear note on earlier posts. But I would again suggest and propagate for the ones who like speed - to stop playing with an inclined angle and switch to an "almost parallel" positioning. I wonder how you missed out on the dynamics over here.

    You mentioned that it’s just a question of getting used to either method, which to me is wrong. Generally speaking and appealing to all, it’s not the question of getting used to "either" method because there are alternatives, but of getting used to "correct" method amongst them. That’s why I had specifically mentioned that often a person seems so comfortable with his own method of playing that he subsequently resists from changing to the correct technique, if there is one. Which should not be done!

    Anyways, good luck to all and cheers!
  18. abhijitnath

    abhijitnath Fighting GAS frantically

    I was primariy referring to the hands cupped into fist thing that you suggested. In my opinion it keeps the hands extremely tense and is not the best way to play for that reason.
    Secondly, in a piece of music that i might be composing or playing, there would be various segments that would require different tenchnique and positions of my right hand. The hands open technique allows these changes to be done faster and is therefore a much more versatile technique. I challenge anyone to play Eric Johnson's Manhattan with a closed fist technique, for example.
    When I mentioned tapping, I was referring to the fact that there might be bits where you need to tap nots with your middle, ring or pinky fingers in the middle of sweep picked passages (eg almost any Tony Macalpine song).(BTW, it is possible to tap with a pick, which you said is impossible. Listen to Satch Boogie).

    Accomplishing this with a closed fist technique is extremely cumbersome. This is why my opinion is that even if you can theoretically play faster with closed fists, this is at the expense of flexibility of playing styles.

    Also, the scientific explanation of air friction given is bunkum. The limiting factor of playing fast is not air friction but the attack of the string.
    In other words, the speed at which the 'click' sound of the pick striking the string becomes longer than the note's fundamental sound is the point at which it is pointless to play any faster, because the notes simply can't be heard (you can hear this on the Chris Impelliteri instructional video). In my opinion, the effect of air friction on guitar players hands is simply not enough to have a large enough impact on speed, even if youre playing 32nd notes at 300 bpm.

    I think your point on 'right' as opposed to 'getting used to' technique is valid, though. However, my contention was that 'right' doesnt necessarily mean 'fastest possiblr'. If a certain way of playing produces better tone, I think that is a valid way to play as well, even if it is detrimental to speed.

    In this context,I refer to the curved pick technique, which does produce a fuller and more fundamental note. Since you claimed that it is not possible to play fast while using an open-fisted, curved-pick technique, I mentioned Shawn Lane, who is in my opinion one of the fastest to ever walk the earth.
    MY point was merely that if he can play that fast using inefficient (in your opinion), although versatile and more toneful (in my opinion) technique, perhaps it is is a more worthwile goal to have than a robotic emphasis on speed alone.

    Edited after alpha1's feedback..hopefully broken up into paras better. Too lazy to rewrite though. (And the MBA teaches you to ramble on and confuse the client so much he agrees with whatever you're saying btw:)!)
  19. alpha1

    alpha1 I BLUES!


    This is a very n0000b level request but guys
    U need to be more clear in what you write.

    that means:

    - using short sentences
    - curtail use of unnecessarily bombastic words
    - breaking your stuff into small paras

    damn! all these things are kiddy level but sadly, ppl on this thread seem to have forgotten 'em

    nishant d00d,
    whatver u wrote might be correct. However, the truth is: I did not have the patience to keep reading and rereading those long complex sentences hidden in the myriad of text (courtesy long paras)

    d00d I expected more lucid style from an IIMA chap ;) ^^^
  20. nishantsomani

    nishantsomani Guitarist

    Lol.... @alpha1, the word bombastic made me laugh for a moment. But ya... from next time onwards i'll try to write lucidly.
    And as regards writing long paras, what i try to do is just to provide a detailed explanation and then make the points to be emphasized in Bold writings.
    But care will be taken.
    Thanks & Cheers!
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