Things you learn after quite a few years .. add yours

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Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 10281

I was thinking about a few things I've picked up over the years and although they are small things they make a big difference in my playing. At least in my mind. Now in could be some people just did these things from the start by instinct but I admit mine come mainly from watching and listening to others. 

Anyhow here's a few to get the ball rolling, please add yours so this thread can become a little fountain of knowledge. 

The guitar is never going to be absolutely in tune all over the neck

The best you can do is get it so nothing is really offensive anywhere on the neck. You can sweeten it to the song, slightly flat 3rd for example, make sure the most used chords are sweet tuning wise and use your finger pressure to a certain degree but it's an imperfect instrument and the least offensive is the best anyone can do. 

Don't hit all the strings with the same force. 

This is very important with riffs and when you are playing bass notes, bits of chord and the lead line. It needs to be thought of as a drum kit and therefore 6 separate instruments grouped together. Balance the volume of the strings with your fingers so parts are louder than others when needed or so the strings that are naturally louder are tamed down a bit. Pick some notes closer to the bridge for less force but more brightness. 

Fret as close to the actual fret as possible and pick your harmonics there as well. The intonation of the fretted note will be better and the harmonic will ring out easier.  

So, what you got ?
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Comments

  • trevAtrevA Frets: 32
    Strict metronome practice: find the tempo you can play a section perfectly. Play it 3 times in a row perfectly then increase the metronome by 5 bpm. Try and play 3 times in a row without a mistake at the new tempo. If you are successful then increase the tempo by 5bpm. If you make a mistake you start again at 1. Make 3 mistakes in a row and reduce the tempo by 3bpm. 

    I sat with a grumpy music teacher grinding the same 3 bars of music for about 20minutes doing this. A bit of a slog but effective.

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  • fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 4028
    How you hold the pick and the pick design itself has quite an influence onyour playing ability I find.   I have a few different shapes and it impacts my tone and ability quite a bit especially the way I hold them.  Find what works. 
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 2678
    Squeeze the guitar body with your right arm as opposed to squeezing the strings with your left hand 

    (other dexterities are available)


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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 2678
    1 standard pattern and 2 rules gives you every scale and mode all over the neck
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  • - Don't be afraid to repeat phrases
    - Rhythm/timing is everything
    - But then again so are dynamics (as @Danny1969 alluded to)
    I'm just a Maserati in a world of Kias.
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  • Rhythm playing far more important than lead - guitarists will spend 95% of the time playing rhythm.
    Tone is in the hands - particularly the right (or the picking hand). Many people will look at the fretting hand speed as a measure to how good someone is at playing the guitar whereas for me its the picking hand that controls the pressure on the pick, the dynamic and the rhythm. 
    Less gain is more esp when recording and live.
    If learning scales and soloing always have some form of backing track or harmony to play against otherwise the notes you play hold no value.
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  • vizviz Frets: 10580
    edited January 19
    I've learned that analysing a song's key, it's really REALLY helpful to do things in this order:

    1) What is the tonic - the "home note", that allows you to say "this song is in D". 

    2) What is the tonality - is it in D major or D minor? Defined solely by whether the 3rd is major or minor. 

    3) What is the mode - there are three major modes (lydian, ionian/major, mixolydian) and three minor modes (dorian, aeolian/natural, phrygian)

    4) If it's in a minor key, what is the 5 chord - if it's a major chord (a V), then we could be in Harmonic or Melodic minor. If it's a minor chord (a v), we're more likely to be dorian / aeolian / phrygian. 

    There's a hundred more, but these are the first four. 
    Roland said: Scales are primarily a tool for categorising knowledge, not a rule for what can or cannot be played.
    Supportact said: [my style is] probably more an accumulation of limitations and bad habits than a 'style'.
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 2827
    You have a right hand as well as a left hand.
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • mo6020mo6020 Frets: 248
    Partially serious...
    • If you hit a bum note, just hit it again at the same point in the song next time around.
    • No one will notice if you hit a bum note
    • Sometimes the best notes are the ones you don't play 
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  • Rhythm playing far more important than lead - guitarists will spend 95% of the time playing rhythm.
    Yup, absolutely. Not many people want to dance to a guitar solo.
    My youtube music channel is here My youtube aviation channel is here
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  • swillerswiller Frets: 1002
    wearing slippers while playing increases vintage tone and can turn a HB les paul into a 59 burst with zero spend on pup swaps.
    Dont worry, be silly.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 26444
    Rhythm playing far more important than lead - guitarists will spend 95% of the time playing rhythm.
    Tone is in the hands - particularly the right (or the picking hand). Many people will look at the fretting hand speed as a measure to how good someone is at playing the guitar whereas for me its the picking hand that controls the pressure on the pick, the dynamic and the rhythm. 
    Less gain is more esp when recording and live.
    If learning scales and soloing always have some form of backing track or harmony to play against otherwise the notes you play hold no value.
    Hugely this. 

    I'm neither a rhythm nor lead player because what I'm doing 95% of the time is somewhere in the middle. I'm playing partial chords, triads, motifs, etc but it's not solos like most folks would expect if you say "lead guitar". I barely ever play all 6 strings at once, even a big chord in the rock & roll ending of a song is usually only 4 or 5 at most. 

    And after 23 years at it I'm a firm believer that it's the right hand that separates good players from really great ones - timing and nuances of attack AND MUTING (admittedly muting is both hands)


    The Assumptions - UAE party band for all your rock & soul desires
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  • Rhythm playing far more important than lead - guitarists will spend 95% of the time playing rhythm.
    Yup, absolutely. Not many people want to dance to a guitar solo.
    As a guitar teacher the most common highlighted area on marksheets I see who do graded exams is the rhythm playing section - tempo changes, stops/pauses and lack of musical flow. Confusion between 3 and 4/4, and loss of timing.

    For those not doing grades its the lack of musical pulse they can initially struggle with. A solid 4/4 beat and keeping an even consistent strum pattern. Alot of heavy handed strumming with unwanted bass notes etc.
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  • topdog91topdog91 Frets: 260
    edited January 19
    I will point out in response to the above, that solos also have a rhythm in the truest sense. There was a great Paul Gilbert video on the topic a long time ago.

    Anyway mine would be, learn (by ear) the great solos that you love, don't worry about turning into a clone, you'll always sound like yourself, it's just an lazy excuse. What actually happens is that you learn what's behind the things you love and then you will use that when you come to express yourself. None of us play music in a bubble.

    Oh, and practice regularly and intentionally.
    Brian Moore MC1 / i9.13p, Chapman ML-2 / ML-3, Fender 1977 Strat Hardtail / Richie Kotzen Telecaster, Peavey Predator / T-60, PRS SE Akerfeldt / Akesson , Squier Classic Vibe 60s Strat, FSR Custom Tele x2, Simon & Patrick Folk Cedar
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 26444
    edited January 19
    And coincidentally following on the rhythm thing, Eric Haugen literally just put this up and it's great advice at a lower level than the Wong & Bukovac stuff that I also agree wholeheartedly with but is less attainable when you're starting out

    Aso he loves the Strymon Deco because he is a very sensible man 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo70TeO6B9E
    The Assumptions - UAE party band for all your rock & soul desires
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 9330
    And coincidentally following on the rhythm thing, Eric Haugen literally just put this up and it's great advice at a lower level than the Wong & Bukovac stuff that I also agree wholeheartedly with but is less attainable when you're starting out

    Aso he loves the Strymon Deco because he is a very sensible man 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo70TeO6B9E
    First time ive seen this guy - thanks for that !
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 26444
    And coincidentally following on the rhythm thing, Eric Haugen literally just put this up and it's great advice at a lower level than the Wong & Bukovac stuff that I also agree wholeheartedly with but is less attainable when you're starting out

    Aso he loves the Strymon Deco because he is a very sensible man 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo70TeO6B9E
    First time ive seen this guy - thanks for that !
    He's consistently fab, and his pedal steel intro vid keeps making me think about buying one. 

    Also a huge fan of Carr amps, so you know he has good taste. 
    The Assumptions - UAE party band for all your rock & soul desires
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  • MaxA867MaxA867 Frets: 45
    Get a really good grounding in funk guitar. listen and learn as many parts as you can from a classic funk/disco function band repertoire. Go deep into the 16th note timing grid and train your right hand accordingly, appreciate space, learn to push and pull on the beat, where to accent and where not to, get comfortable playing the same pattern for 5 minutes straight without wandering off into noodletown. 

    Even if it’s not necessarily your thing your rock/blues/Indie playing will benefit immeasurably.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 8480
    It’s not the notes you play, but how and when they start and end.

    Modes and scales are for categorising knowledge, not rules for what you can or can’t play.

    What’s true for one player isn’t necessarily true for you.

    Cut your nails.

    “You’re doing it wrong” and “Something you absolutely must know” both mean “This video will be a waste of your time”.
    Tree recycler, and guitarist with  https://www.undercoversband.com/.
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  • distresseddistressed Frets: 501
    Tone is in the hands - particularly the right (or the picking hand). Many people will look at the fretting hand speed as a measure to how good someone is at playing the guitar whereas for me its the picking hand that controls the pressure on the pick, the dynamic and the rhythm.
    +1

    Along with pick angle and part which interacts with strings. Huge part of sound. Also, all the dynamics and loud/quiet stuff is best achieved with your right hand picking. Dynamics is everything.

    Volume and tone pots are there for a reason.

    Playing with a click does wonders to your timing and stamina.

    Trem/vibrato is one of the best guitar effects, plus controlled purely manual.

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