Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #34377  by GD_Loser
 Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:22 pm
Hey everyone. I've been playing guitar for probably a year and a half now, and I'd really like to get better. I love to play what I can and am willing to put plenty of time into it, but I don't know what to do to get better. I've done plenty of finger exercises, and learned some scales and chords. I'm a good sax player and have always had a great musical ear. I know I can become a great guitar player, I just need to know what I need to do to get there. I'm 17, and really LOVE music, especially the Dead btw. If you all could point me in the right direction, and show some guidance I'd really appreciate it. Thanks and peace.

 #34389  by IamDocWatson
 Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:18 am
work on your pickin hand....the key to good pickin is clean pikin...get your alternate picking down, and along with your strumming, so your up strokes have as much volume and are as clean as the down...i was playing with some one a few days ago who has been playing for a long time and knows alot but his upstrokes were sloppy he really had no control over them he muted strings while he was strumming and his pick attack up his upward strums was weird so though he could do alot with his left hand his right hand wasnt complementing it with clean accurate i think it gets overlooked and you should focus on it for a while...use as little motion as possible keep your wrist loose and practice like the devil

 #34397  by causebass
 Sun Jan 06, 2008 9:41 am
i believe that you get better by doing two things
(1) get lessons, a good teacher will get you farther pointing out small important techniques that can be quickly improved that will really help
(2) jam...with friends, CD's, by yourself..take time to take chances..give yourself time to find cool stuff to play through improv...and be very comfortable making dreadful will live through the clams(as my band calls them)...and have fun

 #34408  by China Cat
 Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:54 pm
lessons oculd be good, but the downside of lessons is that you are influence heavily by whoever gives them, and this can compromise you developing into your own self as a guitarist. i remembe rin searching for the sound phil was talking about jerry teaching bobby and he said something to the extent of jerry would show him as little as needed so that bobby could develop his own take on it and his own style.

and alternative to lessons could be buying a book and teaching yourself with it. you can also find new scales, chords, progressions, and theory online and teach yourself from it.

ive been playin for about 4 years, and everyone i play with tells me that im good. all ive ever really done when learning a new thing is to find whatever i want to learn, briefly review it, and then use it in a jam. nothing is better for your playing than jamming IMO. it helps you find applications for everything you are learning and develops your musical ear.

as far as what you should learn now, it never helps to learn more scales and chords. the more you know the more diverse and exciting your playing will be. have you learned the modes of the scales you know? if you haven't, thatd be a good thing to start on.

 #34409  by China Cat
 Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:58 pm
jamming is good for finger speed too, since the more you play the stronger/more coordinated your hands become, and with that your speed develops. if you push yourself every time you jam, both technically and musically, you will improve quickly without a doubt

 #34435  by Tennessee Jedi
 Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:23 am
GD Loser
Good luck on your voyage!
Get lessons.
I've never figured this one out-the people that have it in for getting lessons.
Sorry -its flat out wrong.
Having a solid foundation is way better then spending years doing stuff wrong or not understanding what you are trying to do.Trust me on that Bro.
While you are young.Ya got the rest of your life to jam.
Having someone who can figure out where your strong and weak points are is invaluable.So you can develop your ear.Then you will be able to play what you want easier.
Use their experience to your benefit.
As a sax guy I bet you have had plenty of instruction.Can probably read.Go for the lessons.
Lessons can open up whole new worlds of music.
Then jam with people.
You might be able to learn how to play guitar in your bedroom,but learning how to to be a musician can only be done jamming with people who are better than you.
And dont put the sax down for good!!!!!!
The world is full of guitar players.
Sax is cool.
Keep rockin'
:cool: :cool: :cool:

 #34439  by strumminsix
 Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:35 am
Maybe I can help with the lessons thing...

For as overbloated as this world is for guitar players it is equally as overbloated with guitar teachers. To many, teaching guitar is $$$ to supplement their desire to play but in reality they cannot adapt to students needs because they are practitioners and not teachers.

A good guitar teacher is few and far between. A good guitar teacher can start by teaching you what to play then find a way to help you understand why you play certain things. They will adapt their presentation and instruction to you.

Have you met any of these teachers? I've only met 1.

 #34445  by Tennessee Jedi
 Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:37 am
Its not that hard to find a decent teacher.Unless you live in the sticks,I guess.
Just ask around.Live near any Music schools?Colleges?
I found a guy that was taking lessons himself from Jimmy Bruno,the be-bop guy.And yes he wasnt cheap.
If the guy doesnt have a degree in music,then skip him.
I doubt theres only one good guitar teacher in Chicago.
But hey I dont live in Chicago.
I live outside of Philly, so it wasnt that hard really.
I had alot of trouble with hand positions;moving between scales;hearing changes.He wanted me to learn to read,but i was too lazy.My bad.
The guy helped me get to my next level.
I still work on his lessons to this day.
Any other instrument,you take lessons.Piano Sax drums.
Unless you are a "wing it" guy.
Why guitarists think they dont need any help is beyond me.
Whatever works for ya,I guess.


 #34490  by krzykat
 Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:05 pm
I want to start lessons, but nothing else helps like jamminn with friends. You get to see the fingerings that a more experienced player uses and you build your chops

 #34505  by I'm on the Bozo Bus
 Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:41 am
I don't know the answer however I have never taken lessons and have been playing for a really long time.... I'm in my mid-40's now, and dad gave me a guitar when I was around 8. I bought a pitch pipe (If anyone remember's those...) for a buck and a half. I finally found someone to help me understand the tuning.
I learned chords from Buck Owens and Roy Clark. Then my ear developed and I could "hear" a Gmaj chord. That was a long time coming.....

I have three boys, two guitarist and a bassist. Although I "Think" I know a lot, and I "Think" I could get them by... I have taken them to instructors to at a minimum get the basics, theory, positioning, etc... We have cut back on the lessons from twice a week to once a week and they are venturing out on their own now. My bassist (The oldest - 15) is into Les Claypool, Primus, Bucket 'o Brains (I think), Jaco, Stanley Clark and I finally got him really listen to Phil instead of hearing Phil (That effort got him a new 5 - string Jazz bass - Bribery does work on occasion...). He has progressed greatly. I don't know if it is because he has heard me playing from the time he was born, or if it was the foundation of the basics.
I apologize for the early morning, over-caffinated blathering....
My two cents.

 #34508  by Tennessee Jedi
 Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:55 am
I like the sounds of your homegrown Partridge Family,Bozo! :cool:
Do your kids like jamming with ya?
Sounds like they like the good music!
Stanley Clark wails!
Does yer kid sound like him?
My thing on lessons is that with a good teacher the sky is the limit.
Its not the only way by far.
Is it me or are guitarists some over cocky cats or what?
All spring and summer I was trying to get something going and it was all ----> :? .
I had ads everywhere.
One guy said he played like Bob and when we got together it was all open chords and barely that even.
I finally got lucky and found FretfulDave ,here,but it was after many letdowns.
Guitar players think they know it all.
6 months of lessons is a good investment in something you love and are gonna do the rest of your life.
Anyway thats MY over-caffeinated rant of the day.
You should post some of your family jams Phil!
Peace and love to all :cool:

 #34514  by I'm on the Bozo Bus
 Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:57 am
Thanks TN Jedi,
My young padowans (SP) have an understanding which is not all bad. I will teach them tunes they want to learn, as long as they learn some songs I want them to learn. The 11 year-old and I do a mean "Cold Rain and Snow".
My oldest, the bass player, is really testing my ear by asking me to learn "Buckethead", I can't say I enjoy the music, but it is interesting... for a while. I do draw the line on "Cookie monster" vocals, I try to be open but I fail to see the artistry in that... but not everyone enjoyed Picasso....

As far as the Jam on "Tape", I'll do that. I typically record a 37 hour (Just kidding, they're not quite that long) rhythm tracks and I noodle around it.

Stay tuned, The Phil Family Band may be the new Hanson girls...... They were girls weren't they????

Peace All,

 #34520  by XxRouninxX
 Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:56 am
i've been playing 7 years, never had a lesson, and I'm happy about where I am.

Looking back, i would be much farther now had i had a teacher than i am, but at the same teachers can hold you back unless they are a good teacher, like strummin said.

frankly, if you have experience with sax, you can probably go without the lessons.

There are enough resources on the web, and good books for you to learn what you need.

Here some reccomendations:

*Fretboard Logic SE (Volume 1 and 2 combined)

*Fretboard Logic III (get after you know 90% of stuff in SE volume)

*Chord Chemistry

*Get a good music theory textbook, with worksheets and stuff, and do it like your in school (or take a class) Work through basic and advanced music theory, then get into jazz comp, harmony, counterpoint and composition.

*Learn Every note on the fretboard (BT Absolute Fretboard trainer for a good program for that)

*make flashcards as you go, you gotta learn alot of stuff: all your intervals chords, scales, arpeggios, triads, inversions, modes, chord progressions, etc etc.. and you should learn how to to recognize these written in tab and sheet music, as well as knowing multiple ways to play each one on the guitar in multiple positions

*Do some ear training, search google or bt and find yourself some good ear training software (i use auralia, but the cheap shareware versions are pretty good too). Start by learning how to regognize open strings, which string a note is played on, then learn how to recognize chord types, intervals, and scale eypes by ear.

*Develop a good practice routine.. do it daily, thorougly and methodically, if you can.

*Do yoga, stretching and/or meditation in order to let the creative juices flow, and minimize stress and tension in your body.

*EXPERIMENT.. theres a TON of theory and forms and all this and that, but sometimes you just gotta look at the guitar like you dont know anything and just start playin stuff that siounds fun.. try new things, and dont stick to convention (just learn it)

*learn COMPLETE songs beginning to end, then dissect then to see if you can understand whats going on in them

okay theres some ideas to start with (or too many) dont get overwhelmed, just have fun.. ultimately the key is to practice, frequent proper practicew ill usually keep you out of a rut, and help move you along quickly.

most guitar/music books suck.. the few that i've listed, and maybe a handful of otehrs are good, but overall guitar books suck, as do alot of teachers.. but if you can get the right books, and a good teacher, do it.

ill post some good links later for ya, but i gotta get back to work

 #34557  by GD_Loser
 Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:08 pm
Thanks for the responses guys. Keep them coming. All the info I get can be helpful.