Archive for January, 2010

Initial Practice Routine Attempt

Posted: January 25, 2010 in music
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I said I need to start up a practice routine, so here is my attempt.  I’m planning for an hour a day…sometimes I’ll get more sometimes less, but I’m thinking it’s a good baseline.

Warm-up – 15 minutes:

  • 5 minutes – main CAGED pattern scale in C up and down the fretboard (my pick up the guitar “riff”).  Might add in pentatonics in all patterns as well.  Just want it to be a muscle memory thing.
  • 5 minutes – simple stuff like chromatics or something from Petrucci’s Rock Discipline warmups.
  • 5 minutes – go through a song I’m working on playing…nothing too hard, just to do something more musical

Theory – 15 minutes:

  • 5 minutes – Pick a key (maybe spend a week on one) and go through the CAGED pattern naming all the notes and modes as I go.
  • 5 minutes – in the key above go through the chords naming and number. This is definitely the weakest part of my game, it’s time to know this.
  • 5 minutes – in the key above go through some common chord progressions so I can hear what they sound like.  Then try random progressions, maybe I’ll write down chord numbers to go through.

Technique – 15 minutes

I’m thinking I’ll focus on a technique each day and do 3 exercises pertaining to that technique.  For the moment I think I’ll rotate between the following: alternate picking, arpreggios (not sure if this is really a technique, but oh well), legato picking, sweep picking, and all techniques combined.  I think it might make sense to do the exercises in the same key, but we’ll see how that goes.

  • 5 minutes – exercise 1
  • 5 minutes – exercise 2
  • 5 minutes – exercise 3

Transcribing – 15 minutes

  • 15 minutes – work on the current song/riff transcribing in Guitar Pro.  I’ll be starting with John Denver’s “Take me home country road” so I can work it into a recording.

If I end up having more time, I’ll look to focus on either my own material or more play alongs.  That way I will hopefully be totally focused for the hour and then be able to start to incorporate those things learned into my playing.

So lastly, a practice log…I’ll start logging what I did above and any speeds.  Realistically, that will probably be mostly in the technique section though the progression wouldn’t hurt either.

I’ve compiled this from some great resources on the net, though I’m sure I’m not doing them justice, so check them out yourself: mainly Tom Hess, Dave Weiner (ROTW), and lately Justin Sandercoe.


Music Goals for 2010

Posted: January 19, 2010 in music

Sigh, I’ve done tons of reading on lots of different sites regarding learning the guitar…there apparently isn’t a magic pill to take.  So that means I’ll have to get better the old fashioned way by practicing, but practicing the stuff that will allow me to create and play the music I want.  So that means setting some goals and this seems to be the perfect place to document them.  Now I know I’m supposed to have an overarching goal about what I want to do with my guitar playing, but I don’t have a clear answer for that yet.  It’s supposed to be something like “replace John Petrucci in Dream Theater”, but at this point in my life that isn’t realistic or even desirable.  So I’ll start with “be able to create and play music I like”.  How’s that for generic!

With that said I have some specific goals that if nothing else force me to accomplish something even if the end product isn’t mind blowing.  So in no particular order:

  • Record 3 songs: 2 originals I have half baked and 1 cover, John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads”. (hey, it was one of my dad’s favorites)
  • Create a practice routine:  theory (notes, chords, progressions), technique (alternate picking, arpeggios, sweep), play along (songs, licks), and transcribing.
  • See if there is someone in the same place musically (1-2 years keys, guitar, bass and is into Dream Theater,  Satch, Porcupine Tree type stuff ) to jam with.  Can be in person or remotely (maybe google wave / pro-tools)

So there we go, the gantlet has been laid out.  I think they are all complimentary and force me to take some measurable steps.