(11 posts)
  1. Matt

    Often times, I hear people talk of practice related to achieving your goals. However, i (along with probably multitudes of musicians), while taking in the advice, never really define our goals and work on them, and we end up not getting anywhere and become frustrated. Thus, we are in the same rut after months of practicing.

    In this post, i hope to change this. for anyone.

    So, post your 'goals' (if you have any!), why you choose them, and how you plan to work on them.

    They can be as specific/broad, structured/visceral as you want.
    here's my list-

    -Play phrases over barline/chord changes
    + this is what makes a good soloist. When i listen to any of my favorite improvisers, they almost always have impeccable phrasing. I hope to work on this by focusing on using any scales to get through chords, and, as i learn, use more outside ways.

    -using chord [voicings] as basis for lines in solos
    +i notice that a strength of mine (to me) is that i have a handful of good chord voicings i could use. ben monder really influences me to pursue this. again, the only way i can think of tackling this is to focus on using them, and learn more voicings. of course, listening, too!

    -develop arpeggios as basis for lines (not just root arpeggios)
    +i know my 'basic' arpeggios, and hear them used a lot (ie Kurt Rosenwinkel) in a very pleasing fashion. I figure i'll experiment with diatonic arpeggios through chords, and transcriptions of soloists that use this idea.

    -learn more songs - standards, transcriptions
    +this is just a way for me to apply what i want to work on in a real setting. also, solos will give me ideas for more practice goals.

    That's my list. After doing this, i have noticed that, while i almost always work on a technical aspect during my practice, technique doesn't even make the list of goals. no where do i feel i want to be able to play 900 notes a second at this point, because i couldn't do it musically.

    Anyway, i hope this gets everyone thinking.
    Also, there's tons of other good info in the other posts concerning practice on this site.

  2. Quintricacy

    One of my goals at the moment is to work on playing "outside" the changes. The 2 things I'm trying out at the moment is the use of 4th intervals which is a device Woody Shaw used a lot and the second one is using enclosure of a key centre i.e if you have a 2-5-1 in F major, on the five chord you play in F# and E before resolving your line in F major. So one key centre above and one below. I also need to work on voicings and comping but I find this quite difficult as I learn the shape of a voicing but find it very hard to apply it in real time. Any suggestions for that?

  3. Sandemose

    Quintricacy: man, we seem to work on the same stuff at the moment. The F# and E movement to resolve into F sounds cool, Im gonna check it out. About playing 4th I work with two shapes/structures. One contains four notes on the D-E strings. I practice this diatonically, ascending and decending in F major:

    I use a quite unorthodox fingering, always using one finger per note and no barring and no sliding (I can write it out sometime if anyone is intrested).


    I also do this 4th excercise, with three notes but over six strings. Im working on a fingering solution on this one, not complete yet. But I like the sound of it. Also in F major.


    I have transcribed some piano players and discovered that second-fourth structures is very common. It is quite hard to apply on guitar though, but sounds awesome...

    About comping with new voicings, I also have the same problem applying it in real time. I therefor started making it more simple. I used to play to big chords (5 notes) but now only use three or sometimes two notes, mostly on D-G-B strings. I try to stay with as few voicings that I can, mostly basic triads in major and minor. II-V-I in (Gm, C7, F) F major:

    B--3------- -----2------ -----1------
    G--3------- -----3------ -----2------
    D--3------- -----4------ -----3------

    I try not to make it more complicated than this, using chord tones and simple triads. You could also use triad pairs? Like Bbmajor and Cmajor triad on Gminor7, F#major and Amajor over C7, Fmajor and perhaps Gmajor (for a lydian sound), or Fmajor and Amajor for a #5 sound). I think that fluiency/flow is more important than rediculous crazy stretch voicings. At least at the level Im at now...

    best, Sandemose

  4. Matt

    if the voicings are difficult to execute (ie stretch chords), i write my own progressions and practice them slowly. This will get them under your fingers and then easier to use.

    Fourth intervals are something I've experimented with as well. I'm not at the level of playing that outside, but they create many great sounds.

  5. david6strings

    im working on transcribing things to catch the idiom paying atention on the problems of technique i find.
    working on comping by now with the barry galbraith studies do you know another great book in this style or self comping topic? i wanna find another
    i think i finally switch into the jimmy bruno's picking tech
    general technique routines over diatonic harmony

  6. arewolfe

    My goals:

    1. To strengthen my rhythmic feel. This is a right hand issue. I hate listening back to a recording and hearing the notes of my line not match up with the feel (swing, triplets, straight 8ths, super slow funk grooves, etc).

    2. To strengthen and deepen my internal sense of 5/4.

    3. Develop my right hand comping abilities.

  7. silverwater

    My goals is to be a good listener.

    Not only on the bandstand and with regards to ear training, but to always be checking new music for things I like. The hope is that I'll find new sounds that I can use as a way to express my self. These I'll (hopefully) internalize and then come through in my music and playing, sometimes more subconsciously than consciously.

    I'm sure everyone here knows what I'm talking about (with regards to the conscious moments): It's those moments when we hear something and we think "damn, that shit really speaks to me, and I wish I could do it too." Which is why we probably all picked up the guitar in the first place ;-)

    Also, I've recently noticed how eclectic my original compositions are because of this, without even consciously setting out to have them be so (one of the benefits of living in an digital age when all the music of the world can be at your fingertips). For example, I started to write a tune centered around some sort hooky 4/4 pentatonic melody the other day, and what I ended up with was a tune with an African sounding melody, centering around a 7 measure groove consisting of 2 bars of 4/4, 4 bars of 3/4, and a bar of 2/4, with a displaced feeling chromatic lick at the end.

    It's interesting to me because I don't even particularly like to listen to much traditional African music, but somewhere along the lines I heard some part of some song and it resonated with me (so this would be one of those examples of the unconscious internalization).

  8. silverwater

    Since most others on this thread are talking about more nuts & bolts types of goals, I'll share what I have posted to my wall as things that I want to hit on every day:

    1. Sight reading

    2. Ear training (transcribe, using ear training software, or sight singing)

    3. Arpeggios

    4. Comping chords for a soloist

    5. Duet-style comping (walking bass with chords)

    6. Key workout (some kind of exercise that has me moving through multiple keys/scales)

    I don't even write practicing soloing on changes up there, because I'll do that either way :-)

  9. Sandemose

    Hi, my name is Michael, and I have a problem with jazz guitar addiction.

    1. My main goal is to get a more founded internal time feel that is indipendent from what is happening around me. This means that if I play with somebody and is given the responsibility to keep time (like a bass player) and that person have a strong time feel, then he or she, cant really rely on me as supportive in the general time keeping. I call this "the guitar store non time keeping guitarist syndrome".

    Hi, my name is Michael and Im trying to get rid of "the guitar store non time keeping guitarist syndrome".

  10. Matt

    I think i want to put technique on goals now. The more i play, the more i realize how bad i sound in terms of technique.

    We all have a long way to go, and always will.

  11. InWalked

    I've been playing 8-string for almost 8 years now mostly solo but one goal is to put a band together or at least work with a drummer. My time is my main weakness so a good drummer will knock me around. My rhythmic counterpoint and walking bass/chord comping/soloing is suffice but my bass lines need to improve especially when chord changes are more than 2 bars. I can walk on a modal tune but I want to avoid any auto pilot tendencies. Lastly be more comfortable with up tempo tunes.


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