Practicing without instrument

(7 posts)
  1. Gesture

    Hi guys.

    I'm travelling through Asia at the moment. I didn't bring my guitar and I decided to do some musical exercises since my guitar muscle starts to itch badly!
    I realized lately that my visualization on the instrument is lacking. When I improvise, after a while my ear starts to take over and once I get into this state it's hard for me to see on the neck where the scales are. Even though I can hear which notes to play I think it should combined with the visual thing. Some of the exercises i've come up with:

    - making diagrams of different scales and visualizing them in my head;
    - visualizing the degrees of certain scales all over the neck;
    - visualizing triads/chords;
    - Learning all the notenames on the fretboard until effortless (still had some work to do on the upper strings here).


    - Improvising over scales by singing while being conscious of the scale degrees;
    - visualising triads over the neck(open& closed, all inversions) and sing them/hear them in my head;
    - hearing excercises like recognizing chords/intervals and transcribing chords of some tunes;
    - basic music theory.

    I'd like to hear from you guys if you have any other exercises you recommend doing without the instrument.


  2. arewolfe

    Wow. I've never done anything that involved. The visualization thing sounds like a good idea though.

    Sometimes when I had some free time while driving I would use a tuning fork and use it to sing scales or chords.

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  3. miss marple

    one mental exercise I like doing is thinking the changes of a standard tune .Then transposing the song..and doing the same thing again .I like this exercise a lot because it helps me remenbering tunes i didnĀ“t play for a longer time,and its a big help getting better transposing tunes

  4. smoke

    Not really visualization but something I do away from the instrument. I keep a metronome in my car and work on singing or tapping rhythms over odd time signatures while I drive.

    Also, I record my practice sessions and listen to them while away from the instrument. I just use the recorder app on my iphone and hit record during each practice. I'll listen back critically the following day. I do the same with full band practices.

  5. piggyfly0000

    I would transcribe scat solos. So Chet Baker's or Ella Fitz stuff. You can get a lot of simple but great ideas from them. IMO, this helps with phrasing and ear training the most the most. Get band in the box and sing a scat phrase in all 12-keys. There's a great lesson on youtube that has a guy breaking Chet's phrase from It could happen to you.

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  6. TruthHertz

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Flash Videos


  7. Gesture

    Thanks for the replies so far. Very interesting video too!
    Today I practiced visualising triads and their inversions through the circle of fifths over the neck, while calling out the note names. Quite hard but my visual picture of the guitar is really getting clearer.
    I found some other really helpful exercises in another topic about ear training on this forum:

    Exercises (sing everything in the 12 tones, I usually make a random note order; you can sing with the chord in background, just the tonic as a pedal note or internalize the tonic before and sing with no background)

    1 - Scrambled Triads - (135, 315, 513, 153, 351, 531) - These are the six possible combinations for the triads notes, sing for all the triads you know;

    2 - Scrambled Seventh Chords (1357, 1375, 3157, 3175, 1537, 1573, 5137, 5173, 1735, 1753, 7135, 7153, 3517, 3571, 5317, 7153, 3517, 3571, 5371, 5317, 3715, 3751, 7315, 7351, 5713, 5731, 7513, 7531) These are all the possibilities, sing for all the seventh chords you know

    3 - Scrambled scale patterns - basically make a random organization of a scale like 3 5 6 2 4 7 1 and sing for all the scales (for scales like the whole tone or the diminished you must adjust the number of notes). You can make any pattern you want, the idea is to be able to hear all chord tones related to each other.

    4 - 13 Chords. Singing chords by thirds: Major 7h (1 3 5 7 9 #11 13), Dominant 7h (1 3 5 b7 9 #11 13), Minor 7h (1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13), Locrian ( 1 b3 b5 b7 9 11 b13) - you can sing the minor with a major 7h also and the dominant as an altered starting on the # 11 - singing the Db dominant pattern over a G bass. You can sing them in a row ascending and descending and also as triads (135, 357, 579,...) and seventh chords (1357, 3579, 57911, etc...) ascending and descending. The idea is to learn the sound of extensions and to hear them as groups of upper extension triads.

    1) Bebop scales at eight notes up and down from all chord-tones (implies knowing bebop scales theory well)

    2) Target Notes (from up and down and all the usual combinations) to all chord tones (implies knowing targeting notes theory well)

    3) Make a random scale pattern ( 4 2 5 7 3 6 for example). For each note sing it and then descend to the root. Then do the same ascending. (singing in a scalar fashion, by steps)

    4) Make a random chord pattern (11 9 5 7 3 13 for example). For each note sing it and then descend to the root. Then do the same ascending. (singing in a chord fashion, by thirds)

    5) Choose a scale tone. Sing all the other scale tones against it (2 1, 2 3, 2 4, 2 5, 2 6, 2 7) You can also do this random ( 2 6, 2 3, 2 5, 2 7, 2 4, etc...)

    6) Singing all the intervals in a chord / scale. For example in a major scale; minor seconds (34, 78), major seconds (12 23 45 56 67), etc... Do this to all intervals and up and down"

    Very good stuff!



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