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New video - 7 tips for mastering difficult guitar solos!

anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
Hi friends,

I've posted a new video talking about some strategies that have helped me learn these very challenging solos I've been learning and video-ing. Enjoy if you're interested!

Hugh HuffakerBucoNonerichter4208
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Comments

  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 524
    Awesome tips!
    ConorF
  • Posts: 4,777
    Great video!
    I like every tip except #6.
    Your tip is a good tip but don't run away from mastering a piece of music playing at and even slower than 50%.
    As you noticed it's very easy to play slow, opposite to most people think.
    I've been advocate of slow practice including here on the forum for a while.
    It's been reaffirmed to me many times over about the benefits of slow practice, including this year's Django in june. One of the guys attending this year, works and plays on Broadway musicals. We talked about musicians who play there and how flubbing a note is simply not an option for them.
    He told me one of the biggest reasons why people who play in these musicals are as good as they are is they practice slow. He recounted an episode when he was listening an upright bassist play a passage with a bow, that in performance lasts less than a minute for close to 9 minutes, in time mind you.

    Although, like I mentioned in the other thread, your work during the past year is a great proof of how beneficial learning solos note for note is.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 524
    Regarding the note flubbing, when you are learning from a literal master guitarist to think that you're going to be able to play everything he plays is just not possible. When I joined the Rosenberg Academy I ran into many such licks which I've been practicing for over a year and still have not mastered. There seems to be one in every song as Anthony says. I don't disagree with the above comment, but just a caveat to say some of these things will take a year or more to ever execute properly
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 561
    Buco wrote: »
    Great video!
    I like every tip except #6.
    Your tip is a good tip but don't run away from mastering a piece of music playing at and even slower than 50%.
    So we're on the same page, you're talking about the tip of downloading the videos audio in order to get it up to speed yes ?
    So I'm curious - Do you feel like I was saying not to practice solos slowly ? If so, I apologize, as it was certainly not the intent of that tip. Tip #6, which I admit is one I wish I could redo, as I left some important points out, is about getting the timing of the solo up to speed without having to play along with the video. What I found was that when I would try to play the solo along with a backing track that didn't include the player playing the actual solo as well, I couldn't get the timing well since I only practiced it with the music at 50% speed since it was always with the actual video of the solo. I needed to practice it along with the solo at incrementally faster speeds to really get the feel for the timing.
    This wasn't really as much about mastering the phrases themselves, but rather about being able to play the solo to the music without the crutch of the original solo playing as well.

    For the record, I'm a very big advocate for learning things slowly, so much so that I take it for granted. Perhaps that should have been a tip.

    Anthony
  • Posts: 4,777
    I didn't think you were saying not to practice slowly.
    I use ASD so I'll probably use your tip myself to rip the audio from YT videos.

    Rather I just thought to point out what is I think not being said enough, (in my belief, which was confirmed by several people I talked to who are all music pros in one shape or another) the benefits of slow practice and how most people skip over it either thinking it's "too easy" or not seeing what good can come out of it.
    As you said and I found out myself, the timing is very tricky to get right when you get down to 50% or slower.
    Especially when you go to 25%, the head melodies you think you can play in your sleep, become a bitch to get through at that speed.
    One rule of thumb I learned; if it's hard to do, there's gotta be a benefit to it.
    Or as Koran Agan said at this years DiJ, "welcome the headache".

    As to @richter4208 it of course depends on your relative starting point but that sounds about right that for an average amateur guitarist, it can easily take a year to master a difficult passage played by a master player at the highest level.
    But the beauty of of it is that once you do, as long as you stick to it, the next year another difficult passage will take less.

    I think we can look at Anthony's videos and my feeling is that he has been cranking them out at a much higher frequency lately than when he started his series of videos. It's telling and very inspirational.
    richter4208
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Buco wrote: »
    Great video!
    ... One of the guys attending this year, works and plays on Broadway musicals. We talked about musicians who play there and how flubbing a note is simply not an option for them.
    He told me one of the biggest reasons why people who play in these musicals are as good as they are is they practice slow. He recounted an episode when he was listening an upright bassist play a passage with a bow, that in performance lasts less than a minute for close to 9 minutes, in time mind you.
    I was in that class. That stuck with me.
    Buco
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH6, AJL Silent Guitar
    Posts: 341
    If you've got a recent version of Band-in-a-Box and are willing to shell out $95, Django-in-a-Box is a great program because it has almost every single Django tune with solo notation, tab, and the actual wave file playable through BiaB.

    Barring that, I'm a big fan of Anthony's approach to learning solos. I especially like using AudioStretch and the MP3 file to isolate and loop sections of the solo. AudioStretch does a fantastic job of slowing down and looping sound without distorting the material.

    That said, while I agree with Buco's observation about slow practice , I have to admit to the addiction of moving to playing the solo at as close to speed as I can. There's just something about playing the piece at its original or close to original speed that is so enthralling that it can sometimes work against me because I will incorporate bad technique, which I have to unlearn by going back and practice or relearn the "flubbed" area slowly again.

    And then there is the idea of maintenance. It's one thing to learn the solo; it's another thing to maintain that solo in somewhat playable form. I think, for example, many of us play "I'll See You in my Dreams" pretty much intact the way Django did. I find, however, that I need to play it on a regular basis to keep it fresh. Fortunately, it's such a beautiful solo that it's easy to want to play on a regular basis. What's more difficult is trying to maintain a real barn burner solo like the one for "Dark Eyes."

    Finally, there is the issue that many of us who study this music do it pretty much on our own. Fortunately there are technological advances that allow us to create accompaniment to play along with. I'm fortunate to have found at least one person who's interested in the music when not concentrating on classical studies. Many of us don't even have that. Entering my fourth year of study in this style, I have at least six full solos under my belt and many other partial solos in addition to the ability to find my way somewhat comfortably through a number of classic tunes.

    Anthony's tips are well thought out. I've gotten a lot out of his book and videos, and I look forward to more from him. He's done a great job breaking down difficult concepts into manageable and understandable ideas. Thanks Anthony.
    anthon_74Buco
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH6, AJL Silent Guitar
    Posts: 341
    Forgot to mention, if you want to learn an interesting, fun, and not too hard solo, check out Stephane Wrembel's "Bistro Fada" from the Woody Allen movie. It's constructed over the exact same chords for "Indifference," but it's a much easier piece to learn. There are a couple of videos you can pick it up from, and there's even someone who's done an instructional video.
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 561
    Anthony's tips are well thought out. I've gotten a lot out of his book and videos, and I look forward to more from him. He's done a great job breaking down difficult concepts into manageable and understandable ideas. Thanks Anthony.

    Thanks a lot man !
  • AmpsmasherAmpsmasher Oakland, California✭✭✭ Christelle Caillot
    Posts: 51
    I just wanted to chime in some of my own advice about learning difficult passages, or even solos. Before even approaching to play the solo, you need to be able to sing it. This will save you a lot of time. So pop in some headphones, go for a walk, with the song on repeat, or whatever you do. Another thing that is VERY important, is to work on the same piece every day. Don't over do it either, 15 minutes on one lick is almost too much try 5-10. You'll be surprised how much progress you'll make in a couple weeks.

    Hope this helps.

    -Jimmy Grant

    BucoJim Kaznosky
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