Today I started thinking about playing and a new approach to my practice. It is my goal to assign Sundays for continuous assessment and goal setting. Since I didn’t set any goals last Sunday, it being the festive season and all that; this first assessment will concentrate on explaining the routine and how I intend to apply it. Then I’ll lay out my actual practice schedule, should any of you want to follow along.
I’m going to be following my own practice routine, one hour per day after breakfast; but it’s going to be based around a bunch of books, and the excellent free tutorial site provided by Justin Sandercoe.
The books I’ll be using are: Chord Tone Soloing and Guitar Fretboard Workbook by Barrett Tagliarino (CTS & GFW ), Creative Guitar 2 by Guthrie Govan (CG2), and Guitar Secrets by Joe Satriani (GS). If you are intending to follow along, you might want to get a copy of these (I got a couple of them for my Birthday, thank you Alice – oh the power of Amazon Wishlists!). If you decide to get your own copies (which will be essential to follow along, as I’m not about breach copyright by posting them wholesale here), you should order them through the Amazon links on Justin’s website so that he’ll get a small kickback which will enable him to keep on posting.
Note that although as I stated in a previous post, I’m by no means a competent guitarist, I have got quite a bit of stuff under my belt already and although my skills are what you might call patchy, I’m not starting at ground zero here. If you want to follow along and you don’t know what an A chord or a major scale is, you’d probably be advised to work through Justin’s beginner’s course first. I won’t be covering basic chords and stuff, although I may well be incorporating some bits from that series too as revision for myself.
Each week I’ll be recording myself playing the exercises that I set on the previous Sunday and maybe even posting them here, those that don’t pass muster to my own ears will get carried over into the next weeks regime; those that I deem acceptable, or I’m just plain sick of, will be replaced by newer exercises (or old exercises for revision). The amount of success each week will determine the size of donation I will be providing to Justin! (your own conscience will dictate the size of any donation you’d like to make).
So the main feature of this regime, as recommended by both Barrett and Justin, is small bite size but intense sessions of 5 minutes each focussing on specific activities, interspersed by two minute rests over the course of about an hour. Barrett is quite insistent on this in fact, recommending using an egg timer to ensure you don’t run over; he gives a lot of justification in the intro to the chord tone book on why this discipline will keep you motivated, which I won’t repeat here but you can check it out for yourselves when you get the books. I think it sounds like excellent advice, and I have already co-opted our kitchen timer to try it out. The other essential piece of kit is a metronome. I have one built into my Korg Pandora unit but I may get a simple battery powered one as well, as some of the exercises involve working to a flashing light rather than a click track.
So, here is the first week’s study sheet.
Finger Gym 2 mins
Spider 2 mins
A minor pentatonic Scale (60bpm) – CTS p9, 2 mins
Harmonized C Major Scale – GS p7, 2mins
break – hand stretch 2 mins
5 root shapes exercise in G GFW – p8 5 mins
5 root shapes exercise in A 5 mins
break – breathing 2 mins
Alternate picking 1; 40 bpm CG2 example 1.2 5 mins
Alternate picking 2; 40 bpm CG2 example 1.3 5 mins
Alternate picking 1; 80 bpm 5 mins
Alternate picking 2; 80 bpm 5 mins
break – shoulder stretch 2 mins
Solo notes over A and D CTS p7 ex1 5 mins
Lead in’s to roots CTS p7 ex2 5 mins
break – breathing 2 mins
needle and the damage done 5 mins
So that’s the plan, see you next week for the first assessment.
As a postscript, I haven’t done any more work on the Ghettocaster after my resounding success with the chisel yesterday; but I did spend half an hour designing a headstock logo. Not sure if I’ll actually use it, but I thought you might like to see it anyway.