I’ve really been digging on Jay Leonard J’s YouTube channel.
He’s a great player, and this one in particular resonated with me:
In it, he touches on these six ideas:
1. Play With The Recording
- We tend to play super fast for the easier bits, but then slow down for the hard parts.
- This ruins your sense of rhythm & prevents you from developing your feel.
- Playing with the recording keeps you in time.
- (If it’s too fast for you, use your DAW to slow it down.)
- Music isn’t just notes & rhythm though.
- In addition to WHAT and WHEN, there’s a HOW.
- These nuances are IMPORTANT, and you’ll miss them if you don’t play with the recording.
- He calls this “phraseology” which I LOVE.
2. Play The Music Around You
- Instead of locking yourself in a room and endlessly shedding scales…
- …you can make guitar a part of the rest of your life.
- That TV theme song? Play along with it.
- The jingle for that ad? Play that.
- The National Anthem before the game? Pick out the melody and the chords.
- Fire up a random playlist on Spotify. Play along.
3. Go Outside Your Bubble
- Listen to (and learn) music that you don’t like.
- You’ll learn different techniques & approaches.
- “It’s great that you like what you like, but expand your mind and you might realize that there’s beauty even in stuff you don’t like.”
Personally I can do without 90% of what’s on country radio. But that other 10% is so fucking good. Perfectly crafted songs performed by top-tier musicians in world-class studios? Yes please.
And like Jay, learning to chicken pick added a whole new dimension to my non-country playing. (You can grab my free chicken picking course here.)
4. Take A Lesson
- You don’t know what you don’t know.
- Jay spent a super long time trying to fix part of his golf swing.
- One lesson with an expert showed him a larger problem upstream that fixed that problem and a whole bunch of other issues.
- “If you take a lesson, you might find solutions to questions you didn’t even know that you were asking.”
5. Play With Other Musicians
- You should play in a band.
- “You’ll get more out of one gig than you would out of six months of just playing guitar.”
- This is especially true if you can play with musicians that are way better than you.
- You’ll always get more out of being the worst person in a band than the best person in a band.
6. Enjoy It
- It’s guitar. It’s fun. Even figuring out the hard stuff is so incredibly rewarding.
- “You’re not practicing. You’re DOING IT.”
In March, GuitarOS members are learning songs with capos.
We’ll learn the songs, thinking about the theory behind them as if they were uncapo’d. We’ll explore transposing. And we’ll talk about how to properly explain what we’re playing to our (uncapo’d) bassist & keyboardist friends.
For example, we’ll do No Surprises by Radiohead.
- The guitarists play it as if it’s in D.
- Acoustic capos at the 3rd fret
- Electric capos an octave above that at the 15th (!) fret
- so what key is this really in?
You can snag the .pdf, .sib, and .musicxml files here.
For most people, seeing a mathematical equation causes their eyes to glaze over and their brains to check out.
For us guitarists, we have the same reaction to seeing standard notation.
But it’s usually a lot easier than we assume.
Three quick examples from No Surprises:
1. This riff is written with those oh-so-terrifying dots-on-lines known as “standard notation.”
But zoom in closer.
See these three notes? They’re the fretted notes from a D chord.
- Play the highest note of the D chord (the F# on the 2nd fret of the first string)
- Then the note on the third string (A)
- Then the note on the second string (D)
- And the note on the third string again.
That little thing happens three times:
And then you have these four notes:
This is the open G,
- the Bb at third fret of that same string,
- the D at the third fret of the second string,
- and then the open E string:
Woowee, pretty scary.
2. See this little symbol?
It means “in these two bars, you play the stuff from the previous two bars.”
Back when music was handwritten, this saved a bunch of work.
But in the modern era of copy & paste, we do this to make it easier to read.
And ok: it looks less scary than writing the notes out again.
3. See these stemless slash noteheads?
It just means “play any D chord with an appropriate rhythm for four beats”
If we have a specific rhythm to play, we can write the rhythm with stemmed slashes.
This says “play Em for three and a half beats, but then go to the A chord half a beat early.”
That’s it for this week, see you next Wednesday!