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For Electric Guitar players

  1. Apr 28, 2017 #1


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    I play the guitar since my sixteen. Back then a classical guitar was all I could afford. I went to a musical school for about two and a half years but that was not the thing I wanted to do. I was baffled by musical staff and classical pieces on guitar that were really great but not what I wanted to learn. So I quit. I bought my first electric guitar (a second hand Maya) and amp (...) at my twenty and began to learn some things from a friend very good at it.. All guitar effects I had was a wah wah pedal. After a while, I managed to buy some books (mostly rock and metal) with TABS and accompanying tapes to listen and some cheap effect boxes to make my guitar sound a little angry. The first decent instrument and gear came at my twenty eight. A B.C. Rich warlock and a TORQUE amp plus a ZOOM 2020 effects processor. After trying some other brands for guitar, amp and effects in a selling and buying fashion, I finally managed after hard work to afford a standard strat and a Marshall Valvestate and I kept the faith in ZOOM effects. The last 7 years or so I've given music a good share in my everyday routine - about 3 to 4 hours everyday. My preferred music genres are mostly rock, hard rock, 70s - 80s metal and funk with some fair amount of Hendrix styled music in between. I've established the motto "Winners don't use TABS" (music is all about ears).

    I would really like to hear from other electric guitar players here - professionals or not, about their instruments, gearing, preferred styles, genres, musicians they admire, musical studies, personal experiences regarding electric guitar, musical influences, books they have found good for electric guitar and any other thing they have found interesting.
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  3. Apr 28, 2017 #2


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    Musical harmony and theory is great to learn and use. Still, real music is what you play and what you hear. You have the right idea on this. A big part of your skill comes from what you think, try, and practice.

    A very good chord study book was from Mel Bay. I can't remember the name of the the book or its title, but it was excellent in showing many, many, types of chords and the chord-fingering forms for them. The book is good/was good, if you were any kind of jazz guitarist, or even any kind of classical guitarist.
  4. Apr 29, 2017 #3


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    Yes absolutely. I have studied some music theory but mostly in the context of guitar. Basically I've done a lot of transcribing, that is an absolutely essential thing in order to learn music, as good guitar teachers say. In the process, I always try to analyze things starting from basic tone, scale(s) used, finding the patterns for chords (usual or not) and (potentially) foreign notes, for verse, bridge(s), interlude, (pre)chorus and outro (or whatever of these therein) along with strumming and picking pattern(s). So, there is always the opportunity to study some material in order to be helped. My goal has always been to get the most precise in transcribing my skills allow, regarding the original form of the recording at hand, but I embraced early enough an opinion from great guitarists I've heard about, to not just try to play the song precisely but see what interesting things can I do that fit the song, including but not limited to improvisation. In this way you learn an amazing lot of things that build up progressively and finally you start to develop a more complete sense about the whole thing. Now, for myself, truth is that once upon a time I learned to read and write musical staff but I really don't like it. It is undoubtedly a very essential thing for serious musicians, as it connects and describes many instruments together and it's really a matter of getting used to but I've seen and heard a lot of people having the same opinion like me. After all, it is a well known fact that there've been a real lot of great guitarists that just used their ears and built high skills through practicing and songs. But all in all, musical theory is something precious in whatever way / context can anyone study it.

    Regarding guitar books, I bought back in 1988 Troy Stetina's Heavy Metal books that were accompanied by tapes (back then) and I found the whole five book series great but I really couldn't make it into serious solo playing. I was very decent in my rhythm guitar (I was playing in an amateurish band consisted of people studying electronics like me back then in a two years technical school), I also played some (elementary) bass guitar when the bassist was ill but my speed and preciseness in lead guitar were way off. I finally managed to remedy this gradually through years by doing a lot of finger exercises (mostly various forms of spiders even some I thought myself and string skipping) and by trying to have very good synchronization between my hands. I also find Mike Ihde's book "Rock Guitar" a very decent one but because of musical staff used throughout I just used the tape, my ears and my imagination. Most of my other books are song books from particular bands. Now, although there is great material on the net and I am a constant digger of it, I still find good books indispensable for anyone starting off his journey into guitar world or even for intermediate players particularly those trying to teach themselves.
  5. Apr 29, 2017 #4
    Reading music is a must for a classical guitarist, a plus for a jazz guitarist, and totally optional for just about any other kind of guitarist unless you are doing some kind of professional session work. I've done it backwards from you - started with rock/metal electric, then got into jazz and now mostly play classical. But I still have all three types of guitars around. As far as electric guitars go, I've never been one of those gearheads that know all about equipment and petals and stuff. I spent most of my money learning how to play music so I never really bought good equipment!

    I learned music theory from the beginning including a very good high school music theory class for 3 whole years. I went to school for music technology but dropped due to lack of family support and funds. But I think music really helped me learn how to learn.

    I totally did the Stetina thing too! In fact I re-downloaded a copy of "speed mechanics for lead guitar" to see if the exercises could be adopted for classical guitar, because they were so exhaustive and logical. That was a great book.
  6. Apr 29, 2017 #5


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    Yes, that's how I see it too.

    In fact it is not exactly backwards because I learned very few things on classical guitar as a formal study. I mostly learned theory that proved useful afterwards. Essentially I began learning guitar with 70s rock and metal, when I first bought my (legendary :))) first electric guitar. Then I learned some other styles but the recent years as I wrote in my OP I've greatly reinforced the whole thing and I also got into funk and some of its variations (mostly soul - funk and blues - funk). I love jazz but in its pure form it is not something I want to get very deep into (at least now). I am also excited to play funk bass guitar. As for classical guitar, I really (and I stress this out) really admire people playing at the advanced level. It is a great joy to listen to them. When I was in the third year in my formal music studies (in the middle of which I quit) my teacher invited me to go earlier one day just to listen to a graduate person that would play some flamengos along with other related staff, as a preview for his finals. What can I say? My jaws dropped down. I immediately realized what I'm supposed to get to and...quit. But that was because I really didn't like this instrument back then. Now, if you ask me I have also done some pretty neat stuff on classical guitar melodies. But even this way I don't think I would be a classical guitar master ever.

    I agree to this view having the real music at its center. But admittedly for years I was very interested in gearing including good amps, good effect pedals, effective noise reduction, good cables and all these. I even brought some cheap effect pedals I managed to buy when I was about 22 in a technical school and did measurements with AF generators, oscilloscope and semi - log paper for sketching the curves of gain, measure distorted signals etc. and also I took the diagrams from some 80s electronic circuits books ( named 301 circuits , 302 circuits or something like that as far as I remember) and I constructed two effects boxes start to finish. One was an overdrive and the other a fuzz box. Truth is that having a decent gearing is absolutely necessary in order to faithfully reproduce original songs and I still keep an eye on the gearing world but not with that passion anymore. But the central idea is always the music I play itself.

    That is a very sad thing and a crucial obstacle that many people (including me as well) have faced and still face. But such is life.
  7. Apr 29, 2017 #6


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    Just for fun here are my homemade effects boxes

    Overdrive Overdrive.jpg

    Fuzzbox Fuzzbox.jpg

    and fuzzbox open Fuzzbox_open.jpg
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