Punk rock progress (Funky learning log)

My intro

I haven’t historically posted much but I’m aiming to change that. Ive been updating my intro page with random stuff, not realising I should be doing that here. So I’ve copied the link to that above too.

To my update.

I’ve got a few good punk songs under the belt these days. Greenday, Blink182, Sex Pistols and Ramones making up my list. In some cases I can’t quite execute the solos and am still working but in others I’m kicking goals. Nice! Because of the punk goals I sorta fell off following the JG pathway after level 3. Power chords is enough in 95% of the stuff I pick up.

What I’ve found a lot recently is it takes a lot of energy to play my library and often I just want to sit and tinker, just play semi consciously. So I needed to branch out a bit.

I started seeing a live guitar teacher to get some guidance. I’ve dropped him again after 12 weeks, I enjoyed what he showed me bu t lessons were quick then he’d send me on my way, I’d get on JG to add to what he taught me and guess what im pretty much learning level 4. So I’m gunna get back on the learning course here.

What I’ve been playing with lately has been really learning the fret board, and the five pentatonic shapes. I feel these two topics went hand in hand. From there learning a pentatonic highway to transition through the shapes was cool, and in the JG course picking up the major scales and triad theory.

What I’m currently hoping to get in my aresenal pretty soon is the ability to sit and jam with backing tracks or even just songs on the radio.

I figure getting some blues, jazz licks under the belt along with scales and chords in keys practice I’ll be a long way there.

The last skill progression I’m playing with is strumming speed. With punk it’s often blasting high tempo down strokes at 200bpm. Takes some work to get there.
I currently can get through 16th note all down strums at about 85bpm for an extended period if I can get to 100bpm I think I’ve got what I need.

Song list for learning at the moment is:
Dammit - Blink182 (95%)
Basket Case - Greenday (50%)
Fight for your right to party - Beasty boys (need the solo)
Big Me - Foo Fighters (new)
American Idiot - Greenday (new)


Minor update.

Passed my grade 4 quiz in the practical music theory section. Pretty happy and the skills with triads and chords in a key are really lining up nicely with my desire to sit and tinker.
I need more work on training my ear so I can more quickly work out what key a song is in from ear but I’m sure it’ll come with time.
I have a good chunk of solo / improv stuff in my practice schedule.

In the main JG course I’m also in the midst of level 4 with blues study (again helping the improv).
I’m slowly getting my head around all the different pentatonic positions and notes on the fret board.
I have a bunch of licks I’m practicing but string bending sounds a bit like I’m strangling the neighbours cat.

That’s all for now


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That is exactly the feedback I got from my family when I was practicing string bending. :rofl:
I was so happy, after quite some time, when I got “How can you play the same song over and over again?!” At least it became a song. :smiley:

Bending will take some time, just don’t lose your patience. :slight_smile:

Nice log and great songs to practice!

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Thanks mate

I definitely expect to be working on it for some time. Any tips? My feel at the moment is the bend is a little slow and that is why it sounds like the dead cat. More speed in the bend so you move between clean notes on pitch I reckon will make the cat more healthy.

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Without video it is hard to tell exactly what is the issue, but there are in general few things that makes sense to do, based on Justin’s videos, his teacher’s tips and my experience on the topic:

  1. Get mechanics right! That hand rotation (as if you are turning door knob) is important, so the whole hand is bending, not just your finger(s). Everything is much easier when you get this automated.
  2. Practice a slide from a tone to a next semi/full tone and then the same semi/full tone bend. This will train your ear and brain/hand to recognise what is the right pitch.
  3. Muting is the key for clean bending tone, especially with bend release. Justin talks about “seagulls”. Understand early what that is and try to practice removing that sound. For me this was seriously difficult and much harder than 1) and 2). Effective muting is a combination of index finger muting on your fretting hand and palm and/or pick muting on your picking hand. You will need a lot of time for this, I still make errors here all the time!
  4. Speed is an interesting topic. My take is that this really depends on a song. Sometimes it is really necessary to bend quickly as the sounds required are almost as going regularly between two tones. But sometimes a song requires to increase a pitch slowly, highlighting the change. This is similar to fast slide and slow slide between the same two notes, there is difference in tonal aspect. So, I wouldn’t say that fast bending is always better and necessary.
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Punk songs are so much fun to learn because they’re generally straightforward to play.

That down picking will definitely get a workout but it’ll get easier the more you do it.

I read somewhere that a good way to build up speed is play as fast as you can for a few bars, then throttle back down. Slowly your comfortable speed will be faster and your top speed will be even higher.

No real secret except to keep doing it over time!

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