Practice Schedule


I think this is a super charitable response, and the way these conversations should go.

This is not. Nobody was shooting down your contribution — he was questioning / discussing, and I think he was being pretty fair about it, given the tone I’m seeing here. We all need a way to ask questions about the posts of others without always assuming the asker is trashing our own view.

To be clear I hate to butt into these things but when I see things going off the rails a little on the nerd-out topics, I just want to remind everyone that we’re probably all on the same page as far as what we’re here to accomplish.

Generally speaking I’d like to thank everyone for not devolving into flame war. If this the angriest it gets around here I can be nothing but grateful, all things considered. This is the internet after all.


Troy, you skipped down several posts into the exchanges to pull out those quotes lol. At that point I wasnt trying to be charitable. If you were going to referee, maybe jump in sooner next time?

phrases like “strawman” and “might be valid for beginners” seem somewhat insulting to me. If every offer of help to others is going to be met that way, what kind of forum is that going to be?

Im a competitive guy. if I get poked, I poke back


I’m definitely not a trained referee and I apologize if I’ve missed some subtleties here. Let’s just make a general attempt to take everything with a grain of salt. If poking needs to be done, just let us know instead and we’ll do it. We’ll take the heat for that.


I’m not totally sure if this fits, but personally I find it super hard to memorize “scale fingerings” — as in, two or more dots per string going across all six strings in one spot on the neck. It’s even worse if you try to go through all seven of them moving up the neck until you get an octave up, back where you started. It took me years, even as a teenager, to where I could do the diatonics like that. The main issue is I find it super academic, like way too much memorization for little payoff.

Licks and arpeggios though, especially if they sit on chords I play all the time, feels really natural to memorize. When you listen to players like Albert Lee it seems clear to me this is how he learned. He couldn’t even play a straight scale when I asked him. But he could rip over some fairly complicated circle of fifths type changes in Country Boy forever.


Funny, I can’t really take a lick on board until I know “what it is” in terms of something, whether that’s a part of a scale or in reference to an underlying chord or…well anything theoretical really to “hang” it on mentally.


Yes, totally! To clarify, what I mean is I assume we already know the harmony, and we know what scale the phrase and the chord come from. Same way I assume Albert does - either by name or sound, however you define “knowing”. And we can work out enough of those notes on the fretboard temporarily to write the phrase in the first place. But we just don’t have to permanently memorize every note in the scale fingering, in sequence, since we’re not playing them that way anyway. We’re just playing the phrase.

Over time, of course, the more of these you do, the more of the notes in that position you will “learn”. But you’re starting with the things that matter most - the things you want to play, and only the thing you want to play.

In terms of spatial memory, you’re “hanging” the phrase on the chord, or more likely, the area where the chord exists. Everybody knows the barre chord and the blues scale are on top of each other. Which one is hung on which? Doesn’t really matter, just that those two exist in that area, and you can get from one to the other.


Troy, I appreciate the involvement, and sorry things got sarcastic. I can see that my initial response was taken to be intended as pejorative, but I don’t really understand why. The post where I said everyone learns differently is my 2nd post in the thread.

That said, I’m not a big fan of the video- not because I think it’s wrong but because, like I said it doesn’t describe a situation that’s familiar to me. When I see a new scale, it fits into my established schema of scale knowledge as related to something else- so Phrygian dominant is a phrygian #3 or mixolydian b6, b9 etc. it’s kind of like chunking, as I understand the concept- you learn one basic note grouping that prepares you for a variety of scenarios and you can apply it because it creates a predictable set of factors. Like I said in my first post, I doubt I’m special enough to be in the minority, so the video only seems useful for beginners. I don’t think that’s insulting- it’s certainly not intended that way.


Don’t worry about it - like I said, this being the internet, I can only be happy with our general level of getting along around here.

I think this is the key right here. Memory works best when you can connect stuff to things you already know, and then make actual practical use of it, strengthening the retention. Memorizing a bunch of scale shapes never felt that way to me, it was just data, like state capitals or something.


Sure, I get that. And frankly, without a musical context to apply a scale, that’s all it is.


Some years back The National Guitar Workshop (which I think is defunct) sent me a free copy of Intermediate Jazz guitar by Jody Fisher. It usually comes with a companion CD but they didn’t give me that.

There’s a lesson (number 3b) Creating lines, where you use Chord tones as target notes to create solos (d min-start on root ascending > GMaj7 start on root ascending etc). You do these with descending lines as well with all the chord tones (Root, 3rd 5th, 7, passing tones).

I’m trying to do that as a thing to practice using the licks I use here and any others I know (in Rock/metal mostly).

I can write pretty good solos beforehand when I know whats going on.

I’m thinking it would be a good way to improvise better and not get lost in chord progressions and actually say something musically off-the-cuff.

Any thoughts?


Yeah it’s a great idea. As you practice more thinking about the harmony underneath your lines, it becomes increasingly natural until you really stop thinking about it. Even in rock and metal, there are a lot of V chords- it’s great to hit them if you can.