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Use any tools to help you practice/stay motivated?


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Okay, I dunno about you, but I often have trouble working on something for its own sake.  Exercising and practicing my bass are apparently two of these things.

Johnathan's suggestion of leaving your guitar out so you see it and think to play it?  Yeah, doesn't work for me.  Seeing my skill improve being enough?  Nope.  Working on fingering exercises to improve my flexibility?  Writing down the notes to help me memorize them?  Just playing and listening for the sake of training my ear?  Practicing songs just for the sake of practicing them?

...Sorry, but I find stuff like that boring. :classic_unsure:  (The opposite of motivating.)

Personally, I'm a big video gamer.  I play a lot of dancing games and such for the sake of exercise.  It's a lot more fun and easier to keep up with than just picking up a dumbbell and doing a bunch of different lifts.  I've been trying different guitar/bass teaching software/online services to see what I like.

I don't really suggest Fender Play or Yousician because they're both subscription models.  Though one of them (Fender, I think) has a little bit of free stuff you can play that's pretty helpful - I also KNOW Fender has a lot of good articles.

There's an open-source (I think), free-to-play desktop app called FATPick.  It's pretty basic - all the songs are submitted by users.  Still, it's pretty good for practicing just playing without having to think of a tune to play (as long as you have a good mic setup, or basically any guitar-to-USB cable).

I'll note that the above three all use TABs - the instructions scroll from the right, showing what fret to play on which string, and when.

I also just picked up Rocksmith 2014 on PC, via Steam for $15 (there's a Summer Sale still going on - it's normally $30).  I also grabbed the Cherub Rock DLC so I can use user-generated content, AKA "CDLC."  (Which, apparently, CDLC is actually legal as long as they stick to certain rules, so I hear. o.O   I do know that the main CDLC site is pretty strict about certain things... like not just copying a song that exists in-game that you'd normally have to purchase.  [A CDLC creator can use the same song as long as they use their own arrangements, though.])

Anyway, Rocksmith is commonly described as "Guitar Hero with a real guitar"... and yeah, I'd say that sums up the portion where you're playing songs. :classic_laugh:  There's a lot more to it than just practicing songs, though - for one it's got its own set of lessons for learning skills and techniques at different levels (about the same as Fender Play or Yousician, but not subscription).

One thing that I think does NOT get enough attention is the Guitarcade; a section with various mini-games to practice different skills without having to play a song or anything, like playing at different volumes, switching (or "skipping") strings, slides, etc.  I've learned through it that I'm apparently pretty good at switching strings, but struggle a bit more with fretting.  (I've also noticed that the fact that frets get smaller as you go down the neck throws me off... something I'll need to practice with, I suppose. :classic_tongue:)

It also tries to gauge your skill level and adjust accordingly, and the way it uses missions to encourage you to try new things has been really good for keeping me motivated to learn more. =3  It also tries to teach you how to string amps and such together (though I think this part of the lessons are a bit lacking in necessary details... took me forever to find where the chorus pedals are located, since it didn't highlight them very much).  I think it's also supposed to make it so your guitar/bass can sound different in-game, but I can't hear my bass in game. :classic_huh:  (Maybe it only works with an official RealTone cable?  ...Which I hear suck and are hard to get, so I don't think it's worth using one? :classic_dry:)

But yeah, I'd say it's pretty good... once you get past the annoying bit where it tries to auto-lower the input volume and then complains about it being too quiet.  (Turn off Automatic Gain Control/AGC in both Rocksmith and [if you're using it] Windows - maybe Mac if it has that option.  Turn the input volume up to 100% in the computer's system controls.  Check the volume every time you open Rocksmith.  Lower to about 90%-85% for the volume dynamics game. :classic_wink:)

I realized just earlier that it reminds me of this piece of software I used as a kid: The Miracle Piano Teaching System, except for guitar, and better.

I also feel like it's the guitar-teaching service/software that, so far, feels the most respectful to me... like the teacher isn't talking down to me, and respects my willingness to try, or... something along those lines. :classic_unsure:

I don't suggest Rocksmith+ because, again, it's a subscription service. :classic_dry:  But the 2014 version seems pretty great to me so far. :classic_biggrin:

I just... need to remember to play it earlier in the day, because it's been making it harder to get a good night's sleep. :classic_blush:

Quick note: none of these teach the guitar grid and such.  I figured they'd be better to sort of help me out on the side; being a vehicle for helping me practice.


But yeah, that's my suggestion, and that's what's been working for me, so far.  What does everyone else use? :classic_smile:

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Wow alot of writing there Scia. Opioion the way we all do things is different, but gota do the preferred daily dexterity to get the fingers free andxworking specially ring + pinky. I do fingers 1 by 1 across six strings, the play notes on grets 3 or 4 first use index, middle, ring, pinky. Try get good until you can make notes sound goog with all your fingers. Then i do spider walks along frets 4 to 7. Then play Am pentatonic patterns 1 thro 4.  Then ther's lots of riffs you can practice like 12 bar blues, or muddy waters, just add bits to them to develop your own.  If you want to start playing your favorite songs you can find tabs on ultimate guitar. That where i start.

Hope this is helpful.

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