Getting better at performing and playing music thread


This thread is I guess a kind of spin off from the Gearwanker thread. As that thread is a monument to spending money in order to sound better, this is it’s more wholesome twin, devoted to just getting better at playing our instruments of choice by “learning” and “practising” and stuff like that

Personally when I sit down to play guitar I find I get far more out of it when I try to learn how to pay something. I got very sore fingers yesterday trying to work out Stay by David Bowie. The main riff is easy enough but I got a bit lost with the funkier verse section. Then this morning I found a video where the two guitar players on that song explain how it’s played. Should have looked earlier but I like to at least try and learn things by ear before I resort to YouTube (a hangover from when I first started playing in the late 80s/ early 90s when it was a choice between work it out yourself or buy very expensive tab books which I couldn’t afford)

(Carlos Alomar seems to be throwing some shade at Earl Slick for needing to be taught a 9th chord which is fun)


My music theory knowledge is pretty patchy and I’m working on it because at the very least having the vocabulary is really useful, but this video was a huge, huge help for me:


I’m thinking about re-subscribing to Guitar Tricks, which was the best online lesson thing I found as a (sort of) beginner. I stopped using it because their basics course was excellent but their rock one was absolutely shite (“it’s more about attitude than what you actually play!”) but they had lots of mini courses on other genres - I did the surf and rockabilly ones.

Would be good to do the lesson series for genres I don’t otherwise listen to, like country, jazz etc, to get some variety in there.

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I’ve been learning lots of bossa nova and rnb and all those chords make guitar super easy like unlocking a new level where anything goes and sounds gr8 and sometimes you just use one finger so good.


Can we also include production and mixing techniques in this thread?


Please teach me your secrets




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I did some jazz stuff when I had a few guitar lessons at school - really good for getting used to using those chord shapes (the 9th chord shape used in Stay I learnt for the 1st time during those lessons) and fast/ frequent chord changes

Also improvising by thinking about each individual chord you are playing over rather than just blasting away on a single scale, but I’m pretty shit at that :grinning:

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Did we decide that #pluginchat is ok in here?

I discovered someone called Analog Obsession yesterday, who has made a bunch of free vst plugins of stuff like SSL channel strips, Pultec EQs, an LA optical compressor, etc - basically the kind of stuff that costs £infinity from UAD and Waves.

Now I need to actually write some music to use them with.

this is the bit I never get round to

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protip: write the music first, buy the gear out of necessity later


I’ve been dicking around with these on shitty drum loops and stuff this evening and they’re great.

Now my only excuse is that I don’t have a good free 1176 plugin (except for Smasher but that’s very aggressive).

Five minutes with a rubbish Boss DR3 drum loop to go from trash to just about maybe useable. Before and after:


Going to start using it to make music any minute now. Any minute now.

Can anyone recommend some stuff to get into to learn fingerstyle guitar? Right now I can do the My Name Is Jonas intro and Blackbird and that’s it.




Any particular songs you’d recommend to get started with?

Trying to teach myself mastering and, without sounding too much like My Vitriol, I’m still not entirely sure I know what it is


I almost learned a few john fahey songs watching videos of a guy a youtube, but I seem to have hit a plateau. Anyway, sligo river blues is my favourite song to play.

Edit: at some point I was actually planning to use this thread to ask about tips for getting better at that kind of thing!

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Laura Marling was doing lessons on Instagram Live at the start of lockdown. Some of these might be a good starting point (helps if you’re familiar with her songs/like her stuff).