Multi-instrumentalists: Keeping up with your instruments.

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
tapper mike
4771 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Post Mon May 21, 2018 7:41 am

There was a time when I'd played keys, guitar, bass, mandolin, harmonica and also drums (electronic kit) I'd play out in bands and get paid for it. Now I wonder how.

These days I use:
  • Artiphon Instrument One for my string and breath based instruments
  • Two Launchpad Pro's and a Korg NanoKey Studio for my keys and percussion based instruments
  • Guitars
The problem is I don't spend equal time with them. When I first got my LP Pro's I'd have a great time figuring out how to play 60's 70's 80's keyboard stuff. Then one day I thought to myself I want to go back to my Tapping+Fingerstyle Chord Melody approach to guitar. I've had a lot of fun writing arrangements for this style of playing and I enjoy building a repertoire around it. All of that went to a cold stop when I bought an acoustic guitar and I went back to playing stuff I did in the 70's and 80's.

Last night I went to the Launchpad Pro's and.... Nothing. I couldn't remember the stuff I was doing 3 months ago.

Do you have a routine that keeps yourself active on all your instruments?

4559 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Multi-instrumentalists: Keeping up with your instruments.

Post Tue May 22, 2018 2:18 am

I have similar experience doing bass, guitars, piano/synths/organ and drums.

I give them a boost trying to improve enough over beginners level on all. Guitars I played all my life, but the rest I have the most to learn.

Sometimes I even take lessons for three months or so on a given instrument to give it a boost for that period. Sometimes getting something new also makes a boost for a period of time.

I also expanded doing photo/film and make music score for that. So a lot to learn there too. Doing for visuals is really exciting, and very different from making songs. Much more free really, in the musical sense. Eventually I will shove some stuff on YT with this.

I tried making a gym kind of plan for every instrument, to play certain hours each week etc. But disciplin is not always what you want. So I have to trick myself a bit in between.

I'm retired now so I do this full time.

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Scrubbing Monkeys
565 posts since 21 Apr, 2017 from Bahia, Brazil

Re: Multi-instrumentalists: Keeping up with your instruments.

Post Tue May 22, 2018 5:58 am

same here.

keyborad synth and programming
and i want to continue learning clarinet.

The days are too short. I try to be accomplished enough to have fun at it. I will not master any of this stuff. I was a semi pro bassist back in the days of trying to be Geddy Lee, Steve Harris and Sting. Then it was Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan and later Victor whooton. Today i attempt James Jamerson. I wont put in the time to truly develop the chops I once had. I bounce around from instrument to instrument depending on my mood. Again for fun. I maintain about 100 songs I can play and sing on acoustic. If I had to I could be ready for a bass or electric guitar gig with a few weeks notice......I think.

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323 posts since 17 Aug, 2015 from Finland

Re: Multi-instrumentalists: Keeping up with your instruments.

Post Tue May 22, 2018 6:56 am

I have exactly the same problem, especially since beginning my studies in a conservatory. With the drums being my main instrument, a lot of my practice time goes into practicing drums specifically. Almost the only times I touch my guitars are when I have a new riff idea I want to try out or if I'm tracking guitars for a song. And when I sat down to practice a bunch of songs on guitar yesterday - a lot of which even had a bunch of barre chords - I found that I wasn't quite up to snuff, since my left hand started hurting not far into it.
"Creativity is a lot like sex. When it's spontaneous, it's good, but forcing it makes it bad."
My metal music | My electronic music

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4380 posts since 9 Jan, 2003 from Saint Louis MO

Re: Multi-instrumentalists: Keeping up with your instruments.

Post Tue May 22, 2018 11:07 am

I definitely wanted to play everything, or at least several things. I started a few. But I find I just can't dedicate enough time and effort to improve my skills -- not when I could be focusing on and improving my strengths instead.

I've been sticking to synths, and it works for me. I'll never completely abandon frame drums etc. even if I can't work them into my music very well (not a great studio for recording acoustic stuff). I tell myself I might get back into fretless bass a little if I combine it with modular -- but chances are very slim that I'll commit to becoming a decent player.

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addled muppet weed
37186 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Multi-instrumentalists: Keeping up with your instruments.

Post Tue May 22, 2018 11:43 am

my physical issues get in the way of becoming anything more than a noodler when it comes to guitar, my fingers don't always do what my brain tells them to, nerve damage sending mixed up messages.
not that i was great before, but ive always found playing guitar and synths to be fun.
i guess what im saying is, if youre not relying on it for income, then just have fun and youll improve along the way (ageing bodies allowing)

tapper mike
4771 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Re: Multi-instrumentalists: Keeping up with your instruments.

Post Tue May 22, 2018 1:34 pm

Here is what I'm trying. I'm not saying it's working for me because it's too early in the game. I'm not saying it will work for anyone else.

I'm keeping a practice diary.
I get up and I start practicing. Even though I know most scales and all keys blind. I start on the guitar grab a pick and work through both the major and melodic minor scale for a given key. Ten times in the root position and twice in all the other ones. Even at a slow pace it's done in very little time and it gives my confidence a boost. Later I'll try to play the same scale on my LP Pro's. Left hand and right hand separately then because the way it's laid out I'll play it with both hands. If I'm feeling daring I'll try to play it in octaves using both LP's.

After that I'll practice songs I'm working on. All Jazz solo guitar chord/melody stuff. Most I simply try to find a good cover and work from there. I'm constantly either re arranging songs to fit my style of tap plus finger pick or doing my own arrangements. It's work and slows the process down. And then move over to the LP Pro.

When I'm done I'll put everything in my diary with notes on what I have down and what still needs work. The diary (journally) is a desktop app that's always open. It's a way to remind me that I have accomplished some things and to pat myself on the back for that and I haven't accomplished other things. I'm trying to put procrastination behind me which is rough. Forum posts, fb, yt, tv. It's all distraction. I don't want to find myself having permanent potential. I could do much more of everything but I want to focus on what I can do now.

Courseware / Paid lessons are always great because they force you to focus in. When I'm paying for it I work harder and filter out all the other stuff I could do. I played around with the basic version of melodics when I first got the LP

While I can say it helped with many things... The courseware in general wasn't what I was looking for. I wanted to play more of a jazz organ style on my LP's. I've been playing grid controllers long before the LP Pro. I've been playing guitar since the 70's Studied Theory and a lot more at a college level. I just wanted something where I didn't have to think as much to bring my existing skills into a new dimension. Though after the last few days I may go back to melodics and try to make more out of the LP's Because right now it's either apply myself or get rid of them.

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1974 posts since 29 Sep, 2010 from Maui

Re: Multi-instrumentalists: Keeping up with your instruments.

Post Tue May 22, 2018 1:40 pm

Muscle memory works pretty good for me, calluses are a different story.

tapper mike
4771 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Re: Multi-instrumentalists: Keeping up with your instruments.

Post Tue May 22, 2018 11:56 pm

Muscle memory used to work for me. I'm 57. I got an acoustic recently and tried to remember the stuff I played in my teens. It wasn't there. Back to the books. Muscle memory is only part of the story.

If you remember something you usually remember from the last time you remember. Not the first time and not the fullest most clearest time. Consequentially if the last time you played something it was incomplete you are working from that incomplete memory. Conclusion... If you are playing a song always try to play it all the way through rather than just the parts you like.

I used to be able to pull 100 songs out of my hat and I had a running repertoire of over 1000. I had a good 15 year run as a professional guitarist. Played out 5 nights a week multiple styles and picked up some commercial studio work as well. Had a trunk full of songbooks and could transcribe fairly quickly. I developed my own ear training course similar to Rick Beato's his is better. But it's always work. That level of self discipline went away when I left the music business and got a job in restaurant management working 75+ hours a week.
Even though I'm back to cooking and working only 40hrs on a good week I don't spend near the time I used to. Playing music is a hobby now. Last year was the first time in nearly 10 years that I actually played out in front of people busking in a park just to get used to having to play well. I've found that playing after a long night of work I'm way too tired my body aches and I'm barely going through the motions. So now I play in the morning where I have a clear head and the actual strength to perform at any level of proficiency.

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Stupid American Pig
7048 posts since 25 Nov, 2002 from not sure

Re: Multi-instrumentalists: Keeping up with your instruments.

Post Mon May 28, 2018 6:55 pm

When I was a kid I played piano. I asked to play something I liked my parents and my teacher balked. I said awight then I quit.
Picked up a guitar at 18. Sucked for 6 years. Then it clicked. Started playing keys for a while while learning guitar the aha moment happened and I could think I terms of both instruments. Added bass to the repertoire. I’m not good but I’m ok with rhythm and not just playing the root. Age 27 pick up drums. I still suck at age 41. But I’m passable with simple beats. I had a phase in my 30s where all my music had to be “pure” and every instrument played by me. As you may expect my creative output plummeted. I decided in my late 30s to just get things done. If it’s good it’s good and whoever is listening doesn’t care about “purity”. That helped. Now I’m all for short cuts and best idea wins. If I can play something cool great. If I use a sample and it’s better great. If I program a drum machine better awesome. Just stay in the flow state.

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