Ask @LeviClay:

Levi Clay
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What do you advise to do to get a good level on guitar sight reading ,expecially for a jazz guitarist?

Nice to see some questions still coming in here!
The answer is obvious - it's just practice. The secret is to not stop, when you make a mistake, don't stop and fix it because that's not how music works, the rest of the band won't stop. That's why I recommend having a reading partner - someone to practice with.
Get the William leavitt books and read daily - the more you do it, the better you'll get, you just need to take it seriously. Outside of that, Bach violin pieces and the inventions are great too.

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Thanks for the answer, Mr. Clay. I always use transcribe to sort things out. I was wondering if there was some program that will allow you to play what to want to transcribe along with the guitar pro file in work. If not, I might try and develop something like that. LOL. Cheers, man.

Ivan Fernandes

Oh dude - if you can develop that - that'd be cool.
In all honesty though, I never hit play in guitar pro, if it's not right, I don't write it down. I can read my transcriptions and play them - relying on guitar pro's terrible midi interpretation is a pain!

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Hello, Mr. Levi. I've been trying to better my transcription skills and I was wondering if you have some tips. My main problem is losing where I am in a specific bar or where it starts. Also is there a way to play the song you're transcribing along with guitar pro so it's easier to follow? Thank u

Ivan Fernandes

You absolutely have to be using a program like transcribe to keep track of where you are and what you're doing

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Have you ever read " Effortless Mastery " by Kenny Werner? It's a great material about music psychology and building overall confidence about music.

I have not - but have meant to!

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I 've been trying mastering the caged system for a couple of months. It works really great for improvise (in fact i improved a lot) with major escale (modes and so) but i found difficult to do it with melodic minor harmony. Do you have any tips? Cheers and thanks in advance

I only get 45 seconds to upload on mobile :(
Essentially though it's all intervals and that's WHERE the caged system comes alive - melodic minor is easy to play because as part of the major scale and modes you've learned all 12 intervals.

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Hi! Can you show me how to convert .gpx to .pdf? Please help me!! :< ( Honestly, my crush asked me this question yesterday. Although I tried my best to find way to convert, I couldn’t know.  I really really want to help her. So..can you help me? Please..) Thank you so much~

Open in guitar pro - export - PDF

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Did you hear the new Obscura song? What do you think of it?

Like the use of fretless bass - obviously the lead work is excellent. The vocals aren't for me very black/death, and I'm not sure I like the juxtaposition of styles - I mean, I don't dislike it, but it's not driving me wild.

It's super creative though, and kept me guessing

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Hey I was wondering, if 10-15 mins is the amount of time you would suggest for one sitting, how much time do you think would be an optimal amount for one day? I will practice for 2 hours all up (Breaking it up into different parts every 10 or so mins) and then leave it for the rest of the day.

No longer than 15 mins per subject - you just can't focus that long - you may feel you are but you're not at your optimum after that

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What framerate are the Lick Library videos shot at?

I would assume 24 as we're in the UK, but don't quote me on that

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Can you expand a bit more on the last question about practice? Do you mean 10 mins and then put down the guitar for the rest of the day or 10 mins of one thing then a break then another 10 min of something else?

Good question (again!)

Yes, I might have been a little vague there!

The goal is focused practice. Now my argument is that we can't do that for a given subject for much longer that 10 or 15 minutes without drifting off.

The subject can vary though, and that's the beauty of it. If you have 2 hours of practice time set aside, it's totally possible to do this -

Dexterity exercises/warm up (10 mins)
Dom7 arpeggios in all 5 positions (10 minutes)
Ear training 7 and 9 chords (10 mins)
Alternate Picking Drills (10 mins)
m7b5 chord practice (10 mins)
Sight Reading (10 mins)


This means that you're not working one area for too long - you're working the ears, then the fingers, then the eyes etc, so when you repeat you're fresh on the subject.

Obviously you substitute in what you need

That make sense?

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How long should you practice one thing each day? I hear people saying anything from few mins to a few hours so I'm interested to know your idea on this.

Hours is pointless - it's impossible to actually focus on a given task that long. The key part of any practice is that it needs to be 100% focused. That's hard. Not doing it and watching TV, or thinking about what you're going to make for dinner, or how much work you have to do tomorrow. You can do that, but the results will be limited. 10 minutes of focused practice is better than an hour or absent minded repetition.

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Ok, this question is probably asked by a lot of people and all the time. But what age is too old to pick up guitar and actually make a career out of it? 15? 20? I always wanted to play guitar when I was 10 years old, but my parents just couldn't afford it. Now I am 20 and I have the time/money

You're never too old - yes, it's going to take the best part of 10 years to become of a standard where you'll be able to make a good living, but once you're there... who cares? I'm 27 now - people don't turn me away because I'm not as young as others.

The real question is, how do you want to go about making a living - you need to know what area of music you want to go into.

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(Cont. Jazz album question) I mean in the sense were the album is either united by one overarching theme or some sort of concept or just that the songs are in some way connected. Sorry if it's a bit vague but it's hard to explain it.

Sorry for the delay - really down on now I can't upload video!
Id still say Miles Kind of Blue - the running theme being the evolution of a chord changes based composition to modal. It's a hugely important record, and features a young Coltrane playing the old style over the new sound which is interesting. Miles is obviously on point, and Cannonball is on fire too.
The thing with jazz albums like this is that to really get the running themes you often need an understanding of the bigger picture of what else was happening at the time.

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Hey Levi. Could you recommend me a few good jazz ALBUMS? And I mean album in the more prog-rock sense, rather than a collection of well played standards and what have you. I know it's not typically done much in jazz but thought I'd ask to see if you have any thoughts. Thanks!

I don't fully understand the question. What do you mean "in a prog rock sense"? Miles Davis's kind of blue is full of standards... But he made them standards lol

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Hey Levi. What do you think of the upcoming DT album? doesn't look too promising so far...

Not overly interested - sure the music will be more of the same, if you're into it, you'll love it

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Any new (or not) players you been digging recently Levi? Always find some cool-ass players from your answers! Thanks.

I've been digging John Browne a fair amount recently. I'm always promoting Michael Romeo.... My favourite unknown right now though is probably KC Roberts

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Picked up "Chord Encyclopedia Vol 1" over Christmas. It is great, I have studied closed voiced shapes, but I always struggled to recall them quickly. I've looked at the Open voicings but plan to work through the closed voicings more before moving on. So thank you for a well presented lesson.

Paul Hudgins

Cheers Paul! As a rhythm guitar player that stuff was gold to me - and seeing them around the bigger E A and C shapes of CAGED were a game changer! I'm here if you need me

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Do you remember the question you answered 'Top 5 or 10 annoying things guitar players say/think/do' Could revive that question as a video on your youtube channel :). I love the prospect of being able to link it to dickheads when they push cynical points.


would absolutely consider revisiting it though

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Hi Levi.I have some friends who loves to play guitar,just like me. In our case,we have not much money to spend in dvd's,books or whatever. So,what we do is we buy one dvd of LL and later we share all the stuff between us.We don't download anything,and of course don't share with other ppl. Thoughts?

It doesn't bother me if you download it - it's a fact of modern life. If that's all you can do now, then do it - just keep the passion! Maybe you'll be in a position in 5 years where you can make up for it - but you certainly won't if you give up

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Hello, Levi. Help me here, bro. The dude from this video is actually playing the entire notes in the solo or just mimicking and adding the notes post produtction? I know how to play that solo and I think that the amplitude of motion of that thumb does not equal what I'm listening. Thanks!

you can't say "this video" and not put a video... lol

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Hey, Levi. I feel like this place is been getting too depressive lately, and I think it's because removed the video reply option. But the option still works from the app on iPhone and some Android users. Do you think you can try that? I really don't want this page to die.

Limited to 45 seconds - answer FIVE THOUSAND!!!

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So do I play that over my song to count the BPM. My problem is that my writing is kind of complex and has a lot of time changes

then you need to program all the changes into your DAW

if you feel ready to write complex music then understanding it enough to record it is part of that

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I'm running into a problem (beginner recording). How do I know what bpm i'm recording in or the riffs i'm writing are in?

Hi Levi, i would like to know your thoughts about Brett Garsed. I think the tj helmerich days and big sky are amazing records. Cheers!

I think it's well documented how big a fan of Brett I am - I kinda started transcribing so I could learn to play like him, and he's all over my fusion playing AND slide playing.

I really think Brett has one of the best and most fluid approaches to chromaticism out there - always great to listen to!

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Is it a good idea to practice improvisation phrasing by singing over backing tracks?

In theory the concept is sound!

Improvisation could be thought of as two areas -

the improvement on the inner ear - your ability to hear fresh ideas over chord progressions and keeping your inventiveness up

the ability to translate what you hear in your head to audible sounds on the instrument

We often practice the second one way too much - pulling back on focusing on your actual creativity then asking how to bring your guitar up to your creative levels can never hurt

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