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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / What do you use to archive ideas

Contributing Member

Middle Tennessee

Guitar Slave
Jun 23rd, 2019 12:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

I would like to know what you guys use for writing down or archiving things you want to practice.

I have a computer program called Guitar Speed Trainer that I have used for years. It has a study course built into it but I never use that part of it. It has two sections where you can input your own riffs, sequences, or whatever, and it automatically writes them out in both standard notation and tablature. One of the sections you can input just the scale and then make an endless list to specify different note intervals you want to play in that scale. It steps through each note of the scale and plays the sequence of intervals, starting on that note, back and you can play along with it.

It has a tempo-map-table that can be set up to do many things. It's totally adjustable. It's default setup starts your exercise/riff at a tempo of your choosing and plays through the notes using whatever sound you choose from their General MIDI-sounding list of instruments. Each time it cycles through the riff it starts over at a tempo a little faster than the one before. It will continue to play faster each time until it reaches a preset maximum speed and then slows down each time it cycles until it reaches the end of the exercise.

It has a 17 stage tempo map that can be adjusted to about whatever you want it to be as it cycles.

I use this for archiving exercises and riffs I have come up with so I don't forget them. Some of them I have figured out but cannot play very well. So, I work on new things as well as review older ones that I have accomplished to my satisfaction.

The ability to write this stuff out just by clicking the notes on a virtual fingerboard allows me to input the stuff exactly how it needs to be played on the fingerboard so it accommodates my picking technique. I would never take the time to write this stuff down on paper. If I get lost on the picking or fingering I can go back and look at it and figure it out.

It has provisions for identifying the fingering and picking motions as well as hammer-ons, slides, and pull-offs. I don't use that part very often because that info has to be input manually and it takes a lot of time. As long as I have the notes spelled out on the fingerboard, most of the time, I can figure out how I was picking and fingering it.

I used to record my ideas into a DAW but this works much better for me. Especially the tempo map part of it. I usually set that up so it starts a little slower than my maximum speed and it works its way up to it and stays there until I'm finished. As I get better at them I increase the speed and move on.

I had to organize the play list because I had 123 different exercises I had put into it and it was getting hard to find ones I was looking for. I grouped them together into categories such as Scales, Major, minor, Pentatonics, Diminished, Augmented, Modal, Whole Tone, Arpeggios, Sequences, Sweeps, etc. Hopefully that will make finding things a little easier.

Contributing Member

Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Jun 23rd, 2019 03:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have a little Olympus digital recorder that has a small built-in speaker. Inexpensive and simple to use.

I think these were developed as voice recorders (lectures, interviews, etc.), but they work really well as an audio notepad to capture riffs and chord sequences that are interesting enough to explore further later on.

Like this.


U.S. - Virginia

Jun 23rd, 2019 08:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

Classical pianists called this a zibaldone.


Contributing Member

Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Jun 23rd, 2019 09:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

Typical grand piano owner: maxed out his credit and spent his last dime to get that piano and cannot afford to heat his home.


Contributing Member

Middle Tennessee

Guitar Slave
Jun 24th, 2019 05:09 AM   Edit   Profile  

THAT'S funny!

A Zibaldone huh? It's a good thing I have a computer to do this on or I would have probably never done it.

Contributing Member

Shreveport, LA

There I was one night...
Jun 24th, 2019 08:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

I use the smart recorder app on my phone. Just press and record. Can plug the phone into the speakers for play back.

Contributing Member


Jun 24th, 2019 09:05 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have an excellent memory, believe it or not.

For example, as a songwriter, I never write anything down except lyrics and don't record or demo everything. I never forget things.

The same goes with the cover music I've learned over the years.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jun 24th, 2019 09:37 AM   Edit   Profile  

I just jot ideas down in a staff paper notebook that's always kept handy. Easier than messing with a digital recorder, giving things a title that will make sense later, and easier to flip through when you're looking for something.


U.S. - Virginia

Jun 24th, 2019 09:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

"A Zibaldone huh? It's a good thing I have a computer to do this on or I would have probably never done it."

I suppose I use a pc type version myself. I write these things in notation in sibelius. However I cannot write conceptual notes of any kind with it unless I make another file to go with it. The thing about good old fashioned books is that I can write the notation, notes and comments of any kind and look at each page and know what is what at a glance. There is no adequate preview on computers that allows this. With the hundreds of ideas on pc that I have, it is difficult to sift through it all because file names are too short to describe the concept uniquely enough. If I want to see just the first couple bars etc, I have to load up the software and wait for it. After doing this 25 times it starts taking up a good bit of time.

There are of course many plusses to the PC method, but there are certainly some to the physical method, IMO.


U.S. - Virginia

Jun 24th, 2019 10:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

"I just jot ideas down in a staff paper notebook that's always kept handy. Easier than messing with a digital recorder, giving things a title that will make sense later, and easier to flip through when you're looking for something."


Contributing Member


England's Sloppiest Guitarist
Jun 24th, 2019 01:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

I use Wavepad on my phone and iPad


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Jun 24th, 2019 06:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

Boy, 5Strats, I sure wish that were the case for me.

iPhone voice recorder. Or my DAW. Sometimes notation paper, but less and less these days.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jul 12th, 2019 09:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

My old and well used Zoom H2 Handicorder has developed bad habit of shutting down and locking up. I have an ongoing dialog with tech support, they’re stumped.

I’ve replaced it with the Tascam DR-05X recorder.

I’m good at recall too, except where words and number are involved. Wood, metal working are nearly intuitive, machinery and electronics I can trouble shoot, figuring out how something works, no problem, knots etc. Math and formulas are OK, still can’t remember the numbers or names. It kind of sucks.

I’ll look at the set list and quite a few of the tunes I’m thinking, what song is that. If a tune is randomly picked it takes me a second to figure out which one it is. But as soon as I hear the first chord I’m on it. The guys in the group know, veer too far off the set list, which is the pattern in my head, I need to be given a few seconds to make the shift.

Yeah it does suck, but I don’t need sheet music, all the songs are in my head. Of the 70 or so tunes we are playing only a couple of the new ones do I need to see the music.

I’ll record everything and figure out what I want to do with the new stuff. The recordings make that possible. I don’t need to be told what the bass line is. My greatest musical strength is creating bass lines. In many cases though the cover tunes come with great bass lines, in fact the bass line is the song. Come Together, Fever, Time is Tight, Thriller....you get the idea. I’m just putting this out there, I’ll never be in the top 10% because of this but, I do have my strengths.

I should stop right here but this disability bothers me, and often I feel inadequate when in the company of real musicians, like spending that week with Victor Wooten and crew.

This, keeps me going. Years ago my then guitar player had an old friend come by and join us at rehearsal, ours was a mostly original band, She had her keyboard with her. She plays with us then starts one of her songs. I play a bass line, she plays more of her songs, I keep coming up with bass line, the fourth or fifth song she just stops, turns around glaring at me, she asks “How are you doing that?” “ Doing what”, I reply. She says coming up with these bass lines, I asked her if it was a problem, she says no, no just they’re perfect, I just want to know how your doing it. I told her it the songs, the bass lines write themselves. She looks at me like somethings very wrong then asks my permission to write them down. Yeah, OK.

Guys I’ve played with who’ve moved on to other band, will call me to record at a studio, they show me the music, we run through it a few time then record. It took me a while to figure out I was bing used to write the bass line for them, it gets laid down on the track and is final. I get a copy “o)

Deep down I know I’m good but I am aware that I have some serious disabilities.

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / What do you use to archive ideas

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