While some larger GuitArchitecture posts are in the pipeline, I wanted to post about a few online tools I use frequently when practicing that may be helpful to you as well.
In previous practice posts, I talked about keeping a practice log and using small increments of time (5-10 minutes) in multiple sessions to really focus on ideas. (You can download a sample log here or here). The tools I mentioned to assist in this are a metronome and a stop watch.
Not to be confused with the very cool sevenstring.org forum, Seventh string is the company that produces the excellent Transcribe! software. While Transcribe! isn’t free (nor should it be – it’s an excellent piece of software that will pay for itself many times over) they have a number of useful free apps on their utilities page that may be of interest to you. The apps all use Java so you’ll need to have that installed if they’re not working – but the great thing about each of these apps is that they can either be run online or downloaded to your computer to run if you’re somewhere without an internet connection.
Getting in tune is the first step to any practice session. The online tuner on seventh string is functional but I find the tuning fork to be a lot more useful. In addition to providing tones to tune to, the tuning fork also can act as a drone. Drones can be a great tool for developing melodic ideas in a harmonic context.
The real prize here though is the metronome. I love the old school graphic and the click sound isn’t annoying to me. It also has tap tempo and can move incrementally.
Working hand in hand with the metronome for timed training is a stop watch. I’ve plenty of hardware versions that are fine. But I really like the numerous variations on the online-stopwatch site. The countdown version is perfect for setting 5-10 minute increments (or longer) and rings when it’s done. There’s a metronome on this site as well – but it doesn’t allow incremental movement.
When practicing mid day – I tend to just open up my log, tune up, set the countdown timer turn on the metronome and work on the first thing on the log list.
The simpler you make a routine – the easier it is to maintain.
Anyways, nothing Earth shattering here – but I hope it helps!
Thanks for reading!
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I have linked two sample documents for logs below. You could use word or excel, or any basic word processing or spreadsheet application to generate one of these. I haven’t seen an online version of these I like – So I’ll stick with these for now.
PRACTICE LOG (PDF)
Weekly Practice Log (Word)