No Repeat Voicings: Just A Minute!

No Repeat Voicings – Another Mike Walker thing that he used to force me to do. He was quite a strict teacher. He used to make me stand on one leg whilst doing this. Blindfold. For eight hours at a time. And if I repeated a voicing he would throw Spangles all over. Once, we created a new baby crab out of dirt and the idea of earwax.


Here’s what you do

Decide on a range on the guitar, here are some suggestions:

  • 1st 4 frets and the open strings
  • Top 3 strings only, up to 12th fret, no open strings
  • Bottom 3 strings only, full range & open strings
  • Strings 5 4 2 only
  • G & B strings only
  • etc

It’s all about the physical limit of the guitar.

Next take whatever tune you’re working on and comp through the chord progression.

If you play the same voicing twice you die.

Ha ha!

It’s a bit like Radio 4’s Just A Minute! Now if you’re not familiar with this, (like one student who burst out laughing when I uttered the words ‘Radio 4’) well, let me explain – The object of the game is for panellists to talk for a minute on a given subject, “without hesitation, repetition or deviation”. So I want you to approach this challenge with that kind of mindset. It’s a game.

Once you’ve had a go at that, you can vary how musical vs mechanical you make the challenge. I like to practice it all ways.

So feel free to change the limit of improvising this stuff to just try to figure out something you like.

For example, here’s a thing I came up with using a limit of ‘blues in A, no repeat voicings, and strings 5 4 2 only’. (I added a coda bit after that doesn’t use the limit)


Ok, yeah, looks great, I’ll do that…

So have a go at that, ok.

Don’t flake out and say, ‘but, but… it’s too hard, and my finger hurts, and Mr Tumble’s on TV‘…

I’m not interested. I’ve got better things to do than worry about you and your problems. FFS, just do some bloody practice, ok? Jesus….

Actually, I was just joking.

Not really.


Can we be friends?


Ok, a pox on thee, you Radio 1 loving simpleton.

Love you xxx

Comments on No Repeat Voicings: Just A Minute!

  1. neil says:

    I tried this and, well, on a first attempt it was metaphorically raining Spangles. I found that there was too much choice even with restricting it to the first four frets. I had to break it down further and first do root+third, then root+third+seventh, then… etc. Also, it’s good for learning chords and forms (a la Form 100), since I found it a bit difficult sight reading while blindfolded!

    Hey Ade, it’s Neil from Spain. Hope all is well, good to see you here.

  2. Ah ha, yes! I have been subjected similar treatment recently from Mike :) It’s a roaster ain’t it! I however have to stand on no legs for 28 hours a day or have to eat preserved squashed budgies (which he’s quite partial to these days)

  3. jesse molins says:

    Strange boy! Great idea though. Maybe I should use some of mr walkers ideas for my teaching. Now where’s my blindfold?

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