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