Hands Of Steel I

author: JL_Shredder date: 10/06/2008 category: correct practice
rating: 9.5 / votes: 40 
Welcome to the first in a series of lessons designed to build your command of the fretboard. I'm hoping to make this a monthly affair, so please send me your feedback. Here are some things you need to know before we continue with this lesson:
  • Play every note clearly and evenly. Don't cheat yourself by playing sloppy or uneven notes, because it will just lead to problems further down the road.
  • It helps to have regular practice every day. I'd reccomend at least 30 minutes a day, though more is usually better.
  • Relax! Excessive tension can cause discomfort, repetitive strain injuries, and it can greatly limit your playing ability. I'd also reccomend that you stretch before practice to prevent injury. Now on to the lesson. The first lesson will contain simple chromatic excercises. These are beneficial for players of any skill level because they help build finger strength, flexibility, and muscle memory. The first excercise is a simple 1-2-3-4 pattern up and down the neck on individual strings.
    ex.1) ascending                         descending
    e|-1-2-3-4-2-3-4-5-3-4-5-6-etc--|    e|-12-11-10-9-11-10-9-8-10-9-8-7-etc--|
    b|------------------------------|    b|------------------------------------|
    g|------------------------------|    g|------------------------------------|
    d|------------------------------|    d|------------------------------------|
    a|------------------------------|    a|------------------------------------|
    E|------------------------------|    E|------------------------------------|
    The second one is the same 1-2-3-4 pattern across the neck followed by a 4-3-2-1 pattern back across.
    ex.2) 
    e|-----------------------------------------1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-----------------|
    b|---------------------------------1-2-3-4-----------------5-4-3-2---------|
    g|-------------------------1-2-3-4--------------------------------5-4-3-2--|
    d|-----------------1-2-3-4----------------------------------------------etc|
    a|---------1-2-3-4---------------------------------------------------------|
    E|-1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------------------------------|
    This next one is a 1-2-3 pattern that will help you with your triplets.
    ex.3)
    e|-------------------------------1-2-3-4-3-2-------------------------------|
    b|-------------------------1-2-3-------------4-3-2-------------------------|
    g|-------------------1-2-3-------------------------4-3-2-------------------|
    d|-------------1-2-3-------------------------------------4-3-2-------------|
    a|-------1-2-3-------------------------------------------------4-3-2-------|
    E|-1-2-3------------------------------------------------------------4-3-2--|
    Now we'll get a little more advanced. This one has a 1-2-3-4 pattern that moves diagonally across the neck.
    ex.4)
    e|-----------------------------------------6-7-8-9-9-8-7-6-----------------|
    b|---------------------------------5-6-7-8-----------------8-7-6-5---------|
    g|-------------------------4-5-6-7---------------------------------7-6-5-4-|
    d|-----------------3-4-5-6-------------------------------------------------|
    a|---------2-3-4-5---------------------------------------------------------|
    E|-1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------------------------------|
    These next 3 excercises are 3 note patterns that will help you with scales becase the major scale is based on these 3 shapes.
    ex.5)1-2-4
    e|-------------------------------1-2-4-5-3-2-------------------------------|
    b|-------------------------1-2-4-------------5-3-2-------------------------|
    g|-------------------1-2-4-------------------------5-3-2-------------------|
    d|-------------1-2-4-------------------------------------5-3-2-------------|
    a|-------1-2-4-------------------------------------------------5-3-2-------|
    E|-1-2-4------------------------------------------------------------5-3-2--|

    ex.6)1-3-4
    e|-------------------------------1-3-4-5-4-2-------------------------------|
    b|-------------------------1-3-4-------------5-4-2-------------------------|
    g|-------------------1-3-4-------------------------5-4-2-------------------|
    d|-------------1-3-4-------------------------------------5-4-2-------------|
    a|-------1-3-4-------------------------------------------------5-4-2-------|
    E|-1-3-4------------------------------------------------------------5-4-2--|

    ex.7)1-3-5
    e|-------------------------------1-3-5-6-4-2-------------------------------|
    b|-------------------------1-3-5-------------6-4-2-------------------------|
    g|-------------------1-3-5-------------------------6-4-2-------------------|
    d|-------------1-3-5-------------------------------------6-4-2-------------|
    a|-------1-3-5-------------------------------------------------6-4-2-------|
    E|-1-3-5-------------------------------------------------------------6-4-2-|
    The last one is a bit more difficult. It has a 1-2-3-4, 2-3-4-1, 3-4-1-2, 4-1-2-3 pattern. It's kind of a brain-twister, but it really helps with finger dexterity.
    ex.8)
    e|-----------------------------------------2-3-4-1-------------------------|
    b|---------------------------------1-2-3-4---------3-4-1-2-----------------|
    g|-------------------------4-1-2-3-------------------------4-1-2-3---------|
    d|-----------------3-4-1-2-----------------------------------------1-2-3-4-|
    a|---------2-3-4-1---------------------------------------------------------|
    e|-1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------------------------------|
    Make sure you practice these excercises at least once a day if at all possible. Remember to make sure that every single note is clear and precise. Once you feel comfortable at a certain speed, try increasing it a bit. In this way, you will constantly improve your playing. Also remember to relax when you play these, because tension won't help you at all. Well, that's it! I hope this will help you out!
  • More JL_Shredder lessons:
    + Hands Of Steel III: Mastering Scales. Part I Correct Practice 10/05/2011
    + Hands Of Steel Tips Correct Practice 03/18/2011
    + Hands Of Steel II Correct Practice 01/05/2011
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