More Exercises 2

author: Martin Messner date: 12/07/2010 category: guitar techniques
rating: 8 / votes: 4 
Hey again Ultimate-Guitar ;) Now - after that long period of events and challenges - I finally have some time for my guitar work. ... What are exercises for? My first lesson "Conclusion Of Left Hand Techniques" included some exercises for increasing speed, especially the speed of the left hand. Almost 2 years later, I totally disagree with this theory. In fact, I realized that an exercise is just an exercise. There is no need to be able to play those boring and unnatural tabs super fast because it's just an easy example for techniques used in harder songs. Another thing that went wrong is the fact, that it focused on the left hand. The most important thing about playing fast&accurate is NOT the left hand. It's the perfect synchronization of BOTH hands. So what? Are these old exercises wrong? Are they even counterproductive? No, but I told you wrong some background information. We are all improving our skills and our knowledge and back then, I was sure that exercises really do work like that. I apologize for that mistake. :) So what are exercises actually for? They represent a way of practicing general techniques. They help you understand how things work and show you where problems might occur. Exercises are good for warming up before starting to really play the guitar, for learning new techniques and for practicing them. They might help us a bit our speed, but they replace the actual slow practicing of particular songs. ... So what? This series of lessons provides you with exercises. You can use them for every conceivable purpose - and I will of course tell you, what I personally think of them and how I use them. (the numbering includes the exercises of "Conclusion Of Left Hand Techniques") ... General Information 1#: Slow down, really slow down! Don't take that speed that seems to be "just accurate". Play it REALLY slow and accurate. Force yourself into literally "slow-mo" your action - after some time you might increase the speed step by step. Speed is not a skill, it's a result you get from playing slowly. It's like getting drunk. Feeling dizzy & happy after drinking alcohol is not a skill, it's a result. You are not able to control the result too well, but after some beer (or more), you're definitely drunk. So just take your time and focus on accuracy instead of hurry up too fast. 2#: Use a metronome Just do it. Your brain needs structure and in this case, structure means constant speed. Their prices are pretty fair and don't forget that there are even some iPhone/iPod/iPad Apps, too. During my travels, I use for example "Tempo" by Frozen Ape. (good online metronome, if you don't own one: http://www.metronomeonline.com/) 3# Variations Play patterns backwards, then start with the highest instead of starting with the lowest string, then both together. The good thing about exercises is, that there is not wrong exercise. Some are better, some are less useful, but all exercises help us! So it's totally up to you, to modify these exercises if you find space for improvement. ...
EX 9 (Alternating between 2 strings)
e|------------------------------------6---8-6-5---7-------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------6---8-5---7-------6---8-5---7-----------------------------|
G|--------------------6---8-5---7-----------------------6---8-5---7---------------------|
D|------------6---8-5---7---------------------------------------6---8-5---7-------------|
A|----6---8-5---7-------------------------------------------------------6---8-5---7-----|
E|--5---7-----------------------------------------------------------------------6---8-6-|
 
(Constantly usage of alternate picking)
 
EX 10 (Alternating between 2 strings +)
e|----------------------------6---8-6-5---7-----------------------------|
B|--------------------6---8-------------------5---7---------------------|
G|------------6---8---------5---7-------6---8---------5---7-------------|
D|----6---8---------5---7-----------------------6---8---------5---7-----|
A|----------5---7---------------------------------------6---8-----------|
E|--5---7-------------------------------------------------------6---8-6-|
 
EX 11 (Alternating between 2 strings ++)
e|--------------------6---8-6-5---7---------------------|
B|------------6---8-------------------5---7-------------|
G|----6---8-----------------------------------5---7-----|
D|------------------5---7-------6---8-------------------|
A|----------5---7-----------------------6---8-----------|
E|--5---7---------------------------------------6---8-6-|
 
...
 
EX 12 (Jumping up to D-string) 
e|----------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------|
D|----6---8---6---8-5-6-7-8---6---8-|
A|----------5---7-----------5---7---|
E|--5---7---------------------------|
 
EX 13 (Jumping up to G-string)
e|--------------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------------------|
G|----6---8---6---8---6---8-5-6-7-8---6---8---6---8-|
D|------------------5---7-----------5---7-----------|
A|----------5---7---------------------------5---7---|
E|--5---7-------------------------------------------|
 
EX 14 (Jumping up to B-string)
e|------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|----6---8---6---8---6---8---6---8-5-6-7-8---6---8---6---8---6---8-|
G|--------------------------5---7-----------5---7-------------------|
D|------------------5---7---------------------------5---7-----------|
A|----------5---7-------------------------------------------5---7---|
E|--5---7-----------------------------------------------------------|

(I skip "jumping up to e-string" because it's practically never used)
... You can of course post your "record BPM" and compare your speed to other users, but I don't recommend it since - as I mentioned above - speed is not a skill. But of course you can suggest some BPM for each exercise (not the top speed, but the BPM which is perfectly accurate for you), so that other guitarists know how skilled they are so far. Your Martin Messner
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