#1
Learning to play guitar can often seem like an endless stream of exercises, skills and techniques. While it's true that a lot of the fundamentals of guitar can take large amounts of time, once they're completely mastered it's very simple to pick up the additional skills that lead to advanced guitar playing. There are many different schools of guitar instruction, and an equally vast amount of musical styles and guitar disciplines, however they all share some common characteristics than any experienced guitar player should be able to perform comfortably. These three techniques are designed not just to maximise your guitar playing abilities, but to create a base that allows you to easily pick up the skills that look impressive and sound amazing.

#1 - Fluid Alternate Picking.
Alternate picking forms the basis of nearly every rock and roll or heavy metal guitar line. Whether you're playing a steady rhythm guitar or performing a solo, you'll no doubt have to incorporate alternate picking into your playing techniques. Alternate picking is simply in theory, but takes quite a lot of practice to perform fluidly; simply pick the string using alternate up and down movements, and alternating the side of the pick that is used to pluck the string. A simply way to start on alternate picking is to move up and down one string, either in a chromatic scale or 8-tone scale. Practice making the movements fluid and steady. From there, you can transition across strings and into multi-string scale runs and arpeggios.

#2 - Steady Rhythm Control.
This one might sound elementary, but it's unfortunately passed over by too many guitarists looking for show over real skills. Being able to hold time and play in a steady rhythm is a required skill for any performing guitarist. While in a band situation a drummer controls time, you need to be able to play out the time signature and rhythmic nature of your guitar line in order to play it at the speed and intensity that's required. Practice using one of your feet to count out beats and bars, and eventually transition towards reflecting rhythm notation through the intensity of your picking.

#3 - Knowledge Of Basic Scale Shapes.
Scales form them basis of any piece of music, no matter what genre. Any guitarist, no matter what their playing style and experience level, should make sure that they have at least some knowledge of the basic scales, primarily the major and minor scales. Knowing just these two scales can dramatically increase your ability to improvise music, to play flowing and melodic solos, and interact with other band members and musicians. It's best to start with the basic major and minor scales, learning the different scale shapes and constructions across all ranges of the fret board and string selections. From there, move on to learning the modes and scale inversions of the major and minor scales, which will allow you to create and understand different styles and genres of music.

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