To everyone out there, my problem is that i look at guitar, and there are so many ways to approach learning techniques, but i'll get to the point and ask

are learning songs just to learn technique a good idea, especially if they are by some really high level players such as Buckethead, Paul Gilbert, Guthrie Govan just to name a few ?

and i'll give you the breakdown of what im talking about

Alt Picking: Street Lethal/Paul Gilbert
String Skipping: Scarified/" "
Sweep Picking/Sweep Tapping: Fermented Offal Discharge/Necrophagist
Legato: Number Of The Beast/Iron Maiden
8 Finger Tapping: Jordan/Buckethead
Sliding/Alt Picking: Waves/Guthrie Govan

they say for build up of technique, learn songs that you cant learn in 15 mins, and i definetly aint gettin all this done in 15 mins
There is no such thing as unnecessary force...as a matter of fact im using the force to type this signature
Get a metronome and practice alternate picking trough the songs on a slower tempo to get yout alternate picking and fretting hand dexterity allright. Once you get that done you can start thinking about sweeping. Tapping is something hou can just practice on its own however it will br easier if you allready have the fretting hand dexterity and strentgh of a alternate picking.
Hope this helps you out
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play what you love. you will practice better because you will want it more, and it will shine through in performance.

personally for me i like to make up a riff to practice a technique. After that i use songs written by others for the work out.
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for alternate picking warm ups i use Metal Storm by Slayer (intro only) and Washington is Next by Megadeth, to master anything by Paul Gilbert Is to master alt picking
There is no such thing as unnecessary force...as a matter of fact im using the force to type this signature
Ok, stop thinking about it in terms of "this is what I need to learn to get good at this skill". Learn songs that you actually want to learn, there's no point getting all these tunes under your belt and building up these chops if you've done it in a context that you're never going to use, right?
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Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”

I generally hate playing boring exercises up and down the fretboard, so often I like to pick a difficult song that has elements of technique that I want to work on, and isolate certain parts of that song that might pose a problem.

For example, in sacrified I might isolate the first few string skipping runs and then just practice in a loop over and over. At the end of the day, its pretty much the same as practicing a string skipping exercise (perhaps scarified has more awkward fingering than most songs, especially when you have to use the pinky and ring finger to do a little turnaround). The difference is when you finally get it, you're 1 step closer to learning the song you want to learn

Ultimately I think it comes down to personal preference, taking the example above, you could still just practice the technique itself by doing exercises, and once you can do those proficiently, the scarified string skips will come to you much faster. The other benefit to this method is that if you made up the exercise yourself and it sounds good, you can use it in your own compositions/solos.

So I think although there are many methods, as long as it shows results I don't think it matters too much which way you choose to tackle technique.

P.S. the thing you gotta watch out with the "using songs for practicing technique" method is to make sure that you pick only a few, or else you'll never get anywhere with any of them if you branch out too much. Pick a focus or two (e.g. alternate picking and sweeping), isolate a few of your favourite songs that have these elements and start practicing!
Last edited by aspire.rabbit at Mar 28, 2011,

In addition to making up the exercise or yourself, go one further and come up with 3 or 4 variations to it. Change the phrasing. Change the strings. Change key. etc. This will help with your creativity also. Many a great riff/lick/song has been created this way