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#1
I'm sure a few of you have seen these already, but I've put a fair bit of time and effort in and now there's enough material to be worth looking at.

Basically I feel that most "exercises" available online are just stock shred licks. These are pretty poor for developing technique (nowhere near focused enough!) and terribly dull to listen to until you start hitting 150bpm.

The following exercises ARE exercises. Some are totally amusical, some sound pretty nice, but they are all focused on working particular aspects of your technique or fretboard knowledge. There is nothing here that needs to be played at high tempos, correct form and attention to detail are most important factors.

Hopefully even a few of the more advanced players out there will find something tricky. Number 3 is a personal favourite, I've never met someone who found that easy!

If you need tabs, they're either annotated (in which case you may have to click through to youtube to see em), or attached to the youtube description.

Any suggestions on areas of your playing you want me to come up with something for, or feedback on my teaching style or the content would be much appreciated, whether left here or on youtube. Thanks for your time!

Exercise 1 - The Rack (left hand flexibility and reach)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6hzv428lTw

Exercise 2 - Pulloff Nightmare (finger strength and independence)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BkaQrMi_mM

Exercise 3 - Betcha Can't Pick This! (string crossing and skipping)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOsvZdvVndo

Exercise 4 - Impossible Em11 Sweep (muting, sweeping)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30-4OeXLiZc

Exercise 5 - Eh? (fretboard awareness, position shifts)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ujxy18iZ6pI

Exercise 6 - Legato Madness (dexterity, co-ordination)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFQb5Rqn89I

Exercise 7 - All legato permutations (co-ordination, strength)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89ICrLfbG9I

Exercise 8 - Chordal Efficiency (rhythm guitar, sweep picking, fretboard knowledge)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw_QbS3dLwg

Exercise 9 - Chord Scales (developing voicings and fretboard knowledge)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb3eUzgBid0

Exercise 10 - Whole Tone Hammers (or hybrid/economy picking nonsense!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBk1PPEcBJI

Exercise 11 - 3 notes, 18 pickstrokes! (picking clarity + flexibility)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZW8CBXS9Eg

Exercise 12 - Paganini Arpeggios (hybrid picking, chord inversions)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHBELKGTGIE

Ex 13 - Picking Permutations (picking, string crossing)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFlX54OoSsA

Ex 14 - Double Octave Displacement (stretches, hybrid picking)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54_ze6J14hc&list=PL8285311F648D6999&index=14&feature=plpp_video
#3
I wouldn't play guitar if I had such a schedule.
It's not motivating, and keeps me from being creative. And doing something over and over again doesn't make anyone better except for that lick being played.
I don't want to end up making "betcha can't play this" dude that focus more on being technical and fast than musical.
#4
I don't think you even read the descriptions on the videos. The first is to help you get stretchy chords.

And these aren't for a schedule - I'd suggest you do which ever one you like best for 10 mins after warming up. Then do whatever.
#5
Nice thread FP, I've already seen all of these so I know they're good exercises and well explained in my opinion.

Do you have anything for working the more mental aspects of playing that could be added to this (like actually focusing on rhythm for example)? These are all pretty good but I don't know if you'd consider that something that could be covered by this thread...

I only ask because I think this might be a thread I refer back to a lot while helping others and seeing it turn in to something pretty comprehensive would be awesome.
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#6
I know you only try to help, but I find musical knowledge and creativity way more important.
Still, being skilled technically helps you pull off things that can sounds really cool.
But as far as I have seen from this thread, there is not a single on explaing music theory =/
#7
Quote by JB95
I know you only try to help, but I find musical knowledge and creativity way more important.
Still, being skilled technically helps you pull off things that can sounds really cool.
But as far as I have seen from this thread, there is not a single on explaing music theory =/


5 is designed to improve your knowledge of the fretboard and CAGED positions.
8 is for helping you find the closest voicing of a desired chord.
9 is to help you develop your knowledge of chord voicings.

And I did a series on music theory like, 4 years ago. That should show you that I definitely agree about what's more important.

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Do you have anything for working the more mental aspects of playing that could be added to this (like actually focusing on rhythm for example)? These are all pretty good but I don't know if you'd consider that something that could be covered by this thread...


Thanks, yeah, I've been indecisive about this but I think I'll continue with a few more "mental" exercises. There's at least one rhythmic exercise I want to do, perhaps one or two more that'd fit in this context.

I'm not sure how many more there'll be, I don't know if there's any more purely physical exercises I really like out there.

It'd be nice to have a good reference thread but I've been updating the sticky a little here and there if I upload a more general video that's appropriate (check the new anchoring section for example!).
#8
I understand what youre trying to do, unlike these "I don't want to bound by music theory and technique" children. Thank you.


and challenge accepted.
#10
Quote by JB95
I wouldn't play guitar if I had such a schedule.
It's not motivating, and keeps me from being creative. And doing something over and over again doesn't make anyone better except for that lick being played.
I don't want to end up making "betcha can't play this" dude that focus more on being technical and fast than musical.



Nah i bet you bad technique and lack of practice will keep you from being creative.
I dont want to end up like every other guitar player "who is full of feeling" but always stays mediocre.


And doing something over and over again doesn't make anyone better.


#11
I will be trying these tonight hahaha, only saw Betcha Can't Pick This!, and it looked great.
#12
Some very nice exercises there - clear and well-explained. Thank you.
#14
Quote by Freepower
2 new exercises today, focusing primarily on the right hand. Updated first post, also available here -

Exercise 11 - 3 notes, 18 pickstrokes! (picking clarity + flexibility)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZW8CBXS9Eg

Exercise 12 - Paganini Arpeggios (hybrid picking, chord inversions)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHBELKGTGIE



Have you considered doing any videos on strumming technique. It's a part of my playing that i neglected for so long and i was wondering if you had any good exercises for practicing strumming patterns.

Love these videos btw. Short and to the point
#15
Have you considered doing any videos on strumming technique. It's a part of my playing that i neglected for so long and i was wondering if you had any good exercises for practicing strumming patterns.


Well, the main thing is that you want to keep a constant D-U going with the right hand. You play rests by not hitting the strings, not by stopping your right hand. A good exercise would be to write down

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

At the top of a piece of paper, then go through each permutation of rests, so you'd start with

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 
1 + 2 + 3 +   +
1 + 2 + 3   4 +
1 + 2 +   + 4 +
1 + 2   3 + 4 +
1 +   + 3 + 4 +
1   2 + 3 + 4 +
  + 2 + 3 + 4 +


And play each of them a few times. You'll probably find missing out "numbers" is really hard, especially the 1. Then try the same for patterns with 2 rests.

You probably won't even have to get through all the possible patterns before your hand "learns the rule" - it knows to keep strumming no matter if there's a rest or not.

Glad you like the vids! (strumming suggestions a good one!)
#16
Thanks a lot that really helped.

Would it be good to practice strumming using a metronome and playing in diffrent time signatures ?
#17
Well, the only difference would be if you're in a compound time signature you'd have to decide between strumming DUDDUD or DUDUDU. Otherwise the odd timing doesn't really add anything to the practice of strumming.
#18
Really great series; I've watched all 12 and like'd them I especially like exercise 5, which seems like a very practice and fun way of improving my fretboard memorization.

One thing I was wondering though was whether you think the alt picking exercises in lesson 3 should replace the standard 1234,1234 chromatic scale exercise.
#19
Cheers for these, the legato ones are great
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#20
I definitely am going to use these to woodshed and warm up this winter. It's been too long since I've actually done purely technical practice and your ideas are always really effective for me.

Cheers!
#21
^ Let me know if any are especially good or if any need tweaked - hope you have as much fun with them as I did!

Quote by andre09
Really great series; I've watched all 12 and like'd them I especially like exercise 5, which seems like a very practice and fun way of improving my fretboard memorization.

One thing I was wondering though was whether you think the alt picking exercises in lesson 3 should replace the standard 1234,1234 chromatic scale exercise.


The 1234 stuff is really for beginners who have never used all 4 fingers before, as well as for the most basic of alternate picking - 4 notes on each string means you can concentrate on a downstroke.

Once you can do that comfortably I think there's very little to be gained from the standard 1234 stuff, and almost anything would be better picking practice - riffs, scales, arpeggios, whatever.

The exercise in #3 is an example of an extremely focused drill on string crossing, and I think it's good for anyone of an intermediate level or above. I think it's a super effective picking exercise and will remain so until you're an extremely advanced alternate picker - I can't think of a tougher drill for string crossing that's anywhere near sensible.
#23
^ Can I just say, I've been using it in combination with the all legato permutations exercise since it's been up, to a metronome, and it's already helping immensely, even when you aren't doing that specific exercise. It especially helps with independence between second and third fingers.
My stuff


Gibson Les Paul Studio
Ibanez ADC120
Tanglewood TGRF VS
Blackstar HT20
Roland Micro Cube
#25
Quote by Hive_Node
I just recently realized I can't pull-off for crap. And my technique is horrible whilst doing so (would probably be linked to finger independence). Is exercise 2 going to help with my pull-off technique/independence? I feel dumb asking since you say it will, but... it just seems like holding down my fingers while doing that pull-off would make your technique worse.

EDIT: I Think it would be worth clarifying that I noticed this horrid technique when i was learning the first solo from "Carry On My Wayward Son," and during the 5p2p0 trill I couldn't play it fast at all while keeping my middle and ring finger mm's above the string, and not moving. Even at 40bpm. Perhaps it has to do with how my hand is positioned? I don't know. I really want to break through this.


It almost definitely has a lot to do with your hand position. If you fret 1234 do your fingers point parallel to the frets or are they slanted with the tips towards the bridge?

If you have the slanted position, you won't be able to effectively use your pinky and your 23 independence will be horrid. The slanted position is great for bends and certain stretches but not for tricky hammers and pulls.

Even if your hand position is good (use this as an example for now - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7-zD2IQYTw - that's really excellent hand posture for legato, move the guitar so your hand is comfortable!) - finger independence is HARD. World class pianists struggle with it and pulloffs on guitar are really difficult!

I just recently realized I can't pull-off for crap. And my technique is horrible whilst doing so (would probably be linked to finger independence). Is exercise 2 going to help with my pull-off technique/independence? I feel dumb asking since you say it will, but... it just seems like holding down my fingers while doing that pull-off would make your technique worse.


You've got a point actually - if you did just this exercise for all your practice, you would probably end up with some bad habits. #2 is mostly to develop strength in the small muscles of the left hand - often people use hand strength or slight forearm tweaks or even just jam fingers together instead of just using the intended finger.

The fretted fingers stop you using these "tricks" and actually develop the correct muscles, and the exercise will help you develop control when fretting difficult sequences, but it won't train you to relax unused fingers. That's the main focus of this method - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvhZ80OsuTQ - but they're two sides of the same coin.

Tl;dr - You need fingers that fret well and can fret without help from the other fingers (exercise 2 will help with this), AND you need to be able to keep unused fingers relaxed (exercise 2 will not help with this).

And regarding learning solos helping with your improv- yes, it will, but only if you figure out how and why things work. Why does that bend sound so good? Can I apply it to my own improv?

Rinse and repeat!
#27
Up past the 12th fret it's harder to avoid slanting and you don't need as much reach anyway. If the lick is really intricate I'll hike the guitar up and drop my shoulder down to nail it. The other thing is that often you're ascending into that area of the neck to land on a screaming bend ( ) so the slant is actually beneficial.

Tl;dr, don't worry about it past the 12th fret.
#28
Quote by JB95
I wouldn't play guitar if I had such a schedule.
It's not motivating, and keeps me from being creative. And doing something over and over again doesn't make anyone better except for that lick being played.
I don't want to end up making "betcha can't play this" dude that focus more on being technical and fast than musical.



actually quite the opposite. if you dont you never play anything your playing well or right at all. and could probably achieve 4-5x better tone, and more exacting timing if you changed that attitude.

you should be playing everything at ridiculously slow speeds and strive for excellent tone and proper form on each note for EVERYTHING. every piece you learn should be an excersize. if it is not, your likely not playing it right, unless you have years upon years of professional experience or musical education behind you and could sight read it on spot.

the best players dont just make it through pieces, they play them well focusing on control, detail, expression, and proper technique.

if you cant play it right painstakingly slow, its about 90% likely your playing it even worse fast. try it, listen to the best tones you can get playing very slowly and carefully on each note, and then play it as fast as you usually do and time to a metronome. if your beats are off, your not playing it well, and are in fact not ready to play it live in front of people. Id also bet, that without this prior practice, you wouldnt get as clear, defined a tone on some notes as you should be getting, and in fact, ignoring dynamics. just because your playing has dynamics doesnt mean they are the right ones in the right place...

I learned all this the hard way and wouldve made far more progress earlier had I adhered to it. excersizes most certainly teach and improve technique, but only if played properly, and videos alone tend not to stress proper positioning, posture, and right and left hand technique, so I guess its easy to misunderstand that without a teacher...
Gear:

Jackson dk2m
MIM strat
peavey jsx 2x12 combo
Recording King RDC-26
Digitch RP1000
Crybaby 535Q
Last edited by spiroth10 at Dec 12, 2011,
#29
^ that's the hardest part I've found about teaching stuff to people online. Usually the problems people have are with the basics, but they think they have intermediate or advanced problems. You spend ages trying to fix things when the person actually just has horrible posture or doesn't even practice properly.
#30
Ive only just begun fixing problems lol. but I am getting better now, so I try to explain this wherever possible. im not trying to be a jerk, really, just offering up some advice Ive come to after a bit of experience with the beast.
Gear:

Jackson dk2m
MIM strat
peavey jsx 2x12 combo
Recording King RDC-26
Digitch RP1000
Crybaby 535Q
#31
Quote by Freepower
Exercise 12 - Paganini Arpeggios (hybrid picking, chord inversions)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHBELKGTGIE

I like this one. It's cool.
#33
Do you think this would be a good exercise for stretches, string skipping and learning octaves ?

You basically take a Major7th arpeggio (in this example C). So you lay the notes out in a two notes per string pattern

E                              8 12
B                      8 12
G                5 9
D           5 9
A      3 7
E 3 7

I like to play it using 16th notes in 3/4 time and then go back to the bottom.

The next one is a much more advanced version. It can be alernate picked, downpicked, economy picked or hybrid picked. It's a great way to learn arpeggios imo as it can be done with many different chords. This one is a F# minor dim 7th i think and works well in 4/4 time played with 16th notes. I prefer this one as it uses more than just your pinky and index finger.


E   17 14                                          
B                       17 13           
G             14 11                      14 11
D                                14 10                     14 10
A                                                    12 9
E                                                                       12 8



What is your opinion on these exercises ?
#34
I don't even really know if I'd call that an exercise, it's a useful kind of lick for sure. (I use a lot as it happens... I think I demonstrate a maj7 in that kind of pattern here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPhHNZpDSdo#t=44s )

Personally I try and make my exercises so they only focus on one or two things, I think if you try and practise everything you end up practising nothing. That's the case for me anyway.

Do you think this would be a good exercise for stretches, string skipping and learning octaves ?


It's a good exercise for learning the "3 octave trick", definitely.

It's a bad exercise for stretching - there lots of position shifts and if you practice it at anything near a normal tempo it'll be very hard to work on your stretches. It also doesn't actually stretch very much - even if you have very, very small hands this should be doable without too much work. That said, even if you do have to work to reach this, because it covers so much fretboard so quickly, you'd find that you probably have too much trouble on the lowest octave and no trouble at all on the top one.

Your second idea is an bad exercise for string skipping (I presume you mean the second example, the first doesn't contain any string skipping) but there's some good points to it - if you're starting on a downstroke then each group of 4 starts on a down (nice!) and each string skip is an outside skip - generally people find this easier. If you're just starting with string skipping this makes it possible to get the basics of the technique down without having to deal with really weird mixes of pickstrokes.

However, your fingering for it is horrible for string skipping. You're going to have to make big jumps every single string change! (btw, it's an F#m7b5, sometimes called an F# half-diminished) I see you're trying to keep the same fingering pattern as your first example, but it doesn't really work for string skipping. In fact it's really hard to come up with a sensible fingering pattern for doing that sort of 4s pattern without using sweeping or hybrid picking.

Your first idea is definitely worth practising (sounds good, feels good), but the second is only hard because the fingering is really inefficient. I don't think you'll ever want to play that arpeggio like that and it doesn't improve anything that can't be done more interestingly - eg, refinger the arpeggio so it's one position and the apply the same picking pattern (which was the good part, remember?) to this fingering.
      One position
E||--17-14-------------------------|
B||--------17----------------------|
G||-----------17-14----------------|
D||-----------------16-14----------|
A||-----------------------15-------|
E||--------------------------17-14-|


Same picking pattern (still one bad position change but meh) 
--17-14-------------------------------------------||
--------------17-13-------------------------------||
--------17-14-------------17-14-------------------||
--------------------16-14-------------16-14-------||
--------------------------------15-12-------------||
--------------------------------------------17-14-||
#35
Thanks for that. The first one sounds much better to me anyway. The second one is a bit over-complicated.

A video on vibrato and bends would be nice. Maybe showing some good exercises to practice bends. I personally think adding vibrato to a bend without sounding shit is one of the hardest things to do on the instrument.
#36
Sure, the main thing is to use the thumb over the neck and turn the wrist, don't push with the finger muscles - they just hold the note down. Using fingers 1 and 2 to help support the bend is a good idea.

Basically when I get round to doing one I'll do it on an exercise I got from Guthrie. It's been uploaded here without Guthrie's permission but it's what I'm planning to do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWWvTIKg3Vo&feature=player_embedded

It's super super hard to do it when you're coming down. Justinguitar delivers great lessons on everything btw - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06M2-51JF80
#37
Quote by Freepower
Sure, the main thing is to use the thumb over the neck and turn the wrist, don't push with the finger muscles - they just hold the note down. Using fingers 1 and 2 to help support the bend is a good idea.

Basically when I get round to doing one I'll do it on an exercise I got from Guthrie. It's been uploaded here without Guthrie's permission but it's what I'm planning to do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWWvTIKg3Vo&feature=player_embedded

It's super super hard to do it when you're coming down. Justinguitar delivers great lessons on everything btw - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06M2-51JF80


What justin is saying is interesting because my guitar teacher said that for example: if you bend an A to a B, you must then SHARPEN the note slightly and let it come back down to the B and then do it again and again so you are vibrato-oing (?) between E and E.4 or something. So you never release below your original bend. Which if you think about it makes sense as if you were adding vibrato to a none bent note. Ther pitch would never go lower than that original note, only higher.

Justin is saying that if you bend from a D to an E, you then release the bend BELOW the E and back up to the E.

Are these just two different techniques or is one right and the other wrong ?
#38
They're different and have a different kind of feel - Justins feels like a bit of a tease, whereas your teacher has a more ballsy rock and roll feel. If I can I try to actually hit the note, then go above and below but keep it in the middle. Bloody hard.

If not I tend to go for the higher vibrato, I tend to lack subtlety in my rock playing.
#39
The lessons are quite fun. Thanks for posting those up, fella!
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