#1
What would be some musical ways, examples, or exercises I could use to build my lead-line chops? Or some methods to create my own exercises. They don't necessarily have to be guitar specific either.

I want to increase my playing speed, but I don't want to run up and down scales all day. I don't know my fretboard as well as I should, which I would like to work on as well. However, this could be remedied by running up and down scales while addressing which notes, and intervals I'm playing. I would like to avoid running up and down scales to a metronome if possible. Or at least do it in a more "fun" or "creative" way.

I'm not wanting to shred by any means, but I'm looking for advice on how to build my chops. Sorry if this is a silly question.
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

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#2
its really simple, just make music with it, play jazz, learn solos, its all in the practical work that you get your technique practice. If you wanna play fast and learn to play fast, learn django reinhardt or Charlie christian solo's or whatever youre into. Or just make something fast up yourself right here, right now, thats the best thing.
#3
As for knowing your scales just look at a sheet of paper that has all the possible scales/notes in the key of Em and improv to a backtrack, after awhile you wont have to look at the sheet. Then try another key but now don't use a chart and just figure it out on your own based on what you know from the previous one. Repeat till you have learned all scales.

To build speed improv to a backtrack normally but every once in awhile try to get from one point on the neck to another as fast as you can. Example 5 fret low E string to 15 fret high E string. This also helps with creativity in finding different ways around a scale. Hope I Helped.
Last edited by wguitarimprov at Jul 22, 2013,
#4
If you want to build technique and accuracy, scales to a metronome is a tried and tested method.

As well as playing the scales 'dry', you can try articulating them legato and staccato all the way up and down. Or playing with different rhythmic groupings. Or adding syncopation. For example, you could play up in sixteenth notes but attempt putting the accent on every third note. Going up in intervals of a third could be a good workout as well:

e|----------------------------|
B|----------------------------|
G|----------------------------|
D|-------------------------7--|
A|-----7------8--7--10--8-----|
E|--8-----10------------------| etc


But basically, scales to a metronome. Arpeggio's too.

Playing pieces builds technique along with musicality as well. But playing scales is still an important foundation. Violinists play 'em, pianists play 'em, flautists play 'em. You ain't no special snowflake, so hop to it.
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#5
Running scales and arpeggios is a pretty standard method for working up all kinds of musical skills. It's also kind of nice have something you can do that doesn't pose a creative challenge - there is plenty of time for that outside of technical workouts.

As stated above, the key to building technique and musicality with scales is to play with different rhythms and techniques.

A great way to start is to write your scales out on the staff, just one or two octaves, as quarter notes, 8th notes, and 16th notes. Then break them into different patterns. For example, one quarter and two 8ths, an 8th and two 16ths, 16th/8th/16th, etc. Once you have them written, sing/tap the rhythms without your guitar. THEN pick up the guitar and run scales with your rhythmic patterns. Use your knowledge of scale construction to extend whatever scales you know to the top of the fretboard (if you don't know how to make your major/minor scales, start there and work up to this exercise).

Plan on spending a week or so figuring out all the scale positions. Once you know all 12 major scales, it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes a day of focused scale practice to get and stay in shape.

And, of course, take what you know and play around with it creatively when you turn off the metronome.

Same instructions apply to argpeggios.

Speed itself is just one small part of technique. Having your scales/arpeggios ready to go at a moment's notice will eliminate 90% of the difficulty when you get to a point where speed actually matters. Don't worry about it until you've actually got some material to shred on!
#6
I like to compose a lick that sounds good to me, and then practice it in the following ways...

1. Picking all the notes and also using mainly legato technique.
2. Using different types of subdivisions. For Example: I will practice the lick I've made up using 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 notes per beat. (Obviously the timings you choose will depend on your current level of playing).

Once I can play the lick fluently, I then start creating variations on the lick, and practice them using the two approaches above.

For me, this is a fun way to develop speed. I still practice scales, but the scale practice I do is done mainly as a warm-up.
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#7
I always hated scales, but now I regret not paying attention to them, since now people want me to teach them.

But anyways, just practice like maybe start with scales, slowly of course, then go play some of whatever, then end with scales. I like to use scales as warm ups and cool downs, and play whatever in the middle.

Like last week, I started very slow with finger picking, and now I can play at a decent speed without having to worry about what string I am hitting. But anyways, start slow, and over time, your speed will increase.

Thinking back at it, when I started guitar, I was of course self teaching and wonder how people play so fast, since I could only hit like one note at a time and had to look to find which note was next, and the sound sucked(weak fingers). My speed still sucked, but he told me to take things slowly, and after a year, I had surpassed him to be honest

Now I have people wondering how I play fast(still suck with scales), and talk like I am a master or something, but I really think I should have stuck with a teacher longer, since I still can't use my pinky, so back to the scales