#1
I will have a school-free week next week. And I really want to improve my technique as sometimes I can't execute an idea that I thought of, just because the idea is too fast.

As background information, I play the guitar for a little over 7 years now. Still my technique is not all that good because I never really practiced it.

I was wondering if there are any 1 hour technique workouts. I want to be able to tap, legato, sweep and alternate pick smoother, cleaner and faster. So I guess that's 15 minutes for each technique.

The only problem being is, where am I to start? What excersises do I need to do? Or is this a bad idea after all? Is it good to write some own licks to practice to get faster? Because I got some cool Steve Vai sweep/slide lick (well, it sounds sort of the same). I also got a lick in which I combine legato/alternate picking and tapping.

What is the secret to the most efficient way of practicing speed?
#2
Speed Mechanics by Troy Stetina!

That is for the skills and practise the ex in that book from the beginning to the end some 192 ex in total can make you a highly qualified shred head if you want.

Anybody who sit down and practise the ex from that book do get the result even me.

I got that book back around 1993 and only played a small handful of the ex not really in a serious way as my interest in what I wanted to play was in a different area not that I could not learn it.

It started last year but I finally decided to go ahead with it starting from ex 1 and get through all the ex with time. I am currently around ex 55 and my skills are way higher developed everytime I play.

I am also learning som Yngwie stuff on the side and yes because of the skills from Speed Mechanic I can pull of Yngwie without much trouble and get away with it.

There is nothing wrong with learning how play fast. As always play what fits the music at all times. Fast or slow, few notes, many notes, in between and so forth. The art of playing solo's that sounds great with the music.
#3
I don't think 15 minutes of each every day for a week would be the best plan, honestly. You may see some slight improvement, but it would be much more effective to pick just one of those areas and really hammer it out during the week.

I'm actually working on alternate picking speed at the moment (despite playing for 8 years, my picking is pretty lacking lol).

Any exercise would help, but don't try to work on too many things at once. The best way is to focus on one thing for each hand.

So for me, that meant using a metronome and choosing a repeatable pattern (this can be a scale or just chromatic runs) that runs along the whole neck. I started at 80 bpm doing 8th notes because I could do 100 bpm 8th notes perfectly. I would do that for 30 minutes and then jump it up to 140 bpm for 5 minutes. Then after a few hours total at 80 bpm, I jumped it up to 90 and then 100 and so on until I could do 160 bpm comfortably.

Then I moved on to 8th note triplets and did the same thing with a different left hand pattern.

Now I'm on 16th notes at 90 bpm. It took a week and a half and about 46 total hours of practice, but I can tell you the improvement is marked, and I would be practicing right now if my guitar hadn't broke (shoot me now!)

I guess the point is, if you want to really get better and be able to play comfortably and efficiently, take it slow. Pick something off that list of skills and really focus on it this week. You'll get better and you'll have really ingrained the technique into your brain. 15 minutes is like skimming 5 different text books on 5 different subjects and then expecting to ace the test in each subject. It's just not enough time.
#4
Yeah I would focus on one or two techniques instead of all four if you only have an hour a day to practice.

Generally you want to practice the musical ideas you can't execute yet since this is your end goal, but if you want a few good exercises check the exercise sticky - particularly the chromatic string skipping picking exercise, 15 minutes of that a day with good technique will improve you picking so much more than the usual scales and simple runs will. If you practice alternate picking, make sure to practice licks starting on both a downstroke and an upstroke so you get used to inside and outside picking.

Depending on how you practice it, you can practice legato and tapping at the same time since tapping is basically right hand legato. If you want to be able to tap with all your right hand fingers you should try running all of your left hand exercises with your right hand, while muting the strings with your left hand to avoid excess noise from strings you aren't playing.
Last edited by Anon17 at Oct 16, 2014,
#6
I can also recommend that book. It's great because it's split up into different sections so you can create your own practice routine using a few exercises from each section. Otherwise you can follow it chapter by chapter (which is recommended as it's more or less like a course rather than a book full of random exercises).
Gear:
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Godin Velocity
Peavey Vypyr 15 Watt
AMT WH1 Japanese Girl Wah
Marshall BB-2 Boost/OD
Joyo JF-07 Classic Flanger
Joyo JF-37 Analog Chorus
#7
in that book how do you know when to move on from an exercise?
#8
Quote by redd9
in that book how do you know when to move on from an exercise?


With any exercise in any book you move on when you can play it with complete effortlessness.

Effortlessness meaning you no longer have to think about what you're doing. Your fingers just do it because they know how. You've trained them to do it. It sounds clean and professional and you can effectively just listen to yourself play it rather than staring at the fret board to make sure you hit the right notes.

This does NOT simply mean being able to do it. If you're noticing any type of tension in your arms, wrist, or hands, or you screw it up after 2-3 sets or it's sounding choppy, it's not ingrained. You're still thinking about it. It's not fully developed.

I've always worked under the assumption that 20 hours (total) of truly focused practice on a single exercise is enough to ingrain that technique into your brain and hands.

It's a good thing to keep in mind that even techniques at drastically different speeds or moving in different directions may need separate 20 hour practices.

Also, it's important to figure out what the exercise is supposed to sound like and to identify common mistakes in technique. Watching some videos online is a great way to do that. There are tons of teachers out there on YouTube that know what they're doing

Now of course, you CAN move on if you're getting bored, but do yourself a favor and add more time when you come back to a certain technique (ex being, don't spend 5 hours on a sweeping exercise, stop, then come back 3 weeks later and expect to only have to practice it 15 hours to master it. Make it 18, or better yet start back at 20).

Someone described it to me as drawing lines in the sand. Every time you practice, you're drawing a line in the sand. Every day the wind blows and fills the line in a little bit with fresh sand. If you draw that line over and over for 20 hours (making the line deeper and deeper), it'll take a lot longer for the sand to fill that line back up.
Last edited by mjones1992 at Oct 20, 2014,
#9
Quote by redd9
in that book how do you know when to move on from an exercise?


When it feels natural to you without thinking about it at your desired speed.

Once the skills gets to you subconscious mind then you can move on as it can not reject only follow the habits you put in while doing the practise of the skills in Speed Mechanics.

Some of the ex will take time to get like 39-50 leading with an upstroke. It took some time for me before that was a natural part of my playing.

You will find that the ex builds on the next ex so its vitally important to start from ex 1 and not skip any of them! You can't do picking without the legato first.
#10
Quote by redd9
in that book how do you know when to move on from an exercise?


At one point it does say 'make sure you can play this exercise at least at xxxBPM to ensure you have a smooth picking motion before moving on'. Other than that it's as the others have said.

It's not about the speed here, it's about the mechanics of speed. You learn and practise what enables you to play fast, not learning fast playing!
Gear:
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Godin Velocity
Peavey Vypyr 15 Watt
AMT WH1 Japanese Girl Wah
Marshall BB-2 Boost/OD
Joyo JF-07 Classic Flanger
Joyo JF-37 Analog Chorus