#1
Hello everyone, this is my first post on UG. It’s been actually years since I don’t play guitar and it isn’t like I could play well. I only learned to play few chords and stuffs. I wanted to play lead and I did buy electric guitar but before I could even start properly I stopped it.

Now I’ve decided to get back to guitar and I hope this time I will be able to play decently. But I can’t afford to go to a teacher at this moment so I’m learning using online resources. But I have some questions to ask.

1. I warm up with basic 1-2-3-4 fingering exercise for 10 minutes before I actually start to play, is this okay? Some say that warming up should be done for at least 15-20 minutes but I’ve got time limitation and I easily get exhausted (and my fingers hurt) if I play for an hour. What should I do?

2. I’ve also started to learn scale. I read that scale should be practiced with metronome. I learned the concept of whole-half-quarter-eighth-sixteenth-thirty second note. But when I play along with metronome clicks, if I try to play scale in quarter or eighth note in a slightly fast tempo (65 or 70 beats), I can’t trust myself that I play properly with each metronome click. Will this problem go away by itself? I haven’t played with metronome before so what should I do?

3. It’s been few weeks since I’ve started to play again. Should I learn to play lead solos right away? I couldn’t resist so I learned the guitar solo of Carrie by Europe (I only memorized it and still can’t play it very well). Should I continue with this?

4. What are few techniques of lead playing that I need to learn along with hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, slides etc.?
#2
Warming up is fine but do it with a usable scale pattern or lick. Kill two birds with one stone. You could warm up with your solo or your pentatonic scale.

Warming up your fingers can be done by opening and closing your hands 10-20 times!

It is very helpful to learn the pentatonic scale so familiarize with this scale. (Why not warm up with it?)

Then spend the majority of your practice learning your solo. Break it down into smaller fragments and learn it a fragment at a time, adding the fragments together.

Once you get the solo memorized completely (you are here at this point now), work it up to speed over time. This may take quite awhile.

Do some improvising over a backing track too if you have time and just be free with it. Maybe for 5 minutes or so.

Remember, most solos are fairly short so you really don't need hundreds licks.

You get good at what you practice/play. Remember this point.

Patience is the big play.
Last edited by Virgman at Mar 5, 2015,
#3
If you want to be a lead player you need to be the best rhythm player you can first. You need to know the where chord progression is going before it gets there and be able to play it blindfolded. You'll buildup your muscle strength improving as a rhythm player to the point when you start on lead, tired sore hands will be a long forgotten issue.

Sorry to bust your bubble, but if you're not already a good rhythm player tinkering with lead a little is ok but you need to be concentrating on being the best rhythm player in town first. If you don't think so, watch any good lead player...I guarantee you they all play more rhythm than lead. You don't see them standing there doing nothing till the lead starts.

Warm up by practicing chords and changing chords. Don't even think about scales or leads until you've warmed up for a few minutes. I've been playing over 50 years and that's exactly what I still do every time I pick up a guitar. Doodle with some chords, maybe a few simple licks, rhythm part to some song or other, and after at least 5 minutes of that I'll start throwing in a little lead here and there, still taking it easy. I like to do some finger picking acoustic to warm up too. I guess you could call it melodic chording...use chords and walk the bass notes up or down, that kind of thing. Not really lead, not really rhythm.

Once you have a good number of songs you can play without thinking about it, then start concentrating more on lead. Until then, you still have to consciously think about where the chords are going, you're going to be stumbling around trying to play lead. Tinker with it, sure, but concentrate on being the best rhythm player you possibly can, then worry about lead.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#4
@Virgman: Thank you for the reply. From now on I'll be using scales to warm up before I start playing. I read that pentatonic scales are widely used in rock music and it is good to incorporate in one's playing. However I've started studying scale with major scale. I began with G major and I am following 3 notes per strings approach in all the seven positions on the fretboard.

I'm practicing almost everyday the solo that I learned and I've already noticed some progress; hopefully I'll be able to improve more. I dream to be able play decently melodic stuffs with a some fast parts one day.

Improvisation sounds a bit scary to me now, but is practicing the scale with the right backing track alright?

And also can you suggest me anything about my problem regarding playing with metronome?
#5
@Paleo Pete: Thank you sir for the words of advice. I admit my chord knowledge is not that good. In fact I only know the basic chords that everyone knows, however I can change open chords fairly quickly. I should learn to play rhythm as well as lead. Would you suggest to learn a whole song's rhythm/riff parts for a beginner like me? Or should I seek for some rhythm exercises at first?

And regarding chord progression, I'm learning the G major scale in seven positions of the fretboard (each starts with different notes of G) and as I move from one position to other I play the chord associated with that after playing the pattern. I mean when I start from G note I play G major chord after the playing scale, or when start from A note, I play A minor chord after the pattern and so on. Am I wasting my time associating this chord exercise with scale playing?
#6
Quote by Luminance
@Virgman: Thank you for the reply. From now on I'll be using scales to warm up before I start playing. I read that pentatonic scales are widely used in rock music and it is good to incorporate in one's playing. However I've started studying scale with major scale. I began with G major and I am following 3 notes per strings approach in all the seven positions on the fretboard.

I'm practicing almost everyday the solo that I learned and I've already noticed some progress; hopefully I'll be able to improve more. I dream to be able play decently melodic stuffs with a some fast parts one day.

Improvisation sounds a bit scary to me now, but is practicing the scale with the right backing track alright?

And also can you suggest me anything about my problem regarding playing with metronome?


The major scale is awesome and great for neo-classical type melodic soloing. I would still become familiar with the pentatonic scale. It's just the major scale minus two notes, the 4th and 7th of the scale. Even if you don't concentrate specifically on the pentatonic scale you will find many pent licks in your memorized solo. Being able to recognize the scale in your solo is a good thing to be able to do.

Practicing the major scale over a backing track is fine.

As far as the metronome goes, you probably just haven't got the scale memorized yet. Take a single 3 nps major scale position and practice it slowly to the metronome. 3 nps scales are generally played in 16th notes which is 6-notes per metronome click but you can just go by 3-notes per click until you get it in your fingers and brain. Practice at half-speed (of your max) and ramp the bpm up 2 clicks per day until your form breaks down. Don't let pride get in your way by going too fast. Go as slowly as necessary to play the scale correctly and with good form. Back off 10 clicks and start over. You can warm up with this and then go on to your solo practice.

Don't spend too much time with the scale practice if your time is limited. 10 minutes per day is good or until you lose focus.

"4. What are few techniques of lead playing that I need to learn along with hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, slides etc.?"

Are these in your solo? If so, use the solo to practice these. Break out the section and practice it a bit more if necessary. Get bends up to the proper note!
Last edited by Virgman at Mar 6, 2015,
#7
Would you suggest to learn a whole song's rhythm/riff parts for a beginner like me? Or should I seek for some rhythm exercises at first?


Learn the rhythm part to the song through and through, then worry about the lead. As I Said before, you need to know it well enough to play it blindfolded. Then worry about the lead. Tinker a little with it now and then, but first concentrate on rhythm. I've been playing 54 years, that's the way I still learn songs right now. I'll listen to it a couple of dozen times, enough to get the song in my head, then start on the chord progression. Once I can play it without thinking about it, I start to work on the lead.

Lyrics are often the last thing I worry about. I'm working on two new ones now and haven't even looked up the lyrics to either one, but have gotten pretty far along with the leads to both. One is mostly leads and fills, I do very little rhythm, still learned the rhythm part, I have to know what happens before it happens. And it has some weird chord changes, that make s it more important to know the chord progression. Then on the flip side, we just started with two others, I'm the only one who actually knows either, and I'm doing vocals on both, I've never tried lead for either, just solo acoustic songs, so I've had the rhythm parts down for years, now I have to work on leads...and vocals...but same thing as always, rhythm part first.

I hate scales and "exercises"...I seriously practice the songs when I need to learn them, with plenty doodling around when it gets monotonous, I learned sax in high school playing scales, that didn't last long and I started just memorizing my sax parts. I'll stop and work on whatever licks are giving me trouble, and sometimes that includes at least part of a scale, and I can play a couple with no real trouble, I just hate sitting there practicing them. I work on whatever rhythm and lead parts I need to nail, with plenty doodling thrown in for amusement...I usually practice on an acoustic. Leads included...I don't worry too much about notes I can't bend as much, that falls into place when I switch to electric. But playing it on a more difficult guitar is my favorite way to learn songs, then it's much smoother and easier when I get with the band on electric.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Mar 6, 2015,
#8
@Virgman: I just realized how important it is to grasp the concept of pentatonic scale in Rock music. I'll learn it soon. You are right, that the solo I learned does have something from pentatonic (I guess the solo is in E minor).

Can I use the major scale for melodic soloing apart from neo-classical stuff (Yngwie, Jason's playing seem quite intimidating to me)? I've seen minor scale is also widely used but I don't know why did I start with the major scale first. I'm asking this because after I become a bit more comfortable with the scale I'll try to improvise on backing track.

And about that tip for playing three notes per string in 16th note is actually useful, I'm still very slow but I'm trying to play as accurately as possible.
#9
@Paleo Pete: I think first I'll learn to play full songs that do not have very complex rhythm/riffing. Lead playing is my main motivation to return to guitar playing, but that doesn't mean that I'm overlooking rhythm playing. And besides that I want to write my own solo/improvisation one day, so in order to achieve knowledge about chords I should learn and analyze other's songs at first. So I think I'll pursue both simultaneously.
#10
Quote by Luminance
@Virgman: I just realized how important it is to grasp the concept of pentatonic scale in Rock music. I'll learn it soon. You are right, that the solo I learned does have something from pentatonic (I guess the solo is in E minor).

Can I use the major scale for melodic soloing apart from neo-classical stuff (Yngwie, Jason's playing seem quite intimidating to me)? I've seen minor scale is also widely used but I don't know why did I start with the major scale first. I'm asking this because after I become a bit more comfortable with the scale I'll try to improvise on backing track.

And about that tip for playing three notes per string in 16th note is actually useful, I'm still very slow but I'm trying to play as accurately as possible.


Use the scales as a reference point to find "good" notes.

Utilize the scale notes in your improvising over your backing track. Throw in different scale notes and see how they sound. Even occasionally throw in non-scale notes (dissonant). Don't overdo the non-scale tones though. Don't end up on them. Use them as passing tones on the way back to scale tones. Use your ears.

One step at a time. Keep it simple.

Use the solo you are practicing to develop your "lick arsenal". Break the solo down into smallish fragments of one or two bars each that can stand alone as licks (scale notes = letters: a,b,c; licks = vocabulary/words). Practice these fragments separately for a few minutes in addition to in your complete solo.

When you improvise freely just let it go. Over time you will develop your own style naturally.
Last edited by Virgman at Mar 7, 2015,
#11
@Virgman: Thanks a bunch for the help. Just a question I need to ask which is, by "finding good notes" you are saying the notes that sound good; am I right? I mean are you suggesting to play some specific notes that would sound good while improvising?
#12
Quote by Luminance
@Virgman: Thanks a bunch for the help. Just a question I need to ask which is, by "finding good notes" you are saying the notes that sound good; am I right? I mean are you suggesting to play some specific notes that would sound good while improvising?



Notes that form part of the chord or harmony against which they are sounded are harmonic.

see link: http://www2.siba.fi/muste1/index.php?id=66&la=en
Last edited by Virgman at Mar 8, 2015,
#13
I know a thing or two about harmonizing scale (yes I'm trying to learn a bit of music theory as well). So the underlying chords of the track/fellow rhythm player's chords on which I'll be improvising; there I should pick the scale that shares notes with the chords that are being played and I should emphasize more the notes of those chords. Is this the general idea of sounding melodic while improvising?
#14
Quote by Luminance
I know a thing or two about harmonizing scale (yes I'm trying to learn a bit of music theory as well). So the underlying chords of the track/fellow rhythm player's chords on which I'll be improvising; there I should pick the scale that shares notes with the chords that are being played and I should emphasize more the notes of those chords. Is this the general idea of sounding melodic while improvising?


Too complicated for you at this point.

Determine the key of your backing track. Jam over it in that key. Use your ears.
#15
@Virgman: Thanks for the helps. I appreciate your kind efforts to help a beginner.