#1
So I've been playing Guitar since late 2010 but had no formal training. Since I'm still attending to university, I have either time nor money for a teacher, so I just try to find some time when I can practice fro myself. Now the following lick has been difficult for me to play since I can remember and while I have advanced in many techniques, this just seems to be some demon that simply won't play. It's originally played in 105 bpm, they are all 16th notes, the first two and last one regular and the rest are triplets:

D#----12-13-15-13-12-------------------13-12--------------------
A#----------------------------15-13-12--------------15-13-12---------
F#--------------------------------------------------------------------14-12-
C#-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#-------------------------------------------------------------------------
D#-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't exactly know how to describe the problem, so let me just describe how I play it: I play all notes on the 12th fret with my index finger, all notes on the 13th fret with my middle finger, the one note on the 14th with my ring finger and the notes in the 15th with my pinky. I can play the first 8 notes in regular speed, but after that my fingers just keep messing it up. I already try playing it really slowly to identify the problem, but it didn't really help.

As you can guess, it's already getting slightly frustrating, not being able to master one simple lick after years. I'd be glad if any of you guys could try to play it yourself and maybe mote what the actual problem might be.

Thanks in advance,
Dragonfyre

Edit: I don't know whether this is of any relevance, but I usually play 11 gauge strings on my main guitar (25,5" scale) and 12 gauge strings on my practice guitar, both tuned down half a step to D#.
Ibanez S570DXQM-BBB
DiMarzio Evolution HSH
Ibanez RG927WBBZ-TGF
DiMarzio Evolution 7 & DiMarzio LiquiFire 7
Peavey Valve King 112, Peavey Vypyr 15
Harley Benton NG-100, Ibanez Weeping Demon

Quote by metalmingee
In fact, wanting different tunings is one of the best reasons to convince others that you need more guitars.
Last edited by Dragonfyre137 at May 25, 2016,
#2
Slow it way down. Maybe even try it without a metronome for a while and keep your fingers super close to the strings. As soon as you lift your middle, begin moving it into position for its next note so that when you are playing the 12 on the b string your middle finger is already where it needs to be. Then as soon as you play the 13 on the e string, begin moving your index finger to the e string.
#3
I think I know whats is happening to you. the first four notes start on the 1st finger, as you know. Same thing with the 2nd four notes. So thats the first 8 notes covered. However the 9th note starts on the 2nd finger. I'm only guessing here as I haven't seen you play but I assume you have trouble starting 16th note sequences with you 2nd finger. I would suggest making an exercise that starts with that particular lick and repeats it. Work this out with a metronome:

D#-13-12--------13-12--------13-12--------13-12----------
A#--------15-13--------15-13--------15-13--------15-13---
F#--------------------------------------------------------------
C#--------------------------------------------------------------
G#--------------------------------------------------------------
D#--------------------------------------------------------------


Then, the second best thing to do is to continue the pattern down or up the neck, again, with the metronome. This way, you are mastering the sequence and technique, going beyond what is necessary to do the lick. After this, mastering the part of the lick you are struggling with will seem easy by comparison.

D#-13-12--------12-10--------10-8----------8-7-------------
A#--------15-13--------13-12--------12-10-------10-8------
F#--------------------------------------------------------------
C#--------------------------------------------------------------
G#--------------------------------------------------------------
D#--------------------------------------------------------------

etc.

Make sure to start each of the four note sequences with the 2nd finger. This will get you used to using it in this way.
Hope this helps
Last edited by Simon Revill at May 27, 2016,
#4
Thanks, I will definitely try what you guys mentioned
Ibanez S570DXQM-BBB
DiMarzio Evolution HSH
Ibanez RG927WBBZ-TGF
DiMarzio Evolution 7 & DiMarzio LiquiFire 7
Peavey Valve King 112, Peavey Vypyr 15
Harley Benton NG-100, Ibanez Weeping Demon

Quote by metalmingee
In fact, wanting different tunings is one of the best reasons to convince others that you need more guitars.
#5
Sorry for double-posting, but I just managed to make a short video with my phone showing my fretting hand work. I didn't pluck the strings because I somehow had to hold the phone (obviously), but my plucking hand has rarely been a problem (only when playing 8ths on 190 bpm with every note being at least one or two strings apart). Nevertheless, here's the video:

https://youtu.be/e9yjY5UE16U

Analyze me, critisize me, help me.
Ibanez S570DXQM-BBB
DiMarzio Evolution HSH
Ibanez RG927WBBZ-TGF
DiMarzio Evolution 7 & DiMarzio LiquiFire 7
Peavey Valve King 112, Peavey Vypyr 15
Harley Benton NG-100, Ibanez Weeping Demon

Quote by metalmingee
In fact, wanting different tunings is one of the best reasons to convince others that you need more guitars.
#6
Do you usually have trouble with speedy licks? Maybe the high action is the issue.
#7
Quote by Dragonfyre137


Analyze me, critisize me, help me.


From looking at your video I would say that your 2nd finger doesn't look too bad at all. However, I can see that your note lengths are inconsistent. I noticed when you started repeating it at the 12th fret on the E string, your movements are initially quite slow and then they speed up as you go through the lick. I think you might just benefit from the good old fashioned method of practicing with a metronome, keeping a log of your attempts each day. Start at 60 bpm and work it up to the desired tempo. I would go in 5 bpm increments. Spend a minute on each increment, repeating until the minute is up. This will definitely work if you are persistent with it.
#8
Concerning string action: What I'm playing there is my cheap practice gutiar, the high e-string is about 4 milimeters above the 12th fret. On the guitar I usually play on it's 2,5 mm, so more or less perfectly set.

I too noticed that my playing speed is inconsistent. What furthermore seems to be the case is that I usually seem to play the 9th and 10th note significantly slower than the rest.
Ibanez S570DXQM-BBB
DiMarzio Evolution HSH
Ibanez RG927WBBZ-TGF
DiMarzio Evolution 7 & DiMarzio LiquiFire 7
Peavey Valve King 112, Peavey Vypyr 15
Harley Benton NG-100, Ibanez Weeping Demon

Quote by metalmingee
In fact, wanting different tunings is one of the best reasons to convince others that you need more guitars.
#9
Is it a picking lick or legato lick? Does it repeat over several times or just played the once in the song?

If it isn't a legato lick, I would suggest playing it as one. It will test your fretting hand timing, strength and control. Just pick the first note on each string.

You didn't mention your picking hand so I'll assume you have no problem with strong crossing. Inside and outside picking.

A few areas here. Your fingers are perpendicular to the fretboard yet your thumb still manages to creep over the top of the neck. Do you have large hands?

If you are going to adopt that classic position, I would fully commit to it and drop my thumb down so the pad of it is pushing against the back of the neck just above centre.

If not that grip then use the classic "baseball bat" grip which will cause the angle of your fingers to be more parallel to the fretboard.

Which part is straight 16ths and which part is sixteenth note triplets (or 8th note triplets)? Didn't say which one.
Last edited by mdc at May 28, 2016,
#10
First of all let me just say that I love this lick!
Very “Al Di Meola”.

The fingering that you are using for this lick is absolutely fine and exactly what I would recommend to any of my students.

The recommendations I have for increasing your speed with this lick go a little further then just fingering. As an advanced electric guitar teacher the first few weeks of lessons with a student generally focus on re-wiring their playing with more efficient techniques.

I would like to run through some things that I believe will really help you increase your speed with this particular lick, and any other lick or technique.

Hand Positioning

I'm not sure where you normally position your thumb when playing this lick, but I would advise you position it in the back of the neck inline with the second finger. As well as this apply a good healthy curve to the knuckle and distal-joint (the bend just above your finger nail) of your fretting fingers.

This causes your hand to be “straight” in relation to the guitar neck and allows your finger tips to access the strings, finger tips are the key to accurate and efficient technique.

Picking

Whether your an alternate picker or economy picker here are a few very important things to keep in mind while executing picking.

Keep your hand and arm relaxed.
Tension is the killer of all great guitar playing, it's important to start at a slow speed and work the lick up focusing on keeping your picking hand and arm completely relaxed.

Angle your pick to the strings.
Angling your pick to the strings allows it to “slice” through the strings much easier then if you hit the strings with the flat side of your pick, this can cause “snagging”.

Angling your pick to the strings is similar to what classical guitar players do when they tilt their hand to strike the strings with the side of their fingernails during fast picking passages.

Use a pick that is pointed with a certain amount of stiffness and not to thick.
Picks that are pointed and stiff will allow much more picking control than ones that are blunt and floppy, also a pick that is relatively thin while still stiff will pull through the strings quicker, because of their size thick picks take a little more effort and time to pull through the strings.

I've got a picking lesson in the pipeline for UG so keep your eyes peeled, until then feel free to check out this picking lesson I published to my website http://rockguitarlessons.com.au/fundamentals-great-picking/

When it comes to practicing the lick I would recommend playing it at a slow tempo with the metronome focusing on the following things;

Maintaining correct hand position (as explained above), keeping your fingers close to the strings while playing, keeping your picking hand and arm relaxed and keeping your pick strokes minimalistic and economical.

Something I always recommended my students do when they are practicing at slow tempos is to imagine they are playing their exercise as a “slow-mo” replay of themselves playing as fast as they would like to eventually.

How would you be playing this passage fast? I'm assuming it would be with very fast movements that are extremely economical. So play it that way slow and that's exactly how you will play it fast

Also, as esky15 pointed out, your action looks quite high.
There are some great shredders out there who have relatively high actions (look no further then Yngwie Malmsteen) but I would say that for what you want to play it would be a worthy investment to have the action lowered.

Here is a short video of your lick I made playing it with 16th notes at a couple of different tempos.

https://youtu.be/7qLU3nx9jZw

I hope this information has been helpful
Good luck with your picking!
#11
Quote by mdc
Is it a picking lick or legato lick? Does it repeat over several times or just played the once in the song?


It's a picking lick and its not repeated, it plays only once during the solo.

You didn't mention your picking hand so I'll assume you have no problem with strong crossing. Inside and outside picking.


Well, let's just say that the biggest problems with speed I have lie in the fretting hand. There currently is only one song where I have problems with my picking hand and not my fretting hand, and that is Natural High by Hammerfall. It's obviously just the intro riff, but I'm close to getting it.

A few areas here. Your fingers are perpendicular to the fretboard yet your thumb still manages to creep over the top of the neck. Do you have large hands?


No, I really wouldn't say so, I'd even consider my hands rather small, but flexible. For example I accustomed myself to muting the low E-String with my thumb when I'm playing powerchords over the A-, D- and G-string. But judge yourself, heare are my hands measurement:

index finger: 7,5 cm / 2,95"
middle finger: 8,3 cm / 3,27"
ring finger: 7,9 cm / 3,11"
small finger: 6,3 cm / 2,48"
maximum length of my palm, excluding fingers: roughly 11 cm / 4,33".

If you are going to adopt that classic position, I would fully commit to it and drop my thumb down so the pad of it is pushing against the back of the neck just above centre.

If not that grip then use the classic "baseball bat" grip which will cause the angle of your fingers to be more parallel to the fretboard.


I just fiddled around a little bit and noticed that my thumb gets over the top of the neck when I play on the highes three strings, especially solos. I can't really say why, I just comes naturally and it feels like it gives me more stability. When I play power chords, it usually is as you described first: Pushing against the back of the neck. When I play scales that range from the low to the high E-string, my thumb usually wanders with my hand, so when my fretting fingers are getting closer to the low e-string, my thum moves towards the middle of the back of the neck. I never actively paid attention to it as it, as I said, feels natural and provides some stability. Do you think this might actually be a serious issue?

Which part is straight 16ths and which part is sixteenth note triplets (or 8th note triplets)? Didn't say which one.


The first two notes and the last one are straight 16ths, the rest are 16t note triplets. It's played at 105 bpm.

Thanks for your input, it's really very interesting and makes me rethink my technique


Quote by SkypeRockGuitar
First of all let me just say that I love this lick!
Very “Al Di Meola”.

The fingering that you are using for this lick is absolutely fine and exactly what I would recommend to any of my students.

The recommendations I have for increasing your speed with this lick go a little further then just fingering. As an advanced electric guitar teacher the first few weeks of lessons with a student generally focus on re-wiring their playing with more efficient techniques.

I would like to run through some things that I believe will really help you increase your speed with this particular lick, and any other lick or technique.



Well, it's good to know that I have at least not been learnig total rubbish for the whole time , Ups and downs of learning it without a teacher, I guess.



Hand Positioning

I'm not sure where you normally position your thumb when playing this lick, but I would advise you position it in the back of the neck inline with the second finger. As well as this apply a good healthy curve to the knuckle and distal-joint (the bend just above your finger nail) of your fretting fingers.

This causes your hand to be “straight” in relation to the guitar neck and allows your finger tips to access the strings, finger tips are the key to accurate and efficient technique.


As I said above, my thumb usually changes its position, depending on wheter I play on the high or on the low strings. But I think the least I can do is try it.


Picking

Whether your an alternate picker or economy picker here are a few very important things to keep in mind while executing picking.

Keep your hand and arm relaxed.
Tension is the killer of all great guitar playing, it's important to start at a slow speed and work the lick up focusing on keeping your picking hand and arm completely relaxed.

Angle your pick to the strings.
Angling your pick to the strings allows it to “slice” through the strings much easier then if you hit the strings with the flat side of your pick, this can cause “snagging”.

Angling your pick to the strings is similar to what classical guitar players do when they tilt their hand to strike the strings with the side of their fingernails during fast picking passages.


I actually do this already. It depends of course on what I play. For example when I have a slower lick that I want to sound more pointy, I play with my pick parallel to the strings, same applies for powerchords, but I usually do angle my pick by 45°, give or take, to the strings when I play faster stuff. Never actively though about it untill you brought it up.

Use a pick that is pointed with a certain amount of stiffness and not to thick.
Picks that are pointed and stiff will allow much more picking control than ones that are blunt and floppy, also a pick that is relatively thin while still stiff will pull through the strings quicker, because of their size thick picks take a little more effort and time to pull through the strings.


The picks I'm currently using are THESE. I have been using THESE for a while, but they felt kinda too thin, so I decided to use extra heavy ones. I've tried several forms of picks so far, but came to the conlucsion that most are either too sharp and wear off to fast or too blunt and hardly produce any distinct sound and lack precision.

I've got a picking lesson in the pipeline for UG so keep your eyes peeled, until then feel free to check out this picking lesson I published to my website http://rockguitarlessons.com.au/fundamentals-great-picking/

When it comes to practicing the lick I would recommend playing it at a slow tempo with the metronome focusing on the following things;

Maintaining correct hand position (as explained above), keeping your fingers close to the strings while playing, keeping your picking hand and arm relaxed and keeping your pick strokes minimalistic and economical.

Something I always recommended my students do when they are practicing at slow tempos is to imagine they are playing their exercise as a “slow-mo” replay of themselves playing as fast as they would like to eventually.

How would you be playing this passage fast? I'm assuming it would be with very fast movements that are extremely economical. So play it that way slow and that's exactly how you will play it fast


That slow-mo part surely sounds kinda helpful . I'll make sure to heed your advice, thanks for all that

Also, as esky15 pointed out, your action looks quite high.
There are some great shredders out there who have relatively high actions (look no further then Yngwie Malmsteen) but I would say that for what you want to play it would be a worthy investment to have the action lowered.


As I said, that's my practice guitar. My personal philosophy is to practice with some sort of handicap (in this case high action and 12 gauge strings for 2,5,5" and D# tuning, I sometimes even play with a rubber band around my fretting fingers) so that it comes to me easier when I play on my regular guitar. The action of the guitar in the video is roughly 4 mm (between 12th fret and high e-string), on the guitar I regularly play it's 2,5 mm.

Here is a short video of your lick I made playing it with 16th notes at a couple of different tempos.

https://youtu.be/7qLU3nx9jZw

I hope this information has been helpful
Good luck with your picking!


It's all been very helpful indeed, thanks for all!
Ibanez S570DXQM-BBB
DiMarzio Evolution HSH
Ibanez RG927WBBZ-TGF
DiMarzio Evolution 7 & DiMarzio LiquiFire 7
Peavey Valve King 112, Peavey Vypyr 15
Harley Benton NG-100, Ibanez Weeping Demon

Quote by metalmingee
In fact, wanting different tunings is one of the best reasons to convince others that you need more guitars.
Last edited by Dragonfyre137 at May 29, 2016,
#12
Thanks for the response.

I'll stick with my original advice which was to suggest you play it legato, since you're convinced the problem lies with your fretting hand, and not your picking hand. If your fingers get comfortable playing it at rapid tempos using legato, the picking should already be at that level when you sync the two.

Check this out, example 5 and 8. Just watch the whole thing. As a side note I seriously recommend any lesson by Guthrie on YouTube should you encounter any problems in the future.

The guy is world class.

https://youtu.be/M10Dhe5Caow
Last edited by mdc at May 29, 2016,
#13
Yeah, it makes sense what you said and what the video advises. I usually prefer practicing unplugged on my guitar, and especially when it comes down to difficult licks, I usually don't pick and try to focus solely on my fretting hand, just as in the video I provided.
Ibanez S570DXQM-BBB
DiMarzio Evolution HSH
Ibanez RG927WBBZ-TGF
DiMarzio Evolution 7 & DiMarzio LiquiFire 7
Peavey Valve King 112, Peavey Vypyr 15
Harley Benton NG-100, Ibanez Weeping Demon

Quote by metalmingee
In fact, wanting different tunings is one of the best reasons to convince others that you need more guitars.
#14
You know, the best solution in my oponion is to have your fingers that played the previous notes down on the fretboard as long as you can.
For Example , you have this riff : 12-13-15-13-12
if you keep your fingers in the possition they were you dont have to place them again, so your left hand goes as quickly as your pick can. Also, when trying this don't press you fingers too much.
; P
#15
Quote by Dragonfyre137
Yeah, it makes sense what you said and what the video advises. I usually prefer practicing unplugged on my guitar, and especially when it comes down to difficult licks, I usually don't pick and try to focus solely on my fretting hand, just as in the video I provided.

Ok good. For my preference I would adopt the baseball bat grip so my thumb is over the neck and my fingers are more parallel to the fretboard, even for stretchy stuff, rather than perpendicular like the classical style. Unless I venture onto the wound strings.
Last edited by mdc at May 29, 2016,
#16
Will try, thanks
Ibanez S570DXQM-BBB
DiMarzio Evolution HSH
Ibanez RG927WBBZ-TGF
DiMarzio Evolution 7 & DiMarzio LiquiFire 7
Peavey Valve King 112, Peavey Vypyr 15
Harley Benton NG-100, Ibanez Weeping Demon

Quote by metalmingee
In fact, wanting different tunings is one of the best reasons to convince others that you need more guitars.
#17
No worries Dragonfyre137
I'm glad to have helped.

Your pick's look good, but have you ever tried something even more pointy?

I personal use the purple Dunlop Jazz H3 picks, they are quite pointy and stiff yet quite thin and I like their Tortex feel, but whatever works for you is best.

As I said, that's my practice guitar. My personal philosophy is to practice with some sort of handicap (in this case high action and 12 gauge strings for 2,5,5" and D# tuning, I sometimes even play with a rubber band around my fretting fingers) so that it comes to me easier when I play on my regular guitar. The action of the guitar in the video is roughly 4 mm (between 12th fret and high e-string), on the guitar I regularly play it's 2,5 mm.


I would just like to address what you said here.

First of all I admire your tenacity and discipline to make things harder for yourself while practicing in order to make things easier when you play, but I don't necessarily agree with this approach.

I have heard of guitar players doing similar things in order for their playing to feel easier when they play their desired guitar, but I think it's best to practice playing the guitar that you plan to play anyway.

There is a saying in the guitar teaching world; "How you practice is how you play" or "You play like you practice." This means that if you only ever practice exercises, when it comes to improvising a solo it will just sound like you are playing exercises, if you practice with lots of mistakes you will play with lots of mistakes, etc.

If you practice playing with a "handicap", your hands will remember this, program the movements used while practicing with the handicap into your muscle memory then repeat them when it's time to play on your desired guitar.

In your case it might be that you have been inadvertently training your fingers to lift up high while you play because they need to do so in order to play your practice guitar with it's higher action.

The only form of this kind of practice I would recommend is tuning down your guitar to become more comfortable with bending and/or vibrato mechanics, or practicing bending and/or vibrato on an acoustic guitar in order to develop strength in you hands and fingers.

But when it comes to the way you are practicing, it is my professional opinion that you stop practicing with this particular handicap and simply practice on the guitar you plan to play anyway
Last edited by SkypeRockGuitar at May 29, 2016,
#18
Quote by SkypeRockGuitar
No worries Dragonfyre137
I'm glad to have helped.

Your pick's look good, but have you ever tried something even more pointy?

I personal use the purple Dunlop Jazz H3 picks, they are quite pointy and stiff yet quite thin and I like their Tortex feel, but whatever works for you is best.


Yeah, I've been trying several picks for some time, once I actually just went to a local music store and bough one of each kind for a few pennies, but I kinda sticked with the ones that I'm using now. I like extra heavy picks because they usually are very stiff and I feel the tip of the ones I'm currently using is neither too pointy nor too round. I've once tried a very pointy pick and it felt really odd, way too much resistance.



I would just like to address what you said here.

First of all I admire your tenacity and discipline to make things harder for yourself while practicing in order to make things easier when you play, but I don't necessarily agree with this approach.

I have heard of guitar players doing similar things in order for their playing to feel easier when they play their desired guitar, but I think it's best to practice playing the guitar that you plan to play anyway.

There is a saying in the guitar teaching world; "How you practice is how you play" or "You play like you practice." This means that if you only ever practice exercises, when it comes to improvising a solo it will just sound like you are playing exercises, if you practice with lots of mistakes you will play with lots of mistakes, etc.

If you practice playing with a "handicap", your hands will remember this, program the movements used while practicing with the handicap into your muscle memory then repeat them when it's time to play on your desired guitar.

In your case it might be that you have been inadvertently training your fingers to lift up high while you play because they need to do so in order to play your practice guitar with it's higher action.

The only form of this kind of practice I would recommend is tuning down your guitar to become more comfortable with bending and/or vibrato mechanics, or practicing bending and/or vibrato on an acoustic guitar in order to develop strength in you hands and fingers.

But when it comes to the way you are practicing, it is my professional opinion that you stop practicing with this particular handicap and simply practice on the guitar you plan to play anyway


Actually I never viewed this from that perspective and it indeed makes sense. Thanks
Now wish me good luck and good progress
Ibanez S570DXQM-BBB
DiMarzio Evolution HSH
Ibanez RG927WBBZ-TGF
DiMarzio Evolution 7 & DiMarzio LiquiFire 7
Peavey Valve King 112, Peavey Vypyr 15
Harley Benton NG-100, Ibanez Weeping Demon

Quote by metalmingee
In fact, wanting different tunings is one of the best reasons to convince others that you need more guitars.
Last edited by Dragonfyre137 at May 29, 2016,