#1
hey poeple im just wondering 3 hours of my practice session i dedicate it to speed/accuracy just wondering what exersises can i do? i was thinking like monday tuesday wednesday id do chromatics for bout 1h and half then rest of week id just do scale practice/ licks + doing sweeping and that stuff. does anyone know what good practice tips you could give me? thanks alot!!! in advance soz if its not very clear, not the brightest of poeple thnx
#2
Just so you don't get stuck on the same stuff, and keep progressing: Go toShredaholic.com Lead Guitar Exercises . It has lots of exercises from sweeping to alternate picking to tapping. And the exersices are a bit more fun than just doing scales. Give that a try. I pretty much go there every day and pick something new to work on.

Good luck
#3
Quote by Ryansb123
hey poeple im just wondering 3 hours of my practice session i dedicate it to speed/accuracy just wondering what exersises can i do? i was thinking like monday tuesday wednesday id do chromatics for bout 1h and half then rest of week id just do scale practice/ licks + doing sweeping and that stuff. does anyone know what good practice tips you could give me? thanks alot!!! in advance soz if its not very clear, not the brightest of poeple thnx


Just spend time on accuracy, but spend less time on technical stuff and more time spent learning about how the guitar works musically, so stuff like ear training and practical stuff using scales as opposed to mindlessly running up and down patterns. Technique is all well and good, but there's not much point if you don't know what to play
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#4
you can brute force it by practicing too much and play by muscle memory, or you can learn how the guitar works, learn how music works and learn mechanical precision that comes from pure concentration that is learned along the way. I suggest the latter, 99% of youtube guitarists who can play a Steve Vai or Malmsteen song have absolutely no idea what the hell they are doing. It's just muscle memory, and that gets you nowhere. How do you do this, start simple, learn to play easy songs well first, figure out why they work and how they were written, work your way up slowly, don't jump head first into playing For the Love of God, but that's my opinion, you do what you want
Last edited by farcry at Feb 29, 2008,
#6
Quote by Spamwise
What do you mean "figure out why they work"?


The theory behind the song, and why it sounds the way it does.
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#7
Though I've never really seen the appeal in learning to shred fast (and thus have focused on mainly theory and being able to write nice melodies), I would recommend running up and down scale and mode patterns, learning them in several positions up and down the neck (And by that I mean being able to play, say, C Major in more than just root position on the E and A strings). But like I said, I am no shredder myself, so I wouldn't really know.
#8
Quote by Spamwise
What do you mean "figure out why they work"?


every good song out there has a formula to it. The formulas come from a pre-existing template, musicians don't just come up with songs out of thin air. What this means is that the knowledge of theory is used as a guideline that helps you get a sound out of your head and onto the instrument. Even if you don't "know" any theory, being able to write a good song uses theory. Take for example James Hetfield writing something like Nothing Else Matters. I saw in an interview where he talked about not knowing much theory and not knowing the names of any notes on the fretboard. In the beginning verse he uses a chord progression of something like E minor Dmajor Cmajor or something like that, I haven't heard it in a while but whatever. The song works, it's musically sound. Even if he wasn't trying to use theory, there's a reason it worked and this is where theory helps you out. It will be a shortcut in making songs work because it gives you a pre existing knowledge of what works with what, and how different sounds interact with eachother.

So to figure out how something works, you have to take a song apart from a theoretical standpoint in regards to the melodies and harmonies at the same time you have to understand the rythmic patterns. When you can figure out a song like this it drastically improves your dynamics and tone because you will understand why something works and you can pursposefully apply your knowledge to create a desired sound. Speed will eventually be developed by practicing enough and understanding what you are doing, otherwise you can do a million notes a second and sound like ass by having no clue what's going on. I know, long answer but I hope I helped.
Last edited by farcry at Feb 29, 2008,
#9
thought I'd add an extra note on the matter of speed excercises. Obviously you can find a gazillion out there. But something I wish someone had taught me was to massage and stretch(not crack) my fingers between speed excercises. It goes a long way in helping to prolong your speed drills and more importantly to avoid wrist or nerve injury. You'd be surprised how much harder you can practice even after you feel like your left hand just fell off.

idk but look up hand/finger shiatsu type stuff. It helps me.

Also, I totally agree with farcry in saying that a lot of people who learn songs through muscle memory wouldn't be able to rip a mean improv. But muscle memory = playing - on any instrument. So...learning things other then some written solo(i.e. scales) can really help you write and/or improv. But of course learning written solos helps feed your creativity as well. Theory is important, it's where us guitarists hit brick walls. But also, you can know all the theory in the world and still not be fast...whether you're looking for crazy bebop or good ole shred.
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#10
^well obviously you won't get fast if you don't practice for it. But practicing chromatics all day gets you fast at playing chromatics, it does help somewhat for speed in normal playing, but in my opinion there are much smarter ways to go about gaining some speed. I am coming from experience, two years ago I was a speed maniac, I'd practice scales and chromatics till my fingers blead, I could play the solo from Orion so fast and clean it was ridiculous. Problem was it all sounded terrible because I was only playing from memory without having a clue what I was doing.
#11
Quote by farcry
^well obviously you won't get fast if you don't practice for it. But practicing chromatics all day gets you fast at playing chromatics.


thats a very important point.

Keeping practice musical is important.
You can spend time working on speed, AND have what you work on be musically applicable.
The quasi - chromatic spider thing doesnt achieve that IMO. Actual scales (even the actual chromatic scale), licks, melodies, patterns.... all would be more useful as a means of getting faster.
shred is gaudy music
#12
Quote by farcry
^well obviously you won't get fast if you don't practice for it. But practicing chromatics all day gets you fast at playing chromatics, it does help somewhat for speed in normal playing, but in my opinion there are much smarter ways to go about gaining some speed. I am coming from experience, two years ago I was a speed maniac, I'd practice scales and chromatics till my fingers blead, I could play the solo from Orion so fast and clean it was ridiculous. Problem was it all sounded terrible because I was only playing from memory without having a clue what I was doing.


I never said to play chromatics forever...all though drilling all four fingers in legato or alternate pick are good for your arsenal of speed. But what kind of theory? Are you talking about the "why" of what sounds good in a heavy metal solo? Or you talking about counterpoint in the style of Bach? Early chromaticism in the style of Brahms? Backcycling in jazz? I mean the list goes on forever. For example, understanding borrowed tonalities in Schumann never helped me fret guitar notes faster. Are you saying that playing your Orion(who I'm not too familiar with) solo after you understood why the guitarist was using such and such against what progression made you play faster? It's specifics I ask for...even I can benefit greatly from it.

EDIT: whoa, sorry, i'm kinda getting prety drunk. I kinda sounded like a dick. yeah, theory is important.
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#13
Quote by KryptNet
I never said to play chromatics forever...all though drilling all four fingers in legato or alternate pick are good for your arsenal of speed. But what kind of theory? Are you talking about the "why" of what sounds good in a heavy metal solo? Or you talking about counterpoint in the style of Bach? Early chromaticism in the style of Brahms? Backcycling in jazz? I mean the list goes on forever. For example, understanding borrowed tonalities in Schumann never helped me fret guitar notes faster. Are you saying that playing your Orion(who I'm not too familiar with) solo after you understood why the guitarist was using such and such against what progression made you play faster? It's specifics I ask for...even I can benefit greatly from it.


well first and for most understanding what key the Orion solo is in greatly helps me understand what's going on, and knowing why certain resolutions sound right really helps. It's not that it makes you play faster, it's that you can play fast without losing the song, rather than explain it I'll just show you what I mean by this.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=VYKhHGp-cqA

http://youtube.com/watch?v=uLWv0m6aGuQ

listen to the solos, the difference is that the kid playing the solo doesn't really know what he's doing, he memorized the pattern, his playing is mechanical and while impressive to the untrained ear, playing like this makes it impossible to become a true musician. Kirk Hammett on the other hand knows what he's doing, and with that he's able to control the sounds he's making, the concentration is on the music as opposed to the motions of the fingers.


All you gotta do is a little research to find out what theory applies to what if you're trying to teach yourself. I read a book on counterpoint and it didn't take me long to realize that the theories behind it mostly apply to big band stuff playing classical music. Unless people wanna pay for a professional tutor or take some university classes they have to figure out what they wanna learn. That's the problem with being self-taught, an overabundance of info makes it seem daunting, does Jazz theory help you play speed-metal, not really but it can't hurt. It's not all about speed, that's my point here I guess, it's about purposiveness, in that when you understand the structure of the music you're playing you are able to purposefully portray a sound. To become the most talented musician possible the music shouldn't be a struggle, it should be a purposeful concentrated experience, practicing mechanically doesn't accomplish this, it just trains your muscles to move quickly in a learned fashion without teaching your brain or your ears a single thing.

edit: yeah.. I'm a little high at the moment, so I'm just gonna come back later and see if anything I said makes any sense at all.
Last edited by farcry at Feb 29, 2008,
#14
Heh that's funny I spent like 2 hrs of my practice time today doing 4th finger chromatic permutations to work on my alternate picking and to become comfortable with moving around on the high frets, like past the 12th fret.
Originally Posted by SkyValley
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#15
Ok, I see what you mean. I've done that before. But how does that actually relate to playing better? You can say "Okay, I know this scale, I know what other notes I can play instead", but how does that actually translate to better playing?

and also, I agree that chromatics and exercises seem to be pointless on their own, but how are you supposed to incorporate good technique into improvising or song writing?
#17
Quote by Spamwise
Ok, I see what you mean. I've done that before. But how does that actually relate to playing better? You can say "Okay, I know this scale, I know what other notes I can play instead", but how does that actually translate to better playing?

and also, I agree that chromatics and exercises seem to be pointless on their own, but how are you supposed to incorporate good technique into improvising or song writing?


it's all about what's going on in your head while you're playing. You have to know what sounds you intend to make. I have come to realize there are two fundamentally different states of mind while playing guitar:

1. Focused purely on finger movement. Your brain is concentrating on the mechanical task of moving your fingers in a memorized fashion. The temporal lobe in your brain, responsible for auditory(sound) processing is not working with your frontal lobe the one responsible for movement. Basically, it's not musical, it's mechanical.

2. This is where theory comes into play. You think to yourself, ok I want this specific sound to come out of my guitar, and your fingers in turn play it. With the theory, it helps create a framework of the most likely way that this particular sound can be created. In this state of mind your temporal lobe is asking your frontal lobe to play something and with enough practice the two parts of your brain will have worked together enough that the frontal lobe will know what the temporal lobe is asking for. It's called neuroplasticity where the brain changes shape by altering it's connections and in turn creates new abilities. Ok.... now to answer the burning question, how in the world do I do this? Easy, take a song you like, a simple one preferrably, and listen to it. For example take Nothing Else Matters by Metallica, purely for the fact it's slow enough to make out. At first it'll be hard but you have to try and play what you hear, start slow and record yourself. Recording yourslelf play is extremely helpful, it lets you understand what your fingers are actually creating. I'm not sure about your skill, and I may be just reittterating to you for no reason here. If so, you're already way ahead of the game. With practice you will know how to make certain sounds purposefully come out of the guitar, and eventually speed will come along with it. The 1-2-3-4 spider techniques are helpful for strengthening the muscles and priming the brain for complicated and rapid movement, but it doesn't train you to know how to get a sound that's in your head out onto the guitar. That's my entire point, to become a true musician, including one that shreds, you have to know how to get the sound from in your head onto the guitar. Know in your head what each chord sounds like, know in your head what each note sounds like on the guitar so when you have an idea it comes out, the guitar is purely an instrument, it's a means to an end, not the end in itself. Ok, I gotta stop typing, this is getting ridiculous.
#18
So you're basically saying to take a song like "Nothing else matters" and just try to play with only your ears, no tabs? That's an interesting idea for sure. Couldn't a person though just learn each interval and apply melodic control? That way you would know what each note would sound like over the chord you're playing, and you could also use that to play what you hear in your head...
#19
well knowing what intervals sound like is important as well. Reading from tabs really can hold you back if you never train by ear.
#20
Quote by farcry
well knowing what intervals sound like is important as well. Reading from tabs really can hold you back if you never train by ear.



tabs are a good way to get started, when you dont yet have a developed ear. But yeah, eventually you have to move on and start using your ears.
shred is gaudy music
#21
ohhh...farcry was talking about Metallica all this time..."Orion" like off of MOP. I thought Orion was a name of some band. The whole temporal lobe thing is...interesting. And if anything, this thread has got me listening to Kill 'em All in the first time in years.

But after this whole debate, I think one thing has gone unmentioned. Speedy solos ESPECIALLY in metal, relies on licks. The Four Hoursemen is a perfect example. There's repetition of fast licks with nice transitions that are scalar(I think I hear arpeggiation too). So scales and some arpeggiation is as far as the "theory" goes. (correct me if I'm wrong, honestly)

But in the end, licks = muscle memory. Now that, I don't think can be argued with.

So here's what I think can make everyone happy: 1) Learn lot's of different licks through mindless repetition. 2) Learn how to make those things sound good and not gimmicky through creativity, ear-training, and knowledge of certain theory(emphasis on the major scale). Happy speedmetaling
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