#1
Ive been playn about 2 months and is comin along good, just wanted to know of any drills that will really accelerate my ability, like how fast im able to play and have my fingers in the right spots. Thanks
#3
This is mentioned in the article above, but I'm going to go into more detail.

A great exercise to develop your basic left hand mechanics is called the spider or simply "1-2-3-4". You simply play 1-2-3-4 on the 6th string, then the same on the fifth string, all the way up to the first string. After doing it on the 1st string, shift up one fret, and play 2-3-4-5 also on the first string. The work your way down to the 6th string, and perform the same shift to get you to 3-4-5-6 on the 6th string at which point the pattern repeats. Keep going til the 12th position or higher. Things to bear in mind though:

1) Unless you've got big hands, 1-2-3-4 may be a bit of a stretch at your experience level. If so, it's totally fine to start the pattern at 5-6-7-8, and over time, as your flexibility improves, start it lower and lower until you can start it at the first fret comfortably. Don't rush this though (you could injure yourself). The flexibility will come over time.
2) Play slowly and precisely. This exercise will improve your mechanics just by playing it, you don't need to go fast. Through the improved mechanics, you will eventually be able to play faster.
3) Move only one finger at a time. By this I mean: Put down your index finger and play the note under it. Try to pick at the exact instant that the left hand index finger applies pressure. Now put down your middle finger, without lifting your index finger - leave that right where it is. Pick. Now put down your ring finger, while leaving the first two right where they are. And so on. And as I mentioned, it's real important that you do this slowly enough that you can do this cleanly. This is the absolute core of your technique, so it pays off to make sure you're doing it right.
4) Strict alternate picking the whole time. down-up-down-up on each string.

Later on when this becomes easy, start doing different combos of the exercise by changing the starting position on each string. For example, 1-2-3-4 on the 6th string, 2-3-4-1 on the 5th, 3-4-1-2 on the 4th, 4-1-2-3 on the 3rd, before returning to 1-2-3-4 on the 2nd.

Practice this for about 10 minutes a day, and you'll see rapid improvement in your playing.

Good luck!
Last edited by se012101 at Aug 19, 2008,
#4
USE A METRONOME! Best advice I can give anyone. Use it for everything from practicing scales and solos to chord changes and strum patterns. Seriously.
#6
NO NO NO and NO for the 1-2-3-4 etc. exercises. Even though they develop your technique a bit, they're musically worthless because they have no real musical context and the possibilities of applying them to improvisation and composition are nonexistent. Learn more difficult songs instead of doing exercises.
#7
Anything and everything as long as you practice it well and with good technique.
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#8
Quote by Stratwizard
NO NO NO and NO for the 1-2-3-4 etc. exercises. Even though they develop your technique a bit, they're musically worthless because they have no real musical context and the possibilities of applying them to improvisation and composition are nonexistent. Learn more difficult songs instead of doing exercises.


Massively disagree. You need both. Exercises to target specific skills and improve them, songs to help you grow as a musician and expose you to new ideas and ways your not comfortable playing yet. The two types of practices work together. For example, work on a song that's challenging. If you hit a part you can't get no matter how much you practice the real deal, figure out what part of your technique is causing this, then work on an exercise to specifically target this technique.

No disrespect intended towards Stratwizard by saying this.
#9
Quote by se012101
Massively disagree. You need both. Exercises to target specific skills and improve them, songs to help you grow as a musician and expose you to new ideas and ways your not comfortable playing yet. The two types of practices work together. For example, work on a song that's challenging. If you hit a part you can't get no matter how much you practice the real deal, figure out what part of your technique is causing this, then work on an exercise to specifically target this technique.

No disrespect intended towards Stratwizard by saying this.


Yes, but you can also target specific problems when learning songs. It's just about choosing the right song. For instance, lets say you want to learn alternate picking. Learn songs from Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert and other masters of alternate picking.
When these songs are technically challenging they have exactly the same function as the exercises you would be doing, except the also have quite a few advantages.

The greatest problem with the pure technique exercises is that they're almost impossible to apply in impro or composition - for most players, at least. They also develop you very little musically. Most of the players at that level don't have a too solid theory knowledge and thus fail to comprehend what they actually play and how they could apply these exercises to real music.

When you take the time you would've spent on these exercises and put it to learning songs, the progress will be quite a lot of faster. Not to mention that you have actually something to play. After all you can make everything you play as an exercise. It doesn't always have to be that "spider lick of doom" or some chromatic finger killer.
#10
Quote by eric crake
Ive been playn about 2 months and is comin along good, just wanted to know of any drills that will really accelerate my ability, like how fast im able to play and have my fingers in the right spots. Thanks

No, "getting fast" takes years and it's not something you can force, you just have to be patient. Concentrate on being accurate - without accuracy you're nothing as a guitarist.
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#11
Quote by Stratwizard
Yes, but you can also target specific problems when learning songs.


True, but not as intensively. For example, lets say guitarist X has a problem with a lick from artist Y (or made up by guitarist X). Lets say that this is due to a string skipping bit that guitarist X isn't very good at yet. By zooming in on the problem bar and playing it many times, guitarist X does get to do 1 or 2 string skips every time he plays it and improves a bit. But if after much practice, he still can't nail the lick well enough, an exercise that focuses purely on string skipping can really help to bust through the barrier. That is because he is now practicing a TON of string skipping. After a while, he can re-attack the lick in question with his improved command of string skipping.

That's really the idea of technical exercises. Take some core skill, and practice the hell out of it through an exercise. Then take that skill and apply to playing music.

Quote by Stratwizard

The greatest problem with the pure technique exercises is that they're almost impossible to apply in impro or composition - for most players, at least.


You do, though. If the purpose of a technical exercise is to improve coordination, don't you use coordination when playing?

Anyway, it's all good. I do feel strongly that you need both to maximize your progress.
#12
Quote by Stratwizard
Yes, but you can also target specific problems when learning songs. It's just about choosing the right song. For instance, lets say you want to learn alternate picking. Learn songs from Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert and other masters of alternate picking.
When these songs are technically challenging they have exactly the same function as the exercises you would be doing, except the also have quite a few advantages.

The greatest problem with the pure technique exercises is that they're almost impossible to apply in impro or composition - for most players, at least. They also develop you very little musically. Most of the players at that level don't have a too solid theory knowledge and thus fail to comprehend what they actually play and how they could apply these exercises to real music.

When you take the time you would've spent on these exercises and put it to learning songs, the progress will be quite a lot of faster. Not to mention that you have actually something to play. After all you can make everything you play as an exercise. It doesn't always have to be that "spider lick of doom" or some chromatic finger killer.



He has been playing for 2 months!
He is not going to learn paul gilbert or yngwie songs, they are much to adavanced!
#14
Quote by se012101
After a while, he can re-attack the lick in question with his improved command of string skipping.


Yes, this is true but you can make the exercise out of the exact problem straightaway without wasting time in the "support" exercises. Then when you encounter a new technical problem, make an exercise out of that. That way you solve the problem instantly and don't get lost in the depths of worthless technique exercises, which have no real application.

That's really the idea of technical exercises. Take some core skill, and practice the hell out of it through an exercise. Then take that skill and apply to playing music.


Once again, I argue that technique exercise doesn't have to be a lick that is taken out of its context, and of which the only purpose is to the develop technique. It can be both useful and efficient at the same time. Then you don't have the trouble of trying to integrate it into your repertoire, because you already know how to use it since you have heard it in its context.

Anyway, it's all good. I do feel strongly that you need both to maximize your progress.


I agree to an extent but I just want to stretch the idea of "technique exercise".
#15
Right, but when you make exercises out of the problem parts of licks, isn't this exactly the same thing as a technical exercise? Once you've zoomed in on a small group of notes and play them over and over to improve whatever technique is holding you back, then what you're doing is essentially the same, regardless of whether you said up front, "I'm going to practice this custom exercise because my [insert name of technique] is not good enough", or "I'm going to practice this little tiny bit of a lick, because this is where I'm having a problem, and I really want to be able play that lick".

Also, about applying. Chromatics are harder to apply (but if I was feeling argumentative I'd mention the runs in Pag's 5th caprice, and pretty much all of flight of a bumblebee), but take Paul Gilberts alt picking exercises. Those patterns are really common, and show up in alt picked runs in hundreds if not thousands of songs.