Things To Be Aware Of And Useful Tips

author: SocialismCross date: 10/14/2008 category: practice tips
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Playing guitar as a physical activity, may inolve bad habbits, which are so hard to quit for two reasons, 1st is that it takes ages to quit a bad habbit, and 2nd is because when you learn something and you are good at it, no matter if it's the wrong way or not, it's too hard to start all over again.So, this article is for beginners and intermediate players to be aware of some wrong methods for doing some techniques. (Note: I am not a guitar teacher, and that's not my profession, but it's just my experience, and some of other's like my teacher and other people online.) I don't know if there will be any farther parts of this, but it depends on your comments! Topics in this lesson: 1. Correct practice for the Vibrato. 2. Don't spoil the pinky. 3. Alternate picking while playing 2 strings differs than sweep picking. 4. Slides

Correct Practice For The Vibrato

The most common mistake among beginners is vibrating the string using finger motion, and not hand's motion.This is a FATAL mistake. It won't produce the right sound of the vibrato, it will never be effortless even after hundreds of years of performing it that way, plus it's really harmful & unhealthy for the finger's joints and may cause serious injuries. The correct method is to vibrate the string using your wrist and hand motion. While your finger is on the note you want to vibrate, you slightly rotate, (don't pull your hands downwards), but in a motion as if it was going to rotate. It's an angular motion, but with very small angle. Do it firstly so slow and slowly return to the original position.That should be BEND, actually the vibrato is a fast Bend & Release technique. It aint going to be easy first time around, so be patient, if you practise it everyday, it shall be really effortless after a while.So remember the very small angluar motion, Do it fast, back and forth, and you'll get the vibrato. NOTE: If your middle finger is the one to vibrate the note, let your index finger (which should be on a lower note)like if your middle finger is on the 5h fret on the 3rd string, your index should be on the 4th fret, the motion should be applied on both fingers, in that way the index finger would support the middle finger with vibrating the string. And here you go, if your using your ring finger to vibrate a string, the index and middle fingers, would support it(while they are on lower notes, i.e. lower frets). It may be hard to explain without a seeing it, so please try to be patient. An excellet example for this is "Canon" it's so well known. Here's a link for a version arranged for guitar. Observe the intro, and you should know what I mean. You can have the tab for this song, to try it out(if your a beginner you can just play the vibrato part.)

Don't Spoil The Pinky

Before I get into this, I like to define a playing range on the guitar neck, which is 4 frets long. You only change your hands from it's original position to a new one when you are playing anything, if there's a note outside the 4 frets range. Example of the concept is Fade to black by metallica. In this part, your hands is in a certain position on the neck, you play different notes, but within the 4 frets range. (In this part your index finger won't be on any fret but the 2nd fret, no matter which string)

                                Here, the ring finger plays the 4th fret 
                                on the A string not the D like the previous
                                parts but it's still on the 4th fret.
So I mean that you still don't have to change your hand's position, you are still within the range. So the range here is the 2nd fret on the neck, to the 5th, no matter what the string is. But here, Later in the song, You change your hand's position) (shift your hands away from the bridge), because you have the 1st fret.
|------------------------|---------------------------|Again you have a  
|------------------------|-------------------0----3--|range but now it is
|------------------------|-------1--------1----------|1st fret to 4th fret.
|-------0-----------2----|----2--------2-------------|(For this part you 
|----3-----------2-----2-|-2--------2----------------| need to change your  
|-1--------1--4----------|---------------------------| hand's position 
                                                       because it's a new
(Another example is the intro of south of heaven by slayer (example of changing hands position to a new range) My point is that in a given range, when you don't have to change your left hand's position yet, specific fingers should play on certain frets. Some people would rather switch to another position to play some note that's within the same range, just because they can't use their pinky or ring finger as they can do with their index, which makes your fingers skills not equal for each. That's wrong because you will create a lazy little finger, and you wouldn't be able to play solos because it totally depend on the use of your 4th finger.It's so common that guys would move their hands so that their ring finger would do the job that the pinky was supposed to do. So be aware of that, and try to not to move your hands when you are still within the same range. Use Your Small Finger! Perfect exercise for this is the song Last Resort by Papa roach. the guitar part played before the verse. In this whole part, you don't have to change your hand's position horizontally, because it's all within 4 frets range.

Note: You can't apply that idea for after the 12th fret, because frets are not that wide like before it.

Alternate Picking While Playing 2 Strings Differ Than Sweep Picking

If you are playing a song, that involves fast picking on 2 strings in a sequence order like for master of puppets. The link for the tab. Consider the 3rd riff. Normally You start by playing the (----0----1---) on the E string, 0 with down stroke, and 1 with the up stroke, then the(--2--) on the A string with down stroke, then (----0-----1----)again but 0 with up stroke and 1 with down stroke. After that you have 2 options for playing the "3" on the A string. Most people would think it's easier to play it downstroke because you have already played the previous note on the E string with downstroke so you will just continue the motion downwards. But that's not the good choice, the better choice is to play it with upstroke.You may think it's easier to play it that way because most of beginners and intermediate players have a slower upstroke than their own downstroke, their downstroke is always faster, there maximum speed on music metronome for downstroke is faster than that of their upstroke. But actually it's easier to play it with upstroke for these reasons:
  • Your mind don't have to give many orders to your hands, because you are already playing with an order of up down, up down,up down.... but when you play 2 downstrokes in a row, and then one upstroke, then your mind has to give more signals for that, which may confuses you sometimes.(you are breaking the cycle of up/down up/down)
  • When u play the "3" note on the A string with downstroke, you will have to go back upwards with upsroke to play the(---0---1---) again, you will normally have to play the 0 open string with upstroke by default and in that way your picking hand is like imprisoned in the region between the E and A string, which doesn't give you free motion of your hands. Try it and you will know what i mean, try playing 2 strings like E and A, or A and D....etc. Let's pick the E and A for example, if you play the A string with a downstroke, and then u go up to pick the E string with upstroke, and keep doing it, you will notice that your pick is trapped in a very small reigon which is between these 2 strings, which would make it impossible to play songs that are faster than master of puppets if you play that way. So here you got 2 things to do:
  • 1st try to improve your upstroke to be as fast as your downstroke.
  • 2nd don't break the order of up/down up/down up/down while playing a song. An easy exercise is the song: Stay together for the kids by Blink 182. An intermediate exercise is master of puppets by metallica or painkiller by judas priest.There are many songs that you can play after mastering that technique(Down stroke and up strokes for 2 strings respectively in successive order) but those songs are what I can remember right now. What about sweep Picking? The wrong method people do in the previous case, is mistaking alternate picking for sweep picking. You must know what sweep picking is to get what I mean, if you don't you can read it in the guitar techniques lessons field on ultimate-guitar. For me sweep picking is just a slow chord picking but totally fast notes picking, as when you play some chord your actually playing a bunch of notes to create a new sound of harmony notes. So certain kinds of solos are just like broken chords, where you play the notes that create a chord but played in succession rather than simultaneously. Let's consider the solo in the intro of the song fade to black, the fast part played, is a simple example for sweep picking. When you play this part:(this is not the whole solo, you can look at the tab here)
    After playing the 15 with downstroke, you get a simple sweep picking solo with the 14 on the E, then 15 on the B string, then 14 on the G string, that's a simple sweep picking. So after the 15, you play the 14 with upstroke, then you pull your hands upwards in the same direction of the 14 upstroke, to reach the 14 on the G string. My point is that in kinda solo, don't mistake sweep picking for alternate picking, don't try to apply the up/down up/down up/down concept here.It's not tricky, you just have to know if you should use sweap picking or alternate.Alternate is when you are playing 2 string or 3 but with a certain root. Song like T&C by thrice will tell what I mean. Get it's guitar pro tab from ultimate-guitar and you will know what I mean.In that song you always have the root of the power chord as a reference or home after every note, plus you have to skip the string in the middle between 2 strings so you simply can't use sweep picking, because it's a case that's similar to the 2 string condition when you have to use alternate picking. But sweep is when you have fast solo, that you have to go from a note on the highest e string for example to a note on the A or even the Low E string, so you can't use alternate picking, it would be dumb.


    I know that most of you can play slides perfectly, but I had a bad experience when I was learning how to play with slides, because once I didn't know that I have to pick the string after sliding to the note. Like if I have to slide from 3 to 9 on a string, I would pick the string at the 3 only and just slide to 9. But that's not right because you are supposed to pick the string at the 9th fret too. That's not the same story with hammer On an pull Off, since you have to pick the string at once and just hammer on or pull off the string. That was it! I know it may be long and boring, but I thought I would share what I got and to help others not to learn wrong methods like I did firstly. Feel free to post any comments even the worst! Email:
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