'This Is Sparta' Guitar Song Conquering

Practice tips and easier ways to build up strength and skill to play tricky parts in songs.

Ultimate Guitar
I hope this lesson gets to its point. Its point is to show you how to correctly practice and get parts that throws you off down effectively. I will start you off with a quote this is very important and it always goes through my mind while playing. PRactice Doesnt Make Perfect. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Think about that? That means if you practice it wrong over and over you will only play it wrong in the long run? It is a common statistic in order for you to play something right you must do it successfully 10 times in order to make it near perfect. Sounds simple right? Its anything but! You want to drag across the strings, or pick another string? Or slide when you are supposed jump straight to it? -All this happens to everyone? --The questions is, how? --- There are many ways to tackle tough riffs, solos and just anything that you may not pick up easily or is a weak spot. First of all we will start with the most basic advice. -Play it slow first- This sounds very babyish and if you are anything like me you hate it! I mean its hard to jam out to Killswitch Engage or Led Zeppelin song at 40 beats per minute??? But thats the thing, you must play it slow *and remember around 10 times successfully* in order to play it right. Its simple but very effective. The best thing to do is start if off slow at do it 10 times to get the rhythm in your hands and then build up your speed on that one riff or lick over and over to you can play it up to tempo. The things that throw me for a loop and then back again is moves like this. Through Struggle (As I Lay Dying)
P =Pull off Im sorry if this isnt your type of music but I enjoy it and it provides a melodic challenge. This is a metalcore band from Seattle they are extremely talented look up the song on Youtube if you are curious of how it sounds. This gives me ultimate confusion. I do not know whether im playing the 8th fret and hammering on to 7 or 12 or heck I may have to play this part with my teeth?!? So I start off slow. Picking it like im teaching my Rheumatoid arthritis grandmother how to play. So play it over and site read to yourself in the rhythm. Saying this might help. "Zero-five-zero-eightttt-ten-twelve-twelve-twelve-ten..etc* Say the numbers in the songs rhythm that gives you trouble will help. I know you think you will sound like a total dork but its better to sound one by voice then a total dork on the guitar. So I believe we conquered that. Now off to the Roman Empire!! --- Picking Focus This is a big thing in guitar riffs that are all over the strings. Licks or riffs that are stretched out over 4 or 5 stings are bound to have some awkward picking that has you confused like crazy. Or maybe its a simple alternate picking but just in a unusual rhythm. -Lets explore an example of an alternate picking riff that may not be so easy on the first try Living Life In The Fast Lane (The Eagles)
H= Hammer on P= Pull off This is a classic riff. This is the first part you hear in the song. However, it may not be so easy to play on the first time. The main thing on this is that it goes through your low E A and D string. Which you have to play it at a speed of about 110 or so beats per minute. So what do you do? The main thing is to focus on this, find out which part is giving you trouble.
Maybe that part is tricky for you to do. Lets just say it is. Play that slower than what you played the rest concentrating on what is giving you the most trouble. The fingering or the picking? Now that you discovered what is your trouble concentrate -Play this over and over keeping the rhythm and picking very slow and after a few successful tries, build up speed. This is a method that is very effective. When I find a song that gives me trouble I play that one part over and over until I play it as well as the other parts. This can be applied to many different elements to a song. Like the fingering, picking, tapping, or maybe a combination. Whatever this is be sure to focus on that part. Play that countless times until you can play it right. Lets expand further into our guitar riff slaying arsenal! --- Fingerpicking If you are like me you probably listen to rock or heavy metal. Where fingerpicking is a thing you skipped because it doesnt apply to your music. Thats ok but do not skip this! This could apply to whatever song you have waiting for you to play right around the corner! With music styles developing quickly we need to prepare for the worse! Im mainly a rock and metal fan so I dont use finger picking alot. However I know some intros to killer metal and rock songs that love to throw me for a loop and love to make me suffer. Whatever it may be, be sure to apply the previous material into your effort and learn how to play the song, not the song play you!. To include my roots, I think I will put a song from Guitar Hero 2, which is actually what inspired me to pick up the guitar and play. The Light That Blinds (Shadows Fall)
H=Hammer on *This tab was provided by archaikz* This is a great tab and is pretty acurate. Be sure to check it out if you care to know the rest of it. This is the first part that involves heavy finger picking. This classical intro gives the song a surprising beginning after this. If you are like I was you ignored finger picking for a while, and tried to get whatever it was with a pick. What I would is listen to the song first. With your fingers you can control the sound and emphasis of the particular note with more percision then with a pick. So you need to pay attention what note is picked with emphasis and how its played. I play mainly with my thumb and index finger and roll with my middle. So you start off slow, and since I dont play with my fingers often I go slower than I would with a pick. (however tremolo picking with my fingers would make me the guitar equivalent of John Myung) And what you are mainly trying to accomplish is to get the emphasis right, dont concern the tempo just yet. Just concentrate on what fingers to use that are comfortable for you to pick with. And play it over and over again till you get it right almost everytime and build up your speed. And thats it you have now conquered what may give you trouble!! But dont worry there will be other things! (^_^) --- I hope this helps you to be able to practice correctly and learn newer songs easier without so much frustration. Songs are not going to be something you can pick up almost everytime and play perfectly without many years of experience. I will check the comments on this often so if you have any questions directed to me please include those in the comments and I will answer asap. Any other comments are accepted as well. Goodluck!

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    1st of all the light that blinds is epic! title was great its what forced me to click on the link. basically the only question i have for u is the best way to learn arpeggios and do u have any tricks for increasing finger speed other than a metronome
    1st of all the light that blinds is very epic indeed! But there are some great arpeggio lessons on UG. They should help and not right now I dont but when I do my next lesson I will cover some But I do for finger speed. What I would do is start on the 3rd fret middle finger 2nd fret first finger and 5th fret pinky and just hammer on pull of repeatedly until you get extremely sore. The more you stand to pull off and hammer on the more muscles you build. So keep on in a pattern but start off slow. 3-2-5 and then pretty soon that will build up strength in those fingers. and then work your ring finger buy doing "bottoms" which is basically skipping around the strings with your ring and your pinky. That will help build your movement and your finger speed as well And if you dont mind rate for me but I hope that helps add me on here and comment if you need anything else
    I typically use the Guitar Pro iPod app to learn songs, and I start off by turning the song down to 20% speed (the slowest it'll go), just to understand the finger positioning. Then, I'll play it PERFECTLY 5 times, move up a step, and repeat until I'm playing at full speed (sometimes a little faster, if I think I'm finding full a little choppy). If I mess up 5 times, I turn it back down a notch, then play at that speed 10 times perfectly, then go back up. Takes forever to learn some songs, but it's the most effective learning ritual I've ever tried.