Posted Aug 23, 2010 10:54 AM
Is there a riff/solo you can't play? This happens quite a lot when you hear a new cool song and you tend to blame your cheap guitar or something and throw it away and look at signature models for the whole week and decide you can't play worth crap.
This guide will help you speed up and play that thing faster than the original.
So lets troubleshoot.
Note: This lesson does not include any tablature of any sort and is just to refine your technique of playing songs. Sometimes, you do the correct thing in practices but not in playing songs.
This lesson is divided into two parts :
I - FOR THE LEFT HAND (when your left hand lets you down)
II - FOR THE RIGHT HAND (when your picking hand lets you down)
Left Hand Speed Troubleshooting
Problem 1: Using all fingers
There can't be a single hero to fight villains for the whole world. Yeah, using all fingers is very important. You might be able to go faster with just three fingers at once, but in the longer run, practicing with all your fingers is very important. There are a lot of chromatic exercises which can help you. You just know where you can use the other finger.
Problem 2: Distance of fingers from the frets
The biggest and most common problem I get to see with guitarists is that they raise their fingers too high from the fretboard when they just used that finger to play a note. Keep all your fingers very close to the fretboard, just enough to get them inaction when required and not to close to mess up or mute the string. This is very important. This is the main problem when you can't play a riff or lick. So go check yourself.
Also, check the action of your guitar.
Problem 3: Barring a fret in a solo
Yea, this is a bad thing to do. Give your fingers as much freedom they can get. For those of you who don't get what this means, Barring a fret means sticking your index finger all the way up to two or three strings when playing a solo. This happens a lot while playing the basic pentatonic when the index finger doesn't have to change positions. Don't bar the fret and try again. Maybe you can do it this time. Do some stretches and you can hopefully conquer this problem
*Note : Sometimes you have to bar you finger when tapping on multiple strings together.
Stretch your fingers, use all the above methods and keep on practicing the same thing. Boring but gives great results.
If nothing else works, use the good old slow-it-down method. Use all the techniques given above while playing slow and increase your speed by practice.
Right Hand Speed Troubleshooting
Problem 1: Picking style
I know this old crap but if you can't play a thing just use economical picking. No harm is done. Sometimes even alternative can't even do it. Some songs do use a specific picking pattern but to most listeners, there is no difference. If you don't know what alternative or economical picking is, it is explained in one good lesson I read. Go check it out.
Problem 2: Right hand movement
OK, when you strum quick patterns which require great right hand stamina, make sure that you are moving just your wrist, not you whole goddamn arm. YEAH, seriously, just move your wrist. Most of these riffs are palm-muted so go rotate your wrist.
Use a metronome and stop at specific beats. If you are playing 32nd or 16th notes at a great speed, its is important that you know when to stop or fret.
Just start a metronome, play sixteenth notes for half a bar then start playing again after a quarter beat.
Thats all, if you don't find this lesson helpful at all, maybe you are picking a song too fast for you. It is very important that you proceed in a orderly fashion picking easy songs first. You can't play Malmsteem at your first go, its true, they don't call them GUITAR GURUS for no reason.