Monday, August 22, 2011

Changing Keys With Irregular Lines

          Changing Keys with Irregular Lines

I know this is a little late in coming but........better late than NEVER!!!!     

This lesson is primarily for skill levels intermediate through masterclass, but once again,
even beginners can benefit by taking their time and very slowly learning to play through the shapes displayed here.

This is a quasi classical style group of phrases hinged together with key changes and shifts in minor and major emphasis and is also an excerpt from one of my newly written guitar cadenzas. It can be used as a tremendous exercise for both hands as well as an awesome practice routine for advanced ear training and as a great tool for timing workouts.

It is played in straight 16th note groupings and is written at 180 bpm.
I included chord voicings for each measure for those curious about the fuller effect of the passages.

Now, let's get STARTED.

              Grab your guitar.
       Stare dumbly at your guitar.
       Admire your guitar.

Now you are ready!!!

The first passage is in Aminor Aeolian and starts with a juicy stretch from the first linear octave(12th fret) on the high E string to the 19th fret and ending with a tap on the 24th fret then returning back to the 12th. The best way to approach this stretch would be to anchor at the 12th with your index and proceed to hammer-on the 17th with your ring finger and then hammer-on the 19th with your pinky before tapping with your middle finger on the 24th fret and descending the movement using pull-offs.

From there you will simply descend the Aminor arpeggio that is so very familiar to most of us and then ascend it.

The second passage utilizes a descending Dminor arpeggio with an emphasis on A#Lydian but gets a bit tricky about ten notes into it. When you reach the 12th fret(A) on the A string you will shift your entire hand position to play that note with your pinky and on to play the 8th fret(F) with your index finger before shifting your pinky into the 10th fret position on your low E string (D) and proceed to play the 5th fret on the same string with your index finger which is a nice stretch as well. As you move into the next ascending shape there will be a 2 string barre that will be played with your index finger before playing the 10th fret on your Gstring(F) and pulling off a nice string skipping  jump to end the phrase on the 5th fret of your high Estring(A).

The third line starts with a death defying speed leap all the way up to the 22nd fret of the high Estring(D) with your pinky finger without missing a beat. As you pull off the D to the Bflat(18th fret) you will continue to descend a Gminor arpeggio and then move into an altered Gminor transition that consists of a 2string ring finger barre and then ending in a 3string index finger barre.

Staying diatonic to the last key change in the third section of Gminor Aeolian, the 4th and final passage is a major arpeggio with its emphasis being D# LYDIAN and cascades down and climbs back up to finally end on C before the entire solo section is repeated again.

The fingering for the looping point is a fairly difficult transition to pull off smoothly with straight 16ths but with enough diligence this solo movement can be performed to perfection.

Remember to take your time and do not try to play this death defying group at full speed until you are articulating every note with clarity and timing precision or else it will end up sounding like slop and will grant no real benefit to your musical evolution.

It is far better to play well slowly than to play like crap at high speed.
The mark of a true shredder is to have the ability to play and sound excellent at all speeds and tempos.

Until next time, keep it SHRED!!


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lesson 2


For lesson 2, we will be going over an exercise involving a pattern based wholly
on the atonal world of CHROMATICS.

This is a roller coaster-sounding ride of an exercise that consists of 64 notes being played uniformly and accurately (we hope) in 16th notes and then to be continuously looped.

I feel that the art of proper picking is sometimes overlooked or not paid enough attention to in the world of guitar.

This exercise is one of (thousands) that is geared towards increasing one's overall picking accuracy and precision. This pattern will also greatly improve one's fretboard evolution as well
I suggest playing the pattern at times starting on a downstroke and at other times on an upstroke to increase the best economical end result.

Take your time at first in committing this pattern to memory as it may be slightly confusing at first.

Once memorized, start to approach this exercise with extreme care and caution, as it has been known to fry peoples brains into a quivering mass of utter befuddlement!!!

Make sure to concentrate on staying consistent with your timing as you are working it up to higher tempos (10,000 bpm). Keeping it consistent and accurate also means keeping your string noise to a MINIMUM utilizing proper muting techniques that will be discussed in much greater detail in forthcoming lessons.

REMEMBER: always try to have fun whilst will make all the difference in the world in getting you where you want to be on your instrument.

Until next time,


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lesson 1

 Getting Organized

First of all, I wanted to explain that these lessons are geared more for intermediate to masterclass level guitarists, but that doesn't completely exclude beginners either.
Even beginning players can reap some benefits from the theoretical and philosophical information as well as the written exercises, licks, and phrases, etc, that will be included in these weekly lessons on this blog.
So no matter what your level of musical knowledge or playing skill, there will be something in these lessons that will greatly benefit you as an ever-evolving guitarist and musician.

That being said let's begin lesson 1: GETTING ORGANIZED--

Let's start off by assuming that you have a guitar that has at least 6 strings on it and is at least somewhat playable. If you don't you should probably buy one asap!!
One of the most important things about being a guitarist is having a good instrument to play, and to practice on.

There is a huge difference between trying to learn on a beat up old clunker with the strings an inch above the fretboard as opposed to having a well-balanced instrument.

You would be wise (if you are an electric guitarist) to also have a decent sounding practice amp that doesn't sound like total crap. I've seen many a developing player give up playing altogether because their amplifier sounds like a dying cat screaming in a rusty tin box. We dont want that. So if you need to, get a good amp too.

Make sure that you have a timing source to practice with as well. For example:
a metronome, drum machine, keyboard with built-in rhythm section, a computer with internet access to pull up an online metronome, etc...

Now that you are all ready to go lets talk about inspiration. What exactly is it that you want to accomplish? Are you just wanting to take the guitar a step further or take it to a whole new plateau of unique musical expression and technical power? Who are your favorite players? What are your favorite bands? Do you want to sound just like Synyster Gates or Carlos Santana? Or do you want to try and create your own sound on the guitar? What is the level of your musical passion and desire? Look deep within yourself and ask what is it that you really want from the guitar and music in general.

 No matter how gifted and talented you are you will need to practice to get good. The more you put in, the better the returns will be. The more consistent, organized and patient you are with your practice routines, the better your overall expression will become and the greater musician and guitarist you will be.

I would suggest putting in no less than 1 to 2 hours of practice at least every other day. But, of course, as I stated before, your overall growth depends on the amount of time that you put in.
Determination and persistence are two key elements in our overall growth as musicians. So is patience and a passion for music and the guitar. The guitar is a remarkable instrument worthy of its legendary mystique and reputation.

Don't just look at it like a block of wood to bang on. Strive to get to know your guitar better and respect it as an almost living, breathing entity. It will never do you wrong, but you can do it wrong by letting it sit in the corner or under the bed collecting dust from not playing it.

Next week we will begin with written exercises that you will be able to incorporate into your practice routine.

Until then, happy jamming!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Definition of Shred

It is an incredible time for electric guitarists all over the globe. This modern era of music has opened a vast array of genres and sub-genres that never existed until now. Creativity has reached new levels and musicianship is also at a high, especially in the electric guitar world. Games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have produced new legions of aspiring young guitarists. Modern metal has brought forth some of the world's greatest new players to the scene, which has redefined the very concept of metal itself, helping to make it a fully accepted form of music.

The term "shred" is used in a very generalized manner, but I don't believe always correctly or accurately. Many think shred belongs only to our modern era, when in reality, shred has been around since the 1600's. It's not only a guitar player that can play with blistering speed, or a metal musician in the throes of a frenetic frenzy at 200 bpm. Shred can be expressed by any musician that pushes their chosen instrument to the limits. For example, when Beethoven wrote the third movement of Moonlight Sonata (Presto Agitato) he was shredding his ass off! If anyone were to hear that recreated in the modern day on electric guitar, they would definitely define it as some sweet shred.

The art of shredding, because it is an art, entails evolving your musical skill and experience to higher states of expression no matter what the instrument may be.

Shredders are among the greatest musicians in all of history, they are those who have chosen to refine their skills to the greatest level of technical proficiency as well as encapsulating the ability to imbue powerful emotion through each and every note they play.

I will begin posting weekly lessons here on blogger for all of you aspiring guitarists out there that need a little more knowledge or assistance. Feel free to post any comments or questions.