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> Hardest Challenge On The Guitar, What Was It?
Ben Higgins
post Apr 30 2015, 07:06 PM
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I was wondering about what were some of the toughest solos you guys have ever learned, or tried to learn. But then it turned into general guitar challenges, not necessarily solos. It could be a song, a rhythm part, getting to grips with a new guitar, adopting a different method of doing something....

I can easily say that the 30 Shredders projects that Kris has lain at my door are the toughest physical challenges I've had in my guitar playing life. Thanks, Kris wink.gif

Before it got to the playing part, the first hurdle was to try and get composing. I thought I could stick with one tempo for a while and take care of the first wave of guitarists. The order of players came quite randomly. In truth, it was mostly dictated by who I felt most comfortable tackling at that point, who I was closest to being able to emulate without more weeks of practise. Yngwie, EVH, Rhoads etc came quite easily enough. They're very distinctive players so I knew I could draw on certain licks without having to study new techniques or phrasing.

Then things got tougher, as I had to do more research and get a feel for the idiosyncrasies of players that I hadn't listened to as much. In these situations, all you can do is take a listen to their most famous solos and try to pick out any recurring themes that identify that person. Some players have more recognisable traits than others.

When it comes to players with really recognisable traits you can be more creative with coming up with new melodies using their typical runs and licks. With less recognisable players, you have to take more from their source material in order to create a spark of recognition with the listener.

Eventually, I got my 30 players lined up and ready to rehearse. I just had to get my hands around it. In terms of technical difficulty, I'll go through a few of the most challenging and why they were challenging to me;

Dimebag: In terms of technique, this was quite straight forward. Minor pentatonic with added blues tones played with a combo of picking, hammers and pulls.

The difficulty came with that squeal. You know what I'm talking about, right? Even though I had a Jackson with a double locking trem, I opted for the yellow guitar with vintage trem because the pickups were hotter, which was essential if I was to get a squeal happening.

It's not something I ever played before then and haven't played since. It's not part of my style, which is why it was so damn tricky. There was a lot of unused footage when it came to the slow, spoken word parts!

Chris Poland: This one was tough because of the Labyrinthine finger patterns being played with the fretting hand. Combine that with the typical thrash tempo of early Megadeth and this gave me bit of a headache until I eventually became comfortable with it. You can have speed and technique but when you try to tackle phrasing patterns of another player it can make you feel like a beginner again.

Greg Howe: It didn't take me that long until I got this one but, to start with, it was bit of an issue because it involves tapping. I don't use that much tapping and I used even less when I made this video so it was common for me to get to this section and have notes just crap out on me, literally just die as soon as my finger hit the fretboard. Technically speaking, this part isn't that hard and it's not that fast either but it just goes to show that there is no substitute for practise. Get familiar with a piece and give yourself time to get it right.

When it comes to these projects, we've got to be quite swift in getting it out there so I never spend as much time on a technique as I would if I were learning it for my own repertoire. I learn it as well as it needs to sound so I can record it and then, in most cases, never play it again. It might disappoint many viewers to discover that I don't go back and play all my old lessons note for note. In this game, you're constantly moving forward and thinking of the next thing. Could I play any of the 30 Shredders videos if I was asked? Not without some practise and reminding myself what I wrote! That's the way it goes.

I haven't even touched upon 30 Misplaced Shredders, which was even tougher.... but these projects were definitely the most challenging projects I'd faced.

Now it's your turn. What is the hardest challenge you've faced on the guitar?

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Apr 30 2015, 07:08 PM


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Chris S.
post Apr 30 2015, 07:37 PM
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Timing is a always a big struggle when playing over a backing track. I've only been playing for about 7-ish years and about 5 of those were me playing without a backing track.

So once I came to GMC and tried to play all these lessons over a backing track my timimg was awful! Still not that great but a lot better now - it's the more complicated drum patterns that I have a harder time keeping up with.

Other than that it's a constant struggle to get faster tongue.gif

In time it will come, I'm sure - but you guys make it look so easy!

P.S. For your shredders video how was the John 5 section? (I believe that was in the Another 30 Shredders, if I'm not mistaken?)

I always loved his style of playing.


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Phil66
post Apr 30 2015, 11:13 PM
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Bending to pitch whilst playing a piece. I can bend to pitch in my own time but when playing a piece I don't have time to correct it biggrin.gif check out my latest REC submission for proof rolleyes.gif

Cheers


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Ben Higgins
post May 1 2015, 08:57 AM
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QUOTE (Chris S. @ Apr 30 2015, 06:37 PM) *
Timing is a always a big struggle when playing over a backing track. I've only been playing for about 7-ish years and about 5 of those were me playing without a backing track.

So once I came to GMC and tried to play all these lessons over a backing track my timimg was awful! Still not that great but a lot better now - it's the more complicated drum patterns that I have a harder time keeping up with.

Other than that it's a constant struggle to get faster tongue.gif


Yeah, timing is usually a big one for most people. If you can get a good sense of timing then that you're doing much better than the guy who can shred and tap but has awful timing smile.gif

QUOTE (Chris S. @ Apr 30 2015, 06:37 PM) *
P.S. For your shredders video how was the John 5 section? (I believe that was in the Another 30 Shredders, if I'm not mistaken?)


The John 5 and Jennifer Batten sections were the hardest due to the quirky tapping licks!!

QUOTE (Phil66 @ Apr 30 2015, 10:13 PM) *
Bending to pitch whilst playing a piece. I can bend to pitch in my own time but when playing a piece I don't have time to correct it biggrin.gif check out my latest REC submission for proof rolleyes.gif

Cheers


Yes,a very common problem. Regards having time to correct it, I think we can correct most things if we have time to take stock of the situation but when there's a backing track flying about we've got to go with what we've got. It's the same with improv. I do my best work when I've got to time to compose, I'm not the best at improvising. Not enough time to think wink.gif


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TJHarrison5252
post May 1 2015, 09:13 AM
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Copying someones vibrato, and proper communication on guitar
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Jim S.
post May 1 2015, 03:22 PM
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First of all Ben your shredder videos are pretty mind blowing. It's amazing to me how much hard work it must have been and then pull it off so cleanly.

My story isn't the most challenging ever but it was the most pressure I had ever been put in. It starts back in a guitar ensemble class and the final was coming up. Most students choose the regular textbook guitar pieces and I choose "cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson. So the day of the final I dragged my electric guitar, amp and pedal board onto a bus. After walking a mile with this equipment I finally make it to class and set my gear on the little stage. Everything was set. The class is eager to begin and my teacher asked if I'd like to go first. I get on stage and right as I was picking up my guitar, the teacher says "jim your going to play on Mikes Acoustic." Hmmm, wtf? He knew I was bringing all this stuff and never gave me a heads up. Anyways it was a good experience.

So about the song, I practiced it everyday for months and even though I got a 100% on it, I would have gotten murdered here at GMC. Thanks for reminding me of that story Ben!
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RamsaySnow
post May 1 2015, 03:54 PM
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..trying to play ANYTHING on an acoustic after playing for 30 years on an electric!!
I don't learn many cover songs but I've always found SRV tracks to be the hardest. I think I'd be more comfortable playing Black Star on stage than Pride And Joy!
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livoire13
post May 2 2015, 09:13 PM
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Wasn't the Jason Becker part one of the hardest too ? ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0y-5B_bX5o
tongue.gif I'm just kidding, 30 shredders in one solo is mind-blowing : what a challenge indeed.

So far I can't think of any big-challenge I've been confronted with.. So I won't really be answering the main topic by saying that some GMC lessons took me hours of practice to play (that's what I would call 'little-challenge').
However, few years ago, when I got my first electric guitar on hands, learning the solo of free bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd was a necessity ! You know, this is the kind of solo you cannot just listen to, you need to play it too... I remember myself trying to play it on acoustic even before I had an electric guitar. So, this solo was my 'solo-challenge' at the time.

Anyway, cool topic Ben, and nice stories guys !
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Opetholic
post May 3 2015, 08:14 AM
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For me hardest challenge on the guitar is mastering the sweep picking technique. I have practiced this very patiently in very slow tempos for a very long time and I still can not do it. It is very frustrating for me to practice this technique, pick up on it over time again and again and fail each time..


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Ben Higgins
post May 3 2015, 08:38 AM
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QUOTE (livoire13 @ May 2 2015, 08:13 PM) *
Wasn't the Jason Becker part one of the hardest too ? ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0y-5B_bX5o
tongue.gif I'm just kidding, 30 shredders in one solo is mind-blowing : what a challenge indeed.


Yes, the JB part was definitely one of those sections where, if you slipped up, it screwed up the whole piece! wink.gif


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