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Todd Simpson
Welcome to SHRED BOOTCAMP! I'll be your Drill Instructor! And I do mean DRILL! As in a large power tool used in slasher films and Paul Gilbert concerts. Here is were you EARN THE LIVING DEATH out of your fingers and break through any speed bumps/barriers to become a MASTER CHIEF of Shred!
QUICK TIPS TO PREPARE YOU FOR BATTLE
*Make sure you get both hands in the shot when shooting your video*Make sure you use a metronome for the first several Missions and that the metronome can be heard.*After you complete a mission, shoot me a PM and let me know it's ready and I'll give you a debrief! These are pass / fail, so if you pass you BADGE UP and if not, I'll give you some feedback and you head in to the breach once again.
*The first several missions are VERY simple. They are just to get you used to the bootcamp process.
*Most importantly, there is NEVER a speed requirement in bootcamp. I want you to push yourself to play as brisk as you can, but NEVER at the expense of precision. If you find you are missing a note here and there, slow down a bit. Speed is just a byproduct of precision so my goal is to make you a very precise player. At that point, speed just happens.
MISSON #1

THE MISSION

1.)Your mission is to go all the way back to the very start. The base of the mountain.

LESSON 1. http://bitly.com/gmclesson1

Which you will play SUPER PERFECT!. Speed it up bit by bit until you feel your ready to take it to WAR (Any speed, it's up to you, no points for speed, only points for playing in a precise manner as speed is simply a byproduct of precision) Shoot a video and post it as a reply to this post. Make sure to EMBED the video by clicking on INSERT SPECIAL ITEM above the smiley face and then you'll get a drop down menu. Click on INSERT YOUTUBE VIDEO and follow the instructions in the Pop Up Menu. I'll then offer a constructive and brutally honest critique.

THE AFTERMATH

Upon nailing the crap out of lesson one at a speed you didn't think possible, and playing it a clean as a freshly waxed floor, you will be given your first insignia of Rank in BOOTCAMP! You will then proceed to Lesson #2 and so forth. Here is the link to the entire 400 plus Lesson Library. https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/wiki/inde...rtal:Techniques

Here is the link to your own PRIVATE HOUSE OF PAIN!...Er I mean.. SHRED!

http://bit.ly/johnmathewsbootcamp

Practice!
Sarge
JohnMathew
Hi Todd!,

This is my take on Mission 1. I did the exercise with 3 different speeds. I hope the videos are ok, I'm new to all these video/audio editing thing smile.gif.





Cheers!
Todd Simpson
Progress is the goal here in bootcamp and you have made some very good progress. You are playing in time much better but not quite in sync with the beat. Still, since you did progress, I think we can work out the issue as we move forward. Move on to Mision 2 and slow it down enough to keep pick strikes match to clicks on the metronome. You'll need to play and listen to the metronome at the same time which takes a bit of getting used to. Your overall technique here is not bad! It's just the drift that needs repair. On to Mission two! You just...

LEVELED UP!!
Click to view attachment
Click to view attachment

Onward!
Sarge


QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Oct 28 2020, 07:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Todd!,

This is my take on Mission 1. I did the exercise with 3 different speeds. I hope the videos are ok, I'm new to all these video/audio editing thing smile.gif.





Cheers!
JohnMathew
Here comes Mission 2. I think I am a bit off with the tempo. Now it is my new obsesion, play on time!

Todd Simpson
Let's debrief!!
MEDALS OF HONOR

*FORM: You are displaying solid technique here Soldier. keep it up! Muting, hand synch, clean strikes. You are planting with the pinky but this is fine. I do it myself sometimes. The pinky acts as a fulcrum. In an ideal situation you won't need the pinky to be planted but it's not a deal killer.

*TEMPO: Not rushing or lagging. That is the entire point of this mission. To get you used to playing in time and steady. It's harder than it seems.

*AGGRESSION: Jumping in with aggressive style. I love the way you attack these missions. A bit of determined aggression is required to push through these. Get ready, these get harder and harder. It will push your boundaries of ability very fast but you are ready!

Super congrats on getting better playing with the metronome. You are ready for the BATTLE ahead!

You just...

LEVELED UP!
Click to view attachment
Click to view attachment

Sarge

You clearly have all the elements well in hand Soldier. You are ready for what awaits you!
You just ...
LEVELED UP!!!!
These missions will get more complex as you go. The first several are really foundational. It's good to see you are comfortable with most important techniques!!
Click to view attachment

Sarge




QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Oct 31 2020, 09:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Here comes Mission 2. I think I am a bit off with the tempo. Now it is my new obsesion, play on time!

JohnMathew
Here we are with Mission 3.

JohnMathew
Here is Mission 4:

Todd Simpson
Soldier, I appreciate your aggressive style. However, you are playing just a bit ahead of yourself here. There is never a speed requirement in bootcamp for the simple reason that when people push beyond their precision threshold, playing quickly gets out of hand and often out of synch. You are still playing a bit to loosely with the beat. Try to slow it way down to one pick strike for each click at a slow enough pace that you can hear each click and then listen for the pick strike/note and make sure they are in synch. I appreciate that your fingers can play in a brisk fashion and it will serve you well. First, we gotta get your precision at a level to match the speed at which your fingers want to play. Slow this one way down, maybe cut the speed in half. There are 400 of these Missions. It's a marathon more than a sprint. Once more in to the breach!!!

Sarge

QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Oct 31 2020, 01:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Here we are with Mission 3.




Mission 4 is the BEST hand synch with the click track so far. Well done!! However, it sounds like you are not using any distortion at all on your tone. This is one way to reduce extra string noise. However, distortion can be your friend in showing any gaps in one's palm mute, or any string noise caused by improper technique. I see you have a very good palm mute which is great. I do notice that you are articulating your pick with the fingers which is also a good thing. One tip for Missions is to always use enough gain/distortion to allow any issues to heard, and to always use a very very sharp pick with a nice pointy tip, thats 1.0 mm or thicker. If you already are using such a pick, like one of the petrucci picks, then you are already there. Try to pick with just the tip of the pick. Don't let it go deeper beyond the string than the very tip. This is one of the crucial bits that shredders often use to play at crazy speed. A bit of gain / distortion will help on this count as well since you won't have to strike as hard. That's something else I'd like to see is lighter strikes so that you can get your pick speed as high as you want it.

In short, Mission 4 shows very good progress. Do 3 and 4 one more time with the adjustments mentioned. I hate to send a soldier back to the front, but it must be done in order to create proper hand discipline which is essential for playing at top speed for extended periods.

Once more in to the breach!!

Sarge

QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 1 2020, 09:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Here is Mission 4:


JohnMathew
Here we go Take 2 of Mission 3 and 4:


Todd Simpson
I can't see these videos Soldier sad.gif Maybe they are set to private? You can set them to unlisted and they will still work as an embed. I went to your youtube site and didn't see them either.

Sarge


QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 3 2020, 07:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Here we go Take 2 of Mission 3 and 4:




JohnMathew
Sorry for that Todd, they were on draft state. Now they can be seen by anybody. I have uploaded Mission 5 too smile.gif.




Todd Simpson
You are on a roll Soldier!! I think you are getting the hang of playing with the metronome. This is a skill in itself. It will help you a lot in playing with backing tracks and with a drummer. Being able to play "in time" is key to being a well rounded player. I think you are ready for Mission 6 so let's review these past 3 and you can move on to Mission 6!

Let's Debrief!!

*TRAVERSE: String Traverse is a tricky thing. It's easy to stumble on it. You play it clean and confident. It's the first thing I am looking for on these early missions. Can you move between strings without getting stuck. good news is that you can!

*PACE:It's tempting to rush or lag these bits based on which sections feel easier or harder. This is why pace is the second thing I'm looking for on these early missions. You keep a solid pace in time with the metronome. Score!

*ARTICULATION:
You are not picking from the elbow which is great. It's easy to stiffen the entire arm and elbow pick which is a bad habbit and hard to break. You are articulating the pick very well. I would suggest trying to reduce the overall range of pick motion just to keep things as minimal as possible which reduces the amount of time required to make the next pick strike. Articulation is something that I'm really hard on for these first missions as it's tempting to pick from the elbow. It's almost and instinct. But it's a very bad habit. The good news is you pick from the wrist forward which is as it should be.

You have shown that you have the skills to badge up these three Mission. You are getting jumped to LEVEL 5 Soldier!! Congrats!!

You just..

LEVELED UP!!

Click to view attachment
Click to view attachment

Onward!

Sarge



QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 4 2020, 06:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry for that Todd, they were on draft state. Now they can be seen by anybody. I have uploaded Mission 5 too smile.gif.





JohnMathew
Mission 6 just baked:



See you Sarge!
Todd Simpson
Soldier, I've been watching your video over and over trying to figure out what is happening with your pick hand. You've got a good mute and you are articulating the pick with the thumb and finger which is good. However, as many times as I watch it I can't seem to figure out exactly what is happening right where the pick hits the string. It seems you may be over articulating the pick and doing a sort of pull motion instead of a strike motion. This will get in your way as you start to speed. up. Also, it looks like your pick angle is almost horizontal to the string. This too may get in the way. ideally, only the very tip of the pick should strike the strings and it shouldn't go beyond / deeper than the string itself. Further, I do suggest a bit of an angle as this teaches the hand not to go to deep on each strike. Take a look at this video. It starts slow and thus there is more "pick wag" to start with. Then, when I play briskly, notice that there is very little wasted motion. I'm using the minimum amount of "pick wag" humanly possible in order to decrese recovery time for the next pick strike. Also, notice the pick angle. I'm always using a very sharp 1.0 mm pick. This is crucial. Let me know what type of pick you are using.

Try to emulate what I'm doing here in terms of picking technique. You can skip any left hand work for a moment and just focus on the picking. reduce it to one open string temporarily. Focus on just getting the motion as close to what you see here as possible.


All that being said, you are playing this Mission in a controlled manner and despite what is going on with the pick, I think you are ready for the next mission. I do hope we can address what is happening on the pick hand before it becomes burned in your brain and becomes very hard to change. There is just too much articulation happening on each strike which will serve as a speed barrier as you move forward. Your left hand will start to outstrip your right in terms of speed. For now, let's debreif!!!

MEDALS OF HONOR

ALT PICKING: The first thing I'm looking for here is that your picking is consistent. Without that, it's impossible to make progress. You are doing a fine job of it.

MUTE: Very solid work on the palm mute. Also critical. If you can't mute while picking, you will get string noise. Being able to mute during alt/econ picking is a crucial skill and yours is coming along nicely.

SYNCH: Right/Left hand synch is the core of this drill. If your synch is off, the entire thing will fall apart. You have gotten much better at staying in synch with the metronome and in terms of right/left hand synch.

Well Fought Soldier!! You are on the path! You just..

LEVELED UP!!!
Click to view attachment
Click to view attachment

Onward!
Sarge






QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 5 2020, 06:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Mission 6 just baked:



See you Sarge!

Todd Simpson
Progress!! smile.gif
JohnMathew
Hey Todd!,

I really appreciate this. I have spent last 3 days trying to get a better picking. It is a bit depressing having to go back to the beginig when you want to be a rock star biggrin.gif.

I have been checking youtube videos for a lot of guitarrists among yours and definetely my thumb is not right. I see how people locks its thumb (as you dou). I need time to get the grasp of it. For example my wrist is suffering a bit of pain becaue I am doing movements I haven't ever done.

Will review your vids today and try to add the knoledge to what I have been retrieving these days.

Thanks Todd!
Todd Simpson
I feel your pain Soldier!!! I had to do something similar in my own journey. I got one of the training picks called a "stylus pick" and it trained my hand to just use the tip of the pick and not let it go too deep after each strike, below the string and close to the guitar. This took me a couple of weeks. When I had gotten used to it, I was able to come out swinging.

One thing about pain. Always take a break when you feel pain. The hand should never hurt. It can cause permanent damage. If you are having pain, stop playing for a bit. Massage the hand, perhaps even use some ice to reduce swelling. When you start again, try to use as light a touch as possible. This will reduce strain.

Always try to think of your hand as having two parts. It splits in the middle. The palm gets planted on the bridge and stays there. Then the other half of the hand does the picking. As you speed up, reduce the amount of pick wag. (how far you get away from a string after each strike), but keep very low tension. You can use the thumb/first finger to articulate the pick up to a certain point, but as you play faster, your will have to rely on a bit of wrist instead of just using finger articulation. The trick is to use a bit of wrist without lifting the hand. Don't let the wrist move the entire hand. Just the part holding the pick.

QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 11 2020, 05:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hey Todd!,

I really appreciate this. I have spent last 3 days trying to get a better picking. It is a bit depressing having to go back to the beginig when you want to be a rock star biggrin.gif.

I have been checking youtube videos for a lot of guitarrists among yours and definetely my thumb is not right. I see how people locks its thumb (as you dou). I need time to get the grasp of it. For example my wrist is suffering a bit of pain becaue I am doing movements I haven't ever done.

Will review your vids today and try to add the knoledge to what I have been retrieving these days.

Thanks Todd!

JohnMathew
Well here is mission 7. I can assure you todd that I have spent all week trying to imitate your movements but I think it is impossible for me. Today I feel a bit of pain on my wrist and elbow so, I will be leaving picking for a while and try for example tapping or whatever.



Cheers!
Todd Simpson
We can work through this Soldier! Are you doing hand stretches before you play? if not, i'd say it's a good time to start. It can prevent pain and injury. Just rotate your wrists and push gently on your fingers to push them back a bit.. Not to the point of pain though.

Your a bit off synch with this one and I suspect it may be because you are rushing it a pinch to try to play faster. It's a marathon much more than a sprint Soldier. One can't cut corners and expect to improve quickly. It's worth it to get it right and build good habits as you go or you risk burning in bad habits that you can't fix.

One thing I just notices. Your thumb joint is almost straight. It should be bent just a pinch.
All of this extra note work is really just getting in the way and evidently causing pain so
lets' put it aside.

Pick just one note. Any note at all. Give me a video alternate picking that one note at a slow
speed and under control. Try to use good form. Don't tense, don't worry about playing fast,
just focus on technique. Playing ahead of yourself is something we are all tempted to do,
but it doesn't actually help. If we can slowly fix the issues at hand, all of these drills
will seem easy.

So just one note. Alt picked, with a click. I usually have to tell people to use more thumb
articulation, but in this case, I need you to use a bit less. One strike at a time is how we
will get through this Soldier!!

Sarge


QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 14 2020, 09:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well here is mission 7. I can assure you todd that I have spent all week trying to imitate your movements but I think it is impossible for me. Today I feel a bit of pain on my wrist and elbow so, I will be leaving picking for a while and try for example tapping or whatever.



Cheers!

JohnMathew
Hi Todd,

I have recorded a video with really slow picking. Sorry for the humming. I have muted the strings because I think this way it is easier to listen to the ping. By the way, in some parts time is totally off.



I hope it is usefull.

Thanks!
Todd Simpson
This is a nice improvement! It's ok that it's fretting out because of the mute. I really just want to isolate the picking technique. sometimes you got to go back to the start, to go forward. Focusing this much on re learning picking is probably distracting you from listening to the metronome and making it very hard to play on beat. As you mention the beat is drifting from your picking but that's ok for now. The good news is you are planting your palm, and not over extending your thumb. You have long fingers which is a great benefit for left hand work. it can be a bit of a problem in picking though as the fingers start to take over for work that should be partially done by the hand. This is a very good step in the right direction. Maybe bend your thumb just a pinch more. You've got a solid foundation here. Try this same drill again. This next time, see if you can focus on keeping good technique and synch to the click.


QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 16 2020, 05:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Todd,

I have recorded a video with really slow picking. Sorry for the humming. I have muted the strings because I think this way it is easier to listen to the ping. By the way, in some parts time is totally off.



I hope it is usefull.

Thanks!

Todd Simpson
Also, For your next vid take your left hand of the neck and find a center place to mute the bridge. Keep the thumb bent and play from low E to high E and back to make sure your mute is solid. Try not to lift the palm mute. Just turn the angle.

This is NOT easy. It's entirely different from your current technique. If you can get this down, you can play licks that use open strings and play quite fast without every using the wrist. Once you reach shred speed, the wrist comes in to play a bit as in the third video. Let me know if this makes sense smile.gif

I'm moving the reference vids to the end of the thread. Review them for visual reference on technique. Notice how little effort is involved in the picking. This is the secret sauce. Reduce the amount of pick pressure, use a shallow picking technique, keep a solid palm mute, use the thumb/finger part of the hand at slower speeds and add the wrist a bit a higher speeds without lifting the palm. Keep the thumb bent always.

Example 1. Notice how the amount of pick wag decreases as I speed up. Also notice the pick angle. The angle of attack/address is important as it sets up an optimal position for the hand.


In example 2, notice that my palm stays planted on the bridge. I don't lift or shift. I'm using thumb/finger articulation and using part of my hand and just a pinch of wrist. I've isolated to a single note.


In examle 3, I go through all the strings. Notice I keep a good solid palm mute and dont lift my palm off the bridge. Also, I"m keeping the same slanted forward pick angle. In addition, notice that my pick hand never tenses up. Even at speed, I keep the picking hand somewhat loose. This is key to stamina. Tensing up will kill your ability to play fast for extended periods.\
JohnMathew
Hi Todd,

I have recorded a new video with the drill. I think this time is much better in time. Anyway there are places were I slip bit. When playing slow my hand is much more rigid that when playing fast.

As you know my elbow is a bit swollen, so I can't play too much.

Todd Simpson
Progress!! You are on the right path Soldier!! Solid work. You doing a nice full palm mute covering all the strings. Your not over articulating with your thumb, which is great, and your timing is solid.

Tension in the hand is a very hard issue to overcome but it can be done. What's more, the lighter you can pick, the less strain it will create on the hand/elbow/etc. To wit!!

Let's move on to the next Mission and try to incorporate what you've learned so far. Also, add a bit more distortion/gain to your signal. it will show you where your mute gaps are as it increases the audible level of any string noise. Focus on keeping your picking hand as loose as possible. Try to use a minimum of pick pressure. The sharper your pick, the better.

Can you give me a close up of your guitar pick in the next mission?

Onward!!

Sarge


QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 21 2020, 03:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Todd,

I have recorded a new video with the drill. I think this time is much better in time. Anyway there are places were I slip bit. When playing slow my hand is much more rigid that when playing fast.

As you know my elbow is a bit swollen, so I can't play too much.


Todd Simpson
In Mission 7 I'm using traditional alt picking mostly from the wrist. My thumb is bent in the traditional way and it stays like that so I"m not using finger articulation here. It's straight ahead, alternate picking from the wrist forward. I'm keeping my palm mute but my entire hand is moving from the wrist. Later on, we will do Missions where it works better to plant the palm and just use the fingers to articulate the pick. For this one, it's wrist based alt picking without lifting the mute so that picking hand is just sliding back and forth a bit on the bridge. You can hear that I vary the mute. Some times it's heavier sometime lighter. You can create dynamics by how hard you mute. Just don't go too far and choke out the strings. Here is a close up. Notice that the pick angle is nearly vertical. This is crucial. You have a habit of picking almost horizontal to the string. A dull pick almost forces this to happen. That's why a scalpel pointed pick is key for these drills. If the pick is sharp enough, you can hold it straight up and down perpendicular to the string and it won't matter.
Todd Simpson
Thanks for this! A couple of things to try.

1.)Your Thumb is almost straight. Try to bend the thumb a bit more. Take another look at the reference videos I shared previously. Notice how my thumb is bent just a bit more than you are doing here. I want you to try to get away from playing with you thumb mostly straight/unbent.

2.)Center Strategy: Try to find a place to rest your hand on the bridge to where you don't have to move your hand up and down when you change strings. ideally, you hand should just tilt to reach the top or bottom string. This is not always possible, but it's a goal worth shooting for. Your guitar is probably too low on the strap for this to work. You will need to raise your guitar up a bit. Ideally, the position your guitar is in when you sit, should be the same position it is in when you stand. Also, try to put your guitar on your left leg when you sit to play. This is called "classical position". Put something like a stack of books under your left foot to raise it off the ground about 6 or 7 inches. Then the guitar should be at the proper angle and position. Simply pull it in to your chest and stand up. That is the spot the guitar should be at when you stand, so just adust the strap to make it stay there. Your sitting and standing position should be the same. At least for the duration of bootcamp.

These two things will feel odd at first. But, they will help you as you progress on your journey.

Onward!!
Sarge



QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 16 2020, 05:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Todd,

I have recorded a video with really slow picking. Sorry for the humming. I have muted the strings because I think this way it is easier to listen to the ping. By the way, in some parts time is totally off.



I hope it is usefull.

Thanks!

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