Words of Daniel Robinson

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The New Guitar Grimoire... by D.R. Robinson

As most of us know, Mr. Daniel Robinson has some very helpful tips for all kind of techniques. I've collected the ones I could find, and filed them here at one spot.


Compete only with yourself

I have seen alot of threads lately here and other places i go about people feeling discouraged when they compare themselves to others.

It seems these topics seem to come in waves...but i digress.

Playing guitar, or any instrument for that matter is a personal journey, we may share our experiences and try to gauge our playing against others. But its like comparing apples and oranges.

If every guitarist gave up because they heard someone they perceived to be better than them the world would have a handful of guitar players...boring.

Just because you don't have the technical skills you want doesnt mean you don't have something to contribute to music. Technical skills come with time and effort, but there are things that you do right now that cannot be duplicated by anyone, no matter how masterfully gifted they are.

I know especially here alot of people idolize Muris, we all love Muris and watching and hearing him play can you make you feel inadequate with your skills. Does that mean that you can't acheive success as a player? I certainly hope not. Muris is where he is because he spent alot of time behind the guitar. The reason for it sucks of course "War".

This doesnt take away from the fact though that the hours and hours that were spent everyday honing his skills.

Tony Macalpine in an interview pretty much said the same thing, it has to be a labor of love when he was younger he said he had to give up his social life, instead of going to the party on Friday night, or going to concerts and all that he gave all that up to spend more time honing his craft. You have to want it that bad that you shut down everything else and just dedicate yourself to music. In alot of ways playing guitar is a lifestyle, its not a 9 to 5 proposistion.

As far as your skills go, just because you aren't where you would like to be doesnt mean that you are inadequate to make a contribution to the world of music.

Let's say that you write a song, and Muris did a cover of it. Sure i bet he could play it note for note, emulate all the little nuiances in it etc. and so forth. But the fact of the matter is no matter how hard he tried, he would still sound like Muris. He wouldnt sound like Daniel, or Joe, or Ivan or anyone else here for that matter.

You have to learn to embrace the fact that you are a unique individual, technical skills are only part of the equation, there are in fact things you were never taught that just came naturally that no one can perfectly duplicate. It could be as simple as tone even.

A good example of this in my own experience, i was building a patch on my GNX, trying to get a specific sound i was looking for, my bass player/ keyboard player came by. He likes things to have a really bright sound, he was dogging me cause all my patches have a really dark quality to them. So i decided to let him try and fix it the way he wanted cause i was curious.

He picked up my guitar and started to play on the same patch with the same settings etc....as soon as he sounded a few notes it was actually too bright sounding. Something about his fingers, how he picks who knows. It was my patch and it still sounded like him. The patch i made was already "Bright" but the way i play has a darker sound to it.

You are unique, don't forget that, it could be tone, it could be vibrato, it could be note choice it could be alot of things. Just don't give up because you perceive something is wrong with it, bringing your technical skills to where you want them is just time and effort. But the "What" that makes you you has always been there just refine it and let the world enjoy You!


Writing and Composing

I have been reading a lot of posts lately about writing, composing, writers block etc.... It seems that these things seem to come in groups. I would like to add my two cents to round out my idea's about writing and composing.

For me writing is more elemental in nature. What i mean by this is that when i compose, i don't try to write happy, sad, angry...etc. I will look out my window during a thunderstorm and try to write "the thunderstorm" I guess its more of an emulation of an abstract idea. I try to find things in nature either grand or mundane to write about musically. It could be something as simple as seeing two leaves chasing eachother in a circle because of the wind, and it sparks a musical idea in me.

Which is not to say i havent written, happy or sad or angry etc.. but more times than not this is not where i get my ideas.

Another way that i write something sometimes is by extracting a song from within a song. This is something i was discussing with Tjchep in chat a few days ago. If a song i am listening to really speaks to me i will take my guitar and compose riffs and ideas that fit in the framework of the song i am listening to. So basically i am drawing out the idea from that song. I am not borrowing riffs, or changing them. I am basically finding what they didnt play hidden there waiting for me to discover.

This comes to the main point of this topic. Experimentation in my opinion is the easiest way, at least for me to write and compose, it doesnt matter what that experimentation entails, it could just be switching picks to get just the sound i am looking for, or changing my tone. Or it could be coming up with a unique way of playing something to get just the sound you want.

As an example one of the more recent ideas i had as i was watching car racing on TV, i picked up the guitar and was trying to mimic the downshifting on the gears as they came into a sharp corner. What i came up with was this whirring bending thing, where i would sound a note and "twitch" a bend very fast and let it fall off slowly as soon as reached the bottom of the bend i would slide and do that again. It created such a weird sound.

Maybe i will use it in a song at some time, maybe i won't but the point here is that i am constantly experimenting with sounds i can get out of the instrument. Sometimes its silly stuff like above. Sometimes though i might mix and match certain phrases along with these sound oddities to create something very unique in my opinion.

My advice to all of you would be to experiment with anything and everything you can get your hands on, you might just find that doing this kind of thing on a regular basis will trigger a writing moment, or help you get out of a writers block situation.

As far as my thunderstorm analogy above is concerned, i might just try to write about how the thunderstorm makes me feel, or i might actually get rhythmic ideas from listening to the rain hit the window. Music is all around you in various forms, be on the look out for it.


Speed and more Speed

I have seen several posts talking about speed. I just wanted to take a little time to discuss another thing besides practicing with a metronome for hours and hours. Once you reach a certain point in your playing speed your gonna hit a barrier unless your guitar is in top notch shape.

Your not gonna win the Daytona 500 in a Geo Metro. So it stands to reason if your playing a guitar thats not set up properly for playing fast your not gonna get much more out of it. As you progress as a player your going to want to start looking for a guitar that fits your hand almost perfectly. Is the shape of the neck too fat? Too thin? Are the strings too close together? Too far apart?

What about fret size? For example play 3nps starting on the high E string starting at the 12th fret play 12th 13th 15th. Now completely relax your hand and place your fingers on the fret board in that posistion...does your index finger middle finger and pinky line up naturally with those 3 frets? Maybe your hand is a bit bigger and you need extra jumbo frets....maybe your hand is a bit smaller and needs small frets.

Action height plays a large part in speed as well. Is your action on your guitar set as low as it will go without buzzing? The less pressure you have to exert to sound a note the faster you will be able to play. String gauge plays a part as well. The best advice i can give here is use the lightest gauge string possible without compromising the tone you want.

Me personally i use .009 to .042 D'Addario Nickel Wound strings they have the tone i am looking for and have a nice light gauge to them.

All of these things are going to help you to play faster. Its all about conservation of motion and energy. You don't want to be fighting the instrument.

You look at a shred player like Yngwie for example i have played his signature model thats been set up to his exact specs and let me tell ya its the easiest guitar to play i ever picked up. You barely have to exert any pressure at all to fret a note. When you can play as relaxed as possible your going to acheive much great speed because your not expending all your finger strength pushing down on the string.

Once you start reaching some of your first speed goals think about how you can improve your own guitar to make it easier to play. Or start shopping for a new axe that fits you better.


What are your Weaknesses?


I don't seem to have that big of problems sweeping with more strings, like 5 string sweeps, but when I play with 3 string sweeps I don't seem to get them right which is wierd 'cause you would assume that they are easier than 5 string patterns. And I also have some problems with my palm muting, I don't seem to get them sound that clean as they should...

I had a similar problem when learning sweeps, i could do 5 and 6 string sweeps with ease but shorter spans like 3 or 4 strings it wasnt consistent at all. I really had to pay close attention to what was going wrong.

I realize that when i do 5 or 6 string sweeps there is alot more barring going on which means i was using more of the pads of my fingers for those sweeps the angle of my hand was such that it was easy. When trying to apply this on 3 string patterns i realized that barring the notes more with the pads of my fingers was really the culprit. When executing 3 string patterns its vital to use the very tips of your fingers for some reason on the smaller spacing of 3 strings if you bar more i.e. using more pad of your finger your actually dampening or muting the strings too much.

Also just take your time in the timing execution of the 3 string sweeps. You have trained your right hand to move across double that span, the muscle memory in your right hand wants to move more adjacent strings then just three so thats also probably part of the problem.

Maybe this will help let me know.



I feel that my waekness lies in my legato and espacially my pulloffs.... i cant get it to sound smooth when shifting strings i often make i little pause

My advice to you on this problem area is not so much metronome work,.....although very important it sounds to me like your problem is in string transistion and not timing.

First off start by analyzing hand angle and posistion as well as how you move from one string to another. Hand angle can play a big part in pull off resolution to another string. It may seem uncomfortable at first but when making a transistion to a lower string try changing the angle of your wrist. So that you have a sleight turning of the wrist counter-clockwise (towards the bridge) it doesnt have to be a huge angle change just very subtle. Typically when doing a descending legato phrase your leading into the next string with your pinky or ring finger, which obviously isnt as long as your index and middle finger. Get your finger closer to the next string before getting there may help reducing that "Pause" your speaking of.

Also try very hard to avoid the "Fly away fingers" syndrome where when you pull off your fingers go flying far from the fret board.

Another good excersise for working on this is not trying to do say 6 notes descending, practice 4 notes descending then 5 notes descending in an alternate way.

For example start at the 12th fret high E string with your pinky on the 12th play legato 12----10-----9 then shift to the B string with your pinky to the 12th B string. then starting again on the High E string 12th fret 12----10----9 shift to B string with your pinky doing 12----10. Work on this pattern alternating between the two working up the speed.

Pay special attention to hand posistion and how close your fingers remain to the fretboard. Conservation of motion is absolute key in solid legato playing. The less motion you have to have the smoother its going to sound.

One other thing you can try to get your legato smoother dealing specifically with your problem is just to do hammer on pull off excersise on 1 string and try to get your pull off motion to be as small as possible and still sound the notes.

For example just start on the 12th fret again with your pinky and pull off to your index finger on 9th so how little of motion is required on your guitar to just sound the notes. You constantly have to trim motion size the faster you get.

Keep working on it you will get it.


Harmony constructions

This is something that alot of guitarists struggle with later in their development, myself included. Its when you start realizing you need to really get into the nuts and bolts of the theory aspect.

My friend and I have been working together on solving this slowly over time, what we are doing is finding actual music scores for symphonies, and analyzing the intricate web of harmonies that are taking place between all the instruments.

When you start to see the patterns in this way it becomes much easier to create those harmonies on a single instrument because you start to develop a sense of the intervals involved and how they interact with the other instruments your playing with.

My recommendation is to try it and see what you can get out of it.



Alternate Picking technique for me - cleanliness and speed. My legato is reasonable and has improved a lot over the last year as I find it comes very naturally, and I practice it to the detriment of AP. With AP it is purely about practice time and discipline for me - I believe I have the mechanics right but I am skimping on the time and effort needed to build up speed in a smooth and controlled fashion!

This comes back to the intital reason i started this post, we tend to ignore where we are weak. My friend always tells me you make time for whats important to you and the rest falls by the wayside.

My advice in your particular case is try mixing up your legato with AP riffs...as an example lets say your doing a 3nps pattern across three strings. Play legato on the first two string and AP the last string. This has several things going for it.

First your working on AP while still maintaining your legato technique, your also opening up the possiblity of a different rhythmic sound to your phrasing.

And at the same time your starting to work on the basics of hybrid picking. Try this approach and see what you can come up with.


Fast Runs

I have a few weaknesses in my playing that no matter how hard I try I cannot put right, the first is fast runs, if for example I am playing a 3nps sequence, I can play it very well up to a certain speed, then I just freeze and my fingers go into meltdown......I try going over and over it with a metronome at a slow speed, then try building up but it is taking me FOREVER to develop the speed I want, my goal in life is to play a few Malmsteen classics note for note perfect, but I am barely able to play them at anywhere near the right speed, its so frustrating!!

I certainly agree with how boggling the speed aspect is. Its something i still struggle with. What i have found though in breaking it down it comes down to a few key things. First off i find that in alot of ways the speed issue especially with Alternate picking comes down to a sync issue between left and right hand and not 1 or the other. For instance i can easily pick 32nd notes at 150bpm if i am just on an open string not fretting any notes.

I can also hammer on and pull off 32nd notes at 150bpm on a 3 note pattern with just my left hand. When i tried to do both it fell apart. I started to realize that it was indeed a sync problem and not a picking or fretting problem.

The other aspect of the speed issue is there seems to be a space at least for me in AP skills at a certain range of BPM.

For the longest time when trying to play 16th note triplets for example at 120 to 125 or so BPM i just couldnt get any kind of consistency....lower BPM i had no difficulty with. Nor with playing 32nd notes at that speed. At first i just thought it was my ears playing tricks on me but i actually recorded myself at 120BPM playing alternate picking licks at 32nd notes and slowed it down and listened for inconsistencies but there wasnt any.

So why was it falling apart at 120bpm with 16th note trips?

I then realized the problem had to do with the syncing between left and right hand, but the sync issue was being caused by my picking hand. I realized that when i was playing the 16th note triplets at that speed i was using more arm motion to pick with then wrist action like when i play faster.

Once i realized what was happening i started to physically watch myself when playing with a metronome at that speed and made sure my picking angle and wrist use was consistent thru the speed ranges i could play.

Perhaps the same is occuring for you. Without actually seeing you play the difficulty your having is hard to judge but take the time on your own to really analyze what is actually happening when you have that "Meltdown" zone.

I think i can safely say that when you reach a certain speed your either tensing up too much so force yourself to relax, or....you are altering something as you approach that speed threshold.

If you find out what the trouble is let us know you can probably help someone else here having the exact same trouble.


Whammy Bar

One of my many weaknesses is that i'm completely and utterly useless with the whammy bar. I just cant operate that thing without it sounding drunk

As far as either of your problems are concerned i have little advice to give, i completely ignore the whammy bar. The only reason i don't use a hardtail guitar is because i find bending is easier on a guitar with a whammy because the springs will give enough so you don't have to push as hard to reach the pitch you want.

My advice on this particular area would be to take que's from people who use the whammy bar with a great deal of precision and try to emulate what you hear.

A good place to start imo is with someone like Kiko Loureiro from Angra, he has some excellent whammy usage.

Check out this vid, especially the center section of this song is some really awesome whammy work.



Vibrato and Speedpicking

As far as vibrato goes its really a preference as to what you do vibrato wise. There are so many vibrato techniques and variations on them i could write a college essay on them lol.

Me personally i have two vibrato styles that are pretty much my staples the first one is with my index finger i don't use a wrist vibrato i just shake the string with my finger back and forth i also almost always really pinch the string when i use this vibrato.

The other vibrato i use is shaking the guitar and sleightly moving my fingers back and forth. Because of the way i shake the guitar it makes my vibrato when i do this eliptic too, which adds another element to it.

As far as practicing vibrato first you need to decide on the technique your going to use for doing it. But once that is settled practice with either a metronome or a backing track...the backing track is more fun for obvious reasons. But try to time your vibrato in natural tempo's that compliment the BPM your using. You dont have to match perfectly but it makes it sound so much nicer when your close to a natural tempo. Alot of newer players i see tend to get very spastic when it comes to vibrato, and it shouldnt be spastic. Fast vibrato is not wrong nor is slow vibrato but it needs to have some kind of order to it. Unless for musical purposes your speciafically trying to sound chaotic.

Now when you say you can't pick fast are you saying that you can't AP fast...or just can't move the pick across the string quickly in general?

If its an AP problem there are several lessons here that can get you started in the right direction. If its picking in general i.e. just sounding the string. Start working on whats hanging you up. In the beginning i remember not having any consistency sounding the string with my picking. First off my hand motions were too big, and secondly my pick angle was all wrong for playing fast.

Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with picking the string with your pick parrallel with the string, if...and thats a big IF, you can get your pick touch light enough so you barely have to move to sound the string at speed. But for the most part precision of that kind is hard to come by without years and years of practice. Its far easier to angle your pick so its closer to 90 degrees to the string. This way when plucking the string with the pick the string will tend to "roll" over the string because the pick is curved on the end. The other way with the pick parallel to the string if your touch isnt super light it will "Hang" on the string making it very difficult to get a smooth picking stroke.

Music theory is just like learning math..or science, you have to study it to understand it. A good first step though in your road to theory mastery is to memorize the notes on the neck of the guitar, to know without thinking about it for example that if you fret a note on the low E string on the 7th fret that its B for example. If you learn the notes to the point you can just call them out in any order, it will make it much easier once you start to apply the theory skills you will learn as you go.


Not learning fast enough

I find the best thing to do is when you learn a lick pattern to incorporate it into your own playing as quickly as you can. Lets say you learned a lick pattern thats meant to be played at 130BPM but you can't play it that fast. Find a backing track you can jam along with thats only like 100BPM and try using the lick in the context of that BT at that speed. I find i assimilate a certain pattern much faster if i do this rather then beating myself over the head with a metronome.




Seriously I do have some trouble performing a good first finger vibrato in the forearm twisting fashion. Have you any tips for that Daniel - I really think I just haven't put in enough hours yet for it to feel easy, but any extra info could help.

I don't use this vibrato much at all but when i have i can say for sure its less about finger strength as it is forearm strength. Which is the reason i tend not to use it. I have small forearms and wrists hence wimpy. A friend of mine uses this vibrato almost exclusively. He worked on building up his forearm with a weight. What he did was tie a string to a 5 pound weight and just lift the weight up and down by turning his forearm while resting his arm on a chair arm. Make sure you lock your finger straight before execution so it all comes from the wrist.

I have found when trying this vibrato that the vibrato is much more pronounced, which means you can hear very clearly if your going out of pitch. Be very careful that your movement is smooth and even, because even the slightest flutter from your finger or guitar movement can throw your pitch out.

Again also i mention as i did above to someone else make sure your vibrato fluctuations are close to a natural tempo against whatever it is your playing.

Another thing to point out about vibrato in general is you don't always have to do it right away. Think of vibrato like you would a singers voice. When they land on a long note the vibrato doesnt always start immediately. Try land dead on a pitch and holding it for a second then vibrato, try different lengths before starting to use it. It can add huge impact of emotion to the playing just by changing that subtle thing.

Thats the best advice i can give you on the subject since i don't personally use that vibrato myself, but i am sure there are others here who do who might be able to help you beyond what i have stated.


Alternate Picking

As for my weaknesses well I think I may crash GMC if I list them all. But some of what I've been trying to correct lately is my alternate picking - same as Andrew said the cleanliness and speed. I've noticed as well since I started recording myself that I tend to cut notes short, I don't let them ring so I've been working on that a lot the last few days and my vibrato is horrible, again something I noticed since I started recording. Those are just a few I've been trying to improve lately but the list goes on and on my friend.

Well if you crash GMC its for all the right reasons.

Anyway i have posted several thoughts on the AP aspect of playing with previous people so just peruse those for some insight. As well as vibrato.

On the cutting notes short problem i had this problem alot my first year or two i started playing. And just like you i didnt realize it till i heard myself recorded.

What i did find though was causing this issue was having to think too hard about where i was going. Trying to cram too many notes into a phrase and still staying in key was the issue. At that point i started using much shorter phrases but trying to get alot more out of them. You can take a 4 or 5 note phrase and speak volumes if you take the time to get across a specific feeling rather then a million notes that cover alot of ground.

The other thing partly of what i said above, when you do start using more notes in a phrase at least for now try not to cover too much ground on the neck as it adds to the problem because part of the cutting off of the notes has to do with having to do rapid posistion changes on the neck and to compensate for your skill your jumping the gun to get your hand into place.

Its all about training muscle memory so that later you can cover a huge span of the neck in a solo without really thinking much about where your fingers are going and you can concentrate on the attitude of what your playing rather then the execution. Which is where all good players really need to live. If you can play a million notes semi well people listening to it won't get the same out of as if you can play 3 or 4 notes with all your emotion, with conviction and attitude. Thats where your creativity and your inner spirit are revealed to the audience in a very intimate way and you connect with them on a very deep level.



I have extreme rythm problems because I can't stand to use the metronome.

I know alot of people that feel the same way,

My advice to help you is to create some simple Backing tracks for yourself at very specific BPM, then work on your scales, rhythm and solo patterns, in a very "Metronome" fashion over the backing tracks. This way its more like playing music and less like practicing.

This is doing two things for you, first of all its helping to correct your timing issues, and secondly your learning to train your ear to hear different intervals and such within the key your playing.


Endurance in Downwards Picking, and Alternate Picking

Endurance in downward picking...If I try to play master of pppets all down-picking my arm will explode.

Not being strict enough with my alternate picking....I cheat....alot.......

The only thing that can help endurance is repitition, i wish there was a magic switch i could flip for ya, or give some nifty exercise. But really the only thing you can do for this is just keep pushing your downpick speed levels. But for this you not only need to downpick faster but you need to do it for longer periods of time. I would suggest putting together a specific excersise for yourself that has you downpicking for at a close to your max speed for say 1 and a half minutes. Then every few days increasing the BPM by a couple notches and lengthening the time by 20 seconds. This way your slowly increasing your speed at the same time your increasing your endurance to do it.

As for cheating with alternate picking, we have all been there you have to just mentally spank yourself into really working thru it.


Playing along with backing tracks and bending

I have a lot of weaknesses... But if I were to pick one major one, I'd say it's playing along with a backing track.. I always play faster or slower then the backing track is made for. Example: I've "mastered" Marcus' Pentatonic Solo, but when I play along with the backing track, I'm never at the point I should be. Like in the middle there, the backing track get's faster, but I'm allready past that part or not yet there. Been looking at Kris' metronome lesson now and then to get some repetation on how to use the rhythm..

Other weaknesses is bending and vibrato.

I can certainly understand this happening. This generally is a mental awarness thing, once you learn the solo licks and can play them you have to really pay attention to the song your playing along with rather then focusing all your attention on what your playing. A big part of music is listening to and assimilate what everyone else is doing. Try to pick out certain things in the song that give you landmarks to go by, for instance lets say you hear a certain drum fill. Know exactly what follows that drum fill so that your always in the right place at the right time. If you find your self drifting too far try to find "landmarks" that are much close together. There will always be some subtle clue on the music map where your supposed to be at any given time. Even if you have to do it on a chord by chord basis.

Lets say in your instance with Marcus' lesson, what part of the lick is played over chord 1, what lick is played over chord 2 what lick is played over chord 3. Then you hear a drum fill...what lick is played after that drum fill. Its all about listening to the backing track for those landmarks.

I know i went thru a similar problem, where i was so focused on my hands that i forgot to listen to what was going on in the song i was playing.


There are two things you have to work on for bending. One is pitch correction, a good practice for this is to play a note, doesnt matter where for sake of arguement play on the G-string on the 12th Fret, this way you can hear that note freshly in your mind, now move down to the 10 fret and bend right up to that 12th note. Go back and forth between the plucked note and the bent note working on making sure the pitch your bending up to is dead on. After awhile of doing this with different intervals bending will become alot easier because you will have done it so often that you have trained yourself with muscle memory of exactly how much pressure you need to apply to the string to hit the note you want to hit. After awhile it becomes second nature. Just keep training your ear to the pitch for now so you can train your fingers to hit the correct pitch on demand.


AP, Arpeggios and Theory

Got many weaknesess, for example fast alternate picking with clean notes, arpeggios, vibrato and a bunch of theory.

For fast Alternate picking i would suggest 2 excersises, first just using a metronome set it at close to your max picking speed, and just practice your picking hand on an open muted string. Work diligently to get the picking itself to be as clean and precise as you can get it. Keep pushing the speed up in small increments over a few days. Then when you have reached a good level there.

Go back to the speed you started at and just play two notes back and forth kinda like a trill, but pick each note, with alternate picking, work your way up over the next few days to the speed you stopped at. Once you have done that start adding notes.

The big key to fast clean alternate picking is perfect syncronizing of right and left hands once you can do this at a good speed with a small amount of notes just keep adding 1 note every few days pretty soon your playing 11 12 note patterns at a good clip.

As far as arps go, hand posisition is very important when trying to execute fast arps, especially non-sweeped arps. Again use the method as above for arps that you did with the AP excersise, just practice the string transistion with muted open strings with a metronome so you get those "pick clicks" smooth and uniform, then start adding real notes, start with like 3 note arps to begin with and do them both sweeped, and AP'd so you can practice both at the same time and slowly add more and more notes


Forgetting Techniques

i think i have a lot of weakness when i go to vacation, so i stop electric guitar for about 2 weeks, and then come back, so it's like i've forgotten everything, and i have to play about 10 hours (maybe more) just to try to get back to what i can do

There are alot of people who have trouble with this Zizi your not alone, my advice for this is to get yourself something you can take with you on vaction when you cant have your guitar. Get one of those finger strengthning devices that you can carry around with you at least this way you can keep your finger strength up even if you cant practice on a guitar.

Something like this little thing



Sweep, Fingerpicking and Chords


I'd say my sweeping has gone downhill because i've practised nothing but alternate picking for a while..also my legato could be waay better.

One thing i need to start practising is finger-picking, i played the greensleeves lesson a while back and stopped practising fingerpicking for some unknown reason..

Also..im not great working over chord changes, like changing scale but keeping in the same position not just moving around the same shape to different positions.

All will come with time tough i am sure

Like i said to Andrew...we make the time for whats important to us and the rest falls by the wayside.

Maybe sweeping isnt as important to you as AP or Legato. I think after a time certain techniques fall away because we don't use them for expression. Music is about expression and we all express ourselves in different ways. For me sweep picking is intregal to my expressing myself.

As far as finger picking is concerned, finger picking correctly is hard, i would suggest finding someone who is highly skilled in this area to learn from. For me my brother is a great inspiration in fingerpicking. His main influence is Mark Knopfler. Not only that he has played for so long without a pick that when i ask him where i put my pick down he looks at me like i am speaking an alien language (like what the hell is a pick?)

I think Muris has some good lessons on Fingerpicking you should ask him for some advice in his instructor threads.



i would say my sweeping, 5 string more than 3 string, because i cant really start to speed up while mutting. i always seem to lift my palm. and maybe a little tapping but im practicing it a lot more (cause it sounds awsome)

Blocking string noise can be a real pain in the butt i know! But what you have to learn is how to control not so much your palm as you have to develop a better left hand muting technique. Although palm muting is a big part of sweep picking left hand finger muting is just as important. You need to slow down and work on that "rolling" action of your fingers so that as you sound a note you deaden the string as you release. You don't full pull off the string entirely right away.

Think of it like this..you fret a note and immediately let the string come off the fret but don't take your finger off it and place your palm then release. Its this give and take between palm and finger that gives the sweep its tightness.

I would practice finger muting on 3 string sweeps and gradually add more notes. Its such a subtle movement on the part of your fretting hand it shouldnt take you long to get the hang of it.



Playing in front of people... I can play stuff perfect by myself, but when im in front of people i tend to mess up and get nervous..

Everyone deals with pressure in their own way. The only way to overcome this is continuing to do it. I would hope you still get nervous, its natural. I would be more afraid of not getting nervous because then maybe there is something wrong heh.

I still get nervous before a show and i been doing it for sometime, but i also so look forward being on that stage that the nervousness doesnt tie me down from my playing. I have difficulty playing in front of small amounts of people. I don't know maybe its the fear of intimacy or something. I am talking like 2 or 3 people.

On the otherside of it i have gotten the chance to play in front of 20,000 people and that doesnt bother me in the least. Butterflies is one thing, overwhelming anxiety..no.

Just keep working on playing in front of people eventually you will find your calm spot to shine and then it will be such an enjoyable experience. Remember these people who come to see you are there to have a good time...not to judge you as a person. Have fun with them. If you mess up a little don't even flinch about it just keep going and act like nothing is wrong.



Strumming; nice simple strumming on the acoustic...for the life of me I can't get motivated to practice this, even though I know how important it is. I always end up cranking up the distortion and just practicing the "fun" stuff...power chords, solo's, pinch harmonics, improv, tabs for songs, etc.

I understand your frustration with this kind of thing. But remember, those simple things are what makes up music. Sometimes i will compose an entire song based on some simple chord that i strummed and it takes on a life of its own and spins off into directions that i couldnt see coming.

Why not take a little time to play a few strummed chords and imagine what you can play on top of it. I think you might be pleasantly surprised of what you can come up with if you open up your imagination to this idea. Some of the most powerful songs we have have heard started with nothing more then 2 or three strummed chords and a guy humming a melody he didnt know what to do with.

This to me is the magic of music its so basic and yet so complex at the same time. The ultimate expression of paradox.


Learning Solos, sweep

Well my main weakness is playing an other guitarist's solo in right timing. I can learn riffs and stuff and play them 1:1 when I want to but I just can't learn a solo and play it the way that other guitarist felt it. And this is a big problem because when we do some covers with my band I always make the solo different and it's not exactly in time this messes things up..

Other thing that's my weakness is Sweep Picking because the only way I can make each note sound perfectly is playing really slow but I do it every day so in the end I will be playing perfect Sweeps. It's a matter of time..

Its seems your on the right track with sweep picking. And good attitude to have. If there is anything myself or any of the instructors can do to help with a specific issue let us know on the forums or P.M. and we will do what we can. We are here to help you reach your goals.

As far as playing other guitarists solo's nobody says you have to play them note for note. Me personally i also take creative license with cover tunes. And not because i can't play it the way it was written but because i feel the need to express myself in my own way.

What you do have to work on though is really working out how long the orginal solo is and making yours fit in the space allowed. If you are unable to do this work out with your band how to extend this section of the song so your all on the same page. Nothing worse then miscommunication while on stage it can make you look bad. Work out these issues with your band mates before the curtain comes up so to speak. I am sure they will probably accomodate you in this area if it makes all of you look more professional.



My weakness is definitely timing. When I play with the metronome I can play very accurate , but when Im playing with a backing track I lose the track with the first note. So I decided to stop practicing with the metronome , and now I am only practicing over backing tracks. I guess that my band can't be a metronome. I would say I cant play fast too but thats just practicing.

I can certainly understand this happening because sometimes hearing that metronome click is a crutch in some ways. To physically hear the beats.

When dealing with this particular problem you have to start to study rhythmic basics. In most instances you can take your cue from Bass drum if there is one. From a rhythmic standpoint in a basic 4/4 tempo the bass drum either plays on 1 and 3 or 2 and 4.

This isnt a rule of thumb of course but you have to take notice of where the drums are hitting in the measure of a song. I would urge you to take a backing track that your using to practice with and put down the guitar and study the drums in the track your working on. Count out loud to find the measures, then listen to where each drum sound hits. Does the bass drum land on 1, i.e. the first beat in a measure. or does it fall elsewhere.

If your using a backing track from a fast song, that uses a double kick you have to figure out if its playing 8th notes..16th notes 32nd notes etc.

A metronome hits on every beat in the measure. Percussion in a song would be very boring if it just did that. Hit all the drums at once on each beat.

Accents of the percussion can give you hints too. Alot of times there will be an accent on 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 depending on the song.

Just take the time to find out where the measures are and start developing an internal counting system. I think sometimes...i could be wrong on this but pro players sometimes have things they do that are physically able to seen to keep the beat. Ever wonder why Angus Young hops around the way he does? Watch carefully you will see a pattern to his bouncing around. I always wondered if he does this to keep time.

Anyway just keep working at it you will get it it just takes time and work.


Metronome, 3 string powerchords

My weakness is playing over metronom actualy i'm have problem to listen the beep and play over metronom..specialy now i'm learn Rock solo from trond..and what i'm do i'm not play over metronom but i'm just lets play Trond video and play with him.

somethime i'm allso have little problem with 3 finger power chord..specialy when i'm play some note and then i'm have to switch to 3 finfer power chord

and right now i'm feel somethime creepiness on my right finger...i'm aslo visiting the gym but i'm not sure if the problem is from gym or from playing quitar...hope thats nothing big{hope just the finger and muscle is just tired}

Learning to play with a metronome is good, but its not all there is don't take it too hard that you can't do it perfectly right away. It takes time to learn good rhythm habits. Playing along with trond is also helping you, but i would say make sure your not listening to just him. Unless you plan on taking Trond on stage with you someday

He is a very tight rhythm player as far as i am concerned so learning his lessons is an excellent first step to rhythm mastery.

As far as bar chords...the 3 finger power chord your talking about. Watch what notes your playing before changing to them start thinking about conservation of motion sometimes its better to change the fingers your fretting those notes with before doing the power chord, so that your hand is a better posistion to get to the chord as quick as possible.

This is an example, : lets say your going to end up on a 3 finger power chord on the A string 3rd fret...a C bar chord.

Your playing two notes before you hit that chord A on the D string 7th fret and the G on the D string 5th fret. Now you could use your ring finger and index finger to play those two notes then shift to the C bar chord, but wouldnt it make more sense to use your pinky and middle finger to play those two notes then hit the chord? This way your hand is already in place to hit the chord with very little movement.

Start thinking about how your fretting the notes before chord. Think about what fingering would be the easiest for you to make the transistion from the notes to the chords. You want to make the distance as easy as possible to set up where your going to land.

I hope i am not confusing you Besip if i am i am sorry.



Total lack of creativity or ability in writing music whatsoever. No trying to make myself sound better than I am, but I know SOOOO many cover songs and tunes that whenever I try to make up something new, I accidentally play a lick from a song I know, and end up practicing/playing it for at least 2 hours, because I just love doing that.

Well if your happy with where your playing is and your reaching your goals thats most excellent. Don't sell yourself short on creativity though, i know sometimes i think that i can't write either and then inspiration will come from nowhere and a song is born. I would completely understand if you didnt want to pursue any kind of writing, but if you ever do want take it to the next level please by all means ask any of us to help you get there.



Downstroke picking is one of those skills that just comes with repitition because the execution of the technique is very simple but the endurance and speed is more a strengthening issue rather then memorizing a scale or picking pattern.

My suggestion to someone earlier was to develop an exercise for yourself it could be as simple as just downstroke picking 2 chords 4 downstrokes then switch...4 downstrokes then switch.

The goal here though is to speed up and increase endurance, play with a metronome and set the BPM near to your max down picking speed, now play this simple pattern for say 1 minute and 30 seconds. Now every day increase the BPM by 1 or 2 and increase the duration of your excersise by 20 seconds, what your doing here is slowly increasing your speed while also increasing your muscle endurance to do it. Make sure you warm up properly before doing an excersise like this and make sure to stretch afterwards. You want to keep you muscles limber and not stiffen up on you. Every few days take a day off to let your muscles recover then just continue the process till you reach the speed and endurance you need to play what your trying to play.


Learning Sweep

As far as sweep picking is concerned i found the best way to learn sweep picking is in two steps.

At first just practice what your right hand is going to be doing picking wise. I would suggest just clicking away on a metronome at a decent speed and just play open strings muted on the top 3 strings of the guitar. Now sweep your pick back and forth on those three strings until you can get the "clicks" of your pick to be even, uniform and clean. Keep increasing metronome speed until you reach a point where you are comfortable speed wise. Now for the left hand right hand integration.

This is the very excersise that i did for a long time, starting at the 14th fret G string and sweeping 14th fret G string 13th fret B string 12th fret then back down those three notes. I kept doing this till i could do it anywhere on the neck flawless at speed with smooth uniform tones.

After this when i could do it without thinking much about it i added on the Top E string 15th fret so it looked like this

E------------12---15---12----------------- B-------13-------------------13----------- G--14-----------------------------14------ D------------------------------------------- A------------------------------------------- E-------------------------------------------

The picking pattern is D-D-D-U-U-U You want to end the top of the pattern with an Up stroke on the 15th fret then pull off to the 12th and U-U-U. Then just starting the pattern again. Practicing this over and over again till i could do it quickly and cleanly. Making sure i kept string noise to a minimum or none exsistant by "rolling" my fingers as well as good palm muting.

Then i started this process over again adding a 4th string i just started with the picking hand again open strings muted sweeping up then down on 4 strings till i got the clicking of the raked notes smooth and even, then going back to 4 string sweep pattern this time. I did this pattern

E----------------15--12--------------------- B-----------14------------13---------------- G------13----------------------14----------- D--12-------------------------------15------ A--------------------------------------------- E---------------------------------------------

Just like in the previous section you want the top note to end on an Upstroke and pull over to the 12th fret and down the other direction in an X-shape

Its not very musical but it gets your fretting hand and picking hand to start workinging together.

after this i just kept adding notes and strings, obviously you only have 4 fingers to work with so you have to start barring notes and using more musically sound patterns but i think you get the idea. Work with a little then slowly add more until you can do big patterns. After that its a matter of knowing what key your playing in etc and making sure your shapes conform to the posistion your playing in. That part of it comes later though just learn the very basics at first.

I to get lost with a metronome at higher speeds to some degree your not alone in this. My problem is hearing certain rhythm elements when i go faster for example physically hearing 32nd notes at like 110 BPM i can't feel it unless i work very hard. Normally when working at these speeds i will double the metronome speed to 220 cause i can hear 16th notes much easier, and 16th notes at 220 is the same as 32nd notes at 110.

And i know the frustration of the "Pentatonic blackhole" most guitarists go thru this pentatonic rut, just try to ween yourself off of it by learning some things that arent pentatonic in nature, work on some lessons by David Walliman or Muris, most of their lessons even the easy ones are non- penta in nature you have to start moving your fingers in non pentatonic ways to get out this rut.


Improvising and Theory

i'm all ready kno5 5 boxes od minor scale and penta minor scale but when i'm trying to improvise i'm find do my self exactly same bored { deadalive} moves..so every mine iprovising looks almost same

and 1 more i'm wana be more into theory but it's hard for me just read that

I really do understand where your coming from on the improvisation.

I find myself doing things like this alot, but...when i learn a new lick..or create one i try to incorporate it into my playing as soon as i can. So even though there are basic similarities in the short term, i have a new angle to approach from.

My suggestion to you is take the boxes you know and just figure out a different fingering pattern, it doesnt have to be monstrous, just 4 or 5 notes played in a different way then your used to. Practice that idea over and over so you can get it under your fingers so to speak. Pretty soon the same old improvising ideas you had before take on a new element.

Learning to improvise is like anything else, you take what you know and apply it to whatever your doing at the time. The only way to increase your improv skills is to create and learn new fingering patterns based on the scales you know. Then apply them to your improvising. Keep at it you will get it with time and patience.

The theory part of it i understand it may be much more difficult for you because of the language barrier. Just learn what you can for now and don't worry to hard on it. Just develop your own sense of music first and let the theory be just a guideline down the road.

Theory is just that...a theory, music has no right or wrong, only what is pleasing and what is not. And what is purely pleasing to you may not be to someone else. It doesnt mean your wrong, it only means that the other person doesnt understand your point of view.



Having a chord dictionary is very helpful, but there are other aspects of it you need to reach into to help you fully understand chording. I am no authority on the subject there are still areas i am fuzzy on.

A good first step though is learning the notes on the fretboard. Once you can recall any note on any fret at any time. Then start learning what composes a chord....from a basic standpoint...root , 3rd and 5th. Then start learning what it means to have a 7th chord or an 11th chord for example.

Once you know all the notes on the fret board and understand what makes up a major or minor chord..a 7th chord etc, then you won't need the chord dictionary anymore because you will see any chord in any shape anywhere on the fretboard.


Timing in AP

Its mostly timing that's the problem, when doing alternate picking. ofcourse its easier to follow a metronome at slower tempo but in general it can be hard to keep it up when i for example practice a pentatonic scale up and down maybe 10 times in a row. but i think you are right about letting your muscles relax a bit, because it helped already.

This is a typical problem when starting out because you are training your fingers to do what you want them to do. Your brain has to keep trimming the neurons for your reflex. Just stay relaxed, and focus on the task at hand. Before you know it you will be ripping that Pent box up. In the early stages your gonna get pauses and hiccups just because its not a reflex action yet. Repition will help you get to the point where you dont have to think about it anymore and it will become more fluid.

After that you just have to keep doing it to speed up. Like i said before your brain has to constantly trim the neurons for the action so that its a smaller and smaller distance.


Long run AP

i can't play long AP runs. my hands seem to go out of sync about halfway through or i pause. im just playing it slower, hopefully ill get past it. seen some improvements already.

just stay relaxed and practice. Syncing your hands for AP takes some time. Another thing that can help is altering the amount of notes your picking. If its a real sync issue that is. Try doubling the notes so you play it twice then switch.

Like this

E--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5--5--6--6--8--8----- B-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------5--5--6--6--8--8-------------------------- G---------------------------------------------------------------------5--5--7--7----------------------------------------------- D------------------------------------------------5--5--7--7--8--8------------------------------------------------------------- A----------------------------5--5--7--7--8--8--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- E--------5--5--6--6--8--8-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When learning to AP you have to train your fretting hand and picking hand to play it multiple ways. Typical 3nps patterns your moving to the adjacent string on an upstroke. In this excersise your moving to the adjacent string on a downstroke.

The whole point of course is to teach your right and left hands to be on the same page so to speak. Just keep working at it you will get it. Also if you didnt know, this shape is an A Phrygian box shape.


Speed in Solos

My weakness is speed when playing solos. I`ve played rhythm guitar for the last 14 years to all kinds of music, so no problems there, not even with the metal stuff like constant downpicking or galloping. BUT when it comes to soloing (which I just started) I have serious speed and picking problems. Legato and tapping stuff sounds good when I do it, so the left hand speed is there. The right hand speed is also there when I play rhythm. But combining the two to create fast runs is impossible at higher speed. One hand is always quicker than the other (but never the same hand...). I don`t know why that is, since I don`t have this problems when I play rhythm with fast chord progressions. My slow solos (Frusciante-style) sound good, I can even play all three solos from Metallica`s One, even the third one sounds pretty good since it`s mostly tapping and legato, but runs in the style of Zakk Wylde or Paul Gilbert or John Petrucci are impossible for me. I think I just have to start with slow metronome speed and increase it constantly...

It sounds like you just have a syncronization problem, typically rhythm patterns tend to fall on normal parts of the beat where solo aspects play thru those. Hope that is not too confusing.

Its all about training your right and left hand to play nice together, and after playing rhythm for so many years your hands are trained to work in a certain way.

Here is an example of what that training can do, a funny story about me, not related to guitar but relates in the way you train your body.

I hade been taking martial arts for a number of years, it was 1 on 1 training with the instructor, suffice to say i got my rear end kicked for a couple of years but you learn fast when you don't want to get hurt, anyway back on point. During this time we did alot of balance drills with walking on pegs in the ground and stuff like that, my balance was so good i could actually fight on those poles. Here is where it gets funny.

One weekend my girlfriend at the time and I decided to go bowling, i hadnt been in years and neither had she so we thought it might be fun. My first time up to the lane with the ball, i do my normal approach, but when i went to release the ball instead of doing the "Bowlers slide" my body said ok, firm balance (just like in the Martial arts drills) and instead of sliding my whole balance of my body said STOP and because of that i lobbed the ball into the next lane and sprawled out face first onto the lane because the ball pulled me. Needless to say embarassing.

Anyway my point in all this is that you have trained your hands for so many years to play in a certain fashion, and generally speaking Rhythm playing usually uses a hybrid picking style its never just straight AP or Legato. So your hands never had to work on being syncronized in that fashion, i bet you can play lead stuff that requires hybrid picking very easily.

Just keep working with a metronome with your AP skills until your hands get used to playing nice with eachother, you have been playing alot of years so i won't insult your intelligience and give you drills to do, i am sure you can come up with your own.


Sweep, Arpeggio, String Change

My weakness is not having enough time to practise :'(

That aside- Upward sweeps seems like a real bitch.

And arpeggios without picking (noise)

Any string change without picking even... noise still. Gotta learn how to mute 'em in realtime.

For sweep picking it is so much easier to learn it in small increments rather than all at once, check out one of my earlier posts in this thread where i give an excersise to help you learn how to sweep pick in small increments.

As far as string noise is concerned there are multiple reasons for string noise aside from not muting properly. Typically the one thing i notice in guitarists just starting out they play with entirely too many effects. I think even i would be hard pressed to have no string noise if i played with huge amounts of gain and chorus and reverb. The more effects you add to your chain the harder it will be to keep the strings quiet.

If this is not the case with you i just suggest analyzing what is causing the string noise when you switch strings. Sometimes it is more about figuring out what is causing it rather than quieting them after the fact. As you start playing more and more complex licks you have to really watch everything your hands are doing to make sure that you are doing everything you can to keep the strings quiet. Watch your hand angles, how you pull off or hammer on, are you brushing a string with your palm when switching notes, is your pick hitting an adjacent string etc...and so forth. Try to figure out the cause of the string noise first before trying to quiet them after the fact.


Picking hand Dexterity

My weakness is probably my picking hand dexterty, I can par example play 6 notes per beat speedburst at 150 bpm with alternate picking ( sweeping,legato or tapping isn't a problem at all, my problem lies in AP picking dexterty ) But if I need to play some very long alternate picking solo's (Zsolt's Modal Madness lesson ), at par example 6 notes per beat at 120bpm. My picking hand start to tense up, which makes me screw up to solo.

But I kinda already know the answer to this problem, I just need to work up slowly and accurate so that I can train my dexterty I've already did this a couple of times and till now it has worked And I dont really care about max speed now anymore, I feel that if I could shred super long runs clean at 150 bpm 6 note per beat that it would be fine. So now I wanna have everything clean, tight and accurate for long runs, not just for speedbursts at that tempo

The biggest thing with long AP runs at a fast tempo is more about knowing where you are going without thinking about it. Like i told someone earlier when i first started out i wanted to be Yngwie and just shred the whole neck in every crack in the song, the problem is that if you don't know where you are going on the neck without thinking about it your going to mess up. Generally speaking when speeding up after awhile is not a problem with your hands, it is a problem with your brain. What i mean by that is that your hand is tensing up not because it is weak, but because it is waiting for the signal from your brain about what to do next. I find this to be the case for me alot of times, but if i just slow down and take the time to get a lick under my fingers and visually see exactly how to get from point A to point B on the neck i don't tense up. Dexerity comes with not having to think so hard about what comes next for the most part and not a strength issue with your hands.

Think about it like this, i bet you could pick 16th notes at 170 BPM on an open string without having to fret any notes, and your wrist wouldnt tense up for quite awhile. Now if you had to play a 11 note pattern at that same speed your wrist would lock up in short order, but its not because of strength its because your hand stays tense waiting for input from your brain. But if you slow down and practice that 11 note pattern so you know exactly where it goes you will have to think about it less and less.


Little finger strength, solo prasing, sweep, pulloffs

I have a few weeknesses.

My little finger needs more strength, its not as strong as the others.

My phrasing in solo's could do with more work.

Sweep Picking

Pull offs...I can do pull offs its just when for example I'm using more than two fingers to pull off like when you ascend the neck with pull offs. If you get me lol

Pinky strengthing is tough, but not impossible it just takes alot more work than the other fingers on your hand. What i do to keep my pinky strong is just trill drills, it at least for me is the most useful for getting that little bugger to do what i want it to do. Just put on a metronome at a comfortable speed for you and trill between ring finger and pinky on two frets for like a minute and a half to 2 minutes straight every day. In no time you will see a big change in pinky strength.

As far as sweep picking like i have said in earlier posts here in this thread just take it small steps, i outlined how i learned sweep picking to someone earlier and gave TAB examples of what to do. Try it and see if it helps.

With pull offs using multiple fingers on the same string, it sounds to me like it is an issue with finger independence, the only way to learn that independence is by repitition. Honestly a good excersise, and something i have been using alot is Marcus Siepen's warmup lesson, there is alot of good multi string excersises that use all of your fingers in varying ways. If you use things like this as a warmup every day it will help you with finger independence.


Alternate Picking, Vibrato, 8 finger tapping

I have a lot "unfinished" practice

Like, I think i am middle at most things...

But for weaknesses... Well... FAST ALTERNATE PICKING... It always sounds like i pick the note to slow.. For example Marcus' neoclassicsl etude...

oh yes, vibrato of course... and getting the exact right pitch on bends...

And Uncreator i fully agree! I have not progressed more slowly than i am doing with 8 finger tapping...

Its like, you have to be in a whole new position that ur not used to...

Any tips in 8 finger tapping playing positions?

I have given multiple ideas on AP in this thread to others just search the thread, AP seems to be a big problem for alot of people.

Vibrato is one of those techniques that is very unique to each person, it is what sets us apart from other guitarists. For some reason even when trying to emulate another guitarists vibrato there are subtle difference that are completely unique. You have to really decide what sounds good to you and develop that aspect of your playing on your own. There are a number of good lessons here on Vibrato technique, but that is only half of the equation. The other half is very personal. I would like to think that my own vibrato is unique to me. It is something i have developed over the years and it is a part of me.

As far as 8 finger tapping, like i told someone earlier i have a tough enough time with 4 finger tapping let alone 8 so i can't offer any advice on the subject. Juan M. Valero has an 8 finger tapping lesson, i would suggest doing a search for it as a good starting point for learning the skills.

As far as getting the right pitch on bends goes it about first training your ear, than training your fingers. And usually they happen at the same time as you are learning. As i told someone earlier the best way to start learning pitch correction is just first play a note....lets say 12th fret on the G string, so you have the pitch fresh in your mind, now drop to the 10th fret and bend up to that pitch. Keep going back and forth until you can nail that pitch every time. Once you can do that start changing the intervals...for example you could play 12th fret on the G string then just drop to the 11th fret and bend to the 12th fret tone. or drop to the 9th fret and bend up to 12th fret tone or any combination. After awhile of training your ear like this you are also putting that into muscle memory as well. So you know exactly how much pressure to apply to your bend to move any combination of intervals.


Speed, Hammer-on

My weakness is definately speed. Alternate picking is fine, until I have to get on to another string and when I have to use my pinky. I can do alternate picking fast, but there will be lots of x's in my runs, so actually I can't do it fast. I've been trying to do it for quite a while now and I just can't seem to get through the speed (well actually... it's pretty slow) limit.

My other weakness is the hammer on technique. My fingers don't have the power yet to hammer those 11's. What's best: lifting your finger up high and then striking down as hard as you can or should I keep my finger close to the fretboard?

Speed is one of the single biggest issues to overcome, as far as string transisition with AP its a matter of training both hands. I find personally that if i am having difficulty with an AP string transistion its my fretting hand and not my picking hand. You may be having the reverse. Try to analyze what is falling apart when you switch strings. The biggest challenge as guitarists is to not spend all of our time trying to correct a problem after its happened by analyze what is the root cause of the problem. Without looking over your shoulder i can't say for sure what it is that is breaking down for you. It could be a number of things, from finger independence, or a sync issue with right and left hands, or a break down of your picking motion. You have to figure out what is causing the issue and work on just that aspect so you can move on.

Hammer on's especially with heavy gauge strings can be tough, as far as the actual technique involved its best to keep your fingers as close to the fret board as possible hammering really hard from a far distance is going to slow you down in the long term. Watch where you are fretting the note when you hammer on, correct posistion of the fret can make it easier to sound the note, the further toward the middle of the fret you move the harder it will be to sound the note. Make sure you get as close to the edge of the fret without moving up to the next one.

The other thing here is to test your own guitar, see what the littlest amount of pressure is needed to sound a clear note. Just do this, touch the string with your finger and pick that string, doesnt matter where on the fret board for this. At first your just muting the string entirely, now lightly add more pressure and keep picking once you hear a note sound you can see what little effort is required to fret a note on your guitar, every guitar is going to be slightly different depending on action height, and string gauge. You will find though i am sure that it takes a very small amount of downward pressure to sound a note. Probably alot less than you think it does. Once you have a feel for that practice your hammer on's and use the smallest amount of effort to sound the note that you can. The less you have to strain your fingers downward to fret a note the more smooth your legato technique will become.



Well, I have areas where I have less trainning, but the principal for me must be theory. I'm like, I see stuff like Am, Emaj or hear, this is in the key of A and I have no idea why it's in that key or the notes in the fretboard (but that can be learned), just to mention a few. I also have a week sweeping (YET!)

Learning theory takes just as much dedication as playing scales and what not. I suggest just learning what you need, when you need it so you don't bite off more than you can chew, also definately check out Andrew Cockburns theory lessons, and try to apply what you learn from them.

I am definately not the guy to learn theory from, i have a basic understanding of it and i know the terminology, but there are some area's i am still quite fuzzy on.

It all comes down to just using it when i you need it. If there is a particular theory area i need for a song i am working on, or for whatever reason i just come here and look for the answer i need to continue.


16th Notes

Probably 16th notes can't get the timing or the speed. might be because i'm using downstrokes

It is certainly not impossible to get the timing on 16th notes with all downstrokes, the key here is building up your stamina, working all downstrokes there is no fancy excersises to do to increase it, you just have to keep doing it until you build up the muscle to pull it off.

My advice though is not to push too hard on this and work on other aspects as well like AP and legato. The more you can train your left hand to be strong, fluid and independent the easier it will be to increase your picking speed no matter what technique you are using.


Sweeps, legato

I'd say my weaknesses are 5-string sweeps (I am VERY slow), legato (When I play an ascending or a descending run, I tend to lengthen the notes where I change to the next string), trills with the first and third finger (It goes perfectly well with first and second though, don't know why tongue.gif ), my rhythm abilities could have been better (I hate to use a metronome, kind of ruins the feel when I'm playing), I think I strain my muscles a little, especially my wrist when I do vibrato on the lower frets. My alternate picking used to be slow, though it was pretty clean, maybe a little noise here and there. Some time ago I practiced Muris' alternate workout for a week or so, and I got so much faster

As far as sweeping in general check out page 4, post #70 in this thread. I talk about how i first learned how to sweep. As far as 5 string and 6 string sweeps the technique is the same, the only difference is the fingering on the left hand. It depends on if you are doing barre shapes or not, sometimes rolling your finger in a barre shape because you are rolling off of the flat part of your finger is a bit hard. Just keep working on tightening up the rake to be in sync with your left hand pattern. The biggest key in sweep picking is hand synchronization.

The legato issue you are talking about with note lengthing is normal when learning, it just means you are not comfortable yet with the string transistion. Its bound to happen. Typically when desecending you are moving to the next string with your ring finger or pinky, which adds to the delay since those two fingers are the weaker ones. My advice for this is just practice the transistion over and over since it seems to be your hurdle.

Play a pattern like this

E--------------------------------------------------------------------------- B--------------------------------------------------------------------------- G----------------------------------7----------------------------------7------- D---10--8--7-------7--8--10------10--8--7-------7--8--10------------------ A--------------10--------------------------------10---------------------------- E---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just keep repeating a pattern like this so you can get fluid at the string transisition it will help. After you get this under your fingers try changing it up, instead of going to 10 on the A string go to 8 on the A string with your middle finger for example. The key here is to get the string transistion fluid.

As far as trills go, the biggest issue with trills in general is just finger strength, and on a smaller level finger independence which works against you as well. The best way i find to build up strength for trills is just to do a simple drill everyday. For you for example pick a spot on the neck you are comfortable with. Trill between first and ring finger with a metronome clicking at near the fastest speed you can play it cleanly, now play that trill for a full minute after about 30 seconds, or maybe even less it will start to get uncomfortable, it is normal just keep it up as long as you can. Do this every day, after a few days of doing this raise the metronome level about 2 clicks and increase the trill duration about 10 to 15 seconds keep increasing every few days, eventually you will find trills to get easier and easier. Just keep doing it till you reach a level you want it to be. You are strengthing your fingers, and increasing your stamina at the same time. Pretty soon you will be a whizzing away with little to no effort.

If there is a specific area with your rhythm playing please feel free to ask me or another instructor to help you.

As far as straining your muscles on vibrato, strain is good.....pain is bad. If you are just tiring the muscles that is a good thing as you are strengthing your hand. If it actually hurts maybe there is something you are doing wrong.