Category Archives: Lessons

Guitar Exercises For Speed # 1

There are as many guitar exercises for speed as there are guitars is the world. One of the most common is the regular old 4 finger pattern where you use 1 finger on each fret and play across the strings.

For example, start on the 6th string first fret with your first finger. Continue on with your second finger on the second fret third finger on the 3rd fret etc. Then repeat on the 5th string, 4th string etc.

Now this guitar exercise for speed can be done 2 different ways.  Some players will do all 6 strings and then move up to the second fret of the first string with their first finger and continue on with 1 2 3 4. Some players will move up a fret but reverse going 4 3 2 1.  Click here to see a great shred guitar program doing this. I like the first way because then I can play all 24 patterns of the 4 finger combinations on all frets and string. Either way is good and both are beneficial guitar exercises for speed

Things to remember.

  • Always use alternate picking it’s a must when practicing this exercise.

Using a metronome is a really important. Not only will it improve your timing tremendously, but also this way you can monitor your progress. I teach my student to write down the date and the metronome setting that they are using for any guitar exercise for speed. Motivating yourself to keep practicing will help keep you motivated when you could potentially get burned out on the same exercise.

Remember remember remember “repetition is the mother of skill” its so true and I cant express enough how important it is for you to keep on keeping on when you get burnt out on any exercise for guitar speed. This one trait or attitude towards practicing is one of the most important traits that will set you apart from all the wannabes in the guitar shred world. It’s a tried and proven fact, that the most successful people in anything are the ones who do what needs to be done whether or not they feel like doing it. Its true in business and its true with guitar exercises for speed.
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Guitar Shred – Learn the Inventions

For those of you studying your guitar shred, here is some new material you need to spend some time on. Bach’s 15 inventions

. If nothing else you need to learn Invention # 4 in D minor.  The first two measures alone make an awesome picking exercise,  But on top of that, they’re great tunes.

 

Learn at least the right hand part of the inventions. (the top line) And learn it in all positions. This can be a time consuming process, but it is well worth it if you do it. And if you are feeling even more ambitious, record the right hand part and practice the left hand part along with your recording.

 

Getting together with a friend to jam on the inventions is a great way to improve

.  You will really have to be in sync with each other or they aren’t going to sound good.  They can be technically challenging so go slow and take your time.

 

Players like Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai and Mike Stern have all mentioned practicing bach.  That should be enough to let you know that if you are serious about guitar shred, you need to learn some or all of these.

 

 

 

Guitar Shred – The Half Speed Workout

One of the guitar shred practice techniques that really works

, but involves some patience is practicing a lick or scale or riff at half speed. what you will be doing here is taking something that you are practicing and slow it down to roughly half the speed you can play it perfect. I know that many times you have been told to practice something at the speed you can play it perfect, but here I’m asking you to go even slower.

In this guitar shred practice technique, what you are doing is really focusing on each movement your fingers are making

. You don’t want stop and think “this is too slow” or “whats this doing for me”? Just go ahead and do it and i recommend doing it for about a week. It’s a great idea for practicing guitar and I have even heard about about drummer who had practiced at half speed for an entire year! I should also mention that this guy is a highly sought after studio drummer. So i think his testimonial is good enough evidence that you should be doing this.

Every time you hear about a great guitarist practicing they always mention practicing slow. So the proof is right there in those stories and interviews that practicing slow is a must for you. This is just taking it a step further. Ok many steps further and asking  you to really slow down and to make sure that every movement you make is a good movement. You will see great results in your guitar shred ability.

This type of practice will also force you to focus on the sound. You will be hearing the notes of what you are playing and then when you speed it up you wont be just hearing a mash of notes, you will be hearing the lick that you have practiced all week slowed down. Again I must say that this will take some patience but try it for a week and then report your finding hear. I am certain that you will have good results.

So lets get an example. Supposed you have a really fast pentatonic lick that is driving you nuts.
Step one is to slow it down to the point where you can play it perfectly. Get in the groove with it at that speed and spend a little time playing it there. Then cut the metronome setting in half and practice the lick at the new speed. This is going to feel really slow but do it anyways. Really pay attention to what you are playing. Make sure that you have no wasted motions and all the notes are clean. Stay at this speed for an entire week. Believe me you will notice some results. At the start of the next week bring the metronome setting half way between your speed you play the lick perfect and this new speed that you were practicing at. spend the week practicing in the middle. By the end of this week you are going to see serious results.

I’d love to hear your results, please post them here and share this article with all your guitar shred friends. Click here for the ultimate guitar shred workout!

Guitar Shred – Practice Routine Idea to Get You Going

Searching around Guitar Shred forums, I have noticed a lot of people asking about practice routines.

Some people are just unaware of what they should be practicing.Personally I think you should be practicing whatever is going to inspire you to pick up your guitar.I also believe that if you are having trouble getting going, you probably have overwhelmed yourself with things to practice. So let’s simplify your routine and get started.

So what do we want to get better at?For most of the people here it is technique and soloing. But we cannot ignore rhythm so that’s going to be part of our guitar shred routine. Also our first example is assuming you are going to practice 1 hour a day.

Sample practice routine

  1. Technique – Plan to spend at least 20 minutes on finger exercises, hammer-ons and pull-offs, trills, alternate picking etc. Personally I am a HUGE fan of Charlie Wallace’s  Guitar Burning Speed program because you hit all these topics in one 20-minute program.You could also check out Left Hand Red from ckoMusic or Rock Discipline by John Petrucci
  2. Learn new licks – Grab your favorite CD or Tab book and get 1 or 2 new licks and really get them under your fingers. Do this for about 15 minutes.
  3. Guitar Backing Tracks – Now we put this stuff to use! Pick a track from your Play Along CD collection. Remember we mentioned rhythm? Spend the first 5 minutes of this part of your guitar shred routine on learning and playing the chords to the track. Then spend the last 20 minutes jamming with your new technique and the new licks your learned.

I hope this gets you going.As you make more of a habit of practicing everyday you should add new stuff. Also you will start spending more time each day on the topics we mentioned. It’s also very important to start today. Don’t wait until tomorrow – it will probably turn into the next day and so on. Print this out and put it on your music stand and start your new guitar shred routine today!

Guitar Shred – 6 Minute Trills

I found this guitar shred exercise as a kid in a guitar magazine

. Full credit must go to Gary Hoey for it. This is great because it is only going to take you six minutes a day to practice. I remember reading the Steve Vai 10 hour guitar workout and he mentioned that he would practice trills for an hour every other day. So we can easily do six minutes a day everyday.

Step One: Put your 1st finger on the 1st string 5th fret. Using your 1st and 2nd finger, play the 5th and 6th frets over and over using hammer ons and pull offs only. Do this for 1 minute.

Step Two: repeat this exercise using the following finger groups: 1-3,1-4,2-3,2-4,3-4. Do each group for one minute. That’s only six minutes a day. You may find that using the 3rd and 4th fingers only extremely hard at first. Don’t give up! In a few days you will have it.

Also note that the 1st finger covers the 5th fret, 2nd on the 6th, third on the 7th, and 4th on the 8th. You should change this up eventually but start this way.

For all of you fellow Guitar Burning Speed users, this 6 minutes makes a great addition to the 20 minutes a day you already put in. All this guitar shred and you are still under 30 minutes!

Guitar Shred – Working out those trouble spots

Here is a guitar shred lesson that focuses on those “trouble spots”.  Maybe this is your situation …  You got your tune burning full speed and you are feeling pretty flippin good about it. However, there are one or two measures where you know you are “faking it” and kinda hoping just to get through each pass unscarred.   Be honest about these spots because this is what we are going to fix now.

 

Ok first of all, make note of those one or two spots. Now pick one to focus on first. Only pay attention to the part that sounds not so good. Now we are ready to play. You have heard this before and you will hear it again right now. Slow it down! Slow it down until you can play it perfectly. Spend the next 5 or 10 minutes practicing just that spot. Make sure to use your metronome and right down the dates and tempo.

 

Make sure your timing is perfect. If you are confused on a rhythm, bring your sheet music to a friend who can read.  Another option is to ask a drummer to tap out the rhythm. Don’t just play all the notes. Play them perfectly.

 

Stay focused. Don’t stray and just start noodling. Also don’t stray and start jamming on the part that you can already play great. Just keep on jamming on the trouble spot. After about 10 minutes of total concentration on this part, move on to the next trouble spot. Spend the next 5 or 10 minutes on this spot. Again stay focused.

 

Do this everyday. Make it part of your regular practice. It’s not going to happen overnight so don’t give up if you don’t nail it in just a couple of days. You will get it if you keep at it. Don’t get discouraged and start telling yourself things like “this song kinda sucks anyway”, or “I never really liked this lick”. A lot of times these thoughts enter when we start to get frustrated. Don’t do that to yourself. Keep at it until you get it. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Good luck and thanks for reading

 

 

Peace

Colin

http://www.ckomusic.com/

 

Guitar Shred – Learn the Bach Inventions

For those of you studying your guitar shred, here is some new material you need to spend some time on. Bach’s 15 inventions. If nothing else you need to learn Invention # 4 in D minor. The first two measures alone make an awesome picking exercise, But on top of that, they’re great tunes.

Learn at least the right hand part of the inventions. (the top line) And learn it in all positions. This can be a time consuming process, but it is well worth it if you do it. And if you are feeling even more ambitious, record the right hand part and practice the left hand part along with your recording.

Getting together with a friend to jam on the inventions is a great way to improve. You will really have to be in sync with each other or they aren’t going to sound good. They can be technically challenging so go slow and take your time.

Players like Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai and Mike Stern have all mentioned practicing bach. That should be enough to let you know that if you are serious about guitar shred, you need to learn some or all of these.

Guitar Shred – ckoMusic Picking Exercise

Guitar Shred – ckoMusic Picking ExerciseckoMusic picking exerciseHere is a great guitar shred lesson from ckoMusic.com. At first the rhythm may be hard but stick with it

Guitar Shred – Don’t Ignore the Rhythm

In the world of guitar shred, too many times people are ignoring their rhythm guitar playing. I’ve seen countless players who can jam on Yngwie and Steve Vai all day, but can’t play too many chords. That’s bad.

One thing that great players like Jimi Hendrix, SRV, and Eddie Van Halen all have in common is that they are great rhythm players as well as soloists. Learning some of Hendrix’s rhythms is just as challenging as learning anything else. However, rhythm is still being ignored by some players who spend all their time working on speed and whatnot.

Set aside some time each day during your practice sessions to work on rhythm playing. Learn new chords, new voicings for chords you already know, and new rhythms. Get some good books on rhythm guitar, preferably ones that come with CD’s so you can hear how it’s supposed to be played. More important, make sure you have the “feel” for the rhythm you are playing. It’s one thing to just learn the chords and play along with the track, but more important to really get into the groove of what your doing.

One thing to know is that better rhythm playing equals better soloing – it’s just the way it is. I hope you will add this area of playing to your guitar shred sessions if you haven’t already.

Guitar Shred – Ritchie Blackmore an Early Shredder

Ritchie Blackmore – An Early Shredder

If you are a student of shred guitar, it’s extremely important to go back beyond your current favorite players and check out their influences. Learning from your influence’s influences is one of the most important things to do as a musician. It gives you a look into where your favorites have come from and why they sound like they do. You should do this with all your heroes.

One example is Ritchie Blackmore – a huge influence to Yngwie Malmsteen. If you are into studying the guitar playing of Yngwie, you need to go back and check out Ritchie Blackmore –if you haven’t already.

Ritchie Blackmore, best known as the guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow was an early shredder. He combined elements of blues, jazz and classical into his rock guitar playing. There is so much more to his playing than just the main riff of “Smoke on The Water”.

For a taste of his playing check out the solo’s to “Highway Star” from Deep Purple and “Gates of Babylon” from Rainbow. Both of these solos will show you what he was doing before the whole shred thing started. One thing that may be interesting to do – As you listen to say, the solo from “Highway Star” look around the web to see what other guitar players were doing during that same period in rock guitar. You will see how Ritchie separated himself from the pack quite a bit with his use of arpeggios and the Harmonic Minor scale.

These days Ritchie is playing renaissance music with his group, Blackmore’s Night. blackmoresnight

I highly recommend to anyone studying guitar shred to search around the web for Ritchie Blackmore and listening to his huge catalogue of music spanning a very long career. He is an amazing guitarist who has influenced directly or indirectly just about every shredder out there!

I would love to hear your thoughts on Ritchie Blackmore!

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