Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lesson 2: Technique

So by now I can imagine that your practice of the first lesson has made you aware of your strengths and/or weaknesses. 

If you can't identify those, make sure that you practice with a metronome and pay attention to:

A. Your picking hand. (How close is your pick to the strings? Am I consistently changing from a downstroke to an upstroke? Am I staying in time?)

B. Your fretting hand. (How much effort goes into each note you play?  Which fingers feel natural to use and which don't?)

Exercise 1:
 s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s   s s s s s s s s s s s s s s e
 d       d       d                 d       d       d   u   d

*Use your first finger on the second fret and your fingers should all be one fret apart.


This exercise can be the early on key in guitar that you may need for a break through.  What you may notice is that between your first finger and your pinky, there is a very strong feeling of tension and misunderstanding between the two of them.  Set your metronome to a slower speed and use the hammer-on/pull-off technique to play the exercise.  As always, focus on completing the riff in time with the metronome with every stroke of your pick hitting the string loudly.

Now if your pinky is struggling, do not despair.  Work on these hammer-on exercises and to get familiar to a deeper extent; purchase a hand exerciser with little tension and work your way up to higher tension.

Exercise 2:
 s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s   s s s s s s s s s s s s s s e
*2 4 2 4 2 4 2 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4   2 4 2 4 3 4 3 4 2 4 2 4 3 4 2
 d       d       d       d         d       d       d       d

*Finger pattern for the exercise.


What should be hardest as a beginner is the hammer-on and pull-offs between the third and fourth finger and most of the time, this remains true for more experienced guitarists.  No amount of practice of one technique is "enough", as these exercises should be built upon once there is a better understanding of the guitar.

Practice the most difficult parts diligently by making up your own hammer-ons and pull-offs to use.  Try to implement stretching into the hammer-ons to create power over distance.

Exercise 3:
 s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s   s s s s s s s s s s s s s s e
 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 etc.
 d       d       d       d         d       d       d       d


Exercise 3 is a tough one.  Focus on keeping the hammer-ons equal between each fretting.  The real trick is the time between the notes, not the notes themselves.  Try variations of this last exercise, as well as stretching for power over distance.  If it hurts, remember to stop!  Don't hurt yourself and come back to it later.

That's it for now.  Practice, practice, practice!