9 Steps to Guitar Success | The Wheel of Guitar Fortune

You can try to learn guitar using any number of random internet methods, or you could go through a local instructor. But, there is another approach...

The truth is that music instruction can be a gamble. Especially if the teacher of method you choose either has no plan, or even worse - an unproven plan...

If you’re unsure of what to look for in a guitar program, and then how to organize your practice approach - you're in luck!

My "9 Steps to Guitar Success - The Wheel of Guitar Fortune," is a proven way to help any musician break through to the next levels of playing. This system is a positive step-by-step cycle that works in a very logical way to maintain your focus and your organization across the weeks and months of practice ahead.

Below are the nine steps to follow that will build long term guitar success. However, keep in mind that you'll still require a good study routine.

It can be difficult to make rapid progress studying guitar if you have no plan. Once you've selected your study material, (of course, I highly recommend the Creative Guitar Studio Program), organize the material into a map of what the most important elements are that you want to study. Separate what you know from what you don't and focus laser energy on what you do not have skills for.

Set up a log of what you will do on a daily basis. Organize it all in a planner or in a log book. And, keep a Practice Schedule. If you do not understand how to properly practice, spend some time learning this with my "How to Practice Guitar Guide." Once you implement my systems, you'll begin to notice rapid progress.

Practice begins from this point of the Guitar Wheel of Fortune, and for it to work properly, it needs to follow some type of a structured time frame system. So, be sure to follow my "Time Frames" practice concept. Using this approach will yield the very best results for you in the shortest time possible.

As your practice begins and you start work through your routine, you'll need to be on watch for possible corrections to your plan. assess where you are by asking a lot of questions... Are you feeling like progress is taking hold? Are you noticing good results? Are there problems? Do you experience any hand-pain or discomfort? How is your mental perspective, are you having fun - are you learning? Assessment is critical to your success. If something isn't working - try something else.

Once you've determined what works for you and what doesn't, begin examining what you can do to alter the order and sequence of your material so that you can find new practice approaches that will work better.

Having great material is one thing, but you could still go about practicing the material in a way that is simply not good for the place you are at - within a specific point in time. How you approach your repertoires study material is just as important as what you're studying. And, in order for rapid progress to occur, you'll need to continuously alter your repertoire's order and sequence. Doing so will yield incredibly fast results for you.

Are you practicing warm-ups for too long? Are you not putting enough time into your rhythm guitar? How much skill are you feeling from your scale layout on the neck? Is what you're doing in need of time frame modifications? These are vital questions that need to happen along the way for rapid progress to occur. And, any change to your repertoire will play a role on how you're using your personal practice system. These areas need to maintain constant balance. When they do you'll start to notice changes for the better, start happening much faster.

Practice began (back in step 3) from a point at which you were still learning "where" you needed to address your guitar study focus. Now, that you are much further along in the "Wheel of Guitar Fortune" you've likley begun to notice what has worked for you, and what hasn't worked. And, (I hope) that you've started to make modifications.That is the key to this entire "Wheel of Guitar Fortune" process. In this step, "Practice - Phase Two," work out the new time frames that you want to apply to each subject area. Once you've created an updated practice schedule, start applying it and notice what benefits occur.

Just as we did back in step four, assess progress once again and notice where you're at. Ask yourself a series of questions regarding how you feel about the work you're doing, where you're skills are going, and how the level of ability is developing on the whole. If progress is occurring, then take stock of where it is developing with the most success. And, if certain areas are not developing, ask yourself what you could be doing differently to change that. Think of this step as another layer of refinement. Polishing things at this stage will really perfect how you're time is being maximized during practice.

The trick to getting really good - really fast is, has and will always be, exposure to new material that you have never tried playing before. Anything new will always push you higher in your overall skill set. So, in step nine you'll want to add more items on you practice list.

If you're studying a progressive course, (like the material found in the Creative Guitar Studio Program), you'll be flowing along in a very step-by-step manner. Adding new ideas will continue to help expand your guitar playing and it will build your footing as a musician rather than just being a "Guitar Player." Musicians know and understand music, even when the guitar is locked in the case at the back of the room.

Adding more techniques, more scales, chords, arpeggios and music theory will continue to help you grow as a player. And, as you get better, you'll be able to play more styles and you'll be able to function within any type of musical setting. Over time, nothing will feel foreign to you. The skill for playing in all types of styles and situations will become easier and easier. And, the key to expanding your horizons like this is exposure. This only occurs through an increase in your repertoire.

NOTE: If you need help setting up your own personal practice routine, book a Skype session with me and I'll help you get started!



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EAR TRAINING: From the Ear to the Fingerboard

Watching a musician who is able to improvise on the fly is quite incredible. 

Obviously, this skill comes from being able to play the lines that they are hearing in their head. The ability to play what we hear is one of every musicians ultimate goals. But, HOW does one get started on this path to natural musical expression?

For a guitarist, or any other instrumentalist, one of the biggest obstacles is translating the sounds that we hear in our head onto our instrument – in our case, onto the fingerboard.

When you hear a sound in your head, most musical people can quite readily open their  mouth and create that sound. The translation from the mind to the voice is quite effortless and is being done unconsciously.

Guitarists don’t have it that easy. Between our mind and our expression of a musical idea  lies the fingers, a multitude of neck patterns and technique to pull it all together. So, it may not exactly be easy to bridge the gap between our mind and the fingerboard, but we can get there. If an accomplished jazz player can do it, there must be a way, and there is... it is called, "Ear Training."

There are a variety of ear training categories – intervals, chords, scales, etc. When first getting started, one of the most important areas to focus on is intervals, since they are the fundamental building block for both scales and chords, (arpeggios).

When just starting out, it is best to keep the root of each interval you study, “fixed.” This means that the intervals you hear will always start from off of the same note. By working this way, you will get a better feel for the differences among the various intervals.

Begin with the following intervals in your training routine...

1. Prime a Single Tone: When doing this, sing the tone you've selected as your "Prime." This process is focuses on a single tone and the mastery of hearing it. Be sure to sing it. And, make sure that you sing it in tune. Once you have this tone down 100% move it to various unison locations along and around the neck. Even though it is the same note played consecutively, your ear must get used to its sound in different places on the fingerboard.

2. Major 3rd and Minor 3rd: These intervals contains 2 notes spaced either 2 whole steps apart to create a Major 3rd, (such as C to E, G to B, etc), producing a familiar uplifting, happy quality. Or, to produce the Minor 3rd, we have 2 notes spaced a tone plus a semi-tone apart. This could be related as 1 and a 1/2 steps, (such as C to Eb, F# to A, etc), producing a sad, negative or dark color of sound.

3. Perfect 5th: This interval spacing is 3 1/2 steps (C to G, G to D, etc). The so called 5th-chords (C5, D5, etc) used extensively in rock and roll are based on this interval. Sing this interval and notice the sound quality.

4. Octave – this interval consists of the same two notes played an octave (8 tones higher) apart.Sing these tones and notice the feel.

The key to developing a good ear is to come up with your own meaningful associations. You need to make it real. One of the best approaches is to associate each interval with a familiar tune. For instance, when I hear a major 3rd, I think of the song, "Oh When the Saints Go Marching In." At the beginning, the words, “Oh - When” is the Major 3rd.

I have a unique association for the perfect 5th. Those first two notes of the theme from the movie "Star Wars," are a perfect 5th apart.

When it comes down to hearing an octave, "Perfect 8," the theme from the song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," can be used. The first two notes of that famous theme, (Some - Where) are a "Perfect 8" apart.

So you get the point. Each interval needs to be personal for you. They need to evoke a response in the form of a memory.  Then, you'll associate it and be able to recall it.



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Trick Yourself into Better Guitar Playing (Time Frames)...

Stop Wasting Away Your Valuable Guitar Practice Time! After all, there are only so many hours in each day. Make the most of them..!

We've all sat down to practice the guitar and then this happens...

We start out highly focused, but the next thing you know 20 minutes have gone by and we’re just mindlessly noodling away our time. Our focus is gone and we're not doing anything that we either hoped to do, or that we'd expected we would be doing.

How did this happen to us? We had our best ideas ready to go. Is it attention deficit?

Is is a matter of scattered focus..? Or maybe, it is simply today's modern world of endless distractions?

For what ever reason, the bottom line is we lost our train of thought. And, after that goes away, it can be very difficult for any of us to both keep "on task" or even get it back without using some type of a study system.

The application of a training system not only keeps us on track with our practice, but it can also help us with the building of our long term goals and our best musical development direction.

Okay, we probably already realize that we need a practice system if we want to get good as quickly as possible. But, if there was a "study system" what would it be like? How would it work? What would it do?

The human mind is a tricky thing. It likes to move away from pain and move toward fun and good times. And, lets face it, working on scales and arpeggios, (while incredibly beneficial), can feel a lot more like "pain" compared to playing through a fun Hendrix lick that we have mastered (because we learned it seven years ago, so it's easy).

You can change your state of mind, (and also what you focus on when it comes to guitar practice), by “tricking” your brain to do practicing in a different way. From my experience, through all of my years of teaching, I know that a lot of guitarists have the same practice time problems when it comes to the study of material - you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you didn't want to improve on yours.

Practice time is extremely valuable, so you don't want to waste any of it by jumping into your practice periods without a study plan.

To really get your practicing up to a whole new level, get yourself a timer. This can be any type of timer, but I'd probably recommend it be a separate device away from your phone. I personally prefer "egg timers." I personally use the "Lux CU100 Digital Count Up/Down Timer." The LUX is really loud and it has easy to program buttons.

Keep in mind you're going to use this timer a lot, so you don't want to cheap out on a budget model, or kill the battery on your phone or tablet, (timer apps tend to really draw on phone and tablet battery power for some odd reason).

Start by designating a period of time that you are going to focus upon a topic. For guitar  practice you'll want to think in respect of two time frames.

The first is the "Overall" Time of how long you'll be sitting stationary. This should never exceed 15 minutes. It is not a good thing for the body to sit stationary for long periods. You'll want to be getting up and walking around at least every 15 min. This not only keeps your mind fresh and alert, but it also gets the blood flowing through your body better.

This is the length of time that you will assign to work on one given subject within your 15 min. topic time frame. I suggest no more than 3 minutes per subject. There have been many studies showing that the human mind gets easily distracted, (wanders) after 3 min. By staying within this time frame you'll maximize your ability to remain alert.

Now, start to work on a section of a song, a scale or an arpeggio for a set time frame of 3 minutes. Then when the timer goes off, stop working on that idea, reset the timer for another 3 minutes and move on to begin working  on something else.

It could be a new key of the same scale or arpeggio. It could be a new song section. Just change your focus once the timer goes off.

It is perfectly fine to come back to the song, or scale that you were first working on earlier in the same practice session. But, the idea with this time frame approach is all about getting away from one topic and moving through other material. By moving away, and coming back the material in another frame of mind, you will train yourself to keep much better focus.

The timer device has an incredible ability to keep you on task, and help you remain far more focused. As long as you just set it and forget it, you'll build off of your time limit.Your focus will be higher and your ability to plow through more material will help you with your accomplishments.

Even if you think this sounds rather odd…you have to try it. The benefits you'll discover are absolutely incredible.



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Acoustic Guitar: Tracking Simple Melodies

Acoustic Guitar:
Tracking Simple Melodies...

The first lesson plan of this acoustic series is focused on taking simple melody lines and enhancing them with associated bass tones in the low register. This approach is one of the most basic acoustic guitar techniques used by guitar soloists, especially when performing instrumental music...

The acoustic guitar is well known as an instrument that can function perfectly for supporting vocalists or for instrumental application of melody. Throughout these acoustic classes our goal will be to introduce several different techniques to help with improving acoustic playing skills.

PART ONE: In example one, I've taken a simple melody line from the key of "F Major" and associated a lower register complimentary bass tone part. The simple interval ideas (used to create this examples bass tone line) operate around a principle that is found in countless classical guitar pieces. The upper register melody is supported by the lowest tones of each underlying chord. The result is a strong complimentary bass part.

Example two focuses on the downbeat rhythm (beats 1 and 3) of a two-bar phrase in the key of "G Major." The simple melody line, (shown in example 2a), uses lower register bass tones built upon the 1st and 3rd beats of each measure by way of the underlying chord's lowest bass tone. This technique is very easy to apply and adds the most appropriate sounding bass tones that create a flowing acoustic feel to any melody.

PART TWO: The second half of the lesson begins with a popular study of how combining sustained bass tones from the downbeats along with sustained arpeggios can help in the creation of rich acoustic parts. In example 3a, an arpeggio based melody in the key of "A Minor" is used as a foundation against sustained bass tones introduced in example 3b. 

In example four, one of the most overlooked ideas for supporting melodic lines in acoustic guitar is demonstrated. The principle involves layering a lower register octave directly related to the melody note from the simple line. 

In example 4a, an "A Minor" melody is introduced. And then, in example 4b, the lower octave is sustained in measure one, but then traced across the remainder of the melody in measure two. This is an excellent example of how to create a strong bass-tone connection to the melody while also having it support a principle we applied earlier, "Stressing the Downbeats."

Acoustic Guitar: Tracking Simple Melodies

Related Videos:

Tracking Simple Melodies... 

Acoustic Guitar Riffs and Licks

Acoustic Nylon String Blues



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Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes

Man seeks to break world record by playing guitar nonstop for 114 hours...

Man seeks to break world record by playing guitar nonstop for 114 hours. He’s trying to play until 12:07 a.m. Saturday...

RIRIE, Idaho —

A man is trying to play guitar for more than 114 hours straight to beat a world record and help military families.

He’s performing the feat to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund; according to the organization, the fund has given nearly $200 million in support of families of military personnel lost in service.

The current marathon guitar session record was set in June 2011 in Ireland, according to Guinness World Records. 

2 Guitar Soloing Tips that Change EVERYTHING (Lead Guitars Secret Sauce)

Are you one of those guitar players who has worked hard at trying to play an original guitar solo only to end up feeling like you've failed at making your lead ideas sound good? Do you often have a gut reaction when you play solos that your notes are a little off-kilter and your sense of time for resolving licks could be better?

Well, I'm here to tell you that you're not alone. This topic is one of the most popular topics that I am asked about and it's also one of the most popular areas that guitar players will tend get frustrated with when they're trying to develop their lead guitar playing to higher levels.

If you've ever purchased a book or video method on "How to Play a Guitar Solo," or perhaps taken a course on how to play lead guitar, what is it that almost always starts those courses...? Generally the first thing those courses will introduce, are... you guessed it, the Minor Pentatonic Scale.

Almost every course, eBook, video and Guitar blog covering how to play a guitar solo, (that I've ever seen), begins with the standard, "Okay, folks let's get started with a great scale to learn for playing a solo, the Minor Pentatonic." 

At that point the lesson almost always continues with demonstrating that Minor Pentatonic scale pattern off of the 6th string, 5th fret "A."

While there is nothing "bad" about doing this, the problem is that most guitar players already know that scale shape and they've very likely tried using it for weeks, months or possibly even years - often with minimal success. 

So, the scale pattern alone is not the answer. Learning a scale is not going to provide the "Secret Sauce" to playing great guitar solos.

Another area guitar players practice to be able to learn to play better guitar solos is the area of working with "Jam Tracks." And, if you know a few scale patterns on the neck, JamTracks can be helpful for starting to get your sense of phrasing together. There's no questioning that Jam-Tracks will help a guitar player start to phrase better.

Jam-Tracks will also help players balance their sense of the scale tones against the flow of underlying chords in a Jam-Track progression. So, there are great benefits that can come from practicing alongside of Jam-Tracks. Especially when Jam-Track practice is combined with greater fingerboard knowledge of learning both scales and arpeggios across the fingerboard.

However, I've listened to hundreds of backing track jams sent to me over the last 10 years from guitar players all over the world who still can't nail down their phrasing. They've worked with Jam-Tracks for long periods, but still cannot make the scales connect very well. It's frustrating because after all of that time and effort, it will still feel like there's something missing. It's like they've done all kinds of work, but they still don't have the secret sauce to playing a great guitar solo.

Okay, let's get into the secret sauce - what is it, how can you start adding it to your solos and how will it start making a big difference in the ways that you perform a solo.

Well, there are two ingredients to the secret sauce. The first ingredient is learning how to perform a guitar solo played by another guitar player that you admire. These should be solos, that excite you, that really grab you. Solos so cool, that when you hear them, you instantly fully respect the way they make you react.

Now, I know what's happening for some people listening to this. There's a group of guitar players out there saying, "No way, I'm not learning anyone else's solo, because I don't want to be influenced by them, I don't want to sound like anyone else - I want to have my own style."

Okay, fine... but before you shut this off and go away, listen to something that I have to tell you. In my over 25 years of teaching, and in all my years of dealing with hundreds of fellow students when I was attended the Guitar Institute of Technology (there were around 285 guitar students along with me attending that school when I was there), I learned something very valuable.

Every amazing guitar player I've ever met who could rip out fantastic guitar solo improvisations, had spent hours and hours learning other peoples guitar solos that they admired. Even if it was a solo that they only liked a small portion of, they learned it, and they could play it note-for-note. That is Secret Sauce Ingredient #1.

And, my homework for you with this first ingredient is to take a short phrase I've removed from a few bars of Led Zeppelins "Stairway to Heaven" solo and learn it. 

Get it down 100% perfectly and then work on integrating it into your own playing. Have it become your first step to a future of lifting off dozens and dozens of guitar solo ideas from all types of guitarists who inspire you.

Example). Excerpt of the solo from, "Stairway to Heaven"

If you take stock of "Secret Sauce Ingredient #1," and put it into massive action and begin experiencing what learning other peoples solos will do for you. It will start to make a difference right away. I know it has for me and for hundreds of other players I've had the pleasure of working with over all the years.

I've taken lines and phrases from heavy metal solos and turned them into jazz licks. And, worked out passages from blues songs and made them into classic rock solos. This idea can be used to dissect and then re-construct any lead guitar part and have it become a fantastic new element within your guitar playing.

But, there's another layer to this. And, this brings us to, "Secret Sauce Ingredient #2." This is the ingredient of composing original solos of your own from scratch. 

Now, before we get into this, I need you to stop for a moment and think through what playing an improvised solo really is. Playing any "made up on the spot solo" is actually, composing. But, the composing is happening spontaneously - within the moment. Improvisation is actually, "Spontaneous Composition."

So, what better way to prepare for those periods of spontaneous composition than by spending a lot of time on composing. When you compose, you work every one of those muscles that allow you to improvise. Each playing idea, pattern, rhythmic element is stretched to the limit when you're trying to invent cool phrases and licks for a composed worked out solo.

So, spending time composing a totally worked out solo, where everything is completely planned (and even better,  recorded for reference at another day and time), will do phenomenal things for your ability to both stretch your thoughts musically and apply your musical ideas when it comes to completely off the cuff soloing. 

Remember Improvisation is simply Spontaneous Composition. So, the more time you spend working on your skills with respect to composing, the more skills for improvisation you'll acquire along the way.

So, now what do you do? You have the "Secret Sauce" for soloing. And, in order for you to have success with the formula, you'll need to do some work. 

So, let's look at one final list. A list of seven things that you can start doing right away to really get the Secret Sauce flowing for you in your guitar soloing practice routine.

1). Start by organizing a daily review of scales and arpeggios
2). Find a short-list of solos that you want to study and learn
3). Develop a "note-for-note" playing ability with your chosen solos
4). Work out, or download Jam-Tracks to use for composing
5). Understand the chord changes (know the key and harmonic analysis)
6). Spend time composing "worked out" phrases over the Jam-Track
7). Either notate or record your composed solos for future follow-up

- Andrew Wasson

Watch the Video Lesson:



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CRAZY: Police Open Fire on Rappers Making Music Video

A miscommunication between a local Detroit music artist and Detroit police recently led to gunfire. 

According to police and social media accounts, a local rapper was filming a music video with a simulated carjacking in the middle of Six Mile Road this past Saturday, when the police showed up and opened fire on them.

As you can see in the video below, the two masked men were using their Jeep Wrangler to strategically block off an Aston Martin. They then exited the vehicle with what appear to be guns, and began simulating an attack on the driver of the Aston Martin.

At this point in time, Detroit police emerged, responding to the scene after reports that the men in the Jeep were robbing people, according to police spokesperson Dan Donakowski's account to The Detroit Free Press. When the police approached, Donakowski said one of the suspects pointed a weapon at one of the officers, prompting the officer to discharge three rounds towards the "robbers." Luckily, none of the bullets hit anyone, according to the newspaper.

As it turns out, the masked men were just filming a music video, and were not actually robbing the driver of the Aston Martin. The three men involved did not apply for filming permits, nor did they notify the authorities of a staged armed robbery, according to The Detroit Free Press. All three men were arrested as a result of the incident.

Tip: if you are going to stage a carjacking with masks and guns, you might want to notify the police ahead of time for the proper permits.

Power Chord Rock Riffs in "D Minor"

NEW: QwikRiffs Series - Video (002)

The latest QwikRiffs video, Power Chord Rock Riffs in "D Minor" is available in the members area. Includes PDF handout!

QwikRiffs are one of the new lesson series that are available to members at Creative Guitar Studio.com. Lessons in the QwikRiffs Series run through collections of rhythm guitar riffs covering all types of playing styles. I cover different 'famous artist' playing approaches and I will demonstrate ideas based on rhythm guitar techniques...

Episode #002 covers three "D" Minor Riffs.

Riff one runs through a key of "D Minor" Hard-Rock riff located off of the 6th and 5th strings. Chord movements operate laterally with resolutions off of the V and VII chords.

Riff two drops a Heavy Metal riff that applies unison tones to add contrast. This riff also uses a single measure of 2/4 time to promote a unique rhythm on the turnaround.

Riff three explores the sound of Punk-Rock with a phrase that uses the lateral span of the fingerboard to cover a busy power chord riff played along the neck, (covers the 5th to the 13th fingerboard positions).

Sign into the website (or create your free members account) to join the members site. Sign up for the Basic Monthly or Premium (annual) membership to download the PDF handout for this lesson and study all of the other classes available on the website. 

Become a FREE member of the website, sign up today!



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VERY Different Guitar Chords (Mystery Chords)...

Have you ever been stumped by the sound of a "Mystery Chord?" Those guitar chords that will leave a lot of guitar players scratching their head when they hear it. 

Sometimes these chords will even sound "wrong." Yet that 'wrong sound' still seems to work. 

What is going on with these very different chords, well the best way to understand them is to learn a few...

While most of the chords we play are common to a lot of the tunes we perform on guitar, they do get a little old sounding after awhile. How many times can you strum an open position "G, C, D" riff... At some point the guitarist starts searching for something fresh.

And, it’s not entirely due to the boredom of using common guitar chords. Rather, the search begins due to that quest for new harmonic color. What can be done to add a twist to the song, or to alter the feeling of a verse or bridge. There must be something!

This is the point at where "different" becomes sought after. And, one category of chord type where different is really highlighted is with inverted chords.

In general, straight forward chord inversions won't typically sound all that out of place. In many cases they will flow in an even more balanced way across a chord progression.

However, these chord types can start to take on a very different effect if the inversion includes a suspended tone. Plus, if that suspended tone ends up in the bass (as the lower inversion note) we'll have a really interesting effect generated upon the chord voicing.

Inverted "sus" chords can make for some very interesting musical sound, better yet, they can end up coming across like they don't exactly fit, and that alone can be a very cool effect.

The process of how these chords work in a piece is based upon the lowest tone of the chord being the actual "sus" tone. Play through example one and notice the unique effect that these chords can produce when played against other more common chords.

Example #1). 

Another cool effect of applying these chords can be had when using a series of them all aligned together in one progression. Playing through these chord types back to back can create a very interesting sound. In fact performing chords like this will often occur in movie sound tracks and TV shows sound-track music.

Example #2).

There are all kinds of ways that musicians will use chords in songs. And, how a guitar player selects their chords will tend to fall back to what the context of sound is that the musician is after. If the context calls for some really straight forward sound, (like a basic folk or country tune), then that will require certain common chord types.

However, if the sound needs to be really different or if the musician writing the piece is just after "really different" then a chord type the inverted "sus" can behave perfectly.

Always use your best judgement and select chords that offer interesting sound options. Over time, your ability to project any type of color will become more and more perfected. Composing music is a fun process and getting more abstract with what your doing only adds to the fun factor!

- Andrew Wasson



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Improve Your Picking Hand Accuracy...

Do you ever feel like feel your picking ability fails you? Especially when you need very accurate playing... Does it ever seem like your picking totally falls apart when you're trying to perform complex scale passages? 

If you answered Yes to either of these questions, you might need some help with your picking accuracy...

In this post we'll focus in on developing better picking technique. Skilled guitarists already know that the key to the development of excellent picking technique is the right hand.

When playing more detailed scale and arpeggio passages for simplification (and for ease of use) guitarists will tend to play legato (i.e. the picking-hand does not play every single one of the notes, rather some of the notes are played using pull-offs, or hammer-ons).

The sound that we achieve is however not the same when using legato, so it would be better to learn how to increase the development of the picking hand to accurately play more complex lines using only picking technique upon each note.

Guitar players who wish to improve their skills in this area will need to develop several accuracy techniques related to the right hand. These include...

- Excellent alternate pick strokes of the upwards and downward motion.

- A faster more accurate right hand making the alternating strokes.

- Better timing between the pick and the fret-hand's finger.

- Higher sense of meter and time, as well as, better feel for the beat.

The more accurate and perfect these areas become, the quicker and more accurate the playing will be.

The fastest and easiest way to develop this skill is through tremolo (fast double or triple picking of one note). Triplets can be one the most effective ways of learning to play a tremolo, so we'll focus on this idea to build your skill.

Begin each of your practice sessions with a tremolo drill. It develops (and well warms up) the right hand, as well as builds accuracy. The tremolo notes must sound dynamically equal (all sounding notes of equal volume). Tempo is also important, so use a metronome and strive for equal meter, beat and tempo when you practice.

Tremolo Exercise #1). Play through the study below until it is memorized. Then, turn on a metronome to establish a feel for the triplets and alternate picking technique within time. Build the tempo of this drill up to a speed between 132 - 152 bpm.

Tremolo Exercise #2). Play through the study below until it is memorized. Then, turn on a metronome to establish a feel for the triplets and alternate picking technique within time. Build the tempo of this drill up to a speed between 132 - 152 bpm.

Each note of the picked tremolo should be clear. Play the drill 30 times in 10x increments (with short breaks in between). Pay attention to the feeling in your right hand. If you experience pain or discomfort, it is telling you that your muscles are working too hard and require rest.

Pay attention to the location and feel of your pick-hand. Allow this hand to find the most convenient position while playing. Never force it to do the work. Allow it to function in a relaxed manner. Tension is your greatest enemy, (and the greatest cause of poor performance).

When you are good at playing these drills with tremolo, try to play them as straight time 16th-notes using all of the original notes.

For some players, it is necessary to put in approx. 20 days of doing these drills. And, for someone else it may take 30 days. For others it may take 45 days. There is no set quantity of time that a person will be doing drills like this for. So, the best way to look at this is to say, "It will take whatever it takes."

Play your own passages by this principle, solos, improvisations, rock, jazz and blues phrases… If you have great patience, you will see huge advantages through the drilling of this technique.

If you do not see any results, most likely you were not engaged with this drill for a long enough period of time. Though it is possible to play legato or tapping, and substitute that approach for straight picking technique, keep in mind that it sounds less dynamic.Therefore, make the effort and put the time in to develop the picking skill. It is well worth the effort.



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