The Four Phases of Guitar Technique

In this lesson, we're going to break down the "4 Phases" that guitar students move through when developing their technique... 

We'll discuss how guitarists can move through each stage to become the most effective at developing their technique. Plus, we'll discuss how to increase the speed and success of any technique routine by adding the use of a metronome into the practice session...

Guitar Technique studies are one of the best ways to establish a much higher degree of skill for left and right hand coordination on the guitar. Ask any professional player, they will confirm that guitar technique is without question a serious area of study for them.

Professional players realize that having excellent control over what occurs when they're playing rhythm or lead guitar makes them more relaxed. And, when they're more relaxed, they play music with less stress, leading to far less mistakes.


(PHASE 1).
Setting up a solid study approach to practice how to most effectively coordinate the use of the picking hand, and how it specifically "tracks" the fretting hand is the first critical step when developing guitar technique.

In fact, many new guitar students learn simple melodies such as "Happy Birthday to You," as a way to track what the picking hand does in relation to the fretting hand.

This is why one of the most popular coordination exercises (initially used by guitar students) is the chromatic study. Here's how this study operates...

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(PHASE 2).
After spending time working on coordination (on a single guitar string), the next phase of study will most commonly involve working on two, three or four string patterns.

Multiple-string ideas will help with a lot of playing areas, but most importantly, they'll give the guitarist an opportunity to drill on alternate picking technique between two adjacent strings.

Let's move through this next drill, and get a better idea of some of the benefits that it can offer us...

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(PHASE 3).
Once the string coordination begins to develop, another critical technique area is the ability to switch through 3-note chord patterns. These patterns are often referred to as "Triads."

The triad shapes are not only a fantastic exercise drill, but they're also an excellent way to become familiar with the fingering patterns for one of the most popular chord types used on guitar.

There are many different ways to study triads, but to help get you familiar with the basics of how this type of exercise operates, I've created a study that takes the triads found in the key of "A Major" along the guitar's 4th through 2nd strings.

By making a study of this exercise, you'll get a good idea for how to start incorporating triads into a regular exercise routine.

click the above image to enlarge full-screen

(PHASE 4).
The work done on triads (and on single string technique), combined with our next topic will allow guitar players to begin developing two critical areas.

1). Single-tone ideas for playing lead.
2). Chord fingering skill for playing rhythm guitar.

The fourth phase of technique that I wanted to cover is based upon advanced chord studies. This involves taking chord patterns that are unknown, and then moving those patterns along the string sets laterally.

This helps players gain a higher level of skill for not only the advanced chords being practiced, but also for gaining more dexterity. This means that every chord pattern introduced in the future slowly becomes easier and easier to learn.

This occurs because the dexterity of the fretting hand has been introduced to so many new and unique chord shapes.

Run through an exercise I've put together. It uses some unique 9th, and add2, chord voicings. After learning the shapes shown below, take the patterns even further down the neck. Then, expand on the idea of the exercise by introducing other unique and challenging chord patterns.

 click the above image to enlarge full-screen

Before we wrap up, I still want to cover two final ideas that you should keep in mind as you develop all of your guitar technique studies.

The first is based upon memorizing the general layout and feel of whatever it is that you're studying prior to turning on a metronome. Once you have that general awareness for the exercise, then turn on the metronome.

Point number two is, make sure that you keep the metronome on, and whatever tempo that you do select, be sure to continuously change the type of note duration that you perform under that tempo.

What I mean specifically is, if you select 82 b.p.m., then be sure to play, 8th-notes, 16th-notes and triplets at 82, before moving up to higher tempos.

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I'd like to end the discussion by saying, thanks for joining me... If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at and sign up your FREE lifetime membership.

When you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses that I've organized for the members of my website.

Also, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment sections... if you enjoyed this lesson and video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more on YouTube.

Thanks again and we'll catch up next week for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



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