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Author: UrinalMints Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5902  
Subject: Re: Can Anyone Offer A Few Tips On Guitar? Date: 4/26/2005 5:44 PM
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Hi Jammer,

Good s/n for this board by the way. Back when I was a walking talking guitar junkie, I learned a lot about technique.A couple of things I've learned/picked up over the years are:

1)Unless you're doing a BB King vibrato,where the only finger on the fret board is bending a string while your other fingers are flying out in space,your fingers shouldn't fly too far off the fret board. If you're not playing a certain string at a certain fret, your finger should be positioned just above that string and fret ready to come down when needed. In other words, the fingers you aren't using should not be pointing anywhere but the fret board. Unless of course it is physically impossible for you to fret a chord without straightening a finger or two.

2)For picking accuracy on an electric,I'd recommend a very heavy pick. The reason being, with a thin pick there is the slightest lag in time between when the pick attacks the string, and the pick bends slightly, and when the pick straightens out to it's original position.With a heavy pick, the pick doesn't bend so when you attack the string, the sting is instantly attacked and the pick is ready to strike the next string without having to compensate for a thinner pick bending. Of course non this doesn't apply to acoustics unless you're playing bluegrass single note lines. To my ears medium and thin picks sound better on an acoustic.

3)Try different chord voucings.For example,most guitarists know open chord positions. That is first position chords. Open C, open A, open G, Open E, open D. In fact if you take an open C chord use the root on the A string as your new bass note and play an open "A" shape by barring at the third fret, you still have the same C chord but with a different voicing.They call this the "Caged" system because as you change Chord voicings moving up the fret board, playing only "C" chords in different positions, it spells the word "caged". That would be C shape open chord on the first fret, "A" shape open chord barred at the third fret, G shape using the root note on the low E string eigth fret, A string 7th fret, D G B strings at the fifth fret and the high E string on the eigth. This should open up the fret board a lot and it's also a good way of knowing where all your sharps and flats are instantaneously anywhere on the fret board.

4)To practice your phasing on guitar, try singing or humming the notes. This may be the whole reason why people started using slide and bending notes to begin with. It sounds like a human voice. Phrasing is what people hum or whistle walking down the street.As Steve Morse once said, it's what can make your grandmom appreciate your playing.The first two songs I learned on guitar (has it really been 27 years?) was happy birthday to you and twinkle twinkle little star. I learned both on one string. A good idea to work your ear might be to start anywhere on any string and try to play them vertically across strings.

5)I have a book on reading music specifically for guitarists.In it it suggests reading from right to left for the hell of it. You might find a new melody or something that strikes you as something you can expand upon. You could even turn the page upside down and read it.

6)Okay, this on is killer, but if done clean and propperly, it pays off in terms of accuracy and speed.It's a picking excercise. First position (1st finger, 1st fret, Low E string)downstoke with the pick, now put down your middle finger on the 2nd fret samestring and hit it with the upstroke. Easy huh? One...two...done!


Um...not quite. Move this down to the A string and do it again.Down up. Now to the D string...down up. Go all the way down to the high E string then work your way back up string by string until you're where you started on the low E string.NOW do the same thing (ALL of it) but start with an upstroke first, followed by a down stroke and work THAT down to the high E string and back up.

Stay in first position, but now you're going to use your middle and ring finger on the second and third fret.Dow this first with a down stroke moving from the low E to the high E and back, then start with an upstroke just like before. The picking patterns never change, just which fingers you use and what frets they're on. Next you'll do the ring and little fingers (TOUGH!), then the index and ring, then the middle and little fingers then the index and little fingers.This is every combination of fretting hand fingers you can do.

No, we're not done yet.When you get done this, you move out of first positon into second position (index is now at the second fret, low E string) you keep repeating this until you work your way up until it is no longer comfortable for you you play one finger per adjacent fret,then you work it all the way back down to first position.

CAUTION:I would only do this until the lactic acid builds up in your fretting hand, then stop! Take a breather and stretch. When I do this whole excercise, it usually takes me around half and hour of non stop picking. I learned this from Steve Morse off an instructional tape.He said he tries to do this every day.On the tape he says something like "do this starting at the nut and working your way up the fret board as far as you can...for me it's just past the twelfth fret, and....(pause) you've paid some dues...okay (laughs)..." He'll even admit it's tough, but it's really paid off for me as far as accuracy and stamina.

I don't know where you are exactly development-wise, so I tried to make simple suggestions as well as the more challanging.Hope this helps.

J.P.

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