2012-05-06

Guitar Exercise of the Week

This week, I have two exercises that should help you develop some speed techniques.

Precision Nightmare
The first is a relatively simple exercise in theory, but at high speeds becomes incredibly difficult to play accurately.

The trick with this one is to have some self control. It's easy to cheat on this exercise and allow yourself to go faster and faster before you're truly ready for it. You'll know you're ready to increase speeds when every note is perfect. If you can play every note perfectly except for one, then you're not ready to increase speed yet.

It's vitally important to ensure that each note rings true on this one, otherwise you will simply be practicing a dumb exercise that reinforces bad habits. Do not allow yourself to progress to higher speeds until you have ensured that you are picking absolutely, positively every single note without "flubbing" any. Ensure that each note rings out true, with good tone. Do not practice bad habits.

I call it "Precision Nightmare," and it looks like this:


Dewey Ewey
This next exercise is both a great way to improve your speed and a great way to explore some different left hand fretting patterns. I have written this out in the Phrygian Mode, in the key of B-minor, but as you practice it, feel free to try similar patterns in every position. You will discover some interesting melodic ideas that you may not have considered before.

This is primarily a legato exercise that will help you develop left-hand finger speed. You can never have too much of that. As you practice, try to get a nice percussive sound out of your hammer-ons. You can slightly mute the strings in licks like this to create some interesting textures in the context of guitar solos. You can also apply artificial harmonics to the string with the edge of your palm, creating some Van Halenesque sounds.

These passages sound best as a flurry of notes, but you will have to build your dexterity to get there. Here it is: