Time to get right back to basics. I can pick a single note reasonably fast and I can fret reasonably quickly too. But when I bring them together, it is not fast or clean :( The problem is a lack of syncronisation.
Need to get back to basics and get my hands working together. This means removing all unnecessary movements, such as worrying about changing strings.
So time to take a single string lick, whip out the metronome and start slow, then bring it up to speed.
I have selected a single string Malmsteen lick from a Lick Library Quick Licks DVD (I love these DVD’s). As a bonus, it is taught by Andy James who is a guitarist that has only recently crossed my radar (well beyond seeing him in lesson DVD’s). He is an incredible player. You should really check him out!
This is more of a placeholder for me to come back to later. In order for goals to actually be useful, they need a very definite outcome to achieve.
Mastering alternate picking will be a lifelong adventure (as is learning the guitar in general) but I will need some things to aim for.
It is safe to say though that I want to be able to alternate pick at the virtuoso shred level. Quarter notes at 200bpm. 6 notes per beat at 130bpm. That sort of thing.
Hey, you’ve got to aim high!
One thing is for sure – I am going to do my best to pick exercises and woodshed them until I have got them up to speed. I am going to try my best to not spend 30 minutes on each exercise and move on as I have in the past.
Better to master a few things well than be able to play a lot of things really badly. As I master one exercise, this should make the next easier! Hoping for a snowball effect!
There are a number of different exercises I would like to focus on to get my alternate picking together.
But as another problem I have is knowing any musical pieces from start to finish (yep, that sucks a lot) I have decided to focus on alternate picking etudes. This way I am preparing a piece of music (sort of) and getting my chops up.
I am a big fan of the Lick Library DVD series so am going to start with the Beginner section of this: http://www.licklibrary.com/store/danny-gill/15699/essential-guitar-practice-routines-alternate-picking
Here is a youtube video of someone playing this piece:
My initial thought was that this was too slow and easy and I should find something else to work though.
But actually, I really want to program my chops in correctly this time so starting simple is a good thing.
So here we go…
Years ago I used to get up most mornings early to practice guitar technique exercises. I started to develop a little speed and gain some facility on the guitar.
In the last few years I have all but abandoned practicing and playing guitar, but I have never stopped dreaming about it, watching you-tube videos of my favourite players, collecting instructional material and generally being obsessed by guitar. How crazy is that when I don’t spend much time actually practicing or playing it?
So it is time to get serious again. Don’t know if I will be getting up as the sun rises to practice, but I will somehow make the time to improve as a guitarist.
This will require focus and attention.
So instead of trying to master everything all at once, I am going to focus on a few areas at a time.
First up, is getting my alternate picking chops up.
They are pretty sloppy at the moment, in no small part due to the fact that I have swapped between economy picking (not sweep picking, although I have worked on that, but moving to the next string using the shortest path when executing picking runs) and alternate picking.
Time to stick to alternate picking, and work out the kinks.