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Thread: Guitar players - techniques.

  1. #1
    Flash Kit Moderator Genesis F5's Avatar
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    Guitar players - techniques.

    I'm still very much in the developing a technique phase / building speed up.

    What do you guys/gals do to condition your fingering hand? I have one of those Gripmaster finger exercise devices but I'm worried that if I use it too much, I'm going to build up muscle in my hand that may inhibit my speed (make fingers stronger, but too stiff for fast playing. It doesn't take much to hold a string down, so strength is not an issue.).

    For now, I do exercises to build up what I refer to as "jazz hands." I place my finger tips on a flat surface and arch my hand up and slowly lift each finger. Then, by twos, I alternate and pick each one up in a 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2 fashion as fast as possible. Its seems to have worked. When I first started, the movements were "robotic" and really slow. The only problem pairs are still my ring/middle and ring/pinky combo.

    Do any of you have any recordings of you playing scales, like going from frets 5-8 and moving up and down strings E(1) - E(6) (That's the set I practice on.)? I just want to get an idea of what it should sound like from someone who's been playing for a good while. Maybe I'm overshooting the normal and expecting too much.

  2. #2
    associate admedia's Avatar
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    For finger excercises, I would say just play more... play until your fingers are sore.... I don't think anything works your hand out quite the same as simply playing.

    That said... I think we play totally different styles... I get the feeling you are going for an electric / yngwie malmsteen thing... wheras I am just a simple acoustic rocker... rhythm player... I am more Malcolm Rudd than Angus Young... more Keith Richards than Ron Wood... more Izzy Stradlin than Slash... you get the idea

  3. #3
    Flash Kit Moderator Genesis F5's Avatar
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    Yeah, that stuff's a little laid back. This is sort of the style I'm going for: song sample (Give it a second to get to the solo part.)

    Here's the rest of their stuff: link

    Don't get me wrong, though. I like to play stuff from Atlanta Rhythm Section and Cheap Trick (I want you to want me is a good example. Not too fast. A great song.) Anything else is what the acoustic's for.

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    associate admedia's Avatar
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    ok neither of those links work for me...
    but I get the feeling I know what you like.

    purely technical speed playing.
    play as fast as you can...
    play as accurately as you can...
    the more notes per measure / beat the better.

    that about sum it up?
    Last edited by admedia; 03-17-2006 at 10:16 AM.

  5. #5
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    co-ordination exersizes.
    start with your pinkys on your one hand on your thumbs, touch fingers.
    Right, now left hand: starting position pinky touching thumb, move thumb to ring finger, thumb to index finger, thumb to pointing finger, and back in reverse.
    Right hand, same thing but in reverse, so you will be the opposite fingers for the opposite hand.
    To this at the same time.
    It speeds up co-ordination like you cant believe.

  6. #6
    Flash Kit Moderator Genesis F5's Avatar
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    Thanks Natsia (and Admedia for the other tip about playing). And Admedia, sort of like that Google video of the guy playing Canon in D.

    Speed can wait for now, though. I'm still trying to perfect hitting each fret right. I just figure that if you can play fast and flawlessly, you can play just about anything else then with minimal effort.

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    2008 Man of the Year JWin's Avatar
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    if you can play fast and flawlessly, you can play just about anything else then with minimal effort.
    not really, learn to play music. Then if you feel it's necessary learn to play fast music. There are already enough bad shredders in the world.
    As far as learning to play. Find some transcribed clapton solos (or try figuring them out yourself). Just play as much as you can.

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  8. #8
    associate admedia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozzy
    I mean, this Yngwie Malmsteen guy must have the capability to do some amazing things, but it's too cold; it's too much for the mind to take in. And watching Steve Vai is like watching a good mechanic strip down an engine in three seconds and rebuild it. He makes things run perfectly, but there's no little errors that make things sound human.

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    Flash Kit Moderator Genesis F5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWin
    Not really, learn to play music. Then if you feel it's necessary learn to play fast music.
    Yeah, I knew I should have written that differently. What I meant by that was if you can play fast and maintain control, you've reached a level of proficiency that supercedes the average instrumentalist, and it has nothing to do with speed. It's the fact that you're so in tune with the instrument you're playing that it becomes second nature. It's memorizing to watch some of the greats practically fly up and down the fretboard. At times it's as if they aren't even holding a string down.

    Control is still the big thing for me. One wrong "twang" because of a misplaced finger and you can completely ruin a song.

    Like people say, it's the journey that's worth it. I'm not looking to do any "shredding" or be a maniac on the guitar any time soon. I play all types of music. Being diverse and adaptive is important.

  10. #10
    Flashkit historian Frets's Avatar
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    I've never been a fan of gripmaster.

    Sometimes yes you do need to increase your strength especially if you are going to
    play bar chords with heavy strings all day all night.

    But your more likely to find the strength after simply playing more and you'll be developing techique so...why bother with gripmaster?

    A little eq magic will beef up tone more then going to a heavier gauge string.
    One of the earlier "Metal Artists" Richie Blackmore who is often emulated for his thick
    tone used thin tone equipment A strat with light gauge strings was used for "Smoke on the water" as well as other Deep Purple hits.

    Santana creates the thick singing tone by...turning down his tone control as
    opposed to playing hard on heavy strings.

    The biggest blocker to development is in the self analysis while playing.
    Practice is often used as a method to gain confidence by repitition.

    I'm beside myself on the value of playing scales endlessly.
    Scale patterns aren't songs and they aren't melodies or leads whilst they can
    be used as a means to an end I often find that they trap ones fingers into patterns
    of movement which is the opposit of there intent. To familiarize your self with the position/note value.

    Learn a scale pattern,,,you have a scale pattern.
    Learn a song,,,you have something you can perform...you have an effective usage
    for a scale pattern.,,, you have a vehicle to improvise over,,,,,you have phrases, riffs melody lines, a chord progression that you can apply twards learning other songs or writing your own with.

  11. #11
    Phantom Flasher... Markp.com's Avatar
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    I hate santana... he's so lame, how long can he streach out the same solo for... jeeze...

  12. #12
    He has risen! lefteyewilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markp.com
    I hate santana... he's so lame, how long can he streach out the same solo for... jeeze...
    HAHAHA! I thought i was the only one on the face of the earth who doesn't like Santana...you're right, that solo is found in every single one of his songs, and it's not even that good, it's just got a good tone to it. Bleh! Down with Santana!

  13. #13
    Registered pseudo intellectual
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    Let me tell you that being able to play fast doesn't mean you can play anything. I can play pretty fast, I have good fingering speed, I can play about 2/3 of the canon in D song (minus the sweep picking measures, and some plain outright fast picking measures), but I still find playing some Santana songs a challenge, and more fun to play (you don't need to spend 30 minutes just warming up either).

    You're an average to good player, right? What the difference between you and you're average (forget about vai, satrani, gilbert, malmsteen for a minute) good shreader such as Matt Heafy (Trivium) is all in the right hand. It's about speed, technique and efficiency. Not just alternate picking, but getting used to a set of specific picking patterns which can be played fast because they're efficient and easy to do. Watching videos of guitarists is a great educational tool. I've had a subscription to Total Guitar for about 4 years now and they have close up videos of all players such as Heafy, Wylde, Satriani, Via, Gilbert, to name but a few. It helps loads.

    When playing fast, forget about pentatonics. It's all major or minors. Fast runs are, for the most part, 3 positions per string, or if it's 2 positions per string, the picking tends to run in repetitive patterns (Slash is good at this), and hammer-ons and pull-offs are more of a factor.

    A properly set-up guitar is a massive factor. I couldn't imagine trying to play fast on a guitar with more than 2mm of action from 1st to 21st fret. Well, I could; it would sound like ****. Having a scalloped fingerboard is also an option, though a bit extreme. Finger strength shouldn't be a factor, it's all about speed. More pressure = less speed, simple.

    As for learning scales, well, any respectable guitarist should learn at least some scales anyway. Developing speed through scales helps a lot, it makes learning new stuff (stuff you wrote or someone else wrote) much easier because it's already a part of your motor memory.

    Lastly, never underestimate the power of the pinky. Seriously.

  14. #14
    Flash Kit Moderator Genesis F5's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips, everyone! They've been very insightful. And yes, my pinky has been invaluable for some songs I've played, especially for stretching to distant frets. From index to pinky, I've got about a good 1-6/7 fret reach.

    What is action exaclty? I hear this a lot as something to look for when buying a guitar. It's listed as being "fast action." Is that the height from the fretboard to strings?

  15. #15
    supervillain gerbick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krona
    I can play pretty fast, I have good fingering speed...

    Lastly, never underestimate the power of the pinky. Seriously.
    Taken out of context... quite damn funny.

    Anyway... I wanna learn how to play two guitars at the same time, like this fellow...

    [ Hello ] | [ gerbick ] | [ Ω ]

  16. #16
    2008 Man of the Year JWin's Avatar
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    yeh action is the height of your strings off the fretboard. It's not really relevant at all when you're buying a guitar as you can change the string height on all guitars. Your preference in string height is really just that, your preference. My bass right now is set up with about as low as it can get w/o buzzing (but in fact I am getting some buzzing that needs to get taken care of). My acoustic guitar has higher action but not too high that its alright to play bar chords .

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  17. #17
    He has risen! lefteyewilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genesis F5
    What is action exaclty? I hear this a lot as something to look for when buying a guitar. It's listed as being "fast action." Is that the height from the fretboard to strings?
    Yes action is height from fretboard to the strings, if you buy from a store, see if they can set it up for you to get the best action for that guitar before you take it home.

    Some crap guitars cant have a low action or you might get a buzzing sound up on the 1st few frets (especially on the lower strings). So be careful in what you buy. And generally, acoustics have higher action than electrics.

  18. #18
    Flash Kit Moderator Genesis F5's Avatar
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    Yeah, I found that with my Hondo. Starting at about the 12th fret, it's about a quarter inch off the fretboard and it kills my fingers trying to hold those nylon strings down when I'm playing about 1/2 -> end of the board. I use it though as a conditioning tool hoping to toughen up my fingers.

    One little trick I found is after playing for a good while (say / 4 hours straight), if you take a 1/2 hour to an hour break and come back, it will be really painful to play again. I found that tapping the tips of your fingers on a flat surface for about 10/20 seconds (like someone does if they're being impatient) makes them feel fine, and away you go back to playing.

  19. #19
    He has risen! lefteyewilly's Avatar
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    my technique in helping my fingers out is a tad unconventional. I used to do this at work, at school, at home...anywhere that i had a hard edged surface.

    I will take one finger at a time, place the tip on the edge of a table or desk, then push my hand down as far as i could while bending that specific finger back. I'd hold it for about 10-15 seconds, while squeezing the rest of my hand muscles. It really stretches out the fingers, and by doing it one finger at a time, you can really get some good results...i do it with my right hand too....works wonderfully when you're doing finger picking.

  20. #20
    Registered pseudo intellectual
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerbick
    Anyway... I wanna learn how to play two guitars at the same time, like this fellow...
    Now that's rock n' ****in roll at it's finest... hahaha.

    It's weird how all the new guitar virtuoso's seem to be coming from Japan an the like. They have far too much dedication to the cause. Dreams of cock- rock super-stardom and the workaholic mindset leads to innovation's in retardedness like this.

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