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BT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings friends,
My first post here. I've already picked up a few tips here. Hopefully I can contribute to the forum, learn a few learn things, and maybe make a few friends along the way.

Anyway, I'm looking for some help with my left and right hand synchronization. A few months back I made some changes. I changed my pick, pick position, tuning, and string gauge. In all the transition went pretty smoothly, but I'm finding that my left and right hand synchronization is breaking down in places where it didn't before. As expected, mainly playing at high speed but not always. My left hand seems to run away from the right especially descending runs between the 3rd and 4th finger.

I've been trying to bring up the speed using a metronome but as for really playing I'm still have a hard time.

Any advise, exercises, tips, etc would be much appreciated.

BT.
 

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Dream Crusher
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Ring and pinky finger trills.

Seriously. Build that strength and coordination. Trills are great in general for left hand stuff. Do them with and without metronomes, as part of jamming over a backing track, or something similar.
 

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I'm not 100% sure I know what you mean when you mention the 3rd and 4th finger, but I think I do. I ran into a lot of problems playing consecutive frets--ascending or descending--with those two. They would not move as independently as I needed so fretting with my pinky would affect my ring finger and vice versa. I would do runs and my picking would get ahead of my fretting whenever I had to use those two together on consecutive frets.

Don't know if this will work at all or if it applies but what I did was every time I was playing I spent a chunk of time doing fretting exercises 1-3-4 in all different positions. So I would hit the 5th, 7th and 8th (or 10th, 12th, 13th--position is irrelevant) frets up and down the strings as cleanly as I could and sped up over time. Then eventually I would practice just doing trills with my 3rd and 4th fingers.

All that made it so the two fingers moved as fast as I wanted with as much independence as any other finger. Hope this applies to your sitch and helps. If not, feel free to tell me go fuck myself.:shrug:
 

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BT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I think my issue is more about syncing the left and right hand, it used to be better before I changed things. Left hand legato seems okay. I will give ring and pinky drills a go, it certainly can't hurt.
 

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Dream Crusher
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If it's synchronization issues, then by all means do some chromatics (1-2-3-4, 4-3-2-1) up and down the neck with a metronome. Start slow and speed up, etc.
 

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Pallin' around
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There is a lot to be said here. Let me work on this a bit tomorrow and get you a good response. I have done a TON in this field the last year. I just can't go into right now.

Tomorrow, yes? :yesway:
 

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BT
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hope this applies to your sitch and helps. If not, feel free to tell me go fuck myself.:shrug:
I lol'd

If it's synchronization issues, then by all means do some chromatics (1-2-3-4, 4-3-2-1) up and down the neck with a metronome. Start slow and speed up, etc.
I've started doing this but I need to do more. I'll give this some more attention plus SBelmont's suggestion and drop the 2nd finger 1-3-4 style.

There is a lot to be said here. Let me work on this a bit tomorrow and get you a good response. I have done a TON in this field the last year. I just can't go into right now.

Tomorrow, yes? :yesway:
Thanks brother, I look forward to it.:metal:
 

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If it's synchronization issues, then by all means do some chromatics (1-2-3-4, 4-3-2-1) up and down the neck with a metronome. Start slow and speed up, etc.
These help a lot, but I found that doing chromatic runs felt too mechanical for me. So I started skipping the second fret and when I did that I had to think more and be a lot more deliberate with my movements. While it starts out being a lot harder (for me at least), in the end my fingers started moving more independently with less concentration. Once I got that down, my L/R hand synchronization issues pretty much disappeared...my pick wasn't one or two notes of my fretting anymore

But this is all relative to the player. Find what is most difficult for you and then practice the shit out of that. That's always been my approach to finger exercises and conquering any technique for that matter. Plus when you master them you feel like a righteous badass. :metal:
 

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Dream Crusher
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These help a lot, but I found that doing chromatic runs felt too mechanical for me. So I started skipping the second fret and when I did that I had to think more and be a lot more deliberate with my movements. While it starts out being a lot harder (for me at least), in the end my fingers started moving more independently with less concentration. Once I got that down, my L/R hand synchronization issues pretty much disappeared...my pick wasn't one or two notes of my fretting anymore

But this is all relative to the player. Find what is most difficult for you and then practice the shit out of that. That's always been my approach to finger exercises and conquering any technique for that matter. Plus when you master them you feel like a righteous badass. :metal:
Definitely. For me, 1-3-4 and 1-2-4 were very easy since I'd been playing cello for ages, which makes extensive use of those patterns. It was the 3-4 trills and the chromatic stuff that really forced me to slow down and work on my coordination, since I never played chromatics outside of auditioning for district orchestra :lol:
 

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Definitely. For me, 1-3-4 and 1-2-4 were very easy since I'd been playing cello for ages, which makes extensive use of those patterns. It was the 3-4 trills and the chromatic stuff that really forced me to slow down and work on my coordination, since I never played chromatics outside of auditioning for district orchestra :lol:
Man that's almost cheating coming from cello!

:eek:fftopic:

I wish I could play cello, not only for the amazing finger control it gives you, but that is probably the best damn instrument of all time. I have yet to hear anything that sounds as beautiful as a cello. So much music just plain sounds better on one. OK, rerail to thread topic.
 

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my ring and pinky both suck. (broken when young - healed up a bit off - limited mobility...)

But hey if Django could get buy with only 2 fingers , and Iommi can get buy with fake fingertips I still have a lot of room for improvement.

Chromatic stuff is what I practice. Also I will play all of the modes just using my pinky and ring finger (with a metrnome - slowly)

About 15 years ago I debated switching to playing lefty..... The idea still occasionally pops up...
 

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1.) Buy "Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar." Really, especially considering it's like $19 or something, it's one of those books anyone interested in technique needs to own.

2.) I wrote up a lesson with a ton of chromatic-inspired drills ages ago - I should probably dump it into PowerTab and get it up on this site.

(actually, just googled it - Speed Mechanics is $13.57 on Amazon. Go buy it.)
 
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Pallin' around
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1.) Buy "Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar." Really, especially considering it's like $19 or something, it's one of those books anyone interested in technique needs to own.

2.) I wrote up a lesson with a ton of chromatic-inspired drills ages ago - I should probably dump it into PowerTab and get it up on this site.

(actually, just googled it - Speed Mechanics is $13.57 on Amazon. Go buy it.)
Speed mechanics is a very good book in which you can go through step by step, almost like a course.

First, play all these exercises to a metronome!!!

There are many things that you can do though, starting with the chromatics...

The 1-2-3-4 ascending the strings and 4-3-2-1 descending the strings is a useful exercise, but be careful. It is about the least useful for a couple of reasons:

First, I rarely use four finger per string scales in real music (sorry Cooley :lol:).

Second, this exercise will get you good at crossing strings with downpicks, but what does it do for up-picking?

So when I practice this exercise, I do it the normal way, and then a host of other ways as well.

e.g. if I am doing the 1-2-3-4 ascending and 4-3-2-1 descending, I will work on it for 5 minutes (this is very important) starting with downstrokes, then I will switch to upstrokes, i.e. up down up down (next string) up down up down.

After 5 minutes of that I switch the order of the notes so that I am descending notes when ascending strings, and vice-verse a la:

--------------------
----------4-3-2-1---
-4-3-2-1------------
etc. and down
---1-2-3-4-------------------
------------1-2-3-4----------
-----------------------------

Yeah I only have a 3 string guitar :rofl:

Then as I am sure you could have guessed, after that 5 minutes has passed I repeat the exercise starting with upstrokes.

From here I would progress to 1-2-4, 1-3-4, 1-3-5 (with second finger on 3), 1-3-5 (with 3rd finger on 3) exercises in triplet fashion. 5 minutes on each!

I would then play the triplet exercises and throw in string skipping. First just one string, then two, then 3, all the way to 6 (only works if you play a 7).

Then, finally, one last drill before I start playing diatonic. This is a drill I designed to get myself (and my students) to stop subdividing the beat based on how many note I am playing per string. Ex. triplets when playing 3 notes per string, and 16th/8th notes for 4 notes per string. Bad habit :noplease:

---------------------------1-3-4-
------------------1-2-3-4--------
-----------1-3-4-----------------
--1-2-3-4------------------------

This exercise will switch from working on inside picking to outside picking on its own!

There are two ways to play this:
1) All triplets
2) All 16ths

This idea will get you to learn to count a strong beat, even if it isn't on the first note of the string.

Okay, now I usually go diatonic in a specific key and play patterns in every position of the key, which is simple enough. This is more of an exercise in fretboard memorization. I'll do a different one every day, usually progressing through the cycle of 4ths.

After this, I will take some things that I have trouble with, and do a burst drill with them.

Example: Say you have trouble connecting 16th note triplet patterns ascending, a la: (beats in parenthesis)

(3)/////////////////(4)////////////////////(1)
----------------------------10-12-13-12---
------------------10-11-13---------------
---------9-10-12-------------------------
8-10-12----------------------------------
------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------

I would start my metronome slowly, so that it is rather easy to play. Then I would follow this rhythmic pattern. 1, 2, play riff, rest, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, play riff, rest, 2 ,3, 4.

Where the riff starts on 3 and ends the first beat of 1.

I would gradually speed the metronome up as fast as I could play this.

However, you do NOT focus on playing this cleanly. What needs to be focused on is relaxing. When resting between the riffs, take your hands off the guitar and let them hang and "drip" all of the tension out.

The point of this exercise is to increase how quickly you can play relaxed.

Those are just some starters, there is a lot more you can do but I will let you digest that first :cool:

Good luck!
 

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NSLALP
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I'd highly recommend Stetina's Lead 1 and Lead 2 before Speed Mechanics.

If your hands aren't synchronized, it's because one or both are not trained accurately. Time has to be spent with a metronome at seemingly unbearably slow speeds until the motions are pure muscle memory.
 

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I'd highly recommend Stetina's Lead 1 and Lead 2 before Speed Mechanics.
I've actually been meaning to check those out. What's the, erm, curriculum like? I recommend Speed Mechanics not because of the drills as much as the look at the physical act of playing it opens with, and the focus on physical efficiency. I'm wondering where Lead 1&2 start off...
 

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NSLALP
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I've actually been meaning to check those out. What's the, erm, curriculum like? I recommend Speed Mechanics not because of the drills as much as the look at the physical act of playing it opens with, and the focus on physical efficiency. I'm wondering where Lead 1&2 start off...
Really, they cover all of the basics of lead playing. The first solo exercise is a basic slow-tempo blues grind, and it pretty much exponentially gets more difficult from there. By the 2nd book you're doing some serious shredding if you've been taking the work seriously and not half-assing it. My recommendation came from the fact that Stetina himself says it's meant for self-study after you've gotten through his Lead series. It's pretty much a master course.

The only thing the Stetina method "suffers" from is being acutely buried in the 80's and early 90's. Regardless, it gives you the appropriate tools.

There are some insane words of wisdom in the books that I would have missed by just reading through them - the Stetina series is the curriculum my guitar teacher uses, so he has guided me through it all. He broke me down to basics starting with Rhythm 1 and I've become 10x the player I was over the last year (now in the thick of Lead 2).

Was a humbling experience when the first lesson was interrupted in 5 minutes with, "Erm, let's talk about how we hold a guitar pick." :rofl:
 

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BT
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks guys. I'm really pumped to do some work now. Special thanks to Sean for all the work you put into your post!:metal: I'm going to work through all of the exercises and ideas from all of you tomorrow.

I actually own a copy of Speed Mechanics, I didn't get into much. That was a long time ago. It's funny how things stick in you head, I'm pretty sure that's the first thing I ever bought using PayPal. Anyway I'll have to dig it out. I'm at a different place now so I might appreciate it more now.

One thing I forgot to mention that I been using a lot more economy picking changing strings. So down down stroke across adjacent ascending strings, up up for descending as opposed to straight alternate picking. I'm not sure if this is contributing to my sync problems. Either way the ideas here are great and I'll get stuck into them.
 

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I used to be an economy picker too - I discovered it when I picked up a book of scales from the Guitar Grimoire series, and it really pushed economy picking.

I think, maybe 8 or 9 years down the road and back on strict alternate picking after a pretty interesting series of conversations with an awesome jazz guy I took lessons from in college, my picking really suffered for it. Without getting too into it, the strict "groove" your hand falls into while alternate picking is way more conducive to tight, machine-gun like picked runs than economy is, and that economy picking will never be as rhythmically tight as alternate.

This is probably a big part of the reason why I got so focused on legato - as a crutch to make up for the fact that I fucked up my picking technique when I got into economy picking for a couple years. :lol:
 

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I used to be an economy picker too - I discovered it when I picked up a book of scales from the Guitar Grimoire series, and it really pushed economy picking.

I think, maybe 8 or 9 years down the road and back on strict alternate picking after a pretty interesting series of conversations with an awesome jazz guy I took lessons from in college, my picking really suffered for it. Without getting too into it, the strict "groove" your hand falls into while alternate picking is way more conducive to tight, machine-gun like picked runs than economy is, and that economy picking will never be as rhythmically tight as alternate.

This is probably a big part of the reason why I got so focused on legato - as a crutch to make up for the fact that I fucked up my picking technique when I got into economy picking for a couple years. :lol:
This. They are two very different sounds. In my opinion, it is not a good idea to use economy picking just because it is faster. A lot of the fastest guitarist out there don't economy pick. Alternate picking gives you a much more pronounced attack, and as Drew said, is much better for sharp and clean sounds. Economy is a much softer attack and sounds kinda like a mix of legato and alternate picking. I sometimes use economy when I want to bridge a legato run into a picked run.

I think developing both is fine, but if you had to focus on one, alternate picking would be the one in my opinion.
 
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