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I really dig the ben eller videos on youtube. hes got 2 series that I especially dig, "weekend wankshop" and "this is why you suck at guitar"

This is a fantastic exercise! His videos all seem to have a NO BS approach and make great sense.
 

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My old roommate Ben is a brilliant guitarist, he plays in a band called Ra, that was a bit of a one hit wonder. He's a Berklee/MI guy and his biggest thing was "relaxed precison". I remember him having it written in white-out across the front of his amp. I always try to keep it in mind when practicing and especially during recording.

Chill out, relax, nail the take and move on.
I really dug that story and I think that's a good mantra to follow so I did it to my rig too

 

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John Petrucci's Rock Discipline is great, I reckon. Really made a difference for me. If you don't know how to start practicing without being a bit aimless, it's great for showing you how to apply some discipline (Rock Discipline!). It has some good exercises, too. And you don't even have to know or even like his playing. I treated it like a bible, but I reckon it's worth even a casual watch for anyone.

I think learning solos I liked also helped, too. It's fun to do, and you have a pretty definitive gauge of whether or not you're improving/getting 'it' when it comes to techniques. Mostly it was just fun, though, and I reckon whatever gets you putting in seat time is good.
 

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I think learning solos I liked also helped, too. It's fun to do, and you have a pretty definitive gauge of whether or not you're improving/getting 'it' when it comes to techniques. Mostly it was just fun, though, and I reckon whatever gets you putting in seat time is good.
Thiiiis close to getting the solo from Yellow down. :wub:
 

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I think learning solos I liked also helped, too. It's fun to do, and you have a pretty definitive gauge of whether or not you're improving/getting 'it' when it comes to techniques. Mostly it was just fun, though, and I reckon whatever gets you putting in seat time is good.
I've never really bothered with this outside of maybe a handful of solos, and this is someting I've been putting some more work into lately for a couple reasons. I guess, to just itemize them out:

1) I feel like I "phrase" meaning put little accents and inflections on lines pretty naturally and unconsciously while improvising, but not while playing a rehearsed part, and learning and playing other people's music is a good way to force msyelf to think about doing this consciously.
2) it's a good way to get me outside of my comfort zone, and learn new licks/come up with new ideas for licks of my own
3) while theres a ton of tabs for pretty much everything on the internet, a lot of them aren't THAT good. Spending some time critically listening and finding/fixing areas where the tabs might not get it right is good for my ear
4) it seems to be helping me play more "in the pocket," as it's less obvious when you're not when you're jamming along to something, than when you're trying to recreate something.
5) it's helped me think more consciously about songwriting, by giving me the opportunity to analye why a song I like enough to learn "works."
 

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OldSchool Blacksmith
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
This just might be my favorite thread on the site. Gotta sit and watch all these videos now.
 

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For me the thing that's been a game-changer in recent years is the "Cracking the Code" series/curriculum. It reads like an info-mercial when summarized, you keep expecting someone to say "this one weird trick pro shredders don't want you to know about helps them play scale runs you can only dream about," except Troy Grady's approach is extremely logical and thoughtful, extremely well researched, and makes intuitive sense.

The short version is basically this - the hard thing about alternate picking isn't picking along a single string, which most people can do quite quickly with little practice at all, but it's switching strings, and the reason that's hard is you have to lift the pick over the strings or get it over and to the other side of the string somehow, in a mechanically efficient manner, which is easy to do at slow speed, but extremely challenging and inefficient at high speeds. Pretty much any guitarist who can rip out fas scale runs has found SOME way to do this, but as a Yngwie fan the first time he was able to figure out how a world class player was doing this was watching slow motion footage of Yngwie's picking hand and realizing his pick stroke was angled, so he would bury downstrokes, but upstrokes would naturally lift away from the guitar making it easy to change strings after an upstroke, and every single fast "signature lick" of Yngwie's either changed strings on an upstroke, or on a downstroke sweeping to the next thinnest string, or would just omit one picked note and use a legato note instead to facilitate the change, and Yngwie had built his entire style around simply never changing strings after a downstroke and moving to a thicker string.

This is worth watching anyway just because it's pretty cool material, and brings back a lot of the feeling of sitting in your bedroom and having your mind blown by someone doing something you couldn't even imagine on a guitar, the first time you hear them. This was an early project and they've abandoned a lot of thew terminology as their understanding has changed a bit and as they've seen where people tend to get cnfused a little (Yngwie is now an "escaped upstroke or "USX" player, rather than a "downward pickslanting" player, since the actual slant of the pick has way less to do with it than the pick's trajectory) and I actually don't pick anything like this at all (I'm primarily escaped downstrokes, but with a rotational double-escape motion I'll use to facilitate certain transitions, not unlike a slower and sloppier Michael Angio Batio), but it's a pretty good intro.


EDIT - I guess, just to expand on this, the "start slow, gradually increase metronome speed" is NOT a good way to develop fast picking-hand speed. It's useful for coordination, and I've been doing legato drills like this latehy where it's definitely helped me build better fretting hand evenness and control, but as the traditional way of becoming a faster alternate picker, it's actually not very good. The problem is the very thing that makes being a high-level alternate picker so challenging - being able to get the pick up and over a string and on to te next one while switching strings - doesn't even become a factor at lower speeds where pretty much anything works, and paradoxically fast, sloppy practice is pretty much the only good way to iron out a picking mechanic that's physically capable of working at high speed, even if at first it's irregular or poorly controlled. Picking is a naturally rhythmic motion, control will come with time, but to learn how to solve these mechanical problems, you have to practice in an environment where the problems even exist.
Troy's free stuff on Youtube has completely changed my playing by just making me more conscious of how I pick at different tempos. It's really cheesey at times but exactly what I needed to break out of my alternate picking rut and work around my RSI issues. I almost feel obligated to pay for a couple of months at this point :lol:
 

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Could be Hitler
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Whatever advice Cassidy offers listen and do. Dude is an animal on the guitar. :wub:
 
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Troy's free stuff on Youtube has completely changed my playing by just making me more conscious of how I pick at different tempos. It's really cheesey at times but exactly what I needed to break out of my alternate picking rut and work around my RSI issues. I almost feel obligated to pay for a couple of months at this point :lol:
Yeah, I signed up for the same reasons. :lol: I feel like there are moments where CtC comes off info-mercially because it's kind of jargony, and the basic premise DOES come across a bit like "this one weird trick..." and all... but his research and analysis on world-class alternate pickers IS pretty stunning, and he's extremely non-dogmatic and results driven and while he has his own preferred solutions he's also clear that there's a LOT of viable ways to solve the challenge of alternate picking, and his fundamental observation, that the hard part is getting the pick over the string in a mechanically efficient manner and all high-level alternate pickers have found some way of developing an alternate picking motion where this happens automatically and doesn't require a seperate back and forth motion, is I think a game-changer in understanding how to build technique.

Plus, the web series is just fun.
 
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