Aug 09 2015
By: Frank Macri
Posted in: Rock Guitar Lessons
Years ago back in the days of cowboy slinging guitarists, I, like most other players of the time went out to become a fast efficient guitarist. Players with amazing technical abilities were abundant, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Paul Gilbert to name a few lead the pack for the rest of us to aspire to. No matter how many hours I spent practicing my scales, I just couldn’t seem to get over that hump and break the speed barrier until I traveled to Boston for a few months and studied with a player who specialized in what I was seeking. Which leads to this lesson, my objective is to show beginner and intermediate guitarists a method for increasing their speed, accuracy and technique.
The figure below contains 10 different fingerings for the major scale, which is also called the Ionian mode. These patterns will present different degrees of difficulty, but remember the goal here is to improve your overall technical skills and build speed.
Once you have these fingerings memorized, the following checklist will describe how to implement them into your practicing.
1) Use a metronome to practice this exercise in 16th notes while alternating your picking throughout the exercise.
2) Make sure to play each pattern clean and accurately so you can later improvise with them smoothly.
3) Practice the patterns in the cycle of fourths ( F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-B-E-A-D-G-C ). It is very important to emphasis when moving to the next note in the cycle of fourths, make sure to change the fingerings and employ all 10 patterns throughout the cycle. Do not form a habit of starting with the same fingerings every time!
The example below demonstrates a way to play through these patterns.
It is important to play this exercise only as fast as your technique will allow. If you are consistently making mistakes, then you’re playing too fast. Slow down the metronome tempo! In a short while, you should see both your picking accuracy, and speed improving.