Reason Numero 1
There are tons of players out there right now, probably down your block, that are cranking out some scales, riffs, songs, band practice…etc…Some of these guys have all the time in the world to put in 4-6 hours in a day.
This article has the advanced player in mind. Nonetheless, anyone at any level can benefit from reading it.
“It’s difficult for anyone to question your tenacity with their head chewed off.” – the internet. Here are my thoughts…Forget everyone else..Be aggressive enough to beat the you of yesterday. Top what you did yesterday. Try to play an even better riff than the one you played yesterday. Enhance the solo you came up with yesterday. Heres another quote from “Relentless,” Yngwie Malmsteen’s book: “When I got home, I’d play till 5 or 6 A.M., then crash for a few hours, wake up, with my guitar still on me, and do the same thing all over again.” That’s absolute aggressiveness.
Do you know all your inversions and can you play them across the neck? Basic chords, power chords, 7th chords, barre chords (on 3,4,5 and 6 strings). You should know their names and why they have those names. For example if you don’t know why its called a 7th chord then you wont be able to apply it to other settings such as another song of yours. You wont know why certain notes sounds good over this chord. Once you do you will be able to reproduce it again and again and you will get better at it each time. If you don’t know what you can play and why you can play something over a power chord then you are severely limiting yourself.
Learn what your chord tones are for each chord. Now see if you can write a song or a song section with these chords. The chord tones are useful for melodies, chord melodies and overall riffing. Knowing which ones you can use will dramatically increase your skills when writing grooves or chord progressions that sound cool.
Do you know all the scales specific to your genre? You don’t have to know every single scale on the planet. Just be able to play, and play well, the ones specific to your genre. Scales can be played in any genre but some are more common and sound better than others. For example if you’re playing metal, then the scales of metal are the best place to start. You can always learn other scales as you go along. If you like blues, then learn your blues shapes and know them up, down, sideways and in sequences all across the neck.
Here’s an example on how to be aggressive about scales:
- Know your notes, study them up and down. Buy or download blank fretboard diagrams and fill them in. If you’re at work and you have a few minutes have them in your desk somewhere and pull em out and write in the notes. Writing them as opposed as to just thinking about them gives you a more solid picture in your mind.
- Play them 50x. Every time you learn a new scale, position or key play the scale up and down 50x.
- Next, be able to play your scales ascending and descending at the same speed. Play them up and down on a single string with eighth notes, triplets, sixteenths, quintuplets, sextuplets, septuplets…etc. Then on pairs of strings. Then 3 strings, then 4 strings and so on. You probably already know some scales using a certain number of strings so all you have to do is break it down now and be able to start from any string.
- Finally, use them with actual music. Put on a track or one of your own recordings and apply what you just learned.
Start with your standard patterns then branch off into another position, not a mode, starting from the same note. Learn your 3 note per string pattens. 4 note per string patterns. Ascending 3 and 4 note patterns and playing the scales in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, octaves are ways you can capitalize on what you already know. Now go and apply them to a backing track.
Do you know your arpeggios? Arpeggios can be single strings, across several strings and chordal. Can you switch out of one arpeggio into another smoothly? Can you do the same shape in every key. Learn all your arpeggio shapes starting with a few strings and in root position. You can then go into the inversions of those same arpeggios on those strings.
- Play the chord then ascend with an arpeggio and descend with a scale.
- Now play the root and both inversions.
- Or play them with different notes other than chord tones for example..7th and 9th arpeggios
- Do them in all keys.
- Apply them to a backing track. Keep it simple at first.
Basically you need to log your speed and completely try to blow yourself out of the water. You also want to be able to slow things down and be able to do it a slow speed. Have your speed log in front of you so that you can beat what you did yesterday. Don’t forget, consistency is key here.
Always play to a metronome. The reason I say always is because if you don’t think always, most of the time we wont use it. In other words if you say to yourself you have to play with the metronome all the time, there is a much higher percentage that you will will use it more often. No one is perfect but using it often is very beneficial, and crucial to your timing and speed.
Don’t Be Afraid of Success
Even if it means something simple like reaching your top speed. Success in simple things leads to success in bigger things. Commit this to your memory. After 90 days of little wins/victories you will be a new person.
Stay true to the passion you played with the first night you played it. Hard to do? Make it more challenging. Do it in a different key or add something to it.
Combine it with something like another technique or some rhythm.
Be committed to your craft and you will see great results!
Apply everything you know to actual music. Application is key. Without completing this step all you learned doesn’t really mean anything. So for example if you have your scales down in 2 octaves all across the neck, but you can’t really apply that to a backing track, then you now have your Action Plan in front of you.