Monday, January 18, 2010

Learning Guitar? Accelerate your Playing

By: Laurie Lea

Learning to play guitar can, at the beginning, be very
rewarding and fun but can also be frustrating especially if
you're expecting results too soon.

We all know it takes time to become proficient (or even really
"good") at anything, deep down we all just want to be awesome
guitarists and we want it super fast, right? There's one slick
tip I can share with you. It'll accelerate your playing very
quickly if you stick with it and incorporate it into your
playing. It'll also set you apart from other players and enhance
your own sound, because you're creating totally new sounding
riffs and licks that your friends and other players around you
simply aren't playing.

The secret tip is:- to play things backward. That's right...take
every scale, mode and exercise that you play and play it
backward. It will seem difficult and unorthodox at first, but
trust me, and give it a go. Let's say you were playing a warm up
that started on the first fret of the 6th string and moved to
the second then 3rd and then the 4th fret and then repeated on
the 5th string , then the 4th, 3rd, 2nd and finally the first.

It would look kind of like this...

E|1234 B|1234 G|1234 D|1234 A|1234 E|1234

But instead, you are going to start on the 6th string and play
it backward starting with the 4th fret on the 6th string or the
G# and descend each string down to the 1st fret before moving
onto the 5th string and so on. It would look kind of like this...

E|4321 B|4321 G|4321 D|4321 A|4321 E|4321

Now a great exercise to do if you were doing the conventional
1234 warm up would be to carry on up the neck and on the 6th
string play the next 4 ascending notes starting with the F# on
the 6th string but we're getting crazy here so you're not only
going backward, but also upside down!

After you play the 4321 run from the 6th string on up to the
first string you're going to end on the 1 which will be the 1st
fret on the 1st string (or F for the keeners following along ?).
Rather than jumping back up to the 6th string on the guitar
simply slide your index finger from the 1st fret, 1st string up
to the 2nd fret on the first string (F#) and play the next
ascending run which fret numbers would be 5432 so that is going
to look like this...

E|5432 B|5432 G|5432 D|5432 A|5432 E|5432

Keep repeating this exercise until you've reached or passed the
12th fret. How the heck is this supposed to accelerate your
playing you ask? It will teach your fingers to work way more
independently and make it easier to play difficult runs with
weird fingerings and I would bet most of the other local rock
stars aren't even thinking about going backward in order to move

Rock on!

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