Monday, February 21, 2011

Removing Pick-Hand Anchors

This short exercise is designed to train you to pick without anchoring your fingertips on the pickguard, and to encourage forearm rotation when playing single notes. You’ll switch from playing a few notes to strumming a big chord, keeping things loose yet striving for accuracy.

I'd start with the metronome set at about 60 beats per minute.

You can let your fingernails drag across the pickguard as you play the single notes, but don’t anchor your fingertips on it.

To damp unwanted strings while playing singles notes, you can bring the heel of your palm in to touch the strings by the bridge, but try to keep the ball of the thumb off the guitar. Also use the edges of the fret-hand fingers to damp the strings above and below the one you are playing.

Keep it relaxed, and listen close to make sure it's clean and smooth-sounding.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rhythmic Lead Guitar Book/CD

This was so nice I just wanted to share it.

I had to write you and tell you about my guitar-playing growth since I received your Rhythmic Lead Guitar book (only a week ago!). I am literally twice the lead player I was this time last week, and I was pretty good to start with. I must confess, I am not painstakingly going through the book and doing all of the exercises, but let me briefly tell about the insight this book has given me.

I am a pretty good chord-tone guy and unlike most pretenders, do reasonably well over diatonic progressions, especially major key stuff. My problem was really the opposite of most guys--my theory is rock solid and my fretboard mastery is great--but for some reason unknown to me, I was always a choppy train wreck when it came to everyday minor pentatonic wanking. Well, no more my friend.

Rhythmic Lead Guitar made me really sit down and analyze the different available beat subdivisions, and it also helped me realize the differences between a shuffle (my band plays a lot of three-chord boogies) and a straight feel, and more specifically, between straight and swung 8th notes. I have a Fender G-Dec amp and first practiced all of these subdivisions with a metronome at different tempos and then practiced soloing over a looped shuffle for hours. Like a lightbulb coming on after 15 years of frustration, I literally and figuratively found my groove like a seasoned pro. I think I had been trying to play straight eighth notes over shuffles, and my use of triplets was underutilized.

From there, I moved on to songs with a straight feel, which too have always given me fits. My main problem with these songs is that my 8th-note phrasing sucked (excuse my language) because I tried to use too many notes. Now I focus on just two or three-note chunks, and it sounds great!

Finally, let me tell you another side effect of you making me aware of my beat choices. As I mentioned, I have started using many more triplets (it's cool to use them over a song with a straight feel, too, right?), but at fast tempos, I had to find different patterns that would allow me to use hammer-ons and pull-offs. This forced me to examine all of my pentatonic boxes for different options, and within a day, I was seeing and connecting all of the shapes like never before. Unbelievable!

Sorry this email is so long, but I thought you would appreciate what is some fairly specific feedback on your book. Again, some of it is beyond my scope and my interest, but by just focusing on the beat subdivisions (and hearing examples of them) and by learning the difference between a swung eighth note and a regular one, I have started on the fast track to becoming the lead guitar player I have always wanted to be. Thank you so much. I will try to find the time to get on Amazon and write a kind review.


Barrett Tagliarino

Barrett Tagliarino