February 05, 2015
In this article I will discuss exercises to increase speed and finger dexterity. My previous lesson/article on developing chops got quite the negative response, so I figured that I'd better address each single tip contained in that lesson by means of a video. This text is a shorter version of what I say in the video, which I recommend watching video for visualization purposes.
At the core of this lesson is my skepticism concerning the chromatic exercise as a means to develop speed. If you've been playing for a while, your fingers need a bigger challenge than the 1-2-3-4 pattern. This is easily fixed by increasing the intervals or in this case, the frets between the fingers. Try combinations such as 1-3-4-5 or 1-3-4-6 instead.
The other thing is that if you're playing the chromatic exercise at 240 bpm, you might think you're also supposed to play everything else at that speed. The problem is, the chromatic exercise endorses a 4-note per string pattern, which is very natural for both hands ("easy"), while most scalar runs out there will force you to play 3 notes per string. The difference will be noticeable.
The solution is rather simple: instead of practicing chromatic exercises, or 4-note-per-string exercises, practice rather major scales or the myxolydian mode all over the neck (in all keys). You may also practice playing minor scales across all six strings to the beat of a metronome.
Another advantage of this approach is that your practice session will sound more musical. You might also end up becoming familiar with new fretting patterns (don't forget to use your little finger).
Here's the video. It'd be great if you could watch it from start to end, while you have your guitar in your hands and thus are able imitate whatever I am doing. In case you like the video and want to support my teaching endeavors, subscribe to the channel and share the video. Rock on.
P.S.: this is the first of several videos on how to take your technique to the next level. Next episode coming up soon. Follow me on Facebook to stay up to date on new lessons and music:
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By Miguel Marquez. Facebook page.
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