Tag: practice

5 ways to improve your guitar technique

If you fall in the category of the million of guitarists out there frustrated with their technique, these are 5 quick suggestions to quickly clean up your skills.

1. Use your metronome!

As cliche’ as it sounds, your metronome is your best friend. Whatever scale, phrase, exercise you want to improve or speed up,  start with a slow metronome speed and try to lock in. Only when you have played the material correctly for at least 10 times in  a row, increase the speed by 5bpm.

You can find a list of good on-line metronomes here:

https://www.giannichiarello.com/5-free-online-metronomes-that-work/

They are all free at the time of writing.

2. Finger combination exercises.

This is something I’ve been doing myself for years, and even though it can be an overwhelming amount of work at the beginning, I can now quickly cover all finger combinations in less than 10 minutes.  The idea is to play all left hand finger combinations up and down the neck to cover all possible motions of your left hand fingers.

Find all about it here:

https://www.giannichiarello.com/finger-combinations-pt-1/

https://www.giannichiarello.com/finger-combinations-pt-2-the-next-level/

…and this is the PDF file with the combinations.

https://www.giannichiarello.com/LESSON%20MATERIAL/Finger%20Combinations.jpg

3. Transpose.

Technique and speed of execution, has a lot to do with how well you know a certain scale, phrase or exercise. Transposing this material in all keys is a great way to achieve this. Try transposing up and down a half-step to star with, but challenge yourself and try transposing a forth up or a minor third up. Not only you will connect all your senses, but you might end up with some new interesting musical ideas.

4. Play with friends/ other musicians.

I always suggest this to all my student. Practising by yourself is better than doing nothing, but playing with fellow musicians will improve your playing and technique tenfold, as your level of concentration is much higher when playing with friends or in a group.

5. Write challenging material.

If you want to achieve a certain musical goal, try and write a tune about it. Do you want to master the harmonic minor scale? Write a tune based on it…and learn it thoroughly. Seeing things on paper sometimes is the best thing to crystallize new and challenging material.

…and most of all be patient and have a positive attitude!

5 Free Online Metronomes that work flawlessly.

I have always wanted to find a good on-line metronome that worked flawlessly so that I could practice or find the perfect tempo wherever I had an internet connection. I am sure nowadays most of us have a metronome on their mobile, but I found that these 5 following free on-line metronomes had something cool to offer, and also worked smoothly.

1 simple.bestmetronome.com/

This is probably the metronome I prefer in terms of graphics and ease of use. Very straight forward and intuitive.

advanced.bestmetronome.com/

From the same website, the advanced version offers the possibility of creating drum patters and the choosing the volume of the different drum parts.

www.metronomeonline.com/

This has been around for quite a while, as a matter of fact it was embedded on TrueGuitarist.com a while ago. Even though the metronome is still great, the authors have added quite a bit of advertising to the bottom of the page, making it (to my opinion) a bit cluttered.

4 www.seventhstring.com/metronome/metronome.html

This is my favourite one by far. I use it on a daily basis with all my students and when I practice. Simple to use, very intuitive, with a ‘tap tempo’ feature (just click on the foot or press ‘T’) and a very classy looking ‘retro’ feel that takes me back to my childhood.

www.8notes.com/metronome/

Probably not the best looking in terms of graphic design, still I think this is a very easy and straight forward online metronome, with the option or changing the ‘click’ with a preset drum groove in different styles.

Practice tips: the 12 Marsalis Rules

A while ago I stumbled online on a few good articles on practice tips: a few of these included these12 rules by master jazz trumpet player Winton Marsalis. I want to share them with you as I think they are a great way of approaching practice and playing in general. Enjoy.

THE WYNTON MARSALIS 12 RULES OF EFFECTIVE PRACTICE:

1. Seek out the best private instruction you can afford.

2. Write/work out a regular practice schedule.

3. Set realistic goals.

4. Concentrate when practicing

5. Relax and practice slowly

6. Practice what you can’t play. – (The hard parts.)

7. Always play with maximum expression.

8. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

9. Don’t show off.

10. Think for yourself. – (Don’t rely on methods.)

11. Be optimistic. – “Music washes away the dust of everyday life.”

12. Look for connections between your music and other things.

Basic pentatonic major-minor

Basic Pentatonic stuff

I will not get too much into pentatonics as you can find stuff all over the net. Too much has been said and done on the famous ‘pentatonic box’…As I say in the video, a major pentatonic is a major scale without the 4thand 7th degree. So C major pentatonic is: C D E G A These are the 5 positions for the major pentatonic, in the example in G major (but valid for all keys). Of course, remember that if you start from the 6th (the 5th note of the pentatonic – also ‘box’ N.5) you will have the relative minor. In the example in G the minor pentatonic will be E, just like E minor is the relative minor of a G major scale. The last box at the bottom right is the famous ‘blues scale’…a minor pentatonic with an added b5. Try and learn them just like we did for the major scale…all keys, down every single string, from lowest note to highest note on the fretboard and so on. Find the ‘5 boxes’ position fingerings below:

Printable PDF: Pentatonic Fingerings