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Lesson Series

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Andy James - Metal Edge Part 4: Scale Visualisation

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 4 **

Hi, and welcome to the fourth part of my Metal Edge series of guitar lessons, where we're going to look at the alternate picking technique while training yourself to visualise the major scale across the guitar neck.

All of these examples will use alternate picking starting with a down stroke. To practice alternate picking you might want to isolate one of the patterns that make up each full length example at a slow tempo to get used to the pattern then you will be able to extend through the whole of the examples more easily. These patterns are designed as a tool for improvising, practising alternate picking and visualisation of the major scale which also helps from an improvisational point of view. We are using the seven positions of the G major scale but in most rock and metal scenarios, this type of thing is more commonly used over minor diatonic chord progressions in this case A minor (or the dorian mode as the second note in G major is A).

In the first example, we are ascending through the seven positions on the B and the top E string. Alternate picking is best grasped initially when you swap between two strings, so these examples will help with speed without being too much to deal with in the right hand. Pay attention to each position shift as accenting the down stroke on each position change will keep you in better time if you are not using a drum machine or a metronome and can add more dynamic to your playing even at speed. Practice slow and gradually speed up.

In the second example you are applying the same thought process just reversing the first example so you are now descending. Again, practice slow and then gradually speed up.

In example three we are using all the positions again but changing string groups. Now we are using the D and the G string applying the same pattern and picking process as before. Again this is designed to visualise the neck using the major scale in a more linear fashion.

In example four, again doing the same as before but just reversed using the same picking technique and accents and everything that you have done before.

The key to speed a lot of the time is to use a similar or same pattern over large sections so it gives your brain less to think about. When you train your muscles over time, playing, especially at speed, should become more in the subconscious and that is especially important when improvising. You should be thinking of the melodic content of your improvising rather than the technical aspect, so you will be able to express yourself more freely. Playing fast is not necessarily a physical difficulty, it's about training your brain to almost see what you're going to play before you play it. That’s why these exercises to visualise the neck are so important.

Okay that’s it for this time, so until next time, keep rockin’!

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