Hitting a wall with Chromatic Exercise. Please help.

Discussion in 'Beginner's Q&A Forum' started by ibanezer, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. ibanezer

    ibanezer New Member


    I picked up guitar again after a couple of years. First thing I understood was, I would have to work on my technique. I started with Chromatic Exercises, fretting the 1,2,3 and 4th fret on the 6th string while doing alternate picking. Then moving on to the 5th string fretting 1,2,3 and 4th fret all the way upto 1 string and moving one fret ahead on my way up.

    Thing is, I am able to do this to 165 BPM at eighth notes (two strokes of pick for one beat), but cant seem to go beyond it. Been stuck at this speed for past one week. I tried again and again, but had to stop cause I feel pain in my wrists.

    I get very little time to practice as I work (not music related job).

    Can someone suggest tips to increase speed?
  2. ultrabot90

    ultrabot90 Like fishes need bicycles

    Wow, I think that's actually a kinda good speed.

    The pain should go with time if you keep practicing. Play, and when it hurts beyond tolerance, leave your hand loose, then practice after 2 mins.

    Also, make sure your right hand is loose and relaxed while picking, not tight and tense.

    Just my two cents, I'd love to see other responses/solutions for this as well...
  3. ibanezer

    ibanezer New Member

    Hi Ultrabot,

    Thanks for the reply. I know playing chromatic scales is not musical at all, but thing is, I gotta learn to crawl (not so musical) before I walk (musical). :)

  4. angel_of_sin

    angel_of_sin bassist.....

    can you play at 165 bpm for more than 3 mins?????? If not do what ultrabot says.....

    and how many times do you changes your scales.....sticking to one scale for too long doesn't help much.........try changing to pentatonics, diatonics, blues etc.......
  5. ibanezer

    ibanezer New Member

    Hi Angel_Of_Sin,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Am not sure which way to go? Should I practise pentatonics first or major scales? Would you suggest any specific book? Youtube has a lot of vids, but not sure which way to go.
  6. ultrabot90

    ultrabot90 Like fishes need bicycles

    Personally, my routine includes chromatic, blues, major, minor, harmonic minor, major pentatonic, minor pentatonic, diminished 7ths, and whole tone, each one done up and down the neck once, then again with a 1-2-3, 2-3-4 variation.

    While i'm at it, a variation of the chromatic practice. Instead of playing, say, F F# G G#, play F G F# G#. Good break from the routine xD

    You mentioned a reference source, here's something (have I been posting this too much? luls) http://www.chordbook.com/guitarscales.php
  7. guitarfan018

    guitarfan018 New Member

    Hi Please try with the minor notes as it is not new to you, u must get on in couple of weeks
  8. thehundredthone

    thehundredthone New Member

    I don't want to come off as snooty or anything but 8th notes at 165 is not very flattering. I think some people just saw the 165bom and went whoah. 8th notes at 165bpm = 16ths at 82.5bpm. But just so you know I only get far as about 150bpm (16ths) before I lose clarity completely.

    Work with 16th notes as far as possible. So your limit would be about 82bpm. Do chromatics at different frets each time, or play at more than one fret each time. Sometimes on the 1st fret, sometimes on the 5th sometimes on the 12th etc. Your fingers need to get used to playing at different parts of the neck - there's no point being fast at the 5th fret and losing it higher up.

    Don't limit yourself to chromatics, you can use speed building exercises with any scale, it's a good way to practise technique and learn the scale positions.

    Warm up: I usually warm up with 8th notes, then try triplets as well, 8th note triplets. Once somewhat warm I move on to 16th notes. I start about 10-20bpm below my max, and then move up.

    Progress: Every week or every 3-4 practice sessions, increase the final tempo by 5-10 bpm. If you stumble, fall back to your previous tempo.

    Overreach: Once in a while, set your tempo higher, like 20bpm higher than your max and try playing as cleanly as possible. It doesn't matter if it sounds like crap, just do it for a while, have fun trying your best Yngwie impression, and then fall back to the tempo you were at.

    However do remember that speed is not the only aspect to be practised.
  9. ibanezer

    ibanezer New Member

    Hey all,

    Thanks for the updates. I wasnt sure if 8th notes @ 165 bpm was ok or good or great, hence I had posted the question.

    Thanks all for your updates. Please keep posting more.



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