Intermediate Guitar Lesson

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons, Tutorials & Tips' started by Johny Bravo, Jun 5, 2006.

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  1. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    Hi Everyone!

    I have been checking the site, and have found tht mostly lessons are about beginners, and how to know ur guitar & stuff. But

    not much is been said about working on intermediate & advanced techniques. So herez my contribution to it.

    Here, I will assume that u know how ur guitar works, know basic chords, some theory abt chord construction and triads etc.,

    scales, and stuff like that.

    Notes on the Fretboard:

    The first thing u will need to know is ur fretboard. Well there are not many shortcuts to get over this problem, but I will

    share some that I use and prefer.

    First one is using ocataves. It has already been quite nicely elaborated by Amit here. I will copy-paste it here for

    convenience. Those who have read it, skip to the next chapter:

    The easiest way to learn the fretboard is to find a way to co-relate every note with some other known note. How good it will

    be to relate such notes with there octave counterparts? Below is the octave technique which will enable to you quickly tell

    the name of the note you are playing by simple and fast calculation.

    Those who dont know what is octave here is a simple example:
    A B C D E F G A* : Guess what, A* is octave of A, Got it?

    There are 6 strings in a guitar, if you dont know there name here are they:
    1. e
    2. B
    3. G
    4. D
    5. A
    6. E

    1st is the thinest one and 6th is the thickest one.

    We will start with learning notes on strings 6 and 5 and then using simple corelations we will findout notes on strings 4,3

    and 2. I am not going to tell you how to learn notes on string 1, guess why? Com'on 1 is the higher octave version of 6 so

    notes will going to remain the same

    So lets start learning notes on upper string E:
    What you have to learn first is to memorize that how two consecutive notes (A B, D E, C D etc) are organized on a fret.

    Answer is that any two consecutive notes are separated by a gap of one fret except pairs B C and E F.

    Here is how they will look on frets:
    A_BC_D_EF_G_A_BC_D_EF_G <- you can see all notes are separated by a gap (= one fret) except BC and EF. This is true for any

    intrument, whether its a guitar or a piano. (Have you notices two consecutive white note on a piano without a black one in

    between them? They are because of the above reason)

    So now we know how notes are layed out with respect to themselves, time to look at the notes of string E (6th string, upper

    one, thickest one)

    ---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number

    Any confusion on why I have denoted the notes on E string as shown? What I have done is that since open note is E so next

    fret should represent F (remember E & F without any gap) then next note which is G will be one fret apart and so on.

    Note that 12th fret is the higher octave of 0 fret (open strings) and hence notes will repeat in the same order after this

    point, got it? If yes then move on else repeat.

    So question you will ask me that how will I remember these positions and there notes? I dont want to start from first note

    and calculate again and again. My answer is that if you are totally new then you dont have any other option except to

    practice and learn these positions and notes but if you know playing bar chords then I can make your life much easier. Here

    is the tip:

    Play a bar-chord X, the note pressed by your index finger on string 6th is the note X. How simple it was? I am not

    elaborating it, try by yourself. Believe me if you do this once you will crack the notes very fast.

    Since by this time you must have learned the notes on string 6th, I am going to tell you the secret of how to you this info

    and find out notes on strings D and then B. Fun part with this secret is that more you tell about it more you keep it close

    to your heart. So here is the secret:

    Remembered, I talked about something called octave notes? You got me right, now is the time to explore its power. What I am

    going to tell you is that for a given note X on string 6th, where is its octave on string D.

    Look at the picture:

    ---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number

    I have omitted all the redundant information from above picture. Lets concentrate only on two X I have written there. X on

    the string 6th is the note that you already know (have you not learned that from above post?) and X on the string D (4th

    string) is its higher octave.

    How simple it was, right? Two frets right and two strings down, thats it. You have not realized so far but you have learned

    all the notes on the string D which is string 4.

    Now close your eyes and repeat the secret in your mind and heart three times. Oh..I am watching you have not done that so

    far. Please do that and come back to read on...
    .:SpY_GaMe:. and vini like this.
  2. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    Sorry abt that loooong delay guyz, actually i ws outta town. But Im back now, so lets dive right in.

    So hoping that you have done things right enough to allow me to take you to the next secret. But before that lets revise what we have learned so far with a picture:
    ---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number
    I can see questions in your mind. You will be asking me that I have not told you any thing about A# and Db, what are they, how will I learn them, how will I find them. bad!!! But thats very simple. Remembred we learned that most of the consecutive notes are separated by a single fret? If no then go at the top and repeat. '#' and 'b' are the simbol we use to denote these notes. Just think, if we dont have these notations then how will you represent a note between G and A? Well not to strain your brain too much, we have a simple way to do this using '#' and 'b'. '#' is called 'sharp' meaning sharping a note by one fret on which it appears and 'b' meand 'flat' meaning flatting a note by one fret on which it appears. And hence a note between G and A can be represent as sharp of G OR flat of A, meaning as G# or Ab. Got it? If yes then secret told before applies to these # and b notes as well.

    Oh..I can see you are learning too fast. Given a note on 6th string you can find note on 4th string, given a note on 4th string you can find a note on 6th string. Keep it up guys and lets move on...

    So if I safely assume that you all know notes on string 4 then I can tell you the next secret which is about finding notes on 2nd string. Thats right 2nd string is B string and we know notes on 4th string which is D string. You must be wondering why I am keep saying NUMBER strings and NAME strings? Reason is because I want all of you to act like professionals and talk in terms of strings name in lieu of mere numbers

    So back to our little secrets. Here is the illustration of corelation between notes on string D and string B: (Yes from this point I will not address strings with there number)

    ---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number

    Again, I have omitted all the redundant information from above picture. Lets concentrate only on two X I have written there. X on the string D is the note that you already know (have you know learned that from above post?) and X on the string B is its higher octave.

    How simple it was, right? Three frets right and two strings down, thats it. Now this time I am sure that you all must have realised that you know all the notes on string B. Glad to see that!

    Now you have learned notes on strings E, D, B and e. Right? If not or if you have some confusion, go at the top and repeat.

    Time to learn notes on string A (okay, its 5th string). So I believe you already know how we have found out the notes on string E (6th string). Apply the same knowledge about one fret separation and zero fret separation. B & C and E & F no separation and everything else one fret separation.

    Here is the illustration:
    ---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number
    Any problem in getting what I have shown in above picture? I believe not, you are all smart guys! Tip that I usually use to remember these notes on 5th string is again the bar-chords.

    Try playing C [x35553] again index finger on string 5 pressed the note C. So simple for me, hope the same for you.

    Moving is the secret of knowing the notes on string G (3rd string):

    ---1---2---3---4---5---6---7---8---9---a---b---12--d---e-- <- frets number

    You will be surprised but its true. It also have the same formula. An octave of a note on string A can be found on two string down and two frets right.

    WOW!!! You have learned so much important thing in such a very small time in a manner that will allow you not to forget it again.

    My addition

    Well that mostly sums up what is there to help u remember the notes on the fretboard. Another tip is that on standard tuning, every fifth fret is the same as the next string open, and every seventh fret is the previous string open note, though one octave higher.

    This is just to give u a clue to get u practising. Remember, and remember well. The only way to master guitar is practice. Nothing named shortcut exists in this domain.

    I know its already a lengthy read, but u wont regret it once ur through it.
    limaj_daas likes this.
  3. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    Practice Techniques:

    Here I will elaborate how to practice on your guitar. Following are a few tips:

    1 - Relax:

    The first and foremost thing you should do before even picking up ur guitar, is relax. This is basically a beginner technique, but mostly advanced players neglect its importance. U cannot come back from a 3 mile jog, and go straight to ur guitar. U need to normalise ur body. Just sit on a couch for 5 minutes, doing nothing. Take deep breaths, and read a newspaper or something. Funny comics recommended. Refrain from Nuclear Physics or Biochemistry stuff.

    When u feel like ur heart beat is back to 72bpm or low, and u have stopped sweating, then get up, and grab ur guitar. Now let go of the muscles in ur shoulders. Both ur arms should be limp on ur sides. Now very slowly, move ur left arm, and raise it to the neck of the guitar. Get ur hand around the neck, and very slightly, without using a single muscle in ur hand, touch the low E string with ur fu*k finger (aka middle finger!). THis should be totally natural touch. Ur fingers curled up just as naturally as u can let them. No muscle, except minimum of those used to raise ur arm to the neck, should be active. including ur shoulder muscle, which is most important of all.

    Now raise ur right arm holding ur pick and, using minimal muscles, raise it to the strings. Now press the middle finger on whatever note, and pick it. Picking should be with your wrist, or elbow at the most. Ur shoulder must stay out of it, and remain powerless.

    In ur left hand, monitor which muscles are u using. No other muscle should move except ur middle finger muscle. Remember, the point of this technique is to use minimal muscles. Tensing up ur whole hand doesn't let u gain speed. Ppl dont realise it, but it is the biggest barrier stopping u from going Vai on ur gtr.
    Now pick another note two frets away with ur pinky. Note the movement in the rest of the fingers as u attempt that second note. Concentrate on it, and minimise it. Use various combiantions of fingers to see the effect of their motion on the rest of ur arm, and try to minimise it. The only muscles moving, even when playing hardcore shred stuff, should be within ur hand premises, or fore-arm at the most. Practice it, It helps a lot.

    2 - Practice Slowly:

    Now this was the personal advice of Steve Vai to my teacher, who talked to him backstage on a concert. He said, If you can play complete E major scale (3 notes per string way) with flawless alternate picking upto 24th fret at 30bpm tempo, without making a mistake, I really salute u. Sounds like a joke right? Try it. U'll be surprised.

    We think speed is great, and we need it but to get it, we choose the wrong method. To get onto a stage, u gotta go backstage If u wanna go 600bpm, u gotta start at 60bpm. Practice as slowly as u can. Once u think u can play anything at 30bpm, go to 45bpm. Then to 60, then to 75. All these Yngwie Malmstreem, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, etc. they have years of metronome practice at 2 digit tempo under their belts. I cannot emphasise enough on these two topics, as they are mostly ignored. Pay them some attention. In a month, if u dont feel the difference, i'll eat my iPod.

    3 - Alternate Picking:

    If u need accuracy and speed, only working on ur left hand wont suffice. Speed is the by-product of accuracy and coordination of both hands. From now on, whenever u practice, make sure u use alternate picking. Is to say, one downstroke, and the next stroke MUST be an upstroke, no matter how many strings u skip. Stick to it. Herez some exercise to help u ppl nail this technique. Check the attachments. Remember, do not use unisons, and alternate picking MUST be used. Practice it as much as u can. Alternate picking is the only way to go if u wanna progress in the guitaring. Some ppl use economy picking, but we will cover that later. Its a more complicated technique.

    More stuff is coming soon...

    Attached Files:

    uj_6string likes this.
  4. ronnieanand

    ronnieanand n00bier th@n th0u

    Lessons about Triads, Chord Construction and Harmony Theory is well there already. Just search for them.
  5. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    ^^ Thanks for the tip Ronnie. Waiting for feedback....
  6. ronnieanand

    ronnieanand n00bier th@n th0u

  7. limaj_daas

    limaj_daas Guitar Pro Maniac

    nice work man! but well i sorta already knew quite a lot about alternative picking and would like to add that if u use alternative picking... the piece ur playin sounds a hell lot better.
    yo so can u give a lil lesson on sweep picking?
  8. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    ^^ I'll try to get the stuff together on sweep picking, and economy picking. Will post it in a couple o days. Anyone wants help with other non-n00bish techniques, post it here. I'll see what I can do. I have enough stuff to help a couple o ppl.
  9. ronnieanand

    ronnieanand n00bier th@n th0u

    For Sweep Picking, try getting or downloading the video called "Arpeggios For The Lead Guitarist - Paul Hanson". The video is exclusively for Sweep Picking and handles every aspects of it. And Paul Hanson is a highly respected guitarist and a guitar great in his own rights. Check it out. It starts from real basics and goes all the way to some insane sweeps and really takes it very methodical.
  10. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    Welcome back!

    This leson is devoted to your right hand. We will be covering Economy Picking, and Sweep Picking techniques and finer points. Lets dive right in:

    Economy Picking:

    This technique, as the name suggests, is made for arithmatically minimal pick movement. Kinda complex for some, but completely natural for others. Suit urself. In economy picking, as long as we are on that same string, we will be using alternate picking, that is, down-up-down-up movement. But the transition occurs when we switch the string. Look at this example:

    This is a G major scale. Now if we are using alternate picking, we go like this:

    * D= Downstroke, U= Upstroke.

    But in the economy picking, we do something like this:

    See what I did? I am using a double downstroke whenever im going to a higher string. So practically, I am extending that last downstroke on 6th string into a first downstroke on the 5th string. Kinda smart-arse huh? A hardcore alternate picker is gonna pipe up, "Hey ur picking sucks!!" but thats the core trick for economy picking. If we go super-slow motion on alternate picking, we see that we make a down, then an up, then a down, and then, when we could have hit the next string in another downstroke, we miss that opportunity, and let our pick go lower than that next string, and then pull it up to make an upstroke, thus sticking to alternate picking. But we are wasting about 0.01 calorie, and 0.1 milisecond here! We can save it by economy picking. Now I can hear someone say, "So what? Its a micro bit o' time & energy. Who cares for that much?" Dude go talk to YJM. He'll advise u better. Time is money baby! Save as much as u can. This technique, if compatible with u, gives u more speed, and removes the threat of accidents during the crossing-over of strings.

    Now lets move to the next phase. Herez the full G major scale in 3-notes-per string pattern.

    Now the picking patterns are as follows:

    Alternate Picking:
    Economy Picking:
    See the difference? We are using a downstroke whenever we are going to a higher string. But what when we come back to lower strings? Thats what:

    Alternate Picking:
    Economy Picking:
    Bet u knew it before I told u. Now we are using an upstroke whenever we are going to a lower string. This doesn't work for just 3-note-per-string patterns. It is applicable wherever therez picking involved. To put it all in one sentence, make a downstroke if going to a higher string, and make an upstroke whenever going to a lower string. It doesn't matter what was the last stroke u made. Just stick to this pattern, and u have it all. We are saving as much movement as possible.

    Try and see wht works best for you. I mean I ws a natural perfect economy picker in the start. A lot of ppl are. But my teacher got my alternate picking strong as well. And it has helped me a lot. Ppl say tht economy picking doesn't let u gain enough speed. I dont see how. Just let ur pick run naturally, u'll get the speed u want. We have fingerpicking shredders. If they can go fast, how on earth we can't?

    Remember, the key for improving in guitaring is to find ur discomfort, and gettin rid of it. Dont listen to what Jimi said before he died. It may have worked for him, it might not work for u. Pull up some stuff abt Blues Saraceno. I dont think he has ONE thing according to proper technique, but still hez good enough. Stuff works for him. Go find ur own style.
  11. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    Sweep Picking:

    **WARNING**: Use of this technique without a metronome is strictly prohibited. You will only get worse without it. Using too slow or too fast tempo makes it harder. Practice b/w 60-90 bpm, and then accelerate. Stick to the beat strictly and honestly judge ur performance.

    Now this is where things get really interesting, and tough. Sweep picking is all about blistering speed & accurate timing. In sweep picking, we use one stroke to pick 2 to 6 strings. But to put it to maximum effect, we need some idea of staccato & legato.

    Staccato is a technique where u pick a note, but dont let it ring. I mean u get the attack, but dont let the decay/sustain step through. Kinda like spanish guitar thingy. As we are talking hyper-sonic speeds, so time for sustain is out of question. But the trick here is to orientate (is that a word?) ur left hand in such a form, tht it neither holds the note for too long, nor leaves the string too early so that the note is dampened.

    Legato is a technique where the picking is not used at all. We just use continuous hammer-ons & pull-offs to get the sound out of the instrument. It is a very handy technique especially with sweep picking, and also if ur picking hand is not very good.

    Now that we know what we need to, lets get on with sweeping! The sweep consists of just one downward or upward pick stroke on the strings. Kinda like a strum. All the notes we need have to be within tht stroke. No individual strokes on strings, no pauses. Just one smooth movement. One can call it an extended form of economy picking, but there are some finer points that distinguish it from economy picking. A good starting point with sweep picking is arpeggios. Look at the following table:

    This is a D major chord. You can arpeggiate it using staccato. You start from the A string, and make one downstroke to play that 5th fret. But ur downstroke shouldn't stop there. Keep up that downward movement, and hit the next string. Meanwhile, ur finger must be in position at 4th fret D string to use that stroke. Then this stroke continues to the G, D and e strings to play the notes there. The major difference between sweep picking, and strumming is that in strumming, we have sustain, while in sweep, we dont have it. Your fingers should sorta roll on the fretboard to play that sweep.

    Now we have done the downwards sweep. The upwards sweep is simply the same thing in the opposite direction. You make one fluid sweep in the upwards direction to get the notes you need. But that can't be all, its too simple. You're right. Here comes the fun part. Now we will do two strokes on each string using sweep picking. Look here:

    This is A minor Pentatonic scale, and we will try to play it using sweep picking. What we do here is pick the 5th fret on low E, and then hammer-on to 8th fret. And then as our sweep moves to the next string, our finger should be there already to play the note we need. And thats the key ingredient. No finger should sit there idle once it is done with its job. We have time in milliseconds. As our right hand reaches the next string, our left hand fingers should be in perfect sync with it. Now we play the 5th fret A string, and hammer on to 7th fret. And the pattern continues upto the B string.

    But the trick is at the high E string. To use two way economy picking, we need an even number of notes on the last string. It is called odd/even rule. Now as we can see the high E has a 5th & 8th fret, what we do here is that we play the 5th fret with a downstroke, and then play the 8th fret with an upstroke, not hammer-on. And we continue that upstroke to the 6th string. Something like this:

    Here we will be picking the 8th or 7th fret, and pulling-off to 5th fret. Simple yet tough. It needs speed and contol, so all you n00bs, stay clear of it. Be very very careful about the beat. It can be disasterous if you are not careful.

    Its real potential is showcased when we use it with a 3 or more notes per string pattern. See this:

    This is G major scale. Try to play it with sweep picking. Some people tend to use upstrokes on the middle notes on every string, but that will make it plain economy picking. If u can use legato, use it. It helps a lot. You pick only the first note on every string, and legato the others. Then next string, and so on. Now when you get to the last string, there are two notes on that string. You downstroke the first note, and then upstroke the next, and carry on tht movement to the top. In case there are more than 2 notes, use alternate picking, until u are on the last note. As the notes must be even in number, it should be an upstroke. You take up on sweep from there. 3 notes per srting pattern is very useful since it can be used to play almost any scale anywhere on teh neck. Practice hard on that. It might not click in the first month, but once u nail it, rest assured, nothing can stop u from going Mach 20!
  12. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    Try different arpeggios along with it. Some exercises and arpeggios are as under:

    Arpeggio for D:
    Arpeggio for Amaj7:
    Arpeggio for Am7:
    Arpeggio for C:
    Practice Exrcise:
    Ask for the stuff you want to learn. I'll see what I can do. And keep the comments coming. Nobody is perfect.
  13. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    @ronnieanand: Dude post a link for that video. eMule takes eons to download & even those are not complete.
  14. ronnieanand

    ronnieanand n00bier th@n th0u

    I got the full one on eMule only, so try it out there. It's in my home PC and I dont have broadband at home.
  15. uj_6string

    uj_6string Nickelodean Addict :D

    nice lessons jhony bravo...reps!!...i had a few doubts


    if i got this right....u first hit the 5th fret at A(downward stroke)......then proceed to 4th fret of D....but as u do it, uve got to take ur finger from 5th fret A(to mute it..) and then put ur finger at 4th fret D....with a downward stroke and go on like i right...please correct me if i am wrong......

    one more thing....whats the use of alternate picking while skipping not economy picking better in such cases??..
  16. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    @uj_6strings: Thanks dude! As for ur question, Economy picking is good for EVERYTHING, let alone string skipping. Some ppl like Paul Gilbert wont use anything except alternate picking. Its solely ur own personal choice. Suit urself.
    And the other question, place ur pinky on A string, 5th fret, place ur ring finger on 4th fret D string, place ur index on G string 2nd fret, middle finger on 3rd fret, B string, and when ur done with the G string, shift ur index to 2nd fret e string. Now hit the A string with a downward stroke, and after the attack, let go of the pressure ur pinky has on the A string, but leave the pinky there till the note dies. Same happens with the other strings. Each string is handled by different finger. If u get a little bit of sustain, as will happen with the G & e strings if u barre them with ur index, its alright. There shouldn't be any sustain AFTER the last note has been hit. The way u got it is wayyy too fast. Someone capable of doing that wouldn't be reading this lesson! Peace.

    Its good to know someone actually read my work. Waiting for more feedback or requests.
  17. uj_6string

    uj_6string Nickelodean Addict :D

    ^^^^thanks a lot man....i got it!...
    i guess in certain cases economy picking is good and in others alternate picking is better....
    that can only be achieved by alternate picking...with economy picking it is harder to mute the strings with the heel of the picking hand.....
    on the other hand, economy picking gives more speed.....:beer:
  18. Johny Bravo

    Johny Bravo The Boy Genius!

    @uj: Yea palm muting is another useful technique especially for electrics. Takes a lot of practice. Might be troublesome for some ppl. If it works for u with alternate picking, go for it. Rock on.
  19. Iraqita_EP

    Iraqita_EP New Member

    i guess economy picking is faster but it cant hurt be good at both...and i think in sum cases alternative picking turns out to be faster
  20. anshulcooldude

    anshulcooldude New Member

    good work ,
    now i came to new what actualy alternate picking means
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