Master the Fretboard and Increase Picking Speed
by Metal Method Instructor Doug Marks
These techniques are simple to learn and will make a huge impact on your guitar playing. This is my favorite type of guitar lesson. It breaks down complicated information into very simple parts that anybody can quickly master.
Learning to play guitar doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t need to understand how an automobile engine works to drive a car. And you don’t need to comprehend complex music theory to become an incredible guitarist. Does anybody remember Jimi Hendrix? His understanding of music theory was limited yet Hendrix revolutionized the electric guitar.
You can double your picking speed in 30 days. Don’t believe me? My Speed and Accuracy program explains three simple exercises that will change the way you play guitar. Check it out now.
The Free Lesson (Script from Video)
Please download and print the lesson materials right now. Follow along with the Guitar Pro exercises and tab booklet.
Exercise 1 is the half-step whole-step pattern. Simple, right? That’s the beauty of this lesson.
Exercise 2 is the whole-step half-step pattern.
Exercise 3 is the whole-step whole-step exercise.
The following is going to sound really simple but it’s true. Master these three basic patterns and you’re well on your way to mastering lead guitar. This concepts is the basis for my program Speed and Accuracy for Lead Guitar. It goes well beyond what I’m explaining here. I cover speed picking techniques with an in depth look at both the fretting and picking hand. Some students have doubled their alternate picking speed in just 30 days. The program is available on both DVD and digital download. So please check out Speed and Accuracy for Lead Guitar.
This is the third position in E natural minor. Starting at the top of the fretboard you’ll see the first two strings use the whole-step half-step pattern. The third and fourth strings use the half-step whole-step pattern. The fifth and sixth strings use whole-step whole-step pattern. So this 3rd position of E natural minor is composed of just these three patterns. E natural minor can be divided into seven three notes to a string patterns. As I said, this is the third of the seven patterns. In your lesson materials print out the pdf labeled 3 Notes per String. This is E natural minor divided into seven positions. Look closely at all of these patterns and you’ll see they are composed of the three simple patterns that you just learned.
You should memorize and practice these seven patterns because they’re the foundation of mastering the neck. In my Complete Basic Course and my Speed and Accuracy programs I describe how these same patterns can be viewed as major, minor, and modal without changing anything. Without relearning anything. This makes mastering the fretboard much easier than most people imagine.
Each of these three exercises is an excellent finger warm up to use at the beginning of practice sessions. Since these three patterns are the foundation of all lead guitar playing they’re a perfect way to get started. Play along with each of the first three exercises and continue to increase the tempo until you find the fastest speed that you can play without mistakes.
After you find your MAX, click on the tempo window in Guitar Pro 6. Enter the tempo. For this example I’ll use 100 bpm. Click on apply then okay. Select the part that you want to repeat by dragging your cursor over it. Click on the loop icon. Click on Speed Trainer. Enter 60% in the from window, 100% in the to window, 3% in the steps window and set repeat to 1 time. Here’s what you’ve entered, you want to start at 60% of 100 bpm, as the selected measure loops it will continue to increase the tempo until it reaches 100%, each time the looped area completes it will increase speed by 3%. The last window just means that the selected part of the tablature will repeat 1X before increasing by 3%. In other words, if you want the tempo to increase very slowly set it to 2 or more times. Click OK. Click on the metronome.
Press Play and play along as it gradually increases speed. As you play along, keep an eye on the Tempo at the bottom of the Guitar Pro Window. You’ll see the tempo increase by 3% each time that the phrase is repeated. The Guitar Pro Speed trainer is an awesome way to gradually increase your picking speed over time. I personally use the speed trainer every day for my practice sessions
Exercise 4 is the next exercise in this lesson. It ties these three patterns together into a large pattern that covers a big hunk of the neck. Here’s what’s cool about this, it’s totally symmetrical on both strings. Since you’re playing the same patterns you can really learn to play this fast. Then, you can move this pattern to the sixth and fifth strings, fifth and fourth strings, fourth and third strings. In fact, it works on every pair of strings except the third and second. You don’t need to change the pattern at all. For example, Exercise 4 is in E natural minor starting on the E note. Go to the fifth string and start on the E note. You’ll see that it’s the same notes and patterns in the same order and still perfectly symmetrical. So when you’re playing a lead in E natural minor you can use this simple pattern to fly up and down the neck on all but one pair of strings.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my free lesson. Speed and Accuracy for Lead Guitar takes what you’re working on here and expands it into the complete program. My most popular series of lessons is my Complete Basic Course. It’s starts right at the beginning of learning to play guitar and continues to modal theory and extremely challenging lead guitar. It’s not just a beginner course, it goes well beyond that, but it does start at the beginning and covers everything you need to know to jam with friends or jam in a band. I’ll see you on my next lesson.
by Metal Method Instructor Doug Marks