How To Improve Everything About Your Guitar Playing With Just 1 Exercise
by Tom Hess
Make Your Guitar Practice
Most Fun Part
Of Your Day
Imagine your guitar technique, speed, fretboard visualization, and creativity all improving after practicing just 1 exercise.
“But, how is that possible?” you may ask. “Don’t you need many different exercises to develop each area of your guitar playing?”
The answer is: Yes and no. Yes, you need more than one exercise to fully master each guitar playing skill.
Step 1: Pick an exercise (or guitar lick) that is hard to play.
You can select any exercise you want, as long as:
Focusing on your picking hand means to pay attention to:
Watch this video to learn how to make your guitar picking technique very efficient:
Step 3: Repeat your exercise 10 times, focusing on your fretting hand technique.
To focus on your fretting hand, pay attention to:
Fretboard visualization is the ability to see all the notes, scale shapes, chords, and intervals in any key all over the guitar neck.
Here is how you can use your exercise to improve your fretboard visualization:
Original lick in the key of A major:
The same lick in the key of B major:
Example: Here is the same lick shown earlier, in the A Phrygian mode:
(If you don’t understand how modes work, take guitar lessons with an expert teacher who can teach you about modes.)
Tip: Schedule time for fretboard visualization practice on a regular basis in your guitar practice schedules.
Excess muscle tension is the killer of your guitar technique. It makes playing guitar much harder than it should be and causes you to make more mistakes.
To release excess tension, focus on relaxing various parts of your body that aren’t needed to play guitar, such as: your shoulders, jaw, stomach, feet, thighs, calves, forearms and biceps.
The easiest way to make your lick more creative is to change its phrasing. To change the phrasing, articulate and ornament the notes in different ways.
Watch this video to see how to easily create many phrasing variations on any guitar lick:
Here are 2 moe ways to improve your creativity:
Each time you go through this step, select a different way to practice your creativity for 10 repetitions.
Step 7: Repeat your exercise 10 times, focusing on your picking hand articulation.
Hit the strings hard enough to articulate the notes clearly. Make sure that your upstrokes are just as clear and articulate as your downstrokes.
Step 8: Repeat your exercise 10 times, focusing on your 2-hand synchronization.
When your hands are in sync, you pick and fret every note at the exact same time. This is key to making your guitar playing sound great at any speed.
Watch this video to learn simple guitar practice tips that help your hands lock in perfect sync:
Step 9: Repeat steps 2-8 for 10-20 minutes.
Practice this drill 2-4 times per week. The more you repeat these steps, the better you become in each of the musical skills you focus on.
Question: “Tom Hess, what is the benefit of practicing these skills in one practice session instead of working on them on different days?”
Answer: When you practice this drill, you rotate your focus from one area of your guitar playing to the next very quickly. This helps you avoid mindless practicing and makes every second of your guitar practice time count.
When you focus on the same skill for an extended period of time, it’s easier to become bored and develop bad habits without realizing it.
The next step to becoming a great guitarist is to create an effective practice schedule that helps you get better fast, even if you have little time to practice your guitar. Take this free guitar practice test to learn how to improve your playing fast and make your friends wish they could play guitar like you.
About Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.
Use the best guitar practice schedules to become the guitar player you’ve always wanted to be.
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