I love Buckethead. Currently, he is my favorite guitar player. His style is so varied that he is able to cover a huge array of emotions that I have never heard from another band or artist.
The following video is a "lesson" found on YouTube. I'm guessing it's taken from a DVD, but I do not know what. If you know, please share!
Buckethead shows a few different riffs with bizarre explanations. It really adds to his character. This is the video that showed me how to perform "nubbing".
Without a doubt, Michael Angelo Batio is one of the best technically advanced guitarists there has ever been, and probably ever will be.
The following is a video lesson taken from a DVD called Speed Kills where Batio teaches you picking techniques for speed and shredding. Highly recommended!
Shown in this excerpt are some alternate picking exercises. Alternate picking is a technique that must be learned in order to play fast and to shred. Why not learn from one of the fastest there ever was?
The palm mute is a heavily used technique in metal and rock music. It creates a heavy, chuggy, chunky bass like tone to add some extra oomph to the sound of your music.
To make a palm muted sound, you will gently rest the side of your pick hand against the strings right where they connect into the bridge.
Then, just pick like you normally would. Only now, the side of your hand is resting on your guitar strings.
It's important to not move your hand too far to the right. If you do, you will risk removing your hand from the strings and not getting any palm mute sound.
Moving your hand too far to the left will result in a less bassy sound, create a tin like sound, and you can actually change the pitch of the note you are trying to mute.
If you use a left handed guitar, just reverse the right and left directions just mentioned.
You can mute all the strings, but to my ear muting the lower strings (E, A, D) sound best. Of course, if you have a 7, 8, or 9 string guitar, the strings below the E string are also well suited for good sounding palm mutes.
Watch the following video to see the palm mute being used:
Looking for more control over your picking when you play guitar? Here are 6 exercises to help with just that!
For the first four, make sure you use strict alternate picking to get the most out of these. Everything should be picked down, up, down, up, etc.
These next two exercises use paraddidle picking. The picking pattern goes down, up, down, down, up, down, up, up, repeat.
For more in depth explanation of these exercises please watch this video:
Every major key has a relative minor. Every minor key has a relative major. Finding the relative major or minor is actually pretty easy.
Want to find the relative minor? Go down a minor 3rd distance. A minor 3rd distance is a whole step + half step. In other words, subtract 3 from the fret you are on, and that's how far you need to go.
For example: to find the relative minor to the key of C, start on a C note. You will start on C because C is the root note of the key of C. Let's use the 8th fret on your low E string for our C note. Now, move down 3 frets. You will land on fret 5 which is an A note. That is root note of the minor key - the key of A minor.
Want to find the relative major? Go up a minor 3rd distance. In other words, add 3.
For example: to find the relative major to the key of B minor, start on a B note. Let's use the 2nd fret of the A string. Now, move up 3 frets. You will land on fret 5 which is a D note. The key of D is the relative major to the key of B minor.
Check out the following video for more examples and details on how to find the relative major and minor:
Often asked by beginner guitar players is the question, "can you move guitar shapes?" The answer is yes!
In fact, this is one reason I encourage everyone to learn scale shapes. They retain their structure when you move them from place to place on the guitar. This allows you to play in various keys with only one shape.
Let's use the minor pentatonic as an example.
First up is the A minor pentatonic scale:
If you don't know how to read that, it's basically a picture of a guitar neck. The black dots tell you what frets are in the scale shape. The bottom string is your low E, and the top string in the picture is the high E string.
Starting on the low E string you play frets 5 then 8, up to the next string and play 5 then 7, then next string up play frets 5 and 7, etc.
Using the A minor pentatonic allows you to play in the key of A minor.
Now, let's say you want to play in the key of G minor. Just move the scale shape down to G (3rd fret on the low E string) and play the same shape.
The same thing happens if you want to play in the key of F minor. Just move the shape down to F (1st fret on the low E string) and play the same scale shape.
What about the key of D minor? You guessed it! Just start the scale shape starting on D (10th fret on the low E string) and that's it.
That's all there is to moving scale shapes. This can happen with any scale shape too.
I was asked recently, in a YouTube comment, why soloing with the Major scale over power chords does not sound good, but a minor pentatonic does sound good. A C Major scale and C minor pentatonic were being used by the person with the question.
Without knowing the exact chords being used to solo over, I can only make a guess. It sounds to me that the chords being used are not in the key of C. If the chords were in the key of C, playing a C Major scale on top of those chords would fit perfectly. Because the C Major scale does not fit over the chords being used, and the C minor pentatonic does, I would guess that the chords are closer to being in the key of C minor.
The power chords that can be used when soloing with the C Major scale are C5, D5, E5, F5, G5, B5, and A5.
You can mix and match any of those chords and you will be playing in the key of C. This allows you to solo over the chords using the C Major scale. The C minor pentatonic would not work over some of these chords, but some of them would be fine.
The C minor pentatonic uses the notes C, Eb, F, G, and Bb. You can use a power chord with any of those 5 notes as root notes, but that doesn't mean those are the only chords that can be used.
A minor pentatonic can fit over a lot of different things. Because a pentatonic scale only has 5 notes, you can use the scale over a lot of things where a Major scale would not fit. Remember, a Major scale has 7 notes.
The minor pentatonic can fit over so much in fact, you can find 3 different minor pentatonic scales within any Major/minor key.
In the key of C you will find an A minor pentatonic, D minor pentatonic, and an E minor pentatonic.
Going over several possibilities of where the minor pentatonic can be used would be a big, long lesson. If you are interested in seeing this lesson get put together, please let me know!
In conclusion, if you are soloing over a group of power chords and the Major scale sounds bad, but the minor pentatonic scale sounds good, you are probably not playing in key with the chords when using the Major scale. Also, maybe you just don't like the sound of the Major scale!
Does your fret hand lag behind your picking hand? Perhaps your picking hand just can't keep up with your fretting hand? In either situation, what can you do to fix this problem? Simple answer - metronome!
I have said this before many times, and I will keep saying it - the metronome is your best friend when it comes to improving at any instrument.
Want speed? Metronome.
Want accuracy? Metronome.
Need to improve a particular rhythm? Metronome.
House on fire? METRONOME!!!
Okay, not really the house on fire part, but I hope you understand how important I feel it is to use that metronome.
Whatever riff you are trying to clean up and get your hands in sync with, you will be using the metronome to help ease you into the higher speeds to achieve the BPM you want.
But, let's say you still don't have this particular riff down very well. If that's the case, the first thing to do is practice without the metronome so you can better focus on the movements of both hands. You're going to have to play SLOW. Probably slower than you think you should. You need to be able to focus on all the movements of the right and left hand. You need to make each motion a very conscious movement.
Keep playing your riff at a very slow pace until both the left and right hand are perfectly synced up, and you can play the riff repeatedly with no mistakes. Once you can do this, turn on the metronome.
Start at 60 BPM. Yes, just 60. I do this myself and have all my students start this slow. The excuse of it being TOO slow is just that, an excuse. You need to be able to understand what you are playing at slow speeds anyway, so start slow. It's important!
How many notes do you play per click of the metronome? Depends on what you are trying to practice. Common divisions are one, two, three, or four notes per beat. I recommend starting with just 2 notes per beat for most things.
Each time you play your riff correctly, bump up the metronome by only 5 BPM. Anything more than 5 BPM is too much of an increase. You need to let your brain and hands get used to the movements nice and slow. Jumping up to higher speeds too soon will do you no good. It HAS to be slow increments!
Keep bumping up the metronome by no more than 5 BPM each time the riff is played correctly, and only stop doing this when you can't keep up anymore, or you notice you can't tell if you are still synced up.
When you can't tell if you're synced up anymore, back the metronome up by 10 - 20 BPM. Now, play the riff again at least 10 - 20 times. No stopping in between either. It must be played back to back to back to back until you hit the high number of repetitions.
Doing a lot of repetitions is what I like to call volume training. I got the idea after reading a comment Roy Marchbank left on his video on how he made his technique bad ass. He is a beast!
Constantly repeating the riff at a pace you are being pushed, but you know it's done correctly, will help pound the movements into your subconscious. Being able to play fast, and synced up, requires you to have the movements in your subconscious and muscle memory. You simply cannot think fast enough to watch every possible movement when you're hauling ass on the fretboard.
Let's recap the 3 steps to syncing up your guitar hands:
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John Taylor - guitar and bass instructor for Mile High Shred.