Accurate string bends and vibrato don't come from your hands but from your ears. They can't be practiced mechanically like alternate picking and sweeping. It takes a more careful approach to develop your ear to hear pitch. I've heard many players who can play extremely fast, accurate scales and licks but can't execute a simple string bend and stay in tune.
Unlike my previous series of lessons (where I already knew how to play the piece), I'll be learning the piece with you, section by section. I almost prefer this piece over the Paganini simply because it's a lot easier technique-wise and much easier to play at the correct tempo.
My main concern right now is to maintain some form of practice schedule for my guitar playing. It's very difficult to find time for guitar playing other than at the show. I usually get about an hour to warm up before each gig, and that's all the playing I can usually do in a day. Although I try to structure the warmup.
Just memorizing this piece is a challenge in itself. After doing so, you can finally begin to build speed. You can accomplish this by playing the entire piece or break it into smaller sections and work them up to speed individually. I prefer to play the whole thing, start to finish, and increase the tempo gradually.
My goal is to provide some insight into what goes on behind the scenes with a touring band — and also to offer tips and advice. You might remember one of my earlier columns, which offered general touring tips for independent bands. Hopefully I'll be able to go into more detail and cover more space with this series.
This week I'm going to focus on open-position pentatonic licks utilizing open strings. Although open-position licks limit the keys in which you can solo, the option to incorporate open strings gives you some extra room for creativity. I also like the tonal qualities of playing low on the neck. People generally expect you to solo up high, so by getting used to playing down in the open position, you can create some unexpected dynamics in your solos.
I recently gave you some simple pentatonic licks that are ideal for beginners or even advanced players. I want to continue that theme and share some ideas I use in my own playing. As with my previous lesson, all of these licks can be learned and practiced in as little as five to 10 minutes and are great for players with limited time. Think of these as a 'quick fix' for busy musicians.
For many young musicians, going out on tour is an early goal we set for ourselves. We read stories of legendary bands on tour, and we dream of the fun times that come from being out on the road. The reality is far different. Most likely, your first experiences on tour will be with your band as you begin to outgrow your local scene. Especially if you come from a small city like me (Portsmouth, England).
My recent column, "Has Heavy Metal Become a Joke?," provoked some very interesting responses — positive and negative. I was surprised by the amount of comments the article received, many of which were very in-depth critiques of my column. This is surprising because it took me only 15 minutes to write — and I was simply thinking out loud, trying convey my opinions in the clearest possible way.
For many guitarists, the pentatonic scale is the first thing you will learn when developing your lead guitar playing. It's incredibly simple and easy to remember. As musicians develop further, they try to move away from playing pentatonics when soloing by adding notes from outside of the scale to break out of the regular shapes or by playing different scales altogether.