I've received numerous requests for lessons on picking. People often ask me, "How can I improve my picking?" What they usually mean by this is, "How can I increase my picking speed?" This is a very tough and touchy subject. While picking speed is an important aspect of playing, another trick in your bag of tricks, so to speak, it is in no way a be-all-to-end-all in a musician's repertoire. See the change of words? Guitar player vs. musician.
While I feel the pentatonic scale is extremely useful and great in its most basic form, sometimes those five notes aren't enough to make the statement I wanted to make in my phrase. The idea of these examples is to help re-grab the listeners' attention and make them say, "What was that!? That wasn't what I was expecting!"
Vibrato seems so simple, yet I feel it is taken for granted by many people. In turn, it is usually something that is never touched on in a practice regimen. The good news is, even if you've been playing for years, it's never too late to be aware of — and to start fixing — your vibrato, if you feel it could improve.
I'd like to show some non tapping sequences I use in my own playing. I've found that the concept of these two-note per-string major and minor 7ths can lead to some musical and melodic ideas, so it translates well into a phrase in a solo or run or as part of a rhythm.
Several years back, when I was at music school, I had the bad habit of not taking the time to warm up. In turn, because of my, for lack of a better word, stupidity, I obtained a very painful ganglion cyst in my left wrist. It got to a point where it really began to hinder my playing. My finger stretch became very limited, and eventually my pinky finger was pretty much useless and nearly immobile. I continued without resting it.