As 2014 rapidly approaches, Guitar World is taking a nostalgic look back at the most popular GuitarWorld.com stories, videos, lessons and features of 2013. Be sure to check out our other Year in Review stories here!
If you follow my column, you'll know Jake E. Lee is one of my favorite guitar players. I've often referenced him as an influence for several of my lessons, which is why I was extremely excited to hear he was making a comeback with his new band, Red Dragon Cartel.
This new section is great for beginners since there is nothing too challenging, technique-wise. The majority of this section is straight quarter notes, which, even at 160 bpm, is very easy. The only challenge is memorizing all of the arpeggio shapes, which is also a great exercise, particularly for beginners.
Part 2 has nothing challenging in terms of speed, but some of the chord shapes might be tricky. You'll need dexterity to change shape accurately at the correct tempo. Part 2 starts with the same theme at the beginning of Part 1. Every section in Part 2 follows a theme based around the same notes (G - D - Eb - F#) but played a different way each time.
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.
The basic idea? You trill on a string with your fretting hand, then use your picking-hand pinky to catch harmonics. You can move your finger back and forth over the pickups, and you will catch different harmonics at different points along the sting. You have to be very gentle with your picking hand, otherwise you will "choke" the string and won't produce harmonics.
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.