When soloing, I try to use a balanced mix of scales, intervals and arpeggios. Something I always struggle with is trying to incorporate arpeggios into my solos without having them sound too generic. A lot of the common arpeggio shapes are difficult to use without sounding "cliche" or like a bad Yngwie Malmsteen clone.
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.
A couple of weeks ago, I gave you a short, 30-minute guitar workout designed for guitarists whose practice time is limited. The positive response I received prompted me to create an additional lesson, which, in combination with my original workout, will give you a good hour of intensive practice.
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.