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Lead Guitar Tricks

    Improving Speed

    • Developing physical technique is key to imitating your guitar idols and expressing your own creative ideas. A metronome develops accuracy and control, but it's important that it's used correctly. Picking the right tempo depends on how advanced your skills are and the types of licks you want to play. Make a list of what you specifically want to improve and the corresponding metronome speed before beginning. This gives you a goal and an assessment of your current abilities. Do not skip this step because you cannot fix your problems unless you know what they are.

      Start practicing with the metronome at about 30 to 50 percent of your maximum speed. This first, relaxed phase is to teach your fingers the motions expected for the song. Playing should be completely clean and accurate at this stage. This sets a foundation for when you speed up the song and helps you develop control in your fingers. You should be able to easily play the passage on a consistent basis; "nailing it" once doesn't give you permission to up the tempo. Once this is accomplished, increase the metronome's speed by one to 10 percent. Speed increments should get smaller as you reach your maximum speed. Analyze your mistakes if you get stuck at a certain speed. Slow the metronome down to about 60 to 80 percent of your maximum speed and exercise the scale again. Speed it back up again as you get more efficient and relaxed with the trouble spots.

    Mistake Awareness

    • You might be aware that your sound is a little "off" when you're playing, but you're not sure what's wrong. With an electric guitar, it could be excess string noise or scratching in between notes. Record something you want to improve on, then play it back at 25 to 33 percent speed so you can identify your problem areas. It might still be hard to identify, especially if you're a beginner. If that's the case, let your teacher or a mentor have a listen to see if he can identify the problem and give some feedback on how to improve.


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