Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS - Neville Marten, Editor neville.marten@fu­turenet.com

Nev ad­mits he’s a bit of a slow coach...

I CAN’T PLAY fast. I’ve got a few quick­ish licks that come out for high days and hol­i­days but that’s about it. I never learnt to do the blur of al­ter­natepicked notes at which guys like John McLaugh­lin and Al Di Me­ola ex­cel; I never mas­tered speedy le­gato in the Bill Nelson, Al­lan Holdsworth vein and I never man­aged to put it all to­gether like Guthrie Go­van or Steve Morse.

So this is­sue is es­pe­cially for me (and oth­ers like me, of course!). I’ve never wanted to do tap­ping, or sweep pick­ing ei­ther, as I al­ways think you get that, ‘Here comes my huge sweep-pick­ing lick,’ or, ‘Now it’s my big tap­ping mo­ment’ sce­nario go­ing on. It seems un­nat­u­ral. I’d much rather insin­u­ate new ideas into my play­ing than ‘bolt them on’ as th­ese tech­niques can of­ten sound like.

With all this in mind, Ja­son Sid­well and Richard Bar­rett have come up with a les­son that aims to train peo­ple like us to be slicker and speed­ier play­ers, by tweak­ing and refining what we al­ready do, us­ing con­ven­tional tech­niques rather than clamp­ing some­thing like tap­ping or sweep pick­ing on. Don’t get me wrong, there’s noth­ing wrong with th­ese when used wisely; but this les­son looks to ad­dress the or­di­nary pit­falls we all face when try­ing to be­come speed­ier play­ers.

So, what Richard cov­ers in­cludes: overcoming string cross­ing prob­lems; reach­ing higher on one string to re­duce string cross­ing; speed bursts; up­ping the notes per metronome click; main­tain­ing tempo; re­duc­ing strain when push­ing ahead and much more. Think of it like a mo­tor car de­signer trim­ming and tweak­ing to re­duce drag, thereby in­creas­ing ef­fi­ciency and gain­ing a few MPH (and MPG) as a re­sult. Hope­fully our les­son won’t be a drag! See you next month.

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