Guitar Secrets Of The Pros

The goal of this article is to present a few simple,
yet very effective techniques which will help with
your guitar playing. I won't bother you with some
theory lessons or scale patterns, this is about the
tips and tricks you may never hear about. A lot of them
are used widely by great guitarists around the world,
and these are those things that you may explore only
after a number of years of playing, or, even worse,
never get to know these at all.

The great thing (?)
about these techniques are that you never have to
spend some extra practice time to incorporate them in
your practice schedule - most of the "tips and tricks" i'm
going to give you can be used within your regular
practice session, jam, or whatever you do with your
guitar. Sounds pretty nice, doesn't it? So, without any further introduction let's take a look at
these "secrets of the pros".


When you're learning some new stuff on your guitar,
you are probably doing it by repeating the same hand
motion, or the same finger pattern over and over, so
it becomes second nature. This approach works, because
you're building a kind of "automatic response" in
your brain, so you, in the future, don't have to think
about what you're playing, where you're going to move
your hands, etc. Now, I won't go any deeper here about
the biological things that happens in your body, I'll
get straight to the point: a lot of guitarists practice
in this old-fashioned way, and it actually works. But:
when you're learning some new stuff, you have to learn
it right from the very beginning, otherwise you'll end
up with a sloppy, or "nearly right" playing when
you're done with your practice routine. Another
important thing that's neglected by many
instrumentalists is trying to solve the problems they
may have with their playing with steady repeating of
the same thing over and over. OK, it may work, but it
takes time (sometimes it may not work at all).

you always should do when trying to overcome the
trouble, is to slow down and spend some time with
analyzing why you have this or that trouble with your
guitar playing. Look at your hand and finger
movements. Are you doing it without straining, or any
unnecessary extra movements? Why are your fingers not
able to make the movement you want them to? Can you
play the same pattern with different fingering or in
some other place on the fretboard? Don't try to always
force through the problems you may have, just slow
down and take a closer look at how you can learn
something in a better way. Then, you may go on and
practice the new stuff by repeating it over and over,
but now, when you know how to practice it right, it
will take much less time to master it!


Another thing you should think of when practicing is
to always concentrate on the feeling you experience
when your fingers move all over the fretboard. Try to
think of the perception that's rolling into your mind.
Why is this so important?

  1. The correct finger movement and pressure will
    minimize all the tendencies that can lead to bad
    results you may gain from your practicing sessions.
    Try to always play with the same finger or hand
    movement, place the fingers right on the fretboard,
    always move your right hand with the same feeling etc.
    It will build a great foundation for your future
    playing, and will allow you to learn new things much
    faster than before.
  2. When you always play with the same feeling, all the
    time, you'll also gain good condition in your
    fingers. You won't get stuck being tired when you go
    gigging, play for other people, play for a long time,
  3. You'll get better control of your fingers, you'll
    get your fingers moving quicker, abd you won't have to
    "think" with your eyes or ears if you're playing right
    or wrong because your fingers will do the job.


The best way to learn to play an instrument is to take
rests within your practice session. Very intensive
learning is less good than a session that's divided
into modules, where, after every new module, you take
some rest. The rests decrease your fatigue and helps
when you're learning some new material.

How long
should the rests be? It depends on how tired you are,
and how long your "learning modules" are, but don't
make them too long! Personally, i divide my practice
time into 50-55 minutes modules and 5-10 minutes rests
between every module. I can also divide modules into
smaller pieces, and take some 2-3 minutes rests
between them. It really helps when i practice! And I'm
sure it'll help you too!


Have you ever wondered why your little fingers are so
hard to manipulate compared to their neighbours? It's
simply the natural anatomy of your body! Your ring-
and little fingers are using one and the same muscle
to do the extension of the finger. (Try to extend your
ring finger without moving your little finger...Good
luck!) Therefore, if you play fingerstyle, it's good
to force your right hand to move both of these
fingers when you strike a string with your ring
finger. Your finger movement will be much more natural
when you move both fingers at the same time, rather
than trying to close out the little finger. (Of
course, you shall not strike the string with your
little finger, you'll just move it in the same
direction as your ring finger.)

Now, let's go over to
the left hand: if you try to play a hammer-on, or a
trill, with your little finger you probably notice
some resistance created in your hand. However, this
trouble disappears when you rest your ring finger on
the fretboard. This is also caused by the muscle that
extends these two fingers; there's no real simple
solution to this problem, you just must train your
little finger until it feels OK. In other words, don't
get despaired if your little finger cause you trouble,
just put some more pressure on it!

Sebastian Kalamajski, a guitarist from Sweden, began his music studies when he was seven years old by learning how to play piano.

Sebastian is currently studying for M.D. as a biomedical scientist. His new, large (370 pages) digital book is just being published on his web site.

Sebastian Kalamajski

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