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Building Speed: Lesson 1

 

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Speedy Ideas Series 1: Building Speed

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In this tutorial series of lessons we will look at a method of building speed.

First, it is important to realize that playing fast - or "shredding" - should not be merely a flailing, spastic, haphazard jumble of notes or "stuff" you play as fast as you can. It should be a musical idea - just played faster than usual.

The pattern we will use is the A minor scale on one string. In this case the high E string, although you can apply it to every string. And of course I encourage you to do so. It can be helpful in terms of physical dexterity to practice things like chromatic patterns or symmeterical fretboard shapes. However, I personally prefer to practice patterns I will actually use when playing music.

Start on the high A and play down the scale 3 notes, then shift down for the 4th note. Then start at the next note down, the note G. Play down the scale three notes and shift again. This results in a descending pattern of 4 notes. Finally work your way down to the G-sharp (a little harmonic minor at the end to give it some "harmonic" voice-leading flair!) and end on the A an octave lower than where you started.

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