Learn How To Make Difficult Guitar Licks Much Easier To Play


Difficult guitar licks are often much easier to master than you think. Many guitarists make several critical mistakes that create extra difficulty in their guitar playing that can be easily avoided. Fixing inefficient movements that cause these mistakes makes any guitar lick much easier to play.

Watch the video below to learn how to turn hard guitar licks into easy ones by making a few adjustments:

Click on the video to begin watching it.

 

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Musical Skills You Should Be Practicing When You’re Without Your Guitar

It’s not as difficult as you might think to improve your guitar skills even without access to your instrument.

When you do have access to it, this time is best spent working on physical technique. When you are away from the guitar, work on the following skills to get the most benefit from your time:

 

1. Ear Training/Aural Skills

When you develop your musical ear it becomes easy to hear notes in your head before you even play them on guitar. This makes it much easier to be creative in situations where you need to improvise, play guitar solos or create musical phrases of any kind.

Work on developing your aural skills whenever you don’t have access to guitar by singing arpeggios, scale patterns or musical phrases. You don’t need to be in a specific location to work on this skill, so do so wherever you feel most comfortable.

Try improving your ear by singing along to your favorite songs. Two ways to do this are harmonizing with the singer’s melodies and filling in musical phrases by singing your own notes.


2. Songwriting

Good songwriting skills make it easier for you to play guitar in a creative, expressive and musical manner. Work on developing your songwriting skills by writing music whenever you have available time.

As soon as a musical idea enters your head, record it by humming/singing it into your phone.


3. Fretboard Visualization

This skill involves improving your ability to quickly find notes, scale patterns and chord patterns on the fretboard. This helps you move up and down the fretboard freely so you don’t get lost while playing a solo or improvising.

Practice your fretboard visualization by quizzing yourself on note names and writing out scale patterns/chord patterns on fretboard diagrams.


4. Understanding How Music Theory Works

When you master music theory, you gain the ability to express yourself clearly on guitar. Work on developing your understanding of music theory by doing the following:

  • Learning how to construct chords or intervals and memorizing the notes of keys
     
  • Learning how to harmonize chords and create chord progressions
     
  • Learning how your favorite musical artists use musical elements to make their music

Developing the skills is an excellent way to become a better guitarist whenever you’re away from your guitar or don’t have a lot of available time to practice.


Three Guitar Practice Tips That Help You Master Sweep Picking Faster

Sweep picking with speed and accuracy is all about:

*Training yourself to hear notes while playing fast, in order to instantly spot and correct mistakes.

*Playing with incredibly efficient technique to make sweep picking feel easy.

*Muting sloppy string noise, so that every note you play is heard clearly.

The following advice helps you quickly master sweep picking technique:


Guitar Practice Tip #1: Focus on the fretting hand thumb position as you play arpeggios

Your fretting hand thumb must be positioned behind the fretboard when you sweep pick. Do NOT let it wrap around the guitar neck as you would when bending strings or doing vibrato. Keep the thumb pointing up (towards the ceiling) and aligned with your middle finger.

This makes it easy to stretch your fingers when playing arpeggios without having to move your wrist from side to side.


Guitar Practice Tip #2: Use bursts of speed to clean up sloppy playing

You need to process notes quickly with your mind whenever you sweep pick at fast speeds. A lot of guitarists are unable to process notes as fast as they can play them. This is why so many guitar players struggle to fix the mistakes that cause sloppiness in their playing.

Fix your mistakes by practicing in bursts of speed. Sweep pick a short three to five note arpeggio lick at your max speed. Use staccato on the last note and rest for a few moments.

During this time, observe which notes sounded clean and which were sloppy. This makes it easier to identify mistakes since you only play a few notes at a time.

Fix the issues that were causing sloppiness in your burst of speed and begin again. Keep going through this process until the entire lick is perfectly clean. Then move onto a new one and repeat.

This helps you to better hear notes in your mind while playing at fast speeds.
 

Guitar Practice Tip #3: Mute with your thumb to clean up your playing

Thumb muting refers to resting your thumb on the lower (in pitch) strings than the ones you are playing. The thumb slides up and down the strings as you ascend and descend through arpeggios. The pick only plays the string you want to hear. All the strings below it are muted.

Thumb muting works equally well for other lead guitar techniques (such as scales, bent notes and vibrato). It is consistent, easy to learn and makes your guitar playing a lot cleaner.

Note: don’t confuse thumb muting with palm muting. Palm muting is the technique used to mute the strings you are playing. Thumb muting is used to mute the strings you are not playing (and don’t want to hear ringing).


How To Clean Up Sloppy Sweep Picking Without Slowing Down Your Practice

Do you begin playing sloppy whenever you sweep pick at fast speeds?

Various mistakes only occur in your playing as you play fast. This makes it very important that you practice effectively without slowing down your playing in the process.

Using the following practice approaches make your sweep picking cleaner as you play at high speeds:


Guitar Practice Approach #1: Using Tremolo Picking Together With Arpeggios

Take any arpeggio and insert tremolo picking on random notes in the beginning, middle or end of the arpeggio. Select any note in the arpeggio to apply tremolo to. Sweep up to that note (as normal), do a tremolo on it and sweep back down the arpeggio.

Your goal is to make the note you are sweeping up to sound articulate and clean.

Focusing on one note at a time makes it easy to clean up your playing at fast speeds without slowing down.

Don’t worry about how many times you should tremolo pick the note (determine this by feel).

Use this approach at speeds very close to your maximum (80-90% of your top speed).


Guitar Practice Approach #2: Rotate Focus From Note To Note

Select an arpeggio and repeat it continuously for 5-10 repetitions. Choose a specific note in this arpeggio and pay close attention to it. As you continue to repeat the arpeggio, focus on maintaining the quality of that note.

Make sure you articulate it and play it clearly, so that it is not blending with another note and there is no excess noise surrounding it. Work on fixing any mistakes without slowing down the speed you are playing at.

Next, begin focusing on another note within the arpeggio you selected (after the first note is perfectly clean). Keep going through this same process over and over until the arpeggio is completely clean.

Find the fastest tempo at which your brain can go through this process in real-time. After you refine every note of the arpeggio, increase the metronome tempo slightly and repeat the process.

 

 

 


There are many more ways to play guitar cleaner, faster and more creatively than what you saw in this video. Learn them by taking online guitar lessons.

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