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Thisistheexact30HrworkoutasitappearedintheGuitarWorldMagazineinApril2004.Itookthetimetowriteit
downforyousoyoucanenjoythisMONSTERofpracticesessionandmaybefilteroutawayforyoutopracticemore
efficient.

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WORKOUTPHILOSOPHY

EXERCISES

I'vealwaysbelievedthateveryonehastheabilitytodiscoverandcultivatehisorherownuniquevoice
onaninstrumentdoingsorequiresthatonelistentoone'sinnervoiceandthenfindthecourageto
expressit.Tothatend,theWorkoutisnotmeanttosteerstudentsintosoundinglikesomeoneelsebut
toequipthemwithsomeofthetoolsthatareessentialtodiscoveringtheirownvoice,while
simultaneouslyhelpingthembecomethoroughlybalancedmusicalbeings.Ishouldnotethatthis
programisgearedforpeoplethatlovethechallengeofadisciplinedcurriculumandtrulywantto
mastertheinstrument.Theconceptbehinddoingsoiseasy:startbyplayingsomethingabend,ariff,a
scale,asongveryslowlyifyoumakeamistake,startoverdothisoverandover,untilyoucanplayitflawlesslyandI
domeanflawlesslymanytimesinarow.Next,graduallyincreasethetempo.Eventuallyyou'llbeflailingaboutlikea
madman.Thisdoesn'tnecessarilymeanyouwillbecomeagreatmusicianorsongwriter.Thosearetalentsthatcan'tbe
taughtyou'reeitherbornwiththemorneedtodiscoverthemwithinyourself.

GUITARPRO
FILES
GLOSSARY
LINKS
SOFTWARE
METRONOME
CHORDFINDER
TUNER
SLOWDOWNER

BACKUPBAND
RECORDING

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BEFOREYOUBEGIN

GEAR
AMPS

Tuneyourguitar.Neverplayoutoftuneunlessforadesiredeffect,suchasworkingonaquartertone
scale...orplayingalternativerockmusicforpopradioconsumption.Focus.Thisisthemostimportant
elementinthisprogram.Thewayyoumentallyapproachthisoranyotherexerciseismoreimportant
thanputtinginthehoursandgoingthroughthemotions.Itistremendouslyimportantthatyougearup
mentallyforpractice,gig,rehearsal,songwritingwhateveryou'regoingtodo.Understandthatthe
attitudeandframeofmindyouhavewhenenteringintoafocusedendeavorisoneofthefewthings
youdohavewithinyourpower.Remember:It'sallinthemind!Youcanbasicallyconvinceyourself
ofanythingandmakeithappen.

GUITARS
EFFECTS
ACCESSORIES
BOOKS&VIDS

CATEGORIES
I'vedividedthe30HourWorkoutintoeight(nine)categories:
1.Exercises
2.Scales
3.Chords
4.Eartraining
5.Sightreading
6.Composing/songwriting
7.Musictheories
8.Jamming
9.Rest
Inaddition,rvearrangedthesecategoriesintothreelOhourperdaysessions.Bearinmindthattheamountoftimeand
focusyouputintotheprogramwillbedirectlyreflectedinyourplaying.
Ifeelthesecategoriesprovideagoodmixofthevariouselementsthatgointobecomingathoroughlyrounded
musician.Note,however,that'Iwillonlybeoutliningconceptshereit'suptoyoutpresearchanddiscovermoreon
yourown.Thereareplentyofinstructionalbooks,CDsandDVDsonthemarket,andmanyschoolsofferhomestudy
coursesthatteachyoualltypesoffingerexercises,chords,scales,theoryandsoon.Inaddition,guitarrelated
informationisplentifulontheinternet.Ofcourse,Iencourageyoutoexploreothercategories,ideasandconceptsnot
mentionedhere.That'soneofthegreatthingsaboutplayingtheguitarthereareessentiallynorules,andaperson's
abilitytobeuniqueisonlylimitedbytheircourageandimagination.AlthoughtheWorkoutisgear~dtowardarock
styleofplaying,youmaywanttosubstitutevariouselementsthataremoreappropriateforthestyleofmusicyou're
interestedin.Ifyoudecideyoudon'twanttolearnconventionalthings,youmaychoosetoreplaceoneormoreofthese
categorieswiththingsthatyou'remorecomfortablewith.You'llhavetocomeup.withthem,though.
OneLastnote:WhenIwasayoungpracticingmusician,IwouldkeepalogofallthetimeIspentontheinStrument,
withaspecificbreakdownofeverythingIdid.IguessIwasjustanalthatway.Whilethisapproachworkedformeit
maynotbeforeverybody.Itdoes,however,helpyoutochartyourprogress.

Hours1,11and21
FINGEREXERCISES
Fingerexercisesaregreatfordevelopingdexterityandcontrol.Whenperformingthem,paceyourself
withametronomeordrummachineandstartveryslowly.Itmighthelpto.imaginehowyouwantthe
notestosound,thenperformthemoverand,overuritiltheysoundexactlythewayyouhearthemin
yourhead.Iusedtodothis,andifsagreatwaytogaincontroloveryourplaying.Iwouldalso
expenrnentwithdilferentpickpositions,dynamics,andsoon.Whateveryoudo,besuretofocuson
everysinglenoteyouplay.Ican'tstressenoughtheimportanceofthis.Thereareliterallythousandsof
fingerexercises,andtheycanallhelpyou'achievedifferentobjectives.Inthissection,I'llexplainthe
followingcategoriesoffingerexercises:

Linear
Angular
HammeronsandPulloffs
AlternateFingers
Tapping
Sweeping
MultiplePicking
Iwouldadviseyoutotailoryourexercisesaroundthestyleyou'remostinterestedin.Theideaistofindthingsthatare
awkwardtoplayandthenworkonthemslowly,untilyoucanplaythemperfectly.Ulltimately,youwantyourplaying
tobeareflectionofwhatyouhearinyourhead.

LINEAR EXERCISES

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FIGURE1depictsabasic
linearfingerexercise.It
followsanascending
patternwe'llsimplycall"1
234,"asthisreferstothe
orderinwhichthefrethandfingers
(index,middle,ring,pinkie)areplaced
oneachstring(frethandfingeringsare
indicatedbelowthetablature).
FIGURE2presentsanalternating
variationonthisdrill.Thefingering
patternfollowstherepeatingsequence
1234,2341,3412,4123.The
alternatingfingeringideacanalsobe
playedonasinglestring,as
demonstratedinFIGURE3.
Ifindthisdrilltobeagreatexercisein
positionshifting.Thenextstepisto
exhaustallotherpermutationsofthe1
234combination,suchas4321,42
31,1324,whateverfournote
sequenceyoufindawkwardand
practicetheminasimilarmanner.Ifwe
applythisfingeringapproachtothree
noteperstringcombinations,for
example134,theresultwouldbethe
threeexercisesshowninFIGURES4
6.Ofcourse,twonoteperstring
patternscouldalsobeusedforlinear
pickingexercises,asdemonstratedin
FIGURES7and8.Theexerciseshown
inFIGURE7willbebeneficialtothose
ofyouwhomayhaveproblems
switchingstringswiththesamefretting
finger.Rollthefingeroverthestringsas
youswitchfromonetothenexttokeep
thenotesfrombleeding(ringing)into
eachother.

ANGULAR EXERCISES

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Aneffectivewayto
improveyourtechniqueis
toperformwhatIcall
"angular"exercises.
FIGURE9exemplifies
whatI'mtalkingabout.Thegeneralidea
istotakeafingeringpattern,inthiscase
4321,andworkitacrossthestringsin
asingleposition,assigningonefinger
perstringandusingsweeporeconomy
picking(consecutivedownstrokesor
upstrokesonadjacentstrings)wherever
possible,I'veincludedpickingstrokes
abovethetablatureinthis'exerciseto
guideyou.Eachsweep(indicatedbyan
upstrokeordownstroke
symbolfollowedbyabrokenhorizontal
lineandabracket)shouldbeperformed
asasinglepickstroke,withthepick
beingdraggedacrossthestringsina
continuousmovement.Sincethereare
onlythreegroupsoffouradjacent
strings(14,25and36),theentire
angularpatterndoesn'tmanifestitself
untilit'splayedononeofthesestring
groups.WhenperformingFIGURE9,I
findithelpfultovisualizethree
imaginarystringsoneithersideofthe
neck,asthisprovidesapointof
referenceforfingeringthefirstsixand
lastsixnotesofthisexercise.Withthis
approach,theprogressionofnotes
seemsverynatural,WhenIfretthefirst
note(F)withmyindexfinger,I'm
thinkingintermsofthecomplete432
1pattern,withtheotherthreeFingers
(432)beingontheimaginarystrings.
Thus,onlythefirstfingerisused_As
thepatternmovesacrossthestrings,allfourfingersareeventuallybroughtintoplay.likewise,asyourunoutofstrings
inbar3,allfingersbutthefourthmoveofftheneckontoimaginarystrings.FIGURE10isanangularexercisebasedon
a1234fingeringpattern.Again,I'veincludedpickingstrokesandfrethandfingeringsaboveandbelowthetablature
toguideyouUsingthe"imaginarystrings"approachshouldmakeitalittleeasiertodeviseexercisesbasedonother
fingeringpatterns.Forexample,anangularexercisebasedona1324fingeringpatternwouldbeginonthehighE
stringandgo4,24,324,1324,asdemonstratedinFIGURE11.Allocatethefirst30minutesofyourpractice
sessiontolinearexercisesandthenext30minutestoangularexercises.Trytocomeupwithyourownexercisesthat
suityourpurposesandusetheminterchangeably.Duetothemathematicalnatureofthesetypesofexercises,they're
moreeasilyworkedoutonpaperthaninyourhead(moreonnotatingmusiclater).

HAMMER-ONS AND PULL-OFFS

Thehammeronisa
techniquewherebyyou
pickanote(eitherfrttedor
open),thensoundahigher
noteonthesamestringby
usingoneofyourfrettingfingerstotap
thestringlikeahammer.Thepulloff
involvespickinganote,thensoundinga
lowernote(eitherfrettedoropen)on
thesamestringbyreleasingthefirst
note'sfrettingfinger,pullingthestring
slightlyintowardyourpalmasyoulet
goofitinordertokeepitvibrating.
Hammeronsandpulloffsseemto
happennaturallywhenplayingsingle
notelines,butthereareparticularly
effectivewaystoisolateandsttengthen
thesetechniques.Oneefficientwayto
dothisistopracticeperformingtrills.A
trillisarapid,continuousalternation
betweentwonotesonthesamestring,
performedusinghammeronsandpulloffsincombination.Aneffectivewaytoisolateandperfectyourhammeronand
pullofftechniquesistopracticeplayingtrillsforanextendedperiodoftime,suchasaminute.Beginbytrilling
betweenanytwonotesthatareahalfstep(onefret)apart,usingyourfrettinghand'sindexandmiddlefingers,as
demonstratedinFIGURE12.Nowdothesamething,butaddafretbetweenthetwofingers(seeFIGURE13).The
nextstepwouldbetoincreasethedistancebetweenthefingersbyanotherfret,asshowninFIGURE14.Nowgoback
andplayFIGURES1214again,thistimeusingyourindexandringfingers(1and3),thentrillbetweenyourindex
fingerandpinkie(1and4).Ofcourse,youcouldexhaustallotherfingercombinations(23,24,34)andtrytoputas
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manyfretsbetweenthefmgersaspossible(withouthurtingyourself!).Eachtimeyougobacktothesettilldrills,try
addingsometimetoeachexercise(maybeanother10secondsorso).

ALTERNATING FINGERS

Tryplayinghammeronsandpulloffsinvariouscombinations,usingdifferentfingers,asinFIGURES15
17.Thegoalineachcaseismakeallthenotessoundevenandclearandmaintainaseamlesslegatofeel.

TAPPING

Ifyou'reinterested
intwohandtapping,
incorporatethisinto
yourhammeron
andpulloffpractice
time.Thetechniquesare
essentiallythesameforeither
hand,theonlydifferencebeing
thatwhenyoupullofffroma
tappednote(anotehammered
withoneofthefingersofthe
pickinghand),youflickthe
stringslightlysideways,away
fromyourchin.Useyour
imaginationtocreatetapping
techniquesthatsuityourstyle,
andtryincorporatingallthe
fingersofyourpickinghandon
theneck.FIGURES1820are
examplesoftappingexercisesto
getyoustarted.FIGURE18is
asimpledrilldesignedtohelp
youmasterthebasictechnique
oftappingononestring,while
FIGURES19and20require
thatyoucrossstrings,resulting
inlongerandmorechallenging
pauerns.Ineachoftheselatter
twoexercises,thekeyisto
movethefingersofyourfretting
handquicklyfromstringto
stringintimetoplaycleanlythe
notespulledofffromthe
tappingfinger.

SWEEP PICKING

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Asstatedearlier,sweep
pickingisatechnique
wherebyyouplayonenote
andthenanotheronan
adjacentstringinasingle
upstrokeordownstroke.Whenlearning
tosweeppickyouhavetostartvery
slowlyandmakesureyoucanhear
everysinglenoteclearly(unlessthe
effectyou'regoingforisasloppyone),
thengraduallybringthespeedup.The
keyistoletgoofeachnotewithyour
frettinghandimmediatelyafteryou've
pickeditinordertokeepitfromringing
intothenextnote.Createexercisesthat
outlinevariouschordshapesthatyou
cansweepacross.FIGURES2123are
examplesofsweeppickingtogetyou
started.You'llfindit'seasiertosweepacrossanarpeggioshapeandnothaveitsoundlikeastrummedchordifyoucan
fingereachstringindividuallywithadifferentfingertipandavoidbarringstringswithyourfingers,whichmakesit
moredifficulttomutethenotesimmediatelyafteryou'veplayedthem.

MULTIBLE PICKING

AsImentionedearlier,thebestwaytodevelopsuperhumanchopsistofindthingsthataredifficultand
evenawkwardtoplayandthenperformthemslowlyandperfectly.Asanexercise,tryplayinganygiven
lickorphrasefirstbyalternatepicking,thenusingonlydownstrokesand,last,usingonlyupstrokes.You
canalsodeviseyourowndrillswhenyoudoanyofthefollowing:Doublepicking(pickingeachnote
twice)
Triplepicking(...threetimes)
Quadruplepicking(...fourtimes)
Quintuplepicking(...fivetimes)

Hours2,12and22
SCALES
Practicingscaleshasmanybenefits,but
themainfocusofthisactivityshouldbe
onmemorizingthesoundofascaleand
themoodoratmosphereitcreates.Sing
thenotesyouplaytohelpinternalizethe
tonalityofthescale,andtrytopainta
mentalpictureofwhatthescale's
tonalitysoundsliketoyou.Thisisone
ofthethingsyoumightdrawuponwhen
yougotowriteorimprovisemusic.
Beware,however,thatwhenthetime
comestotakeanimprovisedsoloand
allyoudoisflailupanddownascale
patternbecauseyouknowthenoteswill
workwiththechord,you'llmostlikely
soundlikeanidiot.Learnandplayas
manyscalesasyoucan,ineverykey
andposition,inoneoctave,twooctaves
orthreeoctaves.Startfromanynoteon
thelowEstring,thantheAstring,etc.
Makesureyouplayeachscaleforward
andbackward(ascendingand
descending).FIGURE24illustrates
fretboardpatternsfortheGmajorscale
(GABCDEF#)anditssevenrelative
modes,allofwhichcomprisethesame
sevennotes.Theonlydifferenceineach
caseistheorientationofthenotes
aroundadifferenttonalcenter,orroot.
Practiceanygivenscale/modescale
slowlyatfirstandmakesureit'sperfect.
lfyoumakeamistake,startover.Graduallyincreasethetempoasyoucompleteacycle.Listencarefullytoeachnote
andfocusontone.Beforemovingtoafasterspeed,youshouldbeabletorunascaleupanddownwithoutfudgingand
notes..Don'tcheatyourself!Ifinditbeneficialtowatchmyfingersinthemirrorandtrytogetthemtomove
gracefully,elegantly,effortlesslyorinwhateverwaylooksandfeelsgood.Therearemanythingsyoucandowitha
scaleandmodeotherthanjustrunitacrossthefretboard.Forexample,youcanplayitinintervals,eithermelOdically,
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asdemonstratedinFIGURES2527,orupanddowntheneckontwostringsatthesametime,asdepictedinFIGURES
2830.Thesefirstthreeexercisesaregreatforbuildingtechniqueinbothhands,whilethesecondthreehelpyoulearn
thescaleoneachstringandgaineartrainingwisdombyhearingitplayedinharmony.Togettwicethemileageoutof
thesepatterns,besuretoruntheminreverseorderaswell.Therearecountlessvariationsonthesekindsofmelodicand
harmonicintervalpatternsthatyoucanpractice.Forexample,youcouldtakethepatternofascendingdiatonicfifths
fromFIGURE27andswitchtheorderofeveryotherpairofnotestocreateadifferentandmoreinterestingmelodic
contour,asdemonstratedinFIGURE31.Consideringallthedifferentscales,modes,keys,positions,intervalsand
melodicpatterns,thepossibilitiesareimmense.
It'salsohelpfultorecordyourselfpracticingscalesandthenlistencriticallytoyourefforts.Thiswillenableyouto
moldyourplayinginthedirectionyouwant.(Ineverwantedtosoundtoopolished,andIactuallyworkedontryingto
soundgrittYandontheedge.)
Thisisobviouslyalottothinkaboutwhenpracticingasimplescale,butyoudon'thavetodoitallatonce.Focuson
differentelementsindividually.Eventuallytheywillmergeandbecomepartofyoursecondnature.

PENTATONIC AND BLUES SCALE

Thefivenoteminorpentatonicscale
anditsderivative,thesixnoteminor
bluesscale,formthefoundationofthe
vocabularyofrockleadguitarplaying.
Theminorpentatonicscaleisspelled
"root,minor3,4,5,minor7."The
minorbluesscaleismadeupofthese
samefivenotes,plusthediminishedor
"flatted"fifth("root,minor3,4,flat5,
5,minor7").FIGURES32and33
illustrate,inthekeyofEminor,the
standart"box"patternsforthesetwo
scalesthateveryrockguitaristshould
know.
Theminorpentatonicscaleandthe
minorbluesscalehavearelativemajorthatcomprisesthesamesetofnotestheonlydifferenceisthatthenotesare
orientedaroundadifferentroot.Ineachcase,thesecondnoteofthescale,theminorthird,becomesthenewrootnote
inFIGURE32and33,thisnewrootnotewouldbeG.WhenplayedoveraGbassnote,theEminorpentatonicscale
becomestheGmajorpentatonicscale(GABDE).Likewise,theEminorbluesscale(GABbBDE)whenplayed
overaGbassnote.
TryputtingtheminorandmajorpentatonicandbluesscalesthroughthesamepacesastheGmajorscalewelookedat
earlierbyplayingtheminvariousintervalpatternsacrossthefretboardandupanddowntheneck.

OTHER SCALES

Ascalecancontainfromtwoto12notes,withthe12tonechromaticscaleencompassingeverynotewithinanoctave.
Therearenumerousscalestochoosefrom,andeachhasadistinctivesoundandcolor.Ihaveablastwithscale
referencebooks.SomepeopleenjoyfirstclasstripstoTahiti,butjustgivemeagoodscaleandI'minparadise.(How
badisthat!)Butseriously,thereasonI'msointriguedbyscalesisthattheuniquetonalityofanygivenscalehasthe
powertotransportme.
AcoupleofyearsagoIdecidedtorecordalivealbumofcompositionsIwroteandperformedwithmybandindifferent
partsoftheworld.AsIbeganthisendeavor,whichculminatedinmyCDAliveinanUltraWorld,Isetouttocompose
materialreminiscentofmusicindigenoustotheculturesofthecountrysIwouldbevisiting.Asapartofmyresearch,I
studiedthefolkmusicofeachcountryandfiguredoutthescale(s)uponwhichmuchofthenativemusicwasbased.I
thenusedthescalestocomposeasetoforiginalpieces.WhileIbasedthesecompositionsonindividualscales,Itook
greatpainsnottomeanderupanddownthescaleaimlesslyinmymelodiesandimprovisations.Instead,Iemphasized
theauraandflavorofthescalewithinthemelodyandthechords.

SYNTHETIC SCALES

Asyntheticscaleisoneyoumakeup,oronethatdoesnotfallintoaparticulardefinedcategory.Forinstance,Icould
makeupascalethatcontainsfournotesandisspelle1,4,flat5,7.Ihaveneverseenthisscale,butitmayhaveaname
already.Whateverthecase,Icouldbuildchordsonthisscale,createamelodyandfigureouthowtoimproviseasolo
withit.Furthermore,Icouldmodulateittodifferentkeysandcreateharmoinictexturesbyusingthemodesfromthis
scale.Ultimately,ifIweretostaywithintheparameterofthenotesofthisscale,Iguaranteeitwouldcreateaunique
aura.
Themorewellknown"other"scalesincludethemelodicminor,harmonicminor,wholetone,diminishedand
augmentedscales.
Getagoodscalebookandhaveaparty!

Hours3,13and23
CHORDS
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I'vedividedchordpracticeintothreeareas:
1.Memorization
2.Strummingtechniques
3.Improvisation
Youcandedicate20minutestoeachcategoryforallthreedaysoftheWorkout,orjustfocusononedifferentcategory
foranhoureachday.

MEMORIZATION

Learnchords!Gobuyabookthathasallthebasicchordsaswellasalltheweirdones.Then,seta
goal.Forinstance,decideyou'lllearnandmemorizefivenewchordsaday.Listencloselyand
thoughtfullytothesoundofachordasyouplaythenotesitcomprises,andtrytopictureanimagethat
itevokes.takeyourtimeandmemorizeitssound.
Learnatypeofchordqualitysuchasmajor,minor,majorseven,dominantseven,minorseven,inas
manypositionsandvoicesasyoupossiblycan.Singthenotesasyouplaythemtohelpinternalizethe
soundofthechord.Figureoutandunderstandwhyachordiscalledwhatit'scalled.Whatscale
degreesdoesthechordcontain?Youwillneedtounderstandchordtheoryforthis.(Thatwillcomelaterinthetheory
section).Inaddition,strumchordscleanly,gently,harshly,tenderly,brutallyandsoon,togetasenseofhowthey
soundwitheverypossiblestyleofplaying.
Youdon'tneedtoknowatonofchordsbynameinordertobeagreatmusicianorsongwriter.Ihaveheardthatpeople
likeJeffBeck,AllanHoldsworthandmanyothersmaynotbefamiliarwiththenamesorthetheorybehindallthe
chordstheyplay,buteachplayerhassuchtremendousearsthatuponhearingachord,hismindopensupandheknows
justwhattodoonhisguitar.Ihappentofindgreatsatisfactioninhavingacompleteunderstandingofthetheorybehind
itall.Thenagain,I'vealwayswanteditall.

STRUMMING

Therearemanystrummingtechniques,andnumerousbooksandrecordscanbeusedforstudyoras
referencesourcesforthesetechniques.Themostimportantthingtokeepinmindwhenstummingisto
groove!Afteryou'vechosenaperticularstrummingpatterntoworkon,practiceitendlesslywitha
drummachineoradrummer.Atfirst,itwillbealittleawkwardandsloppy.Focusonmakingit
cleanerwitheverystrumitwillgetbetter.Next,listencarefullytothegrooveandtrytostaylockedin
withit.Youwillnotbeabletodosounlessyoucanplaythematerialcleanlyorwithoutthinking
aboutthechanges.Inaddition,youmustbeabletoseparateyourselfabitfromwhatyou'redoingand
justlistentothebeat.Bydoingthiswhileyou'replaying,youcanreallyfocusonlockinginwithadrummer.Once
you'relockedin,keeptryingtolocktighterandtighter.You'llknowwhenyou'relockedinwiththegroovebecauseit
willstarttofeelreallygood.Onceyougettothispoint,youcanthenexperimentbymakingthegroovesoundstiffand
mechanical,andlooseandwarm.Youcanalsotrytoplayinfrontofthebeat,behindthebeatandsoon.Whenyou're
playingalongtoametronomeoradrummachine,tryto''bury''theclicktrack.BythisImeangetrightonthebeat
whenyoudo,theclickwillsoundasifit'sdisappeared,sinceyourattackswillbeso"righton"thatthey'llcoverthe
clicks.Beingabletolockwiththebeatandgrooveisoneofthemostrewardingfeelingsonecanexperienceasa
musician.It'sbetterthanthepartyaftertheshow...unless,ofcourse,you'reinAmsterdam.Therearemanytypesof
groovestofoolaroundwith(straightrock,r&b,reggae,ska,bluesshuffleandsoon),butbeforeyoudo,makesureyou
cangetthroughthemcleanlyandlockintothem.Playeachacrossafullrangeoftempos,fromveryslowtoveryfast.

IMPROVISATION

It'salwayscooltocreateyourownuniquechordlibrary.Thefollowingtechniquescanhelp:
Playaconventionalorfamiliarchord,thenstartalternatingonenot~atatimebymovingitupor
downafret.Whenyoucomeacrossachordyoulike,addittoyourpersonalchordlibrary.
Takenumbersfromaseries(atelephonenumber,forinstance)andusethemasscaledegreesfora
chord.
Thinkofanemotion,acolororascenefromamovieandfoolaroundwiththenotesinachorduntil
itsoundslikewhatyou'rethinkingof.
Useopenstrings,widefingerstretches,naturalharmonics,notesfrettedwiththefingersonthepickinghandandso
on.Experimentwithallthesethingstocomeupwithuniquechords.

Hours4,14and24
EARTRAINING
IfyoutossasideeverythingelseinthisWorkout,keepthissection.Trainingyourearsisthemost
importantpracticeinmakingthecrucialconnectionbetweenyourimaginationandyourfingers.Most
peoplespendverylittletimedevelopingtheirears,butthepayoffsfromdoingsoareextraordinary.
Somepeoplearebornwithanaturalearformusic,whileothersneedtoworkonit.Itcanbetedious
andtimeconsuming,butit'sveryrewarding.Thefollowingaresomeexercisesfortrainingyourears.
Improviseandsingwhatyouplay.Agoodvoiceisn'tnecessary,butyoudoneedtogetthepitches
accurate.Ifyoucan'tsingthenotesperfectlyinpitch,workonituntilyoucan.
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Singanoteandthentrytoplayitbyusingthepreviousnoteasareference.Thisisachallengingdrillthattakesa
tremendous
amountofdiscipline.Justimagine,though,howmuchyourearswillimprovewhenyoucandothis.
Singaharmonytonotesyou'replaying.Startwithsomethingsimple,likeafifth,thenmovetoafourth,amajor
third,aminorthird,amajorsixthandsoon,untilyou'reabletosingaharmonypart(likeaminorsecond)perfectlyto
animprovisedatonalsolo.Understandthatthisabilitycouldtakeyearstodevelop.
Memorizethesoundofdifferentintervals.Onewaytodothisistorecordyourselfplayinganintervaland,afterafew
secondsofsilence,speakingitsname.Fillupaonehourtapeinthisway,thenlistenbackandtrytonameeachinterval
inthesilencethatfollowsthenotes.You'llknowifyou'rerightwhenyourvoicecomesinandnamesitproperly.
Performthislastexercisewithchords.Recordyourselfslowlypluckingeachnoteofachord,andallowafewseconds
ofspacebetweenthenotes.Afteramomentofsilence,announcethechordanditscomponentintervals.
Transcribeeverything,fromsimpleguitarsolosto'complexjazzsaxsolos.
Carrymanuscriptpaperwithyou,andwhenyouhavesomefreetimeawayfromyourinstrument,writemeiodies
usingonlyyourearstoguideyou.
Carrysongbookswithyouandsingthemelodies.
Makeupyourowneartrainingexercisesandkeepalogofyourprogress.

Hours5,15and25
READINGMUSIC
Thereare'alotofadvantagestoreadingmusic.Some'oftheseare:
Learningtoplaysongsyouotherwisewouldn'thavebeenabletoplay
Beingabletotranscribeyourcompositions
Expandingyourmusicalpalate
WhenIwasastudentatBerkleeCollegeofMusicinBoston,IdecidedIwantedtobethebestsight
readerintheworld.Ispentanentiresummerdoingnothingbutsightreading.almosteverywaking
moment.Irememberleavingtheapartmentonlytwotimesforsocialeventstheentiresummer.I
attemptedtosightreadeverythingIcouldgetmyhandsonclarinetstudies,pianopieces,JohnColtranesaxsolos,Joe
Passchordchartsandevenphonebooks.AttheendofthesummerIwasamediocresightreaderatbest.Ibelievethe
guitaristhemostdifficultinstrumentonwhichtosightreadbecausetherearelimitationsandmanyvariablesinvolved.
Havingsaidthat,Icanprovidesomepointers.
Thetwomostimportantelementsinlearningtoreadmusicwellarebeingabletoidentifypatternsandtolookaheadas
you're
playing.Workon.theseprinciplesandthingswilleventuallyfallintoplace.Beyondthesetips,Irecommendyoudothe
following:
Buybeginnerguitarreadingbookstogettheideaofwherethenotesfallontheins'trument.Ihaveneverbeenafanof
readingguitartab.Althoughitcangiveyouabird'seyeoverviewofhowtoplayaparticularpiece,Ifeelthatit
eventuallybecomeslimiting.
Takeasong(classical,jazzorwhateveryoulike)andreaditthrougheverydayuntilyoucanplayitperfectly.Sight
readingisreallyaboutidentifyingpatterns,sothiswillhelp.Onceyouhavecompletelymasteredasongandyou're
capableofplayingitflawlesslyandwithgreatfeeling,goaheadandplayitmanymoretimesandwatchwhathappens.
Buildarepertoireofsongsandplaythrougheachoneeveryday,oronaregularbasisatleast.
Sightreadalittlebitofsomethingnewandterrifyingeveryday.Thiswillaidyourabilitytolookahead.
It'sbeenproventhatthemosteffectivewaytoimproveyoursightreadingabilityistoattempttosightreadsomething
atastricttempo,suchaswithametronomeordrummachine.The'keyistoproceedwithoutstoppingorslowingdown.
lfyoumissanote,ohwell.Keepgoing,asifyouweregivingarecitalwithothermusicians.Don'tstopanddwellon
thenote(s)youmisseduntilyou'vefinishedtheentirepiece,thengobackandseewhatyoumissed.Practicesight
readingapieceofmusicatatempothat'snotgoingtomakeyoumessupeverytwomeasures.You'llbeamazedathow
yoursightreadingabilitywillimprovewhenyouforceyourselfnottoslowdownwhenyoucometoatrickyspot.In
addition,readmusicforinstrumentsotherthanguitar,suchastheclarinet,fluteandpiano.Also,getajazz"fake"book
andreadthroughthechordchanges.

Hours6,16and26
WRITINGMUSIC
Writingsongsorinstrumentalpiecesisoneofthemostrewardingthingsaboutbeingamusician.
Therearemanywaysyoucangoaboutbuildingacatalogoforiginalmaterial.WhenIwasahigh
schoolfreshmanIhadanincrediblemusictheoryteachernamedBillWestcott.Hewastough!Oneof
myassignmentswastocomeineverydaywithanewlywrittenpieceoforiginalmusicthathecould
playonthepiano.Ithadtobecompletelynotatedandnotjustshowchordsymbolsandmelody,andit
hadtobewrittenspecificallyforthepiano.Havinghimplaythemusicformewasnotonlyatreatbut
tremendouslyeducational.
Ifyou'reinterestedinlearninghowtonotatemusicproperly,thebestreferencebookonthesubjectisMusicNotation,
byGardnerRead.It'sanexceptionalbook,anditoutlli).esalltheessentialdosanddon'ts.Youmaybeabletofinditby
callingthebookstoreatBerkleeCollegeofMusicinBoston.Herearesomerecommendationsforsongwriting/
composing:
Turnonataperecorderandbangoutyouridea.Ican'ttellyouhowirnportantthisisifyouwanttobeasongwriter.
Momentsofinspirationaresometimesfewandfarbetween,andtheycanhityouatthemostunlikelytimes.Youneed
tobereadytocapturethemwhentheypresentthemselves.
Writesongsinleadsheetformat,withamelodyonthestaffandchordchangeswrittenabovethemelody.Thereare
books,suchasMusicNotation,thatoutlinethelimitationsandpropernotationforvariousinstrumentsoftheorchestra
aswellasmoreunconventionalinstruments.Getsomemanuscriptorscorepaperandtrycomposingmusicfor
instrumentsotherthantheguitar.Studytherange,tone,timbre,limitationsandnotationforoneinstrumentatatime,be
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itviolin,harporharmonica
playedthroughaMarshallstack(oraCarvinLegacystack).
Findanothermusicianthatyoucan"gelwith"asacowriter.Ideally,heorshemaybesomeonewhopossessescertain
skillsthatyoulack.,Ifyouhavetherightchemistry,creatingmusicwithanotherpersoncanbeaveryrewarding
experience.
Whilelyinginbedatnight,trytomakeupanendlessmelodythatcontainsavarietyofinstruments.Doingthisistruly
liberating,
becauseyou'recreatinginstantaneously,andtherearenolimitationstowhereyoucangoorwhatitcansound
like.Rememberthatpeoplewritesongsbasedonanythingfromeventsintheirlifetosocialcommentaryto
fantasy.Whenapersontapsintothatcreactiveportionoftheirbrain,theyusuallygravitatetothingsthatstimulatethem
themost.

Hours7,17and27
MUSICTHEORY
I'vealwaysbeenfascinatedbymusictheory.Althoughknowledgeofitisnotaprerequisiteforbeinga
greatguitarplayerormusician,Ifeelthatifyou'regoingtolearntospeakalanguage,ithelpstoknow
howtoreadandwriteit.Manypeopleareintimidatedbytheory,butit'snotthatdifficult,reallythe
systemisactuallyverylogicalandstraightforward.Whatconfusesalotofpeople,Ithink,ishavingto
strugglewiththinkinginunfamiliarkeys,suchasAflatorFsharp.
BillWestcotttaughtmemusictheoryinhighschool,butitwasn'tuntilItookguitarlessonsfromJoe
SatrianithatIlearnedhowtoapplyalotofittomyinstrument.Therearemanybooksthatteachmusic
theorybasics,includingnotation,timesignatures,keysignatures,thecircleoffifths,chordtheoryandmodes.I
recommendthatyoutakeeverythingyoulearninatheorybookandfigureouthowitappliestotheguitarandhowyou
canincorporateitintoyourownstyle.

Hours8,18and28
JAMMING
Inthissection,I'llexplainmethodstohelpyoufindyouruniquevoiceasaguitarist,andexplain
techniquesthatcanaidyourexpressionontheinstrument.Theselaneritemsincludevibrato,bent
notes,harmonics,whammybarstuntsanddynamics.
EverythingI'vetoldyouthusfarwillhelpyouinyourquesttobecomeanaccomplishedguitarplayer.
However,rememberthatalltheexercises,scales,theoryandwhatnotarejustdevicesthatcanhelpyou
expressyourselfmorefreelyonyourinstrument.Becarefulnottogethunguponhowfascinatingitis
tobeabletoplayscalesreallyfast,ortoshredyourselfintoacoma.Usethisstuffasatool,nota
prison.Sittingandplayingtheinstrumentexpressivelyandwithcontrolisthegoalhere.Thesedays,Idon'tpractice
allofthematerialI'vementioned,butithasallbeencrucialtomydevelopmentandtomakingmyears,fingersandsoul
worktogetherinexpressingthemusicIhaveinmyhead.
Ibelievethatweallhavetheabilitytobeuniqueonourinstruments.Thetrickistoidentifywiththatuniquenessand
cultivateitintoastimulatingpresentation(ormaybeevenahistoricalstatement).Ihavefoundthatlisteningtomyinner
earisthebestwaytogettotheheartofthematter.It'sasometimessubtle,elusivevoice,butit'sthere,andthereare
concretewaystotuneintoit.
WhenIsitdowntoplaynow,Iusuallybuildjamtrackstoimproviseoverandwriteto.Therearenumerouswaysyou
candothis.
Onewayistolearnthebasicsofhomerecordingandinvestinasimplerigwithwhichyoucanrecordyourowntracks
tojamover.YoucanalsopurchaseprerecordedjamtracksonCD,andsomeelectronicdevices,likeKorg'sPandora,
featurebuiltinvampsyoucanplaywith.0nevertravelwithoutmyPandora.)Focusingintenselyonanythingisaform
ofmeditationand,assuch,ithasthepotentialtoincreaseIQ,comprehension,imaginationandartisticabilitiesatany
age.Theproblemisthatit'sdifficultformanyofus(includingyourstruly)tokeepthemindfocusedonanythingfora
longperiodoftime.This,however,istheonlywaytogetrealresults.Youneedtomeditateonwhatyou'redoing,and
whenthemindbeginstowander,youneedtotrytopullitback.Tothatend,I'dliketopresentvarioustechniquesfor
youtopracticewhilejammingwithatapeoraband,orjustsittinginyourroom.First,however,Iwouldliketomake
thefollowingsuggestions:
Useavarietyofvampsthatencompassdifferentgenres,grooves,keysandtimesjgnatures.Bysettingupspecific
parameters
(whetherstylistic,melodicorrhythmicinnature),you'llpushyourselftodiscoverdifferentwaysofapproaching
varioustechniques.Thiswillhelpyouidentifywhoyoureallyareontheinstrumentbecauseyou'llbeforcedtoreach
deepinsideyourselfandfindthethingsthatpushyourmusicalbuttons.
Whendoinganyofthefollowingtechniqueexercises,usethemtoexpressthewayvariousemotionsfeeltoyou:
anger,joy,lust,compassion,melancholy,paranoia,euphoria...whatever.Eachoftheseemotionshasanaudible
counterpart.Beware,however,thattosuccessfullytransmittheseemotionsfromyourpsychetoyourfingers,youmay
needtoimmerseyourselfintheemotionitself.Thisalonecantaketremendousfocus,butitcanalsobeincredibly
revealing.lfyoufeelcompelledtofocusmoreonnegativeemotions,trytokeepthingsbalancedafterall,youarewhat
youplay,andwhereveryoutakeyourmindmaynotonlydictatethetypeofanyoucreatebutalsobrainwashyouinto
becomingthattypeofperson.It'seasytobemiserableandintense,butthisexercisecanhelpyoubuildyourselfintothe
kindofmusicianandpersonyouwanttobe.It'salsohelpfulwhenyoufindyourselfinaparticularfunk(duetotheups
anddownsoflife),becauseitcanhelpstrengthenthementaltoolsyoumayneedtopullyourselfinaparticular
direction.
Witheachoftheseexercises,trytopushyourselfintodoingthingsthatyouhaveneverdoneorheardbefore.Youcan
alsotryimaginingthembeforeattemptingthem.Iwouldevenvenruretosaythatifyoureallywanttodevelopaunique
style,youmuststopyourselftheminuteyouhearyourselfplayingsomethingconventional.
Recordyourselfplaying,thenlistenbacktoidentifythecool,interestingstuffthat'smixedinalongsidethecrap.The
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minuteyou
hearyourselfdoingsomethingdifferentorinteresting,takewhateverthatisandmakeanexerciseoutofit.Continueto
pullyourselfinthisnewdirection.It'slikefindingalittlethreadandpullingitintoenoughmaterialtoknitasweater...
orawholewardrobe,forthatmatter!Withallthisinmind,herearesometechniquestofocuson:

VIBRATO

Vibratoisanexpressionofthesoulanda(sometimespainfullyobvious)indicatoroftheamountof
controlyouhaveoveryourinstrument.Thereareseveraldifferentkindsofvibratothatcanbeusedas
toolstoexpressyourideas.
FretanoteWithyourindexfingerandholditforafewminuteswhileeffectingavibratothatmorphs
fromextremelyslowtofasttoviolentandbrutaLMakesureyourintonationisgoodoryou'llsound
likeahack.Trydifferentoscillations,fromasubderiseandfallinpitchtoaverywidemodulation,
anddon'tletyourfingerslipoffthestring.Exaggerateallofyouractions.
Nowdothesamethingwitheachfingerofyourfrettinghand.Next,holdtwonotesatatimeandshakethemina
similarmanner.Thentrydoingthiswiththreenotes,thenfourandsoon.Applyvibratotoanotethatyou'vealready
bentupwardahalfstep,awholesteportwowholesteps.Manyplayersfeeltheycanbemoreexpressivewithvibrato
byapplyingittoanotethat'salreadybentforthesimplereasonthatitcangobelowthemainpitchaswellasaboveit.
Trydoingthiswitheveryfingeroneveryfretoftheguitar.Doingsowillteachyoutotakeadifferentapproachand
gripinordertoapplyvibratoondifferentstringsindifferentareasofthefretboard.You'llfindthatasyoumoveaway
fromthe12thfret(themidpointbetweenyourguitar'sbridgeandnut),thestringsfeelstifferandarehardertowiggle.

BENDING NOTES

Bendingstringswellisanartuntoitself,onethatrequiresahighdegreeofauralandtactilesensitivity,
mentalandphysicaldisciplineandtechnicalcontroloveryourinstrument.Fewthingssoundworse
thanaguitarplayerthathasnocontroloverhispitchwhenbendingnotesit'sasifsomeoneissinging
offkey.Yet,whenexecutedwell,abentnoteontheguitarisoneofthemostmusicallyexpressive
sounds,onethatenrapturesthelistenerandcausesgoosebumps.Abentnotejusthassomuchmore
attitudeandfeelingthanitsunbentcounterpart.
Sitforanhouranddonothingbutbendnotes.Bendthemupasfarasyoulike,butmakesureyouzero
inonthe"targetnote"thatyouwanttohit.Listencarefullyandcriticallytoyourpitchandstriveforimpeccable
intonation.(Thisiscomparabletowhataviolinist,singer,trombonistorslideguitarplayermustdoallthetime.)
Practicingunisonbendsisaneffectivewaytotrainyourfingersandearstoworktogethertobendintune.Toplaya
unisonbend,fretanoteontheBstringwithyourindexfingerwhileplacingyourringfingerontheGstringtwofrets
higher.Strumbothstringstogether,thenquicklypushtheGstringnoteawayfromyourpalmtoraiseitspitchupa
wholestepsothatitperfectlymatchesthepitchoftheunbentnoteontheBstring.Inaddition:
Trybendingtwostringsatthesametime(doublestopbending).
Startwithanoteinabentpositionandbringiteitherdownorup,orupandthendown.Pushyourselftotrydifferent
things.
Playbentnotestogetherwithunbentnotesondifferentstrings.Thisisaveryslickcountryguitartechniquethat
developedoutofadesirebyplayerstoemulatetheweepingsoundofthepedalsteel.
Makesuretopracticebendingasmuchintheupperregisterandonthehighstringsasyoudointhelowerregisterand
onthelowstrings.CanyoubendanF#noteatthesecondfretonthehighEstringuptoA?Maybeifyou'reZakk
Wylde!

HARMONICS

Donothingbutfocusonplayingharmonicsforanhour.Experimentwithdifferenttypesand
techniques,includingthefollowing:
Playopenstring,or"natural,"harmonicsbylightlytouchinganystringwithyourfrettinghandat
variouspointsalongthestringandpickingit.
Sound"artificial"harmonicsbyfrettinganotewiththelefthandandpickingthestringwitha
downstrokewhilealso"pinching"itbetweenthepickandrightthumb.Movethepickalongthestring
intheareaoverthepickupsasyoudothistofindvarious"sweetspots."
Trytappingnotesovercertainfretswhilefrettinganote.
Beadventurousandtrytodiscoverdifferenttechniquesforsoundingharmonics.(playingwithdistortionandwith
yourguitar's
bridgepickuponhelpsbringoutharmonics.)

WHAMMY-BAR STUNTS

Thewhammybarismyfavorite"crutch."Ifyourguitar'swhammybarissetupanythinglikemine,
youcanpulluponittomakenotesgosharpaswellaspushdownonittomakenotesturnintosheer
blubber.Icanabusethehelloutofmywhammybaranditusuallycomesrightbackintune.Thesetup
isveryimportant.Trythefollowingexperiments:
Playmelodiesbyfingeringonlyonenoteandusingthewhammybartoraiseandloweritspitch.
Playvariouskindsofharmonicsandexperimentwithpullingandpushingthewhammytoproduce
"outerspace"sounds.
Trytocreateeverythingfromnice,subtlevibratoonsinglenotesandfullchordstoviolentsonicbrutalityandsheer
warbling
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cacophony.(Iseemtohavemadeacareeroutofdoingthis.)
Icouldgoonforever,butIencourageyoutocreateyourowntechniques.Youronlyrealguidelinehereistodo
whammybarthingsexclusivelyforalongperiodoftimewithoutstopping.Soonerorlateryou'llcomeacrosslittle
treasures.

DYNAMICS

Oneofthethingsthatmaketheguitarsuchanexpressiveinstrumentisitswidedynamic(volume)
range.Fewpeopleutilizethefulldynamicrangeoftheinstrument.Youcanhitthethingextremely
hardandforcefully,andthenimmediatelyswitchtoastylethatiscaressingandtender.Notmany
playerscandobothofthesethingseffectivelyintheperiodofthreeseconds,sotrytobecomeoneof
thefewwhocan.Hereareafewwaystopractice:
Graduallygofromsofttohard,andthenbackagain
Createastrummingpatternthathassharphits,lightstrumsandmediumrhythmicthingsallinoneor
twobars.
Playasloudandashardasyoupossiblycanwithoutstoppingforaslongasyou'reableto.Thendotheexact"opposite.
Again,Icouldgoonforever,butIthinkyougetthepoint.Tocloseoutthissection,I'vepulledtogetheranumberof
waysyoucansetupparameterstoforceyouintomakingnewdiscoveriesontheguitar.Trytodoeachofthefollowing
foranhourwithoutstopping:
Soloononestringonly.
Solowithdoublestopsonly(twonotesplayedtogether),thentrydoingthesamethingwiththree,four,fiveand
sixnotechords:
Soloontwoadjacentstringsonly,thensoloontwostringsthathaveone,two,threeorfouridlestringsbetweenthem.
Recordavampthathasasinglebassnoterepeatingunderit,thenimproviseoverthevampwhilelimitingyourselfto
oneparticularmodeorsyntheticscale.
Playachord,listentoit,thencloseyoureyesandimagineascenethatthechordevokes.Thiscanbedonewitha
melodyline,too.
Pickonenoteandplayitasmanydifferentwaysasyoucanforanhour.Makeitsoundlikemusic.
Comeupwithatleastonenewthingadaythatyou'veneverplayedbefore.
Improvisewithonlyonehand(yourfrettinghand),usingonlyhammeronsandpulloffstoarticulatenotes.Makesure
thenotes
soundgoodandclear,andnotsloppy.
Playasfastandascleanlyasyoucanwithoutstopping.
Playasslowandtenderasyoucan.
Tryfoolingaroundwithalternatetunings.Includeradicallydifferenttuningsthatseemtomakenosense.
Trytoevokecolorswithchords.
Layyourguitaronthefloorandtouchitinmanydifferentways,tryingtocreateuniquesounds.

Hours31to40
REST
Don'thurtyourself.Ifyouneedtotakeabreak,thentakeone.Youneedn'tfeelguiltyifyoumissa
practicesession.(Well,maybealittleguilty.)Whenyou'reyoungandhavetimetokill,it'seasierto
putinthehours.
Keepinmindthatyourfingershavemanytinyandintricatemusclesthat,likeanyothermuscle,need
resttorecuperateandhealafteraworkout.Evaluateyourownpainthreshold,anddon'tbeafraidto
restifyourfingersreallyfeelliketheyneedit.Fewofuspracticefor10hoursaday,andyoushould
giveyourselfampletimetoachievethestaminatoplayforsuchalongperiodoftime.
Iseemtohavebeenblessedwithgreatfingergenes.Myfingersarelongandnimble,andtheycantaketremendous
abuse.
BackwhenIwasputtinginmanyhoursofpracticing,Icouldgofor15to20hoursatastretch,withoutanywrist,
fingerorforearmpain.AlittlemusclefatiguewasaboutallIexperienced.OntheoccasionsthatIfeltpain,Ijust
workedthroughit.Today,however,Idonotrecommendthis!
IencourageeveryguitaristreadingthisWorkouttobeonthealertforsignsofcommonmusicianailments,suchas
tendonitis
andcarpaltunnelsyndrome.Theycanbeverydangerousifhotaddressed.
Twolastnotesonthesubject.First,ifyouwanttomaintaincallusesonyourfingertips,youneedtoprotectyourh~ds
fromgettingwetforanylongperiodoftime.Second,protectyourearsmorecautiouslythanyourpenis.Ifyou'redoing
loudgigs,putcottonorearplugsinthem.(Thismaybethebestadviceyougetfromthisarticle!)

PLAY WITH OTHERS

Sharetheexperienceofmakingmusicwithothers.Ifthat'sallyoudo,you'redoingprettygood.Ihave
notincorporatedthisconceptintothebodyofthe30hourcycle,butformeit'sthemostrewarding
aspectofbeingamusician.Makingmusic,likemakinglove,canbeaverysharing,tender,touchy
feely,emotionalexperience.Itcanalsobeasheerexpressionofotherthings.
MyfavoritetypesofmusicianstoplaywitharethosewholaJowhowtolistenandinteract
accordingly.Toco=unicatemusically,youmusthavetheabilitytoallowothersintoyourexpressive
psyche.Toreallyletothersincanbeanintimateexperience.Bythesametoken,youneedtohavethe
abilitytolistentoothersaroundyouandinteractaccordingly.Mutualrespectandanonjudgmentalattitudearesomeof
theelementsnecessaryincultivatingtherightchemistrytomakethatmagic.
SomeofmyfavoritetimesinmylifearetheyearsthatIattendedBerkJee.Ilearnedalotaboutmyselfduringthat
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period.Theschoolwasfilledwithyoung,budding,ambitiousmusicians,andthegroupofstudentsIhungoutwith
becamemuchlikefamjJy.Thereweredifferentmusiciansfromallaroundtheworldthere,playingallsortsof
instruments,andtheywereeagertoexplore,shareandwereeagertoexplore,shareandcounicatethroughmusic.
Nothingcanbeatthatkindofattitudeandthosekindsofmoments,nomatterhowmanyhoursyouspendpracticingin
yourroom.Thereweresometremendousplayersthere,andI
bondedwithpeoplewhohavebecomelifelongfriends.
WhenIwasinhighschool,IwasinabandcalledRayge,andweplayedcovertunesbyLedZeppelin,Kiss,Queen,
DeepPurpleandothers.Weeventuallystartedtodoalotoforiginalmusicaswell.Ourattitudeinthosedayswasone
ofbrotherhood.Wewentthroughmanylifeexperiencestogether,butthemostimponantthingwastheband.Noneofus
wereselfishaboutsharingmusicwhenwehittherehearsalbasementorthestage.Wewentthroughmany"comingof
age"experiencestogether,andattimesthoseexperienceswerejoyous,andatothertimestragic.Regardless,wealways
hadthebandandeachother.
WhatI'mgettingathereishowimponantitistoplayselflesslywithothers.Doingsowillgiveyoutheopportunityto
respectothers,experiment,openyourears,reactand,ofcourse,throwuponthegymfloorafterthegigatthehigh
schooldance.

DISCOVERING YOURSELF

ThisWorkoutanditsmethodmaybehighlycriticizedinthefutureforbeing"overthetop,"butIdon't
thinkthereisanyotherwaytobecomeavirtuoso.Thisisnotaclassonguitarplayingorsongwriting
(althoughitmayhelpinthoseareas)butapathofdiscoveryforthestrongwilledplayer.
Thecommitmentittakestobecomeanelitevirtuosoguitaristisnotunlikethatrequiredtobecomea
championinanyotherfield.Youmustthink,breathe,eatandlivetheinstrumentatvirtuallyevery
wakingmoment(andevenwhilesleeping,whenpossible).Youmusttranscendthegamesyourmind
willplayonyouandtheexcusesitwillgiveyoutolayoffandtaketheeasyroad.Youmust
continuallybringthefocusbacktotheinstrument.
Youmayfindyourselfbeingharshlycriticizedbyothermusiccommunitypeople,orfriends,magazinesandthosethat
hangaroundonSunsetBoulevardobsessingoverthenuancesofthelatesttrends.Thisispreciselythetimewhenyou
needtofearlesslysticktoyourvision.Therearetestsallalongtheway.Realizethatit'sallinthemind,andnever
acceptfailurewhendealingwiththingsthatarewithinyourabilitytocontrol.Keepapositiveoutlookonthings,and
don'tletyourintensityturnyouintoaprick.Alwayscomplimentandsupponyourfellowmusicians.Weallhave
dreamsandhopes.Byencouraging,complimentingandsupportingthosearoundus,wegainselfdignity,respect,
friends,ahealthyoverviewofourownworkandanappreciationfortheeffortsthatothersputinduringtheirstruggles.
It'sokaytogetdiscouragedattimes,butit'snotokaytoquit.Quittingisneveranoptionforatrueartist.It'sjustnotin
theirmakeup.Thinkofmusicandtheguitarwhenyou'renotevenaroundaninstrument..Ifyou'reinaquietsetting,
imaginethatyou'replayingandtrytoseeyourfingersmovingwhileyoulistentowhat'shappeninginyourhead.You
cangetbetteratthisastimegoesby.It'sunbelievablyrewardinganditcanhelpyouimprovedrasticallybecauseyou're
notconfinedbyyourphysicallimitations.Iusedtodothisallthetime,andIstilldo.Iimaginethingsontheinstrument
thatIcan'tdo,andthenIworkonthemuntilIcandothemeffortlessly.
TherearethosewhobelievethatGodismanifestineverything,intheformoflightandsound.Somebelievethatthat
lightandsoundneedtobediscoveredbyeachofuspersonallyandalone.Thiscouldbewhywearesofondofmusic.
Creatingmusicjustby"willing"itinyourheadmayeventuallyleadtojustlisteningtoithappeninyourhead.Whothe
composerisandwherethemusictakesyouareforyoutodiscover.

DISCLAIMER

Becomingarockstar,amoviestar,apowerfulexecutive,aneliteathleteorarichandfamous
anythingiseasycomparedtocontrollingthemindsothatitremainsfocusedwithoutinterruptionon
themusicwithin.Idonotclaimtohavethatmuchcontrol,butI'mworkingonit.Somepeoplehavean
abundanceofnaturaltalentandaremoregiftedinsomeareasthanothers.I'mnotnaturallygiftedI
hadtoworkveryhardtodevelopmychopsandtechniques.Iknowlotsofplayersthatarebetter
shredders,cleanerplayersandbenersightreadersthanme.I'vehadstudentsthatshowedan
extraordinaryabilitytodevelopamazingtechniquebuthadredundant,dullideas.Conversely,I'vehad
studentsthatfounditverydifficulttoplayanythingaccurately,
buttheirideasandsenseofmelodywereinspired.Andthentherearethosefreaksthathaveitall.
Ithinkbeingamusicianandbeingabletoplayaninstrumentisaboutthecoolestthingintheworld.Creatingmusic
(andespeciallyplayingtheguitar)ismostrewardingwhenit'sbasedonpurepassion.It'sourbirthrighttoplayan
instrumentandtocreate.
Ofcourse,youcantossthewholeconceptofthisarticleandjustdoityourownway.However,somethingswon't
change.Theamountoffocus,passionandtimeyouputinaregoingtobereflectedinyourart.Whateverthecase,I
hopeyoufindyoursoulinitall.That'sthepayoff.

Donationsarealwayswelcomeandappreciated!
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GuitarLessons:SteveVai's30HourWorkout30hourpathtovirtuosoenlightenmentorhowtodestroyyourpopcareerinoneeasylesson

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