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Subject: GUITAR L.O.T.W. - # 22
Status: O

Title: Technique from Hell
Level:  beginner, intermediate, advanced.
Style: Technique
Instructor: Tim Fullerton
   
   

    Behold, the dreaded technique exercise from Hell! Use this to 
develop and maintain almost unlimited speed. This exercise covers 
and drills every possible combination of motions between the pick 
and the fingers.

    I beg you not to do this until you are quite comfortable with all 
of the technical aspects that I provided across six lessons. If you 
are not using good ergonomic technique, and you reinforce these bad 
habits with this exercise, YOU WILL INJURE YOURSELF! If you are not
using good tonal technique, your bad habits will be that much more 
difficult to dig out of your technique later.



    Here is a summary of the points of good technique as I 
know it:


    A) Guitar Position (see part I)
    
    B)1. Left Hand Thumb Position and range of motion (midline [G 
         string] to edge... see lesson II)
         
      2. Left Hand Thumb Pressure (NONE! PERIOD! again, see lesson II)
         
            
    C) Left hand wrist. (Straight as a ruler, palm away from the neck...
                         again, lesson II)
    
    D) Left hand wrist. (parallel to the underside of the neck... 
                        lesson III)
    
    E) Finger placement. (close to the neck... lesson III)
    
    F) Overall position of right forearm. (lesson IV)
    
    G) The pick, angled for the least noise (Lesson IV)
    
    H) Alternate Pick (lesson IV)
    
    I) Do not brace the right hand
    
    J) Use a very tiny motion to pick
    
    K) Relax
    
        (from lesson VI, or Internet L.O.T.W._19)
        

    If you are not absolutely comfortable with everything, for God's sake 
do not do this yet. Keep up with the six lessons until you can dependably
keep track of all of these points, however slowly you have to play. I keep 
a consolidation of all six lessons on my hard drive; if you wish it, mail 
a request to fullerto@cis.ohio-state.edu and I will be glad to mail it to 
you.


SETTING UP THE CHART

    Make this chart that you will practice from each day. First,  
write the permutations of 1234 down the left side of a piece of paper. 



1234
1243
1324
1342
1423
1432

2134
2143
2314
2341
2413
2431

3124
3142
3214
3241
3412
3421

4123
4132
4213
4231
4312
4321

    
    Write SABCD across the top. These are titles of columns, so put plenty 
of room between each.


            S               A               B               C           D
        
1234
1243
1324
1342
1423
1432

2134
2143
2314
2341
2413
2431

3124
3142
3214
3241
3412
3421

4123
4132
4213
4231
4312
4321


    The letters represent various left hand fingerings, and the numbers
are the orders that each note is played in each fingering.

    Pattern "S" is a single string:
    
    
    Finger =====>     1     2     3     4

    E|------|-----|---0-|---0-|---0-|---0-|-----|-----|-----|
    B|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    G|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    D|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    A|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    E|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|




    Pattern A:
    
    
    Finger =====>     1     2     3     4


    E|------|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    B|------|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    G|------|-----|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    D|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|
    A|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    E|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|




    Pattern B:
    
    
    Finger =====>     1     2     3     4


    E|------|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    B|------|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    G|------|-----|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    D|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|
    A|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    E|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    
    
    
    
    Pattern C:
    
    
    Finger =====>     1     2     3     4


    E|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|
    B|------|-----|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    G|------|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    D|------|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    A|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    E|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    
    
    

    Pattern D:
    
    
    Finger =====>     1     2     3     4


    E|------|-----|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    B|------|-----|---0-|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|
    G|------|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    D|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    A|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    E|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    
    
    

    
    
    Choose a picking pattern for this chart. There are four to apply.
Down, up, down, up; 
Up, down, up, down;
Down, down, down, down; and
Up, up, up, up.

    Let us begin by drilling down, up, down, up. Indicate that on the 
chart:




                            down, up, down, up

            S               A               B               C           D
        
1234
1243
1324
1342
1423
1432

2134
2143
2314
2341
2413
2431

3124
3142
3214
3241
3412
3421

4123
4132
4213
4231
4312
4321




            FILLING THE CHART


    Fill the chart with metronome markings. Find the speed where 
you can play each pattern perfectly five times. Then drop that speed
25%. That is the number that you put on the chart, and that is the 
speed at which you will practice that particular pattern.

    For example:
    
    Let us begin with 1234 on a single string, and let us say that we 
will practice it on the 5th fret. Start playing it.



   1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4  <== Fingering
   
E|-5-6-7-8-5-6-7-8-5-6-7-8-5-6-7-8-|    etc...
B|---------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------|

    Now while you are playing it, go through the technique check list 
and incorporate each aspect on the check list:

    For example, ask yourself "Is the guitar set up properly? Are my 
fingers staying low?" Keep slowing your speed until you can maintain 
all of the aspects of good technique.


    Then make sure that you are using the correct picking pattern for 
this chart...

   d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u  <== Picking

   1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4  <== Fingering
   
E|-5-6-7-8-5-6-7-8-5-6-7-8-5-6-7-8-|    etc...
B|---------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------|






    and make sure that it is played in an even tempo...

       d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u  <== Picking
    
       1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4  <== Fingering
       
    E|-5-6-7-8-5-6-7-8-5-6-7-8-5-6-7-8-|    etc...
    B|---------------------------------|
    G|---------------------------------|
    D|---------------------------------|
    A|---------------------------------|
    E|---------------------------------|


        not
            
       d u d u          d u d u          d u d u 
    
       1 2 3 4          1 2 3 4          1 2 3 4 <== Fingering
       
    E|-5-6-7-8 (pause) -5-6-7-8 (pause) -5-6-7-8 (pause)
    B|---------        ---------        ---------------|
    G|---------        ---------        ---------------|
    D|---------        ---------        ---------------|
    A|---------        ---------        ---------------|
    E|---------        ---------        ---------------|





    Let us say that you came up with a speed of 92 on a standard 
metronome. Drop that back by 25% (5 clicks on a standard metronome)
and put that figure (69) at the intersection of 1234 (the fingering 
order) and "S," the fingering pattern.


                            down, up, down, up

            S               A               B               C           D
        
1234       69
1243
1324
1342
1423
1432

2134
2143
2314
2341
2413
2431

3124
3142
3214
3241
3412
3421

4123
4132
4213
4231
4312
4321





    Let us try one a little more awkward. How about pattern "A" 1324.
Recall that pattern A is:


    
    Finger =====>     1     2     3     4


    E|------|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    B|------|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    G|------|-----|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    D|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|---0-|-----|-----|-----|
    A|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    E|------|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|




thus the way you would execute that pattern (in fifth position) is:



         d u d u d u d u    <== Picking

         1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4    <== Fingering
    E|-------6-------6----|
    B|---5-------5--------|
    G|-----7-------7------|     etc...
    D|---------8-------8--|
    A|--------------------|
    E|--------------------|



    Again, slow down until perfect technique can be maintained and 
until there are no pauses between iterations. Be especially 
conscious of the picking pattern. I know this is not the way you 
want to do it, and this way is terribly awkward. That is the whole 
point of this exercise -- to drill every possible motion, awkward or 
not.

    Say that you can do this perfectly in quarter notes at 50. Drop the 
metronome back five clicks to 40, and mark that on your chart.





                            down, up, down, up

            S               A               B               C           D
        
1234       69
1243
1324                       40
1342
1423
1432

2134
2143
2314
2341
2413
2431

3124
3142
3214
3241
3412
3421

4123
4132
4213
4231
4312
4321


    Obviously, you should put your own speeds in place of the examples 
that I provide. I leave it up to you to fill out your chart. 

    
    
    There are two reasons to keep the practice speed 25% slower than 
your maximum. For one thing, we are guitarists. As such, we are 
egomaniacs. We are constitutionally incapable of being honest with 
ourselves about how fast we can really play.:-) More seriously, some 
days our chops work better than others. If we try to practice at our 
top speed every day, some days we are just not going to be able to 
do it. Those days, sloppiness will erode our progress. That 25% 
reduction allows for a comfortable cushion to account for when your 
chops just aren't working. Fear not, your top speed will still rise 
with the practice speed.
    
    
    PRACTICING 
    
    
    Aspire to practice through this chart six days a week. After a 
week, make a new chart and increase each speed by one metronome 
increment. If you are using one of those digital metronomes that 
increments by ones, refer to the chart of standard metronome 
increments at the end of this lesson.

    Right now, I would expect that it takes a ridiculous amount of time
to play through this chart. For that reason, I would say not to make 
charts for up, down, up, down; down, down, down, down; or 
up, up, up, up. When you are faster, then start adding charts one by 
one.

    Soon you are going to be REALLY fast. For that reason, I suggest 
that you acquire the habit of warming up before you do this. 
Unfortunately, I have never run across any definitive warm-up 
routines. I have heard that merely playing slowly is insufficient. 
Unfortunately, no one has offered anything better yet. If you know 
of anything, mail me. Meanwhile, I would suggest something that 
lightly works the fingers of your left hand -- for example, the 
pseudo chromatic exercise from the six technique lessons, any 
scales, and sightreading. Play slowly and very gradually work up to 
around the speeds at which you play the exercise from Hell. Rest 
frequently.

    Also, move around where you practice the patterns. For example, do 
not always play them on the top four strings in fifth position. Play 
them in arbitrary positions on arbitrary groups of adjoining four 
strings around the whole range of the neck.



    THE METRONOME
    
    
    Don't have a metronome? The kind that is best for this exercise is 
the battery powered kind with a dial on the front. The time kept is 
infallible, the dial has standard increments, and you can get from 
one speed to another instantly -- all come in very handy in the 
exercise from Hell. Other kinds of metronomes that exist are the 
little digital ones, the plug in mechanical kind, and the 
upside-down pendulum kind. The little digital ones are great for 
general purpose practicing. They are cheap and keep infallible time. 
They are inconvenient for this, though, because they increment by 
one and because you can't get from one speed to another instantly; 
you have to wait for it to scroll up to the speed you want. The 
other kinds just plain suck. The plug-in mechanical kind varies with 
household current, and when they wear out they get noisy. The 
upside-down pendulum kind keep time badly.




                    STANDARD METRONOME INCREMENTS


    40 - 60 increment by two

40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60


    60 - 72 increment by three

60, 63, 66, 69, 72


    72 - 120 increment by four
    
72, 76, 80, 84, 88, 92, 96, 100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 120


    120 - 144 increment by six
    
120, 126, 132, 138, 144


    144 - 208 increment by eight
    
144, 152, 160, 168, 176, 184, 192, 200, 208


   Tim Fullerton
   fullerto@cis.ohio-state.edu
   1987 Upper Chelsea Rd
   Columbus, Ohio 43221
   
   (614) - 488 - 9322

copyright 1993 by Tim Fullerton.  Used by permission.
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