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Guitar lessons: The learning process and the four elements for today´s guitar players

I have always thought how it would be if I started to play the guitar these days…When I was beginning with my first steps into the guitar world it used to be too difficult to get information and learning stuff, especially about modern guitar, which was what I really liked. The only way was to take personal guitar lessons or going to a college of music. Private lessons were difficult to find in my small hometown and the colleges was far away and they are pretty expensive.

Nowadays you only have to type in Google the TAB you want and you got it…Or also, you have the possibility to take online lessons with any teacher you want, including some famous musicians.

Well, for me the pro of the old days is that you had to try to figure out by ear the licks or songs you wanted to play, maybe because you didn´t have enough money to go to a teacher or your teacher wasn´t good enough to play the song you wanted to know. Or the worst thing for me was that your teacher wants to teach you old methods like sole and stuff like that, when all you want is to play the songs you like. So all this forced you to develop your ear.

A cons of nowadays for me is that you get access to many stuff that eventually you archive loads of material that maybe never you´re going to use. A very nice thing that works in both times is the TAB thing, Tab (or Tablature) is a form of musical notation, which tells players where to place their fingers on a particular instrument rather than which pitches to play.

So this way, it´s not necessary to study so many years of standard music notation, with the TAB system anyone can learn songs, riffs or wherever… Anyway, if you want to be a professional musicians of course it´s good to know how to read standard music notation. I think both ways are good, but if I have to choose maybe I pick the old one, because you had to explore and try different things, this way you end up building your own style. Nowadays all the cards are in the table, you only have to take them, but you should try to find your own voice and not sounding like someone else…

So Next, let´s see the 4 technical elements you need to know for being a guitarist of the new century.

1. Alternated Picking: This is a guitar technique that employs strictly alternating downward and upward picking strokes in a continuous run. If this technique is performed on a single note at a high speed, then it may also be referred to as tremolo picking.

These are the guitar players that have influenced me over the year in this matter. I really recommend you to check them out Paul Gilbert and Yngwie Malmsteen were the ones that inspired me to learn this hard technique, but also Vinnie Moore…

2: Sweep picking: Another guitar technique used on the guitar in which a 'sweeping' motion of the pick is combined with a matching fret hand technique in order to produce a specific series of notes which are fast and fluid in sound. This technique is one of the most used to play arpeggios, but it can be used to play scales too.

Frank Gambale is the creator of this technique, he´s the best by far in this matter! Yngwie was one of the first neoclassical guitarists that used sweepings, speccially for 5, 4, 3 and 2 strings arpeggios. Also listen to Vinnie Moore, Tony MacAlpine, George Bellas, etc…

3: Legato: In musical notation the Italian word legato (literally meaning "tied together") indicates that musical notes are played smoothly. That is, in transitioning from note to note, there should be no intervening silence. Legato technique is also referred as hammer on and pulls off… This technique is mainly used for playing fast and long scales runs.

The legato master is Allan holds worth, he is the best without a doubt. But also I recommend listening to Paul Gilbert, V. Moore and Brett Garsed among others.

4: Tapping: It´s is a technique generally associated with the electric guitar, although the technique may be performed on almost any stringed instrument. There are two main methods of tapping: one-handed or 'ordinary' tapping, and two-handed tapping.

Some people say that Eddie Van Halen invented the Tapping. In my case, I started to do this technique trying to play Gilbert, Moore and Yngwie stuff, but the one who has helped me to improve and it was Michael Romeo from Symphony X. He has an incredible way to play arpeggios with tapping…also Greg Howe.

If I would had to resume all the techniques in one player I would say that Guthrie Govan is the most versatile and, in my opinion, the best one of the new century. Being said all that, I suggest that you use all these techniques to make music and not just for shredding, I think it´s very important to understand it. It has to be a tool for being able to play the music that comes from our mind and soul.

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