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Where should I start? You want to build your technique to within striking distance of whatever songs and solos you are keen to learn. Jump in as an intermediate player.

Should I learn rhythm guitar first, before I learn lead guitar? We can find some very challenging rhythm parts, and some very easy lead lines. You want to be working on material that is at or just slightly above your current level. Trying to tackle things that are too far over your head will cause your improvement will stall. So you can in fact learn rhythm guitar and lead guitar at the same time. Better rhythm skills improve your lead playing, and better lead skills improve your rhythm playing.

Again, both areas can and really should be developed together. How much better it is to go through the Metal Rhythm Guitar method correctly the first time though and build solid groove in the first place! Then all your lead skills are built on solid ground instead of shifting sand. Then, when you are ready to move into Metal Rhythm Guitar 2, also add Metal Lead Primer and work through both the rhythm and lead books together.

Why go through the Rhythm 1 book, you might ask, if you can already play songs decently? The Signature Licks books are another great supplement as well.

The order, then, is irrelevant. Should I find a teacher or are these methods self-study? The explanations and demonstrations reveal what each example should look and sound like.

This is because as you play, your attention is inevitably drawn away from listening and watching what you are doing, as it becomes consumed in the doing of it.

You will fail to notice small or even large errors you are making. And that means you will be engraining some bad habits, and wasting valuable time. How is that possible? Because I can see where they need to guide their attention.

Improvement is about noticing the right things. Everything comes down to fundamentals. Get all the fundamentals right, and everything works! As you gain higher levels of proficiency, you become a bit more independent. Often these sessions take the form of a "one off" assessment and direction lesson to address a particular problem or barrier.

I believe in arranging for whatever is most helpful. How should I be using these methods in my practice routine? It just fails to develop any of the "connecting fabric" of the knowledge of music and it allows many important fundamentals to remain weak.

So if all you ever learn is how to play songs and solos, it limits you in a big way. This approach represents one extreme. It misses the point! Inspiration comes in the artistic application of such things. This, more than anything else, is I think why these methods have worked so well for so many players over so many years.

Start slow. If you are using Metal Rhythm 1 and Metal Lead Primer together, you might learn a half page of material out of one book and then skip over and learn a half page out of the other. But each day, as a quick warm up, review a few random examples from the past. But after a bit, gradually begin finding outside songs to learn that use similar techniques.

Variety is the spice of life! Common sense, really. And remember that inspiration always takes precedence over discipline. I remember once a friend said to me, "I just wish I had your discipline to practice that much. I loved playing music and I loved seeing my own process of improvement.

So follow your interests. What about reading staff notation? Is it necessary? Is it useful? Therefore, the ability to read standard music notation "staff" is a non-essential. I read it myself. And timing is half of the musical equation! So those tabs you found on the internet are probably not only wrong, but at best they are only half right! This is one way of making sure the rhythmic information is conveyed, as well as the tab numbering to cover pitch.

Some of my books use this system, too. It may also be helpful if you aspire to being a session player and getting a wide variety of studio work in different situations. I use the staff in advanced books like Fretboard Mastery, as it enables certain musical concepts to be expressed more clearly and easily.

I wanted to get right to the good stuff, the essential stuff, and to get there as fast as possible. But if you want to rock, this is a better way. How long does it take to get through these methods? Other instructional methods are thin, designed with easy pacing to give you a sense of progress. The good news is that what you are learning is substantial.

See " 5. Figure on the better part of a year or so to complete them. Maybe a couple months for them. Do I need to master everything in this series to be a "good" player? Let me address it this way: For many years my own goal as a guitarist was complete mastery of the instrument. I put what I had learned into these books to share as much as I possibly could. In some cases, they raised the bar quite high -- especially a book like Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar.

But the "standard" they set is not the norm in guitar education. So do you need to master everything? Well, how good do you want to be? That is to say, technique is to a large degree style-specific. They are both perfect expressions of what they are intended to be. Where do you stop? The choice is yours. Only you know what you like, and what you want to become. The music that turns you on may require just a little technique, or a lot.

But you, ultimately, pick your own destination. Am I good enough? Can I consider myself a good player yet? Why is the "self rating" system necessary?

That may be a better question. I mean, how many people have to regard you as "good" before you believe it? A hundred? A million? There is no dividing line. Why would you do that? You crazy Dutch bastard! Pages are far more "information-dense," as well as tend to be somewhat more organized than a live video.

And for people that have difficulty learning out of books, watching things done is a whole lot easier and far more immediate. Each format has is strengths and drawbacks. Then supplement with a video if possible. Or another book After all, two books are better than one. For that matter, three books are better than two! For THAT, I will shamelessly recommend that every person buy at least six copies of each book and video -- one set to use, two sets as backups just in case you lose the first set, and three more sets to give away to your friends.

Many of the "greats" were self-taught. Do I really need any books?


Fretboard Mastery by Troy Stetina



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Fretboard Mastery


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