Steve Stine Guitar Lesson – Fundamental Daily Practice Techniques for Electric Guitar


(rock guitar) – [Steve Stine] Okay so what
we’re gonna do right now is just talk about some
fundamental finger exercises that I think that
everybody should work on, to just try and develop
basic strength and speed and dexterity between your hands. So the first thing to
understand is the right hand, I try and teach what’s called a three minute picking technique, and what you do is you
try and do down strums and then you try and do alternate picking for three straight minutes,
you try not to stop. And the reason I chose three minutes is simply because most
people can do something kind of out of their element
for 20, 30, 45 seconds, and then they start kind
of losing it after that. So really the goal here is
just to be able to do it all the way for three
minutes without stopping. If you think of it this way,
like if you’re working out and you’re at the gym, we’re
not trying to bench-press 250 pounds once or twice,
we’re trying to lift a weight over and over and over and over again, to develop those muscles, that’s what you’re looking for here. It’s not a matter of
trying to do something really fast for a very
short amount of time, it’s really not gonna do you any good. You have to be able to do it
for a long period of time, if you’re playing in a band or something and you’re playing multiple
songs or something like that, or you’re playing for 45 minutes, or two hours or three hours or whatever. So the goal here is just to
be able to choose a speed that feels relatively comfortable to you, to be able to do your down picking consistently without stopping, so what I’m going to do
is use the metronome here, I’ve got my metronome. Now let’s just say hypothetically
I choose the speed 152, which means this is clicking 152 times. What I’m gonna do is play
eighth notes, down picking, so I’m gonna be gonna be
going, one two one two one two one two one two one two
one two one two, like this. (electric guitar) And I wanna do that
over and over and over, for three straight
minutes, I can time myself, look at the clock, figure out when it is, and see how I feel by the
time I get to the end. If I only make it a minute in and I start losing it, or a
minute and a half or whatever, then it’s too fast, I need
to slow down that metronome. Now there’s two things you
have understand about practice, number one is honesty,
and number two is ego. The problem with a lot of these exercises is people always feel
horrible about themselves when they have to slow down the metronome, like they’re doing
something wrong or whatever, you have to understand that the goal with learning how to play
isn’t you against anybody else, it’s you against you, and so the most important thing is that everyday you’re
trying to be better than you were yesterday,
similar to life really. But, the metronome are just numbers, it’s just an infinite amount of times so we can play different things, and so what you’re doing is
you’re taking for instance 152, if that’s too fast, you
need to slow it down a little bit, and then try it there, and find your spot, okay,
that’s the other part, is making sure that when you’re playing, you’re not kidding yourself that you can actually do
something when you can’t. If you try and play along
and it’s not working, you need to realize the
fact that it’s not working and you need to try something else. So when you’re playing, if I’m trying to play along with this (electric guitar) but I’m not doing it, I
need to realize the fact that I’m not doing it and I need to try and set it at a speed that I can do. Now the other thing you
have to understand about technique exercises, they’re not gonna get better everyday, they’re not gonna get better every
week, sometimes they don’t get better every
month, they take time. But once they get better, they get better, and that really is the
goal, that’s why I think there’s a lot of musicians out there, a lot of guitar players that really don’t spend any time on this stuff because they expect to
see immediate results, and when they don’t they get frustrated and they don’t wanna do it. Which is fine, but then
don’t expect to do it. So the goal is to take these exercises and practice them on a daily basis, over and over and over and over again, and allow time and patience and determination and all those other things
to bring this out in you, to keep trying to get comfortable with being able to play faster, learning how to relax in
your arm when you play. Part of the goal of
being able to play faster is not tightening up, is
learning how to loosen up even though you wanna tighten up, ’cause you feel those muscles tightening. It’s learning how to move your
pick as little as possible and try and loosen everything up. The other part is
remembering to hold the pick towards the front of the pick, and don’t turn the pick so much, I get so many students that turn the pick so the pick is sitting almost
90 degrees from the string, don’t do that, if you’re
gonna turn the pick all you need to do is
turn it just a little bit, and it’ll cut through that string, but the more you turn it the less percussive sound you get (electric guitar) see it just starts sounding
like the slicing thing, you want to make sure
that you’re picking down. So you set your metronome at whatever, let’s try 168 here, so we’re going: (electric guitar) Just over and over. So you try and do that for three minutes, now here’s the deal, then we move on to
doing alternate picking, with alternate picking what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna start off doing exactly the same speed that
we’re doing the downs at. Normally we would think
of doing alternate picking as twice as fast, but the
problem is until you’ve developed the actual ability
to down up pick comfortably, going fast isn’t going to help you. So what I’m gonna do is
I’m gonna stay at 168 here, and I’m gonna go exactly the same speed I was doing those downs, now it’s going to feel
a little slow obviously, but what I’m focusing on, is how it feels to do the down and the up, and trying to get them to
sound similar in dynamic, similar in volume, and
attack I should say. (electric guitar) I wanna get used to being able to do those down and ups comfortably, if you keep getting stuck on the up strum, which happens a lot, the problem is you gotta
rethink how you’re picking, sorry about that, how you’re thinking about
picking that string, for instance when I’m doing downs, my wrist has a tendency
of laying kinda like this, when I do down ups I pop up
just a little bit like this, so now I’m picking the string over here, at sort of a 90 degree
angle on both sides, so I’m getting the same picking attack both on downs and ups. If I left it here, I’d
have a tendency of going underneath the string and I’d
kinda get stuck like that. Now I could leave it here and kind of pick at
the side of the string, but that doesn’t feel
very comfortable for me, when I come up here (electric guitar) it feels more comfortable up there. (electric guitar) So that’s the first thing, the second thing is legato technique, so with our right hand we’ve learned to do down picking for three minutes, down up picking for three minutes, using the metronome doing two per click, if you get to the point
where you can max out a metronome that usually goes
to 208, then you go back down to 104 and you do four per click. And if you ever max that
out then you go back down to 104 and you do eight per click, I mean it just keeps going infinitely, it doesn’t make any difference. Anyway, that’s what those are, so then in the right hand,
or excuse me the left hand, what you’re doing is a
set of legato exercises in which you’re trying to utilize all the finger combinations in two groups, so for instance what I would do is I would go to the fifth
fret of the third string, I would do a set of
hammer-ons and pull-offs with my middle finger. (electric guitar) Trying to hammer and
pull as fast as I can, for a total of, and this is up to you, I would definitely start
with 20 seconds though. So for 20 seconds straight, you’re gonna hammer and
pull as hard as you can as fast as you can, without stopping. This whole exercise that
we’re gonna be doing requires no picking
whatsoever, it’s all legato. Now when you first start off,
it’s gonna feel really easy, but I guarantee you by the
time you get to then end, you’re gonna be having
a really tough time. So what you’re doing
is hammer-on pull-off, from one to two for 20 straight seconds, then without stopping you go to three, so you’re doing one to three
for 20 straight seconds. Now without stopping,
you go to one to four for 20 straight seconds. Then without stopping you
set your middle finger down, ’cause your first finger was
right here, you set this down, and now you’re gonna do
hammer-ons to two to three for 20 straight seconds. Then you’re gonna do hammer-ons from second finger to fourth finger. You’re gonna be feeling it by this time. And the you’re gonna do
third to fourth finger. So what’s happening is you’re
going one two one three one four, two three two four, three four. So you’re doing all the
two finger combinations in one legato exercise,
each one for 20 seconds. So again, you wait till
the clock get to the 12 and then you start
(electric guitar) and after 20 seconds, you move on, after 20 seconds move on, after 20 seconds set this
finger down and move on, move on, after 20 seconds you set
that down and move on, you’re doing all the combinations, and again what you’re
trying to do is get sound, you’re trying to hit it as hard as you can and flick it, pull-off as hard as you can, to keep that thing moving. You’re gonna do that for 20
straight seconds a piece, and again you’re gonna
feel it in these muscles if you’re doing it right, if
you’re not doing it hard enough not doing it fast enough,
or not doing it long enough, you’re not really gonna feel anything. So that’s the first exercise, then what you can do with that
is you can break those down like let’s say some days
you wanna just practice two to four, or two to three
and two to four, those two, you might just practice those. See, the disadvantage
of always starting with the first finger is by the time
you get to the third finger, you’re exhausted,
sometimes start backwards, start with your third finger and then go to the second finger and then go to the first finger and work your way back
through all of them, so by the time you get
done you’ve already done the really hard ones you’re
ending with the easier ones. So that’s another thing you can do, and the the last thing to
do, is dexterity exercises, now you have to remember
there’s a million exercises out there, the problem with that is simply it’s too much
information for most people, they work on something for a little bit and then they get bored and then they move on, and they work on something
for a little bit. So they never really learn to get really really good at something, they just do a little bit of something and then move on, which may be similar to your guitar lessons for instance, or things that you’ve been learning. You don’t spend enough time on
something to really absorb it and continue moving forwards, and so it’s really important to do that. So what I’ve done here is I’m just looking for core exercises, not trying to make a
thousand different exercises but just basic ones that
you can do everyday, that will get you stronger. The next exercise is a dexterity exercise between the two hands and this is simply going one two three four
(electric guitar) when you get to the top,
you’re gonna move up one fret (electric guitar) you need to move up (electric guitar) Now I can certainly do
that with a metronome, let’s say I set a metronome. (electric guitar) You see? So I can do that exercise
with the metronome again, trying to build that up, so I’m doing one two three four all the way up, and then turning round
doing four three two one. Now first question a lot of people have is well can I go backwards this
way and then forwards this way, you can do whatever you
want, it’s just again, understand, don’t make 50 exercises when you’re not gonna do any of them. You can do one four two
three, or two four one three, all kinds of mathematical
things that you could do, and that’s great, but
understand when you play scales, generally a scale goes up
(electric guitar) and it goes back down
(electric guitar) so when you’re playing
(electric guitar) you might play inside out
(electric guitar) but when you’re playing faster passages (electric guitar) there are a lot of times
those just move up and down, back and forth like that, so that’s why it’s really
important to get used to doing forward and backward, and yeah, all the other
ones are important too, but start with those. The next thing to learn how to do is another dexterity pattern, but this one is working on
three note per string patterns ’cause what we just did
was four note per string, doing one two three four, so this one’s gonna be
a three note per string and what we’re doing is,
again the fret wouldn’t make any difference, I’m gonna go up to the twelfth fret of the second string, I’m gonna play 12, 13, 15
which means I’m playing first finger, second finger, pinky. (electric guitar) And the goal here is I’m
playing down up down. (electric guitar) So I’m alternate picking, now what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna attach on to the first string, twelfth fret, with an
up stroke, so I’m going down up down up
(electric guitar) Now that’s the really
important part to get of this, is learning how to alternate pick, doing down up down up, now, again, there are people
out there that will say well you don’t have to do that, you can do what’s called economy picking, and economy picking is
kind of where you down up, wherever you feel like it, and again whatever floats your boat, if that’s what works for you that’s great, but don’t choose to do something like that because you can’t do it another way. What makes logical sense
about alternate picking the way I’m doing it right now, is it doesn’t matter
what string you’re on, it doesn’t matter what fret you’re at, it doesn’t matter where
you are in a sequence, you can just drop into down and ups. And you’re never thinking about whether something is a down or an up, you’re just playing, so
it makes logical sense. Again, if you’re picking a different way, and it’s working for you then great, if it’s not working for you, and again these are
patterns that you wanna do to get strong and to get fast, that’s what you’re looking for, certainly play clean too. So here’s what we’re
gonna do, we’re gonna go down up down up
(electric guitar) so we’re attaching onto that one, then we’re gonna come back down like this (electric guitar) So what you’re trying to do is
get used to being able to go down up down up down up,
and then it starts all over. Down up down up down up
down up down up down up. Now because this pattern has six notes, if I was to use a metronome, I’m probably gonna
think of it as triplets. One two three one two three
one two three one two three. (electric guitar) Now what’s really nice about that is I know every time
that clicks I gotta be. (electric guitar) I gotta be on those notes, okay. So another really great one, so that’s a three note per string pattern that you could practice, and you can do those anywhere, right now I’m doing it at the twelfth fret using one two and four,
or I could also do it using one three and four. (electric guitar) And if I don’t want to
be at the twelfth fret. (electric guitar) That’s entirely up to you, you can go wherever you want and do those exercises, I’m just staying on the top two strings ’cause it’s easier for me to visualize, I’ve done it there all along,
but you can go to any old. (electric guitar) You can do them wherever you want. So, anyway those are your threes, lastly, you’ve got your twos, and what I would certainly
recommend for your twos is learning your pentatonic scale and playing your pentatonic
scale with a metronome again. (electric guitar) What I’ll do is I’ll take this, and I’ll just practice for
instance maybe two strings going like this. (electric guitar) Or maybe I’ll go. (electric guitar) Or maybe backwards. (electric guitar) See, back and forth like that. So that’s what I want you
to start thinking about, is how to get comfortable, with being able to play groups of four, three, and we’re going to
use this pattern for now, and two, which we could just take that primary pentatonic
scale and start with that. Now yes there’s other positions and all those sorts of things, but for now, that would be
a great group of exercises that you could do on a daily basis. So hopefully that helps you a little bit with exercise ideas.