Follow by Email

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Sequencing is a technique that many musicians employ to break up the monotony of playing scales straight up and down.  In addition, the technique can be used to create longer lines.  The way I like to think of it is to play a group of notes (usually starting with a 4 note group) up a scale.  When you get to the 4th note, you then go to the second note of the scale and play up 4 notes from the 2nd note.  Then, continue the pattern.  The examples use the minor pentatonic scale but the technique can be used with any scale.  Additionally, there are examples that have groups of notes other than 4 note groups.  You can create sequences using any number of notes.  Each example should be played with strict alternate picking.  For questions click  To access the lesson click the link below.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sweep Picking

Some form of sweep picking exists in almost every style of guitar playing.  Some great players who employ this technique are Frank Gambale, Jason Becker, and Yngwie Malmsteen.  The idea behind the technique is to keep the pick moving in one direction across the strings.  Typically, arpeggios (chords played one note at a time) are played with this technique but it can also be applied to other ideas.  Usually a hammer on or pull off is used to switch picking direction.  The main thing to remember when attempting to sweep pick is (like everything else) to start slowly.  Make sure each note can be heard cleanly and separately.  A huge part of playing any instrument is muscle memory.  Muscle memory is your body's ability to remember actions, in which your muscles have engaged, in a repetitive manner.  When sweeping across several strings,  you will only be playing a single note on most of them.  The musical examples contain 5 and 6 string sweeps as well as 2 string sweeps.  Keep in mind that you can use this technique on any number of strings above one string.  For the 5 and 6 string sweeps all of the notes in the middle of each example are played by the pick moving in a single direction.  For the 2 string sweeps the pick is alternating down, up, down, up.  Remember also that the hammer ons and pull offs are only picked once.  Feel free to ask me a question here Thanks for checking out the lesson.  To access the musical examples click the link below.  Have fun!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Legato Technique

Here are some ideas using the legato technique.  Legato is an Italian word meaning smooth and connected.  The idea with these exercises is to only pick when you are switching strings.  In other words, only pick the first note you play on any string.  Once you become more advanced using this technique you may not need to pick at all.  Some great players that employ this technique are Allan Holdsworth, Bret Garsed, and Richie Kotzen.  The first few examples are hammer on, pull off exercises using only two fingers at a time.  When playing them use the same finger numbers as fret numbers in the tab (ex. 1st fret to 2nd fret hammer on in the tab - use your first finger and second finger to play it.).  For these examples play each one up to the twelfth fret and back down with a metronome.  Take your time and play it slow.  If you feel pain in any part of your body stop and take a break.  You can really hurt yourself by not stopping.  The examples that use more than two fingers should be played slowly at first.  When you have learned them - try to play them as fast as possible continuously for one minute.  This may be tough at first but with time you will be able to do it.  Again, if you feel pain - take a break.  To access the lesson click the link below.  Thanks and have fun!

Friday, March 2, 2012


Welcome to my Blog!  What you can expect to find here is a wealth of information about guitars, equipment and how to play them.  Let me tell you a bit about myself.  I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Performance from Berklee College of Music and a Master's Degree in Jazz Performance from SUNY Purchase.  I have studied with several people considered to be at the top of the field in the jazz world.  Some of them include - Steve Khan, Mick Goodrick, John Abercrombie and Wayne Krantz.  I have been playing guitar since 1990 and I have devoted my life to it.  I currently teach, play and write music.  I am including these details not to brag but to let you know what my experience is.  College degrees don't necessarily matter.  Most of my favorite players don't have one.  I just wanted to give some background information about myself that might add some credence to the things you will read here.  Some examples of my playing can be found at  Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog.

Check out this alternate picking exercise.  The exercise is actually several exercises using different combinations or finger orders with the fretting hand.  The idea is to use pick strokes that alternate down, up, down, up.  The best way to maximize your economy of motion is to mostly use the wrist to move the pick up and down while keeping your pick gripping fingers still.  Your elbow should not be active either.  To really make sure that your are keeping time properly this exercise should be done with a metronome.  Start slowly and make sure each group of 4 16th notes is played evenly from tick to tick.  The first note in each group should "disappear" into the tick.  Keep in mind that you can move these examples up and down the neck to be played on any 4 consecutive frets.  To access the lesson click the link below.  Have fun!