Monthly Archives: April 2012

Alternate Picking Exercise

This is a cool finger exercise for guitarists that helps with alternate picking. Here’s the first part of the pattern in tab:
Remember that slow is smooth

Now, here’s part two, which includes a little bit of string-skipping:
And smooth is fast

A couple of notes to keep in mind:

  • Start the first pattern with an upstroke. As you play each four note sequence, keep the pick between the two strings you’re hitting.
  • Start the second pattern with a downstroke.
  • It’s way way way more important to be smooth, clean, and perfectly timed than it is to go fast. You will get fast eventually, but only go as fast as you can still do it perfectly.
  • The synchronization between your right hand and your left hand is crucial – if they aren’t together as you’re doing this, you’re reinforcing the wrong things. Go slow and get it right.
  • If you have a metronome or a drum machine, use that as you do this exercise. You want to do this as rock steady as possible.
  • Run through this a couple of times a day. Be patient – you’ll get super-fast sooner with patience than with impatience.
  • Finally, please remember that this is an exercise that uses geometric patterns on the fretboard – it is not particularly musical. Do practice this. Don’t put it in your song or your guitar solo – that would sound dumb.

If you have any thoughts about this, please leave a comment – I’d love to know whether this was helpful (or a waste of time). I’m hoping to post more guitar exercises over time.

By the way, the tabs are drawn on the back of giraffe-pattern napkins. I’ll leave you with a shot of the front of the napkin:
Yes indeed.

Three Thoughts: Strength

1) A sword blade is both a lever and a ramp – strong leverage but a bad ramp will quickly turn into weak leverage.

2) If your opponent parries you weakly, stay strong and hit them. If they parry you strongly, yield to their parry and either do a conclusion or hit them with a stramazzone.

3) There are at least three strengths one blade can have against another: using a part of your blade closer to your hilt against a part of their blade closer to the tip (Destreza authors called this “greater degrees of strength”); from above (in Aristotelian terms: natural motion against violent motion), that is to say, pushing down while they are pushing up; and using the true edge instead of the flats or the false edge.

Two Links Tuesday: Taste Edition

Link One: Flavors of heartache.

Link Two: Making the Grade: Why the Cheapest Maple Syrup Tastes Best

The first link is one post from one of my favorite webcomics: Indexed. Jessica Hagy posts all these hilarious and/or thought-provoking graphs and charts on index cards. Check it out.

The second link is an article from The Atlantic that will not only teach you some things about maple syrup, but about food labeling in general. Worth a read.

Two Links Tuesday: Writing Edition

Link One: SureFire’s (Nearly Indestructible) Pens Review

Link Two: Llama font – say it in llama

I think I want a SureFire EWP-02 – the $90 price tag will slow me down a little, but I’ve broken two pens in my pocket in the last two weeks. (Didn’t get ink anywhere, just cracked the cases.) I like the idea of an überpen, ready to go anywhere or do anything, tough, rugged, ready for the world. Won’t break in my pants pocket when I plop on the couch.

Link two is one of those awesome things that the Internet was made for – it’s just goofy fun. Go try it out.