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Thergodrone
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:05 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Spain
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 7:11 pm 
 

Have been checking some beginner threads but have thought about exposing my situation in order to get some deeper insight...

Been playing since a kid, now clocking around 30 and spent my better years practicing only at rehearsal places - I know, damn me. I've recorded albums and played live, but without knowing my basics (i.e. scales, overall theory, proper technique). Everything's been intuition. And, in the end, I've learned nothing and feel completely useless as musician.

Now I've just thought of learning some rather basic groundwork. Provided I've never been able to nail a guitar solo that involves shredding through my fretboard, maybe because I've already started trying to nail old Slayer songs (too difficult for my level), maybe due lack of practice, I'm looking for some material for beginners that could help me build a better overall control of my guitar, provided the genres I'm interested the most are old thrash and death a la Slayer, Possessed, Dark Angel, old Kreator, Sodom, Destruction, Razor... up to Obituary, old Death, Celtic Frost, Master and so on. Not an easy way for an uneducated guitarist, I guess, but it's about time. And still an easier top than that of a Meshuggah fan, heh.

I've thought of browsing through old Judas Priest (like my "heroes" did) and/or playing over songs off Seven Churches LP slowed down, but it can get annoying and frustrating in the end (KK and Glenn were over the top players, too and LaLonde was on fire there) and I'd really appreciate any further input by more skilled musicians who have gone the same route before.

Especially, I'm worried about my soloing. I've never been able to keep track of anything that involved some kind of coordination and I don't even know where should I start. I've had my share of pentatonic scales and haven't found their use - not saying they're useless, just that I've never found them practical. So please let me know your opinion in order to start easily but get better steadily.

As for fast, controlled picking, a friend suggested Ministry to get my wrist on fire, but I'm keen on different opinions as well. The closer to my tastes, the better.

So, what do you suggest in terms of learning songs or stuff by certain bands to make sure I'm nailing some basic stuff without getting too complex nor excessively easy (i.e. non challenging)?

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aloof
avant-gardener

Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 1:18 pm
Posts: 2509
Location: never neverland, palm trees by the sea
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 6:13 pm 
 

half the bands you mention were very sloppy players, at least in their early albums... :D

do you want to improve your riffing or your soloing? you can do both, but it's better to focus on one at a time...

do you play riffs all downstrokes?

irrespective of what the answers to the above may be, there was only ever one way of improving at the guitar. learn to play whatever it is you want to play at a speed comfortable to you, make sure you play it 101% clean and proper repeatedly, then speed it up gradually. there are no cheats around it :)

in this day an age, there's lots of online tutors, so you can just skim youtube videos for ideas on improving technique... there's a guy named Ben Eller who's honestly a very good teacher. I've mentioned him before, so I wanna make it clear he's not paying me. he's just super nice, super humble and super informative, with great communication... look him up.
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Thergodrone
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:05 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Spain
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 6:49 am 
 

Ha, but still they were able to play REAL FAST and soloing like no one. At least better than myself. Hopefully I'm setting the bar low, then? Well, it surely boosts motivation knowing I might be able to get to that level sometime...
I'd rather improve my soloing. And all that I see is pentatonic scale and legato tutorials. Would like to know something more specific, sure.

As for downstrokes, nope. I've never even considered that that was the way to go for (really) fast riffing a la early death metal, so I guess I got it wrong and mastering such technique is a given? Remember playing Slayer's "The Antichrist" (slightly slowed down) years ago and finding it easier to play as downstrokes but choosing a different approach just in order to master a rather fluent alternate picking, which never worked out in the end, though...

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aloof
avant-gardener

Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 1:18 pm
Posts: 2509
Location: never neverland, palm trees by the sea
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 10:03 am 
 

well, you can build up speed with practice... and you can try "old" instruction videos, like Marty Friedman's "Melodic Control", or Troy Stetina's "Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar"...
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Anthony Pwl
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:12 am
Posts: 99
Location: Normandy, rebuilt.
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 10:45 am 
 

For rhythms i stuck with old school Death songs from the albums Leprosy and Spiritual Healing. The solos can be too challenging for you right now. But try to nail the rhythm part of Within the Mind (with the theme right after the solo) or Altering the Future for example. Excellent work for fluent alternate picking. Do not hesitate to use a software to slow the song down a bit in order to build speed (VSDC video editor will do that, it's basic and free). If you need advices for that software i can help.

For soloing, choose a solo you love, first and foremost. And not too difficult. Make a list of solos. You will be able to slow some for them down, learn them and practice them until you play at the original speed. For hand coordination and strict alternate picking, i used to practice a lot Vivaldi's Summer Presto back in the day. Punishing at first but you'll be rewarded 100 times more. Its speed is 160 bpm but just playing it at 100 bpm is already enough to build technique and coordination in order to be perfectly clean.

Thergodrone wrote:
And all that I see is pentatonic scale and legato tutorials.

Which are good for you, but maybe not what you're looking for right now.
Pentatonic scales help you a lot to visualize the notes on the neck and the links between them (3rd 5th etc). It's essential for improvisation, but again, not your goal.
Legato exercises build finger strength and optimize the finger & hand position on the neck. Really useful to play blazing speed solos if your right hand (assuming you're righty) cannot play as fast as the left hand wants to go.

I think you just need to find a couple solos you love, not too hard, to work on. The different techniques will show up as you go along, solo after solo.
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Thergodrone
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:05 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Spain
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 5:11 pm 
 

Great and thorough response. Thanks, mate.
I can also delve into Scream Bloody Gore, which is my favourite Death, and maybe an easier one...

BTW, does it make much difference the way I'm tuning? I'm used to rehearse with my band in BEADGB and here I'm trying to nail those basics in standard E. Guess it's just bad for learning scales...

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Anthony Pwl
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:12 am
Posts: 99
Location: Normandy, rebuilt.
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 6:33 pm 
 

Thergodrone wrote:
I can also delve into Scream Bloody Gore, which is my favourite Death, and maybe an easier one....

Mmh not sure if its really easier because this record sounds very chaotic at times. I think you should train on songs where you can clearly hear the notes. At least on Leprosy. The title track's rhythm is a good training too. Pull the Plug and Left to Die as well. That's my point of view.

Thergodrone wrote:
BTW, does it make much difference the way I'm tuning? I'm used to rehearse with my band in BEADGB and here I'm trying to nail those basics in standard E. Guess it's just bad for learning scales...

I would recommend to get a second guitar tuned in DGCFAD - thats Death's tuning (standard - 1 step).
Plus the feeling with the right hand is different with thicker strings and/or down-tuned strings. Personnally i don't play guitar with tunings other than standard / standard - 1/2step / standard - 1 step. But again, it's just me. If you play with different tunings you will have to adapt each time for fast picking and bends. It can be messy. And no indeed BEADGB is not advised to learn scales because the correct down-tune would be BEADF#B to get standard intervals.
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Thergodrone
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:05 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Spain
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2020 5:40 am 
 

Will take note of your advice - cheers.
Maybe it's about time I get an octaver, ha! As a C.Frost maniac (who, OTOH, usually tuned in standard, if not mistaken) I'm always using heavy gauge strings, so yes, I might be getting a different response at all.

By the way, great work with Taken by Force. It's hard for me to pick a 70's Scorps favourite, but that one is absolutely stellar and certainly one of my most played. Saw Uli Jon Roth perform Scorpions a couple of years ago and one can just cherish the fact that early thrash and death is his only guitar goal for the time being, haha!

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Thergodrone
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:05 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Spain
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:08 pm 
 

Been practicing really hard my chromatics and overall digitation these days, following Stetina's Speed Mechanics book. Also working my way with "Left to Die" (although the opening hammer-on nightmare looks impossible at the moment). So, any particular solo you'd recommend? I bet going the Murphy's way (i.e. Cause of Death) is impossible so far, but since you mentioned something where I can discern the notes...

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Anthony Pwl
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:12 am
Posts: 99
Location: Normandy, rebuilt.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:04 am 
 

Thergodrone wrote:
So, any particular solo you'd recommend?

i think you should train first on this :
Quote:
But try to nail the rhythm part of Within the Mind (with the theme right after the solo)

The theme right after the solo is really effective to build up accuracy on several strings.
Another effective training would be the theme just before the solo on Living Monstrosity by Death. You can work your tapping skills with the one on Spiritual Healing as well (the intro tapping AND the pre-solo tapping).
These are just examples of work you have to master before thinking of nailing an actual solo. These themes will help you to build speed and accuracy. My advice would be for you to nail perfectly rhythm parts + themes of old school songs first : Leprosy, Pull the Plug, Living Monstrosity, Altering the Future, Within the Mind etc. Once you can play those tunes with ease and confidence, the solos don't look that hard. The intro of Left To Die is quite tricky that's right, but nothing impossible. Play it slowly every day.

If you really want to work on a solo, choose one you love and slow it down to 50% or 60% of the regular speed, tab it properly by ear note by note (don't trust internet tabs) then work on it everyday. Tabbing solos and songs by yourself is also a great way to improve your ear and your hand technique because you always have several ways to play something, and you have to choose the most effective one. Don't neglect that part of learning guitar ;)
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Thergodrone
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:05 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Spain
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:43 pm 
 

Once again, thanks for the thorough response. I'm already able to play that lick from "Within the Mind" just after the solo, but I will work with it daily in order to improve the fluidity. A friend also suggested that middle part of "Angel of Death" for dexterity of fingers and digitation. I'm working on them + the opening lick in "Left to Die" daily, for hours, along with several exercises from the Stetina book. The rest of your suggestions is much appreciated, of course, and will keep an eye on them. I feel I'm slowly improving my skills, maybe practising for +3 hours each day during the last week (against no home practice for the last years) had to do, haha! When I feel tired and frustrated because I ain't nailing my parts I just keep on looking to my copy of Seven Churches for inspiration.

It's not that I want to play a solo so bad, but after having done my share of wah fuelled leads both live and in studio environment, I feel it's about time to be able to control and know what I'm doing when playing them, hahaha...

Thanks!

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