|A 7 day break-up
Assuming that your practice comprises two hours each day and that all seven days are utilized.
Other scales whole tone and diminished as well as raags etc.
Monday pick style
1. All Major and minor scales including pentatonic and blues - three octave to be played (preferably with a
metronome - where the chosen bpm (tempo) should be tabulated or made a note of). Scales should be practiced
- beginning on the root note and then beginning on various degrees of the scale. Use new positions. Other scales
- whole tone as well as diminished (half - whole and whole - half).
2. Scales in double stops. (Harmonization). In 3rds and 6ths. And then in octaves.
3. Sequencing scales using familiar sequencing patterns. Use - "the big sequence".
4. Phrasing. By this I mean practicing scales/arpeggios or licks and accenting particular notes. To begin with
accent the first note in every scale/lick. Then accent the second note and so on.
a. practice licks of guitar players who are exponents of this. Make sure that one is cognizant of the chord that the lick relates to. Examine each note and attempt to use the same lick under another chord/key. All licks to be practiced at different
bpms. All licks to be played in the original positions with original fingering and then to be altered.
b. Work on your own licks.
2. Hammer ons and pull offs
Similar to the above where one uses these devices under relevant chords and keys. Use as many positions as possible.
As above. Examine the possibility of more than one finger tapping. If so,
devise a methodology of use of such, by attempting to collect guitar players who have used eight-finger tapping techniques.
4. Work on arpeggios, licks in every possible rhythm.
5. Speed picking /Sweep picking
Using a metronome practice scales and licks. Set the metronome to a particular bpm which is most comfortable and proceed. Thereafter,
gradually increase the tempo without too much sacrifice of clarity and phrasing. This should be done methodically and constantly. Use a rhythm track if the metronome is too boring. Ensure that every note is crystal clear. With sweep picking work out the direction of the pick and proceed at a slow tempo, gradually building up. Ensure that the notes played do not sound like a chord strummed
(particularly in the case of arpeggios).
A thorough knowledge of all Major, minor chords as well as extensions are necessary. As well as all
a. Practice slash chords, by taking a standard Major (or minor) and changing/altering the root. Construct a progression on the same.
b. Work out the changes (chords) in a song. Play the changes in as many different positions as possible. Play the changes in different keys. Examine how the melody sits over the changes.
c. Work on grooves, rock as well as funk. In the former, get all the Major 5's (power chords) together and work on different
rhythms, especially up-tempo triplet figures (e.g. Metallica). Study
chord changes employed by contemporary bands (b5 changes). In a jazz genre,
practice a head by playing it chordally.
d. Study as many rhythm styles as possible from tangos, to waltzes to cha
chas to bossa novas and straight 4/4 rhythm styles. Also rhythms in odd meter.
1. All Major and minor scales including pentatonic and blues
- three octave to be played (preferably with a metronome - where the chosen bpm should be tabulated or made a note of). Scales should be practiced
beginning on the root note and then beginning on various degrees of the scale.
2. Scales in double stops.
3. All modes and exotic scales.
4. Sequencing scales using familiar sequencing patterns.
1. Practice singing your lowest note. Then gradually go into higher notes until you reach your ceiling.
This should be done on a daily basis if singing is to be taken
2. Take a song and having familiarized yourself with the lyrics, sing it in different keys.
3. Re-arrange the song using a different groove and/or tempo. Then sing and improvise the melody.
4. Riffs and arranging lyrics to riffs.
5. Work on harmony. Record a melody and harmonize it using different voices
(normal 3rds, followed by 5ths and then attempt harmonizing 'outside'
Jazz and jazz technique
1. A thorough study of extended chords and altered chords
taking progressions into account (the common ones as well as the modal
ones). Knowledge of the notes in each of these chords are a must as well as the ability to 'delete' notes that are not important to that particular chord.
2. Play a progression and then use alternative chords.
3. Scatting. Take a few lines and scat them.
1. All Scale work to be practiced. [See Monday]. But, in this case all scales are to be
practiced in a classical approach (using p. i. m. a.).
Scales to be practiced
a. Using i and m.
b. Using a and m.
c. Using a and i.
d. Using a m i and i m a.
2. Arpeggios to be practiced - using the appropriate fingers. Tremolo studies to be pursued. Flamenco techniques to be employed.
3. Work on tone/sound keeping in mind volume so as to strive for a good tone at any volume.
Classical Guitar and technique
Here, there are a number of approaches to technique as well as achieving a repertoire. Bear in mind that it is certainly preferable to have a recording of the piece/ study one expects to learn.
1. Repertoire - Choose a piece that is well within your technical ability and one which holds absolute interest and read the piece without the instrument in your hand. (In fact, one can lie down in bed and read the piece). While reading,
sing the melody (upper voice) aloud or in your mind while at the same time imagining where each part would fall on the fretboard. Pay attention to notes in the higher register as well as notes which are played on the lower strings but way up on the fretboard. Take, perhaps eight measures at a time. Do not make a conscious attempt to memorize the piece.
Then the next day, with the music in front of you play the piece. You will find it far easier to remember the piece and in this way,
will be able to build a repertoire
2. Technique - This entails what has been discussed with regard to scales. However other aspects of improving
one's technique involve taking a passage (not necessarily difficult) and working on expression, volume, alternate RH and LH
fingers or taking another passage which is up tempo and working towards playing that passage at the desired tempo. Use the metronome.
All Scale work to be practiced as on previous days.
Sight reading/Music [Can be broken up into two sections
- finger style/classical and pick]
1. Taking tunes in different keys and after a
minute's glance play the piece at a comfortable, but steady tempo.
2. Taking tunes in odd meters where there could be a piece in a combination of different meters.
3. Taking tunes in overly high registers and getting used to ledger-line reading.
4. Transcribing a piece, instrumental or vocal.
5. Composing a piece of music and writing it down in different keys as well as meter.
6. Writing for another instrument which entails knowledge of that instrument. Therefore,
it's imperative to study the instruments of the orchestra, including percussion instruments,
though this aspect may fall into another day as well. Write a duet, as well as a trio and quartet. Using MIDI equipment will greatly help.
Classical guitar and technique
Here we study the previous day's
This is the quintessence of playing. This aspect has to be dealt with in detail. Improvisation will fall into various categories and sub-categories.
In the first category there are sub divisions. In the rock genre, one has to deal with the multi-faceted styles that exist.
This can also be broken up chronologically. Taking the latter into account,
one should take two to three tracks of a guitar player and cop his licks and riffs. Then
move on to a later period where there is a significant change in style
for e.g. Scotty Moore, Eric Clapton to Van Halen/Randy Rhoads to Steve
Vai/Satriani. Guitarists like Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather can be
studied for their crossover styles (note: the earlier guitar players
were more bluesier in their approach). Continuing in the rock genre,
cop as many 'popular' licks of guitar players of different periods. A thorough grounding of bending,
sliding and legato playing techniques will thus be gathered. Study blues
players like BB King, Albert King, Elmore James and Stevie Ray Vaughan to name a few.
Sequencing licks - scalar and modal. Connecting licks using as many devices as possible. Double stop licks and bends; use of glissandi in licks. Work on 'outside' licks.
In this category
a. start with licks primarily in the blues area. Study guitar players like Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery and Herb Ellis
examining how their simplistic styles fit well in soloing over a jazz standard. Take a standard and stick with a blues approach. The standard need not be a blues. Add octave playing as well as double stop blues licks.
b. A thorough study of the older generation guitar players like Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Jim Hall, Barnie
Kessell, Tal Farlow needs to be done. This itself is a long term approach. This also involves transcribing their solos. [This can fall into Thursday's work]. Study how their licks fall over each and every chord change. Examine 'outside' notes. Study bop lines, which are necessary for up-tempo playing. Play the transcribed solos.
c. Take a standard and solo over the changes in different styles and tempi.
This includes all devices (tritone substitutes as well as chordal, octave and modal playing).
d. Play solos in different positions on the fretboard and then transpose the head and solo in
a new key. Change key as much as possible.
Regular scale work. This time a finger style approach could also be employed.
This is most important as it is
the vehicle to the sound in music. This is the component in music which
is most assimilated.
Take a melody (jazz standard or otherwise) and play it in as many ways as possible. Use pick or
finger style or a combination of both. Use different tempi as well as styles and grooves. Play this melody in different positions of the fretboard. Then play the same melody in different keys. Harmonize the melody in as many ways as possible
retaining the intrinsic tune.
Solo guitar (acoustic/electric)
Examine the Joe Pass approach to solo guitar playing. Take an example from here and transcribe/play it. Study his solos in this context. Then
take a melody/standard/pop tune and play it solo using pick or finger
style or a combination of both. Repeat this in new areas/keys.
This is a general area where the role of the guitar is to accompany a singer/instrument. If possible
accompany a singer singing a pop tune as well as a jazz standard. Both styles ask for different devices in accompaniment. Use both pick or
finger style or a combination of both. Study comps in a trio/quartet and big band scenario.
This day could be devoted to a re-cap on the preceding days after all scales and general work outs have been done.
Instruments of the orchestra [see
1. Live playing.
2. Composing, arranging using a computer sequencer.
3. Chart writing - writing out parts for
a. pop song (complete with vocal parts, drum parts and
b. jazz ensemble (trio/quartet).
c. classical (trio/quartet/octet).
The above can be original or covers.