Tutorials (7)

Develop a Shred Tremolo

The neutral-pickslanted single-string tremolo is the most fundamental pre-requisite I teach for fast and impressive multi-string alternate picking. Getting this up to a fast tempo and high level of reliability is vital. Only once it is mastered can a student move on to pickslanting and multi-string picking. Forget unsightly, tense, and exhausting elbow spasm picking; It's as the saying goes: "It's all in the wrist"!

STEP 1: "Tabletop Test Tremolo"

The very first task is to experience exactly how the wrist yaw picking motion feels and to gauge how fast you can already do it:

- Lay your hand and arm on a desk/tabletop
- Keep your thenar and hypothenar in contact with the surface at all times (see hand image below for the palm anatomy I'm referring to)
- Twitch your hand side-to-side at the wrist as fast as you can (see animation GIF below)
- You may notice that the forearm moves side to side as well (It naturally does this sympathetically in response to wrist motion. This is fine! This is not elbow picking)

STEP 2: The "Hoisted Grip"

The "Hoisted Grip" will allow and encourage your hand to lay flat on the strings. Achieve it like so:

- Rest the pick on the first segment of the curled-in index finger
- Bring the thumb to meet it


STEP 3: The Tremolo

Begin picking a string (G-string as an example) as shown in the animation below:

- Yaw side-to-side at the wrist
- Bring the pick to rest up against the next higher and lower strings, like a wrestler bouncing off the ropes
- Do not allow the index finger or thumb to contact any of the strings at any point during this motion (see above)

These three tips will guarantee that you are indeed wrist yaw picking side-to-side with a neutral pickslant.
(NOTE: the resting up against the neighboring strings, AKA: "Rest Strokes", will naturally disappear as you speed up and your motions become smaller, but definitely do use them during the learning phase, these are your 'training wheels')

What now?

I imagine you are wondering what the purpose of this is?
Well, once the neutral-pickslanted tremolo has been established and developed to a fast tempo (150bpm to 200bpm 16th notes), you are then ready to move onto Downward pickslanting (DWPS)/Upward pickslanting (UWPS) and eventually 2-way pickslanting (both).
It will please you to know that the picking motion never changes - it's always this side to side wrist yaw you've developed.
In fact, the only difference between neutral pickslanting and DWPS/UWPS is the slight clockwise or counter-clockwise forearm twist respectively.

This is why I push students so hard to develop the neutral-pickslanted tremolo.

It is worth saying, that although this is the method I use and teach (and have come to recognize as the best and most effective), there are certainly other ways to pick! For instance, I used to use the Yngwie-style "Forearm Rotational" technique, and had huge success with it (apart from the fact it can't be used to play UWPS). While I urge you to implement the above technique, I more so urge you to find what works best for you as an individual. 

If you want help with technique, join my Discord and get chatting with me and everyone else:

Double-Tracking Rhythm Guitars

Have you ever wondered how the professionals manage to produce such impressive rhythm guitar recordings? In this tutorial I will teach you how to record these rich, full, and professional-sounding rhythm guitars by "Double-Tracking" and creating an auditory illusion ("Haas Effect") that we, as sound engineers, can use to trick the human brain into experiencing that sought-after width and thickness.


Record your riff into an audio track.
As you can see, I record in Ableton, but this can be done in any recording program.


Duplicate this track. Doing so allows you to copy over any EQ or other settings you may have already applied to your rhythm guitar.

Delete the audio on the duplicated track. Why?
Because you should never double-track and/or apply the Haas Effect with an exact copy & pasted clone of your audio.
It will sound very strange, robotic, and metallic.

STEP 4: 

Record the riff again, this time on the duplicated track.
Get it as close to the original as you possibly can.


Using the pan controls, pan one track all the way to the left and the other all the way to the right, like so:

As you can now see, track 1 is panned 50L and track 2 is panned 50R (making up the whole stereo spectrum of 100):


Apply a track delay to one of the tracks. I chose the second track, although it doesn't matter which one you choose.
I typically set a track delay of -7.00ms.
I have found that this is the sweet spot for me.
If you set it much closer to zero there will be too little delay. Conversely, set it too high and the tracks will be too much out of sync.


Listen to that sound! So thick and full; so much presence.
Well done, you have successfully double-tracked and applied the Haas Effect to your rhythm guitar recording.

The effect explained:

So, how does this all work?

We have two (near) identical riff takes.
One is playing through the left ear/channel.
The other through the right ear/channel.

But... one of the tracks is delayed by a miniscule -7.00ms.

This is where the auditory illusion and brain manipulation takes place!
Because one ear hears the riff a fraction of a second after the other ear, the brain interprets it as echoing off a distant surface,
meaning that the sound must be very wide and vast. Our brain has evolved to make assumptions like this, and so this is how we hack it.
It's through this auditory illusion that we create full, professional rhythm guitars. 

Tapping Arpeggios Lesson #2

Welcome to the second lesson on two-hand tapped arpeggios! Last time we covered the fundamentals such as: muting, string transitions, and a small 2-string example arpeggio to begin with. Now it's time to delve further into the technique and learn some larger arpeggio shapes. This lesson will teach you the tapped arpeggios for the four 7th chords of the major scale: The Maj7, the Dom7, the Min7, and the Min7b5 arpeggio. I will provide you with a TAB and also a fingering diagram (where the blue notes are the tapped notes) for each arpeggio.

NOTE: Use your picking hand's middle finger to execute the tapped notes for the following 4 arpeggios. Using the ring finger for tapped notes on the high e string is optional.





As always, check out the video below for a more in-depth lesson and to see/hear these arpeggios in action!


Tapping Arpeggios Lesson

I proudly present an in-depth technical guide to basic multi-string two-hand tapping arpeggios. Learn how to tap, how to cross strings and how to perform a basic 2-string, string skipped diminished arpeggio on the g and e strings. From there you are free to branch out to bigger shapes and more exciting opportunities on your own and with the help of my lick videos.

However before we proceed, make sure that you've seen my video below on string muting. Keeping your playing free of unwanted string noise is essential! 

Single String Tapping Recap

Now that your muting has been addressed, let's apply it to some single string tapping before moving on to multi-string tapping. See the tab below. We're going to do some simple back and forth legato and tapping. With your index finger on the 10th fret of the G string, make sure that the underside of the finger rests flat across the b and high e strings - muting them. Use your palm mute to keep the D, A & E strings quiet. Zero in on that G string and make it the only one ringing out. Tap with the middle finger of your picking hand to the 16th fret, tapped pull-off to the pinkie on the 13th fret, pull-off to the index finger on the 10th fret, hammer-on back to the pinkie, and then tap the 16th fret again to loop.

String Crossing Exercise: "Seesaw"

Tapping is rather straightforward on a single string. But things get tricky as soon as you attempt to cross strings i.e multi-string tapping. But never fear, I have created a basic 2 note exercise to tackle these challenging string transitions. Introducing the "Seesaw" exercise:

Start by tapping the 16th fret of the G string as before. Let it ring for a moment and then when you're ready, hammer-on to the 10th fret of the high e string with your index finger. The moment you do, unfret the tapped note on the G string. That doesn't mean pull-off. It means raise up the tapping finger so that the string separates from the fret and is silenced by the tapping finger. Your tapped finger is now safe to leave the string.

To return, simply do it in reverse. Tap back onto the 16th fret of the G string. And as soon as you do, unfret the high e string. Go back and forth between these two notes very slowly. Focus on perfect note separation. As soon as one note ends, the next one starts. And with that let's move onto multi string tapping.

2-String Diminished Tapped Arpeggio

The reason I chose this arpeggio is that the shape is nice and symmetrical and easy to remember. The fret numbers and fingers are the same so we can focus more on the technique than on the actual arpeggio shape.

Start out the same as the single string example: tap, pull-off x2, hammer-on, tap. And then execute the string cross maneuver to get you to the 10th fret on the high e string. Now at this point you will need to move up your picking hand mute/palm mute a bit so that every string except the high e is silenced by your picking hand. From here, pinkie hammer-on to the 13th fret and then tap onto the 16th fret. You may use the same tapping finger or do what I do, which is to utilise the ring finger. Now just pull-off to the 13th fret and again to the 10th.

Do the string cross maneuver once again to return to the G string. Careful of string noise here: Keep your fretting hand low and vigilant as it ducks back to the G string to end the tapped arpeggio by doing a tapped pull-off to the pinkie on the 13th fret and then pull-off to the 10th fret.

I hope this helps!
Check out my video walkthrough below:


How to Sweep Pick: Beginner's Guide

This lesson is a no-frills study of how sweep picking is performed. Always start with the basics when learning a new technique. Nailing them and creating a strong foundation is essential for making good, quick progress. Do not dive right into large 5 and 6 string sweep shapes/passages - This is a huge and very common mistake!

The Picking Motion  

-Mute the strings by covering them with your fretting hand.
-Now using your wrist (or forearm if you would prefer - both methods work) begin by downpicking the G string. The trick here is not to pick like you would usually, but to pick through the G string and let your pick land up against the next string, in this case, the B string. So, you play the string and the pick immediately falls through and lands on the next.
-Now play the B string with another downstroke and immediately land on the high e string.
-Downpick the high e and get ready to turn around.
-Pick the high e with an upstroke this time and let the pick immediately land up against the B string.
-Upstroke the B string and land against the G string.
-Upstroke the G string, do not land against the D string, turn around again to repeat the exercise.
-Let that pick fall through the strings!


That same part of your hand that you use to mute riffs is the same you use to mute lower strings that have just been swept. Try this open string muting exercise to get a feel for palm muting in a sweep picking context.
-Place your palm mute on the strings near the bridge. Get it so that the D string is muted by your palm but the G string is not.
-Pick the G string and let your pick fall and land against the B string.
-Now pick the B string and let the pick fall and land against the high e string. At the exact same time as you do this, you want to shift your palm mute up to mute the G string.
-Now pick the high e string and again, instantly move your mute up to mute the B string.
-The palm mute chases the notes you just swept and silences them when a higher string is played. That is its purpose.
-If you can execute this exercise with 3 distinct and separate notes sounding out then you are muting well.

Clean Note Transitions

You also need to make sure that your fretting hand is transitioning between notes cleanly. This aided with a good palm mute is what creates a clean sweeping technique.
-Fret the 12th fret on the high e with the index finger and play with a downstroke.
-Now all at the same time you want to: unfret the 12th fret but do not take your finger off the string, fret the 13 fret (with middle finger) on the B string and upstroke it.
-Next, all at the same time, unfret the 13th (do not take your finger off the string though) and palm mute it, fret the 12th fret on the high e and downstroke it.
-Keep going back and forth between these two notes, fretting one and instantly unfretting the other, always keeping both of your fingers in contact with the strings. And whenever you return to the high e then your palm mute should catch the B string.

2-string and 3-string sweep examples

Use the picking motion, the palm mute, and the clean note transitions to play your first 2 string and 3 string sweep arpeggio shapes. Remember what you have learned and follow the picking instructions provided.

If any of this has been unclear then check out my video lesson below!


Mixed Scale Runs: Picking + Legato

Blast through your scale runs and create subtle texture differences in sound by mixing picking and legato. While there's little more satisfying than a perfectly executed alternate picking run, I'm a huge fan of injecting legato into the mix. Why? I believe there are two reasons:

Play faster sooner

I realised as a beginner (and struggling with alternate picking) that I could drastically increase my scale run speed by picking some notes and using hammerons & pulloffs to hit others. It gave my picking hand just enough of a rest during the legato sections to keep up.

It sounds great

I also realised that the mixture of percussive, picked notes and fluid smooth notes created a subtle yet pleasing sound difference throughout scale runs. See what I mean by giving this quick scale section a go, ascending and descending in C Major:

As abstract as this comparison is, I would compare the mixing of legato and picking to how a sparrow flies. If you've ever seen one flying overhead you may have noticed that they flap for a second or two and then tuck in their wings and fall for a moment, and then flap again, and fall again.
This is how picking + legato feels for me.
It makes me feel like a sparrow =|

Here's a brutal Jeff Loomis style shred lick using the technique!