Using Songs To Develop Your Guitar Technique Skills

Using Songs To Develop Your Guitar Technique Skills

Today’s blog is about using songs as technique exercises.
There are a couple of really good songs, that will greatly improve your dexterity, speed, accuracy, and anything technical facility.

Most guitar players who want to develop those skills do technique exercises.
However: it is really fun to develop those physical skills through songs that have technical challenges.

Trampled Under Foot

Here’s a really cool live version of this song

There are 2 lines in this song that will help improve your picking technique.

The first riff, and the melody line after the ascending 6th intervals.

The 3 double stops are downstrokes. Alternate pick the notes in the single-note line.

Here’s the 2nd line. Same here: the 2 double stops are downstrokes, and alternate pick the single-note line.

Because of the fast tempo, these are great picking exercises.

Message In A Bottle

I still remember: it took me a REALLY long time before I could play this riff without stumbling.
This riff is played with downstrokes.

The chords are C#sus2, Asus2, Bsus2, F#sus2

The chord formula of sus2 chords is: 1 2 5
As you can tell by the chord shapes, you can form a sus2 chord by stacking two 5th intervals (power chords) on top of one another.

You can lift up your finger after every note, or keep everything ringing as a chord.
Here’s what the riff looks like:

You can learn how to play the riff at the beginning of this video

Bad Moon Rising

You might think to yourself: “Bad Moon Rising? How can this strummy CCR song improve my technique”?

The technique practice is located in the 2nd bar of each verse line: the measure with the A G chords.
I teach my students to play that measure using the country rhythm style, where you hit the A bass note first, then strum the A chord, following by the G bass note first, and then strum the G chord.

At that speed, most students have a hard time hitting the A and G bass notes accurately without hitting the wrong bass strings or multiple bass strings.
This will tighten up your rhythm playing and picking hand technique.

Bring it on Home

The first riff in the song, is oftentimes played with hammer-ons and pull-offs, as transcribed here:

However: you could also turn this into picking exercises, picking all the notes.

This riff following riff, from the same song, proves quite challenging for most intermediate guitar players.

You can learn how to play it here:

The Bring It On Home Funky Part

Ain’t Talking About Love

This is another really great picking exercise.

Alternate pick everything till the bass notes at the end of the riff.

The bass notes are all downstrokes.
Pinch harmonic the C and B notes on the A string at the end.

You can learn how to play this riff towards the end of this video

Of course: the pinch harmonics are easier to pop out when you play with heavy overdrive or distortion.
Playing on the bridge pick-up also makes it easier to get the harmonics to pop.


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