The 13th Fret

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Hello and welcome to my inaugural column for Horror Metal Sounds! I’m looking forward to sharing some of my ideas regarding guitar playing, and music in general. I intend to cover many areas of technique (and a little theory), and even use some of what I play in my band PRISMIND to illustrate some of the concepts. Let’s get rollin’!

As it is my first column, the topic of warming up seems to be a suitable starting point. There are many different approaches for this, and I’d like to impart a few ideas that you may be able to use in your warmup routine.

From my perspective, a warmup exercise is most effective if it meets two important criteria: 1 - it tackles one or more technical areas that you require in your playing. 2 - it’s musical enough to be interesting, therefore enticing you to want to play it enough times to be effective!

To accomplish these two things, I like to compose my own exercises based on areas that I feel weak in at the time. The accompanying example (FIG.1) is one such exercise. This piece was designed to tackle two areas that I want to improve in my picking hand: constant string crossing while alternate picking (down/up strokes), and descending scale ideas while alternate picking. I know that I’m not alone in finding these to be troublesome, so chances are you’ll find this effective too.

On the topic of making a warmup musically interesting, I simply borrowed the chord progression of a popular song (in this case “I Will Survive”, by Gloria Gaynor), and fashioned the passages to reflect the progression. After hearing and playing this, I’m sure you’ll agree that it has little resemblance to “I Will Survive”, and that’s half the fun! Approaching it this way practically ensures that it will be pleasant to listen to, as it is based on actual music in the first place. Quite a contrast to how most “warmups” sound!

Click here to download Kelly's warm-up PDF!

"I’d like to impart a few ideas that you may be able to use in your warmup routine."

From a technique point of view, FIG.1 is intended for alternate picking. However, this piece could also be executed using a combination of sweep picking and legato, as briefly illustrated in FIG.2. Choose whichever version you feel addresses your weaknesses, or spend a few minutes on both.

Finally, make sure you are starting this at a tempo that yields ZERO mistakes consistently before increasing the speed. After you get the hang of it, see if you can loop it for 5 minutes while maintaining accuracy. Good luck!

Any questions (or if you'd like the actual Guitar Pro file) send me a message via my Facebook page.

Kelly Kereliuk, HMS

More guitar techniques from Kelly