Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dolcetti - Metallo Beat (tentative Review)

"We are Dolcetti, we shred and we love you!".
These words uttered by Gianni Rojatti (they were actually in Italian Noi siamo i Dolcetti. Facciamo shred e vi vogliamo bene!) lead me into the amazing Dolcetti word.
I had a chance to hear them at what was scheduled in my mind as "my first The Aristocrats' concert" but is now remembered as "my first The Aristocrats and Dolcetti's concert" (and also the Cynic & death metal concert, but that's another story).

It didn't take long until I logged on amazon music and I found something similar to the thing down here:


In a few clicks I downloaded the Metallo Beat album. It rocks for various reasons.

Structurally: all songs are 3.33 long (which I guess is half 6.66 which is quite a metal beat number, but it was something our way of counting minutes made it difficult to have).

Structurally II: all song except "Away from home" start with "Tr".

Structurally III: all songs except the aforementioned "Away from home" - what's wrong with being away from home?!??! - are instrumental (besides some vocals popping out from time to time).

Ok, that's so much for the bio. What about the music?
Of course it shreds! But it shreds, differently... wisely.

Describing the album track by track is futile. There's way too much inside.
So, let's limit to the first track, Tribale. It starts with crazy tapping on heavy dropped grooves, but in a while we're into liquid jazzy-fusion shredding. Enough? Of course not! It's keyboard time (?!?) for an ambient atmospheare on the something that should be conceived as a "chorus".
Tremendous neoclassical tapped arpeggios are the next ingredient, but of course in the world of Dolcetti neoclassical is not something extremely canonical that you've probably heard before. Before the 3.33 are over - round the third minute - there a guitarist and drummer dialogue that goes more or less as follows:
G: "What do you want me to do next?"
D: "Do what you can do better!"
which brings us to the last "section" of the "song".
The tremendous thing is that this always surprising mixture... makes a lot of sense!



Ok, given that I've said tremendous twice and that's the last track of the album (Dolcetti makes even writing about their album difficult!) I have a chance to say something about it. It's probably the most conventional track, it's all fast and neoclassical and... no. Here we shred fusion again, things turn jazzy, keyboards go hammond and much more...

Well, that's enough. Before closing with the track list, a few advice and spoilers:

1. you may start to sing "don't stand so close to me" on track two;
2. it seems Elio is on the album;
3. you should get that album;
4. live they are even more a lot of fun. There are much more keyboards and beat and stuff. Find a way to be at one of their concerts!

And, yes, Dolcetti are only a drummer (the almighty Erik Tulissio) and a guitar player (Gianni Rojatti). But that's a secret.

Tracklist.
1 Tribale
2 Transient
3 Transport
4 Tremors
5 Trytrebor
6 Away From Home
7 Tresex
8 Tremendous

(all songs are 3.33 long so that Dolcetti had no need in pricing them differently if you were to buy single tracks)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How to handle practicing breakdowns? Just play the guitar!

It's a though and hectic period and you simply can't plan to follow a method, go through different exercises, learn some new riffs and song, improve your music theory. What should you do then?

I think that, while waiting for a better period to start scheduling and planning, the answer is quite simple: JUST PLAY!

just play guitar!


Playing guitar should be fun and, indeed, it is a lot of fun! If you are frustrated by not reaching a certain goal or feel sick and tired about your daily playing probably there's something you are doing wrong.

Anyway, the just play option means keep playing!
Of course playing more relaxed, if we focus of technicque, might mean incorporate bad playing into your overall playing, which is something we don't want. So here a few tips to turn the just play! option into something more usefull that will keep you into guitar without damaging you.

Try to relax and go for something easy: play some nice chords and learn some easy song.
Watch a guitar video on scales / chords and phrasing: then spend some time improvising and thinking about music.
Try to learn some licks you like: take usual precaution starting slow and then increase speed. But to not take it as an exercise. You are not planning on it for weeks. It's just a way to spend some 10 minutes on the guitar without loosing all you've earned before!

Related Posts
How to Practice guitar: overview
Guitar practice tips: Overcoming speed limits and breaking speed barriers
Ditones how to: what are ditones and how to use them part I

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Learning song on guitar: how to study and practice

We are surrounded by tablatures and learn to play videos. There are some really good ones. The guitar code is partly already cracked and, keep borrowing Tony Grady's metaphor, there's no longer any need to sit down with a casio SX-1 sampling, slowing down licks and transcribing them.
Still, none of us is a Yngwie or and Impellitteri.

You may have all the tabs you ever wanted, but still suck at playing guitar if you don't learn how to study a song. Below there are some tips and strategies. The general idea is that you're not studying someone else's piece, you are growing as a musician and you are making yours whatever it happens that you are playing.


song structure example




More in detail, here we go:

1) I like to know what I'm doing, that's why I like the Ditones method and its combinatorial approach. When learning a song this means that I want to know what I'm playing. Which means:

2) I want to know how the song is organized. How many riffs does it have? What follows after chorus? Having a song structure is one of the most importat things to start learning a song in a systematic way.

3) I want to have some idea of how the music work. To discover this, just ask yourself the following questions: what is the key of the song? what are the main chords used? which scales are used for it?

4) Having a general idea of the whole matters. Now start matching the different parts with the techniques involved, writing down possible problems (e.g.: a fast picking riff, some difficult bendings).

5) Find a nice way to start, possibly the riff or rhythm so that you start getting the groove and feel of the piece. If it's something instrumental, consider the main melody as a starting point.

6) Start learning the notes first. Start slow and learn where your finger have to go. Then increase speed.

7) Whenever something is difficult, break it in smaller part and make it manageable.

8) Experiment on the song: play the theme from the second bar, invert the pedal tones, try similar rhythm ideas.

9) Basically every song you learn is a lesson you teach yourself.
Such a lesson feature some theory to understand its structure and how it works plus some exercises that will prepare you for the riffs and licks. The fun part is that you are going to be your teacher, so it's up to you not to bore yourself. Good luck!

I am now struggling with Iron Maiden's Losfer Word. I hope to share something from this experience...

Let me know how it's going!

Related Posts
How to Practice guitar: overview
Guitar practice tips: Overcoming speed limits and breaking speed barriers
Ditones how to: what are ditones and how to use them part I

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ditones (guitar exercise) vs. Ditone (interval)

Sometimes terminological clarifications are needed.
DITONES, the book of guitar exercises by Begotti and Fazari happens to have the same name of ditone, that is used to refer to the interval of a major third (e.g: C-E).

ditones book cover

Actually, in Italian "dito" means finger, and a "ditone" (singular) is a big finger. Hence using DITONES method you'll end up having big functional fingers, as Paul Gilbert.

This story has something useful for us all as practicing guitarists. "Ditone" also means two tones, i.e. more generically an interval.
Is there a way to combine ditones as playing the two notes of the interval and the DITONES approach as a method of exhaustion of the available combinations?
How can we improve our guitar practice relying on that fact?



Related Posts
How to Practice guitar: overview
Ditones how to: what are ditones and how to use them part I

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Extending ditones guitar lesson 1: stretching

We talked already about how to make guitar exercises your guitar exercises. There's another powerful methodology in studying the guitar: play what you know in a new way.

This zen-like saying can be fruitfully applied to our beloved lesson 1 of the Ditones book, that of two fingers combination. Let's assume we already have some control of the material, we know where to put our fingers, we have an idea of how it should sound and we understand what kinds of techniques we are targetting by way of the exercises. Cool.

Now we are going to practice exactly the same material but changing fingering. We have already seen that the 12 ditones (index and middle finger) sounds as ditones 34 (ring finger and pinky). Nonetheless, having the same strength in 34 and in 12 is quite hard.

Chris Impellitteri stretching


We're going to do the something similar to this refingering of 12 as 34, this time using stretching. So let's move up in the neck up to position VII or XII or whenever you are confortable. We are going to play some wild stretches, so relax and be careful.
We are going to learn six stretching ditones variations for two fingers.

Take our old 13 ditones, say between 12 fret and 14 fret. Instead of using the 13 ditones, 12 (1) - 14 (3) - the number between brackets is that of the finger, try with your first and second finger. This shall give us

stretch variation I: 12 (1) - 14 (2).

Guess what's next? Of course we are going to exhaust the combinations so we'll try to insert and empyt fret also between finger 2 and 3, and even between finger 3 and 4, i.e.:

stretch variation II: 12 (2) - 14 (3);
stretch variation III: 12 (3) - 14 (4).

Our next variation adds two empty frets between finger 1 and 3. Basically we are playing ditones 14 with index and middle finger, as follows:

stretch variation IV: 12 (1) - 15 (3).

Our last two variations require first and extra semitone by your index-pinky stretch and then an extra whole tone. These two shall help while playing arpeggios or pentatonic licks. As said already, if the neck is too wide at XII move along where your hands fit into it and then shift backwards:

stretch variation V: 12 (1) - 16 (4);
stretch variation VI: 12 (1) - 17 (4).

That's all for now. Relax, stretch and play. And don't forget to join the ditones journey.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ditones chronicle: guitar practice and my mistakes

It's always good to review your practice and see whether it's matching your goals.
Let's see what I did in August and plans for September.

In the previous month I was getting acquainted with the Ditones book. Basically I went through the first 3 lessons which constitute the foundamentals of the book: 2 digits ditones, 3 digits ditones, 4 digits ditones respectively. I was confident with the material but it was not perfect, so I tried to consolidate it.

I focused on the last 3 exercises of lesson 2 (kapott, keelbert and the super sayan level) and on the last four of lesson 3 (skip, add, pelota and the super sayan level). I start every session with some nice and slow arpeggio I alternate picked, as a warm up, then I moved to a slow 40 bpm kapott to get the picking right and then start with keelbert and the string skipping super sayan of level (ex. 2.6). I played both exercises at a speed that for me was slow (40 bpm), mid (60) and fast (75 or slightly more).

After an hour of these stuff, I moved to lesson 3. In particular I spent most of the time on 3.4 which features 4 digits legato.

ditones book cover


I then add something more musical to it before closing the session. I played some riff from she's my sin (Nightwish), far beyond the sun (Malmsteen), crazy train (Ozzy Osbourne), losfer words (Iron Maiden). Nothing more than 3/4 minutes per riff.

That went on for at least 10 days. I improved some metronomes a bit, adjusting and figuring out where I needed to practice more and where I might try to get a +5 on the bpm.

Then I realized I was doing some mistakes:
1) I needed far better keelbert and legato to even attempt the sayan levels: they were fun to be attempted at first, but I did not gain that much out of them and especially the skips of 2.6 are terribly hard for now to be done properly;
2) in practicing 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7 I chose a finger per day: all ditones starting with II, then all the chart for III. For me that was a problem. I overfocused on a small amount of combinations, did far too many repetitions and got stuck into speed barriers;
3) I practiced too much with the metronome forgetting about the backing tracks. You might think that's not so bad, but with an exercise as pelota that raises its bpm as it goes on I got sloppy when playing the exercise for real.

I then shift the focus on fewer exercises (keelbert and 3.4) playing them on a smaller amount of the fretboard but practicing the whole ditones set each day. I also reduced the repetitions at different bpms focusing on rhythm and trying to play the exercise at a single slow tempo (40-50 for 16-th notes; 60-75 for triples). To get the faster tempo I used the burst technique used in some Ditones exercises: I "just" played 32-th notes rather than 16-notes and 16-th notes triplets instead of 8th-notes triplets.

It was a mess at first! Rhythm and groove came to be a problem as well. I learnt that a fingering or lick or exercise is not yours until you can play it confortably at different metric divisions. This double time study also allowed me to appreciate small increasements: I dared to play 3.4 at 65, getting it at speed at what would be 130 bpm (16-notes). That was something I even feared to try!
Of course, when that ways of studying prevents you from trying an exercise at a certain speed, you spend some extra time practicing it at the speed you want.

My Ditones improved a lot.

Mh, what about songs and more musical things?
I made progresses on losfer words and I now I want to go through it all, solo included. That's gonna be quite a challenge!
I kept only far beyond the sun riff and add blinded by fear (At the Gates) three riffs - starting really slow - and also some power metal 16-notes (Knights of the cross - Grave Digger). My idea is to use them to build aggressive groove, be accurate and improve my right hand.

These were another 10 days of intense practice.
Then I had to stop for a while but I'm still thinking about ditones and guitar, despite the fact that at present I can't practice. I rethought my schedule and goals and had some more ditones-related ideas. More on that soon!

Related Posts
How to Practice guitar: overview
Guitar practice tips: Overcoming speed limits and breaking speed barriers
Ditones how to: what are ditones and how to use them part I



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guitar Exercises Ditones Variations on Keelbert

The importance of creating some variations on your exercises has never been stressed enough in talking about how to practice the guitar (link vecchio post).

Here is my take on Keelbert, DITONES book ex. 2.6.

It is a classic three-notes per string ascending sextuplets pattern which repeat on every two strings:

D:-----------------------1-2-3-
A:--------1-2-3--1-2-3--------
E:-1-2-3-----------------------

[you got the idea].

Paul Gilbert rocks

As both Paul Gilbert and Kee Marcello used to do, rather than picking through all the notes you can give your picking hand some rest by way of playing half of the sextuplet with legato. Thus, you have this (legato is by way of hammer on (h), I further put it in bold:

D:------------------------1-2-3-
A:--------1-2-3--1h2h3---------
E:-1h2h3------------------------

This is the patter Keelbert wants you to practice.

After a month and more practicing the exercise I realized that in order to have the legato working in a smoother way it was usefull to play the Keelbert mixed picking and legato pattern and then play the whole sequence with alternate picking.
This gave me confidence and suggested me to play also the second half of the sextuplets with legato, as follows:

D:-------------------------1h2h3-
A:--------1h2h3-1h2h3----------
E:-1h2h3-------------------------

I now practice my pick & legato variation of Keelbert with the following picking patterns: standard Keelbert; sextuplet-legato; strict alternate picking

D:-------------------------1-2-3-
A:--------1-2-3--1h2h3---------
E:-1h2h3------------------------

D:------------------------1h2h3-
A:--------1h2h3-1h2h3--------
E:-1h2h3-----------------------

D:-----------------------1-2-3-
A:--------1-2-3--1-2-3--------
E:-1-2-3-----------------------

For each pattern I ascend, switch up position, descend, switch up a position, ascend again, switch up another posititon, descend again.

Of course you could have much more variation: what about doing it with a different number of ascending/descending? What about inserting a fourth picking hand patter (say, economy picking?), or a fifth (pick the first half of the sextuplet and use legato on the second)?
Come up with your own variations and share them!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

How to practice guitar: overview

The issue of how to practice guitar is one of the most important if you want to bring get something out of your guitar playing. That's an overview of the problems involved with guitar practice.

1. You have to be aware of your approach to guitar practice;
2. You need to know what to practice (and what not or practice);
3. You need to know what might go wrong when practicing the guitar.

Let's start bottom up.

Guitar practicing: the wrong way
The idea of having to practice might make you quit guitar playing :(
You feel you are doing guitar exercises but you are going nowhere, and your musical skills are not improving. Practicing has to be fun, after all we are playing guitar which is an endless joy as Steve Vai put's it.




Further, there are different ways in which you can hurt both yourself and your playing while playing practing in a bad way (always playing slow, always playing fast, playing in a wrong position). [If you want to know more than this quick overview mention just google the topic.]


Guitar practice: the 3 big areas
Roughly there are three sort of things worth knowing BEFORE planning your guitar practice routine.
In order to produce music you have to deal with:

(i) technical things (alternate picking, sweep picking, tapping... and DITONES of course!);
(ii) practical things (playing rhythm, finding the right groove and feeling, be comfortable while jamming, getting the right tune);
(iii) theory things (music theory, sight reading, harmony, study of improvisation, ear training, making transcription).

You first need two different plans: (1) a short term one (e.g.: I want to play song X) and (2) a long term one (e.g.: I want to be confortable with the techniques of song X, I want to play in a cover band; I want to know what's going on in the music I play).

Then, according to what your plans are, you choose on what to focus in your practicing sessions.
The idea is that you should focus on all the aspects of playing music you are interesting into for every: (i) single practice session; (ii) mid term practice session (say, a week); (iii) long term practice session (a month).
You need to be able to track your progress and goals.

Guitar practice: your approach
Practicing is music in another way.
Find your balance between technique strictly speaking (in my routine, ditones exercises) but don't limit to them. Edit them constantly, practice as a support to the song you are studying and learn to see the exercise you are focusing come out in real playing situation (as happened here with Yngwie Malmsteen's Far Beyond the sun)



guitar practice schedule


Monday, August 11, 2014

Far beyond the sun: Malmsteen with ditones (Guitar practice)

As I said many times, ditones are a state of mind. Here I'll demonstrate this taking a small fragment from the "rhythm" of Yngwie Malmsteen most famous "Far Beyond the Sun", that opens his Rising Force (1984) album.

Let's consider the last two bars before the Yngwie's presentation lick. We have a little dimineshed arpeggio (2 notes per string from D to low E) and a small scalar fragment that crashes on a power chords.

Now think ditones: the arpeggio is nothing but the tremendous 1.5 exercise in which we had 3 groups of 2 notes per string, resulting in a sextuplet (here we have two triplets). The fingers are 4 and 1.
Go back to that exercise and repeat it.

To get the Yngwie phrase, mix that with pelota (3.6), i.e. add a position shift everytime you change string. Here you obtain:

D:-6-3------------
A:------5-2-------
E:-----------4-1--

Now for the scale sequence you'll have a burst section. The notes are twice as faster (8-th triplets, no more quarter notes!) and you have something you are used to in Keelbert (ditones 134)

A:--------2-4-5-
E:-2-4-5--------

you than seal going back as follows:

D:-------------------4
A:---4-2------------4
E:--------5-4-2-1---2

Beware of the position shift between 2-1-power chords.
And remember that Yngwie's tune is a half step down (Eb).

Still worried there's no exercise here?
You can obtain a nice arpeggio version of 1.5 and pelota, extending this idea and having something musical. Go and figure it out youself and comment with the exercise below, if you wish.

Remember to subscribe and share your ditones journey!

diminished arpeggio scheme



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Guitar practice tips: Overcoming speed limits and breaking speed barriers

Have you ever got stuck into an exercise or passage or song you cannot play?
For me that's the situation with lesson 3 ex 5 of the ditones book which is call "add".
The exercise is a 115 bpm one, going vertical with 4 digits ditones (see the ditones how to), each time adding a string (5th and 4th; 5th, 4th, 3rd; etc). I'm stuck at around 100-108, dipending on the days, even if I am able to play the next exercise "pelota" - 3.6 - that features some speed bursts at 120).

I play it slow everyday, practice with care but, no matter what, I won't get it at 115.
There's some psychological trick involved here.

So, what can we do about that?

There's no bpm you can't beat.
The hard part is reaching a certain bpm with your hands doing a certain exercise. Here's how the psychology goes. Take an easy example: 200 bpm. A pretty fast thing, though.
Nonetheless:

1) You can "beat" 200 bpm playing quarter notes.
2) You can play eight notes with some practice.

With some practice you can

3) Get stright 16th notes on time is more tricky, but you can still do it...

Nonetheless,

4) Nailing down a 1234 exercise rather than a simple empty low E string can still seem impossible...

But, wait! There is always a way to play a certain bpm. Steps 1-3 proved you that. It is not that 200 bpm is too fast for you, there's no tempo you have to fear. 200 bpm is now too complicated for you to get 16 notes 1234 in an accurate and coordinated way.

So you can start working on 1234 at 100 bpm or 120. You may then reach 140 bpm with is something that allows you to play the theme from this video...

Turning to practical things, this mean that in order to avoid the "here I am again at the bpm I can't play" panic or psychological breakdown, you have to start feeling confortable at that bpm or even higher. That's a list of the things to do:

1) Just play a simple 8-th notes rhythm, then try a few licks on that beat, play quarter notes, eight notes and 16-notes and get confortable.
2) Then play some easier ditones, such as that on a single string and one on two strings.
3) Now go back to your exercise and you'll be surprised how much more confortable and more relaxed you feel. The beat won't seem to fast and no good for you.

So you only have to coordinate you picking and fretting hand at that beat. Good luck!

Remember to coordinate with that blog and subscribe. And please comment telling how your ditones journey is going!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Speed is the product of lazyness: Guitar techniques, shredding and rhythm (Guitar practice)


Is speed the product of lazyness?

This may sounds controversial or paradoxical, but it’s true indeed. Watch your favourite guitarist (here in the vid there’s Guthrie Govan with his wonderful Waves) and look carefully at his hands.
It seems they are not moving as they should: there are way to many notes coming out from such a few movements. Accuracy which is the base of speed - that's why we practice slow - somehow incorporates lazyness. In particular:

picking hand: there’s almost no motion, even when alternate picking gets really intense;
fretting hand: all the fingers are close to the strings and the frets.

It takes time to recognize which fret is fretting and how the picking hand is moving. I remember watching a video by Michael Romeo of Symphony X in which it was hard to figure out which fingers were fretting and which were not.

Unfortunately, this laziness is something you need to train. Here are two tips on what to focus.

picking hand: limit the motion, keep it short, do not wave the pick, move on a stright line (sweep picking helps you a lot to build this perpendicular to the strings approach, which does not imply that your picking angle has to be flat);

fretting hand: to not throw away your fingers once you fret a note. Keep them down close to the neck.

Concerning the picking hand, here is a practical list to start working on the perpendicular lazy approach:

1. grab your guitar and assume your picking position;
2. determine the area of the guitar in which you spend most of the time picking (if you have troubles, play a lick or exercise or song and find out). Consider this as a useful occasion to record yourself playing;
3. draw a line perpendicular to the strings on the body of your guitar, so that you can visualize your picking line (you can use some tape or refer to some line between the pickups. Mind your guitar body if you have some good guitar or if you are a Strat-purist);
4. to track your progresses, take a marker or highlighter and draw the same line, this time on your strings. The more you pick there the more it should go away (I've been told violin and viola players have to erase the marks while learning the fretting positions;
5. enjoy your practice and try to concentrate on your picking line. This shall also help to focus on making shorter movements, improving your lazyness and accuracy.

Ron Thal / Bumblefoot / Buckethead
[image source: jamplay.com]


Bonus
Take a look at this wonderfull guitar lesson by Bumblefoot / Ron Thal on jamplay.com in which he stress how important it is to play with the beat at... 40 bpm.
Get ready to get really lazy, but don't forget to subscribe and share: join the ditones journey!



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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ditones how to: what are ditones and how to use them part II (Guitar practice)

Here's the second installment of the  "Ditones how to: what are ditones and how to use them" that explains ditones, the guitar technique method created by Donato Begotti. In the first part we've seen what are ditones, now it's time to see how to use them. It's time to shred with ditone!

2. How to Use Ditones?
Now that we've learnt the basic philosophy of ditones, we can see how to use them. The idea i to use the previous 24 single string exercises, expanding them into more complicated mechanics. Here are a few examples:

1) what about playing ditones on a string and its attached one - 1234 on B string and 1234 on E string - then go up a position and go for the inverted ditones; 4321 on E, 4321 on B? Then repeat for the other 23 combos and on different sets of two strings...
2) what about playing on sets of 3, 4, 5, 6 (or 7 and 8, if you have them) strings?
3) what about ascending in groups of strings?
4) what about using string skipping when playing ditones?
5) what about having legato ditones?
6) what about changing rhythm figures, e.g.: How many 1234 4321 repetions you need to fit triplets or sextuplets patterns?

That is the way to unleash the power of ditones. A few combinations - 24 - cover all the finger independence mechanics. Once you master them, you can create different exercises covering all the other guitar mechanics that goes beyond the finger indepence: changing strings, picking different rhythmic divisions, odd meters, legato, string skipping.

For you own convenience, here's again the ditones chart for you to apply some variations on:

ditones chart

[image credits: Donato Begotti]


As already said in part I, there's little music involved into the combinations but that's better because it makes you focus on your sound and technique.

If you want to know more about ditones, consider the ditones book by Begotti and Fazari which has backing tracks, progressive goals and bonus levels. Remember that ditones can be further extended.

If interested in more development please subscribe and share: join the ditones journey!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ditones how to: what are ditones and how to use them part I (Guitar practice)

Ditones is the name of the guitar technique method created by Donato Begotti.
You can find them online on Donato's website (here is the presentation the videos and pdf). Later on, given the success of the method, it become a book (this one, and that's how I entered ditones).

The idea is simple: if you want to achieve coordination and finger independece, you are going to try out all the possible finger combinations. Given 4 fingers on the fretboard and the fact that you are not going to use any finger more than once (at least for now) - i.e. no 1124 - doing all the 1234 combinations gives you 24 combinations (6 different patterns for each finger you use to start).


1. How Ditones Work?
This is how ditones work:

1) you pick one of the combinations, say 1234 or 2143:
2) you play it from left to right (1234 or 2143);
3) you shift the position of your fretting hand moving down one fret;
4) you play the ditones, this time from right to left (4321 or 3412). This one is called the inverted-ditones.

This sounds pretty easy and strightforward for 1234, but what about inverting (and playing) a 3142 into 2413?
That's a lot of extra value in working through the 24 combinations (and you also find out that there are 24 combos for 3 fingers and 12 for 2 fingers).

This easy mechanics gives you a nice way to move your fingers and coordinate your hands. You already have 24 exercises that combine 24 + 24 mechanics (the straightforward ditones and its inverted-one).
All the 48 mechanics are connected: when you play the exotic 3421 you'll be reliefed to find the most usual 1243 as its inverted-ditones.
So the mechanics are all connected and you can use the easy and known combinations (basically the one involving the first finger) to learn the unknow ones.

Summing up:

tabella ditones

[image credits: Donato Begotti]


Note that there's little music involved into the combinations. That might be a problem, but it also gives you less "nice melody" distracting you build you own sound and technicque (if you have a nice sound even a 1234 exercise sounds as your music).
You set progressive goals, find a way to track your efforts and see that the more you invest in your playing the more you get. And that's simply amazing!!!

The ditones book has progressive lessons and ad-hoc drum-based backing tracks for each exercise. Goals are progressive and completing the book becomes a challenge. That's really the gamification of guitar technique (you have bonus super sayan levels at the end of lesson 1, 2 and 3 ;))!
The book also covers 2 and 3 fingers combination as well as rolling and some sweep picking. It further provides you with the ditones mind set that allows you to see your path into discovering the guitar and music.

The book and its approach can be extended and further explored.
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[update: Part two (how to use ditones) is on this page]

Related posts
Ditones how to: what are ditones and how to use them part II
From Shred Guitar Mechanics to Music Theory and Music



Saturday, July 26, 2014

From shred guitar mechanics to music theory and music

As guitarists, we all came across 1234 exercises, guitar gyms, picking workouts, speed methods, chops development and so on. You may find them boring, you may find them useful but as a shredder you'll have to spend some time on them.

That book had me started practicing on a daily base with goals in mind, having and idea of where I was going. Something that I have never experienced before.
I also started to use it to approach music and see a lot of guitar stuff ditones-like or ditones-oriented.

Here I’d like to discuss how ditones can be further extended, what are the best ways to practice them and approach the guitar without getting stuck into the playing-exercise guy and explore ways in which we can fill that technique to music gap.

Too often in shred guitar you can play a scale at 200 bpm but still not nail down a tune from Led Zeppelin IV and, when asked to strum some chords and sing along something from a nice Tegan & Sara album you make an ugly face.
[That’s me, except that I also fail the 200bpm scale]

So here we go: how can we get the most out of ditones?
How do we go from ditones to music?

Subscribe and stay tuned!
These are the issues we're gonna cover...

shredding ditones guy