Improve Your Playing By Learning The 3 Components of Guitar Control

by Claude Johnson Did you ever notice that guitar greats like Hendrix, Clapton, Satana, and Van Halen play with near total control and expressiveness? Why are there so few guitarists that can play like that? More importantly, how can YOU inject control and expressiveness into your lead guitar playing? In this journey of learning and mastering the guitar, I wanted to answer this important question. I had an idea of learning "pure control" over the guitar. In other words, a gut-level expressiveness and raw improvisational ability. After thinking about it, (and after years of practice), I would say there are 3 essential components, that when put together, form a powerful foundation for this kind of expressive lead guitar control. These three components are 1) Technique , 2) Fretboard Knowledge, and 3) a "Brain-to-Hand" Connection. These 3 components work together to allow you to make beautiful lead guitar music in your own style. Let us briefly discuss each component. First, technique. Technique is the basic physical ability to play notes on the guitar. Without at least a basic technique, it is essentially impossible to play any music at all on the guitar. If you've been playing guitar for any amount of time, you already posess a certain level of basic technique. It is my personal opinion that most, or at least many modern guitarists overemphasize technique. For example, being able to play through a scale at a fast pace doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to play a better solo. What is the purpose and role of technique? If your goal is to play from the heart, then technique should be there to serve that purpose, and nothing more. In other words, technique's purpose is to allow you to play the notes that you hear in your head, without stumbling. Technique is not complex. Improving technique itself is simply a matter of patience, practice, and consistency.

This is just as important as being able to play quickly. After that. which you should also learn all over the neck. you are really learning all the modes of that scale as well. I tend to focus on the major/minor scales. etc are all just inversions of the major scale. then you'll understand why I say that technique is the most straightforward part about learning the guitar. The modes such as dorian. Work on string skipping licks and arpeggios. Unfortunately. learn sequences on each of the scales. such as G major. Practice alternate picking. it is important to be able to play through each scale. For technique. . many guitarists stop with just learning technique. If this is all stuff you've probably heard before. phyrigian.As far as actual practice goes. Unless you're already pretty advanced. You should also work to develop a powerful bending and vibrato technique so as to improve your phrasing. When you learn a complete scale all over the neck. Another underrated scale is the simple pentatonic scale. It is better to go deep and master the basics than to know a little bit about many different scales or modes. lydian. don't worry about learning 29 different exotic scales.

Notice the physical relationship on the fretboard. in an A blues progression. using the A minor pentatonic scale. Notice the A minor triad overlaps with the scale on the 5th fret on the top three strings. I could go on and . many ways to conceptualize the fretboard. more scales. and to entire chord progressions. playing two notes per string. but it is more meaningful within the context of a scale or chord progression. Notice all the degrees of the scale. the greater your fretboard knowledge and mastery will be. many. And you should be able to see the relationship between the A7 chord and the D7 chord. "Memorizing" the fretboard is often a misused concept.The second component to “guitar control” is fretboard knowledge. such as the A on the 10th fret B string. notice how the notes in A pentatonic (A C D E G) are a subset of the notes in C major. modes. which is the third of the D chord. Then. and how that theory applies to the particular layout of the guitar fretboard. in multiple voicings. knowing their various combinations (such as scales. And you should be able to see that the G is one half step above the F#. and the smooth voice leading from the G down to the F#. This is the pentatonic scale that guitarsists are probably most familiar with. etc). So if you're playing the G on the 8th fret B string. For example. Notice the relationship between scales used to solo over a progression and the chord tones within the chords of that progression. And this is all just the beginning. you should be able to see all the notes around it. and beyond. Notice the first octave is 2 frets and 2 strings away. and ending on the 8th fret high E string (C).. For example. Let's say you memorize that the 8th fret on the B string is a G. and the intervallic relationship to every other note. That by itself is of some value. you should also be able to see that the G is part of the A7 chord. But go a little deeper with analysis. take a simple A minor pentatonic scale. and the more you know. It encompasses music theory. The scale itself is easy to learn and play. Now go deeper.. This includes knowing where the notes are on the fretboard. without the IV and the VII. There are many. starting on the 5th fret low A string. which is the root. chord voicings. which is the IV chord in the progression. and you discover a wealth of fretboard knowledge. Now expand these kinds of observations to more positions. the G is considered "the 7th". Notice the V (5th) note (E) on the B string at the 5th fret.

. It all starts with the energy of inspiration. What you feel in your heart and hear in your head is simply played directly. I learned how to play totally from the heart. One way is "if you get lost" on the neck. the more familiar you are with all these conceptualizations of the fretboard. The bottom line is. And I played some very inspiring and powerful leads. I was playing lead guitar in a band at the time. the deeper your understanding will go. you can fall back on what you know. and this is what I call the "brain-to-hand" connection. you learn the various ways of thinking about the fretboard. but hopefully this gives you an idea of what I mean by fretboard knowledge. you deepen your understanding and knowledge. without thought. The third aspect of guitar control is perhaps the most powerful. there is no room for thought. and also use my technique to serve the purpose of expression. It can help you in many subtle ways. without any considerations. often the rest of the phrase falls under your fingers.when you're playing a deeply passionate solo. However. Now here is a critical concept . which comes from within. One exercise you can do is simply to practice getting good at nailing the first note of a phrase that you are imagining in your head.. . Therefore. Its very powerful because once you hit the first note. I refused to know or learn what key I was playing in. There was a time when I focusing specifically on developing the brain-to-hand connection.. It is the most raw and abstract skill for improvising. There is no room for conceptualization. I call this the “first note” exercise. Eventually. occasionally I would get lost. there's many other exercises you can do. and . yet still feel grounded by the knowledge of the fretboard. I was able to integrate the two.get this. but you don't let this get in the way of emotion and feeling.. I have created several unique drills and exercises specifically to foster this rare ability. But. This takes a specific kind of ear training and there are certain exercises you can do to facilitate the growth of this ability.on.

how do you improve your playing? You simply work on each of those areas – fretboard knowledge.guitarcontrol. this course is an excellent addition to your learning toolbox. If you want to play from the Claude Johnson .So. Lots of instructors can teach you specific theory.guitarcontrol. Do yourself a favor . It is a 2 DVD set called "Killer Guitar Control Secrets". Rock on. or how to improve your technique. I have put together a course specifically on improving your control. fretboard knowledge. using these 3 concepts . and see what it can do for your guitar playing. and the brain to hand connection. but no one teaches "guitar control". www. all the best in life and the guitar. get a copy of this course. and you can only get it at one place – www. and your brain-to-hand connection.technique.php Anyways. and in my opinion. will make the critical difference for a lot of guitar players.php I invite you to visit my site. and take advantage of my risk-free offer today.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful