- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
Originally published at Insane Guitar
This month’s lesson was going to be a fragments from several of
Paganini’s 24 Caprices. However, I received a bit of mail last month
asking me to expound on a few ideas for breaking out of ruts, and a bit
of other advice.
One reader (Bob from Florida) wanted to know if I could elaborate on
octave displacement (which we talked about in "Insanity #2 (Magic with
Melody Fragments"). Well, Bob, rather than just moving the melody around
in different octaves, try getting REALLY radical: Displace the
individual notes of a lick or scale. This is bound to shake things up
The same treatment given to the C major scale:
I also received a letter from "John Doe from parts unknown" (be sure to
include your name and general location when you write, folks!!!) asking
about other ideas for breaking out of ruts. One suggestion is using
limits. Limit yourself to a single idea or technique and see where it
takes you. For example, try soloing exclusively on one or two strings.
Another suggestion is using percussion patterns (paradiddles or latin
grooves or what-have-you) as picking patterns. I’ll expound on this idea
in a future article, but play around with it a bit and see where it you
Finally, Rob from Louisville writes to ask about injuries to the hands
and wrists. Well, Rob – I’m no doctor, but having had my share of
injuries from boxing and skateboarding and other physical endeavors, I
have a few helpful hints that might work for you and other readers as
well as they worked for me.
1) Pull-ups. Doing a few sets of pull-ups or chin-ups is a fantastic
exercise for hands and wrists (as well as arms and shoulders) which
builds strength and increases flexibility.
2) Push-ups. Not as crucial as pull-ups, but still an excellent exercise – and chicks dig the results!!!
3) Squeezes. Squeezing putty or a hand exerciser doesn’t do much for
flexibility, but it focuses on strength development in the hands and
it’s a great warm-up before playing, too.
4) Stretching. Make sure your hands are warmed up before stretching them. Then stretch wrists and hands and fingers.
Let me know if this works for you, Rob (and other IG readers).
A final note: I’ll be doing a series of guitar clinics and workshops
in the next few months (starting in September). If you’re interested in
one in your area, drop me a line and we can discuss it.
See ya next time!