What’s happening Premier Guitarist? Thanks
for tuning into the first installment of Intense
Guitar for 2008. I’ve been crazy busy lately,
and after not playing for a few days, I need
to hurry and get my chops up to speed
for gigs and sessions. So seeing as though
everyone seemed to enjoy last month’s inter-vallic picking exercises, I thought we’d take
a gander at more exercises I use to get my
chops up to par.
and believe it or not, John Mayer. Seriously.
His latest CD, Continuum, is awesome. Just
check out the tune “Gravity” for a great
example of some very dynamic playing.
With the exception of Mr. Mayer, all the players I’ve mentioned are at times very technical
players but don’t fit into that “shredder”
category, because their playing offers more
than just speed. Remember that technical vir-
driving. However, if you drove slowly at times
so that your passenger could relax and enjoy
the scenery, they’d likely have a much better
ride. Having said that, if that same person
were in a hurry and needed to get somewhere quickly, you might be the one they
call. After all, when listening to music, we’re
all just passengers going for a ride.
but also has some
as well. We’ll also
notes within the
line – something
we haven’t really
touched on, but is
a large part of my
playing. When you
play, it’s extremely
important to have
accents in your
you are tackling
rhythm or lead.
Look at it as though
you are speaking
– you are going
to have different
inflections in your
voice if you are
angry, happy, sad,
nervous, etc. Your
reflect the same.
In our example, the accent marks are indicat-
ed over the notes (resem-
bling a horizontal “v”). This
means with that particular
note you are to strike it
both harder and softer
– the first time through hit
it harder, and the second
time through hit that same
note softer than the other
notes. As always, alternate
beginning with a downstroke and an upstroke.
The note you’ll be accenting will feel completely different with a simple change
of pick direction.
That about does it for
2008’s first installment of
Intense Guitar! If you have
any questions or would like
me to cover something
specific, feel free to contact me at intseguitr@aol.
com or Toshi@ToshiIseda.
com. For those of you on
MySpace, it’s myspace.
com/toshiiseda. We’ll see
you next month here in
Premier Guitar, and as
always, “Who dares wins!”
A wonderful example of this is Steve
Vai. I recently got the Steve’s DVD, Visual
Sound Theories – Live With The Holland
Metropole Orkest and was completely blown
away by his performance of “I’m Becoming.”
Simply astonishing. Steve has always been
a great player and I think one of the things
people often overlook in his playing is his
sense of dynamics and accenting.
Besides Steve Vai, other rock-oriented players who make great use of dynamics and
accents in their playing include Steve Morse,
Andy Timmons, Joe Satriani, Neal Schon,
tuosity also includes the use of accents and
dynamics. In my opinion, technique is only
a means to an end – being able to fluently
express yourself. I hate guitarists that play
as fast as they can in every song and lack
dynamics in their playing. It sounds more like
a machine than music.
Look at it like you’ve got a very, very fast car.
If every time you got into it and drove 120
mph, you’d eventually crash. If not that, then
whomever was a passenger in your vehicle
would in all likelihood get very tired of your
Toshi Iseda is an Alumnus of the prestigeous Berklee
College of Music and the American Conservatory of
Music. He has been featured in Guitar Player, Guitar
World and Guitar/Guitar One magazines, and is a former
instructor at the National Guitar Workshop and former
instructor at the American Institute of Guitar.