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Developing Speed and Accuracy

Hello everyone. I hope that everyone has been practicing, because we’re going to dive head first into speed and accuracy training. Over the last several weeks I’ve received many emails, with questions covering many different topics, the main ones are on speed and accuracy. So I figure that since that is where everyone is struggling the most, we will address this directly. No matter what exercises you use or what riff your practicing, the key to speed and accuracy is repetition. These things don’t just come over night, so lets dust off the old metronome and get at it.

This first two riffs are nothing new, by now were all familiar with gallops. Set the metronome to 120bpm, and play through the riffs, how does it feel? is it deadly fast for you? or is it just right, perhaps too slow. If it was too fast, bring it down to 100bpm; too slow try 140 etc. The point here is to find your comfort zone (Where its easy to play). As soon as you find it, bring you the metronome 10bpm, get out of your comfort zone, but also don’t kill yourself in the process. The idea is to find where you can accurately play the riff for lets say 30 seconds straight the key word is accurately, not comfortably!!! If its not burning up your arm, your still in your comfort zone. Once you’ve found a tempo where you can play it for 30 seconds or a minute or how ever long 10 minutes, it doesn’t matter, play it. Take a small break, stretch out your arm, do it again. Play the riff anywhere between three and 10 times. Take a minute break, or so… raise the tempo up 2bpm and repeat the exercise. Raise it two more beats and play it again. Keep on this until you totally fail! Bring the tempo back down between 4 and 8 beats and work back up.

Mastering rhythm guitar and being a "Thrash Master" means that you must feel the burn. NO PAIN, NO GAIN. That pain in your arm… that’s the muscles getting conditioned to play these riffs at these speeds. It’s the desire to get past this pain period that makes you grow.

There are many times where I am practicing my technique and I break out into an all out sweat due to the shear energy it takes… it is a total work out!! :)

The third riff is probably the most difficult down picking riff I’ve written to date. Straight 16th notes at 120, exclusively down picked. This is one of the solo riffs from "Beyond the Dark". That’s about as fast as I can down pick… and let me tell you, it hurts. I wrote the riff after Tommy laid down the drum tracks for "The Assault", so it had to be at that tempo. I wrote the riff and it had to be in the song. I could only play it at about 110 or so, so I had some work to do. I applied the above technique, and after some hard work, blood sweat and tears I nailed it on the recording, it still is the most difficult riff to nail when we play live. : )

(Tuned Down 1 step on CD)

Well that’s all I’m going to give you this month, I’ll have some more of this for next month. So keep jamming, keep the questions coming… I really like feedback!!!!!



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