Practice Log for Dad's Birthday

I really overdo myself with hours of practice June 1, 2018 music
Topic Start Time End Time Notes
scales 12:02 12:58 triads
picking 13:00 13:30 triads
technique 16:47 19:10 triads, caprice


Same as usual, just three- and four-note-per-string chromatic patterns up and down.


I focused on triads today to give my picking hand a workout. All triads were played in ascending order for each scale, and in root position.

Picking and Arpeggios

As for technique, I repeated the triad patterns in a triplet rhythm at h=50. I noticed that I sort of push and pull at the pick as I cross strings and this seems to make the motion more economical.

I watched a couple videos, including another of Troy Grady’s, and it got me thinking about my technique again. I basically played arpeggios for six or seven hours today. Here’s a good one I picked up from French gypsy jazz guitarist Biréli Lagrène on his 1991 album Acoustic Moments (check out his playing here):

Em|add9 arpeggio

Em|add9 arpeggio

As you can see, it covers a whole three octaves, and what’s great about it is its repeatabliity. Sweeping from each G to the next E is very easy, and the four notes in the chord make it fit well for 16th-note patterns. You could use this chord in a lot of situations, like this simple one I came up with today:

simple Em|add9 lick

simple Em|add9 lick

I played a lot today… My fingers actually hurt a little bit, which doesn’t happen very often.

Hybrid Picking

I was inspired to learn some violin music today, so I picked one of Paganini’s famous caprices (#1). I quickly found out my instrument doesn’t quite have a suitable range for violin music, but I did find a chance to use a technique I first heard of from Steve Morse, I think it was: using hybrid picking for shredding purposes. I watched Guthrie Govan do this at the first Vai Academy in New York, and I was reminded of it by Marshall Harrison in one of his YouTube videos.

In this case, he talks about the pesky occasional one-note-on-a-string problem in some licks like this one:

The solution is to pluck that note with the middle finger and continue picking the rest of the notes. This is a great technique because it solves the issue of having to clear that string right after picking it, and it’s not too hard to pick up the technique, either (no pun intended).

It’s also a useful technique to manage string-skipping passages like this one from the beginning of Paganini’s Caprice #1:

the middle finger plucks where the i is, making it easy to skip the D string

the middle finger plucks where the i is, making it easy to skip the D string

Just throw that middle finger into the mix and it gives the picking hand a whole 32nd note’s worth time to reset! This usage of hybrid picking is a little bit more difficult to do coming back down than it is going up, though.

Next Time

I’m pretty tired from all this playing. I haven’t played this much in a day since I was in middle school! Next time, I’ll continue practicing triad scale patterns, and if I’m feeling brave, I’ll even throw in some inversions to tackle. I can’t forget to keep improving my repertoire, though, so I think I’d like to take a look at “Rock and Roll” by the Velvet Underground. I did notice, though, that none of the songs that I know have much use for the technique I’ve been looking at.

Randy Josleyn teacher-linguist-guitarist wannabe