Putting different techniques together


So i have been practicing a (relatively) complex riff, meaning it combines various techniques, for months now.

I can play all the isolated parts reliably but as soon as i want to put it all together it falls apart. I know this isnt an uncommon problem, especially amongst bedroom shredders. My practice schedule containst 95% of patterns (10 mins volcano licks, 10 mins ascending 4ths etc.etc.). This might have affected my playstyle: I think i got quite used to finding the most comfortable position/technique and then keep it for a while but i apparently have problems switching between those setups mid-riff. What i try to say is: After doing some downstrokes i fuck up an otherwise easy scalerun 7/10 times.

Obviously i need to work on that but since i havent had much success for a while here i’d like to hear if anybody else faced this challenge and how you guys approached it.

Cheers !


I think you’ve answered this in your own post almost.

You will play what you’ve practised, and a 10 minute block of one thing isn’t something you’re going to want to play.

By no means am I saying not to do technique drills. But don’t ONLY do technique drills.

Shouldn’t be hard to come up with some exercises something like “simple chord riff (with really kick ass time feel like you’re actually EVH), followed by volcano run, back to riff, ascending 4s, overlapping 6s back down to riff” and so on.

It might almost even end up sounding like playing music.


I think you’ve got the answer right here.

Practice the transitions, then practice the full piece. Spend some time trying to play through, failing, then jumping back in without stopping the playback. Incorporate the different sections into improv sessions so you can play with them instead of just reciting them. Recite one of the sections, then insert 4 bars of improv, then move to another recited section without stopping.

If you can only play your licks in isolation, and you can’t insert them randomly into other pieces of music, or mutate them into something else entirely, or improvise around them, then you are unlikely to incorporate what you learn into your personal style or vocabulary. It’s a separate skill from memorizing and reciting. Practice it separately.

There are lots of other skills to practice besides just patterns. How you divide up your practice time is very personal and goal-specific, so I don’t want to be too prescriptive, but consider adding more variation to your practice sessions. Music is communication, we use sounds to express emotions and ideas. Try focusing on those for 10 minutes at a time, and not thinking about technique at all. Try playing the recited sections with different emotional expressivity. (Try to change the emotional impact or feeling of the music without changing any of the notes.) Try intentionally making it sound stiff, then making it sound relaxed.

Practice exploring your instrument more. Don’t just practice what you intend to perform. Invent musical exercises, rather than just technical ones.

These are just my thoughts in the abstract. I don’t mean to imply anything about you or your playing. I hope I haven’t offended you

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Thank you all for the input ! :slight_smile: