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Scalar Exercises: Left and Right Hand Synchronization (Guitar Lesson)


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Kris Norris

Scalar Exercises: Left and Right Hand Synchronization

Kris covers chromatic and scale pattern exercises. Also, he explains some variations on these exercise and provides you with the knowledge to create your own variations. Now you don't have any excuse for getting bored!

Taught by Kris Norris in Kris Norris Artist Series seriesLength: 20:23Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:37) Introduction Welcome back to the Phase 2 Artist Series with Kris Norris! Kris kicks off lesson 3 by shredding through one of the scale sequence exercises that he will explain in this lesson. Practicing scalar exercises along with a metronome is the best way to increase strength, coordination, accuracy, synchronization of both hands and speed. In the scenes that follow, Kris demonstrates some of the exercises that have helped him develop his blazing left and right hand technique.
Chapter 2: (04:42) Chromatic Exercises Exercise Goals

This exercise is primarily designed to warm-up the hands prior to a practice session, performance, or recording session. Countless guitarists practice this exercise as a part of their daily warm-up routine. Other JamPlay instructors such as Steve Eulberg and Matt Brown have taught the same exercise or similar exercises in their lessons. This exercise is so effective, because it warms up the right hand and all the left hand fingers in a short amount of time. The exercise can be practiced at any speed. As you first begin to warm-up, play the exercise at a slow tempo to get your hands reacquainted with the guitar. Then, gradually increase the tempo as you begin to feel more warmed up.

The exercise also helps improve synchronization of the left and right hands. Synchronization is a key component of speed and accuracy. If your hands are not working in perfect harmony with one another, your playing will inevitably sound sloppy. Also, you will not be able to achieve high speeds when playing scalar runs. If the hands are not synchronized, precious movement is wasted. Wasted movement results in slower, less accurate playing.

Exercise Overview

The exercise utilizes all possible fingering combinations within a single fretboard position. Proper fingering rules for vertical position playing must be followed throughout the exercise. All 2nd fret notes are fretted by the second finger. The ring finger plays all 3rd fret notes. Finally, the pinky finger frets all notes at the 4th fret.

Kris demonstrates the exercise in seventh position. However, it can be played in any position on the fretboard for additional practice. It is most difficult when played in first position, because the frets are much farther apart. Consequently, the fingers must stretch over a greater distance.

Kris has divided the exercise into four sections or columns. The first column represents all fingering possibilities that begin with the first finger. The second column features the fingering possibilities beginning with the second finger, and so on. Make sure that you practice every fingering combination.

Note: Open "Chart for Fingering Variations" for tablature to this exercise.

Practicing Difficult Combinations

Certain patterns are harder than others due to the way tendons and muscles connect in the hand. Spend extra time practicing difficult combinations. For example, you may have difficulty playing 3-1-2-4 due to the way in which the tendons in the middle and ring fingers are connected. Also, patterns that involve fingers three and four playing sequentially typically give players problems. 1-2-4-3 is such a pattern.

Rhythm

Play this exercise slowly in quarter notes at first. Kris plays through the exercise in quarter notes at 01:16 in the lesson video. His metronome is set to 100 beats per minute. Once you begin to feel warmed up, play through the exercise in eighth notes and sixteenth notes. You may have to move the metronome to a slower tempo in order to play cleanly with these rhythms.

Picking Patterns

Apply a variety of picking patterns to the exercise to maximize right hand results. Use the picking patterns listed below.

1. All Downstrokes
2. All Upstrokes
3. Alternate Picking Beginning with a Downstroke
4. Alternate Picking Beginning with an Upstroke

Proper Technique

Make sure that the left hand fingers remain as close to the fretboard as possible at all times. Play very slowly when monitoring your progress in this area. Do not allow the fingers to straighten themselves out when they are not being used. The pinky finger is notorious for this. Also, do not tuck any fingers under the fretboard. Keeping the fingers close to the fretboard allows you to play with the most economical movements. Economy of movement is one of the most important components of speed, endurance, and accuracy. Refer to lesson 4 from Danny Voris' Phase 2 Classical Guitar Series for more information on this topic.
Chapter 3: (06:27) Scale Exercises Scale Exercise 1 Overview

Similar to the exercise in the previous scene, this exercise serves multiple functions. It can be used as an exercise to warm up the hands. However, like Kris mentions, maximum benefit is achieved when the exercise is played after the hands are already warmed up. Once your hands are properly warmed up, it is time to push your speed boundaries.

This exercise can be practiced with any vertical scale pattern. Kris demonstrates a common G major scale pattern. Keep in mind that he is tuned down a full step. As a result, the scale sounds as though it is played in the key of F major. This G pattern begins in fourth position. The first finger must perform a finger stretch to reach notes at the 3rd fret. Once the B string is reached, the pattern shifts into fifth position. Notice how three notes are played on each string in the pattern. This feature of scale pattern makes it more conducive to playing rapid lines.

Exercise Directions

1. Play the ascending and descending form of the scale in quarter notes. Play along with a metronome set to a comfortable tempo. Use alternate picking to begin with.

2. Practice the same scale in eighth notes using alternate picking. Keep the metronome at the same tempo.

3. Play through the scale using economy picking. When moving to a higher adjacent string, use two consecutive downstrokes. When moving to a lower string, use two consecutive upstrokes. Play this exercise variation using quarter notes and eighth notes.

4. Play through the exercise in triplets. Use alternate picking and economy picking.

5. Play the exercise in sixteenth notes. Use alternate picking and economy picking.

6. Move the speed of the metronome up and repeat the first five steps. Kris moves the metronome up from 100 to 110 in the lesson video. You may need to adjust the metronome smaller intervals such as 5 beats per minute.

7. Practice steps 1-6 with a variety of scale patterns.
Chapter 4: (08:34) Variations These exercises are a great way to develop muscle memory within a new scale pattern. They also increase your overall knowledge of note locations within a pattern more thoroughly than simply playing up and down the pattern.

The variations that Kris demonstrates in this scene can be played with the same set of instructions outlined in the previous scene.

Variation 1

This exercise follows a specific sequential pattern throughout the scale. It can be found in measure 25 of "Notation/Tab Page 2."

Essentially, a melodic leap occurs between the "and" of 2 and the downbeat of 3. The note that is lept over is then played on the "and" of 3.

Variation 2

Within this variation, the first four eighth notes are played in diatonic thirds. Next, four notes are played in stepwise motion. This alternation of diatonic thirds and stepwise movement occurs throughout the scale pattern.

Variation 3

The notes on each string are played in reverse order as the overall scale pattern is ascended. When descending back through the pattern, begin with the lowest note on each string. Then, ascend to the highest note. Repeat this pattern on each string. Refer to the tablature for a clear visual representation of this variation.

Variation 4

This variation involves some string skipping. The exercise begins with the notes on the sixth string played in a stepwise, ascending fashion. The fifth string is skipped over. Then, the notes on the fourth string are played in an ascending pattern. Next, the pattern moves back to the fifth string. This "every other string" type sequence continues throughout the variation.

Variation 5

Variation 5 expands upon the previous variation. Once the ascending notes on the fourth string are played, the variation descends in a stepwise manner down to the lowest note on the fifth string. From this point, the sequence continues to repeat. John Petrucci plays a similar scale figure in Dream Theater's "Erotomania."

Variation 6

Variation 6 is essentially variation 5 played with an F major / D minor scale pattern. Kris plays this passage in sixteenth notes at a rapid tempo to demonstrate how it might sound within a guitar solo.

Variation 7

Within this variation, the lowest note on each string is played first. Then, the second note on each string is skipped. Instead, the highest note on the string is played. Next, the second note is played. Finally, the highest note is played. This pattern is applied to every string.

Variation 8

Each note in the scale is plucked for two eighth notes before advancing to the next note in the scale pattern.

Variation 9

Each note is picked three times in a triplet rhythm before advancing to the next note.

Create Your Own Variations

The variations that Kris has presented in this lesson provide a small sample of the possibilities available within a vertical scale pattern. If you find yourself getting bored of these variations, come up with your own. It is extremely important to keep your brain actively engaged when practicing technique. Do not simply go through the motions! You must remain focused at all times in order to make significant progress.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


captainphilosopwnagecaptainphilosopwnage replied on August 4th, 2010

@tmarinzel He's in drop-D (low to high DADGBE)

ozzthewizzozzthewizz replied on April 18th, 2011

Its not Drop-D it is standart tuning one full step down. Right, Kris?

chase_1995chase_1995 replied on October 16th, 2010

not sure i get what your talking about with economy picking but to me alternate picking sounds much easier.

kevinpickellkevinpickell replied on November 4th, 2009

I love maple boards!!!

tmarinzeltmarinzel replied on February 6th, 2009

wat tuning are u in??

henry krinklehenry krinkle replied on February 2nd, 2009

Hi kris, liking it all so far, any chance that you can do some nine inch nails stuff?

SylviaSylvia replied on January 31st, 2009

Kris!! Amps are for wimps!!

badomenbadomen replied on January 29th, 2009

I need heavy metal please Dennis or Kris upload some heavy metal.

henry krinklehenry krinkle replied on January 28th, 2009

WHEN WILL DENNIS RETURN?

VinnyBVinnyB replied on January 28th, 2009

Sooner than you think......

gorbaggorbag replied on January 27th, 2009

Excellent practice material! It really ties together the lessons I've learned here over the past couple months. Thanks Kris

danorockdanorock replied on January 26th, 2009

This dude rips!!!! Great stuff....these are the kind of exercises I need to improve my skills. Thanks for the share!

mattbrownmattbrown replied on January 26th, 2009

I think it's totally fascinating that guitarists that grew up in different parts of the country typically know and practice the same exercises.

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied on January 26th, 2009

I think we all read the same Guitar World/Player/One/etc. articles, or someone else did and showed them to somebody else. Or it's UFOs.

AntonAnton replied on January 27th, 2009

It's UFOs. Take me to your dealer!.... I mean leader!

cedom505cedom505 replied on January 26th, 2009

Matt, I agree, Nick Greathousehas basically the same stuff under his alternate picking lessons...

Kris Norris Artist Series

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Kris Norris kicks off the JamPlay.com Artist Series with a wide array of ideas and lessons; from changing strings on a floyd rose, to advanced sweeping / legato techniques and soloing applications.



Lesson 1

Changing Strings - Floyd Rose Style

Kris Norris demonstrates how to install new strings on a guitar equipped with a Floyd Rose tremolo system.

Length: 13:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Warm-up Exercises with Kris

Kris Norris shows you his favorite warm-up exercises. These exercises will prepare you to play the guitar from a physical and mental standpoint.

Length: 12:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Scalar Exercises: Left and Right Hand Synchronization

Kris covers chromatic and scale pattern exercises. Also, he explains some variations on these exercise and provides you with the knowledge to create your own variations. Now you don't have any excuse...

Length: 20:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Scalar Exercises: Legato

Kris shows you the in's and out's of legato playing. These examples will benefit beginners and and advanced players alike. The patterns Kris uses in this lesson are based on the examples shown in "Scalar...

Length: 11:01 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Chuggin' n Skippin'

Kris covers right hand techniques such as palm muting, tremolo, palm muted string skipping, and upstroke accents.

Length: 13:26 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Advanced Sweep Picking Applications

Kris covers the right and left hand components of sweep picking separately. Then, he shows you how to synchronize the two. Three string arpeggios and five string arpeggios with hammer-ons are both included...

Length: 35:40 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Remaining Foolish: Arpeggios & Scalar Lines

Kris presents excerpts from his song "Remaining Foolish" from Icons of the Illogical. He explains the arpeggio patterns used in various parts of the song and also talks about alternate picked arpeggios....

Length: 17:40 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Sweep Exercises Based on Canon in D

Kris uses Pachelbel's "Canon In D" as a way to practice arpeggio sweeps. He shows how to sweep and alternate pick arpeggios.

Length: 10:08 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Counterpoint: A Shift In Normalcy

This lesson is about the concept of counterpoint and harmony. Kris explores contrapuntal examples from his song "A Shift In Normalcy" off of his solo record Icons of the Illogical.

Length: 8:52 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

A Closer Look At Pick Thickness

Kris analyzes different pick sizes and their effect on his playing. Using a slow motion camera, he is able to point out the differences in pick thickness.

Length: 32:24 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Lesson 11

Satriani Inspired Tapping

Kris Norris explains how to play a Joe Satriani inspired tapping etude.

Length: 11:13 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Extending Your Musical Reach With 8 String Guitars

Kris Norris takes a look at 8 string guitars and their possibilities. He demonstrates the versatility of an 8 string with jazz and metal applications. Kris also performs a short improv jam at the end.

Length: 10:34 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Neoclassical Inspirations

Kris teaches neoclassical examples from three of his favorite guitar players.

Length: 29:17 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Rock & Metal Chicken Pickin'

Kris displays some adventurous ways to use chicken pickin' in a rock and metal environment.

Length: 15:25 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Exotic Embellishments In The Style Of Marty Friedman

Kris teaches arpeggio examples that use notes outside of a scale. He also demonstrates an example using the Chinese scale.

Length: 12:19 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Connecting Scale Patterns

Kris shows you how to connect the patterns of a G major scale together.

Length: 15:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Mastering Modes: Basic Scale Theory Primer

This is the first lesson in the "Mastering Modes" mini series. Here Kris explains the fundamentals of scale basics.

Length: 19:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Mastering Modes: Ionian

In this lesson, Kris explains the history behind the modes and then explains the Ionian mode.

Length: 9:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Mastering Modes: Dorian

In this lesson, Kris covers the Dorian mode, which is the second mode of the major scale.

Length: 13:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Mastering Modes: Phrygian

Kris explains the basics of the Phrygian mode, which is a minor sounding mode of the major scale.

Length: 7:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Mastering Modes: Lydian

In this installment of the "Mastering Modes" mini-series, Kris covers the Lydian mode. This is the fourth mode of the major scale.

Length: 9:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Mastering Modes: Mixolydian

Kris explains the basics of the Mixolydian mode, which is a major sounding mode of the major scale.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Mastering Modes: Aeolian

Kris explains Aeolian, which is the 6th mode of the major scale. This is also known as the natural minor scale.

Length: 7:32 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Mastering Modes: Locrian

Kris covers the Locrian mode, which is the 7th mode of the major scale.

Length: 5:48 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 25

Song Workshop Experiment

Aaron Miller sits down with Kris in the JamPlay studio to discuss songwriting techniques.

Length: 78:38 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Song Workshop Experiment - Finale

Kris Norris and Aaron Miller are back to finish up what they started. Get ready for more songwriting, playing tips, and inside information. Enjoy

Length: 32:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Picking Practice With Drum Rudiments

Kris shows how some drum rudiments can be used to make exercises for your right hand.

Length: 18:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Sliding Arpeggios

Kris teaches how to use sliding techniques with arpeggios. He uses an example in the Lydian mode and also plays over a backing.

Length: 15:11 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

Left Hand Finger Independence

Kris teaches exercises focused on getting the left hand fingers to be more independent.

Length: 26:19 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Building Triad Arpeggios

Kris explains root triad arpeggios and their first and second inversions.

Length: 25:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Practicing Triad Arpeggios Chromatically

This lesson focuses on sweep picking major, minor, and diminished triad arpeggios chromatically.

Length: 16:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

Re-voicing Progressions with Inversions

Kris shows you how inversions can be used to create smooth voice leading within a progression.

Length: 14:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

Dual Tonality Pentatonics

Kris shows how to combine pentatonic scales from different keys to form new and interesting sounds.

Length: 24:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Betcha Can't Scale This

Kris shows you how to learn scales vertically and horizontally on the fretboard.

Length: 16:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

The Neapolitan Chord

Named after the "Neapolitan School" from the 18th century and not ice cream, this chord is a major chord built on the lowered 2nd scale degree.

Length: 7:13 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Diatonic Chords In G Major

Kris shows the diatonic chords of G Major.

Length: 19:42 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Diatonic 7th Arpeggios

Kris teaches you how to play diatonic 7th arpeggios and their inversions in the key of G major.

Length: 15:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

Tapping 7th Arpeggios

Kris shows you how to play seventh arpeggios with tapping, legato, and string skipping.

Length: 7:45 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 39

Popular Chord Progressions

Kris shows some common major and minor chord progressions.

Length: 27:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 40

Quick Connect EMG Active Pickups

Kris installs these new EMG pickups into his guitar.

Length: 26:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 41

Workshop With Chodypth

Kris Norris sat down with Chodypth, aka Cody, and this video is the result of a day of jamming and practicing.

Length: 77:35 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only

About Kris Norris View Full Biography Mr. Kris Norris was born August, 31 1978 in Canton, Ohio. He began playing around the age of 14. Early on the self-taught guitarist took an interest in metal and began playing in a local Virginia metal band. Kris' early influences were rooted in Swedish metal, bands include In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and Edge of Sanity. Norwegian Black metal also played a part in Kris' interest including early Mayhem, Emperor, and Ulver. Kris started Disinterment with future Darkest Hour bandmate Ryan Parrish. Disinterment lasted over 6 years and developed a local following in the Virginia metal by being some of the first players to incorporate Swedish metal and 3 guitar players.

College Days
When Kris was 17 he attended Virgina Commonwealth University School of Music (VCU). He studied Music composition and focused on film with world renowned composer Dika Newlin. Kris also studied classical guitar with John Patykula, prize student of Jesus Silva who was the prize student of Andre Segovia. Kris left the University after 6 years of studies. After college, he began his teaching career instructing private students and giving lessons at Mars Music. Kris' teaching career would eventually be put on hold to join Darkest Hour.

Darkest Hour Days
Kris' first album with Darkest Hour ,Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation, the 2005 release was recorded at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden with producer Fredrik Nordstrom. Ironically, the same studio facilitated many of Kris' influences 10 years prior.

Darkest Hour's next release, Undoing Ruin allowed Kris to stretch his wings and show what he could truly do on the instrument with the addition of several solos. The record was produced by Canadian metal mastermind Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Steve Vai). Townsend was a big part of pushing Kris to his own musical potential on Undoing Ruin and even more so on the follow up record, Deliver Us.

Deliver Us was released in 2007 and debuted at 110 on the Billboard Chart. This would be the last Darkest Hour record with Kris as a member. The album like its predecessor was also produced by Devin Townsend, who was able to take a bigger hand in its production. Devin pushed Kris to experiment with his own playing and to hone in on his strongest abilities.

Kris' career with Darkest Hour spanned 6 years, 23 countries, 4 continents, countless tours, 3 albums, near 200,000 album sales, and many lifelong friendships made along the way. With the birth of his son in 2008, Kris felt he needed to take his career closer to home while still focusing on music and guitar. In order for Darkest Hour to devote 100% to their music and touring, Kris came to the decision to amicably part ways with the band.

His Future:
As of early 2009, Kris has full sponsorships from ESP, EMG, Peavey, DigiTech, InTune, and Morley. Currently, Kris is producing and mixing aspiring metal acts while also working for Final Symphony Studios out of Charlottesville, Virgina. Kris also edits records for James Murphy (Testament, Obituary, Death) at Safehouse Productions. Kris has released his first solo record through Magna Carta Records, entitled Icons Of The Illogical. His solo effort was recorded at Karma Productions with Cory Smoot (GWAR) and features vocals from Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe.

Kris is excited to be an addition to the JamPlay Instructor Roster. Lending his metal chops and thorough education to his lessons make him a valuable teacher. Kris is excited to be making lessons for JamPlay and just as stoked to learn new things from our other instructors. Check it out and stay Metal.

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