Speed of Light Application Exercise (Guitar Lesson)

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Dan Sugarman

Speed of Light Application Exercise

In this lesson, we put into practice what we've talked about so far in this series. This exercise is designed to help you find your Goldilocks Zone, and practice it enough to put it on auto pilot!

Taught by Dan Sugarman in Sugarman's Shredding Revolution seriesLength: 7:49Difficulty: 2.0 of 5

The Speed of Light Application Exercise

Now that we’ve effectively broken down the key components of proper fretting hand technique and interfacing, let’s go ahead and apply what we’ve learned with The Speed of Light Application Exercise.

First off, since we’re focusing on our articulation and accuracy of notes here, let’s make sure we’re playing on a clean channel on our amps.

This first speed of light exercise we’re going to start with is going to help us apply the components of this approach in an easy to digest way. After we've learned the speed of light meditations with your zero point, rest position, and playing position - one of the most important things for us to practice is to now add a little bit of the right hand into the equation to begin working on our two hand synchronization and finger IQ, as well as mastering the sensitivity required for the speed of light.

In the last lesson, we honed in on your Goldilocks zone and discovered how to most effectively and efficiently fret a note, as well as how to effectively mute and stop the note to control its note value and over noise pollution. We also worked diligently on mastering the 3 states of guitar playing: Zero Point // Rest Position // and Playing Position.

Now, our mission is to apply this knowledge to the fretboard and implement a little bit of the picking hand into the equation. A lot of this will uncover some issues in your playing, so take note of them, and trust that I will be covering those details in great length in lessons still to come.

This exercise is made up of 12 different levels, broken up into 4 groupings of 3. Each group of 3 consists of a single finger used as a pivot point while the other fingers dance around it using our Speed of Light awareness, with a shrinking pattern of 4, 2, and then 1 - resulting in quicker transitions, which will require you to think on your toes a bit more. We’ll take this slow at first, breaking down each grouping of 3 into understandable bite sized chunks. I’ll take a few moments now and again to reiterate things we’ve learned previously, as well as add in any helpful tips.

With each new grouping of 3 comes a new finger as a pivot point… and trust me on this, it’s not meant to be easy. Some of these finger combinations are difficult - with focused awareness and a dedication to understanding this, you will most definitely come out on top. Embrace the challenge and lets see where we can take this, together!

Key Notes:

  • Consider that the finger in rest position is a cocked and loaded gun… to fire that gun into playing position, you need to pick the note at the exact same time you finger the note with your trigger finger. Riding the tension back to rest position is the act of cocking and loading your gun again for the next shot fired.
  • The momentum of the downstroke getting just to where you need to be for your upstroke on the following string, and the tiny reverse C motion getting you back up and around for your downstroke. Move only the amount you need - keep it small and tight!
  • When transitioning from finger 1 to finger 2 - how do you make 4 separate actions into 1? It took me some time to figure this out, but the answer is simple. The very moment you finger a note is the exact moment you relax the disengaged finger so the string tension picks it up for you. Instead of thinking of each finger as having an on/off switch, chunk the information in your mind so that the act of putting finger 2 down and relaxing finger 1 IS the On/Off switch - not just the single finger's role, but they are now acting as a single unit. A way I like to think of this is similar to the way a ball rolls - 1 side of the ball is pushing forward and down, while the other side of the ball is moving backwards and up… Instead of making the hand 4 separate square digits, make your hand into 1 ball so that the act of changing fingers is as fluid as a ball rolling. This is almost more of a mental trick than anything, but try it and see if it helps! I’ll be talking about this more in future lessons.
  • The "Lift Off" message vs. Relaxing - it's like turning your used finger "off" when you shift to the next finger. You should never send the message from your brain to your hand to LIFT -- you should tell it to RELEASE and RELAX...the relaxing is from literally turning that finger off. The finger then "releases" and and becomes sensitive enough to ride the tension of the string. It will then sit on the string in a relaxed manner like the "light finger" idea from the Speed of Light. Although it may sound right to "lift" your finger, you are really just causing more work for yourself. Your brain has to conceive the message, then the hand has to receive that message, then the finger activates and the muscles required to LIFT your finger are activated. WE WANT TO GET RID OF THIS. By merely "releasing & relaxing" all you are doing is shutting your finger OFF -- there is no muscle use in doing that...in fact it is the opposite -- thus minimizing the amount of work, motion, and effort from your brain to get the message to your hand and get your hand to respond to that message. By doing this, you will be discharging the energy between every note by relaxing and "turning off" that finger so that the energy or "tension" does not build up in your hand, shoot to your arm, your back your neck your shoulders etc. we are discharging it so that it has no chance to build up and cause a lock up in your hand or fingers (which is caused by over-exerting yourself).
  • To see if you are only engaging one finger at a time -- if there is pressure on the finger that is disengaged then your fingernail will be white...this is not what you want. You need to watch your finger go from white to red when you "turn it off" when you release and relax. It's like a domino effect passing the "whiteness" over to the next finger that is being used.

At this point, the sensitivity of your fingertips and the back of your fretting hand should be completely evident - and hopefully the muting technique of “the pulse” is helping you differentiate and clarify your note changes.



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Sugarman's Shredding Revolution

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Sugarman's Shredding Revolution is all about discovering and creating ways to develop a new and unique level of understanding of two-hand synchronization, which is one of the core foundations of clean playing.



Series IntroductionLesson 1

Series Introduction

Dan Sugarman gives us an introduction and preview to his series - Sugarman's Shredding Revolution.

Length: 5:13 Difficulty: 0.0 FREE
The Speed of LightLesson 2

The Speed of Light

Dan begins his series by revolutionizing the way we approach our instrument. In this lesson, Dan shares a concept he calls The Speed of "Light".

Length: 10:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The PulseLesson 3

The Pulse

Finding the "Goldilocks" zone is key to getting your hands in the best position possible to shred, by finding the right amount of pressure to apply to the strings. Dan helps us find the touch that's "just...

Length: 12:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Speed of Light Application ExerciseLesson 4

Speed of Light Application Exercise

In this lesson, we put into practice what we've talked about so far in this series. This exercise is designed to help you find your Goldilocks Zone, and practice it enough to put it on auto pilot!

Length: 7:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Perfect Practice PostureLesson 5

Perfect Practice Posture

Contrary to what some say, good posture feeds into good technique, which feeds into great guitar playing. In this lesson Dan gives us examples of good posture for two different ways of holding the guitar.

Length: 5:21 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
50/50 Finger FrenzyLesson 6

50/50 Finger Frenzy

Distributing the right amount of pressure throughout your hand is a key foundation to achieving two hand sync. In this lesson, Dan analyzes this concept and helps to get us on the right track.

Length: 12:11 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Chromatic Finger CrawlLesson 7

Chromatic Finger Crawl

This lesson is designed to work on the hand to brain connection during the string change, and to help you "fall" into position as opposed to "flail" into position.

Length: 2:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Finger IQ: Hammer-OnsLesson 8

Finger IQ: Hammer-Ons

Now it's time to sprinkle some legato playing into the proceedings. Starting with hammer ons, Dan shows us how to use "weight" not "strength" to achieve this technique.

Length: 6:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Finger IQ: Pull OffsLesson 9

Finger IQ: Pull Offs

Now Dan shows us the next element of legato playing: Pull Offs.

Length: 3:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
True Legato: Three Notes Per StringLesson 10

True Legato: Three Notes Per String

Using hammer-ons and pull-offs that we learned in the previous lessons, Dan now gives us an introduction to true legato - using three note per string patterns.

Length: 5:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Home PositionLesson 11

Home Position

Now that we've spent a good deal of time on the fretting hand, it's time to turn our attention to the picking hand. Dan starts with examining how to get the best tone from our instrument, using what he...

Length: 11:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Home Position ApplicationLesson 12

Home Position Application

In this lesson, Dan helps us apply some exercises to the home application that will help it become second nature in no time!

Length: 8:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Rhythm and KonokolLesson 13

Rhythm and Konokol

A solid rhythmic foundation is a must when addressing the basics of good technique. In this lesson, Dan shows a very fresh and cool way to approach rhythm, with the ancient Indian method: Konokol.

Length: 7:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Time and Rhythm TableLesson 14

Time and Rhythm Table

Now, Dan moves the Konokol rhythm system that we looked at in the last lesson to the guitar, exploring different rhythm configurations along the way.

Length: 3:04 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Polymeter and PolyrhythmLesson 15

Polymeter and Polyrhythm

When it comes to complex rhythm, understanding the difference between polyrhythm and polymeter are very important. In this lesson, Dan gives us a crash course on how to tell the difference.

Length: 3:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Sync or Swim Part 1Lesson 16

Sync or Swim Part 1

Now it's time to put our hands together (so to speak). We're bringing what we've worked on for the left hand, and what we've worked on for the right hand together to get a firm grasp of our two hand sync....

Length: 8:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Sync or Swim Part 2Lesson 17

Sync or Swim Part 2

In this lesson, Dan continues to emphasize two hand sync, adding the new ideas of inside picking and outside picking.

Length: 10:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Sync or Swim Part 3Lesson 18

Sync or Swim Part 3

Now Dan introduces some 2 string patterns into our two hand sync exercises. In each lesson, he's ratcheting up the difficulty level!

Length: 3:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Sync or Swim Part 4Lesson 19

Sync or Swim Part 4

In this lesson, Dan explores more two string patterns, this time emphasizing odd two string patterns. Finger twisters and brain teasers for sure!

Length: 8:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Sync or Swim Part 5Lesson 20

Sync or Swim Part 5

Endurance is the name of the game in this lesson. Dan shows us one of his favorite techniques he calls "Phalange Laps".

Length: 4:04 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Rhythm vs. Lead PlayingLesson 21

Rhythm vs. Lead Playing

Subtle hand positioning can go a long way in determining the proper position for lead playing or rhythm playing. Here, Dan analyzes this concept in great detail, getting you on the right path and putting...

Length: 4:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Picking Hand Muting TechniquesLesson 22

Picking Hand Muting Techniques

Now we get to muting techniques. Starting off, Dan gives us all the details on muting techniques for the picking hand. These are a must if you want to truly reign in that beast of an instrument!

Length: 12:49 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Fretting Hand Muting TechniquesLesson 23

Fretting Hand Muting Techniques

Switching our muting attention to the fretting hand, Dan gives us the essential techniques we need to get the cleanest result.

Length: 14:52 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Learning to Fish for OurselvesLesson 24

Learning to Fish for Ourselves

In this lesson, Dan teaches a great way to analyze our own playing, focusing in on our mistakes and how to correct them. It starts with quarantining our playing.

Length: 9:19 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
NuancesLesson 25

Nuances

What gives you your unique voice on the guitar? Well, there are a number of things that go into that equation. In this lesson, Dan takes a look at some of the key techniques that will go a long way in...

Length: 18:01 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Substrate 1 - Rhythm vs. Lead PlayingLesson 26

Substrate 1 - Rhythm vs. Lead Playing

Now Dan will help us focus on growing our weaknesses. First up is Rhythm vs. Lead Playing.

Length: 5:28 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Substrate 2 - LegatoLesson 27

Substrate 2 - Legato

Up next in working on strengths and weaknesses? Legato.

Length: 3:49 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Substrate 3 - Alternate PickingLesson 28

Substrate 3 - Alternate Picking

Up next in the world of substrates - Alternate Picking.

Length: 4:50 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Substrate 4 - Directional PickingLesson 29

Substrate 4 - Directional Picking

The last substrate Dan takes us through is Directional Picking.

Length: 7:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Creative Application of All TechniquesLesson 30

Creative Application of All Techniques

In the last lesson of the series, Dan gives us a musical, full band exercise that ties in all of the techniques that we've learned throughout the series.

Length: 6:25 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
JamPlay Interview with Dan SugarmanLesson 31

JamPlay Interview with Dan Sugarman

Who is Dan Sugarman? Get to know a little about Dan - his background, his music, and what drives him to excel at guitar in this JamPlay interview.

Length: 8:44 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Dan Sugarman

About Dan Sugarman View Full Biography

Dan Sugarman is a 26 year old guitarist, producer, teacher and songwriter hailing from the South Bay of Los Angeles, CA. His tenacity and dedication to the art of music and guitar led him to the lead guitar position in the internationally touring band, As Blood Runs Black. Now as a solo artist, Dan continues to work on his original music being released through Patreon, and is currently producing and engineering other bands & artists at Sugartone Studios, and composing for film & television. He also maintains an ever-growing student body as a private guitar teacher, mentor, and educator in the crafts of songwriting, creativity, and modern day recording techniques.



Dan is currently working on his "living album", Inside Out - Part I, available on patreon.com and completing an album for his new group A Mind Made Me, featuring singer//actor Sarah J Bartholomew.

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