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50/50 Finger Frenzy (Guitar Lesson)

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Dan Sugarman

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.

Taught by Dan Sugarman in Sugarman's Shredding Revolution seriesLength: 12:11Difficulty: 1.5 of 5

“The 50/50 Finger Frenzy”

I want to take some time to dive a bit deeper into your fretting hand with an exercise that I have personally used to help hundreds of students out of 2 Hand Sync ruts and problems. The reason for that is because separating and isolating the 2 hands from each other, and then using focused awareness on the two hands separately, along with the mechanics that come with each hand, will be the most conducive to your success as a guitarist - leading to a faster, more rapid growth, as well as a more solid foundation to catapult from. This will also help you to more deeply understand what The Speed of Light truly feels like.

After introducing you to a new way to interface with your fretboard at the base level, as well as a little on how to sit for the best practice sessions, I want to further explore your fretting hand’s abilities and Finger IQ with an exercise that I learned from an old teacher of mine named Francesco Artusato - I call this exercise “Scary Dexterity/The Finger Think Tank/Finger Twister” because it’s just that - a terrifying finger twister that forces you to grow each finger’s little brain one neuron at a time… figuratively speaking of course.

Let’s go ahead and check out this exercise more in depth. The exercise will be broken down into 4 levels of difficulty, and we will be once again be moving in tempo with our breath on this one so we can take a shortcut and bypass the typical muscle memory route most guitarists are forced to take. I’d be the first to admit I could be wrong with this observation, but I have personally witnessed it happen countless times during my guitar lessons in the past 6 years I’ve been teaching this concept.

THUMB/FINGER 50/50 ratio:

The thumb is the anchor and keeps you stable, but it should never slow you down. It should be behind the fretboard between your 2nd finger and first finger (where it goes when you make a natural fist) and should be in the middle of the neck, creating this sort of half moon shape underneath the fretting hand/elbow/arm… Make sure to avoid any sharp or right angles at all costs as that will lead to problems in the future.

SET UP:

1. Put down finger 1 in playing position on the G string, fret 7 - using your Goldilocks zone pressure and fretting hand master key laws… Notice the sensations in your hand right now, especially the back of the hand. Right now, you have 50% of the effort for that note coming from the thumb, and 50% coming from the index finger playing the E note on the G string.

2. NOTE: counterintuitively to what we discussed in the last lesson, as we put down finger 2, do not relax finger 1 so as to feel the full effect of this lesson.

Put finger 2 down on the same string without releasing finger one… did you notice a slight release of tension in the back of your hand as your index finger had to give up some percentage to the other finger? That’s because, mathematically, it did! Both of your fretted notes are now sharing the 50% that fretting fingers cover right down the middle - both equalling 25% at this point.

3. Now put finger 3 down in the same way… did you notice fingers 1 and 2 getting slightly lighter? They did! They are now 16.6% each, with the thumb still holding down that 50%, and your perfectly fretted goldy lox note is singing magically.

4. Put the good ol’ pinky down to enter the last digit into the equation… Did you notice your first 3 fingers lose a little pressure? They had to - the pinky needed to get it’s weight and energy from somewhere!

***WHEN ALL 4 Fingers ARE DOWN = 12.5% per finger (to equal 50% total - where the thumb has remaining 50% in back)

Now that we’re properly set up, I want to once again talk about the point of moving with your breath… This is to force you to slow down and think about your actions with that focused sense of awareness I’ve mentioned so many times already. The way I look at it, breathing is in 4 parts, not 2 like conventional wisdom would have you think. You inhale, pause to digest, exhale, pause until you’re hungry for more. Use those 4 steps strategically by moving with your actions, and reflecting on the new sensations during the pauses. Let’s go ahead and begin on level 1.

LEVEL ONE - LIFTING ONE FINGER AT A TIME

The 3 Fingers that Remain Planted = 16.6% / And the finger thats subtracted gets ZEROED OUT

1. Slowly & Deliberately lift finger 1 with your INHALE. Feel the sensation of the other 3 fingers assuming that fingers 12.5% so that the remaining three are 16.6% - after successfully removing this finger, really pay attention to and focus on what it feels like in the engaged fingers that have remained planted on the fretboard.

2. Slowly & Deliberately place your first finger back down with your EXHALE and enter it back into the 12.5% equation across all 4 fingers. Pause for a moment and really take in and absorb what it feels like to go back into the starting "rest" position.

GO THROUGH ALL 4 FINGERS MOVING IN THIS ORDER: finger 1, then 2, then 3, then 4, then finger 3, then finger 2, then finger 1. (rise & fall pattern)

LEVEL TWO (ADJACENT FINGERS) - TWO FINGERS AT A TIME

The 2 Fingers that Remain Planted = 25% per finger / And the fingers that you lifted are ZEROED OUT

GO THROUGH ALL 3 FINGER COMBOS MOVING IN THIS ORDER: finger 1 & 2, then finger 2 & 3, then 3 & 4

***MAKE SURE THAT BOTH FINGERS LIFT OFF & LAND AT THE SAME TIME!

LEVEL THREE (NON-ADJACENT FINGERS) - TWO FINGERS AT A TIME

The 2 Fingers that Remain Planted = 25% per finger / And the fingers that you lifted are ZEROED OUT

GO THROUGH ALL 3 FINGER COMBOS MOVING IN THIS ORDER: finger 1 & 3, 1 & 4, 2 & 4

LEVEL FOUR - LIFTING THREE FINGERS AT A TIME

The 1 Fingers that Remain Planted = 50% in that finger / And the fingers that you lifted are now in zero point

GO THROUGH ALL 4 FINGER COMBOS MOVING IN THIS ORDER: finger 1, 2, 3 & 4

At this point, we’re not only perfecting the midas touch of how much pressure to use, and how the energy shifts from finger to finger, but we’re also practicing SHAPES. This new level of sensitivity in your fretting hand and each individual finger should be buzzing with a new sense of freedom and independence… This is what I mean when I say focused awareness! That willingness to go inside of your mind and body and feel this stuff happening and think about it differently is what’s going to get you to that next level. You also probably understand a lot more why I used the term “finger brains” before - I’m sure you feel like those fingers are smarter!



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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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