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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.
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!
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.
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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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