Sync or Swim Part 1 (Guitar Lesson)

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Dan Sugarman

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. Dan starts us out with a basic exercise to solidify this foundation.

Taught by Dan Sugarman in Sugarman's Shredding Revolution seriesLength: 8:40Difficulty: 2.5 of 5

Sync or Swim Part I

Now that we have our bearings on the left and right hands - Lets dive right in with our fingers and get our hands wet, because this portion of our lesson is called “Sync or Swim - Part I: Getting Synced Up”.

As we know by now, the fretting hand + the picking hand = 2 hand sync… now that we’ve split apart the two hands and differentiated their core components - we now have a more solid foundation to build upon as we put it all together.

In the last lesson, we fine tuned the way our picking hand will be interfacing with the strings so that we could more effectively and efficiently play the best that we can, and we got acquainted with time & rhythm… In this lesson, we’ll be taking our knowledge from there, and move forward by tying the two hands together in a single position, in all 3 shapes, so you don’t have to think about moving around and can just focus on your picking hand… with just a litttttle bit of finger IQ and thinking happening just so this isn’t too easy for you… From this point out, things are going to continue to get more and more challenging, and musical. This will also be our first “lead playing” introduction to a polyrhythm vs a polymeter!

Set your first finger up on the b string, fret 3 - this finger will be our root note for all 3 shapes that we will be moving through… remember - do NOT anchor this finger. We need each finger to be independent and free to move about as it needs to, and not be hindered and slowed down by carrying this anchor around its neck. Remember to let the picking action come from the wrist, and make sure you’re in lead playing position as we want these notes to ring out loud and clear and not be affected by the palm. Be sure to find the sweet spot on your B string!

The first shape we’ll be playing through is shape 3, which is a whole step and half step. The pattern will be frets 6, 3, then 5, and repeating with alternate picking. We’ll do this pattern of 3 in 8th notes meaning that every click you, 2 notes will be played. This will displace the beat a little bit forcing you to think and feel what you play with a high level of focus. This, is a polymeter! We’re playing a pattern of 3 in groupings of 2! That means that the pattern repeat gets pushed back until the downbeat of the following measure comes in again. We’ll shift through Shape 3, then 2, then 1.

We’ll repeat the exercise again, this time playing 8th note triplets with the same shapes. That means you will play through all 3 notes in the shape & pattern within each click… give 3 notes per beat. This is a polyrhythm! We are fitting the 3 notes INSIDE of our clicks… Not hanging over - see the difference?

Experiment with playing 2 picked notes for every 1 fretted note - in other words play every note twice with your picking hand before changing the note with your fretting hand - This will force you to feel the 2 hand sync even further, and then going back to single notes will feel even easier.

Lastly, we’ll take it up to 16th notes - another polymeter! We’re playing 3 notes in rhythmic groupings of 4 - count 16th notes in takadimi… then replace that with 1 2 3 in the same rhythm - see what I’m saying?

Your 2 hand sync on a single string should be feeling pretty new at this point, but the idea should make perfect sense to you! Make sure you are lining everything up between your hands - taking it slow, bringing all your good habits with you from each lesson so that you are using good left and right hand techniques and your mechanics are sound and solid. Be sure to review any of the previous lessons if you feel you missed something!

Moving forward, we’re going to get into connecting some single string lines.

After getting comfortable in a single position on a single string, we’re going to begin shifting that position around in a few different ways so that we can expand on our knowledge. We’ll also be playing in D harmonic minor, speaking in standard (though I’m tuned to Drop C), so that we can begin to use these ideas in a musical sense. I personally love the harmonic minor sound, so I hope you guys enjoy playing this one.

In the last lesson we were able to use the 3 standard shapes from the major scale… I want to expand on that by introducing 2 more shapes that will help us get into the Harmonic Minor sound.

First is shape 2b which is a half step + a step and a half. then we’ll be adding shape 3b which is a step and a half + a half step. We’ll be playing through a bunch of connecting single string lines that will help you build your two hand sync, as well as see how these shapes connect in a linear way on single strings which is an extremely helpful way to get more acquainted with the neck. I’m not going to go very deep into all of the scales and reasons why, as tons of teachers and lessons have covered that on jamplay already… I just wanna get us jamming and playing already!

We’ll get comfortable connecting shape 2 on fret 2, to shape 3 on fret 3. We’ll be playing 8th note triplets so you’ll play those 3 notes on every click - We connect each shape with a position shift on the pinky - you’ll be shifting with the lightest touch so as not to get stuck. You’ll also be alternate picking through all of this so for now I don’t want to hear the slide sound. We’ll ascend all the way up the octave to this shape in d harmonic minor.

Next is Shape 2 to shape 1, in the same pattern. The pinky needs to get over a whole step, so again make sure you’re not pressing with any pressure as you shift, and make sure your thumb comes along with you so your thumb stays squared up with the thumb to middle finger alignment to insure the best posture and control.

Then shape 3 to shape 2b - this is a really large jump for the pinky so as you’r playing shape 3, which should be ingrained in your mind at this point, look ahead to fret 14 so the pinky has an invisible wall that so it from going beyond it that you can visually enforce. The shift down is the same thing, so look where you’re going before you get there!

Then we have shape 2b to shape 3b, which is close, and similar to what we’ve done before, but slightly different with this whole step and a half between them, which is the quintessential harmonic minor #7 sound.

Then we’ll do a larger shift from shape 3 on frets 3,5 6 on the b string to shape 1 on frets 6, 8, 10 with our largest shift yet. Really make sure you’re looking ahead here and playing cleanly and with tight 2 hand sync. Take it slow and build up speed as you perfect this, slowly bring up the speed as you bring your good habits with you along the way.

Now, we’ll do a variation of these patterns, but with the same shapes, just quicker changes. Starting with shape 3b on frets 15, 14, 11, we’ll descend down to shape 3 on fret 8 and ascend to 10 and 11, before sliding back up to shape 2b and descending down 14, 11, 10, and shape 2 on frets 8, 6, 5.

Lastly, well connect all 5 shapes by starting on fret 2, ascending shape 2, then descending 6 5 3, ascending 5 6 8, descending 10 8 6, then descending back down, ascending back up to the same spot as we continue all the way up to the octave - going to 8 10 11 then descending 14 11 10 then sliding up to 15 14 11, then the last shape before our octave at frets 14 15 17 before we end on our root note - D on fret 15 on the b string.

Right now, the idea of changing positions should be coming to you, and the string shifting with the 2 hand sync should begin to feel more and more complete and together as we move forward. Review this lesson often to help continue building and perfecting your two hand sync. Consider taking all of these lines and playing them on different strings to get in your uncomfortable zones and develop a sense of natural ease in those settings.



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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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