Learning to Fish for Ourselves (Guitar Lesson)

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Dan Sugarman

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.

Taught by Dan Sugarman in Sugarman's Shredding Revolution seriesLength: 9:19Difficulty: 2.5 of 5

Learning to Fish for Ourselves (Using the Quarantine)

Now that we’ve learned about the in the moment consciousness required to grow, and we’ve practiced how to most effectively and efficiently execute the notes we want to play, and we’ve even practice and learned about covering our tracks so that the notes we don’t want to hear don’t compromise our hard work… We’ve learned more than a few different ways to develop our two hand sync, but now I want to talk about becoming a self sufficient guitarist so that you can spot and fix your own problems.

In the last module we covered one of the final frontiers in the foundations of good playing… But learning to fish for yourself rather then me feeding you gas station sushi might be one of the most beneficial things you could do for yourself. This approach will help you fine tune your playing, and hone in on your problems with a laser like focus that will allow you to tackle those problem areas more rapidly, helping you become the synced up, all around good player that you want to be.

First off - In the video I demonstrated a passage that definitely has some problems! We can all agree that that wasn’t good. Did you notice that I kept messing up at the turn around, got frustrated, and started again, played a little worse from frustration, and then messed up again at the same spot before starting at the VERY beginning again? Insane. Literally.

I have watched countless guitarists first hand in this insanity loop - the definition of insanity is when you repeat the same action over and over again expecting a different outcome. Why would you start at the very beginning and play through 4 measures that you have down just to hit a wall again? It’s because your brain would rather feel good about 4 measures than feel bad about 1. Rather then getting stuck in that time consuming abyss, let’s HONE IN on the exact part that’s causing my issue. Mind you, this is an example of a practice perspective - use this anywhere and everywhere, forever!

Break down the measure in half as shown in fragment 1, Opening it up from the inside and discovering every little detail that is required to play the best way that I possibly can (play the part slowly - notice that the legato line is so you can strategically get set up on the D string in time - alternate pick it but end with double downstrokes that create the directional picking line to close it, with a thumb mute to make sure it doesn’t bleed. Loop that part of the measure over and over slowly, learning and getting better from each passage as you pickup on something new to improve on. Maybe the legato line isn’t your problem, so lets get even more laser like and just loop the directional picking line in Fragment 2. Good! Now that the brain can feel good about THAT part, let’s reward it by playing from it, out of it by just a few notes in fragment 3… Let’s go halfway through measure 2 on the repeat to stop. Loop that a few times making sure you’re using the finger fat to mute out your G string! And your Sloppy Joe and Pulse to keep your riff clean and tight. Now, let’s add the click picking riff before the legato line to playing into it for Fragment 4, and then through it to the first half of measure 2 for Fragment 5. I promise you that at this point, my method makes perfect sense.

We have now created the brain reward in your PROBLEM AREA rather than in the parts you could play well… Now, we’ll play through EVERYTHING together, and your brain won’t trip you up and be your enemy, but it’ll be your friend - stoked to execute this line and feel good about it! Use that method everywhere! I call it the Quarantine - because we are literally removing the sick portion from EVERYTHING else to study it, before slowly entering back into the environment.

Here’s how you can squeeze even MORE out of this newly discovered problem area… Take that idea that was causing you problems, and make something new out of it! Create a cool looping pattern that uses the idea differently - even exaggerated! Here’s a lick that will use the same directional picking and muting… but we’ll be using odd note groupings and a rest before our turnaround, check it out!

For Example 1, here’s a new exercise for yourself to practice this idea in a new way that may spark something for your brain. For example, we were having a hard time with that last directionally picked line into the finger fat mute… let’s write a new line that will help us practice this. Effectively, you’re milking your weakness for all its worth, and eventually making it into a super strength with this kind of practice. It enforces a creativity inside of this that will help you excel as a musician beyond just being a proficient guitarist. By honing in on your PROBLEM areas when practicing, you wind up practicing what needs to practiced, and not just playing through what you already know… The difference between practicing and playing is key… One is learning new things, done slowly and deliberately - the other is playing through things you know, often mindlessly, or at least half on autopilot.

Tips:

  • If you’re having a hard time finding your issues, play super slow so you can really see what’s going on.
  • If that doesn’t help, record yourself on video playing this. Film yourself playing this to a metronome so you can actually analyze yourself properly… this is even better then practicing to a metronome, filming yourself practicing to a metronome is like a pro NFL team filming practice and watching it together afterwards to analyze and talk about it.
  • Also, try to play in front of the mirror so that you can get an “outside of the fishbowl” sort of vision. This will help you get 2 different perspectives on your playing that will help you grow. The video will help you analyze your playing visually and aurally without having to actual be the person playing it - this way you can critique your playing and more easily hone in on the exact spots causing you the problem. The mirror is your go-to in the moment when you’re practice so you don’t have to stare at one hand or the other - set up so you can see both!
  • Also - Check this trick out for practicing your articulation vs. cleanliness! Both of those together equals awesome 2 hand sync. If you want to practice articulation of your notes, or the attack in clarity of your notes… Play with a clean setting on your amp, NO EFFECTS! This will really help you get the definition you need… Because if you can sound articulate clean, you’ll sound great distorted. But you can trick yourself into sounding articulate really easily on a distortion channel! You don’t want to practice that way. If you want to practice your cleanliness and muting techniques, practice with distortion to expose any subtleties hiding in your clean setting. The end goal is to make both tones sound as good as possible.

Right now, your mind should be booming with exciting and ideas of how you can take your own playing further by using your creativity and a high level of consciousness to get there. Use that method as often as you can in your practice, as that is how you’ll evolve at the most rapid pace possible.



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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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