Nuances (Guitar Lesson)

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Dan Sugarman

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 helping you find your voice!

Taught by Dan Sugarman in Sugarman's Shredding Revolution seriesLength: 18:01Difficulty: 3.0 of 5

Nuances - Make Your Guitar Sing

Moving forward to solidifying our 2 hand sync and getting comfortable with all things weird, I want to get into working on different ways to vocalize and emote your own lines as you create your own licks, riffs, and exercises.

In the previous lesson, we talked about some methods to get the most out of these lessons, and your practice sessions from here on out… Continuing on that, I want to add some spice into the pot. Consider that everything we’ve done before this is the meat of our dish, and this right here, is what is going to take it over the edge… Lets get spicy by adding some nuances to our playing to help emote our playing, and make our guitar sound more vocal, and our phrases more lyrical, and uniquely you.

So, how do we do that? Here’s a simple equation to help generate some cool and new ideas for you.

Note Choice + Technique + Nuance = Your Unique Phrasing = Feeling

  1. Note Choice - this is your key, the notes you’ve chosen, and the pattern.
  2. Technique - how did you do? Did you legato the first 3 notes in 8th note triplets and then alternate pick up in 16th notes?
  3. Nuance - slides, vibrato, bends, muting… The little details that make emote it and make the guitar almost vocal.

We’re going to take a simple 3 string fragment from the D harmonic minor once again… Ascending up 5 7 8 on the A string, 5 7 8 on the D string, and 6 9 7 These are the notes I’ve chosen to work off of for now. The last line is a different pattern as a set up so that the downbeat ends on our root note, as well as forcing two different patterns within notes.

  • Let’s try alternate picking
  • Let’s try legato
  • Let’s try directional picking
  • Let’s try a combo of alternate picking and legato
  • Lets try a Alt. Picking and Directional Line
  • Lets’ try an Legato and Directional Line
  • Let’s try all of them together just for the fun of it by first ascending in alternate picking, legato on our g string for the turnaround, and the directional pick on our way back down.
  • Let’s try to triplet the first 3 string fragment with alternate picking starting on an upstroke! Then ascending up the next 5 7 8 fragment with a directional line leading into the g string on 6 7 9, then pull off from 9 to 7 to 6, to close it out on the root note on a down beat.

(From this point on, I’m going to take that same basic line, and just add a bunch of different nuances so you can see the ways that these ideas will change the overall sound, as well as lead to new creative ideas.)

  • Do the same as above, plus slip from above, and then a slide from below on the root 6 to 7 on the g string.
  • Now we’re gonna add some slides to start it on an pick up beat, and slide between some of the shapes.
  • Same as above, only we’re going to do a quick bend and release akin to the sound of a sitar on fret 6.
  • Then we’r gonna do the exact same thing followed by a traditional bend on the last note from fret 6 to 7 with a nice vibrato.

(VIBRATO: Vibrato is all about the artist choice… you have a wide range of depths and rates of your vibrato… I like to play with what’s called meter vibrato. Which is basically playing against the rhythm of the music with varying meters in my rate…)

  • Ascending up the same shape using 16th notes directionally picked - the tough part with this is to make sure it doesn’t accidentally sound triplet-y, so make sure you’re squared up and clean! We’ll ascend all the way up to 9 on the G string, then we’ll pull off as we descend back down in 4’s pulling off 9, 7 6 and up stroking 8 on the D string, then down stroke 7 and pull of to 6, up stroke 8 and pull of to 7 o the d string, down stroke 6 on the g string, then up alternate picking starting on an upstroke 8 7 6 7 ending on a downstroke on the fifth of our root (d) on beat two of the next measure.
  • Last up, we’ll take that same exact idea as before, and change up the pattern per string a little bit, add some slips and bends a vibrato, and an octave portal, which is the same thing shifting up an octave.

Key Notes and Reference

NUANCE & TECHNIQUE VARIABLES:

  • Slips (a “slip” from above or from below a note, into that note.)
  • Slides (sliding between notes, or down or up at all)
  • Bends (pre-bend, bend, rake bend, quick sitar pre bends, bend vibratos, bend taps, bend harmonics, pinch bend etc.)
  • Vibrato (meter vibrato - vibrato inside the grid and playing against the beat of the song)
  • Whammy Bar (flutters, dive bombs, bend down/bend up etc. squeals, harmonics, etc.)
  • Chromatic Approach // Passing Tones
  • Volume Swells (with volume knob of guitar)
  • Staccato
  • Legato
  • Pick Scrapes & Rakes
  • Squeals
  • Hammer-Ons & Pull-Offs
  • Rhythm Change (Sycopation // Odd Pulse)
  • Hybrid Picking
  • Dynamics (in tone, volume, pick attack, palm muting, etc.)
  • Pattern Change
  • Octave Portals
  • Arpeggio
  • All 10 Muting Techniques

Influence Idea:

  • Listen to music that isn’t guitar music… I personally love the sound of horns in jazz.
  • Listen to guitar players from genres and eras completely outside of your own - Again, Jazz is huge Gypsy Jazz has been huge on me lately - but I’m not a jazz guitarist by any means!
  • Find a skilled Rapper or Hip Hop Artist that has amazing rhythmic phrasing: Bone Thugs N Harmony is one of my biggest phrasing influences believe it or not!
  • Find a Vocalist that has an amazing vibrato: I personally emulate Layne Staley from Alice in Chains, and I’m told I often do a reverse Italian Opera Vibrato… They do a fast and tight vibrato that slows down and widens out, as where I tend to start on the slower and wider side of the vibrato and speed up - weird right?

At this point, the notion of taking something simple and adding unique nuances to it should be clearly coming across… I want you to practice each little nuance and some of its usages as much as you want to. This is about finding YOUR native accent (nuance), in your languange (note choice) , in your country (genre). Make it what you want it to be!



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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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