The third aspect of guitar control is perhaps
the most powerful, and this is what I call the
“brain-to-hand” connection. It is the most raw
and abstract skill for improvising. It all starts
with the energy of inspiration, which comes from within.
What you feel in your heart and hear in your head
is simply played directly, without thought, without any considerations.
We can improvise freely with our vocal chords by
singing pitches – but why is it so much harder to
do it on the guitar?
It’s because our vocal chords are a part of our physical body – so there is
nothing in between to get in the way. With the guitar, we somehow have
to know the right pitch and how to find it on the fretboard.
This requires some serious ear training. The most direct way of recognizing
pitches that you hear in your head is to develop the ability to know the
pitches themselves. This skill is called “perfect pitch” or “absolute pitch”.
This takes 1) knowledge of how to train your ear in this manner and 2)
either a partner or a computer program to drill you. Thankfully, both of
these issues are solved for you by tone tutor, which you can
get free access to when you sign up for Killer Guitar Control Secrets.
The next kind of ear training is relative pitch training – which essentially
means getting good at recognizing which degree of the scale you are hearing
over the chord progression.
For example, take a simple 12 bar blues progression. It is fairly easy to
distinguish when you are hearing the root of the progression. Then it
becomes a matter of learning the other important pitches such as the fifth
degree. It just takes practice.
Besides ear training, there are a number of other things you can do to
improve your brain-to-hand connection.
One exercise you can do is simply to practice getting good at nailing the first note
of a phrase that you are imagining in your head. I call this the “first note”
exercise. Its very powerful because once you hit the first note, often the rest of
the phrase falls under your fingers.
But, there’s many other exercises you can do. There was a time when I focusing
specifically on developing the brain-to-hand connection. I was playing lead guitar in a
band at the time, and …get this… I refused to know or learn what key I was playing in.
And I played some very inspiring and powerful leads.
However, occasionally I would get lost. Eventually, I learned how to play totally from
the heart, yet still feel grounded by the knowledge of the fretboard. I was able to
integrate the two, and also use my technique to serve the purpose of expression.
Other exercises you can do for the brain to hand connection:
– Seperate left and right hand practicing.
– Singing along with what you play
– focusing on various rhythmic groupings
And there are MANY other techniques that I cover inside my DVD course – for
example, just one of them is the “In and Out” technique that will get you closer to
playing from the heart by pushing you closer and closer to what you really want to play.