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Set Number: #4 - August 2006
Guitar Guru: Fredrik Pihl

Question: With the guitar clocking in at a respectable 500 years old (Spain 1500's), the modern guitar is a far cry from its origional conception. From the first five-course guitars, to the later six-string, and finally to the development of George Van Eps (1930's) the seven string guitar, the guitar has changed so much. Our modern perception of the guitar is nothing like its origional incarnation, my question is do you think that with modern guitarist adopting 7,8,9,- or more string guitars, that 7+ string guitars might be the norm and not
the exception? Do you think it is possible that within the next 50's ,we will see an evolution to extended range instruments? Matt Hale

Guitar Guru: Absolutely! I think the guitar will evolve a lot in the future. With today's technique, one can only imagine what guitars will look like in the future. More strings, different pickup ideas, new materials to build guitars from... who knows. Only the future will tell, and I'm looking forward to it!

Question: Why are Scandinavian guitarists so damn excellent? Is it the fermented shark, long hours of daylight (or darkness depending on the time of year) or exposure to classical music on the radio during your youth? Don't you guys have cable TV and video games over there to distract you from practicing? I have been checking out a lot of guitarists from Finland, Sweden, and Denmark and you guys are seriously some of the most inspiring I have ever heard. Players such as yourself, Mattias Eklundh, Roine Stolt, Magnus Olsson, Janne Stark, etc, are all outstanding. Paul Tauterouff

Guitar Guru: Hey Paul! I guess it must be a result of drinking Scandinavian water. Or maybe our
ancestors were aliens.....
On a more serious note, I actually don't think that Scandinavian players are better, or any different than players from any other countries. But perhaps Scandinavians have a "typical scandinavian sound", like you can hear in Indian music, or Japanese music. I can't really say that I hear some special flavours in scandinavian guitar players, but maybe it's just because I'm from Sweden myself. I know in the metal scene, the "scandinavian sound" has become really popular with bands like In Flames and Soilwork etc. Maybe it's the same thing with our guitar players. I really don't know.

Question: I've gotten real good at sweeping, but only when the notes are on non adjacent frets. I can't roll my finger when I'm coming up with a sweep for the life of me. Any tips or suggestions on how to get better at this? Dumpster510

Guitar Guru: Well, the obvious answer would be that you come up with some exercises that will work on this typical problem. One piece of advice I can give you is to practice in front of a mirror. It may sound cheesy, but then you can actually see how your hand is working from a different point of view, and maybe solve the problem that you have. Otherwise you might have to find some other ways to play these typical intervals. Remember that our hands are different, and a thing that may work for my hands, may be completely impossible for your hands. But there are always ways to solve these problems.

So, first of all I would like to encourage you to really analyze why this problem occurs, and then solve it. Look at some guitar videos to see how other players handle this technique. But always remember, that their hands are completely different from yours, so it may not work for you. And that doens't mean that you have strange or bad hands. If you try, and try but can't do it, then just find another way that will fit your hands better. There are no right or wrong ways. And finding other ways isn't cheating, like some players think. In the end it's all just a matter of playing notes and tones. How we play them isn't very important. You can do it!!

Question: I been doing exercises for quite a while now and have tried to keep my speed and techinique as cohesive as possible. However, I began to realize that when I go from the upper notes to the lower notes I can go considerably faster than going from the higher notes to the lower ones. The same thing goes for my hammer ons and Legato playing. How should I try to adjust this so I can play down the neck as fast as I can play up it. el_valesito87

Guitar Guru: Well, this might sound as a typical cliche answer.... but it's very simple: First of all, examine what you do real carefully. Everything from your picking hand's angle, to your left hands finger movements, Make sure that you pick the same way up the neck as you do down the neck. For the legato part, it's always harder in my opinion to do clean pull of's than hammer ons. So come up with some exercises that will work on
your legato technique. Especially your pull off's in this case. When I learned legato I had a great help of watching Brett Garsed's Rock fusion inscructional video, as well as Shawn Lane's Power licks video (both released by REH videos). Check out these videos and I'll guarantee that you will have your legato chops going in no time. Good Luck!!


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