About The Book

It took a good year or so to write the book The essential guide to guitar virtuosity and in the process it took on many forms. After writing draft after draft, I finally was able to nail exactly what needed to be said and taught.

It doesn’t just offer exercises, because you can find things like that just about anywhere. Instead, it focuses on the mental prep work that is needed as a foundation to make anything happen in guitar playing.

This is no easy task, because you see there is never just ONE way to do something for advanced guitar playing. So, the book offers things for you to ponder over. Anywhere from hand pick hold styles, to holding the pick and monitoring the angle and approach to picking out each string (because they obviously are all different gauges).

How it works
I use myself as an example throughout the book, talking about things like “this is the posture of my hand that I use for rhythm playing, and this is how I hold the pick for alternate picking”.

The idea is to get as detailed as possible, and what’s really great is that you the reader can incorporate things that you think might help your playing at this level.

Its also a very important book because it points out common flaws in other techniques that most people don’t think about or even talk about. These are the problems that I see a lot of guitar players having, so I decided to talk about them, and I certainly have always had these problems as well.

In the book, you’ll go through some MAJOR primers before any real licks or exercises are mentioned. The first stage is to get your mind set up for success. It is very motivational, with the focus of getting current practice frustrations out of your head, so that you have a clear mind to work with. The book uses a touch of philosophy to illustrate this.

Then begins the actual addressing of left and right hand approaches to practicing as mentioned before.

Then after this we begin with the exercises, but in a very unique way. Though its hard to explain without you actually reading the book at this time, I come from a philosophy that its important to train the hands (especially picking) under different scenarios.

If you were a special forces soldier, you wouldn’t just learn how to barge in through a front door during a raid. You would also learn how to control the situation first, and enter through top level windows or quietly through a back door.

Most people teach speed picking as an example, with just 2 and 3 note per string runs. In the book we cover all of that, but I teach you to notice the differences that different groupings of notes have on the hands.

We start with and grow our exercises from small to large, always pointing out what is actually happening. This can help you to perhaps see what the problems may be in your playing as it is now.

This is why there are many exercise routines that incorporate odd combos of notes, and at times odd ways to pick them, so that you have plenty of skill to draw from once this starts to set in.

Will this make you a shred god over night? Hell no. You have to put in the work, but my job is to show you WHERE the work and attention to detail is most needed.

That’s why each chapter is devoted to something special and there are 24 of them. Once you start actually working with the exercises, you’ll see how we take it one step at a time so that you can see how adding or subtracting just one note can change everything. Then we train under the new scenario with a given set of exercises, and what you wish to work with is totally up to you.

For instance, Chapter 4 – Basic speed drills – 4 finger exercises deals with chromatics. This list includes:

Linear Chromatics
Transition of fingers
Traveling Chromatics
V-Shape traveling Chromatics

As you can see, one might consider this to be overkill, but the funny thing is, when writing a book like this, if I wanted to even cover just this topic, it could be in excess of several hundred pages alone.

The idea is to get you to a point where nothing can stop you.

Chapter 8 deals with moderately advanced picking exercises like this:

Groupings of 2
Groupings of 3
Groupings of 4
Groupings of 5
Groupings of 6
Groupings of 7
Groupings of 8

And there is even a section on the dreaded string skipping.

But it doesn’t stop there. I even took the liberty of designing exercises based around hammer-ons (Legato is another chapter), bends, Vibrato, and the many different forms of harmonics.

The book essentially works in 3 phases.

Phase 1 – mental prepping
Phase 2 – Highly detailed exercises
Phase 3 – Creativity (outside thoughts on soloing, ear training, practicing and recording)

Now, is this the best that I could do at this time – yes! Is this the best that I can do long-term – No!

I already have some wonderful ideas for the future that will involve guitar creativity, but in terms of technique, strength, endurance, fluidity, and speed development – this is THE book.

The Contents
Here is the FULL listing as it appears in the book:

Chapter 1 – Mental Mastery

How ego gets in the way
Putting that voice in its place
The correct mindset
Staying on track
The addiction of guitar
A skillful trade
What a virtuoso really is
A blank canvas
Lessons or self taught?
The benefit’s of teaching one’s self
Never give up
Love what you are doing
Take breaks
For the drinker
The environment (your environment)
The journey

Chapter 2 – The seven principles of guitar speed

Proper picking
Holding the guitar pick
The index finger
Hand posture
The pick itself
The two angles of the pick
The pinkie anchor
Less arm, more wrist
Lightness of touch

Chapter 3 – How to train for speed and maximize your playing

Economy fingers
Alternate picking
Beats per minute
Use a metronome
Keep a practice journal
How to make progress with a metronome
The reason for all of this
Using the exercises

Chapter 4 – Basic speed drills – 4 finger exercises

Linear Chromatics
Transition of fingers
Traveling chromatics
V-shape traveling chromatics

Chapter 5 – Basic speed drills – 3 finger exercises

3 finger patterns
Key principle of guitar speed #7

Chapter 6 – Basic speed drills – 2 finger exercises

Chapter 7 – Basic speed drills – Tremolo picking

Tremolo picking
Tremolo exercises

Chapter 8 – Moderately advanced picking exercises

Groupings of 2
Groupings of 3
Groupings of 4
Groupings of 5
Groupings of 6
Groupings of 7
Groupings of 8

Chapter 9 – Advanced picking exercises

Keeping within the strings
Keep to the outside of the strings
Neo-classical exercises
Complete runs

Chapter 10 – Better bending

The best way to practice bending
Half step bends
Quarter step bends
Putting it all together
The octave bend
Blues bend
Blues bend with roll
Blues bend roll lick
Two string bend roll

Chapter 11 – Vibrato

What is vibrato?
How to

Chapter 12 – Better hammer ons and pull offs

What is a hammer on?
What is a pull off?

Chapter 13 – Legato

What is Legato?
How do you play Legato?
How does Legato fit into a guitarist’s playing?
Ascending and Descending
Adding shifts

Chapter 14 – Tapping

What is it?
The use of fingers
Pick or finger?
Best practices
In detail, how does tapping work?
Tapping chords

Chapter 15 – Sweep picking

What is sweep picking?
Not a strum
The picking hand
The fretting hand
Noise pollution
Adding strings
Spanning the fretboard
Barre sweep
Melodic sweeping

Chapter 16 – Developing better sliding technique

What is it?
The beauty of diversity
Combining techniques

Chapter 17 – Economy picking

What is economy picking?
Economy picking with Legato

Chapter 18 – String skipping

The different ways that you can use string skipping

Chapter 19 – Harmonics

The seven forms of harmonics
Natural harmonics
How to
Right hand assisted harmonics
The fretting hand
The picking hand
How to
Pinch harmonics
How to
Getting the best out of your pinch harmonics
Tapped Harmonics
Natural harmonic chords
Right hand assisted harmonics chords
Pinch harmonic chords
Natural harmonic bends

Chapter 20 – How to write awesome guitar solos

Scales and modes
Your ear is your best friend
Improvisational playing
Just listen
Jamming in general
Author as example

Chapter 21 – Ear training

The myths
Be careful
How to train
Ear training with chords

Chapter 22 – The ultimate practice routine

Guitarist A vs. Guitarist B
Tips you can’t go wrong with

Chapter 23 – The power of Metacognition<

Chapter 24 – Recording

Recording software
Virtual instruments
MIDI controller
Studio monitors
Pop filters
The computer itself
Hard drive space
Test, test, and then test some more
Take your time
My personal protocol
Staying creative during the recording process

Final Thoughts