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In my journey of learning lead guitar, till now I have learnt the minor pentatonic scale. My usual practice routine includes playing the scale with a metronome and trying to get faster at it. After that, I try to play some patterns using this scale. I also improvise sometimes using a backing track.

However, I've found I still suck when playing some famous solos (easy ones) which use the minor pentatonic. I think the problem is, that even though I'm becoming faster at playing the minor pentatonic scale, I'm still quiet slow at playing the combination of notes, legato, string bending etc in those solos.

Are there any exercises which will help me get faster at solos? For example, something which would help me bend strings faster (i.e, switch from a note to a bend and back to a note).

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Practice more/get a teacher. This is a very broad question and I think there are a number of questions already on this site that cover aspects of what you're asking. –  Tony Mar 19 '13 at 16:24
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3 Answers 3

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If you have identified problem areas (transitions from bending to other notes) make practice drills out of those specific problem areas. Just work on them over the course of a few days or weeks and you will see improvement.

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Practice slow, with a metronome, and gradually speed up. Either everything will work out fine, or you'll hit a tempo where there's just too much for your fingers to do.

When playing slowly, concentrate on totally relaxed hand movements. Concentrate on not losing that relaxed motion as you speed up. Tense fingers are not agile fingers.

When you reach the point where there's too much for your fingers to do, stop and try to work out what you can do more efficiently.

Investigate techniques such as "sweep picking" and "alternate picking" -- these are both ways to get more notes out of less right-hand movement.

A good teacher is the best route to knowledge, but failing that, books and magazines can do more than this site.

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You say you're "becoming faster at playing the minor pentatonic scale". How are you learning the scale exactly? If you're simply ascending / descending the scale, then that's all you're really learning.

Generally for a scale, I'd play:

  • ascending / descending
  • ascending / descending patterns (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc)
  • skipping every other note
  • playing notes at 'random' from the scale.

Scales are useful, but you need to make sure you're working on technique as a whole, including bends, slides, whatever else you can fit in.

Edit: The one thing that was always drilled into me that I should really add: Speed is purely a byproduct of accuracy. Start slow, increase your speed.

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Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. –  VarLogRant Mar 19 '13 at 22:15
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