Carl Verheyen on Performance: More Tips for Improving Your Reading

By Verheyen, Carl | Guitar Player, April 2014 | Go to article overview

Carl Verheyen on Performance: More Tips for Improving Your Reading


Verheyen, Carl, Guitar Player


LAST MONTH, I DETAILED some short cuts to sight-reading on the guitar. To recap, my three main points were:

* Positions: Read where the key of the piece occurs under a well-known scale in that key.

* Rhythm and syncopation: Realize there are a finite number of rhythm patterns, and try to recognize the popular ones in all styles of music.

* Training the eyes: Even when you screw up, let it go. Keep reading ahead.

Here are a few more ideas that will take some of the mystery out of sight-reading on this difficult instrument.

Connect the Dots

To elaborate on point #1 above, it's important to realize that not all music you'll encounter lies under a single position on the neck. I once played a chart starting at F# on the low-E string with a melody climbing up to a high F# on the 14th fret of the high-E string. For this reason, it's important to practice connecting your scales up and down the neck without looking at the fretboard. Doing this every day will soon give you the confidence to read in multiple positions without taking your eyes off the paper--which can be fatal! One of the harder things I've ever had to do was read notes on slide guitar. You almost have to look every once in a while to keep your intonation together, and it's easy to lose your place on the page.

There's an App for That

The iRealPro app for iPhone and iPad is an amazing tool for anyone who has grown up with The Real Book of lead sheets. With backing tracks provided, I can set the tempo slow enough to read difficult Charlie Parker heads and work on syncopated melodies. …

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