First exercises with Phi Yaan Zek

Here’s some of my first notes from when the first week I was taught by the brilliant teacher that is Mr. Phi Yaan Zek.

When I first worked with Phi we we’re learning fingering techniques on one string:
3rd string (G) using –2–454–2 / 45-7-54 / 5-7-9-7-5
Also sweeping techniques:
Major 7th sweeps / minor pentatonic sweeps
These excerises help with dexterity/ speed/ stamina/ palm muting/ using all you fingers. My main problem with these excerises was my little finger not being as strong or as fast as the rest which I’d trained in the 4 years of playing, to get this up to speed on the rest would involve constant practice of the playing above aswell as my own designed tapping techniques. These tapping techniques look like this;
Using the E/A and D string I tap the higher octave F# (E string) E (Dstring) and B (A string) whenever I tap I hammer on the same string but using these notes.
The F# = Hammer on the G# – B
The E = Hammer on the F# – A
The B = Hammer on the C# – E
If I didn’t use the tap as a technique then it would be extremely difficult to get to the higher notes when focusing on lower hammer ons, the tapping technique was brought to popular use and worldwide knowledge due to Eddie Van Halen pioneering this way of playing in the 70s.
Practicing the major 7th sweep would firstly be choosing a key to play in, I normally choose the key of E to start with, this process uses the major scaled then arpeggiates through the top 4 strings (D/G/A/E) using these notes:
D = C# – A
G = G#
A = B
E = D# – F#
Using this arpeggio gives the player great knowledge of the top end of the major scale and also results in faster playing, the term “Sweep,” comes from the sound of the desired arpeggio played very fast, if the notes were palm muted and played fast then this would be called a “Rake.” A player who pioneers these ways of playing is Frank Gamballi.


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