I am not going to make a "learn how to play guitar" video but I will try to highlight a few concepts that I believe will help some of those who want to learn to play the soukous guitar solos that I am transcribing and putting in my videos.
This Flamme Kapaya's rhythmic part provides a good opportunity to talk about one of the simplest and  most effective tools you can use when you try to learn how to play: the metronome.

Instead of repeating concepts that you can easily find by searching "practice guitar metronome" I will just explain how I am using the metronome to bring up to speed this Kapaya's part after having all the notes and positions down and being able to sing it. The same method can be applied to all of the solos in my videos and if you go back and look at all my videos you can easily tell apart the ones that I prepared with a metronome from the ones where I didn't.

The Video

The next comments refer to this video.


He plays this part at around 160 bpm while singing, effortlessly to the point of using positions on the fretboard that make him move his left hand much more than it has to (unnecessary jumps and stretches). In the first segment I played over the original recording, so at his same speed, just as an introduction to the piece.


In order to bring up to speed this part I used a metronome at different speeds (your floor and ceiling speed may vary depending on your skills) and you have all the following segments in the video illustrating that.

The first one is a floor speed of 70 bpm, or approximately 40% of the max speed (ceiling) that I can reach currently.
This is definitely very slow, in many ways too slow because the hands are forced to move in a way that changes too much compared to playing at higher speed, but it is useful for at least a couple of reasons: it makes it easier to memorize correctly the whole sequence down to the slightest details; it helps synchronizing left and right hand.

The second one is 85 bpm, or approx. 50% of the ceiling. This is the speed at which I should be able to play the part with a clean sound and not a single mistake. The goal here is to play it at least four times in loop without a single mistake.

The third speed is 130 bpm, or approx. 75% of my max speed. The goal here is to play it at least once as clean as it is at 85 bpm.

The fourth speed is 170 bpm, my current ceiling, actually a little higher than the original and target speed of 160 bpm. The goal here is just to force your mind and fingers to work at that frequency. It is important not to stop whatever mistake happens and no matter how dirty it comes out, just push the limit and try to sing while you play (well, Flamme Kapaya does it).

As you reach your goals at each speed you should move the speed of each stage (floor, ceiling and everything in between) up until you can play at the target speed a perfectly clean loop of four repetitions. Working this way every day it should be a matter of a few weeks, 4 or 6 or even just a couple depending on the starting point, before you can play it clean at 160 bpm.

Notice that I recorded the video well before taking the time to complete this work so if you apply this method you should play and sound much better than I do.


Next could be going back to my Roxy Tshimpaka video and talk about two-string diatonic major scale. If you liked this article and you would like to see more of this please drop me a line using the Contacts form.