At Musikmesse Frankfurt, we took our chance for an interview with Swedish songwriter, guitarist, guitar teacher, and producer Magnus Karlsson. Here's what you can learn from him about practicing guitar efficiently.

Shapes, Patterns, and Improvisation

Magnus started playing guitar at the age of 10. When he was 17, he seriously got into practice. As he told us, he would have been thankful for an app like Fretello when he started practicing, because he also focused intensively on building muscle memory for 3 notes per string scales: “I practiced the different musical modes for years. I really enjoyed seeing how I got faster bit by bit playing all kinds of different patterns.”

For the Primal Fear guitarist, being able to recall specific patterns and shapes from memory without having to think about is an essential skill: “If you want to play stuff as I do, you have to practice. Nobody just improvises. 75% of my playing is about recalling shapes and patterns.”

Definition, Attack and Sweep Picking

Like every good guitar player, Magnus has defined his unique playing style. Most notably, Magnus is left-handed, although he plays right-handed guitar. When he plays, he uses a lot of Legato bindings. Also, he loves to sweep a lot: “I’m a bit lazy with picking because my left hand is faster. And whenever I get nervous, I start to sweep.” To him, sweep picking is just like riding a bicycle: Once you figure it out, you will never forget it again.

Regardless of practicing or playing, Magnus told us that you should always focus on a clear definition and attack when you play, which you can see in the following video.

Currently, Magnus is working together with Ronnie Romero (Lords of Black, Rainbow) on a brand-new project album called The Ferrymen. It will be released on June 2nd this year.