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Thread: destroying and rebuilding technique

  1. #1
    Registered User JG12's Avatar
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    destroying and rebuilding technique

    there's nothing like playing guitar for almost 20 years and discovering that while you can sound good to an untrained ear, and play semi-slop runs and sweeps, your actual technique is utter crap when you try to master even rudimentary drills like the ones mr. vandenburg has in his "art of picking part 1" article. my left-right synchro is a mess.

    i've played and gotten by on slop for so long, and have always just played along with songs and never really learned the whole thing that i've gotten myself into a world of trouble with bad technique.

    now i'm faced with trying to blow apart everything i know and rebuilding from the ground up. this is going to be ugly, humiliating, and i very well may not make it! i probably won't be posting much, and will just be doing a lot of reading and practicing. i just had to post and bitch about it.

    does anyone have any words of encouragement or faced a similar situation?

    thanks and hello to everyone

  2. #2
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    Been there, done that! I was an economy picking *master* for many years, but I don't get to play as often now that I'm all grown up To be more consistent I went to strict alternate picking and I went from being fairly quick to being rather average in picking speed. It takes a LOT of work to make these changes, but it's really paying off for me.
    Don't give up! I've been playing nearly 20 years myself so I feel your pain.
    -Bizarro
    Google is your friend

  3. #3
    Registered User Rented's Avatar
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    Welcome to the club! I'm in exactly the same situation myself. I decided to just "start over", doing simple exercises and studying basic music theory. I have been doing that for six months and I already see improvements in my playing. It IS kind of humiliating, but I just bite the bullet and go on.
    ________
    WETDANNA
    Last edited by Rented; 09-12-2011 at 08:41 PM.

  4. #4
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Itīs always tough to fix a problem like that after youīve been playing for a while. It takes twice as long to "unlearn the wrong way and re-learn it correctly".
    However, I am convinced that it NEVER is too late to do something like that. I know that there are a lot of people who go "I have been playing for x years and now I canīt change anymore". Well, it might suck and it might take a lot of time and work, but it IS possible even if you have played for many years.
    I remember doing an instore-workshop somewhere down in GA, and at that one, I talked about picking and stuff like that. I asked some people in the audience what they have problems with.
    There was this guy who was in his late 40s... had been playing ever since he was a teenager. He told me that he had big problems with alternate picking. I asked him up on stage and handed him a guitar ( I hope heīs reading this.. it was so cool, cuz... he actually did what I asked him to do, not minding that a bunch of people were watching while we were discussing those flaws in his technique )
    I then showed him a simple 6 note picking exercise ( the "Yngwie-sequence", discussed in the Art Of Picking-articles ), and he tried to play it fast... it was obvious immediately that the problem wasnīt the speed or something, it was the synchronisation. His hands were not in synch ( common problem ).
    So I explained it to him like this "Imagine your hands being two sinus-waves. You wanna tune them to the same frequency ( speed ), and you want to have them start at the exact same moment of time. Right now, they are not, or theyīre not at the same frequency. So occasionally, those sinus waves cross each other, sometimes they donīt, sometimes theyīre exactly in synch".
    Then, I switched on the metronome, showed him a way to minimize the picking motion, and then we started at a very slow tempo, slowly increasing the tempo of the metronome.
    We did this for about 10 minutes, and even though he didnīt get up to mega-speeds, he obviously was able to keep his hands in synch at slow to medium tempo... which doesnīt seem like rocket-science, but is very very important and needs some attention.
    It takes a while, and you need to work hard, especially if you have to "unlearn and relearn", but its worth the effort and itīs possible even if you have been playing for many years.
    Eric

  5. #5
    Registered User JG12's Avatar
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    hey guys, thanks a lot for letting me know things like this do happen. i'm so tired of my left and right hands parting ways in the middle of doing a run! it's time for me to bite the bullet and do it right.

    thanks for the encouraging words, all of you. it's appreciated!

  6. #6
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    JG12,
    I'd really keep my chin up on this whole topic due to the likelyhood that lousy technique is probably the norm rather that the exception. It's likely almost everyone has to rework something along the way. Unless a person comes across some technique instruction early on, the right way (if there is such a thing!) to do things, it's almost certain a person will learn something the wrong way. Take for example a 2 NPS ascending run, you'd lead with a down stroke. To me, it was logical to do the same with a 3 NPS sequence. Going beneath the higher string and lead with an up stroke, the AP approach, was something that made no sense to me. Eventually I found another major problem in my playing. I was unnecessarily picking a couple notes during legato runs instead of letting my left hand do most of the work. I had just learned it wrong from the beginning. When I finally started reworking my playing, I started by getting my picking hand OUT of a legato sequence where not necessary and working on the 6 note PG AP sequence. I ended up reworking everything and although it took awhile, it's well worth it. By identifying that you have a problem, you're well on your way...

    Dave

  7. #7
    Registered User JG12's Avatar
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    thanks, dave! i'll tell you, it sure is weird to suddenly have both forearms get tired when i'm doing left-right synchro exercises. they never did that when i used to play, no matter how long i played at any given time. it's bizarre to have my picking hand feel like i'm doing something totally foreign by working on this. it feels really jerky and inconsistant right now, and i'm also trying to work on unnecessary movements, which i've noticed both hands are guilty of.

    leading with an upstroke on a 3 notes per string run is news to me. but that's what i get for not reading any guitar mags for the last 10 years. i have no idea what the best way is to do something.

    thanks for the encouragement--

  8. #8
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    JG12 what you are going through is a phase that we all will go through eventually. I like to think that no one's technique is perfect and that it is all a life-long journey of improvement. What happened to you was merely you realizing your problem and understanding that you have to change something to be a better guitarist. The important thing is you analyzed your problem and you are able to move through it by acknowledging it. The rest is all up to you. Practice and re-build your dexterity around it and you'll get through it.

  9. #9
    Wow, nice thread guys!!! I've been playing on/off for 18 years and i have never been very happy with my playing. My main problem is being able to set up a real practice routine. My job keeps me so busy and when i get back home, i'm (too often) very tired and don't find the energy to get into a real practice session and then usually picks up the guitar for noodling that IMHO is the best stress relief i know!

    Anyway, guys, thanks for that wonderfull forum. I'm mostly a lurker here but up to now, this place rocks and you can find some very good infos here.

    Rock on!

    BenoA

  10. #10
    7-string madhatter@skool's Avatar
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    Hey there JG12,
    I too am going through a technique unlearn/relearn right now. I used to sit horribly wrong (all twisted & slouching funny) & my fret hand got all screwed up. I developed the "wrong" muscles in my hand to fret the strings, & now I am having to correct this. It is not fun @ all, and horribly frustrating. I want to play so bad (especially play fast), but I have to take it slowly to make sure that the right muscles are working & my fingers are in the right position. For a while, I couldn't invert my pinkie.( smush the last knuckle inverted, like you would for fretting more than one string @ a time). I can sorta do that now. We all just need to keep working!!!!

    Peace
    "An object at rest CANNOT BE STOPPED!" - The Evil Midnight Bomber (What Bombs at Midnight) [The Tick]

  11. #11
    Registered User JG12's Avatar
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    well i can't tell you guys how annoying it is to discover how awkward it feels trying to keep my hands synchronized during those 4 nps chromatic exercises. my hands have been so used to doing their own thing for so long, they could give a damn what the other one is doing!

    i feel like i've been getting somewhere the past week or so, but i know it's going to be a long haul. but i don't have to perform for anyone but myself (and my poor but patient wife), so time i have. it's my patience with myself trying to re-learn something that will be tested on a daily basis.

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