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> Question About Picking Arpeggios
edguy
post Mar 12 2012, 11:15 PM
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Hey Ben,

i want to ask you a question about your Picking Arpeggios lesson here at gmc. I renewed my subscription last week and slowly start playing guitar again after my shoulder surgery.

That said i choosen two lessons from you: Picking Hand Basics to get my right hand in shape and the Picking arpegios lesson to train my left hand to make it strong again smile.gif

And here comes the problem:

Playing bar chords or chords where i have to stretch my fingers were always a problem for me. And now after the break it's even harder.

I try to play the first chord of your picking appregios lesson and can't produce enough power that all the strings ring out clearly. Often the A note on the D string sound dead because my pinky slides away from the fret. I play this lesson on my acoustic guitar because the action of strings is very high there and when i can play the lesson on that guitar i'm able to play it on any other guitar smile.gif

And here comes the question: How can I practice these chord shapes without clenching/cramping my left hand? Because that's what happens all the time.

Thanks for your time and help,

Roman

This post has been edited by edguy: Mar 12 2012, 11:16 PM


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Ben Higgins
post Mar 13 2012, 10:25 AM
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Hi Roman, welcome back.. I'm glad your shoulder surgery went well !

Ok, well this is definitely a good workout for your fretting hand so let's approach it with caution but you can definitely do this with a bit of patience..

Before playing anything at all, always make sure that you've got good blood flow in your hands and that they are able to move freely without feeling sluggish. When you flex and unflex your fingers, check that they don't feel crampy as that's a sign that they're still cold.

If they feel warm enough, just begin with a few basic chords like Am, D, G, E just to get the finger muscles working before we tackle the bigger shapes.

Ok..

What I did when I was trying to get better at the shapes was to fret them and then just keep repeating them until my hand started to feel too tense and like my fingers and hand were burning. For example, I would fret one of the bigger chords and repeat the arpeggios maybe 10 times or so, until it started to burn..

I would then (gently) take them off the fretboard and slowly allow my fingers to come back in to a resting position. It's important not to go immediately from a very stretched position to a sudden closed hand position because your tendons have just been stretched and fast movements can hurt it even more while it is in that state. So, take it slow

Have a rest for a little while, let your hand sit naturally and try not to keep messing with it etc..

Time for another set of repetitions. Repeat. When you play the chord, try to look at each finger and check that they're in the right position. If they're not quite fretting the note, try as much as you can to adjust them to the best of your ability. It will take effort and it won't take long until they're burning and asking you to stop. It's ok to feel the burn, but stop if you feel sharp pain.

I would go through this sequence about 3 times in total.. that should be enough for your hand in one day when it comes to stretching its reaching potential.

What we're trying to do is to gradually introduce your hands to bigger stretches in a way that allows them to build up stamina naturally and not pushing them too quickly.

At first, you won't be able to do many reps before you feel the need to stop. Over a few days, you will be able to increase the amount of time you can stay on that shape as your finger muscles and tendons become used to the stretch.

When you can fret the shapes ok, then you'll have to put them together and the changes between the chords are another challenge in themselves but until then, the challenge is to get your fretting hand up to fitness smile.gif

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Mar 13 2012, 10:26 AM


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edguy
post Mar 13 2012, 07:59 PM
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Hey Ben,

I'm really impressed by your superb answer and help instructions! Thanks for that! I will stick to your suggestions and build up a practice routine for that topic.

I will track my progress here in this topic.

Thanks,

Roman




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edguy
post Mar 13 2012, 09:10 PM
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Hey Ben,

I started the chord shape practicing right away. At first I did the warm up of my hands with out the guitar (stretching etc. included). Then I played some basic chord shapes G; E, C, D Am etc.

After that I played the first chord from your arpeggio video lesson (3 sets of repetitions in total). I had to use my electric guitar for practicing because my acoustic guitar is not at my home at the moment. So today I experienced that practicing the first chord shape from your lesson was easier for me than yesterday.

I will not do additional guitar practicing today because I feel some pain in my shoulder caused by physical exercises I have to do at the moment to get my shoulder in shape again.

I plan to start the next chord shape practicing session tomorrow.

Cheers,

Roman




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Ben Higgins
post Mar 14 2012, 11:35 AM
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QUOTE (edguy @ Mar 13 2012, 08:10 PM) *
Hey Ben,

I started the chord shape practicing right away. At first I did the warm up of my hands with out the guitar (stretching etc. included). Then I played some basic chord shapes G; E, C, D Am etc.

After that I played the first chord from your arpeggio video lesson (3 sets of repetitions in total). I had to use my electric guitar for practicing because my acoustic guitar is not at my home at the moment. So today I experienced that practicing the first chord shape from your lesson was easier for me than yesterday.

I will not do additional guitar practicing today because I feel some pain in my shoulder caused by physical exercises I have to do at the moment to get my shoulder in shape again.

I plan to start the next chord shape practicing session tomorrow.

Cheers,

Roman


Hey Roman,

Cool, sounds good. It's always better to take it easy when you've had a long time off of an activity. As long as you keep listening to your body, you'll know when enough is enough smile.gif


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edguy
post Mar 17 2012, 09:16 PM
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Hey Ben,

time to update my progress here:) The last three days of practicing the Amadd9/D and Fm7add11 shapes went really well. I really making progress, can increase the repetitions of each set and the chords sounds very clean. I was also able to play it on my acoustic guitar yesterday.

Now I want to go through all chords of this lesson. I guess the G#add9 could become a real challenge. I'll keep you updated.

cheers,

Roman



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Ben Higgins
post Mar 18 2012, 10:25 AM
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QUOTE (edguy @ Mar 17 2012, 08:16 PM) *
Hey Ben,

time to update my progress here:) The last three days of practicing the Amadd9/D and Fm7add11 shapes went really well. I really making progress, can increase the repetitions of each set and the chords sounds very clean. I was also able to play it on my acoustic guitar yesterday.

Now I want to go through all chords of this lesson. I guess the G#add9 could become a real challenge. I'll keep you updated.

cheers,

Roman


Hey Roam, that's great... yeah you'll love the add9 chords !! A real good stretch ! However, once you can do it you'll never look back.. your hands will thank you in the end wink.gif


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