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> What's Your Opinion On Changing Things?, Do arbitrary changes help your playing?
TheKeplerConject...
post Aug 1 2009, 05:48 AM
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Hey Guys,

I'm looking for people's opinion on something. At various points in my guitar-playing-life, I've made conscious decisions to change things about my playing.

First, it was how I held the guitar while sitting - Before, I held it the more typical way, with the guitar resting on my right leg. I decided to try placing it on my left leg with the body resting between my legs when I friend who's a better player recommended it when I joined a band and needed to adapt to playing while standing.

Next, It was removing my right hand pinky from the body of the guitar while playing.

Then it was the picks I used - I went with black Jazz IIIs. Smaller than what I was used to.

Most recently it was playing with my picking hand in a loose fist (inspired by Mr. David Wallimann). Previously my unused fingers (2, 3 & 4) were fanned out.

After each of these changes I experienced relatively major and fast improvement in speed and accuracy. Initially, it's like playing the instrument for the first time again. But after about a week, I'm playing better than before and I can barely believe that I ever felt comfortable with the previous approach.

I'm thinking that, while fighting my way through the newly introduced discomfort, I'm building a momentum towards my my goal (wherever I was before making the change). When I get to that goal, I just keep improving for a few days - past my previous level. Then it goes back to normal: I, again, need to practice a technique for a few weeks before being able to kick up the tempo by 5bpm.

I'm now toying with the idea of making some unnecessary change to make that happen again. But I have questions. Is this happening simply because I'm making changes that are, in fact, better then my previous approaches? Do you think it's psychological? Has anybody else experienced this? Please let me know your opinion. Thanks!
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jafomatic
post Aug 1 2009, 06:05 AM
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It's not coincidence, you switched to using "better" techniques in every case mentioned. I experienced this myself as well, just a few months ago.

There's a reason those Jazz III's are incredibly popular and there's a reason folks say "don't anchor your pinky."

What you may need for those 5 bpm increases is not just practice be smart practice & rest intervals. Warm up, practice, rest, practice, sleep(!!!), warm up, practice, etc. Probably we're also going to hear "with metronome" added to all of this as well.




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sted
post Aug 1 2009, 08:36 AM
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I've done this myself mate, my recent change was to use much thicker picks which has forced me to relax my hand more to reduce the pick attack, result is a little gain in speed I reckon. As for sitting down whilst playing i used to only practise seated and its a real shock when you try and play standing! Now I practise both and this is the biggest improvement in my playing yet, I swear my vibrato is twice as good whilst standing!
Psychology is probably a factor too, the old saying "A change is as good as a rest" has a lot of meaning for guitarists and other musicians alike, I try and play as much different stuff as possible now which overall builds confidence which can only improve and aspect of playing!
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Muris Varajic
post Aug 1 2009, 11:37 AM
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Many people have done the same changes, myself included.
Tho I never tried Jazz III picks, I'm off to ebay now. biggrin.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Aug 1 2009, 02:11 PM
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It's a normal thing, I've gone through similar changes as well. If the new method is giving you better results, then it's the right way to go always, follow your instinct in the future even if you don't get confirmation from other players what is right and what not. It's all about playing better, and you have the ability to feel whats right judging from your post here. So keep rockin man, you're on the right track smile.gif


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axes
post Aug 1 2009, 02:28 PM
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I can only speak on my behalf, but I can say changes are the most important things in guitar playing. I mean, as you play more and more and you become better, you always find things that are blocking you (like a bad picking or fretting technique, etc.) from achiving your new goals and you consciously or even subconsciously make these changes so that you'll break free from those old and (sometimes) bad habits of yours that are blocking you. Sorry about my English, it's hard for me to explain this, but I hope you get me.
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TheKeplerConject...
post Aug 2 2009, 06:27 AM
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So, it's pretty unanimous that it wouldn't help for me to select some arbitrary change to struggle through, as it would not likely produce similar results. And it's almost certainly the fact that I'm just getting immediate results from the those because they were holding me back by about that much before...

I planned on upping my string gauge to 11's anyway. Though it's not as extreme of a modification as the others, I'll pay attention just as a test.

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts.
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TheOldOnes
post Aug 3 2009, 03:23 PM
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Wow - this is almost identical to what I have been going through! I stopped anchoring my fingers about a year ago and it took me some time to feel comfortable. I changed picks and the improvements were amazing (I went from Dunlop 1mm nylon to a huge improvement with Jazz III and then a smaller improvement to V-pick small pointed). The last 2 weeks I went from spreading my picking hand to Muris' tiger claws and found the biggest improvement yet!
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