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> Skills Slightly Fading?
Nick6373
post Mar 3 2015, 01:39 AM
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Hey GMC I was just wondering if this has happened to anyone before: a skills or techniques just kind of fading a bit.

I noticed this with my alternate picking. I had it at the best I've ever had it about a week ago and I've practiced it every day since for a decent amount of time but I've noticed it's gotten worse. I can still pick at the same speed but I now mess up once I get on the higher strings.

I'm just confused xd... How can you get worse at something while practicing it?
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Jim S.
post Mar 3 2015, 01:54 AM
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QUOTE (Nick6373 @ Mar 2 2015, 07:39 PM) *
Hey GMC I was just wondering if this has happened to anyone before: a skills or techniques just kind of fading a bit.

I noticed this with my alternate picking. I had it at the best I've ever had it about a week ago and I've practiced it every day since for a decent amount of time but I've noticed it's gotten worse. I can still pick at the same speed but I now mess up once I get on the higher strings.

I'm just confused xd... How can you get worse at something while practicing it?


I'm right there with ya man. I've also had similar questions about my playing since practicing on a more consistent basis. I think there are a few things going on. The first is muscle memory and alternate picking can be challenging because as you start working on picking you have to really focus on which muscles your using and that can be difficult. I have developed an odd grip and battle this very problem.

Once you get the right amount of quality practice "which for me is years" youll never think about if your going to pick, you just pick without nearly the effort.

I'll bet if you recorded yourself you probably lost a little speed and a little more clumsy as you practice picking. For me I almost abandoned the method I was working on until one night I had a few spurts of fluid picking and I was hooked. However I may be hooked on using this technique, it will take me another 2 years and I'll have really made a difference. Progress for me is slow but Damn is it worth it. Right?
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Nick6373
post Mar 3 2015, 02:26 AM
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QUOTE (Jim S. @ Mar 3 2015, 12:54 AM) *
I'm right there with ya man. I've also had similar questions about my playing since practicing on a more consistent basis. I think there are a few things going on. The first is muscle memory and alternate picking can be challenging because as you start working on picking you have to really focus on which muscles your using and that can be difficult. I have developed an odd grip and battle this very problem.

Once you get the right amount of quality practice "which for me is years" youll never think about if your going to pick, you just pick without nearly the effort.

I'll bet if you recorded yourself you probably lost a little speed and a little more clumsy as you practice picking. For me I almost abandoned the method I was working on until one night I had a few spurts of fluid picking and I was hooked. However I may be hooked on using this technique, it will take me another 2 years and I'll have really made a difference. Progress for me is slow but Damn is it worth it. Right?

Yeah worth it but really frustrating... What exactly do you mean focus on which muscles you're using? I've noticed the muscles in my forearm cramp up pretty bad when I'm picking at my limit.

By the way I am actually practicing a scale run not just straight out alt picking if that matters at all.
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Jim S.
post Mar 3 2015, 03:04 AM
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QUOTE (Nick6373 @ Mar 2 2015, 08:26 PM) *
Yeah worth it but really frustrating... What exactly do you mean focus on which muscles you're using? I've noticed the muscles in my forearm cramp up pretty bad when I'm picking at my limit.

By the way I am actually practicing a scale run not just straight out alt picking if that matters at all.


I'll let the pros here go into more detail but from my view the muscles in your thumb can give you a pick stoke with very little energy. If you mix the motion of your arm with a little bit of action the fingers that hold your pick, then you can choose what you want when.

A couple things I have noticed is I have a few different pick grips for different styles of playing. I used to hold a pick like I'm strumming a guitar. Even if I was picking a run Id still hold the pick like I was strumming and to this day I have to make a strong effort to control my hand and get it closer to the strings. Almost like a karate chop my hand gets real close to the guitar. This gives a nice muted staccato effect but is hard to keep in position.

I'd make a video of your picking and see what the guys say here. I'll bet you'll get some great info! Good luck man
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jstcrsn
post Mar 3 2015, 03:15 AM
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Get in line. This has happened to me for years and I think, it is good.To me , I don't really notice the subtle changes in my playing, but from one day to another ,I will shred like butter (although , I don't really know what butter would shred like, I am getting hungry however)the next week it seems like I can't even get close, but as I look back over the years( and I do believe we should all never stop practicing)it is then I realize the leeps and sometimes bounds that I have made.
and you will never make it if you quit
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Todd Simpson
post Mar 3 2015, 03:52 AM
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Take heart smile.gif Believe it or not, it's quite natural. Your playing will sometimes ebb, sometimes flow. Sometimes taking a few days off will help, sometimes playing your brains out is the only thing that works. The thing to keep in mind is that as long as you are generally keeping a forward momentum and simply keep at it, the overall state of play will generally increase over time smile.gif

Listen to your fingers. Do they want a break? Are they bored? Do they want more work? New style? String change? Fret not. Just keep calm and play on smile.gif

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QUOTE (Nick6373 @ Mar 2 2015, 08:39 PM) *
Hey GMC I was just wondering if this has happened to anyone before: a skills or techniques just kind of fading a bit.

I noticed this with my alternate picking. I had it at the best I've ever had it about a week ago and I've practiced it every day since for a decent amount of time but I've noticed it's gotten worse. I can still pick at the same speed but I now mess up once I get on the higher strings.

I'm just confused xd... How can you get worse at something while practicing it?



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Nick6373
post Mar 3 2015, 05:24 AM
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Heheheh fret not. Good one.

Thanks so much for the advice everyone! I'll keep practicing, quiting was never on my mind. I love playing too much.
I could record a video tomorrow (probably) and post it on this thread if that'd be alright?
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Todd Simpson
post Mar 3 2015, 05:37 AM
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Great idea! smile.gif Shoot me a PM and let me know it's up! smile.gif

QUOTE (Nick6373 @ Mar 3 2015, 12:24 AM) *
Heheheh fret not. Good one.

Thanks so much for the advice everyone! I'll keep practicing, quiting was never on my mind. I love playing too much.
I could record a video tomorrow (probably) and post it on this thread if that'd be alright?



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bleez
post Mar 3 2015, 09:33 AM
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sounds normal! embrace the frustration, no-one got really good without it smile.gif
I experience the same thing. sometimes you have good days, normal days, and bad days. I would just knock the speed back a little maybe 5 - 10 bpm and play the exercise. Its more important to be playing it precisely than playing it a little faster but messy smile.gif


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Mertay
post Mar 3 2015, 06:22 PM
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To beat this after happened a few times, I remember starting to focus on 2-3 exercises rather than 1 (or 1 solo). The moment I felt this will start to happen I simply give it a break and work on something else that was already planned, then return to notice what was missing before.

Its not like we're machines and our brain works very complex, to perfect something forever is very hard but trying to perfect more things at once (as said max 2-3 exercises, and things should be planned) gets us there faster.


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Darius Wave
post Mar 3 2015, 07:07 PM
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QUOTE (Nick6373 @ Mar 3 2015, 12:39 AM) *
Hey GMC I was just wondering if this has happened to anyone before: a skills or techniques just kind of fading a bit.

I noticed this with my alternate picking. I had it at the best I've ever had it about a week ago and I've practiced it every day since for a decent amount of time but I've noticed it's gotten worse. I can still pick at the same speed but I now mess up once I get on the higher strings.

I'm just confused xd... How can you get worse at something while practicing it?



Alternate technique skills have a lot to do with Your overall health condition. Unfortunately even if You had been practicing a lot it still happens to have "some worse days". Try to see if That will pass in the nearest future. By far it is not a critical issue smile.gif


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Nick6373
post Mar 4 2015, 02:43 AM
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Hey guys, once again thanks for all the advice.
Ive uploaded a video of my alt picking here:
https://vid.me/HVRD
One thing I`ve noticed is I`m picking quite hard.
Any other comments?

Edit: Since watching this video I've adjusted the position I rest my arm on the guitar and I've tried to control how hard I pick the strings. I've also attempted to utilize muscles other than my forearm while picking. I don't know if this is crazy or what but in 1/2 an hour of adjusting my technique I went from 150 (the fastest speed in the video which was sloppy at the end of the run) to 160BPM (cleanly) for the entire solo I'm learning.

This post has been edited by Nick6373: Mar 4 2015, 04:49 AM
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Todd Simpson
post Mar 5 2015, 04:13 AM
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Playing without any gain/dist. is something that is very good for seeing what your actually playing. Distortion can hide things. However, if you are talking about top line speed, you can benefit from a lighter touch and from a bit of gain. To put too much pressure on each strike is to wear out the hand to early in many cases. Also, making too long of a strike/return can get in the way as well. to wit.. some tips smile.gif

1.)Use a sharp/pointy pick for a while during practice. It will help your precision smile.gif
2.)Use some gain/dist so that you can pick with a bit lighter touch and play for a longer period of practice.
3.)Don't go very far past the strike point. Try to stay right next to the string after the strike.


Of course, these are only tips from one dude. I'm sure someone else will something like "Never use distortion, forget about sharp picks, just play til your arm falls off" or something. But as with any advice, you have to take it all in an see what works for you smile.gif

P.S. Be very careful about using too much forearm. You may end up "PIcking from the elbow" which is something I really discourage in students. Most of your pick articulation can come from your thumb and first finger. You may be trying to strike to hard (playing without distortion) so you need all that leverage from your forearm. It's easy to develop habits that you can't break easily to be careful. Here is a quick vid demo for ya. Notice that I'm NOT using the forearm/elbow but instead and am using mostly my fingers and a bit of wrist smile.gif


Todd


QUOTE (Nick6373 @ Mar 3 2015, 09:43 PM) *
Hey guys, once again thanks for all the advice.
Ive uploaded a video of my alt picking here:
https://vid.me/HVRD
One thing I`ve noticed is I`m picking quite hard.
Any other comments?

Edit: Since watching this video I've adjusted the position I rest my arm on the guitar and I've tried to control how hard I pick the strings. I've also attempted to utilize muscles other than my forearm while picking. I don't know if this is crazy or what but in 1/2 an hour of adjusting my technique I went from 150 (the fastest speed in the video which was sloppy at the end of the run) to 160BPM (cleanly) for the entire solo I'm learning.


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Mar 5 2015, 04:19 AM


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Nick6373
post Mar 5 2015, 06:32 AM
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Thanks Todd! I was just using the clean tone so you guys could hear what was going on better. I normally play with distortion when I practice alt picking.

I'm going to pick up some sharper picks tomorrow and really focus on using my wrist and fingers more.

I understood correctly you ment instead of picking (applying the force to move the pick down?) with my elbow and forearm I should focus on using my fingers and a little bit of wrist to pick, right?

Once again, thanks so much for the advice.
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Kristofer Dahl
post Mar 5 2015, 10:08 PM
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QUOTE (Nick6373 @ Mar 3 2015, 01:39 AM) *
Hey GMC I was just wondering if this has happened to anyone before: a skills or techniques just kind of fading a bit.

I noticed this with my alternate picking. I had it at the best I've ever had it about a week ago and I've practiced it every day since for a decent amount of time but I've noticed it's gotten worse. I can still pick at the same speed but I now mess up once I get on the higher strings.

I'm just confused xd... How can you get worse at something while practicing it?


Just a thought: since you say 'I had it at the best I've ever had it about a week' - did you change anything after that in your practice routine?

I am asking - because sometimes when we start to feel good about our ability, dangerous things can happen. For example some people start pushing speed because "hey after all I am good at this now" - that usually results in an immediate setback. After all the reason you were rewarded with good results in the first place - is probably because you have carefully practiced at a level that was comfortable to you.

Again it's just a thought - I don't know if this applies to you?


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Todd Simpson
post Mar 6 2015, 12:26 AM
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Happy to help! smile.gif If you have not tried them yet, get some VONHOTCH.com picks. They are made of aluminum and have zero flex/bend which helps in precision. our very own vonhotch makes them buy hand!

And yes! Avoid using the forearm/elbow if possible smile.gif Try to use fingers first, then wrist. Can you see my hand movement in the vid I posted?

ROCK ON!!

Todd

QUOTE (Nick6373 @ Mar 5 2015, 01:32 AM) *
Thanks Todd! I was just using the clean tone so you guys could hear what was going on better. I normally play with distortion when I practice alt picking.

I'm going to pick up some sharper picks tomorrow and really focus on using my wrist and fingers more.

I understood correctly you ment instead of picking (applying the force to move the pick down?) with my elbow and forearm I should focus on using my fingers and a little bit of wrist to pick, right?

Once again, thanks so much for the advice.



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Nick6373
post Mar 6 2015, 05:05 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Mar 5 2015, 09:08 PM) *
Just a thought: since you say 'I had it at the best I've ever had it about a week' - did you change anything after that in your practice routine?

I am asking - because sometimes when we start to feel good about our ability, dangerous things can happen. For example some people start pushing speed because "hey after all I am good at this now" - that usually results in an immediate setback. After all the reason you were rewarded with good results in the first place - is probably because you have carefully practiced at a level that was comfortable to you.

Again it's just a thought - I don't know if this applies to you?


I changed how hard I held the pick and my arm position. The effortless and cleaness of it all went away today sad.gif, I'm not sure what I did yesterday... Though I can almost keep up with the original speed of the solo now (even if it is a bit rough and messed up).

Those picks aren't cheap XD but I'm gonna buy 2 different styles of them. Thanks Todd smile.gif

This post has been edited by Nick6373: Mar 6 2015, 05:08 AM
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Todd Simpson
post Mar 7 2015, 01:34 AM
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Start slow. Very slow and play as evenly as possible, using only enough force to make the string make a sound. Try to articulate/move your pick just using your fingers then add in some wrist. Don't "tense" up. keep your picking a bit light and don't over commit to any single strike.

Once you can play evenly, start increasing speed bit by bit. It's an uphill struggle sometimes, but that's why they call it practice and not xbox smile.gif hehehehehe.

Rock On!!

QUOTE (Nick6373 @ Mar 6 2015, 12:05 AM) *
I changed how hard I held the pick and my arm position. The effortless and cleaness of it all went away today sad.gif, I'm not sure what I did yesterday... Though I can almost keep up with the original speed of the solo now (even if it is a bit rough and messed up).

Those picks aren't cheap XD but I'm gonna buy 2 different styles of them. Thanks Todd smile.gif



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