Rediscovering The Art Of Playing Slow
JohnMathew
Nov 18 2020, 10:55 PM
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Posts: 95
Joined: 16-June 15
Hi,

I have started to review the very bottom of my picking technique with Todd. I love how Todd puts a lot of effort into us trying to make us better guitarrists. In my case I'm starting a difficult journey. I'm starting to notice how hard it is to play slow and in time.

This has been my guitar life:

1) I learned some chords
2) Then I learned some solos
3) Then I though, gosh! I can play whatever and started to play some songs belonging to some of my guitar gods.
4) I realized something was not right. I wasn't able to do what my guitar gods do. I thought needed to put more time to improve
5) Beside all the time I put into playing guitar I wasn't improving too much. I gave up...
6) 3 or 4 months later I pickup guitar again and back to number 4 smile.gif.

This has been me, as a guitarrist for the last 20 years. Don't know why, but some of my friends that started at the same time I did to play guitar have developed an amazing technique. But in my case I didn't. Perhaps I lost focus, not sure.

And now here I am, playing one note per beat at 80 bpm smile.gif. It may seem very basic but man, playing slow and in time is not easy.

Sure you are wondering why I'm telling you this story. I'm doing it because I just want to know if others feel like me. And of course encourage all that are in the same boat I am to do not give up. As Todd says, sometimes you have to slow down to be able to speed up wink.gif.

What do you think guys?

Cheers!

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This post has been edited by JohnMathew: Nov 18 2020, 11:43 PM
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Todd Simpson
Nov 19 2020, 05:42 AM
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Posts: 21.414
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
You are not alone. Believe it or not. I struggled like crazy with a desire to shred and a complete lack of ability to pull it off. Whats worse, I could not find a guitar instructor to show me how to just "play". They all wanted me to memorize the circle of fifths. That's fine, just not where I was at right then.

I eventually put the guitar down, bought a drum kit and taught myself to play drums. This was the key for me. I learned to count time. Learned to keep time. Learned to separate my hands and feet, etc. about a year later, I picked up the guitar again. This time, it made a lot more sense. I was able to play in time, and keep it on time. Then I found the STYLUS PICK which is an odd little training pick that trains your hand not to pick to deep. Just to use the very tip. I then sharpened all my picks and used my drum timing and bam.


QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 18 2020, 05:55 PM) *
Hi,

I have started to review the very bottom of my picking technique with Todd. I love how Todd puts a lot of effort into us trying to make us better guitarrists. In my case I'm starting a difficult journey. I'm starting to notice how hard it is to play slow and in time.

This has been my guitar life:

1) I learned some chords
2) Then I learned some solos
3) Then I though, gosh! I can play whatever and started to play some songs belonging to some of my guitar gods.
4) I realized something was not right. I wasn't able to do what my guitar gods do. I thought needed to put more time to improve
5) Beside all the time I put into playing guitar I wasn't improving too much. I gave up...
6) 3 or 4 months later I pickup guitar again and back to number 4 smile.gif.

This has been me, as a guitarrist for the last 20 years. Don't know why, but some of my friends that started at the same time I did to play guitar have developed an amazing technique. But in my case I didn't. Perhaps I lost focus, not sure.

And now here I am, playing one note per beat at 80 bpm smile.gif. It may seem very basic but man, playing slow and in time is not easy.

Sure you are wondering why I'm telling you this story. I'm doing it because I just want to know if others feel like me. And of course encourage all that are in the same boat I am to do not give up. As Todd says, sometimes you have to slow down to be able to speed up wink.gif.

What do you think guys?

Cheers!

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


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Kristofer Dahl
Nov 19 2020, 08:00 AM
GMC Founder
Posts: 16.974
Joined: 15-August 05
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Great story John - I think alot of people can identify with it,

Regarding this:
QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 18 2020, 10:55 PM) *
1) I learned some chords
2) Then I learned some solos
3) Then I though, gosh! I can play whatever and started to play some songs belonging to some of my guitar gods.
4) I realized something was not right. I wasn't able to do what my guitar gods do. I thought needed to put more time to improve
5) Beside all the time I put into playing guitar I wasn't improving too much. I gave up...
6) 3 or 4 months later I pickup guitar again and back to number 4 smile.gif.


I think the reason people encounter major problems when attempting #4 - is because they try replicate the method they used in steps 1-3 when they attempt to play guitar God stuff.

The reality is that the path to the guitar God solos is more complex than learning chords - however it is still a journey anyone can do. Shameless plug warning: and this is exactly what we like to teach you at GMC!

One simple way of looking at it, would be to attempt a short "Guitar God solo". You would then break away each lick into an exercise that repeats. You would then practice this intensely before attempting to play the whole solo. That type of exercise practicing would be the equivalent to learning chords - and it is obviously more time demanding.

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JohnMathew
Nov 19 2020, 10:26 AM
GMC:er
Posts: 95
Joined: 16-June 15
QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Nov 19 2020, 05:42 AM) *
You are not alone. Believe it or not. I struggled like crazy with a desire to shred and a complete lack of ability to pull it off. Whats worse, I could not find a guitar instructor to show me how to just "play". They all wanted me to memorize the circle of fifths. That's fine, just not where I was at right then.

I eventually put the guitar down, bought a drum kit and taught myself to play drums. This was the key for me. I learned to count time. Learned to keep time. Learned to separate my hands and feet, etc. about a year later, I picked up the guitar again. This time, it made a lot more sense. I was able to play in time, and keep it on time. Then I found the STYLUS PICK which is an odd little training pick that trains your hand not to pick to deep. Just to use the very tip. I then sharpened all my picks and used my drum timing and bam.

Stylus pick ohmy.gif, I didn't even know these existed. Should I get some of these ones sir?



QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Nov 19 2020, 08:00 AM) *
Great story John - I think alot of people can identify with it,

Regarding this:


I think the reason people encounter major problems when attempting #4 - is because they try replicate the method they used in steps 1-3 when they attempt to play guitar God stuff.

The reality is that the path to the guitar God solos is more complex than learning chords - however it is still a journey anyone can do. Shameless plug warning: and this is exactly what we like to teach you at GMC!

One simple way of looking at it, would be to attempt a short "Guitar God solo". You would then break away each lick into an exercise that repeats. You would then practice this intensely before attempting to play the whole solo. That type of exercise practicing would be the equivalent to learning chords - and it is obviously more time demanding.

This is something I'm on too with Gabriel. Just want to get a bit better at picking before continue with it.

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Todd Simpson
Nov 19 2020, 09:09 PM
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Posts: 21.414
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
I'd say yes! They are not expensive. It's useles for playing music, but it's GREAT for training the hand to use a more shallow picking technique since the stylus will get caught in the strings if you pick to deep. Also allows the hand to find a natural resting angle since only the tip is used the hand can be at any angle that is comfy.

It's a great little training tool. It honestly trained me to alternate pick using less force and more efficiency. It's a bit gimmicky, but it did help me a ton.

Here is the link to stylus picks
https://www.styluspick.com/

Once you get used it, either buy a very sharp pick or make your current picks sharp with a pocket knife. Dull pick points are your enemy at this stage of the process imho.

A pick like this one, the Vpick Black Hole is ideal. It's a design that stems from my own signature Vpick the Switch Blade Buffed. This new one has a hole in the middle that allows for great grip. Your pick stays put. Also, it's honed to a fine point. This will allow your hand to keep doing what it learned with the stylus. These are about $5 each.

https://amzn.to/2UEHJv3

Attached Image




QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 19 2020, 05:26 AM) *
Stylus pick ohmy.gif, I didn't even know these existed. Should I get some of these ones sir?




This is something I'm on too with Gabriel. Just want to get a bit better at picking before continue with it.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


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tflava
Nov 19 2020, 11:08 PM
Learning Tone Seeker
Posts: 251
Joined: 28-June 13
From: Den Helder (Holland)
Hey john.

IT sounds very familiair to me.
I also had/have the same problem.
I wanted to know and learn everything. So i rushed to scale concept and other theory to play the dorian or lydian scale.
But without knowing what to play and why i can play it there.
Then i found out its better to really study things amd take it slowly. I still have problems with it because like i said i want to learn so much. So now i work with schedules so i don't loose track 🤣

And with the speed i also came across problems so i recently started the bootcamp also and practicing every day.

But so yeah... Your not alone man.. 😅✌️

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Todd Simpson
Nov 20 2020, 01:20 AM
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Posts: 21.414
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
you are doing great in bootcamp!! I'd say try to get one of the BLACK HOLE picks if you can as well. They have a very fine point and the hole aids in non slip gripping. It's stiff as a board which also helps. It's a larger pick than a jazz style pick so it doesn't get lost in the fingers. Also allows for better pick control

You may also want to try the Stylus as a training pick. Just using it on a single string will train your hand to use just the tip and shallow pick depth.

QUOTE (tflava @ Nov 19 2020, 06:08 PM) *
Hey john.

IT sounds very familiair to me.
I also had/have the same problem.
I wanted to know and learn everything. So i rushed to scale concept and other theory to play the dorian or lydian scale.
But without knowing what to play and why i can play it there.
Then i found out its better to really study things amd take it slowly. I still have problems with it because like i said i want to learn so much. So now i work with schedules so i don't loose track 🤣

And with the speed i also came across problems so i recently started the bootcamp also and practicing every day.

But so yeah... Your not alone man.. 😅✌️

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!
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tflava
Nov 20 2020, 08:40 AM
Learning Tone Seeker
Posts: 251
Joined: 28-June 13
From: Den Helder (Holland)
QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Nov 20 2020, 12:20 AM) *
you are doing great in bootcamp!! I'd say try to get one of the BLACK HOLE picks if you can as well. They have a very fine point and the hole aids in non slip gripping. It's stiff as a board which also helps. It's a larger pick than a jazz style pick so it doesn't get lost in the fingers. Also allows for better pick control

You may also want to try the Stylus as a training pick. Just using it on a single string will train your hand to use just the tip and shallow pick depth.



Yes maybe when i buy New picks. When i started with the bootcamp i already bought New picks. From gravity also hard picks 1.5, 2 and 3 Mm and i like the 3 Mm for speed.
But after that i will try the black hole. Thanks

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Todd Simpson
Nov 20 2020, 07:39 PM
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Posts: 21.414
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
THe gravity picks are nice and stiff but they don't look very sharp/pointy? A dull pick tip is your enemy at this point in the process. Can you shoot a pic with your cell phone to let me see the pick? Some of them do look pointy but some are very rounded. Let me know what you think of the stylus training pick btw ifa you get one. if not we will work around it as best we can

QUOTE (tflava @ Nov 20 2020, 03:40 AM) *
Yes maybe when i buy New picks. When i started with the bootcamp i already bought New picks. From gravity also hard picks 1.5, 2 and 3 Mm and i like the 3 Mm for speed.
But after that i will try the black hole. Thanks

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Nov 20 2020, 08:59 PM
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Phil66
Nov 22 2020, 02:10 PM
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Posts: 7.864
Joined: 5-July 14
From: The Black Country, England
You're not alone John,

There is so much to learn I think we all try to cram as much in as possible and it becomes overwhelming and counterproductive, also, when you rush learn something, it doesn't stay in your head. I remember an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, he was asked, "Why don't you change your name, it's so hard to remember and pronounce?", his reply was, "The harder it is to remember and pronounce, by the time they've remembered it and how to say it, they will never forget. I think we can apply that philosophy to most things. I still struggle to take my time, part of it is that I feel I'm letting my instructors down, or they might think I'm not applying myself enough, crazy at 54 years old but that's me.

Sometimes I even think about getting my beginners books out and starting from the very beginning just in case it helps rolleyes.gif

Slowly slowly is definitely the way, I'm still trying to convince myself to slow down though laugh.gif

Todd, I've just got some of those stylus picks, I always thought they were a gimmick but if you recommend them, I'm having them wink.gif Thanks for the advice.

Stay safe folks

Phil

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Todd Simpson
Nov 23 2020, 01:55 AM
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I always thought it was a gimmick as well. Someone gave one of them and I tried it with the little book of drills and it fixes a lot of my picking issues. It was after that when I started sharpening my picks and let my hand find a comfy angle. Once the pick is sharp enough, the hand can rest at a comfy angle as the tip is the same size at any angle. It also taught me to use a shallow pick strike depth. Since the stylus will get caught in the strings if you use anything but shallow pick depth. It's nearly impossible to traverse strings with the stylus. But just on a single string, it can help train the hand out of a lot of bad habbits.

QUOTE (Phil66 @ Nov 22 2020, 09:10 AM) *
You're not alone John,

There is so much to learn I think we all try to cram as much in as possible and it becomes overwhelming and counterproductive, also, when you rush learn something, it doesn't stay in your head. I remember an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, he was asked, "Why don't you change your name, it's so hard to remember and pronounce?", his reply was, "The harder it is to remember and pronounce, by the time they've remembered it and how to say it, they will never forget. I think we can apply that philosophy to most things. I still struggle to take my time, part of it is that I feel I'm letting my instructors down, or they might think I'm not applying myself enough, crazy at 54 years old but that's me.

Sometimes I even think about getting my beginners books out and starting from the very beginning just in case it helps rolleyes.gif

Slowly slowly is definitely the way, I'm still trying to convince myself to slow down though laugh.gif

Todd, I've just got some of those stylus picks, I always thought they were a gimmick but if you recommend them, I'm having them wink.gif Thanks for the advice.

Stay safe folks

Phil

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


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Phil66
Nov 23 2020, 09:24 AM
Learning Apprentice Player
Posts: 7.864
Joined: 5-July 14
From: The Black Country, England
I found that out but I did manage to play an extended pentatonic scale without grabbing the string, just once though laugh.gif

QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Nov 23 2020, 12:55 AM) *
It's nearly impossible to traverse strings with the stylus. But just on a single string, it can help train the hand out of a lot of bad habbits.

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Todd Simpson
Nov 24 2020, 03:50 AM
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So you got your stylus? Have you practiced alt picking on a single string? I was able to break through my speed/precision barrier just using that pick. It trained my hand quite well. I then decided my picks were way to round and sharpened all of them. BAM instantly was able to alt pick like a nutter. smile.gif

How is it going?


QUOTE (Phil66 @ Nov 23 2020, 04:24 AM) *
I found that out but I did manage to play an extended pentatonic scale without grabbing the string, just once though laugh.gif

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Phil66
Nov 24 2020, 08:25 AM
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Posts: 7.864
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From: The Black Country, England
I didn't get the thing with all the exercises in it but I've made my own up. I have been picking on one string, I also like three notes per string three picks per note alternate, that way when you cross strings it changes direction of picking each time. I'm doing it for five minutes before practise. I'm going to start using the metronome with it too.

Cheers

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“Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in installments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day's success.”
Israelmore Ayivor
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Todd Simpson
Nov 25 2020, 12:54 AM
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Posts: 21.414
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Cool! Using the stylus is how I started doing multi picking. Two, three, four strikes per note. String traverse is very tricky but it will train your hand to keep a shallow pick depth or the thing gets caught in the strings! Then when you move back to your regular pick, the hand has a better idea of what to do from muscle memory. keep it up!


Todd

QUOTE (Phil66 @ Nov 24 2020, 03:25 AM) *
I didn't get the thing with all the exercises in it but I've made my own up. I have been picking on one string, I also like three notes per string three picks per note alternate, that way when you cross strings it changes direction of picking each time. I'm doing it for five minutes before practise. I'm going to start using the metronome with it too.

Cheers

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


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