#1
Hey UG!

Quick version: If I never really feel as though my practicing is perfect, when do I 'graduate' to the next metronome setting?

I'm not looking to 'shred' or even be a kinda-speedy player...more so that I can begin to sound more fluid.

Long version:
Been playing a very short time, maybe 2 months this time around and previously (like 10yrs back) about 1yr.
Currently doing strength building spiders at 80bpm, 1 note per tick.

I go into each practice with the same mindset - today is when I graduate. If I play the entire strength building exercise all the way through, every finger every note, without a single fault... I graduate to 85bpm!...and make progress as far as accuracy, speed and strength!

Problem is folks, no matter what I do my playing NEVER sounds perfect to ME. It just never does, no matter what I do. I very rarely feel any success at 'learning' a new lick since it just never sounds perfect... sigh.

I'm not referring to a total trainwreck, missing a note, etc...I'm talking about the way it SOUNDS to me. Like I can hear my fingers not being in sync with the pick hits the string (especially when descending), or feel them not push the string at the perfect spot, etc.

Here's the kicker... when I go slower than 80, it seems to sound worse to me.

So I can't really slow it down more, and speeding it up is not the answer.... am I just being too critical for a n00b? Or am I right on track, and need to continue hammering away at 80bpm until I do actually get that self evaluation of perfect?


-Slap
#2
Short answer: when you can comfortably play a lick repeatedly without making any mistakes, you can bump it up a notch or two at most and repeat the practice cycle until you've reached that level again at this speed.

Long answer: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/correct_practice/effective_techniques_for_practicing_with_a_metronome.html

(an article I wrote for UG on your exact question regarding "proper" metronome techniques, etc)

Also, and I'm not sure if I mention it in that article or not, there are many times when it's harder to play something totally clean and comfortably at a SLOWER speed even though you can play it fine at a quicker tempo. It can be very beneficial in this case to practice these licks at those slower speeds until you feel comfortable playing them at all tempos because it's at the very slow speeds where you can really hear the finer points of how you're attacking and sustaining each note with both hands. Bottom line: try to get it as clean and comfortable as possible at ALL tempos up to your fastest goal tempo (and it never hurts to get it clean even a little FASTER than you need to, as well).
Last edited by PSM at Dec 16, 2008,
#4
Quote by dst127
Slow way down and focus on getting everything perfect.

^^^ Super short answer.
#5
Try learning some songs instead of getting bogged down in exercises - remember, exercises are a means to an end, not the end itself.

If you're trying to measure your progression with your ability to do exercises then, put buntly, "Ur doin it wrong".

Now, you can slow down more....a LOT more. If you're playing things at 80 bpm then go down to 20 and analyse your technique to the nth degree, make sure you can see exactly what you do when you play flawlessly, and likewise identify exactly what it is you stop doing when you play faster and it starts to go tits up.

However, stop worrying about exercises - your worth as a guitarist is solely dependent on the music you play on the instrument...so rather than worry about your spider runs start asking yourself "Did I play that song well?". Record yourself playing things, listen back and be brutally honest with yourself. Speed is the least important thing to be worrying about, playing cleanly, accurately, in time and above all melodically is all that matters. If you worry about the important things then speed pretty much takes care of itself.
Actually called Mark!

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...it's a seagull

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#6
Quote by steven seagull
Try learning some songs instead of getting bogged down in exercises - remember, exercises are a means to an end, not the end itself.

If you're trying to measure your progression with your ability to do exercises then, put buntly, "Ur doin it wrong".

Now, you can slow down more....a LOT more. If you're playing things at 80 bpm then go down to 20 and analyse your technique to the nth degree, make sure you can see exactly what you do when you play flawlessly, and likewise identify exactly what it is you stop doing when you play faster and it starts to go tits up.

However, stop worrying about exercises - your worth as a guitarist is solely dependent on the music you play on the instrument...so rather than worry about your spider runs start asking yourself "Did I play that song well?". Record yourself playing things, listen back and be brutally honest with yourself. Speed is the least important thing to be worrying about, playing cleanly, accurately, in time and above all melodically is all that matters. If you worry about the important things then speed pretty much takes care of itself.


Hey SS (and everyone) - thanks for your feedback! The input I get here, although not always good news imho, is invaluable for my progress.

To clarify - I'm not after speed. I'm after clarity and cleanliness, 'fluid' if you will. But I completely see your point.

I'm a little confused when ya say that measuring success by completing a spider run, at 80bpm, perfectly fluid - is incorrect. When I first picked up the guitar about 2months ago, I could barely run a single line with my fingers.....I could easily play a chord/rhythm, as my fingers were trained on that yrs ago when I first picked one up....so I am focussing on what I suck at - which is what I've read all over the place.

If I can play 1,2,3,4 good but 4,3,2,1 sounds bad - then I spend pretty much all my time focusing on getting that second one up to the same par as the first.... Not cause there is a specific song I need to learn, but because when the day comes that there IS one, I know I can confidently play it regardless of the fingering.

I guess the problem occurs when I realize, I play 3 notes in a row and they wont sound as good to me as if someone else played them. If I record them, I dont hear a difference, but to me personally when I play it I think I sound 'amateurish'...

However - I'll cut the rambling on this thread. I thank you all again for your insights - it's off to some UG lessons and back to the axe for more SUPER SLOOOOOOOW practice....sigh.

I guess I'll eventually get better at self critique...


-Slap
#7
All that does is show you've got better at that particular exercise, it doesn't really show you've become "better" at playing the guitar. If you want to become a more competent guitarist then you're better off practicing things in context.

Ultimately you're not playing the guitar to get good at exercises, you're playing it to make music so judge yourself acordingly.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
Last edited by steven seagull at Dec 17, 2008,
#8
Yikes... for such a small paragraph that was rather deep.

I believe I understand what you're saying... if I hear a rhythm, me being able to spider is really not going to sound too good regardless of how well I can play it.

My goals are many, and all lead to the same objective: Be able to express myself through my instrument on demand.

That seems to endlessly involve more learning, practicing, techniques, etc... So I'm digging it. At 36yrs of age with wife-n-kids, trust me, it's not like I have a kegger that I'll miss tonight if I practice...haha

Hopefully I dont appear as someone who believes a spider will solve all his issues. However, it will supply me with the needed finger strength, independence, coordination, etc ... as you said, a means to an end.

-Slap