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asfastasdark
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#1
Do the 21 day challenge!

Hello! First, to kind of see what this is about, see this:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=210172

If you don't want to read that whole thread, then I'll just explain it here.
The idea is that to practice anything, you should practice it perfectly for 21 days. When we apply that to learning/practicing songs, it comes down to practicing a song so slowly that you can TOTALLY accurately play it, without a single mistake. For 21 days. This way you psychologically make a habit of playing the song that way so you can easily play it faster.

Now I was wondering... would this really work?

Participate! Simply, follow these steps:
  • Pick a song, any song (preferably a fast one though) that you can't play real fast, but would like to be able to play (bass players, drummers, any other instruments, you can participate too!).
  • Get your metronome (if you don't have one, go to http://www.metronomeonline.com/) and find the fastest beat at which you can play the song, PERFECTLY.
  • Subtract 20 (or some other amount till you can easily play it) from this number, and practice at that beat every day for 21 days.
  • Record your learning experiences, what speed you used, and what song!


Ze_Metal has a great explanation of the phenomenon, which I fully support and believe:
Quote by Ze_Metal
It's a mental thing. If your brain is so used to an activity, the activity will be like second nature.

Look at it this way, You brush your teeth every day (hopefully). When you are brushing them do you actually have to think to yourself and say "Now I should clean the sides of my teeth" or do you just do it?

That is the reasoning behind this method. It's 21 days because scientists belive that's how long the brain needs before it actually becomes a habit.

This also works on brand new guitarists. If you watch them progress 21 days, around that amount of time they will get one of those "Bursts" in skill. I'm sure this happened to you at some point, right? You suddenly realize that you got a little bit better.

I'm not saying this method WILL work, but it's just a more scientific way of practicing.


And these are Dr. Faustus's results so far (see page 2, last post):
Quote by Dr. Faustus

So I guess it is time for me to put up my results. For The Love Of God please read either this post or the video description to know what is going on.

I thought I would make it interesting and also compare it to a few other training methods. For each training method, I'll start at the speed I was able to play the lick at first then speed up until it becomes unnecessarily sloppy - so you can compare the gains made overall, and those made while retaining accuracy. I'll only play small sections of each song for the sake of time.

01. 21 Day Method - One Speed
01. I practiced the insane string skipping solo from Racer X's Scarified at a single speed for the 21 days.

02. 21 Day Method - Burst
02. I practiced the arpeggio section from Jason Becker's Altitudes mostly at a single speed, with a burst in speed - to the maximum possible - every 10 to 20 times through it.

03. Gradual Method - No Burst
03. I practiced one of Paul Gilbert's signature licks by gradually upping the tempo once I had played it cleanly five times.

04. Gradual Method - Burst
04. I practiced the Bach inspired section of Racer X's Scarified - as well as the rest of the song sans solo - sticking generally to the Gradual Method but also throwing in a speed burst every 10 to 20 times through it.

05. Noob Method
05. Just to really emphasize that all of these practice methods have their merits - which may not be apparent since I can't play in front of a camera at all, I decided to try learning the Iron Man solo with only full speed attempts - and it really sucks. I don't even bother to finish it since you guys get the point within a few seconds.

You guys can judge which one seems to be most efficient. To put things into context, I've been playing guitar for a little over 2 years and have practiced: alternate picking for 1.5 years, string skipping for 1 year, and sweep picking for 0.5 years.

And here is the video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=WA3woOFykSA


Quote by luke.666
it worked for me with "spit you out" by bullet. mabey because it a hell of a lot easier than what the others r playin.


Quote by VIRUSDETECTED
I nailed my song quicker than expected. This principal is great though.


Quote by Munchlaxatives
After three days, it really worked. Then I had to go back to work and I haven't really practiced since last week. But it really does work!


Quote by codyshredfoo
i did it before i saw this thread. except not for a set time. i played "symbiotic in theory" at 40 bpm and now im playing it at full speed (220 bpm) after like 2 months lol. shh... that song is fkin hard...


Quote by truespin
Im 8 days in, and I'm already able to play the song at full speed from memory...
From not knowing the song at all I think that's a good jump.
The rhythm track, mind you, not the leads.
The leads are later.


Quote by FischmungaXTR
I just tried this exercise with some sweep picking for just 45 mins and I noticed a huge improvement already.


Quote by truespin


Quote by Stian16
i finished some days ago. Still, I'm not surprised. I am able to play F.C.P.R.M.I.X. but not perfectly and solo is totally impossible. I may have played the song too little every day. So now i want to learn a new song. And put some more effort in it because i like it better. Gonna try canon rock :O starting now!



There's someone who I'd like to thank.


Samai.
This guy has helped so many people out and answered so many questions when I was banned or not around, it's just amazing! He has been this thread's sidekick and best friend, and he is without a doubt the one person who has posted the most here. If you have any questions, just can ask me or Samai (or just post in this thread, of course...)! Thank you so much, Samai, your help is greatly appreciated!



Edit: I have removed the list. This post had reached the 10,000 character limits about a year ago, and I'm not nearly active enough to maintain this topic. This topic will remain open, though, or at least until a mod decides to lock it or unsticky it. Mods: Is there any way I could have someone else "take over" this thread?
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Last edited by asfastasdark at Sep 20, 2009,
avenger86
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#4
i'm pretty much a beginner, so alright i'm in for the challenge. so i guess i'll just practise the current songs im learning using this method and i'll see if i can perfect them by the end of the 21 days!
metalman89
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#5
I've never understood how to use a metronome along with a song. Can somone explain it to me? Say for instance I wanted to learn the intro to master of puppets. How would I use a metronome along with it?

Thanks.
Bobsam3
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#6
how long do you have to play it each day?
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silvadolla
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#8
Quote by metalman89
I've never understood how to use a metronome along with a song. Can somone explain it to me? Say for instance I wanted to learn the intro to master of puppets. How would I use a metronome along with it?

Thanks.


You would have to figure out the tempo of the song. From what I remember, MoP is something like 190 bpm with eighth notes (maybe I'm wrong). You'd set the metronome to 190 and start the song on the same beat as the metronome. But, in a lot of songs, it's not this simple, there are a lot of tempo shifts. So, playing the actual AUDIO of the song will be tedious with a metronome. But if you are playing with just your instrument, you might have to stop when you get to different sections of the song. You can solve this problem by getting a drum machine and program it beforehand.
asfastasdark
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#9
Quote by metalman89
I've never understood how to use a metronome along with a song. Can somone explain it to me? Say for instance I wanted to learn the intro to master of puppets. How would I use a metronome along with it?

Thanks.


I don't use them the way you're supposed to use them, I just look for a beat in the song. An example is in like head-banging music, the head-banging is usually the beat. For me, it's hard to detect a beat in Master of Puppets. Imagine it like a drummer who only had one drum and one drum stick, and he was a robot so he could only hit the drum once every so long. He would be your metronome.
For this 21-day method it's not really necessary to use a metronome, you could also just play it accurate, and then a bit slower, but it won't be as accurate, of course... Anyway, I'm bad at explaining metronomes. I don't use them much, but if you're practicing your speed, they are mighty helpful!
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asfastasdark
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#10
<<< EDIT! >>> Please also say whether you're participating in the "experiment" or not! Thanks!
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silvadolla
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#11
this is a very cool idea, could you guys do some journaling or something as you progress?
asfastasdark
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#12
Quote by silvadolla
this is a very cool idea, could you guys do some journaling or something as you progress?


You know, funnily enough I'd love to do that, but I have no idea what you're talking about. No offense, I'm dead serious. Can you explain...?
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diminishedtobme
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#13
^I thinks hes saying, we should record the progess we make as we go through with this.
guitarnoobie
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#14
Sure I'll participate. I'm currently working on Wonderful Tonight.
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#15
I don't get it. If you're playing at a speed you're completely comfortable at, why not increase the speed? Sounds like a waste of 21 days.
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Burning Raths
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#18
I'll try this. I'm sure it'll make me better playing canon rock
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#19
Quote by asfastasdark
I don't use them the way you're supposed to use them, I just look for a beat in the song. An example is in like head-banging music, the head-banging is usually the beat. For me, it's hard to detect a beat in Master of Puppets. Imagine it like a drummer who only had one drum and one drum stick, and he was a robot so he could only hit the drum once every so long. He would be your metronome.
For this 21-day method it's not really necessary to use a metronome, you could also just play it accurate, and then a bit slower, but it won't be as accurate, of course... Anyway, I'm bad at explaining metronomes. I don't use them much, but if you're practicing your speed, they are mighty helpful!


It's actually essential that you use a metronome for this kind of exercise - that's the whole point. There's not really any such thing as practicing speed, you can't really do it - the only thing you can practice on the guitar is accuracy.
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asfastasdark
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#20
Quote by Alter-Bridge
I don't get it. If you're playing at a speed you're completely comfortable at, why not increase the speed? Sounds like a waste of 21 days.


You're like making a habit out of doing it by doing it over and over again, and since you're doing it slowly and totally accurate, you're making a habit of playing it totally accurate as well. Then later you can go faster and faster (after the 21 days though; that's how long it takes to form the habit!).

And @Steven Seagull: Thanks for explaining that to me

Also @others:
Chromatic scales are great to practice for this, and it doesn't really matter what you pick; you should get better at it if this 21-day thing works!
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Last edited by asfastasdark at Apr 16, 2008,
Savage101
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#21
I'll do this with the Sweet Child of Mine solo. I know the full solo, but need to get less sloppier with it.
wideheim
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#22
Im in for this, sounds very fun too see how i can play this song after 21 days. My song to choose is Impossible Brutality by Kreator that i will play at 62bpm this 21 days.
serth
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#23
I'm in!

I'm going to start working on In Dying Days by As Blood Runs Black.
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#24
I'm in, I'm gonna play Black Dog, I'm STILL a bit sloppy at it.
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#25
So does this only apply to songs that use techniques you already have clean, albeit at a lower tempo than needed?

I was thinking about doing this with the Arpeggio Section of Altitudes but I still need to work on better muting with both hands, e.g., when starting a two string roll with the ring finger the string before it buzzes as if a harmonic rather than quieting down...

EDIT: Doing this with Scarified and Altitudes.
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Last edited by Dr. Faustus at Apr 17, 2008,
telecasternerd
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#26
I'm in as well. I'm going to try John 5 "sugerfoot rag" this is going to be fun.
Ichimaru
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#27
I'll give it a shot too on Cowboys From Hell. That main riff is a real pain :P
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asfastasdark
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#28
Quote by Dr. Faustus
So does this only apply to songs that use techniques you already have clean, albeit at a lower tempo than needed?

I was thinking about doing this with the Arpeggio Section of Altitudes but I still need to work on better muting with both hands, e.g., when starting a two string roll with the ring finger the string before it buzzes as if a harmonic rather than quieting down...


It applies to almost anything. If you're just looking to increase your speed, you could try the chromatic scale, or you could try a song you can play kind of sloppy, or even a song that you randomly found on YouTube.
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rhettro
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#29
Sounds interesting. So what would be a moderately challenging solo, devode of finger tapping in a standard tuning?
Ssargentslayer
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#30
Do guys think Snow from RHCP would work? and i would probably have to learn to play it right which I'm not sure what kind of picking i should use. Or i could try just some scale or arpeggio
Last edited by Ssargentslayer at Apr 16, 2008,
asfastasdark
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#31
Wow, that song's real fast. If you feel like trying it, though, I say: "Go for it!" Are you in?
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Ssargentslayer
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#32
Quote by asfastasdark
Wow, that song's real fast. If you feel like trying it, though, I say: "Go for it!" Are you in?

Sure! I tried learning it awhile back ago.... didn't go to well lol.
Ssargentslayer
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#33
Quote by Bobsam3
how long do you have to play it each day?

..

EDIT: i just played the snow main lick for 30 minuets non-stop at 52 BPM. didn't notice much but my left hand hurts like a bitch.
Last edited by Ssargentslayer at Apr 16, 2008,
asfastasdark
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#34
I played the main riff from the Cowboys from Hell for like 30 minutes today, pretty slowly. Easy and (hopefully) effective.

Also updated the list.
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Ethicdoom
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#35
I'm hoping on this one.
Why not?

Chromatic, 3 and 4 note sequencing, scale runs, MoP, and maybe CFH myelf .

Starting tomorrow.
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asfastasdark
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#36
Quote by Ethicdoom
I'm hoping on this one.
Why not?

Chromatic, 3 and 4 note sequencing, scale runs, MoP, and maybe CFH myelf .

Starting tomorrow.


Good job, lol, added to the list.
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#37
nice, i'll try 11th hour by lamb of god. i can already play half way through it without much problems though. this should be interesting though =]

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tripleoptiks
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#38
I'm in! Practicing my tapping in 'Silverstein - Smile in Your Sleep'. Played for about an hour or so, and my right middle finger hurts like a mofo.

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#39
There's no point doing this for an exercise like chromatics - the whole point of this method is for learning a piece of music. Ideally it should be a whole song, but at the very least a solo.

There's absolutely nothing to be gained from spending 21 days working on the 1234 exercise, if you're going to spend 21 days grinding something you at least want to have achieved something by the end of it.
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