#1
I've started playing a classical guitar some 10 years back, and then moved to acoustic, and recently to electric guitar.
The thing is: I start learning a solo, and I practice daily each part of the solo until I can play it perfectly, before moving to the next part.

But when I'm done learning and practicing, and I wanna play the whole solo from start to end, I always make one or more mistakes
It's gonna take me about 8 back to back trials before I manage to play the solo without mistakes.
This is very frustrating to me because I do not see how I could ever play live before an audience...

So - what is wrong with me

I'd appreciate your feedback.
-Steve
#2
I don't think anything is wrong with you. Most people will need to play through a solo a lot of times before it's perfect. As with playing live, a lot of people won't play the solo exactly like the album version anyway, they'll just improvise a bit, so maybe you could practice that...
Quote by chrisyoonyoon
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#3
dude... just by last friday/saturday, i was finally able to pull off a yngwie track at 75% speed... now on thursday. i decided to go 25% of the speed, so i can gain control of what im playing.

the slower you practice, the better... that way you can make sure every vibrato/bend/slide/whatverver is perfect.
and make sure you practice slow for quite a while... by the time you play it at full speed, not only will you get the notes right... you'll also be able to actually play each note perfectly.
#4
A technique my teacher taught me was to learn solos in sections, like you're doing, but to learn the first 1/4 of the previous and following measure. That way, you have overlay and you know how to transition into the bars and are able to better stitch them together.
#5
Quote by Cing Krimson
I don't think anything is wrong with you. Most people will need to play through a solo a lot of times before it's perfect.


At least 200 times for me, starting very very slowly.
#6
nothing's wrong with you, just playing in little bits is easier than stringing the whole thing together. there are plenty of licks I can play without too much bother if I only play them alone, but put them in the middle of a solo and it's another story.

Quote by Mohican
A technique my teacher taught me was to learn solos in sections, like you're doing, but to learn the first 1/4 of the previous and following measure. That way, you have overlay and you know how to transition into the bars and are able to better stitch them together.


that's a good idea, actually. can't believe i didn't think of it before
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#7
Quote by Cing Krimson
I don't think anything is wrong with you. Most people will need to play through a solo a lot of times before it's perfect. As with playing live, a lot of people won't play the solo exactly like the album version anyway, they'll just improvise a bit, so maybe you could practice that...


Plus half of them don't stay clean when they're live.
#8
Quote by Mohican
A technique my teacher taught me was to learn solos in sections, like you're doing, but to learn the first 1/4 of the previous and following measure. That way, you have overlay and you know how to transition into the bars and are able to better stitch them together.


+1

Another one, when you're isolating on small parts, is to bounce back and forth between isolating, and playing it as part of a bigger section. For example, if you're playing a part each day, then you could isolate on a small part and practice that for a few days in a row, then the next day practice it as part of a longer section, then back to isolating, and so on. Then you're learning to integrate the part as well as focusing on the area that needs the most work when you isolate.

The only thing I have to add is that I'm not sure about the whole perfecting each part before moving on to the next thing. I know some people advocate this, but to me you're working a bit too much in a vacuum that way. If I'm working on a solo that difficult enough that it's going to take me a few weeks (or more), then I got about it something like this:
- Learn all the parts roughly, then start playing through the whole thing.
- Identify which areas are the most rough, and dole out practice time accordingly.
- Keep spending some time playing through the whole thing, figuring out the weaknesses, and shifting my focus to those areas.
- Wash, rinse, and repeat until I can say I'm as happy with it as I'm going to be.

What I like about this is that I'm getting constant feedback throughout the process, and I can adjust what I practice as needed.
#10
I am self-taught, so I might be using wrong or bad tricks. However, what I have found is that if I memorize one phrase, then another, then try to play them together, I inevitably stumble at the transition because I have not practice that particular aspect of the song with any real focus.

In fact that stress that I'm not comfortable with the transitions can make me screw up ANY part of the song, even the parts I thought I had nailed, because that stress creates a nervousness and mental noise the entire time I'm playing, because I know I'll inevitably get to those transitions. So even if I screw up in a part of the song that's not the transition, I still tend to blame it on the fact that I did not adequately learn my transitions in a way that made me confident about them.

So I now incorporate focused training on the transitions, which can be as short as the last couple notes of the first phrase to the first couple notes of the second phrase. The shorter, the more efficient, but you want to make sure you are really training the muscle memory well enough for the transition.

The transition phrase is generally so short I can do it 50 times in no time at all, slowly, and really burn it into the muscle memory (actually 50 is not all that many, but since I already know the respective notes from learning the two phrases at issue, I find I can nail the transition without spending quite so much time on it). Then I go back and play the two phrases without any stress over the transition, and I find I make no mistakes. (If I still make mistakes, I have to confront fact there's some other aspect of the song I'm not comfortable with -- maybe a totally different section than where I'm screwing up -- that's making me nervous and creating a tension, so I try to think what I'm least confident about in the song, and go back and work on that in a focused way.)

This is sort of like the suggestion above to learn the song in stages, like if you learn one phrase then another, then learn to play both together seamlessly before you move on to third phrase. However, the one distinction is that I do NOT play both first and second phrases in total after learning them separately in order to get comfortable playing them together. I find that wastes time because it's just the transition that I need to improve on. I read a book on practice that drummed in this notion of efficiency, of not playing more than you need to, to learn what you are trying to learn. If you have trouble with a section of a song, you do not work on it by playing the whole song over and over, you only play the problem area with maybe a couple notes before and after to get you into & out of it. The more of the song you play when trying to nail a particular problem area, the more time you are wasting that could be used to focus on fixing the problem. It's just less efficient. So I have really embraced this notion and take it to the hilt, apply it to EVERY aspect of my practice, for guitar, for singing, for memorizing lyrics.

For example, when I memorize lyrics, I learn a phrase, then a learn another phrase, then I'll sing just the last word of the first phrase and the first word of the next phrase (okay maybe the first two words, depending) at least 10-20 times before I try to sing the two phrases together. That really helps me memorize song lyrics accurately in no time, compared to when I just tried to memorize the phrases and then string them together -- which always led to me making errors like starting the second half of the third verse when I should have been singing the second half of the second verse, because I did not have that transitive aspect nailed.

Anyway, focus on WHATEVER has you nervous as you play, whatever you have not adequately practiced yet, whether it's transitions or whatever, and that'll remedy your screw ups on the phrases you thought you had nailed (and maybe did have nailed.) No matter how well you have a phrase nailed, you can STILL mess it up if you have stress / mental noise / distraction over ANY part of the piece you are playing, at least in my experience. Do not think because you screw up a note in the first half of the first phrase, that that is necessarily the part you need to work on. Well, that would not hurt, because once you screw up, you now have to try to obliterate that "bad" muscle memory through repetition of the right way to play it. So I tend to like to "get right back on the horse" and "strike while the iron is hot," to now go over that section I messed up on at least 10 times perfectly, at slow speed if necessary, because I think doing that immediately after you messed it up is more likely to really have your muscles discard that mistaken muscle memory so it's not waiting somewhere to jump out at the worst time. However, that won't really get to the root of the problem. You STILL need to get to the source of your overall nervousness about the piece, you'll just find other ways to screw up till you fix the nervousness and are approaching the piece from a very relaxed state of mind.

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
Last edited by krm27 at Apr 17, 2014,
#13
The short answer is stop worrying about exact copies or a few mistakes, just work them in. I don't think the shredders play their solos the same way twice anyway, they just have a very good knowledge of the patterns they are trying to achieve. My favourite guitar-god saying is "You know you've made it when the wannabees start copying your clams."