#1
Recently I've been trying to practice longer and more regularly, at least two hours a day. Well the other day ago I got bored and ended up playing my regular chromatic speed building exercise(the one from Rock Discipline) for about 35 extra minutes on top of the usual 30. That and I had also just increased my metronome by 8 bpm.

So yesterday I sat down to practice and was surprised and alarmed to find that I could barely play along to my metronome at a speed that I had done alright at previously. My hand would either refuse to move enough most of the time or it would kinda 'spazz' out and play things completely off tempo. My fingers seem to be harder to move as well. Is this normal?

Sorry for the long winded post but I thought it might be important to provide context for an accurate answer. Thanks.

TL;DR: I played a fair bit more than usual and now picking hand is spazzing out.
Last edited by Cheeseshark at Nov 28, 2015,
#2
Easy answer: if you didn't warm up, of course, it's going to be hard to be at your very best technically from the get go, especially when it comes to tempo.

If you did warm up, in my experience it can be totally normal to experience a certain degree of fatigue, or stiffness leading to mistakes. I can not give a definite answer but I doubt It's serious. I can only say I experienced something similar before, but now I'm all okay.

Take my answer with a grain of salt, though, if you think there's a major problem, don't be afraid to seek better advice. You can never be too careful with the tools that procure the most pleasure.
#3
You have to ease into higher tempos. I've played for 20 years and always start my warm ups with basic right hand picking at a moderate tempo, and start my scale exercises on quarter notes at 100bpm. Coordination comes first. Building speed especially should be approached with patience.

Like any other form of physical fitness or mental exercise - and guitar is both - you will experience improvements in fits and starts. You're not going to develop an ability suddenly and permanently. As you are experiencing, improvement happens with little breakthroughs. You know that great playing is in you because you did it once. Now, you just need to put in the work to get back up to the point again. It will come easier to the second time, and yet easier the third, and so on, until it becomes effortless.

But the way you get permanently better is by building up your base abilities, not your peak abilities. It is way more useful to be able to play, say, 16ths at 96 bpm every day than to play 32nds at 120 once a week. By building up your basic skills to the point of total consistency, more advanced skills will be within closer reach, and take less effort overall when you do need to build up a particular advanced skill.
#4
Yeah thats normal, if you start slow and work back up to it you can play at those speeds again. It's just warming up really. Do that enough though and that speed will become the norm.

Edit: as far as your spazzing out, sounds like you are overdoing it ease back a bit no point in hurting yourself you will lose more during recovery than just taking a day break.
#5
Quote by cdgraves
You have to ease into higher tempos. I've played for 20 years and always start my warm ups with basic right hand picking at a moderate tempo, and start my scale exercises on quarter notes at 100bpm. Coordination comes first. Building speed especially should be approached with patience.

Like any other form of physical fitness or mental exercise - and guitar is both - you will experience improvements in fits and starts. You're not going to develop an ability suddenly and permanently. As you are experiencing, improvement happens with little breakthroughs. You know that great playing is in you because you did it once. Now, you just need to put in the work to get back up to the point again. It will come easier to the second time, and yet easier the third, and so on, until it becomes effortless.

But the way you get permanently better is by building up your base abilities, not your peak abilities. It is way more useful to be able to play, say, 16ths at 96 bpm every day than to play 32nds at 120 once a week. By building up your basic skills to the point of total consistency, more advanced skills will be within closer reach, and take less effort overall when you do need to build up a particular advanced skill.


Exactly this. I discovered a breakthrough yesterday, and it seems like a viable tip for those who are learning and practicing like me.

if you are playing at really high speeds, think ahead 1 fret, what I mean is anticipate what fret you are about to hit and focus less on the frets you are currently hitting. this really helps if you are trying to squeeze your fingers into those high frets as well
#6
Everyone has off days, but usually when those off days happen that means your brain is processing what you've learned, and you'll be better the next day.
#7
I really appreciate all of the advice that everyone has given. I am now fairly sure that the issue has to do with muscle fatigue, I can definitely feel the slight discomfort that indicates having exerted myself a bit. So I've taken the last day off and will resume practicing properly tomorrow. I will definitely apply all of your advice when I practice tomorrow, especially the warm up bits. I've yet to do a proper warm up exercise before practicing, so this is probably a long overdue addition. Thanks a ton guys.