#1
Howdy. I'm watching the first part of John Petrucci's "Rock Discipline" because I wish to improve on the guitar, as I have never practiced and I'm tired of all my chops being rooted in blues improv and lacking any knowledge of music theory or scales.

But I just ran into a problem. At the beginning of the DVD, he introduces us to his warmup on the guitar. It seems to make much sense, but I have a question: how fast should one aspire to play this? Is it really as simple as being based in simply stretching out your fingers, and getting some accuracy going? Speed doesn't matter? I can play along at the speed he plays it, but when I change to the chord shapes that involve the pointer finger going down another fret, I start bumbling the chord shape and messing up. When the pinky follows suit, the chord becomes a train wreck.

I had never though my fingers were particularly stuffy when it came to chords. If you don't have 'Rock Discipline', here is the progression I am talking about...

It starts as so (played as an arpeggio, basically switching the chord around):

el-----------------------------
bl-----------------------------
gl----------13-13--10-10--
dl-------12----11--11-12--
al----11-------12--12-11--
el-10----------10--13-13--

Then, it gets a little harder. The chord changes from above in one simple way:

el-------------------
bl-------------------
gl-13-13-9--9----
dl-12-11-11-12--
al-11-12-12-11--
el-9---9--13-13--

^ Here is where I start to bumble the chord.
By now you get the basic idea behind the progression. It follows as so:

el-----
bl-----
gl-14-9
dl-12-12
al-11-11
el-9--14

^ I have much trouble around here. My hands look unusual attempting these chords. It is worth noting that my fingers are -all- double jointed. What this means, is that I can "cave in" my fingers at the middle joint. It looks interesting, and it has affected my guitar playing. It is both a help and a hindrance in barre chords, and sometimes, holding a chord, one of my fingers "caves in", which can affect my playing.

Here is a less extreme example:

Here are my hands forming the chord.





Here is my thumb positioning. This is what feels comfortable, and feasible. Is my thumb positioning a problem?


My double jointedness results in fingers that can do this:


Anyways, my question, if nothing else, is this: should I be having the trouble I am having? Should these progressions be quite easy, or is it understandable that I'm fumbling them about? Thanks.
#2
i have the same DVD and it's awesome. i play those kinda slow, i guess. the idea is just to stretch and loosen up your hands- you don't want to stretch too hard or fast. as for the actual things he does, a lot of them aren't chords- they're just finger positions which allow you to stretch your fingers out.
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#3
Ok. So it's no big deal if I can't play them easily, it's simply stretching? Awesome. Thanks much.
#4
It's intended to be a stretching excercize, but if you're trying to go for accuracy as well, you should play it at a speed that allows you to be comletely clean.
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#5
The exercises that come after this one are meant for improving speed/accuracy, this one's purely stretching.
#6
Is all about stretching, you don't have to play it at a certain speed but do it correctly, making sure that every note sound clean.
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#7
Its just a warm up so it should be slow and clean. Your fingering looks fine
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#8
I have that same problem with my pinky finger, though I don't think I'm double-jointed. It's just like the finger is completely rigid except for that last joint. It's become less of a problem lately, and I think it's due to that finger just getting stronger, and also relaxing more while I'm using it. Try that and it might help...gradually apply pressure to where you can sound a note but the fingers don't do that.