#1
I am in a slightly strange place with my playing. I played for 8 years and got a decent standard then stopped for about 10 years. I've started playing again in the last few months and my old technique is coming back. In particular my lead improvisation is amazing to me, very fast and clean. I can play the major pentatonic all over the neck at very fast speeds. Bending, sliding, hammer on and pull off, all of these I can do fine. Even a bit of tapping. All of this with alternative picking. Open chords are very fast and clean, barre chords are still a little rusty but I'm working on that.

So for a practise regime it's pretty straightforward. Practise my barre chords and tapping, learn other scales and learn sweeping and economy picking (I don't think they had even invented economy picking when I played before ).

However my problem comes with playing specific phrases. So for example I'll improvise around the major pentatonic cleanly at like 5-10 notes per sec, bending and sliding all over the place, and it sounds great. But if I try to play something 'easier' but specific I struggle. For example the intro to Purple Haze. Pretty straightforward in theory and if I was improvising it I would be fine. But I'm struggling to get my hands to play the specific notes they need to. I hit bumb notes or go to the wrong place in sequence and it's crap. I played it for about 30 minutes yesterday and improved a little but it will probably take several hours practise to nail that intro. Now obviously repetition is the key but it seems to me that I should be able to play something like that relatively easily given the fluency of my improvisation. So can anyone suggest some exercises I should try to improve my 'finger learning'. Or is this actually normal?

Thanks in advance.
#2
Your fingers just dont know all the dance steps yet. They can polka, but can they waltz? You just aren't used to certain movements.

Just take it slowly. As slow as it need to be to play it perfectly, then increase the speed little by little, always perfecting the bit at each speed.
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Don't tell me what can be done, either.



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#3
That's a nice analogy, I like it. I guess what I'm saying is that if I'm great at the Polka then why am I taking so long to learn the Tango and is there some techniques or exercises I can use to learn faster?
#4
You's mistaken in how it all works. Just because you can do A, doesn't mean B
will come automatically.

So you can improvise around a bit, but think how much of that is your fingers just
doing the same things over and over. Of course they'll get better at with all the
reps. Then, you try something new, and they trip all over themselves. You just
have to train them right.

I've been reading some interesting stuff about practice lately. There's a couple
quotes from pros that stick out:

"An amateur practices until he plays it right, a pro practices until he can't play it wrong."

"Don't practice your mistakes"

The last is particularly telling. How often do you make them same mistake over and
over on a tough part trying to get it right? Then, you finally nail it and go "I got it
now!" WRONG! You have just practiced it wrong 9 times and maybe 1 time right.
Which one do you think your body is going to remember better? The better way is
to slow it so you can play it as perfectly as you can EVERY time.

That requires a LOT of discipline, but its actually the fastest way to get anywhere.
#5
Quote by pmc100
I am in a slightly strange place with my playing. I played for 8 years and got a decent standard then stopped for about 10 years. I've started playing again in the last few months and my old technique is coming back. In particular my lead improvisation is amazing to me, very fast and clean. I can play the major pentatonic all over the neck at very fast speeds. Bending, sliding, hammer on and pull off, all of these I can do fine. Even a bit of tapping. All of this with alternative picking. Open chords are very fast and clean, barre chords are still a little rusty but I'm working on that.

So for a practise regime it's pretty straightforward. Practise my barre chords and tapping, learn other scales and learn sweeping and economy picking (I don't think they had even invented economy picking when I played before ).

However my problem comes with playing specific phrases. So for example I'll improvise around the major pentatonic cleanly at like 5-10 notes per sec, bending and sliding all over the place, and it sounds great. But if I try to play something 'easier' but specific I struggle. For example the intro to Purple Haze. Pretty straightforward in theory and if I was improvising it I would be fine. But I'm struggling to get my hands to play the specific notes they need to. I hit bumb notes or go to the wrong place in sequence and it's crap. I played it for about 30 minutes yesterday and improved a little but it will probably take several hours practise to nail that intro. Now obviously repetition is the key but it seems to me that I should be able to play something like that relatively easily given the fluency of my improvisation. So can anyone suggest some exercises I should try to improve my 'finger learning'. Or is this actually normal?

Thanks in advance.


It sounds like you may spend too much time focusing on technique, and things like how many NPS you can play.

Hendrix didnt calculate NPS when he played. He just played music. He was more focused on how it sounded. He was an artist painting with sound, as opposed to an athelete working on his stats.

You may want to consider his approach. Spend some time playing rather than practicing. work on the purple haze intro, and some other hendrix licks/riffs. Focus on their sound and feel, not how impressive they are speed wise.
keep in mind i didnt say NOT to work on techniques.... just that in this case, that may actually be the problem. too much focus on technique, not enough focus on music (balance is the key)
#6
Quote by edg
You's mistaken in how it all works. Just because you can do A, doesn't mean B
will come automatically.

So you can improvise around a bit, but think how much of that is your fingers just
doing the same things over and over. Of course they'll get better at with all the
reps. Then, you try something new, and they trip all over themselves. You just
have to train them right.

I've been reading some interesting stuff about practice lately. There's a couple
quotes from pros that stick out:

"An amateur practices until he plays it right, a pro practices until he can't play it wrong."

"Don't practice your mistakes"

The last is particularly telling. How often do you make them same mistake over and
over on a tough part trying to get it right? Then, you finally nail it and go "I got it
now!" WRONG! You have just practiced it wrong 9 times and maybe 1 time right.
Which one do you think your body is going to remember better? The better way is
to slow it so you can play it as perfectly as you can EVERY time.

That requires a LOT of discipline, but its actually the fastest way to get anywhere.



I guess that's what I was expecting. It makes a lot of sense, my hope was that there might be specific things I could do to speed the learning process up. I hope that I'm just learning slowly at the moment as I've been away from playing for such a long time. Hopefully as I keep practising my learning speed will improve.
#7
Quote by GuitarMunky
It sounds like you may spend too much time focusing on technique, and things like how many NPS you can play.

Hendrix didnt calculate NPS when he played. He just played music. He was more focused on how it sounded. He was an artist painting with sound, as opposed to an athelete working on his stats.

You may want to consider his approach. Spend some time playing rather than practicing. work on the purple haze intro, and some other hendrix licks/riffs. Focus on their sound and feel, not how impressive they are speed wise.
keep in mind i didnt say NOT to work on techniques.... just that in this case, that may actually be the problem. too much focus on technique, not enough focus on music (balance is the key)


Actually, I'm just the opposite. I spend most of my time just jamming around and probably don't spend enough time on technique or learning particular songs. I agree that the most important thing is getting the sound right, not how many nps you can play. I just gave that example to show that I am not some beginner who would be expected to struggle with Hendrix. I used to be able to play that intro pretty well, maybe I'm still just rustier than I thought. When you can play some runs around familiar scales that sound awesome at speed (especially after being away for years) it's hard to drag yourself away from just doing that and working on other things.