#1
At the moment I'm doing a 4-note pentatonic drill;


15-12
-----15-12

Over and over again, 16th notes at 80 BPM, and I'm trying to do 5 minutes solid but I get stuck after about 2 minutes.

I'm getting a feeling of tensing up and a sort of burn along the inside of my left arm. Any ways I can reduce tension? This doesn't tend to happen at lower tempos.
#3
try to keep your shoulders down and relaxed... this always helps me relax the rest of the arm
#4
Quote by just17n8
try to keep your shoulders down and relaxed... this always helps me relax the rest of the arm

Sounds like a fair idea, I'll give it a go and report back.
#5
Quote by Galvanise69
Two ways it says to build up your speed on rock disicplne is, one find a speeed below what you can just do, work on it until you can do it very easily, no tension whatsoever, than increas by 8 bpm and increase, go in incraments of 8. The second way is go to a higher speed higher than what you can do, and apparently just "kill yourself" try to do it at that speed as well as you can, than go back and attempt it at the rpevious speed. Most importantly make sure everything is perfectly clean...

Yeah, I've been doing those things from RD, think I'm gonna work up from 60 jumping 8 BPM, then after every 10 minutes do some speed bursts for a minute.
#6
you just have to begin playing at a slow enough speed where you can consistently play the pattern clean - you'll begin to notice that, if you're playing faster than you can handle over a period of time, tension will build in random parts of your body - whether it be your palm, forearm, even your leg, you have to slow down and become aware of every part of your body while practicing - this awareness and intense concentration will help you obtain the most from your sessions

so how slow is too slow? there's no such thing - if you're practicing at 80 but you're feeling pressured, you may find yourself backing down to quarter notes at 50, but it'll be worth it once you work your way back up to 80 cleanly and without excess tension
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#8
Actually, scratch that, I've got a LOT of tension in my left hand, with 16 notes at 40. Slow it down even further, I guess?
#9
Don't necessarily slow down, just get your hand relaxed; if you need to slow down to do that then fine but you might not need to, you might just need to concentrate on what your hand is doing and actually think about not tensing up. When you can do it with no tension then do it again and again and again until you don't have to think about not having any tension then you can start to speed up again.

It seems like a along process and it is but trust me this is the best way of making progress.
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#10
you have to learn to play with a relaxed hand. try playing a note with one finger. use your index first. relax your hand and fingers and put your finger on the string but dont press it down. now feel what its like to have no tension in the hand. now press down the string slowly and try to keep that same level of relaxed-ness in the hand. you'll find that not a lot of force is actually needed to press down the string to play. its important to only go down far enough to make the note ring clear. you dont need any more tension than that. so know how that feels as well. practice just slowly going back and forth between some notes with other fingers and focus on the tension in the hand. then when you know how your hand should feel, try doing some scale exercises slowly keeping as little amount of tension as possible.

the problem is that the human body seems to tense up when trying to go faster which will actually slow you down in the long run. the secret to playing fast is knowing how to play without tension. and you just have to take it slow and figure it out.
#11
Try doing a little stretch and softly massage your fretting hand with your right hand. It should help since I got that from Rock Discipline.
#12
sounds like you might need to build muscle and muscle memory. the funny thing about tension is, its so easy to get rid of it once you realize HOW to get rid of it. the easiest way to explain it for me is like this. take and tap your fingers on the table freely and lightly in a relaxed state. you should be able to do this for like 30 minutes pretty easily if your hand is really relaxed. this is what your hand should feel like when playing tensionless. equally, take and tap your fingers really hard on the table. you prolly won't last 5 minutes. thats what its like to play with tension. guitar is the same way, it should really require little effort (once you've built up the muscle in your hands of course) and be virtually effortless (trust me on this, i play VERY heavy gauges strings .70 - .11 and it still requires almost no effort. im scared to play my friends guitars cuz im worried ill bust their strings)
#13
I seem to be playing better (lighter) now, although I may be wrong. I'll report back later tonight, after I've worked on it a bit.