The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #19184   Message #194750
Posted By: Whistle Stop
14-Mar-00 - 12:06 PM
Thread Name: Fingers, Hitting Frets, & Not Looking
Subject: RE: Fingers, Hitting Frets, & Not Looking
I had to jump in again -- can't leave well enough alone, I guess. The "muscle memory" everyone is referring to should encompass more than memorizing right-hand picking patterns and left-hand chord shapes. It really involves memorizing where everything is on the instrument, so you can go wherever your creative urges take you. If it's just repetitious patterns with the right and pre-ordained chords with the left, you will never move beyond that to gain mastery of your insturment, and your playing will quickly become uninteresting, to your audience as well as yourself.

I'm not saying everyone has to be a Martin Simpson or Stefan Grossman (or Bela Fleck, since this thread was started by a banjo player). And if you've only been with your instrument for ten months, it's nice to have some shorter-term goals. But chords and straight-ahead Travis picking get kind of boring after a while -- if and when you're able to move beyond them to develop a freer relationship with your instrument, whole worlds will open up.