The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #39538   Message #564703
Posted By: blt
04-Oct-01 - 12:20 AM
Thread Name: How can they play that fast?
Subject: RE: How can they play that fast?
I was very relieved to hear that someone else has been practicing a certain tune for at least 20 years; I taught myself Blackberry Blossum out of a column in Acoustic Guitar (I think that was what the magazine was called) over 20 years ago and I still work on it. Even on the songs I write and find the notes for, I struggle to get the pace just right. It definitely, for me, is not in the speed as much as in the precision and expression. I do practice scales (after hearing, years ago, that Doc Watson did so)but I've never owned a metranome--always meant to buy one because I probably would play if not faster at least steadier. Over the years, I've found that playing tunes at different speeds helps. I don't know if this was mentioned, but of course action and the shape of your hands to the shape of the neck of your guitar all matter, as well as the tension in your hands. In the beginning of learning a song, my hands are much less relaxed until I've memorized the movements from chord to chord; gradually I drop the fingered notes I don't need as I gain confidence in where I'm going. I used to always try to practice with my eyes closed so that I could find my place without looking, just by sensing the placment of my fingers (what I think of as body memory).

Another problem I have is that the pick flies out of my hand at inopportune times, or slips down into the sound hole--I've had this problem more when I've tried to play faster than I should (usually when I've had a double latte before I start to play). It's always entertaining to get the pick out, it's a real crowd pleaser.