The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #40703   Message #584845
Posted By: Rick Fielding
02-Nov-01 - 01:57 PM
Thread Name: Practice tip, odd but verrry effective.
Subject: RE: Practice tip, odd but verrry effective.
Geez, thanks for the feedback friends. As you no doubt know by now, I can get a little over-focused on instrument "mechanics", so I thought I might give a bit of the background on "why".

For years I played strictly by ear and instinct, and was lucky enough to get good results. When I decided to travel less (co-inciding with meeting Heather) and supplement my income with teaching, I found I started looking at my own (and others') playing in a different way. I had so many bad habits that I should have written a book called "DON'T Do THIS"!

I discovered that my weakest area was the thing I was proudest of having developed, and that was a right hand that could adapt instantly to any situation. Problem was, I was often caught in the middle of a fast passage using the wrong finger for a note and had to "slide" out of a mistake. Got good at that, BUT it's much better to really nail the basics first, if you wanna play any kind of song comfortably. Problem was I hated to practice, so the "watch TV and practice at the same time" thing was based on my natural my surprise I found it really worked, and very quickly too.

Learning your left hand, and how to "glide" to chords rather than coming in vertically CAN'T effectively be learned while concentrating on Doug Flutie or Wayne Gretsky. For the left hand you gotta have all your senses focused, but if you've nailed the muscle memory for the right hand it's much easier.

Here's one more "TV" excercise:

Guitar tuned to D again.

Pick the 6th string with your thumb.

Pick the sixth again with your index finger.

Move to the fifth and do the same thing (thumb then index)

Keep going up tp the 1st string. Then go the other way (first to sixth)

This is a way of playing fast (flatpick type) runs with the thumb and index.

When you go back to a regular tuning and start learning tunes, they'll be much easier 'cause the right hand muscle memory is well in place.

This style was used to great effect by Rev. Gary Davis on Guitar and Don Reno on banjo.

Rick (and yes, it IS raining here, so I can't go out and rake leaves!)