Seems Like The More I Practice Technique the Worse It Gets

coltranemi2012

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So yea...The more I practice getting fast, control the worse it seems to get. Then if I don't do it for a week it seems I have more fluidy. I feel when I practice it I can't play almost. Yes, I try to be aware of my body and what I'm doing. It's not just mindless noodling. Yes I've checked out the Troy Grady videos. Anyone experience this? It's kind of weird.
 

Tone Loco

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Maybe focusing intently you notice more slop that was there all along?
Not sure about coming back to it after a week, I would think the next day would be enough, depending on what exactly are trying to improve. But maybe working on it for a while and then taking a week off you are less sensitive to the glitches you were hyper-aware of while really working on it?
 

stevel

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15,780
Psychological.

There's more to music than speed or Troy Grady though.

Read Tone Loco's first sentence. That's the most common reason. You're starting to pay attention to what you're doing. That's a good thing.
 

RLD

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I think everybody go through periods of plateaus in their playing where it seems like you're not making progress or even regressing, as you're experiencing.
Completely normal...you just have to keep going till you break thru to the next level...or not.
This is where the men are separated from the boys, so to speak...:cool:
 

cubistguitar

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6,217
My best technique training has come from learning passages from other players, especially other instruments.

I couldn't play Skippy by Thelonious on the first day, but once i got it down, boy oh boy, did I feel like I had done something.
 

Rufus

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Yes, I think that is pretty normal. I have certainly experienced it. I'm not sure what the cause is, but I sometimes attribute it to "trying too hard." A big part of fluid technique is being loose and relaxed. And, when you drill something for a while, or when you are trying to push new levels, you tend to tense up a lot. The following week, though, when you don't have any big expectations, you are probably more relaxed. Ironically, in some ways, the harder you try to do something, the harder it can become.

As long as you feel like you are making some progress in the longer term, I wouldn't worry about the short-term ups and downs.
 

coltranemi2012

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Well I should have added I was gigging every night for about 4 hours or so. like 7 days a week for about 9 months. Maybe that was a part of it?
 

amstrtatnut

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14,802
Id just try to relax. If you are too tense, nothing goes well.

I try to play with a light touch. However, at gigs I can tend to play harder if I cant hear myself for whatever reason. Then I get tense and hand gets tired. Maybe this applies to you? I dunno, just throwin it out there.
 

guitarjazz

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25,185
Well I should have added I was gigging every night for about 4 hours or so. like 7 days a week for about 9 months. Maybe that was a part of it?
You on the Ramada Inn lounge circuit too? Been there...got the t-shirt and towels. Started at a buck and quarter a week. Prob pays more now?
 
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Whats your approach. I've found bursts to work best for where speed is concerned. I'm no Tony Macalpine but I've developed better in the past year or two using speed bursts and 1/2 to double tempo scales then ticking up a metronome 4 bpm per shot.

It may be in your approach.
 

guitarjazz

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25,185
So yea...The more I practice getting fast, control the worse it seems to get. Then if I don't do it for a week it seems I have more fluidy. I feel when I practice it I can't play almost. Yes, I try to be aware of my body and what I'm doing. It's not just mindless noodling. Yes I've checked out the Troy Grady videos. Anyone experience this? It's kind of weird.
I've had a few extraordinary gigs where I felt like crap, I hadn't practiced, but somehow everybody had their radar dialed in and the gig ended being exhilarating. I don't want to count on that happening so I keep hitting the woodshed.
 

coltranemi2012

Silver Supporting Member
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6,067
Whats your approach. I've found bursts to work best for where speed is concerned. I'm no Tony Macalpine but I've developed better in the past year or two using speed bursts and 1/2 to double tempo scales then ticking up a metronome 4 bpm per shot.

It may be in your approach.
Well I do a bunch of things...But I try to do that 4 per string chromatic thing and try to do it slow so I can feel tension in my body...also try to make sure I feel the up down of the pic. Then I do other things like Al Dimeolas riff from Devil or McLaughlin lick on Inner Mountain flame..like the fast thing. Or Charlie Parkers heads. Depends
 

Barquentine

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Be very honest with yourself and think carefully about every component of what you are trying to do. Is there a speed you can play at where you can absolutely guarantee that you will not make a mistake ? If you try a run - as soon as you fluff a note start again. You must be able to play slowly with total confidence before you try speeding up. Don't just practice slowly and then decide that you can now play fast. Play at every speed between slow and fast. Be very patient. It may take a very long time to get where you want but unless you practice properly you will never get there. Be accepting of your limitations - don't think of it as something you can't do but as something you can't do yet.
 

FatsoForgotso

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116
We are our own worst critics. I'm in the camp that experiences rises and plateaus so don't get discouraged and keep going.
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
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25,185
If you want a good mental reboot read:
Zen Guitar by Philip Toshio Sudo
Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner
and the essay portion in the back of Mick Goodrick's Advancing Guitarist
They might point you to something greater than a musical contest for speed.
 

harmonicator

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4,789
Overtraining. Much like lifting weights, you have to allow your muscles and nervous system to recover. If you don't, you get weaker. Hal Galper said musicians are athletes of the fine motor muscles - or something to that effect. And it's true, your are working your finger/hand/wrist/arm muscles when continually logging hours practicing guitar. Allow recovery to happen for better results.
 

Blahfingers

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764
Then if I don't do it for a week it seems I have more fluidy. I feel when I practice it I can't play almost. .

Yes, I've noticed that with guitar and with playing sports. If I haven't played a sport (or guitar) for a while, the first time I play again I'm great, but then get worse again the second or third time (until I've practiced enough to improve).

I have a theory about it- that you're using your cerebellum to perform automated, well-learned tasks automatically, like the first time you haven't played in a while. Then, when you're consciously practicing or learning something new, you're using other parts of the brain as well, which are less ingrained or programmed to work automatically, so it's harder (until you've taught it to your cerebellum).
 




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