Techniques and proper way of practicing

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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:53 am

Techniques and proper way of practicing

#1 Post by Ales » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:57 am

Hi everybody, I'm new and want to ask to the community some questions about technique and practicing , they are the constant thought of every waking moment of my life:
(It's gonna be a long post, sorry)

1. What is the optimum speed i should practice to improve the speed?
We all agree that we are talking about speed AND ACCURACY, not going fast just as a fast way of moving the wrist/arm etc..
Lets say that i want to improve my right hand speed at alternate picking. Like someone says, you can't go faster than banging on one i keep an open string or press a fret and begin to alternate picking without hesitation...focus on relaxation, the note has to be perfect and so on...
Real example: 4 notes per beat, 90 bpm, very easy, i feel like i can do this forever (again, no error, relaxed, perfect timing) should i stick to this speed? (and how much time should i spend at this speed? but this is my second question)
Ok, raised the metronome to 100 bpm, still easy, no error, still relaxed. I can say that is not less easier than 90 so maybe practicing at 90 is wasting time?

120 bmp: i can do this with no mistake and no hesitation but i begin to feel a bit tense. This is the optimum speed? At 130 i do make an error after 10 seconds or what do you think?

I'm asking this because played guitar in the last ten years, 3 years ago i began to focus seriously on speed and technique because i was not able to play some solos in my band in a relaxed way, i felt a bit that i was rushing notes and i don't want to sound like a not confident player. I'm stuck at that 130bpm in the last year so i began to think i'm not practicing the right way.
I searched alot on internet and i found some general tips, i want to explain my doubt about these tips:

- practice at the speed you make 0 error
ok that makes sense, teaching to your muscle to not making any mistakes. But for how much time you shuold practice at this speed? And what if i do one a mistake sometimes but very very rarely?
Like if i play 1 minute straight alternate picking and in the 59th second i do a mistake should i slow the metronome?
So the max_0error_speed should be the speed that you feel you can play that forever without tension?
Or should i practice at a challenging speed (with few errors) and try to relax and reach the same "piece of cake" feeling i have with a slower speed?

- pick angle, pick selection, wrist picking, arm picking etc..
Come on, improving is not about the pick, or the about the quantity and the quality of practicing. Guys like Marty Friedman can pick fast even with a "bad" right hand technique, and with every pick. Paul Gilbert us a medium pick that is not very stiff, like some guys recommend. Maybe for a beginner is useful to play with a stiff pick, but i think all these different aspects are not vital for improving. The important things of these aspects are that you should avoid pain, and bad habit.

2. Time. I'm not talking about the practice session time but the single exercise amount of time.
Saying you should practice 1 hour alternate picking doesn't make sense to me.
Taking the previous example, tremolo picking on one note, i choose the maximum speed with 0 error and practice it for 1 minute straight.
Then? Should i rest a bit? For how much?
If I rest, how many 1 minute straight repetition of the exercise should i do? For should i mean, what is considered the right way for maximizing the benefit of the exercise, of course someone can say, do how much time you want to, but i'm talking about the scientific way of improving faster. Someone says that you will burn exercise and you lose focus if you spend too much time. Everything i'm saying is about science applied to improve in a "healthy" way and hopefully faster.
Should i play 15 mins straight without rest instead? Then playing 1 minute at a notch faster speed?

3. Improving time. I want to share my experience about improving over time.
I'm so interested about time and this stuff because i used to play 8 hours a day and now i have 1 hour a day to play guitar, i want to optimize time.
Practicing tremolo picking i noticed some very strange (at least for me) improving time.
It happens that someday 120bpm is very easy, and someday i cannot even reach 110bpm.
Someday i reach 140 bpm and i say to myself, how is it possible?! Yesterday I could not even reach 120! And i go to bed hoping that the next day i can be able to reach that speed again.
Do it happen to you also?
I tracked down some goal speed to see how it improves over time but after 2 or 3 months it is still the same goal speed, even if in some day i can pass over that speed.
The fact is, if i take the guitar now, and try to play fast as i can on one string without error and without tensing up, i realize my speed is around 100 bpm (4 notes per beat). And the fact that worries me the most is that that speed, the basic speed, is not improved after many months.
I've read about beginners that reach a very high level of technique in one year, assuming they are telling the truth, is all about the way and the time they spent on practicing, because i think there's no talent involved in these mechanics stuff.

I'm really sorry for the bad English (is not my mother language) and for the long post.
But i really want to have a clear picture, and help others to find one with me, because there is a lot of confusion, on forums and on the internet, and a beginner should start with the best and correct information to avoid making mistakes, difficult to fix in the future.

RECAP: optimum speed for improving faster, optimum amount of time to not burnout exercises and lose focus, reasonable time to understand if you are not improving because your practicing the bad way.I hope i was clear enough.
Bye all guys, thank you for the patience, i hope someone want to discuss about that.


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