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Old 06-24-2019, 12:16 PM
vermonter vermonter is offline
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Default finger exercises?

Surprise! My fingers don't move as quickly as they once did. Does anybody have any suggestions for exercises to increase speed other than just playing more? I think I should know this---

And yes, I know there are other aspects to playing that matter much more.

Thanks.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:28 PM
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vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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I have a few thoughts. I'm working on increasing the speed of my playing and have been for some time. I seem to have naturally migrated from electric to acoustic guitar and there are definitely some similarities and differences though they are essentially the same instrument.

The first thing I recommend to everyone, including myself: USE A METRONOME RELIGIOUSLY! It not only quantifies your progress, but keeps you even and honest. Select runs and exercises that you can learn by rote so you can focus on the technique (at first). Every note must be exactly on time. SUBDIVIDE either with the metronome or in your head to keep things exactly even. That's how you will learn to coordinate both right and left hands as you get faster- and work to get faster still. Don't play any faster than you can play super clean with dead-nuts accuracy. One method is to find a tempo that you can play cleanly 5 times. After 5x, bump the metronome 1bpm. When you can do that tempo clean 5x in a row, bump another bpm... and keep going. If you miss three times in a row, you bump the metronome DOWN 1 bpm. Keep building speed, but with clean deadly accuracy. It might take months or years to develop a lick at blazing speed. But what's the hurry?

Work on keeping the motion of both hands to a minimum. Don't lift your fingers off the fingerboard any further than you need to. Don't press harder than you need to. Let the pick travel only as far as it needs to to attack the string. When I was in string methods (violin/viola/cello) class years ago, the professor would yell "KFD" which means... KEEP FINGERS DOWN. You don't always have the luxury of doing that, but lets say you have to play a D to a C on the B string. If you put both the 1st and 3rd fingers down together you only have to lift the 3rd finger to get to the C. If you're going from C to D (chromatically) the 1st finger goes down, then the 2nd, then the 3rd, without lifting the previous fingers. The exception to that would be if you have to cross strings for subsequent notes with those fingers.

Work on coordinating both left hand fretting and right hand picking. Note that the left hand has to act a nano-second before the right to get clean attacks with notes that ring clear. [I actually learned that on trumpet first and then had an "ah hah" moment on guitar.] That, I think, is the number one thing that people don't quite get. When you're going slow you seemingly fret and pick at the same time. But if the note isn't fretted (or opened) before you execute the pick stroke, you'll get a "fluffed" attack.

Find a pick that feels comfortable and you can get a good grip on without having to increase tension in your hand, wrist and arm. Find a pick that moves through the strings smoothly and evenly. So you have to find the right thickness, shape, texture and material. Some picks just work better than others for certain tasks and everyone eventually develops a preference depending on needs.

I think that's about all I have for now. I'm sure I'll think of stuff I missed later.

Edit: I did think of one more thing. Listen carefully to make sure your up strokes and down strokes sound the same (assuming the music calls for them to be). I find my upstrokes tend to want to be weaker than my downstrokes, so I work on that. Part of what I'm finding is for me, the right pick thickeness and shape help me drive better through the upstrokes through increased leverage. I've recently found DAVA picks which have a thicker rubber grip around a "normal" thickness plastic pick. I'm finding them helpful as I don't have to use as much grip strength to drive thru the upstrokes as the increased friction of the rubber takes care of that.

Good luck.
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Last edited by vindibona1; 06-24-2019 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 06-24-2019, 04:08 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vermonter View Post
Surprise! My fingers don't move as quickly as they once did. Does anybody have any suggestions for exercises to increase speed other than just playing more? I think I should know this---

And yes, I know there are other aspects to playing that matter much more.

Thanks.
What style of music? How many notes per second would you like to achieve? Got a youtube example or two of what you would like to achieve?
Fingerstyle or flatpicking your main interest?
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