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  #16  
Old 03-16-2018, 11:18 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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My duo partner and I, who have been playing some of his originals for years and of course know them cold, often say "you don't HAVE to be thinking about what you're playing/singing, but you better not be thinking about something else".

When you're familiar with a song it's easy to let the mind wander to the hot bar maid, that guy standing in back with his arms crossed, the cappuccino machine, the poor EQ or mix you hear in the monitor, etc, etc, etc. Mental discipline keeps it from being a train wreck.

Last edited by Kerbie; 03-19-2018 at 05:04 PM. Reason: Removed masked profanity
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  #17  
Old 03-16-2018, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by auggie242 View Post
Same here. Even ones that aren't all that difficult.
Exactly!
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  #18  
Old 03-16-2018, 12:03 PM
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I'm glad it's not just me. Memorization is the solution, but getting older gets in the way of that somewhat.
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  #19  
Old 03-16-2018, 04:11 PM
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I experience the same thing, but I think that the key is in knowing the piece better so that there is some degree of automatic fingering. One way to test this that someone suggested to me is to play the piece with your eyes closed - if you can get through it that way then you know it well enough. Even a piece I have played every day for the best part of 4 months is still a challenge to play eyes closed..
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  #20  
Old 03-17-2018, 08:09 PM
jeanray1113 jeanray1113 is offline
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Memorization is a huge issue. You need to put in a lot of time playing through your pieces to maintain decent sized fingerstyle repertoire. If it's a melodic tune focus on memorizing melody line and while playing be mentally ahead of where you are actually playing at the moment to where the melody is going. Tunes you have learned, let lapse, relearned, let lapse, relearned, etc. often start to stick with you longer with less effort. With the fairly limited play time I put in I have forgotten 98% of the tunes I have learned - one reason I started trying to get good recordings of stuff.
Originally Posted by Nailpicker View Post

I heard TE say that to remember and perfect songs he plays songs over and over and over until his family begs him to stop. Then he goes on continuing to play them over and over and over.

Sometimes I get SO frustrated with myself because it seems that it takes so long to learn fingerstyle pieces, and I feel like I must be horribly slow. Then I read this! I guess we all need to be more patient with ourselves. On a positive note, ( no pun intended) the single thing that has helped me the most (thank you String5) is honing in on a trouble spot and repeating it over and over. It's usually just certain parts of a piece that give us trouble, and since the same ones tend to reappear several times in the piece, if we can get them down, the whole piece starts to fall into place.
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  #21  
Old 03-19-2018, 08:36 AM
RockyRacc00n RockyRacc00n is offline
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Originally Posted by jeanray1113 View Post
On a positive note, ( no pun intended) the single thing that has helped me the most (thank you String5) is honing in on a trouble spot and repeating it over and over. It's usually just certain parts of a piece that give us trouble, and since the same ones tend to reappear several times in the piece, if we can get them down, the whole piece starts to fall into place.

Often times I restart from the beginning. I’ve been trying to restart from one measure from the trouble spot or somewhere immediately around the trouble spot so I am not replaying what I already know.
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  #22  
Old 03-19-2018, 04:23 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Originally Posted by Wrighty View Post
One way to test this that someone suggested to me is to play the piece with your eyes closed - if you can get through it that way then you know it well enough.
I've been attempting to get to this point with almost everything I play - with great results. Even improvisation. I find that if I rely on my 'mental map' of the fingerboard, I remove a dependency on seeing+interpreting that can be dicey on dark stages. Even though I might open my eyes, I am not visually focused on anything, which means (for me) my other senses - hearing and touch - become much more present.

I think this technique is more powerful than I ever realized.
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  #23  
Old 03-19-2018, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Gordon Currie View Post
I've been attempting to get to this point with almost everything I play - with great results. Even improvisation. I find that if I rely on my 'mental map' of the fingerboard, I remove a dependency on seeing+interpreting that can be dicey on dark stages. Even though I might open my eyes, I am not visually focused on anything, which means (for me) my other senses - hearing and touch - become much more present.



I think this technique is more powerful than I ever realized.


Yes - and now you have made me decide to focus on it all over again!
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  #24  
Old 03-20-2018, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by RockyRacc00n View Post
...I would think these are considered easy pieces (?), yet I find that even the slightest distraction, wandering of the mind, will throw me off course. I am playing notes basically from memory that seems to require complete focus for me to get it right...
Possibly but since this is a new technique, it may be more gratifying and easier to start with even simpler stuff.

Also, I'm guessing you're relying solely on remembering the fingering to get the rhythm and notes right. There's a better way. Memorize the melody you're tying to play, such that you can hum it. Make sure you can play through the chords and hum the tune correctly. If you internalize the melody this way, your hands will be more directly connected to what they need to play. You can still use the video instruction to help get it under your fingers.
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  #25  
Old 03-20-2018, 01:25 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Currie View Post
I've been attempting to get to this point with almost everything I play - with great results. Even improvisation. I find that if I rely on my 'mental map' of the fingerboard, I remove a dependency on seeing+interpreting that can be dicey on dark stages. Even though I might open my eyes, I am not visually focused on anything, which means (for me) my other senses - hearing and touch - become much more present.

I think this technique is more powerful than I ever realized.
Thanks for this suggestion, Gordon and Wrighty.

Every week my teacher gives me some new exercises that involve scales and patterns that are new to me. I have a hard time internalizing them so that I can just play rather than sight read, and that leads to mistakes.

Closing my eyes last night gave me immediate results. Of course I may still choke at my lesson tonight
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  #26  
Old 03-21-2018, 10:10 PM
RockyRacc00n RockyRacc00n is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFD View Post
I'm guessing you're relying solely on remembering the fingering to get the rhythm and notes right.
Yes


Quote:
Originally Posted by BFD View Post
There's a better way. Memorize the melody you're tying to play, such that you can hum it. Make sure you can play through the chords and hum the tune correctly. If you internalize the melody this way, your hands will be more directly connected to what they need to play. You can still use the video instruction to help get it under your fingers.


Not sure if I understand. I know the melody. I picked these two particular songs because they are very familiar to me. But being able to sing it vs being able to play it on the guitar are two different things. My brain knows how to make the melody with my voice but it doesnít know how to play it on the guitar unless I memorize it, no?
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  #27  
Old 03-23-2018, 02:08 AM
Wrighty Wrighty is offline
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Originally Posted by RockyRacc00n View Post
Yes






Not sure if I understand. I know the melody. I picked these two particular songs because they are very familiar to me. But being able to sing it vs being able to play it on the guitar are two different things. My brain knows how to make the melody with my voice but it doesnít know how to play it on the guitar unless I memorize it, no?

I have found this to be very helpful too - I was learning the water is wide and struggling with the dynamics of the piece until I heard Ed Gerhard talk about picking the melody line out on single notes on itís own and realised I couldnít do this initially (so didnít know the melody on the fretboard)

Once I practiced and learnt it this way, when I came back to the tune as a whole I not only found the melody to be more prominent as I played it, but felt I knew where I was going better...
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  #28  
Old 03-23-2018, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by RockyRacc00n View Post
....My brain knows how to make the melody with my voice but it doesnít know how to play it on the guitar unless I memorize it, no?
Well if you're working on tunes you can hum, you're taking the best approach in my book. How are you at playing just the melody - not Carter style pick & strum - just single note melody? Can you get through that without mistakes reliably?
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  #29  
Old 03-23-2018, 07:49 AM
RockyRacc00n RockyRacc00n is offline
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How are you at playing just the melody - not Carter style pick & strum - just single note melody? Can you get through that without mistakes reliably?

I havenít tried that. That might be a good to try. But the thing is, I do have the pieces memorized but I may need to make a more conscious effort to be aware of where I am in the piece and having some mental association to what I should be doing in that portion of the piece. And that may well come after enough repetition.

Up until about a week ago I was solely practicing these pieces to the point where my family was getting sick of it, like 2 hour sessions where these were all that I was playing. Someone said that earlier too... that it may take sickening amount of repetition. But I think there is a point of diminishing return when you practice something too much in one sitting.

Something else that was said earlier... that your brain learns in between the practice sessions, while your brain rests. I think there is a lot of merit to this. So what Iíve been doing is limiting the amount of time I spend on one thing and just doing few run throughs at moderate speed. And leaving it at that and just moving on to another piece I am learning.

And hoping this kind of set routine each day will build up whatever my brain needs to learn between each practice session.
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  #30  
Old 03-23-2018, 08:49 AM
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Lots of great advice here and I can add something not said yet...be ready for distractions, external (people walking by, etc), and internal (your mind is on a problem or you are anxious about something coming up in your life). Tell yourself in advance, to ignore the distractions, to put them off as soon as they rear their ugly head. Ignore your audience but pretend not to. Like the nervous public speaker who "looks at" the audience but does not see them.

You've been dabbling in those two songs for only 2 months. You love them. So it'll be very rewarding when, with time, you master them. You will perform them beautifully, whether perfectly or with a mistake or three included that will go unnoticed by all but yourself. Thanks for posting your thread, it's a very important topic for us.
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