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Picking Exercises From "Gypsy Picking"

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Comments

  • I think I recall Stochelo saying that the key to speed is coordination of the left and right hands.

    Makes sense to me as I can pick way faster than my left hand fingers can coordinate.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,710
    Yeah, Jay, co-ordination of both hands is desirable, but in my case, because I'm a lefty, I'm worried mainly about my RH strength and co-ordination. And the problem is, I have no way of gauging how much being a lefty is slowing my RH down.

    So therefore I'd like to ask my right-handed friends here at Djangobooks.com to help me out with something. I've never asked for anyone's help here at Djangobooks.com, though IMHO, I've shared a lot of useful stuff. :|

    So, please, if just a couple of you guys would do a little favour for me, it would make me really, really happy!!! :lol::lol:

    Here's the ask

    1) Set your metronome or BIAB at a medium tempo, say in the 140 to 180 range. If you're using BIAB, set the chord in bar one as G6.

    2) Don't even use your LH at all, either muffle the strings with it, or let it hang down uselessly, or make harmonic chimes at fret 12 or 5.

    3) Using downstrokes only, and ascending on strings E-A-D-G-B-E and descending on E-B-G-D-A-E, what is the maximum tempo at which you can comfortably play 8th notes?

    Right now, my maximum speed is 180 bpm. I pray each night that with a lot of practice I will be able to increase that speed.

    But what worries me is that you right-handers are just naturally starting from a much higher base level than mine--- so is my current top speed even in the right ball park? I'd really like to know.

    Thanks,

    Will
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,179
    Wow Will, that is a really hard exercise (for me anyway). I max out at around 150 then I get sloppy if I try to go any faster. That seems like it might be a good workout.
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,710
    Thanks, Mike, that makes me feel a lot better! I knew it was hard for me, but I was afraid it would be easy for a rightie.

    BTW, I'm not really concentrating on exactly what strings I'm hitting at any given time, just as long as I'm descending using downstrokes only about half the time... it's actually a bit easier to do this exercise using just the top four strings.

    What I'm really curious about is how fast one should be able to play these descending arps.

    In Django's solo of "I'll See You in My Dreams" (which I haven't clocked but feels like its around 200 bpm...?) he plays this kind of descending pattern so effortlessly that it's obvious that this is just second nature to him.

    Whereas to me, it's still a big deal, and seems likely to remain one for another year or two...?
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,179
    Yeah, I'm always amazed at his proficiency. I listen to some phrases and it sounds so easy but then I can only do it at half speed. I guess that's why he's Django and I'm not!!!

    I think if I worked at it I might be able to get it up to about 180 but typically that is where I max out right now.

    I'll use it as a little warm up exercise for a week or so and see how it goes.
  • edited April 2013 Posts: 3,645
    Ok, here's a challenge for anyone who may be, like yours truly, trying to increase speed and accuracy in doing descending arps.


    - get out yer metronome and set it for some easy speed, say 120 bpm to start
    - now finger a first position "F" chord
    - play the notes of the chord ascending and descending, using only downstrokes
    - keep increasing the metronome speed in increments of 10 or so
    - at what point do you hit your "speed limit"

    right now I'm steady up to about 160... past that, things start to get a little "iffy"

    Will

    Apparently there's some research that suggests that setting your performance speed goal and alternating between that speed and half as fast is more effective way to practice then increasing your speed slightly to eventually reach your performance goal. I learned about this from a music PhD friend of mine. I've been doing this type of practice lately and was able to hit a couple of licks at speeds that I thought were way out of reach for me when I started a couple of months ago, one of them is that Django's lick from Minor Blues in bar 5 or 6 from a recordings in Rome where he plays it at 160.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • I start at a speed that is as quick as I can play play the material comfortably without error. I increase by 10 or 20 bpm until I am making more than a few errors and am feeling out of conrol. Then I go back to rehearsing at a speed that is noticably slower than where I started and I can play it without any thought to fingering or notes or timing. Then I leave it for a time and move onto something else.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • flacoflaco
    Posts: 49
    Buco wrote:
    Apparently there's some research that suggests that setting your performance speed and alternating between that speed and half as fast is more effective way to practice then increasing your speed slightly to eventually reach your performance goal. I learned about this from a music PhD friend of mine. I been doing this type of practice lately and was able to hit a couple of licks at speeds that I thought were way out of reach for me when I started a couple of months ago, one of them is that Django's lick from Minor Blues in bar 5 or 6 from a recordings in Rome where he plays it at 160.

    Hi Buco,
    Can you give some more details on this? This is a fascinating concept to me because I have always done like others have mentioned where I slowly increase the speed a few bpm at a time. The result is I am always practicing at my upper range of speed and I think this makes me a bit of a sloppy player.

    Thanks!
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,710
    Buco, I just tried your way and damned if it didn't work just like you said!

    I set up my BIAB to alternate between 200 bpm for sixteen bars and then 100 bpm for eight bars.

    OK, I do admit that I'm still struggling like hell to keep up with the fast tempo, and my rhythm is not real reliable--- but the fact is that I can keep up with the tempo more than half the time.

    Weird...! Perhaps it's just "the placebo effect", but I won't argue when it works!

    Will

    PS So now all I need to do is keep practising this for another ten years and I'll get there...
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • Posts: 3,645
    flaco wrote:
    Hi Buco,
    Can you give some more details on this? This is a fascinating concept to me because I have always done like others have mentioned where I slowly increase the speed a few bpm at a time. The result is I am always practicing at my upper range of speed and I think this makes me a bit of a sloppy player.

    Thanks!

    Pretty much just like Will described, if your target is to play something at 200 bpm, you would practice at 100 bpm, spend some time there and at the point when you're solid at 100 bpm go ahead and try performing at 200. As soon as you mess up go back to 100. Obviously you will not spend a whole lot of time practicing at 200 at first but the idea is you'll get faster then incrementally increasing your speed from let's say 100 up to 200. At least that was the suggestion but I don't know many details about this study, I know it was a controlled study that dealt with instrument practice but that's pretty much it.

    What I have done in the past, but now I do it much more after I read "effortless mastery" is to isolate the spots that I make mistakes on and practice only those over and over. I'll take a few notes leading into the trouble point and practice only that short phrase.

    Also as Jay noted I try not to over do it. Not that I have anything very defined in how I do it, but if it's a short phrase sometimes I'll give it 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions and then give it a rest. In any case if I notice I'm beating something to death and it's not happening I'll leave and most of the time after I come back to it's immediately noticeably better. Sometimes I leave it "cook" for half hour but some things I left for more then a month and after returning I heard a progress that wasn't there at the time I previously stopped.

    I don't think it's a placebo effect Will, to me this is an excellent way to break through your plateaus, I've proven it to myself on a couple occasions.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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