Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately. I hope you find the email and my thoughts useful…
I have a question. I practice 45 plus minutes at least 5 times per week.
I start to degrade after, say, 3 to 5 minutes of a particular repetition. This can be at any time in my practice.
When I hit a hard spot (say a chord transition), I tend to repeat it over and over to improve and set it in my fingers.
Here’s the question: at first, I struggle, then it improves for a bit, then it starts to degrade.
Should I plough on when it goes downhill (which often does not lead to recovery of my former form) or should I move on to something else and try again another time?
I fear by driving on I am just learning bad neurological pathways but maybe the opposite is true.
Which seems better to you?”
Many will tell you to plough on, but in situations like this, my experience has taught me, it is usually better to switch when things start going wrong.
1 – Degradation usually occurs due to concentration levels dropping, (which as you may have found, rarely comes back with brute force).
2 – Also, in psychology, a part of learning and problem solving is to attempt something, then switch off from it totally. That way your subconscious mind can come up with ways to help you solve and improve the issue when you next go back to it.
Of course, you need to balance gaining enough muscle memory with a piece versus switching around all the time, but keep the above in mind.
It is different for everyone, but personally, I rarely practise the same thing for more than 5 minutes for the above reasons.
Okay, onto email #2…
I hope you and your family are well.
I’m just pondering a problem with progressing my fingerstyle playing in that I’ve been breaking the golden rule of only using:
Index, middle, and ring fingers for the G, B, and high E strings – especially on my recent efforts with “Always On My Mind”.
I’m using the thumb for the low E and A strings and shifting my index, middle, and ring up one string when required to cover the D, G, and B strings – hope that makes sense?
I’m beginning to wonder if this may be a bad habit or are there times when this is ok to break the rule?”
There are times when breaking rules is okay.
For example, if the high E string is rarely plucked or not plucked at all in a piece, then it is usually okay to shift the fingers across a string.
A key thing you want to avoid, of course, is jumping across strings with one finger constantly.
There are other exceptions to certain rules too, like with melody playing, tremolo picking, and Travis picking.
Also, when breaking rules, you have to do so intentionally and with purpose (which sounds like what Peter is doing).
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed those emails and talking of breaking rules, the other day I was teaching the “Crooked finger”.
It breaks a so-called rule many YouTube teachers preach BUT is…
Something real players, pros, and fine guitarists use a lot when playing barre chords.
It encourages good technique, a light touch, faster changes, reduces tension, and is downright efficient.
Players like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and James Taylor use it, and they are masters of efficiency.
You can learn all about this technique in my barre chords course.
It is on sale until Friday (when the price will be shooting up).
Check it out at the link below:
Enjoy and have a fun day of practice!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.