I've been focused on right hand exercises for a few weeks now. Yesterday, I'm at lessons, I talk about how I'm building up tension in my right shoulder that I think is slowing me down, and also how I've never really had a solid up strum. I suppose I've focused on solos and arpeggiated things forever and ever.
Brendan talked about letting the hands loosen up and focusing on the sound and not the technique. Nothing really cool happened during my lesson.
Then, I got home, went out, ate lunch, came back and plugged in. It didn't take but a few minutes, when for whatever reason, the pick slid the to front of my thumb and my index finger curled around the front to grab it, and bam, my upstroke snapped into place. I immediately had a clean, even, effortless strum in both directions without any tension in my shoulder.
Having the pinky grab the edge of the bridge pickup to orient my hand to the strings has been huge. Giving my right hand two points of contact on the guitar gave my hands the stability to experiment and find my strum.
By the end of last night, I was so relaxed I was sight reading with a metronome out of the Berklee books. I feel like a solid guitarist now who knows the techniques he needs and can execute them comfortably. I'm going to thoroughly enjoy this new plateau I'm on, going through the modern method books again at a higher level, focusing on rhythm and tone instead of fretting and comfort.
Not a lot of playing yesterday. Picked up the acoustic for a few minutes before I went out last night. Focused on the way I'm holding the pick, and the smoothness of my right hand movements. Playing in straight lines over the same area over the strings in both strumming and solos.
Yesterday was the first time I've played Layla in a long time.
Yesterday I spent more time on the Dover introduction.
I'm going to start a synth recording project today. My MIDI toys and half of Logic are far underused in my little studio. Maybe I'll straight up punch in scores of music in, and then arrange and dub vocals and guitar parts over it. That sounds fun.
I can play the riffs in everlong perfectly, but when it comes time to sing a long with it, that asymmetric strumming pattern usually gets me everytime. At times like these, the problem is not in the hands, it's in the head.
Headwork: I conquered the strumming pattern to Everlong by breaking it up into kick (6th string) and snare (5th and 4th) strings. Dave is a drummer, it obviously informs his guitar playing. It's no coincidence that it's simply harder to play and sing Foo Fighters songs simultaneously because they require more comfort with uncommon rhythm variations.
The pattern for Everlong: KKSK | SSKS | KKSK| SSSK
Other patterns are obvious when pieces are taken out
It's a basic kick snare rhthm: K--- | S--- | K--- | S---
KK-- | SS-- | KK-- | SS--
The reason this pattern throws people off is because of the 2nd half of the groups of 4 eigth notes.
--SK | --KS | --SK |--SK
That one little kick snare variation on the second group provides all the interest for the Everlong rhythm.
Once I had it laid out on paper, it was straightforward to sing along while playing the actual rhythm of the song. Now I get to sit back on my tiny elitist throne and watch YouTube videos where people simplify the rhythm while covering this song... bahahahaha... man I'm cool. jk
I ripped the Dover intro as per usual a few times yesterday, too. The things I'm discovering with that song have to do with how tightly I should be holding the pick. I'm getting used to gripping the pick harder and finding hand positions where the pick doesn't slip around. Picking position and technique has to be silky smooth and consistent if one ever dreams to play as fast as Eric. I only break into 70% on the intro, and I spend most of my time in the 50%-63% range. I keep making discoveries in that zone, but I'm quickly getting bored with it, so I expect to be moving up in speed shortly.
I keep revisiting this lesson: it is depth, not breadth of practice which is most important.
A guitarist gets the most out of learning the songs and riffs he knows more deeply than he does from learning a thousand new riffs.
Yesterday, I went to guitar lessons, then came home and did some recording on a song called "Where Nothing Is Hiding" and a cover of "Last Kiss"
I also practiced the Intro for Cliffs of Dover at different speeds. I've learned more from that intro than just about anything else I've done on the instrument. I've been playing it since Early 2009 and it continues to inform my playing.
It has to do with the density of sophisticated movements. That, and just when I reach a new level of ability, there's always taking another step closer to 100% speed. Stepping up speed always reveals new mistakes and places where my playing needs to become more refined.
I also learned to start singing through the microphone, not at it. Sing as if the microphone weren't there, and then just place it in the field of your voice. Don't make it the target, otherwise your vocals will be screwed.
Opened my practice file for Dover. Went through the intro from speed starting at 40% and went all the way up to 100. Clean up to about 70%, then I started breaking up.
Everlong. Acoustic version. Played along with Dave, vocals and guitar, from 65% all the way up to 135%. Clean up to 110%. 135% was physically demanding.
I've been playing with the warped effects in logic. I feel like I've spent too many of my years playing in clean tone land, keeping myself critical to get my chops up. Well, I've pretty much got the chops now. My interest is in creating and arranging whole songs now.