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Thread: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

  1. #1

    Default Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    Noticed yesterday that my fingering was getting sloppy, picking and fingering were not timing together and everything just sounded crappy.

    I've been working nights so being tired probably didn't help.

    Spent some time last night watching some videos with Chris Thile, Jerry Rosa and others. Paid attention to the instruction for pick hold, left hand placement and position.

    Today everything was much better and clearer.

    Sometimes you just have to take a trip down "basics" lane and correct learned sloppiness.
    One thing I've learned about mandolins is that they all respond differently to different picks so if you buy it and you don't like the tone, try a different pick.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    My teacher and I call it “giving yourself a demotion” to get better.
    Play it like you mean it.

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    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    So very true - sometimes scales and other exercises are just what you need, work with a metronome, no slowing down on the hard parts, get everything back to "crisp and clean!" No more "passes" for sloppiness, get it right again.

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  7. #4

    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    I am going to ask a question that might sound silly, but remember that I am just learning. I have an app with a metronome. How many beats per minute should I set it to.
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    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    Doc, it depends on the song. In general, though, start off slowly enough that you can play it. When you get that perfectly, start gradually increasing the bpm until you get to the speed you want. “Slow” for someone who’s been playing a while might be 75-85; “slow” for a beginner might be 40-50 or less.
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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    My personal opinion is that nobody is beyond going back to the basics, every once in a while . . . it's a great reminder of how to stay focused on fundamentals and to remember that playing should be about the music, and not about being flashy.
    I recently finished a new homemade 4-song EP of original solo acoustic songs; (sorry, no mandolin content this time). If you are interested in a FREE copy, feel free to send me your address via Private Message, and I will be glad to send you one. Trust me, it will be worth the price!


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  12. #7

    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    Quote Originally Posted by DocT View Post
    I am going to ask a question that might sound silly, but remember that I am just learning. I have an app with a metronome. How many beats per minute should I set it to.
    Set it as slow as you need to until you can play the notes cleanly. The beauty/horror of the metronome, is that you have to play every note correctly before increasing your speed. If you are only flubbing one area, you need to slow everything down. Not fretting that pinkie note cleanly? Slow it down. Otherwise you are practicing to make the mistake over and over. The metronome and the recording devise are brutal tools for improvement.

    When I commented to a fellow player how would I ever get a fiddle tune to 110 bpm, he replied I didn't need to. All I needed was 2 bpm every week. (beats per minute) I'm learning a Jethro Burns arpeggio exercise that has me playing up to the fourteenth fret. It's hard up there, but slow it down. It can be done. But it starts on open G. Without the metronome, you tend to play faster until you get to the hard parts. Don't do that. If you get bored down low, strive for the best tone you can get.
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  14. #8

    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    Thanks folks! I know that that was a very basic question, but I thought I might be doing something wrong.
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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Slow it down. Otherwise you are practicing to make the mistake over and over. The metronome and the recording devise are brutal tools for improvement.
    Isn’t it the truth! Recording myself is so very humbling when I play it back. Every little issue seems magnified, to me, one hundred fold!
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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    Yup. Sometimes just concentrating on how to hold the pick, how it hits the strings, or scales and/or tempo really help clean things up. Helps focus and some days just gives me confidence that yes, I can still play this thing.
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    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    Another exercise that helps me is to do left hand hammer-ons using pinky, ring, middle, index fingers in turn, with the metronome and no right hand. Afterwards this helps you to get the two hands to play together with strong timing.
    Often when I hear the metronome I'm thinking only about the right hand/pick instead of both hands together.

  18. #12

    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    Yes, I’ve been messing around with arpeggios (chord tones), various scales, exercises, you name it lately. Not obsessively - just rechecking that everything is working well. I have to laugh sometimes when I’m watching a video and the pros say...”it goes like this” and proceed to stumble a bit then they say...”boy, that needs some review”...it serves as a fresh reminder that any skill needs review of the foundations on a continuous basis. Heck, even Tom Brady has a throwing coach...
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    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    Heck, even Tom Brady has a throwing coach...
    I treat my mandolin teacher as if they were a coach. There isn't a whole lot left for me to study or learn, but of course we always do find things. Most of the discussion is about efficient mechanics and general playing strategies I can take out 'onto the field'. Drilling basics is a relaxing part of my day, a break from the workity work work.

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  21. #14
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    Default Re: Sometimes you gotta go back to the basics...

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    If you get bored down low, strive for the best tone you can get.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Yup. Sometimes just concentrating on how to hold the pick, how it hits the strings, or scales and/or tempo really help clean things up. Helps focus and some days just gives me confidence that yes, I can still play this thing.
    Wow Br1ck gives awesome advice in that post. And Eric starts to flesh out the part I quoted from Br1ck - when I practice so slowly that what I'm practicing seems way too slow, what I have there is time to think about what it is I'm doing and listen closely to the tone I produce, because there are many, many specific variables we can work on to train ourselves in better technique. Eric touches on only a couple; when you think about it, there are a dozen things you can choose from to focus on in improving technique, rather than being mindlessly bored with slow practice.
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