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Thread: Speed related issues

  1. #1
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    Default Speed related issues

    I have played the mandolin for a few years, but never put any focus into it, but recently I decided to really practice. I have had some progress but I realize that I have some issues I need to sort out. I am trying to do all the recommended exercises with using metronome to build speed, but I do not want to practice bad habits.

    1) I notice that, as I assume many of you, speed up when you play too fast. I do this especially when I playing a downward scale. Is this just indication that you are playing too fast and you are loosing control or is there any good way of practice to speeding up?

    2) I have harder to play fast playing downwards, and it has to do with the fact that that the fingered is not in position when the pick hit the string. I understand that I should try to keep my finger down. This is a relatively easy habit to develop when you are playing upward, but if you playing downward, should to try to put down all your fingers on fretboard below the finger or do I just try to prepare the next finger beforehand? What is the common strategy?

  2. #2
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speed related issues

    Find yourself some music, that you can play to. That means
    - there is recorded music that you like,
    - it is at a speed that you can play with
    - you play rythm to it and
    - you play whatever "solo" you may think of playing.

    Make sure to stick to play a downstroke on the "one" and the upstroke on the "two", and related (up on one, down on and, up on two, down on and etc.). Speed comes with practice.

    Speeding up is very normal if you are not used to play with others and if you are a novice. Playing along with a recording helps profoundly (as does playing with others of course).

    So enjoy and keep on ticking.
    Olaf

  3. #3
    Registered User Erin M's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speed related issues

    I'm mainly a bassist - rhythm, timing and groove are everything with bass. And I had it drilled into me early on that the metronome is your friend; it helps you develop that internal clock. 27 years I've been playing bass and I still practice with metronomes periodically. Eventually, it should get better if you're doing it properly. Also, stay as relaxed as you can. If you tense up, your tempo will get lost, and if your tempo gets lost, you tense up even more. Vicious circle.

    If you're having trouble playing at a certain speed, then slow down the metronome and keep doing that until you can play it properly several times without losing the pulse. Then gradually speed up, notch-by-notch if you need too. It takes time to play in time.

    A little Vic Wooten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X1fhVLVF_4
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    Default Re: Speed related issues

    I get that, and and I am practicing with a metronome. My concern is that I do not want to practice a bad technique. If I do that, it will be very good at playing it wrong and it will limit me in the future, and will likely be a hell to relearn.

    Or should I assume that, if I just raise it slowly enough I will adapt and the technique will develop by itself if I just raise it slow enough. For instance, if I can play slow without holding down the fingers the "right way", I will automatically be forced to do so when the I raise the speed, so I will adapt.

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speed related issues

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielSvalefelt View Post
    I get that, and and I am practicing with a metronome. My concern is that I do not want to practice a bad technique. If I do that, it will be very good at playing it wrong and it will limit me in the future, and will likely be a hell to relearn.

    Or should I assume that, if I just raise it slowly enough I will adapt and the technique will develop by itself if I just raise it slow enough. For instance, if I can play slow without holding down the fingers the "right way", I will automatically be forced to do so when the I raise the speed, so I will adapt.
    I don't think that you'll "automatically" be forced to hold your fingers down the right way when you raise the speed of the metronome - more likely what will happen is that you'll hit a wall and not be able to increase speed beyond a certain point because the less than ideal fretting hand technique will rob your "economy of motion", which which will impact your speed. Starting out playing both slowly AND with the right technique would be the way to go. Even if it means feeling like you're "going backwards" it will pay off in the long run. Playing in front of a mirror helps because it can be quite easy to drift back into poor technique when working to adopt good technique, so keeping a visual on yourself as you play can help you stay in your lane!
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speed related issues

    You're on a good track, because you are thinking about training your fingers to use a more efficient method ... i.e. when to hold a note position and when not.

    But also, I think there is a pitfall here. Worry or fear of "learning bad technique" can be as crippling as bad technique in and of itself. Also, worry or fear of having hell to pay to re-learn technique is just misplaced worry and misplaced energy. This kind of stuff can hold you back, paralyze progress, and make playing less than enjoyable.

    It would be wonderful if a person could only play and practice "perfect technique", whatever that may be, but it is not practical. You are going to learn as best you can as a musician, and you are going to have to be open to re-learning and re-training and trying new things, all your life, if you want to get the most out of your playing. So continue thinking about what works best for you to attain your goals for now. Put in the work, and enjoy the playing. You are miles ahead of the game, because you are already thinking about efficiency. Don't obsess over the fear of learning bad technique or of having to change something in the future.
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    Default Re: Speed related issues

    Thank you all for good feedback!

    I'll keep on going and see where it leads me.
    Right now I am trying to dust off old fiddle tunes and play them up the neck, as my wife (that plays the guitar and sings) decided to raise all her songs one fret. So, no more open position solos for me :-)

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  12. #8
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speed related issues

    Building on what Mark G. said above - rather than there being one way to play with "good technique" I think it's more like that there is a spectrum of optimal technique that will slightly differ for everyone because of us all having different size hands and fingers/different length of arms and playing different mandolins so none of us can exactly replicate some set image presented to us of "good technique" - better to strive for whatever technique works for you and your ergonomics that also allows for minimal waste of energy and motion. When I look at my favourite mandolin and tenor banjo players playing none of them have identical technique as regards pick hold, fretting hand technique etc., but whatever technique they're using they do all have great economy of motion which facilitates both speed and accuracy.
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
    2015 JP "Whitechapel" tenor banjo
    1969 Martin 00-18




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