1. #1

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    This is a general question that has haunted me in all styles of music whether it be jazz or metal or any style of music over the years.

    My intent is to post guitar covers on Youtube. And I will be posting a lot of them. I have two songs that is nearly performance ready. I have one particular song that I completed in November, but every time I reach 100% speed on it, my playing would be shaky at 100%. I can play it well between 80-95% speed, but could not nail the 100% and I would return back to 80% once again. This has been the same narrative month after month, from November to February and today it happened again, which lead to the writing of this thread. I am practicing the piece on a daily basis, because I am antsy of just uploading the song for good.

    My question is that do I just need time and repetition in order for the muscle memory to kick in or are there some logical methods out there that I don't know about that might solve my problem? Video links and web articles links would be great. Books on Amazon would be good too.

    Additional Notes:
    I am much better at dealing with failures on the guitar this 2020. Instead of running away from it, like I did in the past, I am more determined than ever to overcome my failures on the guitar. But there could be something that I am doing that is holding me back for mastery and success.
    Last edited by Jason Sioco; 02-26-2020 at 11:39 PM.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    There is a popular advice that goes:

    "Amateurs practice until they get it right,
    Pros practice until they never get it wrong"

    With respect to the time domain, just getting a tune up to performance speed does not provide any reserve capacity or mental musical head room. You need a margin established by practicing it so that you never get it wrong playing it faster than you would actually perform it, get it? Then slow it down in performance with total confidence and control. In other words, don't stop at 100% speed for the tune; take it up to 120% until you never get it wrong, then back it down to 100% for confident performance.

  4. #3

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    When I am having difficulty ramping something up to a target tempo, it’s usually one or two (or a few) tricky spots that are tripping me up. It’s important not to practice the mistake(s). So I slow things down, isolate the problem spots one by one and use a metronome that will increment the tempo after a certain number of repeats. (Transcribe! will do something similar if you practice with backing tracks.) The incremental speed steps really helps me inch up on tough passages. As I get the correct movements into my muscle memory, I expand the section I’m repeating and play the tough spot in context of the surrounding measures, always dialing the tempo back and then incrementing forward. pauln is correct to advise you to target a somewhat faster tempo in practice than what you want to play in performance. There’s just no better way to reach that that I know of except slowing down first, nailing it, then incrementing forward. It’s also helpful to occasionally speed things up beyond your ability to keep up and hang on for dear life. Just be careful not to do that to excess, or you are back to practicing your mistakes.

  5. #4

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    Sage advice from Clint Strong

  6. #5

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    I was going to say exactly what Paul N said. I'll just add you need to go up tempo in small increments. Push yourself, but not so much that you're playing anything sloppy at all-- because then you're practicing how to play sloppy.

  7. #6

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    I had a teacher who told me two things about fast playing:

    1. You'll never be completely smooth at the literal limit of your technique. So if something is just barely playable by you, it will continue to be until you advance beyond it.

    2. So in that sense, if something is NOT at your technical limit "at tempo" but still shaky, you actually need to practice in small increments to get BEYOND that point. Then "At tempo" will be back in your comfort zone.

    So in other words, it takes PRACTICE.

  8. #7

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    I didn't because my sense from the op's description was that his process included it, but for the sake of others looking in to learn, I should have included mentioning incremental increase as others have picked up... attaining quality during each step of the incremental increase is critical.