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July 16, 2017

TXBA Speed Workflow Week 3

by Andreas Schaefer

Initially I wanted to write this post as an update to my previous post but too much
happened since to cramp it in there.

Now that week 3 is out for TXBA locals the course becomes demanding but I hit a
personal snag in week 2. As an older player I need to pay attention when my hands
say that I practiced enough. As I learned the hard way it is not as easy to spot
as doing sports. While practicing hammer on and pull off (HO/PO) is overdid it
and my ring finger started to ache and that is not a good sign. It took me nearly
a week to resolve the issue with a few days where I did only practice things that
did not involve HO/POs.

But like magic today I could perform HO/POs naturally and they sound quite good.
I still need to work on making them even in terms of loundness and consistent
but it feels good to have conquered a technique I avoided for so long.

A few tips that helped me:

  • If a finger gets sore stop and let it rest
  • Play HO / PO alone with just your guitar and metronome
  • For me HO are not about speed or force but rather about hitting the string
    square in the middle or the end (towards the bridge) of your fret
  • Doing a PO I just pull my finger towards my hand. Pull faster helps more that
    trying to scrap the string
  • If you have difficulties then practice them slow and deliberately and independent
    from each other. For the PO just pick the string first
  • Sometimes it helps to lift your index finger to get more reach but you
    must be able to place the index finger back onto the fretboard when you do the PO
  • Do not practice along the exercise tracks or the benchmark videos as it can
    mask problems and achievements.

This week Anthony has a new and quite demand exercise in store that involve fast
HO/POs (16th notes) and an exercise when he puts two licks right after each other
without any rest. He has some tips regarding HO/PO but at the end everyone has
to figure that out on their own. This felt like learning to ride a bike. You try
and try and try and suddenly it works and you cannot understand why it took so long.


If you are confused with the speed notation in the course then you are not along
but the explanation is quite simple. In the first 2 weeks he used a single beat
for each note (8th) in his licks and so you end up at 150bpm. In week three he
switches to one beat per triplet and each note (8th) becomes a note in a 8th triplet.
This means that the BPM is 1/3 of what you had before because their are 3 notes
(triplet) in one beat. It also means that now one has to pay attention on the
timing within a triplet to keep them even (if required).


Week 2 and 3 were / are challenging but the things I accomplished in just 3 weeks
compared to past months are off the chars. Some of it is just consolidating what I learned
in the past but some of them are just due to a practice regiment that is
consistent and exercises that are slowly increasing in difficulty.

If you want to tackle any of the TXBA SRV solo matrix courses and you just
feel overwhelmed this is a great way to lay the foundation. Focusing on the
riff at hand is so much more fun if you are not bogged down by technique
and skills issues.

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