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  • Throttlin' it up

    Posted by the-old-coach on July 18, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    Hello all–

    OK, I have yet another dumb question. It’s about learning to play a song– sort of…..

    Over about the last 3-4 months, I have been working on 3 sets of 5 songs (to memorize- so I can just pick up a guitar in the moment and play them— my eventual “goal”). They are not “easy” songs. It has been a REALLY slow but rewarding process– I can see actual improvement each day— though not much- (but I’ll take it).

    I can play them ALL “pretty much” all the way thru by memory- (more work to do…..).

    Here’s the question— I’ve been trying lately to “throttle-up” playing them. I mean— full speed— let ‘er fly— whatever happens– happens. Fingers just a-flyin’…..

    Sloppy– yes, somewhat. Flyin’ fingers– yes. Mistakes– no doubt. A blast?– absolutely!

    I’m doing this ON PURPOSE.

    I look at this exercise as sort of a Daily Exercise “Speed Challenge”– but applied to learning/playing songs.

    I am DELIBERATELY trying to push myself to the accuracy-limit—– right when sh*t comes apart—- and then back off and somehow make them seem “easier”.

    Hard to put into words, but you all know exactly what I mean.

    I want the FEEDBACK.

    Is this just off-the-rails weird?…. Or bad for my learning somehow?

    Please let me know……… because to tell ya’ the truth….. it’s DAMN fun!!!!

    Yet another weird perspective from–

    Look— I know this is a strange idea……… but……… Opinions wanted!!!!

    the old coach

    • This discussion was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by  the-old-coach.
    Kitman replied 1 year, 9 months ago 7 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Cadgirl

    July 19, 2022 at 4:25 am

    well, well well. I am having a little problem posting. I’ll give it one last try.

    Great routine! @the-old-coach. I really think this is going to help you out immensely. Push those little fingers to the limit. You can fine tune later. Memorizing is a biggie. And you are working on 15? Is that correct? I think what you are doing is great and you’ll benefit from it.

  • Mrfredsporty

    July 19, 2022 at 6:30 am

    TOC. I dont blame you for pushing. I do that too sometimes. It seems though that the standard is to play slow trying not to make mistakes before going on. BUT I am not that disciplined so I came up with Play it slow as you go and try to make it through at least 4 times .Then just for fun, pedal to the metal at least once.They also say that you should not necessarily start from the beginning but rather from the parts that are not doing so well. Boy, do I wish I could take my own advice.

  • jumpinjeff

    July 19, 2022 at 7:55 am

    Hi Mark,

    Speaking directly to your learning strategy: I like it. Play fast, play loud, play softly, play slowly. The biggest consideration in all of this…keep the tension to a minimum. Let the fingers fly, let them dance just make sure they are tension free. What I really liked about your strategy is that you found it to be fun. Winning big right there. Fun Fuels Progress. Whoa that sounds like a thing. Wonder who said that? If at some point your improvement curve starts to uncomfortably flatten, time for evaluation. I am impressed you have 15 songs in the hopper. You one of those good memory guys?😄

  • Kitman

    July 19, 2022 at 8:25 am

    Hey there @the-old-coach , it seems a useful and fun learning method to me! This approach would help focus on chord transitions and how well you actually know the song. One idea to offer: How about break the speed playing into sections? In particular if there is a section of the song that presents a challenging chord transition or is devilish to remember you could speed round this section to get it nailed. Finally, one more idea: as you speed along, do a mental and audial check on the time and quality of the sounds (guitar and voice) you are making. Is it possible to combine speed, tonal quality etc.

    Thanks for sharing your technique! 😀

  • the-old-coach

    July 19, 2022 at 9:28 am

    Thank you all for your replies!

    Clarification- Of those 15 or so songs- I know about half of them “well”, about a fourth “sort-of” well, and a fourth– just “sort-of” (one is an original- wait-what?). So, I’m FAR from Having them all “down”.

    That’s the fun! I’m always adding and dumping songs– always “moving”….. (wife says I’m “like a fart in a skillet”.😜…… where in the hell did THAT saying ever come from????)

    As far as ME being one of those with a good memory?……… uh………. no.

    (Clarification- and “edit” #2)- I still maintain the “accurate/traditional” method in probably 3/4 of my time in my daily sessions- (if my session is 60 mins, only maybe 15 of it is “throttle-up”). I think of it as like “dessert”, after I’ve eaten my broccoli……

    Anyway, I use this “push-it-to-the-limit” tactic quite often- (mostly flatpicking)- and try to include slides- (many times multiple-string slides), riffs, bends, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. Does not matter whether it sounds “good” or not. That’s the point!

    It’s sort of a no-holds-barred mess actually.

    HERE’S the KEY— if I come across something that sounds cool— I’ll focus on that, and go diggin’ after it until it have it down.

    Then— maybe I’ll turn right around and play it softly/ slowly- (fingerpicking)……. same song. Just to see what THAT sounds like.

    Then I may go back to “regular”, accurate playing, then back (again) to “let ‘er fly” playing. Movin’ all over the place- different speeds, different style- (flatpick, fingerstyle), just chords, put a capo on to change the key, whatever).

    This is about “perfecting” nothing… On purpose… Just having fun- creativity running wild!

    (This is my “edit”)—- I hope to post a short video soon of me playing- (well, sort-of “along with”)- Jim Croce’s “Roller Derby Queen”- (LOVE that song!- it is SOOOO fun to play if you just “let ‘er rip”!!!).

    Took awhile for me to finally post the original post in this thread……. After I re-read it a few times, I thought sure this whole concept was gonna be thought-of as another “What the hell is he thinking NOW” threads🤨.

    Anyway- hope you all got/get a chuckle out of it.

    the old coach

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by  the-old-coach.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by  the-old-coach.
    • N-lightMike

      July 19, 2022 at 10:45 am

      This is not a crazy idea, @the-old-coach , rather it is exactly what we are supposed to be doing. We learn slowly at the beginning. That beginning doesn’t have to be very long. Just till our fingers have figured out what they are supposed to do. Then, we move on. We explore, we try different things, we go fast, we go slow, who cares what we do, just as long as we have fun. “Mistakes” help us learn. Apparently, that is part of the unconscious process. Always remember, if you are acting like a kid, you are in the zone. They are the “experts” at learning.

      MG 😀

  • the-old-coach

    July 19, 2022 at 12:25 pm

    I think maybe this crazy- (and crazy-fun!)- tactic is just my wandering way of incorporating the “sprinkles”- into a song- (riffs, slides, hammers, pull-offs, etc)— while playing it— on the fly.

    TAC provides us with FANTASTIC “broad-based-skills”– no question! We are able to use the skills learned in here to play about ANY scale, lick, chord progression, etc, that we want. And THAT is great stuff!!

    But in addition to that– isn’t the **ultimate** goal to take all these skills we learn in TAC…… and ALSO use them to play music?

    I think– (riffs, slides- etc)- should be treated the same way– to get to the point we’re able to throw ’em in whenever we feel the need? One of MY biggest goals is to **genuinely** have the ability to do that— at will. The ability to throw these into a SONG I’m playing– on the fly– seems to me like it’s a ***completely separate skill***– and THAT’S the reason for the original post in this thread- and what I’m doing.

    Most songs have quite a bit of these “extras” in there- snazzed-up by the artists. But when I/we just play the song using tabs- all we play is the main chords— SOOOO much of the “sprinkles” just get left out.

    Thank you all for ALL of your help, advice, and encouragement!!!

    Sounds like there are others of us who maybe think along the same lines?

    the old coach

  • Carol-3M-Stillhand

    July 19, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    @the_old_coach first, congratulations on getting 15 pieces under your fingers!! Wow, that’s a big win!!

    Second, I’ve had teachers and pro’s alike tell me that if you can’t play it slow, you surely can’t play it fast…. And once you get a song under your fingers they tell you, play it slower…. (until it’s perfect and then you can start speeding it up). Then once you reach full tempo, going even a bit faster will make regular speed seem like sight seeing….. Glad to see you have discovered this trick!! It’s alot more fun to play when we are at tempo or even faster. So yeah it’s not a dumb question, and it’s a method that alot of us share with you 🙂

  • the-old-coach

    July 19, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    I’m thinking I made a big, confusing, non-clarification.

    As I re-read all the answers, it seems I may have mistakenly lead you all(?) to believe I meant playing FASTER when I used the term “throttle it up”. And/ or that I’m not payin’ any attention to how it sounds.

    If so– I am truly sorry….. I should have seen it and clarified it earlier.

    As I mentioned by far the most of my guitar-time is still very regimented and exacting- (oh- those are bad words– maybe “scheduled” or “planned”?). I just do this “extra stuff” at the end—- for the pure fun of it!– (and it is FUN!!!!)

    Instead of “faster”– what I meant by that was to just take a song I “know”– and just play it without restraints of any kind. Tryin’ whatever pops into my head….. WHILE I’m playing it . There is no “planning” of any kind. Stayin’ within the song’s chord progression and melody– but swerving all over the road, so to speak. Still in control within the song, of course, but with fingers flyin’, slidin’, and hammerin’ on and pullin’ off, and strings a-bendin’— tryin’ all different kinds of new stuff. I’m “in the zone”😎, baby!!!!

    Sort of a “letting go of the edge of the pool” or a “taking your hands off the handlebars” feeling. To me it feels kind-of “liberating”.

    Anyway– sorry for the lousy job of making my own thoughts more clear.

    I’m pretty think-headed—– sometimes it takes awhile to see the simplest stuff.

    Please forgive me— I’m maybe gonna start reading my posts a day or two ahead of time— before I actually post them- (but what the hell fun is THAT?)😜

    the old coach

  • Kitman

    July 19, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    Ah ha @the-old-coach ! I am understanding you are having some improv jams in songs you know and having a blast doing I find this type of unstructured approach to be really fun myself!

    it. Rave on my friend! it. Rave on my friend!🤘🎸🎶🤘

    • the-old-coach

      July 19, 2022 at 6:31 pm

      I didn’t/don’t even know what “improv jams” means for sure.

      And I’ll be the first one to say I’m not great at this goofy stuff I’m tryin’– but it sure “feels” fun– and improvement will come! I don’t even know or care whether it’s making me a BETTER OVERALL guitar player somehow. Maybe not!😎

      But it DOES somehow feel like it’s moving me towards my goal of being able to just hear a song, pick up a guitar, and start in playin’!

      For darn sure– The legend of George Harrison, and the likes and living legends of Keith Urban and Tommy Emmanuel- (to barely scratch the surface)- have got nothin’ to worry about from me.

      the old coach

  • Kitman

    July 20, 2022 at 6:20 am


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