Expanding Technique Practice
One of the most frustrating things when practising is lack of progress, I thought I would show you what has helped me in this area. Usually when you´re practising an exercise you only do it one way, lets take a “standard” exercise like this three note per string pattern: D-string 4-5-7 G-string 4-5-7 alternate picking starting with an downstroke. What usually happens here is you sit there and repeat it over and over until your blue in the face, this is perfectly alright and if you endure long enough it will help your technique. But the thing is that while you might get that pattern up to “insert speed of your dreams here” you´ll probably not be able to use it while improvising fluently and with little effort. The reason for this ( at least in my case) is that you practised the pattern only one way. There´s a pretty big possibility that you´ll find yourself in the middle of a solo and when you´re about to play the pattern you´ve practised so hard it all falls apart just because you start the pattern with an upstroke. What I do when I practise a new pattern is the following: Let´s take that same pattern on the D and G strings that I described earlier.
1. Using 16th note triplets, practise it first starting on an downstroke.
2. Starting on an upstroke.
3.Now here´s where it will get interesting: Start with an downstroke BUT start on the second note of the pattern.
4. Do the same thing with an upstroke.
5. Next start on the third note of the pattern with an downstroke.
6. Same thing but with an upstroke.
Continue in this fashion throughout the rest of the pattern.
This REALLY helped my technique AND my timing, since starting on each note in the pattern turns the rhythm around. When you´re comfortable with each variation at your desired speed you can be sure that you´ve really mastered it and most likely be able to use it wherever and whenever you like.
The following is a short improv clip from Jon.