I’m in a very dark place at the moment.
I had to stop playing the guitar for the last 10 years because I was forced to study (was in college at the time) and my band at the time led me to a serious nervous breakdown which put me on a downward spiral as far as my mental health goes and I basically abandoned a dream I had been pursuing for 12-13 years up to that point. We had a record deal offer (US label) , I did the songs, we had an amazing singer (who was first grade asshole as a person) etc.
Then Covid hit and out of boredom I started fiddling with my guitar again. SImple stuff, chords, easy stuff… but old habits kicked in and I found myself practicing. This was back in February 2020. First I got my vibrato back, then my legato skills. Then it came to picking of course.
I started doing it pretty much the way I did it 10 years ago (as best as I could remember) and was getting good results in terms of sync, string crossing… but I hit a speed limit (maybe 32th notes at 100 bpm) at which point that old familiar unplesant and this time unbearable tension kicked in - veins on my right hand would pop out, cramps would kick in and everything would fall apart. Still I persisted. I know all there is to know about practicing - even before the internet days (my country got adsl internet around 2007).
I always wondered how could players such as Gilbert, Malmsteen, Di Meola - do picking so effortlessly. Even at the top of my game (11 years ago) despite being able to play 32nd notes at 150bpm, I wasn’t able -at that time- to do the Gilbert/Di meola lick.
All of this would be irrelevant, except for the fact that a very good singer relocated to my town and wanted to start a band -around the Covid lockdown time.
We scheduled the recording of an album for the summer of 2021, and I thought “Ok, there’s plenty of time to get your chops right by then”.
But I was not getting anywhere, despite the fact that I started practicing 4-5 hours a day. It took me at least half an hour just to warm up.
Then I stumbled upon this forum and saw @qwertygitarr videos (those 4-5 videos he shared on the forum) and it was like a revelation. In my humble opinion he has the best mechanic I have ever seen. So I completely copied his mechanic, hand position, forearm rotation (which was counterintuitive for me), everything except maybe the amount of pick sticking out (I really have to have a bit longer surface to pick, I tried to hold it exactly like him but was very uncomfortable).
Suddenly, I could do Paul Gilbert lick, without almost any effort. And I was able to translate that mechanic for my ascending linear 3nps runs. The descening ones kinda give me a bit of hard time (especially the treble E and B strings) . Also, I have hard time syncing my hands when playing “Yngwie”'s fourths (on one string) and “Yngwie”'s (it’s really Uli Roth’s lick from song “Earthquake” at the very end) double triplets.
Tremolo picking is just fine, I tend to tense a bit on D string.
So I have been waging war on the fronts - 1) I am practicing ingraining this mechanic 2) I am practicing actual sequences and solos for my songs
When I practice home, it usually sounds fine (I’m not chasing speed at the moment, I am focused on being and stayin absolutely relaxed) … but when I go to a rehearsal with my band, my right hand just freezes …no matter what I do, it just freezes, I tried getting drunk, taking sedatives … but the fucking thing just won’t repeat what I do at home (and at those “speeds”).
I don’t know what to do. It’s as if I am ashamed or something. I tried reaching out to qwertyguitarr to see if he uses the same pick as I do (I now use 1.5 Flow oxblood) but I used to use 1.14mm delrin Dunlop, pink one- which was fine with my previous mechanic - which I suppose was a mixture of an elbow and wrist deviation (forward-backward movement) akin to Impellitteri on Stand in Line.
I feel uneasy opening this to a group of strangers, but I don’t know who else to talk to. No one else would understand. Not even my shrink.
I feel the unbearable mental pressure and because of the circumstances I have found myself in…you see, okay, I’ll be completely honest - this is the last chance for me to do something with my music. In reality, I am not a guitar player. I stopped perceiving myself as such 11 years ago - and it helped me mentally. But the world has changed. I’m jobless, unmarried, my social value is zero despite the fact that I have an MA degree, can fight decently and I’m not the ugliest one on the planet.
If I could just somehow do this album the way I envisioned it to be, maybe it would rectify some wrongs from the past and help me with my future.
The genre I compose is hair metal / Aor but I always thought it would have been so much better if someone (me? you? someone else?) could put a bit of shred element into it (sans harmonic minor scale).
I’ll probably regret writing this, but having in mind the things I lost… this is nothing.
If anybody is in touch with qwertygitarr send him my deepest thanks for those 4-5 videos he put here.