Chunking is HAAAARD

Well, the EJ 5 type is anyway. :confused: I for the life of me, can’t seem to get it in my brain of just breaking down long passages into sections of 5. When I start playing fast in my mind it’s all just a bunch of fast notes, and because of that I get lost, and tripped up. A good example of that would be the intro to Cliffs of Dover. I’ll even do a simple exercise of looping 5 notes with the sweep, and doing that it sounds great. If i decide to do a classic 5’s EJ pentatonic across the box position in E, I’m lost especially once i start getting to the D,A, and low E. Again because I just see it as one long unit of notes. I think for what ever reason playing in 5’s and retaining it is just incredibly difficult for me for some weird reason. I’ve been experimenting with doing more traditional Yngwie type licks in 6’s, and those are way easier, and have gotten those down across all strings basically. I wanted to do that so I could learn the proper up and down movements, and it seems to have worked. As soon as I start doing the EJ thing with the sweeps i trip all over myself. Am i chunking wrong? For me I think of the first 5 notes, then the next 5 etc, Or 6, then 6 etc, Sometimes i think my brain just works backwards. :man_facepalming::sweat_smile:

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I agree chunking isn’ t as simple as it sounds - how long should a chunk be?

I haven’t tackled the EJ stuff, but from what I remember, th ‘EJ atom’ is the smallest chink possible- I’m assuming from the above post that you are not struggling with this?

Maybe a chunk of 5 is too long in this case. Maybe it is more of an EJ atom and then a chunk of 3 (I’m not sure if I’ve got the EJ5 lick right in my head). Also, maybe the 2nd half of the chunk contains a note of the next chunk? I often have to practice the linking notes between ‘logical’ chunks to connect them- are these chunks of their own? Probably. Can a note be the last of 1 chunk and the 1st of a different chunk? Probably…


Well chunking in 6’s is easier, so playing in 5 notes should be a piece of cake right? It’s not. I’d say that the sweeps are what throws me off, but like I said earlier if I loop a 5 passage I can burn at warp speeds. Piecing it all together where my brain thinks first section of 5, second section of 5, third etc, that’s what stumps me. Maybe I just need to keep drilling it in my head over and over until it’s memorized mentally and physically. It’s interesting to me because I’m finding out that a lot of my issues with learning alternate picking is not really physical because I can play very very fast. it’s the mental aspects of it all that screw me up. I have a new found respect for Eric even more that I already have of being able to do those things, and wondering if I just wasn’t built for it. :confused:

Just an idea…

It sounds like your problem here is not the chunks themselves (you can loop them fine) but the transitions from one chunk to the next. If that’s true, then that’s what you should practice.

Instead of looping the individual chunks (123451234512345…), try this:

  1. Burst them, landing on the first note of the next chunk (123451’ pause 123451’ pause). Repeat those bursts until they flow.
  2. , Add the rest of the second chunk (123451’2’3’4’5’ pause 123451’2’3’4’5’ pause). Repeat until they flow.

Do this for every pair of chunks you want to connect, or until you don’t need to anymore.

If you want to be able to improvise with the chunks, you’ll want to practice that too. Improvise and throw the chunks in wherever you can. A backing track is really helpful here because you’re trying to program the chunks into your subconscious with respect to timing and harmony. This last part is where I see the chunks actually get incorporated into my playing. Up until here, they are just exercises.

Maybe your thinking too much … there is only 1 chunk, not 2 ,3 or 4. Maybe your brain is too preoccupied with the counting instead of the chunk!

It could be that you are not maintaining quite the same motion across each chunk, especially because if the sweep- maybe double check each chunk individually? Or extend the chunk to include one or two extra notes to get through the sweep…

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Haha, I think we were posting at the same time - your post was better!!

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Yes exactly! I can do them all individually. For example 5 notes, pause, 5 notes pause etc, going for the whole lick flowing across all six strings??? Duh?! :sweat_smile: I get lost in what I’m suppose to be doing. It’s not rocket science it seems like, but damn my mind sure thinks it is. Another weird corky habit I’ve developed is not even playing in the note groupings I’m going for. A LOT of times when I think I’m playing in 5’s I’m really playing in 7’s. So it throws me off in the long run. With all this though I do feel like I’m starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I’m slowing (at a snails pace) developing the fundamentals of what Troys teaching. I’m at the micromanaging breaking everything down with a microscope stage and learning to intuitively figure out things that work and don’t work like what Andy Wood talks about. It may take me 20 years to get there, but I’ll keep plugging away. :love_you_gesture:

Hey, maybe internalizing it is the key - perhaps try saying the phrase “Un-i-ver-si-ty” over and over and then play your lick, each note with a syllable? Rinse repeat…? I hope that helps.

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Good call! I’ll try it :+1:

Cool, lemme know if it helped at all… for 7’s I like “go-na-lo-la-br-gi-da”

Using syllables certainly helps! Took me a while to figure that out.

What also helps with chunking is making the chunks ultra small – like one note or two notes or three notes. For example the EJ atom consists of 5 or 6 notes (depending if you’re doing 5s or 6es). I practice first tremolo picking on the E-12th. Then alternate picking on E-12th -15th with 1st and 3rd fingers and constantly lifting the 1st finger up (no barre). Then three notes, then four etc. It also helps if you start from different points of the lick.

Granted, this takes a longer time than just practicing the 6-note chunk, but this way you will iron out a lot of inconsistencies in your picking hand and left hand.

In the “old days” (before CTC) I would practice the whole chunk and then notate a max tempo. Say, I can play the lick at 120bpm.

These days, I cut the lick up in the smallest chuncks and record a tempo for each of the chunks. For example you might find that you can play 15-12 alternating on the E-string at 140bpm. But then you find out that you can play the transition from E-12th to B-15th only at 90bpm.

You found your bottle neck. So I then only practice the hardest part so I don’t waste time on the easy parts.

I found that this helps me get the licks up to speed in the most organized and fastest way possible.

Hope that helped, cheers.

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I’m really finding out that a lot of my problems that I was having was I wasn’t sticking with the script with what i was suppose to be doing. Some of it was intentional and some I was totally oblivious to it. :unamused: A good example of that are the EJ 5’s. I’ve been beating my head against the wall with it for ages, constantly stumbling and not knowing why. Well I finally figured out it’s because when I was playing fast I wasn’t really playing in 5’s. I was playing in 7’s or 4’s or 6’s. Because of that my picking would get all turned around and I would stumble in the process. So dumb of me that I didn’t figure that out years ago, because now that i got it I can burn with ease without tripping over myself. Another thing I wasn’t doing based on being stubborn was not chunking so if i tried to play a long fast passage my brain would get lost with what my landing points would be. I basically just saw it as a big blur of notes. I still have to work on that in my mind to think “5 notes, 5 notes, etc, For some reason chunking in 5’s is harder to rap my mind around. 6’s is actually very easy. There’s a reason why Yngwie does it! :man_shrugging:t2:

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