This is all great stuff. I remember when you posted about this originally and of course have thought about this since. I’m sure it’s something people would use.
The one pitfall here is constant filming and looking becomes a bit of a crutch that doesn’t really teach you much. It just keeps confirming what you already know. I really just use the Magnet as a check once in a while, not every single take or repetition.
The number one challenge in acquiring a skills you don’t yet have is learning to recognize, by feel alone, when something is right. You can’t do it by sight. You can’t look at video and adjust. You can’t even look in a mirror. You can actually learn the mirror visual to the point where you can’t do the technique without the mirror. I’ve experienced this. You learn to adjust your position and motion until it looks a certain way in the mirror and then in the daytime when the light is different you can’t remember how to do it any more. You weren’t learning alternate picking. You were actually learning “nighttime mirror picking”.
Feel and sound are the only consistent sources of feedback you can rely on as a player. So eventually, everything has to be learned based on those two things alone.
So, one thing I can recommend not looking at your hands at all as you’re trying to learn. Only look infrequently, about as infrequently as you would look at Magnet footage for confirmation of correctness or incorrectness. Maybe after you’ve been playing for fifteen minutes, for example, and you think you might have made some kind of progress, you might film yourself or observe yourself in a mirror to see what things look like. And only then if you actually feel you have something to look at, because things sounded or felt different than they did before.
That last part is key. To get a different result, your form has to actually feel different and hopefully also sound different. If you’re stuck in a rut where you keep making the same errors, then you have to ask yourself, does it really feel any different when I do it?
In order to get a result that is qualitatively different, you need to actually do something to make your technique feel different as you’re playing. And most of us have some comfort zone form that we like to stay in, and we have a strong tendency to want to stay there. We convince ourselves that we’re making meaningful changes. I’m using more supination! I’m using less supination! But it doesn’t feel that different when you’re doing it, I can almost guarantee you’re not changing the motion all that much. You’re just tilting your arm a tiny bit and making the same motion as before. Watching the tape should confirm this.
So one game you can play with the Magnet is, can I make the tape look different? Like, just for kicks, can I actually do something where the motion itself really looks very obviously different when I film it? For example, on pattern X, I notice that such and such pickstroke always traps when I want it to escape. Ok, great, let’s keep trying weird things and I see if I can get that to escape. Just that note. I don’t care about the rest of the lick, or if it even feels good or sounds good, or even if it’s fast or anything. I just want to see if I can get any difference at all in that motion that I can legitimately and obviously see. Generally, when you succeed in making that particular motion look different, you’ll notice that it also felt different when you did it. It still might not be right, but you might learn something about what your comfort zone rut is, and what you have to do to get out of it.
So the short answer is, it’s a constant battle for change. If things aren’t working, you must make them be different, using everything you’ve got to fight your instincts to always be the same. The Magnet is a super helpful tool for me in doing this because otherwise you’d never really know. It can’t tell you what to do to actually produce that change. That has to come from instructional material that you’ve watched, or from pure trial and error like the greats did it. But you must change something to get better.