I’m currently working on speed and control playing on single strings. I’ve been able to make great progress working with short bursts. Under optimal circumstances I’m able to play bursts of 4 or 5, sometimes 9 notes at 200-220bpm 16th notes (I believe 2 years ago I could barely tremolo pick at 140bpm).
However I’m struggling with my „warm up time“ in order to be able to do so. Let’s say I wanted to play 4 chromatically ascending notes on a single string starting with an upstroke (which is a chromatic approach I love to use for target notes).
On a good day when I’m working my way up - starting at 100bpm, 3-5 reps, increasing tempo in steps of 20 - I’m able to play the sequence 9/10 or maybe 10/10 on different strings and frets. Very relaxed hands, no excess tension as far as I can tell. I can play it many times (with short breaks in between) and not feel exhausted.
However when I try to play the sequence while improvising I’m only be able to play it 6/10 (after a good warm up). The other times my hands aren’t in sync, I get stuck with the pick or it doesn’t sound legato/fluent enough. Some days I can play it 9/10 or 10/10 after improvising for an hour straight or so.
Now here come’s the tricky part: When I put the guitar away for like 1-3 minutes I can only play it 2/10 (if at all). I then need to warm up again for a minute or two. Only then I’m able to play it successfully at the rate I’ve been able to play it a moment ago. When I take one day off I’m unable to play the sequence the next day even after jamming for 30mins.
I have this problem with virtually everything that’s a bit more technically demanding.
A few words about myself. I’ve been playing the guitar for 24 years and did a bachelors and masters degree in music (jazz guitar). As a kid I only had a teacher for 2 or 3 years and then went on to studying on my own for 6 or 7 years. I believe it was during that time that I developed lots of bad habits (pressing the strings too hard, not placing the fingers close to the frets, very tense left hand pinky, relatively bad finger independence, relatively bad thumb positioning, excessive movement in both hands, right hand bouncing technique…).
Unfortunately I didn’t notice these issues and neither did any of the 4 teachers I had been working with from the age of 16 on. It only occurred to me that these problems were limiting my musical expression tremendously after I finished studying.
So for the last 3 years I retreaded entirely, practicing 4-8 hours a day to fix my bad habits. I press the strings very lightly now, have pretty good tension control, I’d rate my finger independence 8/10, fixed my thumb and have been working on pick slanting as well as economy of motion etc.
Is anyone experiencing anything similar when it comes to warm up time/putting the guitar away for a glimpse? Has anyone of you overcome a problem of this nature? I feel like after reworking the fundamentals for years now as well as working on a simple sequence like this diligently 20mins a day for half a year I should finally be able to play the phrase confidently.
Am I doing something wrong? Maybe it just takes longer to be able to play stuff like this consistently well after 20 years of bad habits?
Thanks for your help!!