Six Note Pattern very messy

Hi.
I have been working on the techniques here for a couple of years and despite making a lot of progress, I still have some way to go.
I regularly practice the Six Note Pattern and on a good day can play it as a chunk fairly fast. I have a comfortable DSX motion and can tremelo fairly comfortably avoiding too much stringhopping at faster speeds. The problem seems to be synchronisation and coordination of my two hands. I cant play the pattern for any length of time without losing coordination and rhythm. I seem to be just drilling the same things lately without any progress and probably compounding any errors that I am making.
Has anyone got any tips or pointers to get to a smoother more rhythmic motion?
Here’s the video.

This one is particularly clunky but it thought it highlights my problem best.

Thanks in advance.

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Hey Django! with the unplugged guitar I’m having a hard time hearing the notes cleearly when I slow this down. When you have a min, do you mind uploading the same thing with the amplified sound? Cheers :slight_smile:

PS: while we’re at it, we could try both with clean & overdrive tones if you can.

Thanks @tommo for taking a look. I have recorded myself with a cleaner sound and a high gain setting - which is not a sound I usually go for.
I can see myself that there are problems with synchronisation, but see what you think. I do play unplugged a lot of the time due to neighbours which doesn’t help as you can’t always hear mistakes and the note clarity.
Also, I’m not sure if the audio and video is completely synced (as well as my hands :thinking:). If it is not usable I will try again.

Clean sound

High gain - sorry if this is a racket!

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@DjangoUntrained I think you identified your problem pretty spot on. How are you practicing this?

My recommendation would be:

  1. Start accenting the first note noticeably. When you play (especially unplugged), the first note in each repetition should be clearly discernable. Successive notes should be clear but much quieter, and relatively even to one another.
  2. Start a “set” at different speeds and vary depending on your cleanliness / coordination. A ballpark “slow start” would be 50 BPM sextuplets. Slowly creep up on the tempo until you feel it fall apart (by feel, no metronome needed), then dial it back. That’s just one example method; others could include starting slow then bursting into your fastest speed you can play cleanly, or starting with your fastest clean speed for only 1 rep, stop, do 2 reps, stop, 3 reps… Ideally these are all done with a strong focus on coordination / rhythm; if at any point you feel like you’re losing either, it’s a good indication to either drop the speed, or the “rep length”, or maybe you’re done for the session.
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Thanks @Pepepicks66. I think your suggestions are the way forward. I need to step back a little bit speed wise and build coordination. I feel as though the goal is in sight now, which is nice after so much time and effort.

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One thing I’ve noticed that seems to help me figure out what’s going on is to try something I’m not used to playing, and I know that sounds counter-intuitive but I’ve found that if I get too used to playing something (likely wrong or slow or incorrectly synchronized) for too long, breaking out of that rut is VERY difficult. So I’ll play some other pieces or etudes where I don’t have any wrongly baked in issues to sort through, even if they’re maybe not at the top end tempo I want to hit for the first piece.

Often, if I come back to the first piece after successfully playing other things, even if they’re slower, I end up either succeeding, OR at the very least, noticing more clearly what kind of issues are preventing me from nailing the sound I want. For me it’s often my fretting not keeping up, usually due to excess pressure/force applied, if I lighten up, I will often sync up almost immediately.

My 2 cents

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Thanks @JB_Winnipeg. I completely agree with you.
I have a few things on rotation that I practice. I also try and improvise a short passage then throw in the pattern that I’m working on. This can hopefully highlight why it isn’t working or fit rhythmically into what I am playing.

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Hey @DjangoUntrained, thanks the clips are great! :slight_smile:

I can definitely hear sync issues, but after a first listen I think there are occasional correct or “almost correct” repetitions (where the notes are there but a bit muted / not sustained), so that is encouraging.

I will take a closer look at what exact syncing “mistakes” are happening in your clips, but in the meantime definitely give a shot to the ideas from @JB_Winnipeg and @Pepepicks66, to which I’d add another: try and play the same pattern but putting a different note on the beat. E.g. instead of the first note, you could accent the second, third etc.

Keep us posted :slight_smile:

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I didn’t see someone mention this, (sorry if I missed it) but you’re adding a ton more energy and movement by lifting your fingers so high off the fretboard. This is likely another culprit of having syncing issues. This was an issue I struggled with for a long time-honestly still do-but I’ve certainly decreased the exaggeration of it and would recommend of sitting down and literally hitting frets 5 6 7 8 for example, all the way down with as little finger raise as possible. Start slow as needed.

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@Thrav I also noticed this but chose not to comment on it, since there are players that can go pretty fast with their fingers flying off about as much as he does. You’re right though: it could be impacting his ability to sync well.

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Well it’s like with anything when it comes to finding ways of being more “efficient” when playing. Tons of players get away with less efficient ways, but I think it’s important to highlight the ways in which we aren’t when struggling with something. He may not need to focus on that exclusively but I’m sure it’s part of the variable of making his playing harder than it needs to be.

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Thanks @Thrav and @Pepepicks66.
I have been aware of this for some time. It can be hard to control the involuntary ‘jumping up’ of my fingers when other ones push down. Making sure that my thumb is in line with my index finger behind the neck helps, but I still have an issue with my imiddle finger raising when I lower my pinky.
Also, starting the 6 note pattern on the middle finger helps.
If anyone has got any exrrcises or tips, I would like to hear them :slightly_smiling_face:

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You’ve probably seen this guy hes a bit click baity but this exercise helped me get started with improving my “Flying fingers”.

In the end I just started to play 3 note per string scales and focused on keeping my fingers as close to the string as possible without touching the string.

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Thanks for this @SlyVai. I’m working on it now. :slightly_smiling_face:

The minimum movement exercise on the Justin Guitar website is great!

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Thanks for this @fenrirokie. I’m trying to lessen any extraneous finger motion, but it is tricky. My 2nd finger jumps up when my pinky goes down and my pinky flies up when my 1st finger goes down.
This might take some time :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi Django. While minimizing large finger movement may help, there are lots of fast players who don’t do that. You could drive a car through space between Paul Gilbert’s pinky and the fretboard as he’s playing. It may be that your issue is trying to “drive” with the picking hand rather than thinking of the left hand as leading. It’s easier to bang with the pick than to fret with multiple fingers, therefore it’s easier for the right hand to overwhelm the left. You can’t go any faster than what the left hand can do alone, so try your exercises using the left hand only and note the speed and quality. Don’t worry too much about sounding the notes loudly legato style (meaning don’t overwork your fingers), but do consider the degree to which you’re fretting. Then add light picking, but try to mentally lead with the left hand so that you aren’t picking before the note is properly fretted. You might also consider whether it works better for you to lift your fingers, as it appears you’re doing, or keep the fingers behind the fretting finger anchored. This prevents having to depress the string as much, though the sync will need to be relearned a bit. Most players would at a minimum keep the index finger anchored when playing on one string, and it appears you’re even lifting that. See this Yngwie vid starting at about 5 minutes in where he talks a bit about legato. You can also observe that the index finger stays anchored when playing on a given string: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7OyruzHNbs

Good luck! :slight_smile:

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Thanks @AbsoluteBeatdown. Your observations are really helpful.
I have been aware of my twitchy first finger for sometime and have asked the question on here before if it matters. If I keep it down, it seems to create tension because when I put my pinky down, my first finger wants to jump up. To keep it pressed down I have to use some force which doesn’t help keep a smooth effortless motion. Saying that, when it rises it does it in fairly random twitches which I think is also preventing a smooth motion.
I’ll stick with trying to keep it down and see if it becomes more natural over time.

You can experiment with it, and maybe your hand is too tense, etc. But some people actually recommend not anchoring the index finger, saying that it makes synchronization easier in that it’s like drumming your fingertips on a table. Maybe that’s the case for you. I think the most important thing to analyze first is how you do with your left hand alone. I suspect you’re trying to drive speed with the right hand (picking before fully fretting the note), when it really needs to be driven with the left in terms of intent. Imagine fretting slightly before you pick. And make sure the note is properly fretted, and that you’re not just tapping the string down. In any case, if you can’t play what you want with your left hand, no amount of picking will help.

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Thank you. I will work on this :slightly_smiling_face: