I wanna preface this with this: I’ve had speed “worked out” in a sense since well before CtC - I just grabbed a metronome and tried to tremolo as fast as I could as a teenager. I did try to “work up” from there, how fast could I do triplets or 16th notes with a metronome before I started introducing tension etc. But translating this to picking lines didn’t always work, sometimes it did, but I didn’t quite know why I couldn’t brute force any alternate picked line I wanted to, so I worked in legato, worked in some muting/swiping but it was all a bit haphazard.
CtC helped me in analyzing my own playing within a framework of picking rudiments or styles and break down what I’m already doing, as well as incorporate some new movement that had not occurred to me.
So what’s the next step? I still can tell refinement at the level of very elite players is a long way off although I have been progressing just fine, I have bad practice habits that fit a theme -
Rushing things and not noticing where I’m being sloppy
Building up too much overall tension and continuing to play to fatigue instead of correcting it
Overall, I’ve realized I have this tendency to rush in to a piece just because I recognize a few patterns, and then I drill in sloppy playing. So I have to approach each piece and try and get in that more meditative headspace that “this is new, go slow on purpose and work up” otherwise, I’m sloppy, tense, and just drilling in bad habits.
So my approach that’s been working in terms of cleaning things up has been:
a) Closing my eyes and breathing, when I’m working through refining something, and really paying attention to the motion to shut out visual stimulation so I can more accurately perceive both discomfort and mistakes. I guess you could call it meditative - Steve Vai is very into the idea of meditating on technique or songwriting (to the point of injury so For the Love of God don’t build a pyramid in your basement and meditate on one Chord by holding it until you need surgery).
b) Working through a set handful of picking motions as though they are rudiments - I work on some etude for crosspicking, for DSX (I’ve chose the wrist+forearm lightly supinated approach for this) and USX (basically the standard Yngwie DWPS - I incorporate this with economy picking runs to ensure I’m positioned correctly). I don’t think it matters what etude you choose, just do it every day and focus on it carefully.
So, looking to discuss the following - do you recognize these in your own practice? How do you attempt to eliminate them? Are there any other tendencies you have noticed may be holding you back in your playing you’ve worked to eliminate?