lately I have been binge watching Claus Levins free vids and they are really preaching to me. Not so much about mechanics and pick strokes, though he does have some great revelations and ideas about picking depth and accents and such. He is one of the only guys who I have never bought any products from yet lol. Some of his courses are a bit pricey but I have benefited so much from his free vids lately I might just buy one of his cheaper courses as a nod of respect lol
What has really been speaking to me is his ideas on FOCUS and why most people never get beyond intermediate level. They never focus.
Im a great example. I ran across the CTC stuff 4 years ago. A light bulb definitely went on. Even though I had been playing for 26 years, I instantly got maybe 10-20% better. So why am I still not at Yngwies level??? Rick Graham was at top pro level after about 2 years. Claus himself says he had most of his skills after about 2 years. Anton Oparin at 8 years old???
Im not at top pro level yet because I still have some missing pieces. This is what Claus has been speaking of. Essentially I have never learned to FOCUS. I have mentioned in some of my posts on this forum (before seeing Claus mention it) that I always lacked focus and anything remotely approaching “discipline”
Well some of the Claus vids really drove the point home.
While some folks reject the word “discipline”, we might replace it with something like “insane dedication” or “passion” and we start to see how MAB and Yngwie and Paul got their skills. They locked in on certain things and brought those things up to pro level (or beyond). .Like MAB said, he did that one lick thousands of times.
This is also why those guys got where they did WITHOUT the CTC ideas being public knowledge yet. They used intense focus and dedication. MAB did his little lick thousands of times. Yngwie dug his own unique system out of thin air. Greg Howe said he’d spend 8 hours slowing down a turntable with his finger to try to learn 1 VanHalen lick
Well we have all this available knowledge now…so why arent we all at pro level by now?? If we never reach pro level at one or two simple things, how can we reach pro level overall??
This is why all the questions we have about “practice routines” keep coming up. This is also why I have never had one. Now I see that our logical minds will try to set up a practice routine that is really spread out and touching on a little of this and a little of that. 30 mins of alt picking, 30 mins of arps, 30 mins of legato. Then 30 mins of improv. I wrote out many routines like that thru the years but never got far with implementing them.
IMO this is why many of us stay at intermediate level forever. We are way too scattered and we never MASTER anything. We get “good” at this or that. But “good” isnt mindblowing. I was “good” 20 years ago. Good isnt good enough.
So I would caution about looking for some other magical instructional vid. As others have pointed out, you have just about all the mechanical advice youll ever need under your fingertips on this site.
My advice, which I am also giving to myself…dont dabble in 50 things at once. Take something VERY simple and take a month or two and freaking MASTER IT!
Claus pointed out, correctly I think, that the famous “Paul Gilbert Lick” is way too hard for most people to tackle right away. I must say I agree. Jumping up to that next higher string and doing only one note and immediately jumping back is actually pretty advanced.
Claus says he never got very far with the Gilbert Lick and that he had to spend a lot of time picking triplets on one string (from an Al Dimeola inst vid I think) before he started making real progress.
So those free vids made many more light bulbs go off in my head. In many ways they are like listening to a Brian Tracy vid on goal setting.
This one either sounds like a lot of blah blah, or it really cuts to the bone. I give dude lots of leeway on his rambling because English is a second language for him. Key sentence: “You have to shift your focus from becoming good at playing guitar, to becoming good at practicing…becoming good at focusing”
The essence of it for me? Take the mechanical ideas Troy presents and spend 80% of your time on ONE of them. One simple repeatable lick. Master it.
I started on this one the other day. Its a one way uwps 16th note lick pretty much straight off of Gilberts Intense Rock.
I worked it up across the strings up to the high E. Over the course of a few days I got it blazing pretty good. But now I think its STILL too complicated!!
I think I will back down to this, which is a slightly dumbed down version of the Gilbert lick:
and also this since I need some triplet work too:
heck, if those prove too hard, I may back all the way down to something like this!
I think that simpler approach could be a key for a lot of us rather than looking for some other magical vid or lick. Take a simple lick and totally max out on it for a few weeks or even a month. To do a simple lick at pro speed requires a lot of things to be done correctly. Once those things are achieved on a simple lick, it is a simpler matter to expand outward. Thats more realistic than trying to dabble with 50 things at once