Correcting bad habits

Guitar Tricks Forum > Technique and Style > Correcting bad habits

matthewksmith93

Full Access

Joined: 07/12/21

Posts: 3

Hey all,

I've been practicing religiously for the last couple months, but I'm hitting some road blocks. I have some old bad habits from teaching myself guitar that I could use some direction in fixing.


i think my picking motions are probably too large and I can play flat fingered, somewhere between these two has given me sync issues especially on descending runs. Spider walk exercises are hard at top strings without using an uncomfortable over-exaggerated popped out wrist which makes me think that there's something fundamental about how I'm playing that could easily be fixed.

I've learned la grange and alive by PJ from the site specifically to play with a band we started, but still struggle with a couple licks that I think can be fixed with some exercises. I'm currently working on the solo for enter sandman, and it's proving to be a tough exercise in accuracy.

TLDR; need exercises for hand sync, accuracy, and advice on practing for playing clean

#1

Hey all,

I've been practicing religiously for the last couple months, but I'm hitting some road blocks. I have some old bad habits from teaching myself guitar that I could use some direction in fixing.


i think my picking motions are probably too large and I can play flat fingered, somewhere between these two has given me sync issues especially on descending runs. Spider walk exercises are hard at top strings without using an uncomfortable over-exaggerated popped out wrist which makes me think that there's something fundamental about how I'm playing that could easily be fixed.

I've learned la grange and alive by PJ from the site specifically to play with a band we started, but still struggle with a couple licks that I think can be fixed with some exercises. I'm currently working on the solo for enter sandman, and it's proving to be a tough exercise in accuracy.

TLDR; need exercises for hand sync, accuracy, and advice on practing for playing clean

mjgodin

Full Access

Joined: 11/23/19

Posts: 317

Have you been through the Fundamentals course 1&2? A lot of it will probably be redundant for you, but there are good strategies for what your trying to get through. Nothing wrong with a refresher if you've been through them already. Start right from the beginning and just go through them one at a time. You might pick up some things you didn't know about.

Also some of the instructors have specific lessons on picking, strumming, utilizing scales for improvising and even best ways to practice. Click on their sub forums at the bottom of the main menu or in the Instructors Bio page to find them.

Good Luck,

Moe

Why don't guitars come with an instruction manual ?

Oh yeah, that's what GuitarTricks is for..

#2

Have you been through the Fundamentals course 1&2? A lot of it will probably be redundant for you, but there are good strategies for what your trying to get through. Nothing wrong with a refresher if you've been through them already. Start right from the beginning and just go through them one at a time. You might pick up some things you didn't know about.

Also some of the instructors have specific lessons on picking, strumming, utilizing scales for improvising and even best ways to practice. Click on their sub forums at the bottom of the main menu or in the Instructors Bio page to find them.

Good Luck,

Moe

Why don't guitars come with an instruction manual ?

Oh yeah, that's what GuitarTricks is for..

matthewksmith93

Full Access

Joined: 07/12/21

Posts: 3

I have, I've picked up a couple things, but really lacking direction now for progress other than just learning songs. I liked a lot of the more advanced concepts introduced in like rock 2 (Hendrix embellishments, modality) but they really only skim the surface and it's hard to figure out where to go next.

#3

I have, I've picked up a couple things, but really lacking direction now for progress other than just learning songs. I liked a lot of the more advanced concepts introduced in like rock 2 (Hendrix embellishments, modality) but they really only skim the surface and it's hard to figure out where to go next.

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7371

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93

i think my picking motions are probably too large and I can play flat fingered, somewhere between these two has given me sync issues especially on descending runs.

Exactly what kind of descending runs are you working on? What scales? Styles of music?

I recently posted a reworked version of my speed building tutorial that has an entire component built around developing alternate picking technique with the goals of playing in a smooth, relaxed manner with minimal motion for efficiency.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=287

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93
Spider walk exercises are hard at top strings without using an uncomfortable over-exaggerated popped out wrist which makes me think that there's something fundamental about how I'm playing that could easily be fixed.

When you say top strings are you referring to the bass or treble register?

These exercises are designed to work at diatonic patterns of repeating octaves in all 3 registers across the fretboard.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=419

These exercises are great for pentatonic scale workouts.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=185

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=722

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93
I've learned la grange and alive by PJ from the site specifically to play with a band we started, but still struggle with a couple licks that I think can be fixed with some exercises. I'm currently working on the solo for enter sandman, and it's proving to be a tough exercise in accuracy.


For blues based rock licks I recommend this one on the basic blues lick found in so many rock solos.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=1614

And this series of tutorials on connecting pentatonic patterns.

https://www.guitartricks.com/search.php?search=%22connecting+pentatonic+patterns%22

I think you've got the right idea. You need to drill things like this over & again until it becomes second nature. Until you can count on your hands to do it in your sleep! But it's important to approach practicing these things with controlled, relaxed & minimal motion.

Hope that helps! Please ask more if necessary!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#4

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93

i think my picking motions are probably too large and I can play flat fingered, somewhere between these two has given me sync issues especially on descending runs.

Exactly what kind of descending runs are you working on? What scales? Styles of music?

I recently posted a reworked version of my speed building tutorial that has an entire component built around developing alternate picking technique with the goals of playing in a smooth, relaxed manner with minimal motion for efficiency.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=287

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93
Spider walk exercises are hard at top strings without using an uncomfortable over-exaggerated popped out wrist which makes me think that there's something fundamental about how I'm playing that could easily be fixed.

When you say top strings are you referring to the bass or treble register?

These exercises are designed to work at diatonic patterns of repeating octaves in all 3 registers across the fretboard.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=419

These exercises are great for pentatonic scale workouts.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=185

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=722

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93
I've learned la grange and alive by PJ from the site specifically to play with a band we started, but still struggle with a couple licks that I think can be fixed with some exercises. I'm currently working on the solo for enter sandman, and it's proving to be a tough exercise in accuracy.


For blues based rock licks I recommend this one on the basic blues lick found in so many rock solos.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=1614

And this series of tutorials on connecting pentatonic patterns.

https://www.guitartricks.com/search.php?search=%22connecting+pentatonic+patterns%22

I think you've got the right idea. You need to drill things like this over & again until it becomes second nature. Until you can count on your hands to do it in your sleep! But it's important to approach practicing these things with controlled, relaxed & minimal motion.

Hope that helps! Please ask more if necessary!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

matthewksmith93

Full Access

Joined: 07/12/21

Posts: 3

Hey Chris,

Thanks for the detailed response!

Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel

Exactly what kind of descending runs are you working on? What scales? Styles of music?


I've been working minor scales and I have a tendency to slightly get off sync between the hands so that (for example) notes from my pinky to third finger will sound slightly muted and until I can get that cleaner I won't play faster. Primarily play rock with large interest in playing more Stevie Ray Vaughn and looking at more metal lately.

Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel
I recently posted a reworked version of my speed building tutorial that has an entire component built around developing alternate picking technique with the goals of playing in a smooth, relaxed manner with minimal motion for efficiency.

I saw this series posted about two days after I posted my question, I've already started looking at it. Fate has a way I suppose.

Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel
When you say top strings are you referring to the bass or treble register?


The bass register, apologies. I think more practice from your suggestions will help, I'm actively correcting bad habits of playing flat fingered toward the bass register which prevents being able to swap between the E and A strings for example for interesting licks.


Again, thank you for the list of exercises and detailed response. I've been looking for more direction to stay engaged and challenged.

Matt

#5

Hey Chris,

Thanks for the detailed response!

Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel

Exactly what kind of descending runs are you working on? What scales? Styles of music?


I've been working minor scales and I have a tendency to slightly get off sync between the hands so that (for example) notes from my pinky to third finger will sound slightly muted and until I can get that cleaner I won't play faster. Primarily play rock with large interest in playing more Stevie Ray Vaughn and looking at more metal lately.

Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel
I recently posted a reworked version of my speed building tutorial that has an entire component built around developing alternate picking technique with the goals of playing in a smooth, relaxed manner with minimal motion for efficiency.

I saw this series posted about two days after I posted my question, I've already started looking at it. Fate has a way I suppose.

Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel
When you say top strings are you referring to the bass or treble register?


The bass register, apologies. I think more practice from your suggestions will help, I'm actively correcting bad habits of playing flat fingered toward the bass register which prevents being able to swap between the E and A strings for example for interesting licks.


Again, thank you for the list of exercises and detailed response. I've been looking for more direction to stay engaged and challenged.

Matt

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7371

You're welcome for the reply!

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93
I've been working minor scales and I have a tendency to slightly get off sync between the hands so that (for example) notes from my pinky to third finger will sound slightly muted and until I can get that cleaner I won't play faster.

These tutorials cover the minor scale as patterns on the fretboard. They are all a great workout for fingerings & playing technique. At the end of each tutorial I do an exercise involving playing all 12 minor scales up & down the fretboard. It's a great systematic workout for building this kind of dexterity. I do these every day to warm up!

Minor Scale Patterns 1 (in lower octave)

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=887

Minor Scale Patterns 2 (in 2 octaves)

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=2646

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93
Primarily play rock with large interest in playing more Stevie Ray Vaughn and looking at more metal lately.


Got it. There's a pretty wide gap between those two styles. SRV is more pentatonic blues based soloing & an aggressive chordal swing rhythm approach.

Conversely, a lot of metal uses more of a 3 note-per-string diatonic scale approach for soloing & more precise lower bass strings/power chord rhythm approach.

There are certainly areas in which those styles overlap. But you're going to find it necessary to adjust your technique quite a bit moving from one to the other. And back!

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93
I think more practice from your suggestions will help, I'm actively correcting bad habits of playing flat fingered toward the bass register which prevents being able to swap between the E and A strings for example for interesting licks.

It helps that you are aware of the problem & willing to work on it! You're welcome for the reply & the links. Please ask again any time if you need more direction!

Here's my instructor forum.

https://www.guitartricks.com/forum/threads.php?f=36

Here's my instructor directory.

https://www.guitartricks.com/instructor.php?input=155014

Best of success!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#6

You're welcome for the reply!

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93
I've been working minor scales and I have a tendency to slightly get off sync between the hands so that (for example) notes from my pinky to third finger will sound slightly muted and until I can get that cleaner I won't play faster.

These tutorials cover the minor scale as patterns on the fretboard. They are all a great workout for fingerings & playing technique. At the end of each tutorial I do an exercise involving playing all 12 minor scales up & down the fretboard. It's a great systematic workout for building this kind of dexterity. I do these every day to warm up!

Minor Scale Patterns 1 (in lower octave)

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=887

Minor Scale Patterns 2 (in 2 octaves)

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=2646

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93
Primarily play rock with large interest in playing more Stevie Ray Vaughn and looking at more metal lately.


Got it. There's a pretty wide gap between those two styles. SRV is more pentatonic blues based soloing & an aggressive chordal swing rhythm approach.

Conversely, a lot of metal uses more of a 3 note-per-string diatonic scale approach for soloing & more precise lower bass strings/power chord rhythm approach.

There are certainly areas in which those styles overlap. But you're going to find it necessary to adjust your technique quite a bit moving from one to the other. And back!

Originally Posted by: matthewksmith93
I think more practice from your suggestions will help, I'm actively correcting bad habits of playing flat fingered toward the bass register which prevents being able to swap between the E and A strings for example for interesting licks.

It helps that you are aware of the problem & willing to work on it! You're welcome for the reply & the links. Please ask again any time if you need more direction!

Here's my instructor forum.

https://www.guitartricks.com/forum/threads.php?f=36

Here's my instructor directory.

https://www.guitartricks.com/instructor.php?input=155014

Best of success!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory