Always look 2 steps ahead
I’m not much of a planner. I often plan about 30 minutes ahead, or less. Like right now for example. 9 minutes ago I was practicing some songs on my guitar. Fletch and I plan to climb this weekend. So I knew I had to keep my skills fresh. (I plan farther ahead for climbing trips because it involves other people.) As I was playing, I thought, I should write about what I learned, here.
9 minutes ago I was working on “When I was your man” and “Sweet baby James” plus “Shallow”. Those hurt my fingertips. I’ve been spending an hour a day practicing Blackbird. But it only uses 2 fingers, so the other ones got soft. I hate soft fingers! Those steel guitar strings can feel like razor blades. I know, first world problems and all.
So like anyone faced with pain, I switched to Blackbird…using my harder finger pads. As I came into the complexity of the song, which is all played from memory (no sheet music), a little voice in my head said “try looking two chords ahead”. In other words, as you play the current picking pattern on a chord, visualize the next two chord positions on the neck of the guitar.
So I start planning 4 seconds ahead, all while picking an incredible complex chord pattern. I’m seeing the next two finger positions as I’m playing the current one.
There must be a way to put the pattern on paper. I learned it on youtube, and he’s all visual. He says things like fret 5 on the B string, fret 3 on the A string.
But in addition to that, he’ll spec out the picking pattern for that position, which also plays an open G string several times, depending on how long that position (chord) is played. As you can probably tell, I’m having a lot of fun with this.
I’d thought about taking guitar lessons when I retired…but youtube is getting so good….seems like close enough. See my previous post for the youtube link.