DAILY UPDATES (Week One, Main Thread) - Submissions, Questions & Discussion

Welcome, everybody, to the Main Thread for Week 1 of this challenge!


This is where the magic happens - the thread where we'll be posting our daily updates for the first week.

 

 

Every day between January 29th (kickoff stream) and February 5th (second stream), we are hoping to read your daily updates in this very thread right here!


Please use the following format when commenting (feel free to copy & paste!):

  • Exercises you worked on:
  • One thing you found easy:
  • One thing you found difficult:
  • (Optional): a video of you performing it!
  • (Optional:) questions, metronome range

Sample daily update:

  • Exercises you worked on: 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a
  • One thing you found easy: I started practicing these very slowly and had a pretty easy time making all the notes sound even!
  • One thing you found difficult: I keep forgetting which finger I last played with and ended up repeating fingers sometimes.

Feel free to make these updates as short or long as you wish!

↓ Let's do this! Post your daily updates below ↓

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  • Apologies in advance as I suspect I should not go into this amount of detail but hopefully might generate questions, suggestions and more input from others. 

    I use Beatronome (a great metronome in android -opinion only), set to play 4/4 with clicks on quavers (8th notes so eight clicks per bar as per the way the exercises are written) and set the sound of the first beat and 5th beat to be different to the others. Played 4 bars for each exercise before increasing tempo. Started slow at 50 BPM (playing two notes per beat) and worked up to 150 BPM free strokes i m, 120 BPM rest strokes i m, 120 BMP rest strokes and free strokes p. I feel went too fast as I wasn't "savouring" the tone I was making and concentrating more on the physical action.

     

    I worked on all exercises (1 through 3).

     

    What I found easier was free strokes on i and m and rest strokes on p. (two things). 

     

    What I found difficult was i m rest strokes especially with m as (the nail kept catching unless I had my hand turned to use the side of the finger more) and free strokes with p as the thumb occasionally kept touching other strings as the action felt more circular for free strokes.

    Like 3
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Mehmet Mehmet, this is great! Thank you for sharing all this! I don't think this is going into too much detail at all!

      Just out of curiosity, did you set the metronome to increase the speed automatically or did you just do it manually every four bars?

      More importantly, that awareness you had at the end, along the lines of "okay, that was too fast", is such an important benefit of doing this kind of technical work!

      Not only do we get to test and know our limits, we also get a feel for the "difficulty curve" leading up to it - we know where it was still full comfortable and what is the first thing that was lost.

      I personally like to do different types of metronome levels for different exercises:

      • Sometimes (especially on medium-difficulty exercises), I like to start extremely slow - think, eighth notes at 60 bpm - and only go up to what feels like 80% of my limit
      • Other times, I like to start at a medium tempo and force myself to go way beyond my comfort zone, to perhaps 120-125% of where I feel I can still sound clean and "savor" the notes, as you say
      • At the beginnings and ends of practice sessions, I often do a "long exercise" where I start at a medium-slow speed and go all the way to ~105% of what feels comfortable.

      All of these are important and achieve different purposes! One needs to be very careful to balance them, and not to fall in one extreme or the other, but I do think they are all quite valuable.

      What do you think?

      Like 2
    • Hi Mircea Thanks for the suggestions! 

       

      I used the speed trainer feature to increment the tempo automatically. 

       

      The other thing I was doing was reading the exercise as I was playing - trying to "look ahead" for as long as I could keep up.  It's definitely not necessary but....

       

      A quick run through features of metronomes at some time might be helpful for some as there are so many features built in to them.

      Like 1
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Mehmet wonderful idea! I might briefly go over some of these aspects in my "Week 2" livestream next Friday! I have had a love-hate relationship with automatic tempo increases over the years - I used to hate them, then I liked them, now I am somewhere in the middle. Really glad to hear they've been working out for you though! I have also used them successfully at some points in the past.

      Like
    • Mircea I've also found it especially helpful with setting up different beats for the long term difficult piece (for my limited ability) I'm working on . As an example, I've saved a practice - 8 bars 3/4 60 BPM, 4 bars 3/4 45 BPM and 50 bars 4/4 50 BPM for playing through Capricho Arabe. 

      Occasionally a session forcing myself to play through the whole piece without the tempo wandering all over the place helps me.

      I would classify how I play it as a crime against music right now but it's improving. 

       

      I would imagine there will be a time where my internal clock will be all I need but right now if I hit a difficult stretch or big jump to an awkward fingering the rhythm is lost.

      Like 1
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Mehmet This is a really cool and interesting idea! I'm certainly suffered from the inability to set different tempos for different passages in the past (perhaps I should give your metronome app a try!), and have fixed such passages by splitting them up into smaller sections and practicing those individually.

      I'd be careful with becoming overly reliant on "baked-in" tempo changes in short sections, because we do tend to "solidify" our tempi that we most often practice in, and we usually don't want to be stuck with a lot of different tempi in such a short time.

      However, in this case, I think this works, because the beginning of the Capricho Arabe contains this "recitativo"-style opening which should, in fact, feel different than the rest, time-wise. So basically, I think you're doing it well! 😉 Haha 

      Like
    • Mircea I'd be careful with becoming overly reliant on "baked-in" tempo changes in short sections, because we do tend to "solidify" our tempi that we most often practice in, and we usually don't want to be stuck with a lot of different tempi in such a short time.

       

      Thanks for the advice.

       

      P.S. Looking forward to your dreamstage stream by the way.  Is there a reason it's not mentioned on the Tonebase site? I would have thought members of Tonebase would be interested.

      Like 1
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Mehmet That's so great to hear! The Dreamstage event is not embedded anywhere on the tonebase platform itself because the site doesn't really have a place for it - while individual users might be interested in it, we wouldn't want to shoehorn it into an inappropriate place, such as under lessons or upcoming releases. We are sending out some emails to our user base and launching a few social media campaigns related to it though. If our team members do find an appropriate place for it on the platform though, we will go ahead and add it! In any case, I'm very much looking forward to seeing you there on Sunday!

      Like
    • Rodney
    • Sommelier
    • Rodney
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    No trouble with this but I am enjoying going over the fundamentals.

    Like 3
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Rodney Thank you, Rodney! Happy to hear 😀 I also like to go back to the fundamentals repeatedly, in my own practice. This is part of why I insisted on starting this challenge!

      If you want to give the challenge a try, I'd love to see a recording of you practicing one of these exercises! I will join soon.

      Like 1
  • Excercise I did:. All, but I posted the rest stroke practice.

    Thing I found hard: getting even sound out of my fingers.  I feel like my middle finger nail catches on the string, even though it is shorter then my index finger, and makes a sharper sound....  I even experimented with index ring alternation to see if it gives me a more even sound.

     

    PS:. I wanted to say thanks to tone base for putting this challenge out there.  As someone that cannot read music (yet) it is really nice to see an accessible beginner challenge that doesn't require site reading!

     

    https://youtu.be/gapv1yoXZ9M

    Like 4
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Michael Great job, Michael! Thanks a lot for sharing with us! 😁 I was very happy to see your video!

      You're right, the middle finger has a bit of a different sound in the recording, and it may well be related to the nail shape.

      More importantly for these exercises however, what I'm noticing is that the middle finger has a very easy time going away from the strings at the same time as the index finger plays the next note - the index finger does not however do that at the same rate.

      Rather, while the middle finger is playing, the index finger is sort of staying behind in the same position, instead of getting ready for its turn by moving away from the strings.

      This is something I've had to fight in my own practice for very long, which is why I know working on it can bring great benefit.

      Try it out and let me know what happens!

      Here's an exercise for you:

      Hold an object, such as a pencil (or your own left-hand index finger) parallel to the string, about half an inch away from it while you play the rest-stroke exercise.

      At the same time as playing a note with the index finger, try to get the middle finger to hit the pencil.

      Do the same with the index finger while the middle finger is playing and you'll see that one of them has an easier time than the other in actually reaching the pencil.

      Try to slap the pencil though! Not just touch it, but "hit" it with momentum. Of course, that is an exaggeration of the movement, but it might train your fingers well for this sort of alternation. Let me know if you get a chance to try!

      Like 3
    • Mircea thank you!  I will try that today and let you know how it goes.

      Like 2
    • Michael Bravo!!👍

      Like 1
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Michael Awesome! 😀 hope it helps - it certainly helped me, when I started working on that

      Like
    • MirceaTeam
    • Head of Guitar
    • Mircea
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view
    • Exercises you worked on: All of them (1a - 3c)
    • One thing you found easy: Even after a period of about a week of not practicing too much, after only 2-3 minutes of warming up, I had an easy time playing a loud, even and strong tone that I know would project far in a concert hall. Seems like all the practice I did in my teens and early 20s was worth it! I still "forget" the correct feeling after a break from practicing, but recover it within minutes rather than months because of all the technical work I've already put in.
    • One thing you found difficult: I keep tending to slightly rotate my forearm to the right, exacerbating the length difference between my index and middle fingers. I know that just rotating my wrist to the left (counterclockwise) from the forearm helps a lot, and yet I keep defaulting to not doing it after a period of not practicing. Must be from my early childhood habits of touching the string on the right side of my fingernails, as opposed to the left.
    Like 2
  • Day 2

    Broken nails! i and p nails broke while digging up the vegetable beds.

     

    Approached the exercises slightly differently:

    Created a bar 70 BMP, 8 notes per bar. Again I highlighted beats 1 and 5 with a different tone and set the practice to 60 bars so each exercise was 60 bars.

    For free strokes I tried moving my RH to different places (ponticello to taso?). For rest strokes I paid attention to my hand. The broken nails made getting even tone impossible so I tried using a and m fingers. I've generally only used a with arpeggios.

    What I found easier: The free stroke thumb action was a lot more accurate.

    What I found more difficult:  Using my a finger made everything more difficult - uneven tone and volume.  Also, moving my hand while p was planted made the move more difficult as the thumb tended to press into the string instead of gliding along it - too much tension, not relaxing it.

     

    I also noticed my hand lifts when playing rest strokes with m (most probably due to it being a lot longer. Rest strokes were cleaner if I flattened my wrist.

    Like 2
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Mehmet Oh no, your nails! I hate when that stuff happens - just two months ago I managed to break my p nail really badly by literally walking into a door frame while I was distracted by my phone 😂 so annoying!

      Changing from tasto to ponticello is a really cool thing to practice though! Did you find that worked or did the planting of the p on the 5th string cause a lot of noise while you were moving the hand around (assuming you did have it planted)?

      Also curious to hear about the lifting you mention - I have had that happen a lot while playing free stroke (I think almost everyone goes through a phase of battling that issue), but not a lot while doing rest stroke. Were you planting the p on the bass strings? (this is basically the same question from the paragraph above, haha!)

      Like
    • Mircea Yes the thumb was planted for  tasto to ponticello, free stroke and rest stroke.

      The sliding felt awkward and squeaky.  I have tried another session after re-reading people's notes and saw you mentioned it in your post - quote:   I keep tending to slightly rotate my forearm to the right, exacerbating the length difference between my index and middle fingers....

      Rotating my hand to the left and also making my fingers more parallel seems to help. Thanks.

       

      The main reason I did another right hand session though was something I heard you mention in one of the livestreams - speed bursts. I set the metronome to 40, 8 beats per bar, alternating sounds on the beat and off the beat and played one bar as quavers (8th notes), one bar as 16ths for a few bars then a bar 8th notes, a bar.... don't know what it's called but 24th? 6 notes (two lots of triplets)  for a few and managed 32nds all free stroke i m though so tone was not even.   

      Like 1
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Mehmet very cool! Happy to hear my trick worked for you! And wow, combining advice from different sources (in this case, different livestreams, albeit from the same teacher) - this is how professionals do it 😁 I am very impressed!

      As for playing 24 notes in a 4-beat measure (that's what you meant, right?), those would be sextuplets (my little students always chuckle when I say this word 😂).

      The names go like this:

      • duplets (yes, you can have duplets in ternary time signatures, like 3/8 or 6/8)
      • triplets
      • quadruplets
      • quintuplets
      • sextuplets
      • septuplets
      • etc.
      Like
    •  Yes, 24 beats in a 4 beat measure. Thanks for the names.

      Like 1
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Mehmet my pleasure! 😁

      Like
    • I was only able to practice for 5 minutes today but tried each exercise without metronome this time.  (Better some than none at all, I figured.)
    • I found it easier to use free stroke using i and m than I did with rest stroke and p easier with rest stroke (as someone else also pointed out).
    • I forgot to extend my fingers this time but will work on that tomorrow.

    This challenge is such a good idea!  I had been drifting away from practicing, but this will put me back into picking up my guitar again!

    Like 2
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Desi Husband Awesome job, Desi! Congratulations on joining the challenge and sticking with it despite the lack of time! (I know exactly how you feel, I have to fight through that every day, myself!)

      Very cool though - this sort of observations (free stroke being easier with i, m and rest stroke being easier with p) represent the most important step towards achieving good technique: awareness! Just out of curiosity, do you play with fingernails? 

      Like
    • Mircea Unfortunately, I fingernails aren't listening to me and haven't grown very well.

      Like 1
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