Fine motor control skills

Techniques, licks, tabs, chords, tutorials
Post Reply
User avatar
MojoJim
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:38 pm

Fine motor control skills

Post by MojoJim » Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:34 am

As I learn more stuff and start to move my fingers around the fretboard more I find that I often almost hit the right string on the right fret - but I often miss it by a little. I get fret buzz, I mute the adjacent string, I mute the string I am supposed to be playing, I slop over into the next fret a bit, etc.

A lot of that is to be expected initially while I develop dexterity - but I have the same problem typing. I type pretty fast but with a high error rate. I don't know if I developed bad typing habits early and never corrected them - or whether I have finger dyslexia and will never have the fine motor control to play well. I sure don't want to repeat any of the type of mistakes I may have developed while learning to type.

I've read various theories on overcoming this problem. One theory even recommends spending some practice time moving your fingers from position to position very, very, very slowly. Another recommends placing your fingers in the new position in a very specific order. Some recommend analyzing which fingers have to move how far and working from that perspective. Others recommend practice, practice and more practice.

Does anyone have good tips and techniques for developing (and/or improving) this skill?

User avatar
Strummer07
Posts: 671
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:59 pm

Re: Fine motor control skills

Post by Strummer07 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:51 am

MJ .
I am probably wrestling with some of the same issues as you are. So I will be intrested in all tips and suggestions
I regularly find , especially when picking uop the guitar and not warming up that my right hand is out of synch with my left ...

I fret a note ( quite well !) and then play a different string , usulayy the one below the string I should be playing .......!! :yikes: and that really naffs you orf!!

My guitar teacher always gets me to slow down until I do fret cleanly .....and empasises that speed is not so important until your build up to it slowly ...fretting cleanly at all times

Hence the metronome (which I hate !!).............and slowly cranking it up

I've just got a book of exercises

Ten Minute -Acoustic Guitar exercises by David Mead
ISBN 1-84609-497-6
and as well as some great basic info in Part 1 ."Everything you need to know !"

part 2 is a whole series of finger dexterity exercises in 6 batches (progressively getting more difficult) of 5 exercises .....designed to last for 2 mins each ......hence the 10 min workout.

each exercise is also classified with the number of reps you do in 2 mins .........classified as anything from a C- up to an A+ .when you are getting anywhere near A+ you move onto the next set .

It works for me because I really need some sort of route and targets .otherwise I just fiddle about ..my guitar learning discipline is rubbish tbh. I have more books than you can shake a stick at .and initially thought "Do I Really need this ??" and "am I not a bit past this ??" ...but its doing me well !!! and I'm not too proud to go back if it helps me move forwards .

I am still on the 2 sets of of exercises !!!! :alright: and still needa couple of beers to get to A+ in a few of 'em :thumbsup:

Frankly they are as good for an electric as they are for acoustic .and already after 10 days or so of irregular use .my fingers are more dextrous and I am getting some digit independence ..........So i Think it is just a matter of practise practise practise.

10 Minute Acoustic Guitar Workout (Book & CD) (Paperback)
by David Mead

4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
6 Reviews ..................5 star: (5)

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... &x=16&y=19

any more tips and suggestions ( nice ones please !!) appreciated
"Death is just a heartbeat away"
lyric from "Out in The Fields"
Gary Moore 1952-2011

User avatar
MikeJackal
Posts: 264
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 10:28 pm

Re: Fine motor control skills

Post by MikeJackal » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:17 am

If you play the wrong note 3 or 4 times people think you meant to do it and you're just jazz free-forming, little trick for you there :).

Seriously though there are a million and one techniques for learning and i have to agree with the old school and say practice makes perfect. Guitar playing is mostly down to memory, remembering what notes go in what order and muscle memory, training the muscles in your arms and hands to get themselves into some pretty weird shapes. Just think of an E shape barre chord, when in gods name would you ever make your hands go to that position in the rest of your life.

I am the last person who should ever give advice on structured learning and practice so i won't, i'll just tell you what works for me, stick on a blues backing track (preferably a loop that can go on for hours) and keep playing until your hands hurt, spend more time in a specific box of the scale and find out what sounds good within it. Whatever you do, keep it fun and keep it fresh.

P.S. "Played it 'til my fingers bled, it was the summer of '69". Bryan Adams is a tit, if your hand hurts, stop until they don't.
"You Only Live But Once, When Your Dead Your Done...So Let The Good Times Roll" - B.B. King
"I'm So Lonesome I Don't Even Have Me No Friend, I've Done So Much Crying Will I Ever Laugh Again" - Peter Green

User avatar
oneeyedslide
Posts: 156
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 8:19 pm

Re: Fine motor control skills

Post by oneeyedslide » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:57 am

That Jazz free form thing is supposed to be a secret so don't pass it too far! L77S hits it on the nail about practice. The best way to get your fingers doing what you want is to keep practicing. Play with a looping backing track and when your hand hurts, force yourself to listen to the loop with your playing recorded over it until your hand quits hurting. Well, that probably wouldn't be keeping it fun and fresh after awhile. That might even be considered self torture. But I have a lot of fun with looping tracks and playing to them. Makes a great practice tool.

Actually Lynyrd77Skynyrd hit the nail on the head all the way around. Great advice.

User avatar
MojoJim
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:38 pm

Re: Fine motor control skills

Post by MojoJim » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:40 am

Well, you know, every time I ask a question on this forum the heart of the answer seems to be "practice, practice, practice". Don't you guys have an magic formulas for playing blues? :whistle: :wall:

Actually, it's really good news. If you said, "We don't have to practice. We are all naturally gifted and it all comes completely easy to us" - then I would really despair. :cry: :baby:

So it's back to picking up the guitar and trying a little harder for a little longer. :music1: :music1: I can see progress in my playing as time goes by so I'm not in the least discouraged. Thanks for all your input. :clap:

Strummer - I ordered the book from Amazon a few minutes ago. I was batching up so other stuff for an order so I included the book. I expect it will be a big help. :thumbsup:

User avatar
12bar
Site Admin
Posts: 3099
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:05 pm

Re: Fine motor control skills

Post by 12bar » Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:05 am

MojoJim wrote:Well, you know, every time I ask a question on this forum the heart of the answer seems to be "practice, practice, practice". Don't you guys have an magic formulas for playing blues? :whistle: :wall:
Well, go to the crossroads somewhere in Mississippi at midnight or dawn and sell your soul to the devil... :whistle:
However, other problems may arise.

Practice IS the key. :guitarist:

User avatar
Blindboy
Posts: 1787
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:34 pm

Re: Fine motor control skills

Post by Blindboy » Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:07 am

Lynyrd77Skynyrd wrote:If you play the wrong note 3 or 4 times people think you meant to do it and you're just jazz free-forming, little trick for you there :).
I use this trick a lot. Hit a wrong note, recover, repeat it so it sounds like you meant it. There is a good example of this in my "Blues for Mikey" tune I posted up a while back (blowing off steam thread). Extra credit if you can spot it and tell me where it is. :lol: :roll:
As the others said, practice a lot. Start slow and work up to speed. It is doable, just takes a while. :thumbsup:

Gerd... you gave away the secret. :rofl:
"Throw yo' big leg over me Mama, I might not feel this good again!"

User avatar
VikingBlues
Posts: 4300
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:44 pm

Re: Fine motor control skills

Post by VikingBlues » Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:14 am

Practice is an amazing thing. The brain ends up getting all those muscles to work in exactly the right way and the notes play just right ...... sometimes! Hmmm, back to more practice. :D

It's like running down a flight of stairs - all those months of learning to walk means we can do it without thinking - when we start to think about it or get distracted by trying to do or think something else ... then whoops!!!!

It's also like golf - once a hobby of mine (well I do live in Scotland). The best advice I had was to visualise the shot you wanted to hit in your head and mentally see a replay of it - then play the shot. The brain / muscle co-ordination kicks in much better when focussed. I remember having to fight with it though - not getting distracted by seeing that beach on the right while visualising the shot - oops I thought about the beach and that's where the ball ended up.

I think when the practice really kicks in and pays off is when we mentally hit that guitar playing zone of the brain when all thoughts of the realities of life don't creep in to disturb us. Great when it happens - doubly great for me as when I've been in that zone it improves my mood and state of mind. :clap:

I also like that play the wrong note again trick - nice to have when you're on take 15 of a recording and really don't want to do a take 16.
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

User avatar
Strummer07
Posts: 671
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:59 pm

Re: Fine motor control skills

Post by Strummer07 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:13 am

Lynyrd77Skynyrd.............Love it !!! .............That is a cool trick .......( great band btw!!)

This play the wrong note ..but then do it 3-4 times !! :D ................Whey Hey !! as they say in Geordieland!!

the visualistaion thing ( VB) is also pretty important

Can't recall who's quote it is but it goes something like

"All things are created twice ........first in your head, your imagination......and then in reality"

Imagine it ....do it
"Death is just a heartbeat away"
lyric from "Out in The Fields"
Gary Moore 1952-2011

User avatar
MojoJim
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:38 pm

Re: Fine motor control skills

Post by MojoJim » Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:35 am

I'll finish my input on the topic with one more post.

I could probably get to the Crossroads with a 12 - 14 hour drive. But we have a big bronze statue of SRV on the banks of the river that runs through Austin and it's only 15 minutes away. I wonder if I went down there at midnight and rubbed his guitar if I would receive any special blessings?

I love the idea of playing the bad note again like you mean it. We had a saying in high tech: "If you can't fix it, feature it". I always thought that was semi-profound. I think these are closely related concepts.

I totally believe in visualization. If you can't see yourself doing it in you mind - then you probably can't do it.

Thanks for all the input and encouragement.

Post Reply