Do you remember the scene in The Matrix when Neo is “training?” Morpheus looks over at Neo strapped to a chair with a jack in his head and Neo says with tired surprise in his voice, “I know Kung Fu.”
Neo had Kung Fu programmed into his mind like a computer program. What may surprise you is that your fingers are not so dissimilar. In order for our fingers to learn they have to be programmed.
Unfortunately for us we can’t just plug a jack into our fingers and use binary code to program them. The way we program our fingers is by repetition. Remember the Law of Guitar Playing: the way we do things once is most likely how we will do it again.
This brings up an interesting dynamic to playing guitar: if you play it badly once you are more likely going to play it badly again. Before you get depressed you need to know the exception to this rule: just because you play something slow doesn’t mean you can’t play it fast next time and vice versa.
The question is how can we use repetition to “program” our fingers to do what we want them to do? Here’s how.
• Play it slow and perfect. To play an unfamiliar passage “perfectly” you have to play it slowly.
• Use a metronome. Unlike us metronomes are perfect. To program our fingers perfectly we need to play to something that is perfect.
• Don’t attempt to play it fast until you are satisfied with how you play it slow.
• Relax man. Muscle tension is like a computer virus. Debug your muscles by practicing as relaxed as possible.
Programming your fingers can take longer than it took Tank to program Neo’s mind, but the effects are just as significant. Start the process now and you will be a Guitar Fu master sooner than you think.
You can sound good.