Guitar Lessons by Chip McDonald - February 2021

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Lead Guitar Tips from.. The Tech Lead?

 Hello, The Guitar Teacher here.


(...that's a contextually funny in joke, trust me)

 I believe there is some kinesthetic overlap between typing and guitar playing.  

 When you touch type you're using sublimated muscle memory to press something that represents an alphanumeric character. You don't think about the act of pressing the key, the key representing an alphanumeric character, the character being part of a "word", the word being something you have to consciously spell before your type it out, the word part of a sentence, sentence structure, paragraphs, composition.   

 You touch type (hopefully) from a stream of consciousness, controlling your thinking between the immediate future - your buffer memory, and a more "distant future" of your compositional sense, how what you're typing relates to your overall intent.  

  In my opinion, guitar playing should be this way.  You shouldn't be thinking "I need to put my finger "there" to make the note "D" sound".  "D is part of the D diatonic scale, which is part of a D major triad consisting of D, F# and A, and that's a subset of diatonic harmony," etc. etc. etc..  It should be a reflex if you really want to "speak" when improvising.  You don't speak to other people the way you would write a book, would you?  

In my opinion.  Most people appear to be deciding to consciously do high order math in order to justify their note choices.  That is what I would call an "approach" to process, but different from what I choose to do.  Instinctual choice I think is the point of improvising.  Constructing "sentences" and "paragraphs" from extemporaneous thought, versus pre-planning.  

 Back to typing:

  In the 90s I had my typing speed up over 100 words per minute.  Sometimes I could get it up to a 1:1 or faster speed at an "average speaking voice" tempo, but it's nowhere near that now.  The guy in this video - an ex-Google, ex-Facebook programmer, types at 170 wps - which is very fast, "guitar hero" speed.  I would attribute that to an alpha actinin-3 gene polymorphism (as I've referenced in prior posts), but it mostly down to some simple tips he references within his video.   

 Some of which applies to playing guitar.  Ergonomic positioning, keyboard switches, pitch.  The most important tip being: "don't go faster than you can type perfectly".  I've harped on that before; speed is easy if you're willing to practice something at an optimal tempo perfectly.  You can't do that and not get faster.  Speed is easy. It's very straightforward.

 But watch Techlead's video.  He has a very "technical guitar" approach to typing, that can be motivational I think to practicing guitar (choosing the proper gear, mechanical approach, competitive mindset, etc.), and his videos are "entertaining by an extremely dry wit" as well.