Not Fun

Some weeks ago I decided that I needed to gain a better skill level on note bending, I could bend draw notes on 1,2,3,4 and 6 but hitting, say a half step bend on 3 draw was hit and miss.  I got together a list of Jerry Portnoy practice licks and some John Gindick material and started working away.

The main objectives were to be able to hit any given bent note straight on and to be able to move cleanly from bent to unbent notes.

The four hole was fairly easy to get, the two hole was also do-able.  The 1 hole took a bit more work, entirely down to dropping my jaw and increasing the resonance.

The three hole has been a nightmare, my attempts result in either no bend or full, 3 half step bends, or anywhere in between.  I have been stuck on this for weeks now to the point of fixation. The final straw was when I realised that I had trained myself to flatten every draw note even without trying to bend them.

With a bit of practice I have pretty much corrected the unintentional flattening of notes, I guess the muscle memory anticipated that any inhale would be a bend 🙂

I was getting back to the three draw practice but really finding the whole thing a chore.

Last night I noticed Adam Gussow had posted a new video on Youtube introducing a new collection of Jam Tracks, a few minutes and a very few dollars later I was watching the video that accompanies the tracks.

Adam steps through each track giving some analysis of what is going on and suggestions on how to get the most out of them.  Relatively early in the video he plays one of his beginner chord rhythms to one of the tracks, and a switch came on, hey I can do that!

It was a real wake up call, I had worked so long on the one topic that I had developed an ‘I can’t play this’ mind set, forgetting that although I may be struggling with one area of play there are some things I can do, and all in all compared to 6 months ago an incredible amount.

Adam makes almost the same point towards the end of the video that the tracks have varied use and offer something to all levels of skill.

Sometimes it to too easy to concentrate on what you can’t do rather than on what you can.

The battle with the 3 hole draw will continue but a strong mental note to make space to enjoy what I can do and include it in the practice sessions.

For info on Adams latest offering check Youtube.

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