Before we break out the balloons and party hats, here are the caveats. I can only do this after about ten minutes of warmup. Even then, it’s hit or miss. I tried to show one of my students that I could hit a burst at 184, but couldn’t do it. Now I know how it feels to hit a hole-in-one when no one’s around to see it. There’s more. I can only do the burst starting with my index finger. For some reason, starting with my middle finger doesn’t work as well. I can’t do the burst on treble strings. Apparently the different feel of the trebles increases the difficulty just enough that my hand can’t yet do on trebles what it can do on basses. (Weird.) And crossing from one string to another? Forget it. Finally, I can’t maintain this speed for anything more than a short burst.
So my 184 burst is like those particles that flicker in and out of existence at CERN. It’s all very neat to observe in the lab, but it’s too evanescent to use in real guitar playing.
Nonetheless, let’s step back a moment. Never in almost 40 years of playing has my right hand done this. Four notes per click at 184 with rest stroke? Never happened before. So things are looking up. In spite of all the caveats, no one’s gonna rain on my parade. Today I’m a happy guy.
So what’s next? I need to tinker with this burst to make it something I can produce on demand. Good technique should be reliable. Further, I need to be able to do it on any string, starting with either i or m. I don’t want a finicky technique that only works under narrow circumstances.
But damn, this is so cool to hear my old, slow right hand hit a burst at 184. I might spend the rest of the evening listening to that audio sample over and over again. Practice? I’ll start that again on Monday. By the way, during an internet conversation about my right hand project, I wrote that if I hit 144, I’d celebrate by running naked through the streets. This prompted the following reply from across the pond:
“I think a nice cup of tea and a large slice of battenburg cake is much more sensible.”—Paul Croft, England
If you ask me, the English just don’t know how to celebrate.
——[My next post will be on February 21, 2011.]——