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Pedal Toning

A question about pedal trills and adding quick pedal moves came up on the Facebook Group . . .

Q: On a lick where I need to jump on and off a pedal quickly, I”d usually have my B pedal down the whole time and just rock on & off the A. But that is pretty slow for me. Would it be better to not be on the B, but just go on & off the A, and then quickly press down the B?

A: Your physicality is different from mine so ultimately you will have to sort out what’s easiest for you. As I say throughout the course, “There is never a one-size-fits-all” for most issues and this one is no different. I have seen players play very well using a flat foot (as I tend to favor) and others clearly favor the side of the shoe because of how they angle the foot. Those two options and everything in between works great.

I believe the best way to memorize using pedals is to practice jumping randomly from one single pedal to another. Where they are located needs to be in the muscle memory and to get there we must do this one pedal at a time. When on my Fender 400 at 9 years old my   teacher saw me looking down at my pedals for placement. She stopped me in my tracks and said “Don’t be looking at anything but the bar when playing”. She quizzed me after that for a few weeks by just saying hit pedal numbers randomly and if I didn’t get to that pedal fast? She would say “Paul, you don’t know them, keep practicing”.

We need to practice all issues over long periods of time. Make this your mantra:  “I’m done not when I reach the point where I get it right, but until I can never screw it up”…that is when information is stored in the memory.

It sounds like you have memorized a (pivot point) as a singular way for locating pedals. Single note playing requires fast foot movements, sometimes skipping over pedals and going from one singular pedal to another. Pivot points are awesome, but we do need more options for using the pedals.

Try practicing the following exercise for a few weeks, 2 minutes a day:

Write on cue cards (and place them in front of you) the 24 numbered combinations that are possible if you have 4 floor pedals. I would pick two or three of those and repeat them each day. Do the same with your knee levers. This really does not take long to master and you will love the end results. Doing this will clear the mind from worrying about what the feet need to do.

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