Bipolar Thoughts

Line Speed Beauty

“Line, Speed, Beauty” is a philosophy I learned while reading an interview with a well-respected guitarist.

The concept is simple. Perfect your line. Make sure your run is clean, your chords are voiced clearly, and every note is there.

Build your speed. Once you have perfected your line work on playing it perfect as fast as possible, or at least up to the tempo of the song. The important thing most people forget about practicing is that it should be at half speed or slower. Once you can play it slow, work on playing it fast. It isn’t easy.

Make it beautiful. Once you can play it note for note and it is perfect, then add your artistic inflection to it. Add trills and licks and slides and permutation, change your strumming or pick pattern or dynamics and inflection. Make it your own. Give it your own style. Make it speak for you.

It is a wonderful way to attack learning a new thing on guitar, or any instrument really. But I have found that it is really applicable in a lot of aspects of life.

For example, in the interview the guitarist stated that he learned it from a boxing instructor. He implied this was a boxing thing before he ever applied it to music. Even though I don’t engage in any of these activities, I can see how it would be extremely applicable to craft work; learning how to make the thing, how to make it fast, and how to make it your own.

I’ve tried to apply this line of thought to help me achieve mental tranquility.

Perfect my line. Set goals and learn how to achieve them with some consistency. Goals like making it into work more regularly, getting out of bed with my alarm, not focusing on negative thinking, getting to the gym more regularly, reading more.

Build my speed. Come to expect that I can achieve these goals and use that momentum to create bigger goals.

Make it beautiful. This should simply be the result, that my life is healthier and in a better place.

I can never guarantee that I will be healthy for any period of time. I do not know when the next dip or rise will happen. But there is a lot of research that suggests that doing these small things, especially the ones I listed, can help stave off downturns in my mental health. It is something I have really never tried my hardest at and it is probably beyond time to do so.