Liner Notes
The FATpick Blog

You're probably familiar with the 10,000 hours concept -- the one from Malcolm Gladwell, not the Dan + Shay / Justin Bieber song -- the one that states that if you want to become an expert at something all you need to do is invest ten thousand hours in it. There's some debate about the accuracy of that claim but to be sure, if you invest the equivalent of 5 years of a full-time job at something you'll be better at it than when you started.

I don't know if 10,000 hours is the magic number that leads you to expertise, but I do know that regular practice it the key to getting better at something. That's especially true of a musical instrument like a guitar. If you want to get better at playing guitar -- quickly -- practicing for at least 20 minutes per day is definitely one way to get there.

In support of that goal, FATpick includes a personal statistics tracker.

To find it, go to "My Profile" (the "person" icon on the header of each screen in FATpick, or the "My Profile" menu button -- M keyboard shortcut -- from the FATpick home screen), then click on "My Stats".

There you will currently find:

  • I've played - some basic metrics that total all of your activity in FATpick, including the number of songs you have played, the total practice time and the number of distinct notes that represents. These might be vanity metrics but it is gratifying to watch those numbers climb over time.

  • My Activity This Week - a rolling window into the time you spent on guitar practice in the past 7 days. For me, this is the most import metric. Regular practice is the key to improvement. FATpick tries to make that practice easier, more productive and more fun. But this is where the rubber hits the road. If you want to get better at playing guitar you need to practice playing guitar.

  • My Most Active Times - a heat-map that illustrates the days and time of the week you practice most often. Each bubble in this chart represents a specific hour of a specific day of the day of the week, starting with midnight to 1 AM on Sunday in the upper left and finishing with 11 PM to midnight on Saturday in the lower right. The color of each bubble corresponds to the overall proportion of your practice time that occurs in that window. For example the guitarist in the screenshot above most often between 8 PM and 9 PM on Monday evenings -- represented by the deep red circle -- and is often active for several hours after that, as indicated by the yellow-orange circles that follow the red one. His second most active practice time seems to be Monday noon (the orange circle). Maybe he works from home on Monday and takes this opportunity to sneak in some practice time.

I believe that My Activity this Week is the most important metric to monitor. If you want to see rapid improvement you should make sure that chart always shows at least 3 bars over 20 minutes. But the My Most Active Times chart may be the most insightful because it reveals information that may not be obvious to you. Use this chart to identify your natural practice times -- the times when you are both available and motivated to play guitar -- and then JEALOUSLY GUARD THOSE HOURS to protect your practice time. If the key to improvement is spending time at practice, the key to spending time at practice is intentionally setting aside time to do that. The heatmap gives you some insight into your natural cycles. Don't be afraid to lean into that schedule to make the most of your practice time.

We're collecting richer data than these -- including the songs you play most often, your net miss/early/late/perfect count and so on -- but we're not sure of the best way to present that data just yet. If there are data you'd especially like to see, let us know.

FATpick is a guitar practice tool that presents auto-scrolling tabs synchronized with backing music. FATpick listens as you play along on your guitar, tracking the notes you hit or miss. Choose from the rapidly growing library of songs shared by others, or import custom songs by uploading Guitar Pro files.

"My Stats" is just one of FATpick's features.

FATpick is currently free for Windows and MacOS, even Linux.

(Fair Warning: We do want to charge for FATpick eventually, but we're still making it cooler. Early adopters can help us make the ultimate guitar practice tool and will get a sweet discount when we're finally ready to charge.)

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