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Thread: Developing Speed: What helped you?

  1. #1
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    Developing Speed: What helped you?

    In a similar vein to some other threads, I thought a collection of ideas that really helped develop speed could be useful....

    I measure my success with speed only when I achieve this speed with control and can play with ease...something that I pull off licks only 75% of the time, the licks are not included in my repertoire

    Couple of things that really helped me achieve increases in speed....

    (1) Speed Kills - Michaelangelo Batio....this video...really I was very skeptical about it since I am not a fan as such of MAB's music....and I didnt know what he could bring to the table that other shredders hadnt taught me.....but i found that the video was VERY useful and he really shares some insight into the topic of playing fast....very well worth a watch

    (2) Troy Stetina - Speed Mechanics for lead guitar...incredible book....especially sections like the Art of Practicing....they were very helpful

    (3)Marty Friedman - Exotic Metal Guitar.....lot of people consider this a poor video...but the sheer virtuosity of the exercises in this video force you to relook at your muting techniques.....and develop your sweep picking and economy picking really well....Frang Gambale's video helps in this aspect too

    And lastly as pure inspiration.....

    (4)The legendary guitar of Jason Becker..... brilliant videos showcasing some blistering speed with great ease(ala the late great Shawn Lane).....most of the stuff is too difficult to play for me...but watching it is a treat and an inspiration....


    At the end of the day...I am using a combination of Legato(with slight use of hybrid picking),Alternate Picking and economy picking....and am trying to come up with a system that works for me

    Lets hear some suggestions!!

  2. #2
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    Time.

  3. #3
    JazzNerd gersdal's Avatar
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    I've never been too concerned about speed, but whatever speed I have gained has been gained by learning tunes by e.g. Al Di Meola and Steve Morse. My suggestion would be:
    1. Practice stuff that you can use on stage, not non-musical excercises.
    2. Learn by playing the tunes of your favourite guitar players.

    And yes, it will take time.

    Quote Originally Posted by UKRuss
    Time.
    Oh, you helpfull cynic

  4. #4
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    I first concerned myself with speed back in 1986 (everybody was doing it-lol). What really helped me was learning solos by randy rhodes (especially Mr. Crowley) note for note and also Yngwie Malmsteen. It was dicey at the start but as I kept plugging away at them i eventually became very fast, clean, and fluid.
    Another thing that really helped me burn the wood off my fretboard was to learn scales in 3 note per string patterns.
    Utilization of the pinky is also very important and cannot be overemphasized for increasing fingering speed. I had to train my hand to hold a more classical type position over the frets.
    On the picking side of things, what really developed my picking speed was to stop flopping my middle, ring, and pinky when I picked. I basically pick with a modified closed fist using a combination of wrist and elbow movements.
    Last edited by daystar; 04-29-2009 at 01:03 PM.

  5. #5
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    I agree with UKRuss and gersdal. Speed comes with time.
    The more you play, the faster you get, simple as that. Doesn't matter what you play, as long as you're doing a lot.
    I don't believe in practising speed as such. Practice all the other stuff - the important stuff (y'now, music...). Speed will improve automatically and steadily.
    Speed doesn't matter much anyway (er so I guess I shouldn't be posting in this thread ). Control is what matters.

  6. #6
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    A small group of my "students"* are suddenly bluegrass enthusiasts, so I am having to teach them All Things Bluegrass. If one wants to learn speed (while in control of more than the physical aspects) bluegrass is excellent.

    Developing speed and accuracy while improvising over a major or minor scale based melody can hurt no guitarist. Can one play faster? Sure, but in my experience anything faster divorces itself from genuine improv and enters the realm of technique-driven music.

    *I am not a music instructor. I am just some dude who used to play a few instruments.
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

  7. #7
    He's dark. He's a man. Darkman's Avatar
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    Developing Speed: What helped you?
    Learning to love my metronome

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkman
    Learning to love my metronome
    That's crazy! No one can love the metronome!! xD
    Why do today what you can leave for tomorrow? Hidden Content

  9. #9
    Let metal flow Death (Chuck)'s Avatar
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    Well... I have been away for a little while. I had no Internet for two years... So I was locked in my room with my guitar … and finally I am playing fast.



    I was frustrated like many other players here. I could simply not play faster than 140 bpm 16th. I watched all the videos.. listened to all the guitar gods... did all the exercises.... And I made NO progress. Not even 1 bpm...

    I really wanted to play that Petrucci chromatic lick. ( yeah the youtube rip off thing)
    But I could not do it.

    So I thought about it. Why cant I do it? What is so difficult?
    If u want to play fast u need to put three things together. The left hand, the right hand, and finally u need to synchronize it. Thats why I decided to segregate the problems and work on them one by one.

    I think u can compare it with a math equation. If u are a math noob u should do it step by step and not try to calculate three things at once.

    So I did legato workouts for the left. I have to say I was not really thinking about speed here. I just did them for a very long period.

    For the right hand I worked with one lick a lot. The lick doesn´t make to much sense but it really helped a lot. I simply enhanced each note that I picked on that lick ( from 1 to 2, 3, 4, 8, 16, 32, and even 64 ) I really gained control. ( Its important to accent the first note of each Picking-Pattern ) Playing 4 notes per string was as easy as one note per string.. it somehow became self-evident. I got faster without even pushing it.

    So I could play one note very fast. Than a started to play that Petrucci lick again. And I it just worked. Not long ago I could not play this lick over 140 bpm, now I can play it over 240 bpm 16th.
    ( Yeah Padawan I will send u a file soon g* )
    I still have to put it all together. The left and the right hand. But I am on the right way. I can just advice u and everyone else to break things down and to do it one by one.

  10. #10
    Neverending Ameretat's Avatar
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    Here's a problem I have - and on which I'd love to hear your input, guys:

    Let's assume your goal is to play ultra-fast and you are always advised to start slowly and gradually work your way up using the exact same technique for ever-increasing speed. I've been somewhat successful with this approach for some years now, but I've recently payed very close attention to very slow and very fast movements, making some startling discoveries:

    When I move successfully from very slow to very fast, I actually use a completely different movement than the one I started practicing. Comparing my very slow to my very fast movements, I found they were in many ways dissimilar. I then took the fast movement and tried to use it on something slow and found it impossible to do. This was very strange. I tested it a lot, worked a lot on it and came to following conclusion:

    It is impossible to use the exact same movements for playing slow and playing maximum speed, because the more you speed up, the more of a role momentum will play in your movements. Makes sense, right? A horse can't gallop using the same movements as when walking slowly and you can't run using your normal slow walking movements. Whenever I successfully sped up, it was probably because my hands unconsciously or intuitively changed the type of motion to fit the speed. Speed walls are probably a result of trying to speed up an unfitting "slow motion" to great tempos.

    Therefor, one should always try to speed up stuff as quickly as possible to maximum speed, to avoid bad habits. But how can you speed something up that you... well... can't yet play that quickly? The best I've come up with so far is breaking down the "exercise" into very small fragments of only a couple of notes and speeding up those. Coupled with some intense concentration, you should easily find the correct type of motion, especially if you emphasize using only the minimum required muscle tension. Then you expand and merge some fragments together, always reinventing the correct motion to fit the new situation.

    What do you guys think? Anyone else noticed anything similar? More importantly, did anyone else find different solutions than the one I presented (mine is still somewhat experimental)?
    Last edited by Ameretat; 05-14-2009 at 02:59 AM.
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  11. #11
    He's dark. He's a man. Darkman's Avatar
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    I was frustrated like many other players here. I could simply not play faster than 140 bpm 16th. I watched all the videos.. listened to all the guitar gods... did all the exercises.... And I made NO progress. Not even 1 bpm...
    You don't think 140bpm 16th is fast?

  12. #12
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    I believe that if you learn and practice something that is, while technically demanding, musically interesting, you're doing yourself a far bigger favor than if you are just, as Pat Metheny put it, polishing the faucet. The faucet will only get so clean. Eventually, you're gonna need a drink of water.

    To be sure, the polishing of the faucet is analogous to practicing technique only. Unless you're extremely fastidious, you're only going to polish the faucet occasionally, say weekly or bi-weekly. The rest of the time, you're gonna be using the faucet for its intended purpose.

    So, with that metaphor in mind, I would say to practice technique on a weekly basis, setting aside a day to practice technique alone. The rest of the time, and I ascribe validity to practicing a sum total of six days a week, which leaves us with five days beyond Technique Day, one ought to devote oneself to learning new tunes, getting involved with music and refining the new tunes, or else your gonna sound like everybody else who just practices technique alone, which is fine, if that is what you want. But I would rather come up with a unique take on an established thing, or write a tune of my own. Technique will fall into place with time.

  13. #13
    Let metal flow Death (Chuck)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkman
    You don't think 140bpm 16th is fast?
    Well, to be honest .. No i dont think so. If u like players like malmsteen or Petrucci you want to play their stuff. And if u play their stuff u will notice that some licks dont work on slow tempo. I remember i postet a malmsteen lick here ( a few years ago) . And someone said its borring and he is already playing it at 120...Petrucci plays very often small chromatic licks in his solos and they seem to work only at high speed. And many neoclassic licks dont sound if u play them under lets say 160.

    And its not only about speed. Its about control and accuracy. If your limit is lets say 160. You can play 140 probably well. If your Limit is 248, you will be able to play 200 very controlled and well.

  14. #14
    Neverending Ameretat's Avatar
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    I stand with Chuck on this one. 16th notes at 140 bpm isn't really that fast. Especially if you like death metal. Many tech-death bands play in the 240 bpm range. Fans of this kind of music have different notions of "fast".

    On the other hand, even musicians playing slower kinds of music benefit immensely from being able to play extremely fast and technical stuff. The slow stuff becomes so easy by comparison, that it frees you to concentrate almost exclusively on interpretation and showmanship, when on stage.

    If you are able to play a lick at 240 bpm, that means when playing it at a "normal" speed of 140 bpm makes you able not to look at the frets, jump all over the place and bang your head against the monitors, while still maintaining the integrity of your sound. It's almost as if the hands play all by themselves and you can lean back and enjoy the show.
    Last edited by Ameretat; 05-15-2009 at 09:57 AM.
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  15. #15
    Registered User Mike7771's Avatar
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    Scales, Scales, and more Scales. There were of course other things I did to build speed but this was the most helpful. I also agree that a metronome can be very helpful too.

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