View Full Version : some Q's about speed
12-30-2000, 12:15 PM
I've read several different books about gaining speed and and they differ on opinion on one thing.
Some say that you must perfectly play something before increasing your metronome or you will always play sloppy. Others say you must leave your comfort zone or you will never get faster.
I have been using the first method and I don't seem to be gettin any faster. What are your opinions on what works?
Also I heard another key to speed is relaxation. I can't seem to keep my jaw from locking if I play fast trills. What are ways you have learned to ease muscle tension.
Thanks in advance!
12-30-2000, 09:45 PM
I was taught to first be able to play something perfect before trying it faster, but once you can play it perfectly without a mistake then stick the tempo up 5-10 bmp, this puts you out side your comfort zone but no to much. Then practice at this tempo paying attention to your fingering and timing. Once you can play it perfectly at this tempo increase it and so on.
12-31-2000, 11:43 AM
I tend to believe in doing things the first way. I think it's easier to get something perfect at a low tempo then increase the speed than to play something at a high tempo and work out the bugs there. Make no mistake, playing at the high tempo will make you faster, but if you're missing notes and playing with uneven dynamics, well what's the point of playing fast? If you are playing something at a low tempo and you have it perfect, try upping the speed a bit. If you get to a speed that you can't really handle, instead of playing it there, go back to the highest speed you can play it very well at. I have definitely noticed results with this method. Think of it this way, if a weightlifter can't bench press 200 pounds, does he keep trying to push the bar up even though he can't? Or does he go back to 170 and do reps there?
As for muscle relaxation, same thing. Try playing whatever gets you tense at a low muscle. Pay attention to all your muscles, shoulder, arm, left hand fingers not in use, and ok, jaw. If there is a problem, concentrate on relaxing that muscle at that low tempo. As you up the speed, if you notice that you're slipping back into your old habits, wait a second and work out the kinks at a tempo you're familiar with. However, I've been told that my mouth goes into wierd positions when I play. I know lots of musicians who do this, and if it doesn't affect you're playing, (as shoulder or arm tension can) who cares?
01-02-2001, 09:32 PM
As I always say, if you want to fly you gotta crawl. no joke, I've discovered that they best way to get fast is to go slow when you practice, know where you are going (so a god knowledge of scales, have a sense of the melody you want, etc.) and a metronome isn't a bad idea (but I like drum machines or backing music better). And, yes, relaxation is key too. Far too many people treat shredding like a sport or hard work. I take a "Tao of Shred" approach (only half kidding ;) ) that centers on being totally at ease when I play and just letting things flow.
Also, you might consider looking into sweep picking. I've used a modified/alternate form of sweeping to develop speed.
01-02-2001, 09:39 PM
Bof, what's your opinion on adopting the classical position when sitting? I play a big ol archtop jazzbox, and I've been thinking about making the switch. I know it's mostly a classical thing, and yes I know looks nerdy, but it should still apply with an archtop pickstyle, and I'm told it's more ergonomical for the left hand. Fow I play fine in the classical position, but I'm not sure if I play better, any thoughts?
01-03-2001, 10:14 AM
I think the classical position for playing is a really good idea. I think it is pretty comfortable and is reasonable. I took some classical lessons years ago and for a long time I practiced my electrics in just that way. However, I now pretty much only stand when I play, perform, and rehearse.
01-11-2001, 04:02 AM
I took classical lessons for a year and found it very beneficial to my rock playing. I still use the footstool :D
01-11-2001, 09:32 AM
It does work well. The good thing is that by using that position you can still look cool and play the regular way when your friends come over.
01-28-2001, 05:18 PM
I agree...the best way to learn how to play somthing really fast is to learn it slow.(You have to crawl before you walk)
02-05-2001, 03:12 PM
when you start getting faster some time when you strum your pick tends to get stuck so what i do is turn is at a 45degree angle downward and it helps and i can go faster.
02-05-2001, 09:50 PM
this is a reply to the post just above mine. You are absolutely correct that a twist of the pick to get that angle can really facilitate speed...that's what I discovered anyway. I could never alternate pick the 'normal' way but when I turned it like you suggested, bam!
02-14-2001, 10:59 AM
Iīve laerned more guitar at my own that those crappy academical things that one people tried to pass me out. You can get more speed just playing and playing and playng any stuff, donīt matter your technique, technique is bull****. Just you got to make your own style.
Dr. Saturno from Argentina
02-14-2001, 02:33 PM
No offense Doctor but I have to disagree with your diagnosis. Technique is very important, not only if you want to be able to get real speed but if you want to get CLEAN speed. Playing for hours with bad technique can also land you carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitus or any other of those fun ailments which can put ends to guitar careers (well, tendinitus only lasts for a few months, but cts is crippling).
02-14-2001, 10:36 PM
technique is not bs. technique and style go hand in hand. there is no guitar player that has no technique. and frequently, if you take an historical perspective, technical advances have lead the way to new stylistic movements.
02-14-2001, 10:51 PM
<<<and frequently, if you take an historical perspective, technical advances have lead the way to new stylistic movements>>>
I don't know about that. Of course, it's true literally, some styles like shred can be largely based on technique. I guess what I'm saying is that its very dangerous to try and create new styles out of specific guitar playing techniques. The music can become more about the guitar than about the music, and when you are playing an instrument instead of playing music, you can get into the realm of self indulgence and a disregard for the audience.
If you are too in love with the guitar, or whatever your instrument is, its easy to make guitar music, meant to be listened to by other guitarrists. While I definitely believe in honing one's technique to the point where it is not a barrier (i.e. you can play whatever musical ideas come to you) I think that when the music comes out of the technique, then that's missing the point of music. (People like Frank Gambale bother me in this respect.)
02-15-2001, 10:50 AM
that's true but there is also an entire movement of technical music that exists as a counter to market-centered music. Almost all music exists as commodity production for the 'for-profit' market system. Earlier it was based on patronage. Lots of experimental and technical music exists in a form that gets around simple ideas of melody, harmony, and rhythm or tries to do unconventional things with these elements. I get a little nervous when people start going on about subordinating themselves and their playing under 'the music' when in fact what is considered 'good' music is itself an historical and cultural arbitrary determined by market forces and pleasing the lowest common denominator. I figure there's room for everybody to do what they want as long as they're happy with it and they aren't hurting others. Personally, my music fails from the dominant models of what is commercially good music, it is very technical, and it is very fast. I don't want to conform to the standards of 'good' music I just want to do what makes me happy and allows me to push the limits of what is possible. Melody-centric music is a western bias. I don't feel compelled to conform to those standards. As a result I get beat up pretty bad in the realm of public opinion but I can live with that I guess.
Pushing the envelope is more fun than having the majority behind you in a way. It ain't comfortable and I get my feelings hurt a lot, more than I'd like to admit, but that's the life of a misfit. Anyway, to anyone reading this, I suggest that if you want to be a technical guitarist or carve out your own model of music production go for it. There is room for you and there are people who will appreciate it.
10 years ago the readers of Gutiar Player magazine were outraged at the inclusion of Buckethead's lessons. He was denounced as a joke and an insult to the standards of good music. Now, a decade later, he is poised to redefine what good rock guitar is or can be as a member of Guns and Roses.
If technique drives your style and it is unique you will have develoepd a new style that when retroactivley evaluated will be seen not as technique driven but substantively driven. That's the job of critics. That's what they always do.
And even though my playing is technique heavy I did have a sound in my head before I cooked it all up. The sound is different than what I imagined but in some ways more outlandish than I ever dreamed possible.
It's all good.
02-15-2001, 04:12 PM
<<<If technique drives your style and it is unique you will have develoepd a new style that when retroactivley evaluated will be seen not as technique driven but substantively driven. That's the job of critics. That's what they always do.>>>
Possibly, but often not. I think Yngwie's style was driven by technique, and in retrospect critics, and the majority of guitar players I've spken to, do not consider his music to be substantitively driven. I'm not advocating commercial pandering. I'm a jazz player, so I know how you feel when it comes to not being appreciated by a mass audience. It wasn't that I was saying music shouldn't be complex, or difficult, it's that it shouldn't be about the guitar. You'll notice I didn't really use the term "technical" music that much. What I was refering to was the phenomenon of guitar players who are so in love with the guitar itself, that they end up making music that is more dictated by the limits and possibilities of the guitar than by what is musically interesting to them.
Frank Gambale was one of the first to use sweep picking extensively and develop it to a point of maximum efficiency. However, much of the music he plays sounds (to me) like he plays it simply because it can be swept on the guitar. He plays stuff because he can, because it utilizes an interesting guitar technique, not because the notes are interesting or because the notes speak to him in any way. I'm not saying that all his music is like this, its just that I've heard this in his playing, and it was this type of process that I was speaking about earlier. As for complex, difficult, "technical" music...I play bebop, (poorly) so I'm not criticizing that by any means.
02-15-2001, 11:46 PM
I absolutely agree with what you're saying here. To sum it I would say technique should not be an end in itself wouldn't you agree. Rather it should be the means to an end. The tough part is trying to decode a person's intent. Gambale for example. I'm inclined to agree with you that the technique came first and that it dictated what he did. To me his sweeping, while amazing, sounds rediculous at times. zip zip zip zap up and down.
but my playing could elicit the same reaction I suppose.
I had a definite sound in my head before I had the technique to pull it off. It was a bizarre combination of Vernon Reid, Buckethead, Eric Dolphy, Coltrane, and a few others that I wanted to synthesize. In the pursuit I found a new way of sweeping. But to someone just passing by I fear it sounds like the technique is being made the central focus when it is not.
With Yngwie, even though I am no fan of his, I might give him the benefit of the doubt that he was tyring to let the substance drive the technique...but you never know.
02-16-2001, 05:54 AM
<<<I had a definite sound in my head before I had the technique to pull it off. It was a bizarre combination of Vernon Reid, Buckethead, Eric Dolphy, Coltrane, and a few others that I wanted to synthesize. In the pursuit I found a new way of sweeping. But to someone just passing by I fear it sounds like the technique is being made the central focus when it is not>>>
Well gambale admits that at least at first he suffered from what I described; he played stuff because he could sweep it. He says now that he's so good that he can sweep anything, so its not a limitation...I don't know.
As for your music, that sounds pretty cool. As for what other people might think about it, that doesn't really matter so much (unless you're trying to make a living with it, then you gotta get gigs!) If you play in a very unique way, hey more power to you!
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