Resolution to the frequent debates about speed


PlatonicShred
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PlatonicShred
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01/27/2007 5:08 am
I've seen no less than 20-30 forum posts about who is the fastest guitarist and who is not. It's not so much these debates that piqued my interest insomuch as the ridiculous claims tossed about by a lot of posters.

Marcus Paus, for example, is treated like some sort of virtuoso shredder, when in fact he just glissandoed across the fretboard in a slide. When asked to alternate pick a few lines, he couldn't even make it through two octaves at 140bpm.

People are talking about how 13-15 notes per second is not insane and how they can do that on a 'good day.' In all truth, the fastest guitar player plays at his fastest in extended runs around 14-16bpm with the occassional short burst of 18-19bpm ((we're talking like 8-9 notes played at that speed in the mmiddle of another run)) Notice how I am speaking of this person as a hypothetical entity because I have not heard anyone that plays 16bpm consistently in time with capability of short bursts beyond even that.

Malmsteen, Angelo, and company top out at around 220 bpm, with little tiny bursts of 240-250 bpm. Perhaps George Bellas and a few others are a hair faster than this speed, but not by much.

Now, here comes the other point--people claiming that even they can play at these speeds. ((sixteenths)) I doubt that most people here can go beyond maybe 5-6 notes at 200 bpm, let alone are capable of the extended 5-second excursions of the aforementioned players at this tempo.

In truth, you are knocking at Virtuosity's door if you can play 180+ bpm sixteenths sustained for about 40 notes or so. Keep in mind that you don't count if you cannot do this cleanly, cannot do it on cue, or are inconsistent in your timing. ((Many a guitarist thinks they are playing an even liquid line when in fact they are speeding up at the last note of a string and slowing down on the first note of the string))

How do I know this? I have studied at Berklee for the last 2.5 years. I know what I am talking about, and I have listened to, deconstructed, and emulated many of these famous performers oft talked about.

Their virtuosity comes from a combination of high speed, stamina, and even tone during the fast lines. Any player that has these three in combination is guarenteed some noteriety. Before you bombard me with 'I/my friend can easily do that and no one bats an eyelash' read:

One explanation, unlikely, is that your friend has not gotten enough exposure. The second explanation, far more likely, is simply that your friend is not in possession of those three attributes with regard to their high speed playing.

A lot of time the apparent speed of some players is magnified by the listener's ear. When the notes blur together, it can seem like the player is blazing away far faster than normal. This can be achieved/manipulated in the studio by very short-cycled delays and the like.

Perhaps you feel I am wrong, and that the speeds are faster than this, or maybe, just to show me up, you will say that you can even play as fast as this. Fine. That is fair enough!

[email]Someguy8952001@yahoo.com[/email] is the e-mail. Drop a solo in the box.
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01/27/2007 12:53 pm
Originally Posted by: PlatonicShredKeep in mind that you don't count if you cannot do this cleanly, cannot do it on cue, or are inconsistent in your timing. ((Many a guitarist thinks they are playing an even liquid line when in fact they are speeding up at the last note of a string and slowing down on the first note of the string))


I've seen a lot of guitarist mistaking fretted note with muted notes at high speed. Or hitting twice the same note. Doesn't much of a delay to mess up the run at those speed.

Heck! I've done it myself. We all do it at some point. I usually try to push it ... get frustrated .. back down the tempo ... feel better ... have a nap.

If someone really thinks he can play that fast .... turn off the distortion. You'll see guitarist get frustrated. With no distortion/compressor/any kind of effect you'll have to have that even tone that PlatonicShred is talking about. I believe any guitar player can achieve great tone, but I don`t believe we can all have it at high speed. You really have to find your comfort zone and work from there.

That's why I get frustrated at people looking down at guitarists that aren`t "fast" even tho they can create the greatest solos with a few notes.
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hunter60
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01/27/2007 2:15 pm
Granted, I am a relative 'newbie' to the guitar, I have been listening and enjoying guitar music for most of my life. Heard a lot of it too going back to when the Beatles, Stones and Hendrix had 'debut' hits on the radio. The one thing that has always struck me is that so many people truly think and feel that speed is what sets apart a 'good' guitarist from a 'master' guitarist.

Although I am impressed as h*ll when I hear someone really rip through something at these light-bending speeds, to me, the greatest things I have ever heard coming from a guitar were usually something less than the warp speed that so many people talk about.

To me, articulation is as important if not more so than overall speed. It's what you say and not how fast you can say it.

I dunno. That's just the way it has always seemed to me. :)
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PlatonicShred
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01/27/2007 2:31 pm
Speed is sometimes what distinguishes a master guitarist from a good one. That's just a fact. Think of it this way, Al Di Meola versus Carlos Santana. Both of them play latin-influenced, jazzy lines with plenty of taste to spare. Yet, one has the option of blazing away at tempos around 200+bpm while the other cannot.

If you think of speed as simply another tool to help paint the artistic canvas with, it becomes clear why a master guitarist would be seperate from a 'normal' guitarist based upon it. The more rounded you are, the better a musician you are.

The only reason I posted this is that through my study of the guitar in-depth at Berklee, I have gained a real appreciation for guitar virtuosity. Getting to and passing 180+ BPM is a huge deal and is extremely hard. I am convinced no one can get to and/or past that point without monster amounts of pure, painful, practice. Forget the crap that Yngwie and EVH say about 'never practicing.' They did. And they did it a lot.
Back In Black isn't a song. It's a divine call that gets channeled through five righteous dudes every thousand years or so. That's why dragons and sea monsters don't exist anymore.
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01/27/2007 2:58 pm
It's impossible to get to that level without practice that's for sure.

People tend to forget that playing guitar, if you look at it from a physiological stand point, is a succession of muscle contraction and release.

To be able to reach that level you're muscles needs practice. Just like a track runner, just like any other physical task. The muscles are just smaller. This is why I always tell the students to watch out for hand pains.

You're knowledge makes you understand music probably better than a lot guitar player. The problem is, you don`t need to understand music to appreciate it. Eventho you have studied the guitar indepth, to alot of people what you're saying won't matter. This is why the speed debate will forever exist. I'm not saying everyone should stop trying to explain it... just that it's going to be a long road before you succeed.

There's probably has many thread trying to explain it as there are thread about the subject itself lol
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PlatonicShred
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01/27/2007 3:20 pm
Well, at the very least I just want to explain about what IS real and what IS NOT real. The claims of anything beyond 18 or 19 notes in a second are most likely bogus. And even those 18-19 nps' are just little bursts.

If a guitarist can play at 13-14 nps and get in a band---they will be regarded as a virtuoso. Heck, Zakk Wylde usually only plays sixteenths at around 170-180 bpm and most of the time he gets mentioned as a virtuoso.
Back In Black isn't a song. It's a divine call that gets channeled through five righteous dudes every thousand years or so. That's why dragons and sea monsters don't exist anymore.
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Poontang_clan
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01/27/2007 4:35 pm
Originally Posted by: PlatonicShredSpeed is sometimes what distinguishes a master guitarist from a good one. That's just a fact. Think of it this way, Al Di Meola versus Carlos Santana. Both of them play latin-influenced, jazzy lines with plenty of taste to spare. Yet, one has the option of blazing away at tempos around 200+bpm while the other cannot.

If you think of speed as simply another tool to help paint the artistic canvas with, it becomes clear why a master guitarist would be seperate from a 'normal' guitarist based upon it. The more rounded you are, the better a musician you are.

The only reason I posted this is that through my study of the guitar in-depth at Berklee, I have gained a real appreciation for guitar virtuosity. Getting to and passing 180+ BPM is a huge deal and is extremely hard. I am convinced no one can get to and/or past that point without monster amounts of pure, painful, practice. Forget the crap that Yngwie and EVH say about 'never practicing.' They did. And they did it a lot.


I hope your not saying that speed is everything.

on one string just picking i've hit 280BPM with 16th notes am i mistaken?

and so if i can play the dream theater arps from the glass prison they are about 170 BPM 16ths alternate picking am i almost there, as long as they are clean and perfect? ( i can't do that quite yet, but im trying to get it in the next 4-5 days by practicing 8 hours a day)

and yea that stuff about not practicing has to be complete and utter bullsh*t
"We forgot to call Dylan" "Who the F*ck is Dylan?" "oh, I mean xDylanx" " oh yea we forgot to call him"
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damaged
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01/27/2007 4:42 pm
Thank you, lol you basicaly ansewer my post in the tech and style section good post :)
Edit
*Also i feel that mabey Rusty Cooley might be a little above the malmsteen batio level?*
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damaged
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damaged
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01/27/2007 4:46 pm
Originally Posted by: Poontang_clanI hope your not saying that speed is everything.

on one string just picking i've hit 280BPM with 16th notes am i mistaken?

and so if i can play the dream theater arps from the glass prison they are about 170 BPM 16ths alternate picking am i almost there, as long as they are clean and perfect? ( i can't do that quite yet, but im trying to get it in the next 4-5 days by practicing 8 hours a day)

and yea that stuff about not practicing has to be complete and utter bullsh*t



An audio Clip of this would be nice?
"Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil."
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Poontang_clan
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01/27/2007 4:55 pm
Originally Posted by: damagedAn audio Clip of this would be nice?

its just one note picking i'll do it when i have time right now im cleaning my room

also i just remembered it will probably do it at 32nd notes at 140 because i dont got a metronome that goes to 280 I should have it up by today. latest by tommorow
"We forgot to call Dylan" "Who the F*ck is Dylan?" "oh, I mean xDylanx" " oh yea we forgot to call him"
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01/27/2007 5:39 pm
oh damn this guy was right i thought it was faster but when i slowed it down i was only getting 3 notes per beat

damn
stupid speed
"We forgot to call Dylan" "Who the F*ck is Dylan?" "oh, I mean xDylanx" " oh yea we forgot to call him"
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aschleman
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01/27/2007 5:52 pm
speed = overrated


i know plenty of guys that spent the first 5 years of playing guitar trying to be as fast as they could but if i play a slow blues track or anything outside the realm of metal they don't know where to begin....

i say learn how to be a good guitar player before you learn how to be fast... but that's just me.

i couldn't care less about how fast i can play... as long as it sounds good to me i'm happy...

it always seems to me like the guys that try to play as fast as they can all the time 1. are entertaining for about 1 minute... then they played all the speed chops that they know.... and 2... fill the room with an annoying amount of ego... and desperation for attention.

i've seen vai a few times and when i saw him at the house of blues in chicago eric sardinas opened for him..... i was on edge the entire set for him becuase he just floored me with his slide ability..... then vai came on and i was on edge for about 3 songs... then i wanted to leave because he kept doing the same thing over and over.... i can't watch that stuff or listen to it for too long. it's still amazing and i respect it.... but people need to understand that teh guitar is a musical instrument with a lot of capabilities besides proving who has the fastest hands..... that's just me though....


Respect to the speed heads.... but I'd take BB King over them anyday.... he'll out more emotion in one note than any speed demon will in an entire song. I believe that is something said by Yngwie Malmsteen himself...
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01/27/2007 6:38 pm
Originally Posted by: aschlemanspeed = overrated


i know plenty of guys that spent the first 5 years of playing guitar trying to be as fast as they could but if i play a slow blues track or anything outside the realm of metal they don't know where to begin....

i say learn how to be a good guitar player before you learn how to be fast... but that's just me.

i couldn't care less about how fast i can play... as long as it sounds good to me i'm happy...

it always seems to me like the guys that try to play as fast as they can all the time 1. are entertaining for about 1 minute... then they played all the speed chops that they know.... and 2... fill the room with an annoying amount of ego... and desperation for attention.

i've seen vai a few times and when i saw him at the house of blues in chicago eric sardinas opened for him..... i was on edge the entire set for him becuase he just floored me with his slide ability..... then vai came on and i was on edge for about 3 songs... then i wanted to leave because he kept doing the same thing over and over.... i can't watch that stuff or listen to it for too long. it's still amazing and i respect it.... but people need to understand that teh guitar is a musical instrument with a lot of capabilities besides proving who has the fastest hands..... that's just me though....


Respect to the speed heads.... but I'd take BB King over them anyday.... he'll out more emotion in one note than any speed demon will in an entire song. I believe that is something said by Yngwie Malmsteen himself...



Even though im striving for speed i totally agree with you thats why im learning jazz and theory and all but i think thats how most guitarists start off and then the good guitarists once they reach raelly fast speeds will branch out into other styles because the speed gets boring.

But i am surprised you got bored of vai im not a huge fan or anything but i hear that everything he does is totally new and different.. maybe thats not the case?

yea rusty cooley is a good example of a guy who plays fast all the tiem and it gets really old really fast.
"We forgot to call Dylan" "Who the F*ck is Dylan?" "oh, I mean xDylanx" " oh yea we forgot to call him"
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damaged
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01/27/2007 6:38 pm
Originally Posted by: aschlemanspeed = overrated


i know plenty of guys that spent the first 5 years of playing guitar trying to be as fast as they could but if i play a slow blues track or anything outside the realm of metal they don't know where to begin....

i say learn how to be a good guitar player before you learn how to be fast... but that's just me.

i couldn't care less about how fast i can play... as long as it sounds good to me i'm happy...

it always seems to me like the guys that try to play as fast as they can all the time 1. are entertaining for about 1 minute... then they played all the speed chops that they know.... and 2... fill the room with an annoying amount of ego... and desperation for attention.

i've seen vai a few times and when i saw him at the house of blues in chicago eric sardinas opened for him..... i was on edge the entire set for him becuase he just floored me with his slide ability..... then vai came on and i was on edge for about 3 songs... then i wanted to leave because he kept doing the same thing over and over.... i can't watch that stuff or listen to it for too long. it's still amazing and i respect it.... but people need to understand that teh guitar is a musical instrument with a lot of capabilities besides proving who has the fastest hands..... that's just me though....


Respect to the speed heads.... but I'd take BB King over them anyday.... he'll out more emotion in one note than any speed demon will in an entire song. I believe that is something said by Yngwie Malmsteen himself...


I Agree on everything cept that BB king over malmsteem :p Mabey SRV over Malmsteen tho But thats my taste.
Any way to the point, for the first few years of guitar I had'nt heard any real shred except mabey dimebag but my Guitar teacher always showed me and taught me that melody and feel will always beat tastles speed. He had me improvising over every genre of music like russian pop, country, funk, blue, jazz wierd alien sounding stuff many genres many of whihc i probaly didnt do that well over some I probaly did alright over.
But now a year with out my teacher I see why he kept me away from Metal\Shred based stuff Luckily he taught me habits of writting my own licks for getting down a tehcnique which has kept part of my creative mind alive, but it is so much easier to learn technique then feel even tho im addicted to ever becoming faster I still always love jamming over Cold Comfort hah

-my 2 cents which probaly doesnt make sence
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01/27/2007 8:44 pm
Originally Posted by: BenoitI've seen a lot of guitarist mistaking fretted note with muted notes at high speed. Or hitting twice the same note. Doesn't much of a delay to mess up the run at those speed.

Heck! I've done it myself. We all do it at some point. I usually try to push it ... get frustrated .. back down the tempo ... feel better ... have a nap.

If someone really thinks he can play that fast .... turn off the distortion. You'll see guitarist get frustrated. With no distortion/compressor/any kind of effect you'll have to have that even tone that PlatonicShred is talking about. I believe any guitar player can achieve great tone, but I don`t believe we can all have it at high speed. You really have to find your comfort zone and work from there.

That's why I get frustrated at people looking down at guitarists that aren`t "fast" even tho they can create the greatest solos with a few notes.

I've seen many videos of Zakk Wylde playing unplugged or with an acoustic and he plays pretty cleanly, why people think he's overrated while Billy Joe Armstrong (or whoever) prounces around like he's God is beyond me.

Also, Alexi Lahio was saying in an interview that a lot of guitarists these days are super fast but can be super lame. I agree, I don't listen to a whole lot of Petrucci because he plays fast through lots of his songs and it sounds like one long solo and I just get turned off and change cd's. I do like his newest cd though.
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PlatonicShred
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01/28/2007 12:48 am
I've seen his acoustic live sets, and I have to disagree. When he gets really fast his alternate picking breaks down and it mixes between legato. Not only that, but the licks he plays at those speeds almost sound like they are just 'stock fast licks.' Some of the notes and whatnot don't really go with the underlying progression, maybe that's due to his heavy EVH influence.

Listen to the solo on Stillborn to hear what I'm talking about.

Not to say that Zakk Wylde can't play, but I wouldn't call him a virtuoso.
Back In Black isn't a song. It's a divine call that gets channeled through five righteous dudes every thousand years or so. That's why dragons and sea monsters don't exist anymore.
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PlatonicShred
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01/28/2007 12:51 am
Whomever said they were playing 32nds at 140 on a single string---I'd like to hear an audio file. A lot of times people think they are playing faster than they really are, or the tempo is so fast that they confuse different note durations.

This post isn't about 'is speed better than this or that' it's just about the claims people make regarding speed. Giving a realistic view of how fast the fastest guys in town are playing. That's all.

The whole speed debate in terms of taste is for another day.
Back In Black isn't a song. It's a divine call that gets channeled through five righteous dudes every thousand years or so. That's why dragons and sea monsters don't exist anymore.
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aschleman
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01/28/2007 1:10 am
Originally Posted by: PlatonicShred
The whole speed debate in terms of taste is for another day.


I was more or less saying that I couldn't care less who is the fastest player in town... I probably wouldn't listen to them anyway.

But as far as who IS the fastest?? The only way to tell would be to get all the fastest players around and put them in one room and let them play as fast as tehy can and then slow the audio file way down and see... It gets to a point where the ear can't hear the individual notes... But when I think of the fastest I think of names like Jason Becker, Rusty Cooley, and Paul Gilbert...
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01/28/2007 1:21 am
"In truth, you are knocking at Virtuosity's door if you can play 180+ bpm sixteenths sustained for about 40 notes or so."

Virtuoso is a "title" for the very few that has mastered their Instrument and uumm..music. Talking about "Virtuosity" seems to me irrelevant in a discussion solely about speed.
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01/28/2007 1:36 am
Originally Posted by: PlatonicShredI've seen his acoustic live sets, and I have to disagree. When he gets really fast his alternate picking breaks down and it mixes between legato. Not only that, but the licks he plays at those speeds almost sound like they are just 'stock fast licks.' Some of the notes and whatnot don't really go with the underlying progression, maybe that's due to his heavy EVH influence.

Listen to the solo on Stillborn to hear what I'm talking about.

Not to say that Zakk Wylde can't play, but I wouldn't call him a virtuoso.

Were talking fast in general, not fast picking hand so mixing between legato and alt. picking is irrelevant when talking about speed. I agree about the "stock fast licks" because a lot of his acoustic is fast scales. I do disagree about him not being a virtuoso though. He might play alot of stuff drop tuned and low on the neck, but listen to him play Sabbath songs during an Ozzy tour, the only person who could play them better than that would be Rhoads (R.I.P.) himself.

Who do you consider virtuosos?
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