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> Increasing Playing Speed
Victor Simion
post Mar 25 2019, 05:48 PM
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I feel like I am not making any progress in my speed playing, I am stuck somewhere at 120-140 BPM, there is where the sloppiness begins to start.

This is how I practice.

I start slowly on practicing an exercise or a song.
Then I increase the speed by 5 BPM or 10 BPM until I reach my maximum speed. From there I still try to push it with 5-10 BPM then go back.
But still no progress in months even years.

What should I do to reach more than 150 BPM even 200 BPM and playing clean?

I am referring to 16th notes.

Thanks.
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Mar 25 2019, 09:17 PM
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Hi Victor,

Your approach to technique practice is not different to what I've done when Speed and Shred was my main goal. There are some important things to have in mind:

- Diary practice: It's essential to practice the same type of stuff every day for a while to see results.

- Economise movements: This is the most important and difficult part. All your movements must be small and effective in order to achieve fast speeds. The best is to have a mentor (I can be the one!) to check your technique and give feedback about this, but it also helps to analyse all your favourite guitarists to see their posture and hand movements.

- Don't practice too much time at a not comfortable tempo. If you notice that you are not playing with both hands in sync, slow down. It's good trick to play some minutes 10 bpm over your tempo, but not more than 5 minutes. Get back to your comfortable tempo to get used to the right sound and hands work. Practising something played wrong will make you play faster but sound bad!

- Don't stay too much on the same exercises. For example, you don't need to master two strings sweep picking to start practising 3 or 4 strings sweep picking. The more advanced exercise will help you master the previous ones.

- Apply speed to your own improvisations. It's important to balance metronome playing with backing tracks playing to be able to use speed for real music. Combine exercises with phrases, make variations, be creative.


That's everything that comes to mind now. I have an Intensive Technique Course with more tips and exercises here: LINK


Let me know if you have any more questions!


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Kristofer Dahl
post Mar 25 2019, 10:07 PM
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Excellent topic! Here are some initial thoughts based on the info you have given us so far:



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Monica Gheorghev...
post Mar 26 2019, 12:50 PM
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It's hard to say something after such an amazing feedback from Gab and Kris because they pointed the essential. I just want to add few things which can also helps.


The main key to make things work is practicing in the right way. This mean that maybe it's time to analyze your playing from a different perspective. The best method is to record yourself and look very careful what is going on with your hands. Analyze what you do when the mistakes appear. Pay attention at everything: hands position, pick angle, tension, hands motions, hands sync, etc, because everything matter.

I suspect that you are stuck between 120 bpm -140 bpm because you reached the level where our right hand demands to change their mechanism.

Look, one of the most important thing to understand is the fact that hands mechanism it change when we increase the speed. In slow tempo we have a different behavior. We use a different strength, much bigger movements because on that tempo our purpose is "to get the best tone out of it" as Kris perfectly mentioned in the video. If you try to apply the same "strategy" on fast playing, it will not work. Increasing speed means that we need to release some strength and also to involve thumb and index motion.
It's all about practice and the understanding of what is going on behind the fast playing.

Keep in mind something that my instructor told me and I confirm from my own experience that it's damn true: "to be able to speed up, you need to find the positioning first." wink.gif


As a conclusion, make sure you use a proper hand position when you practice and don't go at a faster tempo until you can not play each note correctly and clear. But...in the same time push yourself because only a much faster tempo will learn you where is the moment when you need to use less strength to make the speed able to be kept.
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Victor Simion
post Mar 26 2019, 08:27 PM
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Check my Hand Sync Video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOTfqEhYdZI...eature=youtu.be
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Victor Simion
post Mar 26 2019, 08:54 PM
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And another video to get a better idea of my playing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUwgSaCmB8E
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Monica Gheorghev...
post Mar 26 2019, 09:52 PM
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QUOTE (Victor Simion @ Mar 26 2019, 07:27 PM) *


I like how your right hand looks on first video but be careful because you have some hands sync issues. The problems come from the beginning of the take where you not keep the correct picking.

Look in your Ben take (Hand Synch Lesson) at his picking direction and you will see that he make this:
E string - down up down
A string - up down up
D string - down up down
G string - up down up
B string - down up down
E string - up down up...etc

Now what you do in the take is:
E string - down up down
A string - down up down
D string - down up down
G string - down up down
B string - down up down
E string - down up down...etc

Every time when you change a string, you make that transition to not sound ok. Each first note from the next string sounds shorter than should be. This make the overall playing to not sounds corectly and precise because the wrong picking not let you to respect the notes value. That's why also appear some timing issues. You have moments when you are in front of the beat and moments when you are off beat.

My advice is to slow down this lesson and try to copy Ben's picking direction because this will improve your playing and will help you to respect each note value. Also take care about accents because they will bring an improvement in keeping a good timing.

One more thing. Try when you practice to use less gain in tone. It will be harder for playing but great for learning techniques in a good way. You have that type of tone that "lie" because of too much gain and this thing can make you to not notice important things.



QUOTE (Victor Simion @ Mar 26 2019, 07:54 PM) *
And another video to get a better idea of my playing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUwgSaCmB8E


About the second video that you posted (Neoclassical licks).

Exactly how I expected. The right hand is not ok. Look at 0:13 what happens with your hand. That mechanism with moving the whole hand will not brings you speed and clarity.
Try to calm down and don't move the whole hand. Relax yourself and use just a wrist motion. Also involve your thumb movement when you increase the speed.


I hope my tips to help you smile.gif

This post has been edited by Monica Gheorghevici: Mar 26 2019, 10:04 PM
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Victor Simion
post Mar 26 2019, 10:08 PM
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QUOTE (Monica Gheorghevici @ Mar 26 2019, 08:52 PM) *
Look in your Ben take (Hand Synch Lesson) at his picking direction and you will see that he make this:
E string - down up down
A string - up down up
D string - down up down
G string - up down up
B string - down up down
E string - up down up...etc

Now what you do in the take is:
E string - down up down
A string - down up down
D string - down up down
G string - down up down
B string - down up down
E string - down up down...etc


Yes, I do pick like that because I am used economy picking, not strict alternate picking. I am much more used to economy picking, I do it unconsciously at fast speed.
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Monica Gheorghev...
post Mar 26 2019, 11:16 PM
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QUOTE (Victor Simion @ Mar 26 2019, 09:08 PM) *
Yes, I do pick like that because I am used economy picking, not strict alternate picking. I am much more used to economy picking, I do it unconsciously at fast speed.


I saw that you used economy picking but usually it's better when you post a lesson in REC (as you did with your Hand Synch take) to keep the same details as in the original take made by instructors. Changing the techniques from lessons means that you will also change the overall feel of the take and this is not a good idea. Also, every technique has it's own beauty and comes with advantages and disadvantages. At some point you can notice that what it sound now sloppy when you use economy picking, can sound really good using alternate picking or legato.


Talking about your economy picking technique. This require a little more work. You need a better control when you sweep on the next string to avoid the bad sound to appear. You need to keep the timing when you cross the strings.
From my point of view it's better to work at this technique on a lesson which was designed for economy picking technique.
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Todd Simpson
post Mar 27 2019, 02:47 AM
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Some GREAT feedback!!!!! This thread is a fountain of good advice on picking. I don't need to rehash everything that's already been covered here so I'll keep it simple. smile.gif

1.)What type of pick are you using? I'd suggest (if you are not already using ..) to try a 1.0 mm thick or thicker pick that has zero bend/flex to it and has a very sharp point. There are wads to choose from. Dunlop makes the Dunlop Sharp and the Petrucci Picks as well as the Jazz style picks. If possible, try a V-Pick Switchblade or V-Pick Black Hole. Using a pointy pick reduces the recovery time from strike to strike and have a thick pick means losing less time to the pick bending on the string.
2.)Try a lighter gauge of string. Just a suggestion, doesn't work for everyone, just a suggestion. If you are using 10 gauge, try 9. I was using 9 and now I use Yngwie 8 gauge sets.
3.)Try to articulate the pick just a bit with your thumb and first finger. This will reduce the load on your wrist.
4.)Join my SHRED BOOTCAMP (just shoot me a personal message) and work your way through some Missions designed for one purpose, to get you to SHRED smile.gif

Todd
QUOTE (Victor Simion @ Mar 26 2019, 05:08 PM) *
Yes, I do pick like that because I am used economy picking, not strict alternate picking. I am much more used to economy picking, I do it unconsciously at fast speed.


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Mar 27 2019, 02:48 AM
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Kristofer Dahl
post Mar 28 2019, 10:04 AM
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Yes I think Monica is spot on here!

About your right hand movement, a simplified way of looking at it, would be to just try making smaller movement when you practice at slow tempo. There is a major chance this will naturally have you use more of the thumb movement (which is a good thing!).

QUOTE (Victor Simion @ Mar 26 2019, 08:54 PM) *
And another video to get a better idea of my playing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUwgSaCmB8E


And thanks for this video, it makes it easy for use to identify the problem:

Most of it lies in the fact that you are not quite ready to push speeds up to this tempo, however improving the hand motion (as mentioned) will also give you numerous other advantages (applicable to many different kind of licks/scenarios).


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Victor Simion
post Mar 28 2019, 08:11 PM
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Thank you all for your feedback.

So I should continue practicing at a slower speed in order to get my playing as clean as possible? And stop pushing speed? At least for a while...

That means I think less than 100 BPM for me, if we are talking economy picking.

Also should I also learn strict alternate picking? If that is the case I have a long way to go because I need to start from 40 BPM, each time I encounter a possibility to economy picking I do it unconsciously.
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Todd Simpson
post Mar 29 2019, 04:28 AM
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Well, sorta.
Ben Higgins has a technique where he suggests that you try "burst speed", E.G. playing just a few notes at a brisker pace than normal. Say 3 notes in a scale. Then later increase to 4 notes and so forth. This is yet another way to progress.
That being said, I would also focus on playing clean and slow and bumping up the metronome a bit as you go. Both methods yield results but in varying degrees depending on the player. It's also important to push your speed to the edge of your ability to find where your edge is. Then, work up to that edge and push past it.

So I'd say take both approaches and see where you start getting results. But not matter what, always be able to play a given lick, scale, riff, in a clean and precise manner. Speed is just a byproduct precision.
There is a LOT of repetition involved in training your brain/fingers to move the way you want at the speed you want. It takes time, effort, and dedication. It took me several years. Some folks get it quicker. Don't play to the point of pain though. I did that and injured both arms. I got something called "CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME" and did not play at all for half a year. It was Hell. Always do some light stretchin for your hands/arms as a warm up and cool down. Also, focus on NOT tensing. Being tense is an instinctual response to pushing the speed up but it's not good. It burns out your hand and wrecks your speed. Stay loose, stay focused, and earn it.
Todd
Todd
QUOTE (Victor Simion @ Mar 28 2019, 03:11 PM) *
Thank you all for your feedback.

So I should continue practicing at a slower speed in order to get my playing as clean as possible? And stop pushing speed? At least for a while...

That means I think less than 100 BPM for me, if we are talking economy picking.

Also should I also learn strict alternate picking? If that is the case I have a long way to go because I need to start from 40 BPM, each time I encounter a possibility to economy picking I do it unconsciously.
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