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> Developing Speed, Learn how to play blazing fast!
Marcus Lavendell
post Aug 7 2008, 01:48 PM
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Dear friends,

I had a discussion with few of my students recently about developing speed, and I just want to share my thoughts on this subject with you guys as well smile.gif

Practicing at slow speed and articulate is definitely a good way to prevent playing sloppy, - but that in itself won’t make you play fast unless you know what it’s like to play fast.

You must get in the feel of what it’s like to play fast before you can do it, because it’s a whole different thing mentally!

So every once in a while, put the metronome at 300 bpm (or whatever) even if you know you’ll probably miss 80% of the notes, but do the best you can though. This will give you an idea of what it’s like to play that fast (even if it doesn't sound very good), and you’ll get a much clearer picture of what you will need to learn to do with your fingers.

This in combination with practicing articulate and slow is the best way I know to get fast results.


Now, lets hear your thoughts on this!
Feel free to agree or to disagree of course smile.gif



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Pizzoaro
post Aug 7 2008, 01:53 PM
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Very well said!

I had problems with speed, and what i did was exactly that. Lets say theres a solo in 100 bpm i cant do, i set the metronome at 300 bpm and try that a few times, and when i get down to 100 bpm again, its like and easy solo!

so i think pushing yourself way too long will actually help! Did with me thoguh tongue.gif


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Muris Varajic
post Aug 7 2008, 01:53 PM
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Totally agree Marcus!

It is completely another feel
and it's good to try some faster stuff,
even just right hand picking,or typing
with fretting hand's fingers on the fretboard.


Great topic. smile.gif


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wollace03
post Aug 7 2008, 01:56 PM
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actually, often when i learn a new solo or lick i try it at a high speed, which makes me feel very bad, cause i am not able to play it correct. but you are right it helps focus and it gives you a feeling where you wanna go. its just hard to see how far you are away from the original tempo....and you may not give up no matter how bad it sounds.

but as you said the point is, to get a feeling for the goal...

puhhh... it is hard work.. cool.gif


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Rooks
post Aug 7 2008, 02:03 PM
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I am pretty much a beginner, but I think my approach applies at many levels.
At first, I practice a piece slow steady and trying to get it clean, when I have done that for a while; I'ts not perfect, even at slow speed .. But then I pick up the pace and play the whole thing at 120-140 bpm maybe .. Afterwards you know how to practice it slow, so it sounds good when you pick up the pace.


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Marcus Lavendell
post Aug 7 2008, 02:07 PM
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QUOTE (wollace03 @ Aug 7 2008, 02:56 PM) *
often when i learn a new solo or lick i try it at a high speed, which makes me feel very bad, cause i am not able to play it correct.

I understand that. But you could prepare yourself and just say "ok, now I'm going to try it at 300 bpm. I know it will sound terrible, but that's ok. What's important is that I get into the feel of playing it at this speed". smile.gif


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Kristofer Dahl
post Aug 7 2008, 02:11 PM
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Very interesting topic!

I agree that if you don't have your mind set on speed you will never get to those Rusty Cooley speeds.

However - if you are happy with getting up to Eric Johnson speed - then I wonder if "practicing at slow speed and articulate" for years and years perhaps might actually do the trick (of course you need to somewhat think of not doing enormous hand motions).

I can't tell though - because I definitely had my mind set on speed when starting out. Now my practicing focuses on fixing tone-flaws that comes from me having pushed the speed too much.

Also I find that even though my maximum speed has decreased the last years - I think my speed playing might sound faster because I am getting more articulate. And that's an interesting phenomenon!

edit - I think Paul Gilbert is an example of a guitarist who sounds "alot faster than he is" because his picking is so extremely aggressive and articulate! (I love his picking!)

This post has been edited by Kristofer Dahl: Aug 7 2008, 02:13 PM


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Aug 7 2008, 02:15 PM
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Very well put, playing fast is a whole another story from playing slow and articulate of course smile.gif



But... i don't have 300 bpm on my metronome, only 240 sad.gif


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Marcus Lavendell
post Aug 7 2008, 02:21 PM
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QUOTE (Rooks @ Aug 7 2008, 03:03 PM) *
I am pretty much a beginner, but I think my approach applies at many levels.
At first, I practice a piece slow steady and trying to get it clean, when I have done that for a while; I'ts not perfect, even at slow speed .. But then I pick up the pace and play the whole thing at 120-140 bpm maybe .. Afterwards you know how to practice it slow, so it sounds good when you pick up the pace.

Great! Thanks for the input! smile.gif


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Iluha
post Aug 7 2008, 02:24 PM
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I completly agree with what you said Marcus, can't really add anything on the subject smile.gif


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Marcus Lavendell
post Aug 7 2008, 02:30 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Aug 7 2008, 03:11 PM) *
However - if you are happy with getting up to Eric Johnson speed - then I wonder if "practicing at slow speed and articulate" for years and years perhaps might actually do the trick (of course you need to somewhat think of not doing enormous hand motions).

Yes, If one is happy with Eric Johnson speed then there's no need to do this.

But for those who want to play fast my idea was that we should still continue practicing slow. But then occationaly go for a really fast bpm smile.gif


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Smurkas
post Aug 7 2008, 02:54 PM
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That's some great advice Marcus! About two years ago I hit a barrier speed wise that I just couldn't get past. Everything I had read said that in order to pass that barrier I should practice slow and articulate and work my way up but it just wasn't working. It felt like no matter what I did, my playing just fell apart when I reached that magical barrier. When I was about to give up I stumbled on this article by Tom Hess which gives a more detailed account and a very structured way to do just what you suggest.

I took two of the things I was currently practising and put them through the grinder and I got results really fast. Sure I had to do clean up to make sure that I wasn't playing sloppy but I had finally broken that barrier and opened up my playing considerably. One thing I noticed when I did the exercise the first few times was that even though I could physically play it, my psychological perception of what I was playing and the part of the brain that "plans ahead" were having real trouble keeping pace with what my fingers were doing.

I think that the psychological aspect of playing is discussed way to little (maybe because I'm a psychologist tongue.gif), many books and such that I have read don't talk about this at all. Tom Hess article is the first I have read that basically says that maybe there's nothing wrong with your playing on a physical level but your mind needs to catch up.
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Gus
post Aug 7 2008, 03:00 PM
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Some time ago, someone posted a thread about a software to help on speed.

The curve I saw on the software is exactly what you explained in words, Marcus.

A practice session should go over the comfortable speed, up to totally impossible speed and then slowly down. When going down on speed it will look much easier then when increasing it.... ohmy.gif


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Marcus Lavendell
post Aug 7 2008, 03:09 PM
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QUOTE (Smurkas @ Aug 7 2008, 03:54 PM) *
That's some great advice Marcus! About two years ago I hit a barrier speed wise that I just couldn't get past. Everything I had read said that in order to pass that barrier I should practice slow and articulate and work my way up but it just wasn't working. It felt like no matter what I did, my playing just fell apart when I reached that magical barrier. When I was about to give up I stumbled on this article by Tom Hess which gives a more detailed account and a very structured way to do just what you suggest.

I took two of the things I was currently practising and put them through the grinder and I got results really fast. Sure I had to do clean up to make sure that I wasn't playing sloppy but I had finally broken that barrier and opened up my playing considerably. One thing I noticed when I did the exercise the first few times was that even though I could physically play it, my psychological perception of what I was playing and the part of the brain that "plans ahead" were having real trouble keeping pace with what my fingers were doing.

I think that the psychological aspect of playing is discussed way to little (maybe because I'm a psychologist tongue.gif), many books and such that I have read don't talk about this at all. Tom Hess article is the first I have read that basically says that maybe there's nothing wrong with your playing on a physical level but your mind needs to catch up.

Thank for your great input Smurkas, and for the link to that article.

I also think that the psychological aspect is mentioned way too little in the guitar world. But I find it very interesting! smile.gif



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Caelumamittendum
post Aug 7 2008, 03:16 PM
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I think I do agree, though I needed to think a bit.

I do think that to develop proper speed and good technique while playing 16th notes at 200 bpm, you need to practice a lot at say... 100 bpm, to eliminate all flaws and work your way up.

Petrucci has a similar thing in his Rock Discipline, where he explains something about playing above your level (E.g. playing 216 bpm when you can only manage 180 bpm and just go kill yourself with that 216 bpm.)


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Marcus Lavendell
post Aug 7 2008, 03:26 PM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Aug 7 2008, 04:16 PM) *
I do think that to develop proper speed and good technique while playing 16th notes at 200 bpm, you need to practice a lot at say... 100 bpm, to eliminate all flaws and work your way up.

Yes, absolutely!

I want to point out that the main part of the practicing should be at slower speeds, as your example above.

But we could, every now and then, try to go for a speed that's way beyond our level.


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post Aug 7 2008, 03:28 PM
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Haha, this is odd! biggrin.gif

I do the same thing: Every time, Muris for instance, drops the bomb with a jaw-breaking solo with 32th triplets at 150 bpm, I go for it and do my best, even though I fail miserably. But I always think of the instructional video "Rock Discipline" by John Petrucci (the progfather laugh.gif ) in which he said that one should try something they can't do at a reasonable speed, at insane speeds instead. And I quote: "Just go up to 200 bpm and kill yourself. Then when you go back to about 130 bpm, it will seem like it's much easier because you've just been at 200 bpm."


Here's the link.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tOfDxUlxK0...feature=related

Couldn't find the real clip, but the above clip is right after he's said it.

So go ahead! KILL YOURSELF! laugh.gif

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Caelumamittendum
post Aug 7 2008, 03:28 PM
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QUOTE (Marcus Lavendell @ Aug 7 2008, 04:26 PM) *
Yes, absolutely!

I want to point out that the main part of the practicing should be at slower speeds, as your example above.

But we could, every now and then, try to go for a speed that's way beyond our level.


Indeed. So that would mean that we GMC students are to play at 180 bpm, where as you instructors play at 400 bpm? wink.gif


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Marcus Lavendell
post Aug 7 2008, 03:43 PM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Aug 7 2008, 04:28 PM) *
Indeed. So that would mean that we GMC students are to play at 180 bpm, where as you instructors play at 400 bpm? wink.gif

Hehe... something like that laugh.gif
Well no, I think 180 bpm is fast enough, for me anyways biggrin.gif


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Marcus Siepen
post Aug 7 2008, 03:59 PM
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I absolutely agree qith you Marcus. Actually I use speed runs to warm up for shows sometimes. After warming up normally I play through some more difficult or fast parts of songs that are on the setlist, but I try to play them faster than they actually are, like 20-30% faster. Then when we play the songs on stage later the real speed is much more comfortable to play smile.gif


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