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> Slow Down, Advice from Troy Stetina
Caelumamittendum
post Sep 28 2013, 10:57 AM
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I was reading through Troy Stetina's book Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar and stumbled upon the following advice and thought it was worth sharing:

"SLOW DOWN

Play slowly enough to play without mistakes. Your fingers will move just as you train them to move. If you practice something fast and sloppy a hundred times, why should you expect that the hundred-and-first time wills uddenly become clean and precise? However, if you practice something a hundred times perfectly, you can be sure that the next time will be perfect as well.

You can play almost any combination of notes perfectly if you play them slowly enough. Fingers trained slowly (and therefore, more accurately) will be much steadier and more confident. Fingers trained fast are less controlled and are likely to "freeze up" if you get a little nervous. Think quality, not quantity."

This post has been edited by Caelumamittendum: Sep 28 2013, 10:58 AM


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Nava
post Sep 28 2013, 01:21 PM
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That was the best I have read in a looong time!
Somehow my eyes just opened rolleyes.gif

I play fast sloppy and practise at to fast speed for shure..
This was the best:
"Your fingers will move just as you train them to move"
Thx a lot for this smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 28 2013, 01:50 PM
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Nothing, but nothing truer than that smile.gif

I found myself breaking the 'rule' last evening, as because of the lack of time (Had to learn 'A new level' 4 days before the gig) I didn't practice the licks as slowly as I should've - guess what, of course I screwed it laugh.gif - my luck was that the crowd was wild and they came onstage to rock with us, so no one noticed laugh.gif


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klasaine
post Sep 28 2013, 03:59 PM
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Speed is a by-product of accuracy.


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verciazghra
post Sep 28 2013, 05:56 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 28 2013, 02:59 PM) *
Speed is a by-product of accuracy.

Speed is a by-product of accuracy and efficiency.


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Blue Willy
post Sep 29 2013, 03:01 AM
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I have given this advice to my students for years. If you can play a passage or entire tune slowly and smoothly with proper detail then you will find yourself able to play it at any speed you wish.

This is the theory behind the defensive martial art of Tai Chi Chuan. The blocking moves are practiced very slowly with attention to precise form and detail. If one has also studied the application of those moves, should one be attacked the attacking moves can be countered at lightning speed and the more fierce the attack the more the attacker finds himself being injured by purely defensive moves. Years ago I played with a drummer who had mastered this martial art and he was invincible when attacked.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 29 2013, 12:18 PM
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Precisely - it is one of the general martial arts principles which has so much to do with practicing quite anything actually smile.gif as the latin dicton says:
'Festina lente' literally meaning 'hurry slowly' smile.gif


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verciazghra
post Sep 29 2013, 03:35 PM
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I think the most difficult aspect of teaching people to practice slowly and correctly is that it's impossible for most beginners to know what is correct. I mean, the concept by itself doesn't matter unless the person who practice knows that you're supposed to minimize movement, be relaxed, have the proper posture, and all the other details. I often see people try to practice slowly with too wide motions, and the concept then breaks apart because those movements obstruct their joints/wrists in such a way that they'll never be able to play it quickly.



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Darius Wave
post Sep 29 2013, 04:08 PM
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I agree with this perfectly but I also think that there is a particular tempo range for any lick that makes You sure You know exactly where Your fingers should go. I have this issue with the key's I don't use too often. I can easily coordinate my mind and fingers at some tempo range but when I want to speed it up I need sort of different thinking type (full "blocks" instead of single notes). And playing slow doesn't demand that as much so...practice should not only be slow but a smart too. If you practice something 1000 times and do not incorporate enough attention to it, it can be same useless practice as playing fast and sloppy. That's how I see this


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Nimrandir
post Sep 29 2013, 07:00 PM
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This is probably the most common way to practice, and the one that works best for most of people, but there are also other methods. For example, here's a video where Shawn Lane talks about how he used to practice:



I also remember that John Petrucci suggestend in his "Rock Discipline" video to sometimes try and play the licks you are practicing at higher speeds, and then come down to your original tempo, and it will be easier there.

As for me, when I start learning a lick, I first learn it very slow, so that my fingers "remember" what to do. But then I start increasing tempo by 10-20 bpm each time, and it might be sloppy at first, but with practice I clean it up. I found that the "gradual increase" method just doesn't work for me.

Anyway, I think the main thing in practicing is identifying your problems and finding ways to correct them. And we are lucky to have a place where our instructors are helping us with both - the REC zone smile.gif.
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verciazghra
post Sep 29 2013, 07:11 PM
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QUOTE (Nimrandir @ Sep 29 2013, 06:00 PM) *
This is probably the most common way to practice, and the one that works best for most of people, but there are also other methods. For example, here's a video where Shawn Lane talks about how he used to practice:



I also remember that John Petrucci suggestend in his "Rock Discipline" video to sometimes try and play the licks you are practicing at higher speeds, and then come down to your original tempo, and it will be easier there.

As for me, when I start learning a lick, I first learn it very slow, so that my fingers "remember" what to do. But then I start increasing tempo by 10-20 bpm each time, and it might be sloppy at first, but with practice I clean it up. I found that the "gradual increase" method just doesn't work for me.

Anyway, I think the main thing in practicing is identifying your problems and finding ways to correct them. And we are lucky to have a place where our instructors are helping us with both - the REC zone smile.gif.

I agree with that. There's a very well received approach in piano playing where you play faster than final speed by breaking stuff down into sections as small as two notes and playing them simultaneously, then ramping the speed down from infinity by "wagging" the hand so it becomes slower and slower. This approach is only for notes where you find that you have difficulties. Then when you're done with that you slow down a bit and add surrounding notes to tie it into practical use. I find that it works very well for me on guitar too but it's a rather advanced technique.

Gradual increase doesn't work for me either. I'd rather start fast and sloppy and slow down than slow and with movements that will cause problems. Then once I have the movements I like to practice them at very very slow speeds, tai-chi speeds.

In conclusion I think that to alternate how you practice around the results you're getting and also to "see things from another perspective" is the best way to go. Proper isolation basically.


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klasaine
post Sep 29 2013, 09:03 PM
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Once you've 'got it' then yeah, it's great to bump it up way faster than you'll probably ever play it.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Sep 29 2013, 09:36 PM
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That book is like my bible, I always repeat the part that you posted here. However I also agree with Petrucci's method. Sometimes going a bit faster can make your limit more comfortable.

QUOTE (Nimrandir @ Sep 29 2013, 03:00 PM) *
I also remember that John Petrucci suggestend in his "Rock Discipline" video to sometimes try and play the licks you are practicing at higher speeds, and then come down to your original tempo, and it will be easier there.






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PosterBoy
post Sep 30 2013, 08:25 AM
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I agree with the practice slowly etc and Ben's idea of speed bursts.

I've found that initially going at some kind of speed can be helpful as I've often practiced something slowly and increased and then at a certain point found my fingering isn't possible at faster tempos so have to change it and start again!


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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 30 2013, 08:35 AM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Sep 29 2013, 08:36 PM) *
That book is like my bible, I always repeat the part that you posted here. However I also agree with Petrucci's method. Sometimes going a bit faster can make your limit more comfortable.


This worked for me - I felt it with the Pantera songs. In the case of 'Domination' and 'Walk' especially - I used original recording derived backing tracks, featuring the vocals, bass and drums recorded by the guys themselves, leaving the guitar out. They felt pretty fast and I managed to get them around 97% clean played at that speed. When I got to the rehearsals, the guys in the band were playing the songs a tad slower than what I was used to, at home smile.gif Guess what - it felt great, because I was in control.

This post has been edited by Cosmin Lupu: Sep 30 2013, 08:36 AM


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StaceyD
post Sep 30 2013, 08:19 PM
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QUOTE (verciazghra @ Sep 29 2013, 07:11 PM) *
There's a very well received approach in piano playing where you play faster than final speed by breaking stuff down into sections as small as two notes and playing them simultaneously, then ramping the speed down from infinity by "wagging" the hand so it becomes slower and slower. This approach is only for notes where you find that you have difficulties. Then when you're done with that you slow down a bit and add surrounding notes to tie it into practical use. I find that it works very well for me on guitar too but it's a rather advanced technique.


Very interesting i'll have to try that.

I'm slightly at a loss with how to approach things right now, because although practicing things slow can clean things up, it doesn't really help me with speed building. This is more the case with extremely difficult things. I've increased tempos gradually, and also in larger steps (10+bpm), tried to keep small motions etc, yet i generally always feel too rushed and hurried at the target speed. This may be because i'm increasing things too soon, and getting impatient, not sure.

So lately, i've been playing things slow to get the part learned, and to get the accuracy and muscle memory initially prepped, then' dipping my toes in the water' at a much higher/target speed, to see if i'm going to have any problems, then coming back down in speed, making and maintaining necessary adjustments at the slower speed. For instance at real slow speeds (depending on what you're doing) you may accidentally pick everything, because it feels natural at that speed to do so, but at the target tempo there just simply may not be enough time for that, you may have to change something small, like add a pull off,hammer on, or sweep, or change the fingering in order to execute it at top tempo. I'm not sure if this is working yet, but it feels a little better so far.

The other thing i'm struggling with is that at a slower speed you're thinking of each individual note as a separate entity, because you have time to. If you need to increase speed, you reach a certain point where this thinking has to change and you have to approach the whole phrase as one entity (to see it as a whole sentance rather than individual letters or words). Finding that gear shift, making adjustments, and also knowing when to make that push is the thing that i find quite difficult to balance.

So overall, i'm now starting to think that just applying a blanket approach of 'play it slow' isn't something that's going to work for everything. Each problem may need a different strategy, finding out what that is, based on my individual problems is what i'm trying to figure out!


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verciazghra
post Sep 30 2013, 09:19 PM
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QUOTE (StaceyD @ Sep 30 2013, 07:19 PM) *
Very interesting i'll have to try that.

I'm slightly at a loss with how to approach things right now, because although practicing things slow can clean things up, it doesn't really help me with speed building. This is more the case with extremely difficult things. I've increased tempos gradually, and also in larger steps (10+bpm), tried to keep small motions etc, yet i generally always feel too rushed and hurried at the target speed. This may be because i'm increasing things too soon, and getting impatient, not sure.

So lately, i've been playing things slow to get the part learned, and to get the accuracy and muscle memory initially prepped, then' dipping my toes in the water' at a much higher/target speed, to see if i'm going to have any problems, then coming back down in speed, making and maintaining necessary adjustments at the slower speed. For instance at real slow speeds (depending on what you're doing) you may accidentally pick everything, because it feels natural at that speed to do so, but at the target tempo there just simply may not be enough time for that, you may have to change something small, like add a pull off,hammer on, or sweep, or change the fingering in order to execute it at top tempo. I'm not sure if this is working yet, but it feels a little better so far.

The other thing i'm struggling with is that at a slower speed you're thinking of each individual note as a separate entity, because you have time to. If you need to increase speed, you reach a certain point where this thinking has to change and you have to approach the whole phrase as one entity (to see it as a whole sentance rather than individual letters or words). Finding that gear shift, making adjustments, and also knowing when to make that push is the thing that i find quite difficult to balance.

So overall, i'm now starting to think that just applying a blanket approach of 'play it slow' isn't something that's going to work for everything. Each problem may need a different strategy, finding out what that is, based on my individual problems is what i'm trying to figure out!


This is very interesting. Yes I've also found that you can't think of every note at a certain speed, or you can, but it's just not effective.

The concept I was referring to is called Chord Attack and it basically goes like this. I first do several Chord Attacks then I do slow to fast practice. (Very simplified.)

And as you can see the motion required is much greater when doing slow to fast than fast to slow(it's also closer to a "good hand posture").

Chord Attacks Piano Fundamentals

It ofcourse can be applied to two note sections or three or five or whatever you want. I've tried using it on guitar to minimize movements and it works quite well. It's the same as when people move the entire position playing a 3-5-7 3-5-7 pattern when they get to the 7 many beginners seem to want to change position by moving their arm. So by applying "chord attacks" to that kind of discipline you can get very far.

This post has been edited by verciazghra: Sep 30 2013, 09:31 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 1 2013, 09:03 AM
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In respect to Vince's video which I find very correct - it's pretty much the same thing on the guitar - the less you move your left hand fingers - by that I mean the less you move them away from the fretboard, the faster and more efficient you will become. I remember seeing this video years ago and only later I understood that a lot of his efficiency came from his minimized movement:



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verciazghra
post Oct 1 2013, 08:02 PM
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Awesome Cosmin that's a great video indeed.

Another point of balance is where your movement is coming from. If you reduce movement but stiffen up and get most of your notes by extending the intermediate phalange you may quickly suffer from tendonitis. This phalange carries little strength and is one of the main reason people develop tendonitis.

If on the other hand you use your proximal phalanges and still try to minimize movement, you'll have greater power and more ease to be relaxed since these fingers are controlled by muscles in the arm rather than by tiny muscles in the hand. This helps eleviate a lot of stress on your wrists and tendons. In piano practice we call that "the natural arch of the hand" which is a very strong concept.


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 1 2013, 08:51 PM
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BINGO!!! smile.gif The key to playing fast is playing with precision and the only way to develop precision, is to play SLOOOOOOOWWWWLLLY and focus on each note being played correctly. Speed is really a "Byproduct" of precision as you will hear said quite often smile.gif

We often push the speed barrier in chats just to give your hands a taste of what they will eventually be able to play with precision. But of course, in a scant two hours it's hardly enough time to go from slow to crazy. I'm more showing you what it will sound like and inviting your hands along for a test run.

When you go to play the bits from a Saturday/Sunday Lesson for example, it's always best to start really slow to play it perfect and then speed it up bit by bit. This is, in fact, what we do in Boot Camp. If someone is playing above their ability, I"m the first one to call it and suggest they reduce the speed. I do like to see people really earning it in Boot Camp. Playing near the edge of their ability as that's where progress happens so often. It's important to know where the line is though.

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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 28 2013, 05:57 AM) *
I was reading through Troy Stetina's book Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar and stumbled upon the following advice and thought it was worth sharing:

"SLOW DOWN

Play slowly enough to play without mistakes. Your fingers will move just as you train them to move. If you practice something fast and sloppy a hundred times, why should you expect that the hundred-and-first time wills uddenly become clean and precise? However, if you practice something a hundred times perfectly, you can be sure that the next time will be perfect as well.

You can play almost any combination of notes perfectly if you play them slowly enough. Fingers trained slowly (and therefore, more accurately) will be much steadier and more confident. Fingers trained fast are less controlled and are likely to "freeze up" if you get a little nervous. Think quality, not quantity."



BINGO!!!!!! Well said smile.gif I'm always on about this very issue in Vid Chat. Playing with too much motion in the pick strike for example, does not prepare the hand to speed up. Large movements are fine for blues, slower melody passages etc. But playing slow also means playing in a way that prepares the hand to increase speed. Little tips like.

1.)Increase the angle of the neck
2.)Use a sharper pick if possible (IMHO)
3.)Reduce the amount of wag from each pick strike. E.G. Stay very close to the string.
4.)Don't pick from the elbow, but from the wrist forward.

Todd smile.gif




QUOTE (verciazghra @ Sep 29 2013, 10:35 AM) *
I think the most difficult aspect of teaching people to practice slowly and correctly is that it's impossible for most beginners to know what is correct. I mean, the concept by itself doesn't matter unless the person who practice knows that you're supposed to minimize movement, be relaxed, have the proper posture, and all the other details. I often see people try to practice slowly with too wide motions, and the concept then breaks apart because those movements obstruct their joints/wrists in such a way that they'll never be able to play it quickly.



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