dammit dammit i cant get faster :( playing for months and i still got the same speed


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stefan1988
09-26-2008, 08:04 PM
im so freaking frustrated :mad:

i have a metronome log that i started on 2/23/2008 and my max speed then was 120 today is 9/26/2008 and im still playing at the same damm speed :mad: about 7 months have passed and not even 10bpm increase or anything

i have a guitarpro file that i used the typical 1234 exercise and another one
that goes like this

you hit 000 in between each note 15,000,14,000,12,000,11,000,12,000, kind like this and you do it for all the notes on the bottom

15,14,12,11,12,11,8,7,5,3,2,3,0

so i been doing the same damm thing over and over and over and not progress whatsoever i spend half an hour on the exercises and sometimes 3 hours or more
sometimes even my hand goes numb from doing this all day

here is an old thread that i posted awhile ago
http://ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=941501

i been doing the exercise with all kind of increments from 60-120bpm in increases of 1 that leaves my hand numb from picking all the time since then i have changed my approach to increase in 5's from 60-120 in increases of 5 i still hit a barrier at 120

i have read other threads here in hope for an answer as well i check my posture i tried playing standing up,sitting down i still hit that barrier at 120

i have messed with the way i grab the pick
all the motions of my hand come from the wrist
i dont anchor i can lift my hand completely off the guitar and be able to float and pick like that
i try to be relax all the time

i dont know what the hell im doing wrong is there anything else im missing here that im overlooking? does it take more than 7 months for an increase of 5bpm or more?

this has me by the balls all the stuff i want to play is fast like metallica,megadeth,paul gilbert,steve vai,yngwie malsteem,necrophagist and other stuff

im unable to expand my repertoire since all the stuff i want to play is crazy fast i been learning scales since is something that doesnt require speed

what can i do to solve this problem?how should i practice?

any help,tips,advice is appreciated

yomoma21
09-26-2008, 08:13 PM
hammer-ons and pull-offs are your friend

leftykid
09-26-2008, 08:13 PM
man...i am the exact same way. i have played the same speed for about a year now. anything above that pretty much sounds like guitar giberish. it has definatly shaped my playing style. pm me dude.

frigginjerk
09-26-2008, 08:17 PM
sounds like your practice routine is your problem...

try a different exercise, for one. you've been playing the same thing for 7 months and hating it... after all this time, it probably sounds wrong to increase the speed because of what you're used to hearing.

try going to a faster tempo but not playing on every beat. then work up to playing every beat or double time, or whatever

consider that the problem may also be in your fretting hand. often i have been cursing my picking hand for any lack of progress on various fast riffs, and then i realize that it sounds clumsy because my fretting hand isn't getting to the next fret at the right time

learn different types of music. and not just because you should. do it because it will teach you different things about timing that will help you understand rhythm better. and also because a break from the norm often fosters sudden growth.

there's no rule against anchoring your pick hand either. some people can play much faster like that.

and lastly, although i'm HOPING that you already do this, make sure to alternate pick! it doubles your speed.

angusfan16
09-26-2008, 08:19 PM
this helped me but try the finger weights ring things. i think u can get em at musicans friend

stefan1988
09-26-2008, 08:31 PM
try a different exercise, for one. you've been playing the same thing for 7 months and hating it... after all this time, it probably sounds wrong to increase the speed because of what you're used to hearing.


i do different exercises all the time but usually this is the one i concentrate the most since i know it so well fingers know it inside out


consider that the problem may also be in your fretting hand. often i have been cursing my picking hand for any lack of progress on various fast riffs, and then i realize that it sounds clumsy because my fretting hand isn't getting to the next fret at the right time

i dont think my hammer on's are so slow let me record something and show you some of my playing

and lastly, although i'm HOPING that you already do this, make sure to alternate pick! it doubles your speed.

yeah 120 is my max with alternate picking

TheShred201
09-26-2008, 08:44 PM
i do different exercises all the time but usually this is the one i concentrate the most since i know it so well fingers know it inside out


You'll improve more if you work more on the exercises that your fingers don't know inside and out more than the ones they do.

Overall, this thread seems like it needs freepower's advice...he's typically pretty good with this kind of stuff...

Zaphod_Beeblebr
09-27-2008, 07:41 AM
Well to be honest without a video we can't really tell you what's wrong BUT:

If you're topping out at 120 bpm then there's something wrong with your technique. What exactly that is I don't know but the two main culprits tend to be:

1 - Tension - This is a real killer but seeing as how you say you're not playing with any tension then I have my doubts about it.

2 - Economy of Motion - Your movements are likely to be just too big for you to force them any faster, you need to slow down a whole lot and watch freepower's video on correct practice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNhhyrnINIU

se012101
09-27-2008, 01:00 PM
^ +1

It's got to be a combo of technique and how your practicing. If there's any way you could record a video, I'm confident I (or a number of others on the forums) could help you pinpoint it.

Things/Questions -
1) If you have been practicing the same thing for 7 months, then that's a major reason for stagnation. Your fingers are just doing what they did yesterday instead of learning something new. You've got to mix it up a bit.
2) If you set your metronome to 124, what precisely happens? Is it just an overall "my fingers won't do this" or a specific, consistent error(s) that occurs (like for example your picking and fretting becoming unsyched)? Study really carefully what happens.
3) How far do your left hand fingers come off your fretboard when you are playing? If your pinky is coming up more than an inch, then this is a problem.
4) Try playing for shorter stretches. Based on your earlier post, you play in a long continous loop, with your metronome speeding up as you go, right? This isn't always the best, since you don't have the chance to "release" any badness that is creeping into your playing as you go. Try something more like playing 2 bars worth, then pausing for a few beats, then repeating. It gives you a chance to reset your technique. Of course, eventually you won't need this, but it will give you a way of getting to that point.
5) I'm not convinced that you are not playing with tension. Particularly because of what you mentioned about your hand going numb.

Anyway, post a video so we can help you more specifically.

steven seagull
09-27-2008, 02:49 PM
Think about this for a second - why do you care how fast you can play exercises? Speed isn't the be-all and end-all of guitar playing, arguably it's the least important facet of your abilities.

Rather than busting yourself up over a pointless exercise spend more time worrying about actual playing. Chances are you've built this thing up to be so important that there's some kind of mental block going on - you're getting all worked up and frustrated about something irrelevant, and that frustration will lead to tension and screwing up.

Seriously, just forget about it, theres no point wasting your time on things like this when there's music to be made. You've probably got some decent chops, time to relax and start actually using them. Remind yourself WHY you picked up the guitar in the first place, it was to play the music you love so get learning some, don't get all obsessive writing silly numbers down...this is already driving you up the wall and it's only going to get worse, just let it go.

stefan1988
09-27-2008, 08:39 PM
it was to play the music you love so get learning some, don't get all obsessive writing silly numbers down...this is already driving you up the wall and it's only going to get worse, just let it go.

you see that's my problem my friend the music i love is too fast for me :( i do try to play other stuff but i either end never getting the solo because of speed or i end up getting bored of the song since it doesnt inspire me

It's got to be a combo of technique and how your practicing. If there's any way you could record a video, I'm confident I (or a number of others on the forums) could help you pinpoint it.

i will try to post a video later on if possible but my camera kind of sucks so i see waht can i do about it

2 - Economy of Motion - Your movements are likely to be just too big for you to force them any faster, you need to slow down a whole lot and watch freepower's video on correct practice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNhhyrnINIU


i have seen all of freepower videos something i dont really get is how much economy i should be applying for example if i keep my motions too small my picking gets weak like volume and that sort of thing

if i try to shorten my motions i feel im tensin up for example lets use the example of a pendulum in a clock as an example the energy it carries i have to stopped it so i dont get too far away from the string i dont think i pick with huge motions but i try to stay really close to the string

) How far do your left hand fingers come off your fretboard when you are playing? If your pinky is coming up more than an inch, then this is a problem.

i have to get a ruler or something :p: but this is something else that bothers me what about when you do hammer ons and pull offs when you have to raise your finger so you have enough power to make the note sound right if i keep finger to close to fretboard and try to hammer like that it doesnt give me enough room to put enough energy to make it sound nice

DaddyTwoFoot
09-27-2008, 08:45 PM
Learn other things. I used to try to cram as much practice of the song Master of Puppets as I could, playing it "the Metallica way" and downpicking it. I couldn't get past 150 bpm after doing this for months. My hands got too used to it. So I didn't play it for two weeks and went and learn other fast songs. I came back to Master of Puppets and all of a sudden 175 bpm was easy.

stefan1988
09-27-2008, 08:48 PM
Learn other things. I used to try to cram as much practice of the song Master of Puppets as I could, playing it "the Metallica way" and downpicking it. I couldn't get past 150 bpm after doing this for months. My hands got too used to it. So I didn't play it for two weeks and went and learn other fast songs. I came back to Master of Puppets and all of a sudden 175 bpm was easy.

im trying that but if the stuff is shred and you learn the stuff slow it just sounds like a bunch of scales thrown together the intensity of the song is lost because of the speed

Iriathz
09-27-2008, 09:10 PM
Practice scales.
It's said a lot, but it is really beneficial towards your playing.

DaddyTwoFoot
09-27-2008, 10:37 PM
im trying that but if the stuff is shred and you learn the stuff slow it just sounds like a bunch of scales thrown together the intensity of the song is lost because of the speed

And do you know how those shredders got their speed? By playing really slowly.

Freepower
09-28-2008, 12:50 AM
i have seen all of freepower videos something i dont really get is how much economy i should be applying for example if i keep my motions too small my picking gets weak like volume and that sort of thing

Yeah, this is where things get tricky. You have to make a small, precise, loud pickstroke. The slower you play, the easier it is to get this (and I mean, one note every 2 seconds slow). You need to apply economy of motion to everything, all the time, but you also need to play with a loud consistent tone. Bear in mind, it doesn't take that much force to preform any guitar technique - if you're trying hard (on a decent electric guitar) you should probably change your technique, not just try harder.

if i try to shorten my motions i feel im tensin up for example lets use the example of a pendulum in a clock as an example the energy it carries i have to stopped it so i dont get too far away from the string i dont think i pick with huge motions but i try to stay really close to the string

Thats good. Remember - it takes hundreds of hours of picking practice to make these perfect strokes and speed them up without tensing up. That's something that's just true. :p:


i have to get a ruler or something :p: but this is something else that bothers me what about when you do hammer ons and pull offs when you have to raise your finger so you have enough power to make the note sound right if i keep finger to close to fretboard and try to hammer like that it doesnt give me enough room to put enough energy to make it sound nice.

It's good that you pay attention to the sound of your playing, most baby shredders ( :p: ) just concentrate on quantity of notes output, not quality. However, you need to keep the movements small. Put aside a portion of your practice where all you do is attempt to make small, accurate hammerons and pulloffs. It's difficult, but will improve your playing more and faster than just repeating licks the way you play them atm.

Hope that helped. :)

Andy_Mclaughlan
09-28-2008, 08:11 AM
Yeah definately use different exercise. Plus if you hate the particular exercises you are doing you are never going to get anywhere. You need to engross yourself. The problem is almost definately something you are doing wrong. Take your picking down to a very slow speed....like 30bpm or something. Make sure you are playing perfecty and keep it at 30 bpm for say 5 days . Then move up to 50 or so and do the same for like 5 days. If you get to any speed where there is any tension and its not totally simple for you to keep playing...then go slower again. Also try and play the complete exercise say 5 times in a row PERFECT.

Keep working up the metronome like this and when you get to your top speed of say 120 bpm in your case. Go back to 100 bpm, and work up say 2bpm increase making sure everythings perfect until you get to 120 bpm and repeat as neccesary to gain speed. Also, practice things in bursts at the end of your practicing session. This means just play at the highest possible speed trying not too tense. The focus is not on playing perfectly when ding this. More away of letting your brain know that, 'yeah I can actually play that fast'

I have just woke up so I hope these ramblings can be understood lol
Andy

steven seagull
09-28-2008, 08:45 AM
im trying that but if the stuff is shred and you learn the stuff slow it just sounds like a bunch of scales thrown together the intensity of the song is lost because of the speed
But that's the ONLY way to learn them - you have to perfect something slowly to have any chance of being able to play it at a faster speed.

Also, you don't get faster by playing exercises, you only get faster at exercises by playing exercises - if you want to play a particular song then play it. Imagine if you'd spent the last 7 months working on a song instead of that exercise....

stefan1988
09-28-2008, 06:14 PM
Take your picking down to a very slow speed....like 30bpm or something. Make sure you are playing perfecty and keep it at 30 bpm for say 5 days . Then move up to 50 or so and do the same for like 5 days. If you get to any speed where there is any tension and its not totally simple for you to keep playing...then go slower again. Also try and play the complete exercise say 5 times in a row PERFECT.

i will try this see if it works

thanks alot for the advice guys i will try to change my routine a little more and learn other stuff and mess a little more with the economy of motion i let you know in a few months if it has improved :p:

misfitsramones
09-28-2008, 07:27 PM
put your metronome at 130, try that ,then go back to 124.

Jimi-is-god
09-29-2008, 02:01 AM
do what reb beach did, get hella good at tapping and shred that way!

s-g man
09-29-2008, 09:02 AM
16ths at 120 seems to be a pretty common plateau for people. 4 or so months ago i was there but then one week i suddenly jumped ridiculously and was comfortable at 130-140 and now I'm up at between 150 and 160. Still not blazing but I think practicing other things apart from picking excercises helped me. Try learning a few shred songs and try to get them down well.
peace

GuitarMunky
09-29-2008, 11:17 AM
im so freaking frustrated :mad:

i have a metronome log that i started on 2/23/2008 and my max speed then was 120 today is 9/26/2008 and im still playing at the same damm speed :mad: about 7 months have passed and not even 10bpm increase or anything

i have a guitarpro file that i used the typical 1234 exercise and another one
that goes like this

you hit 000 in between each note 15,000,14,000,12,000,11,000,12,000, kind like this and you do it for all the notes on the bottom

15,14,12,11,12,11,8,7,5,3,2,3,0

so i been doing the same damm thing over and over and over and not progress whatsoever i spend half an hour on the exercises and sometimes 3 hours or more
sometimes even my hand goes numb from doing this all day

here is an old thread that i posted awhile ago
http://ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=941501

i been doing the exercise with all kind of increments from 60-120bpm in increases of 1 that leaves my hand numb from picking all the time since then i have changed my approach to increase in 5's from 60-120 in increases of 5 i still hit a barrier at 120

i have read other threads here in hope for an answer as well i check my posture i tried playing standing up,sitting down i still hit that barrier at 120

i have messed with the way i grab the pick
all the motions of my hand come from the wrist
i dont anchor i can lift my hand completely off the guitar and be able to float and pick like that
i try to be relax all the time

i dont know what the hell im doing wrong is there anything else im missing here that im overlooking? does it take more than 7 months for an increase of 5bpm or more?

this has me by the balls all the stuff i want to play is fast like metallica,megadeth,paul gilbert,steve vai,yngwie malsteem,necrophagist and other stuff

im unable to expand my repertoire since all the stuff i want to play is crazy fast i been learning scales since is something that doesnt require speed

what can i do to solve this problem?how should i practice?

any help,tips,advice is appreciated

stop focusing on speed, and start focusing on music.

mdc
09-29-2008, 11:27 AM
stop focusing on speed, and start focusing on music.
Some people have a desire for speed though ya know? To reach a goal, in terms of shred.

So sometimes playing music has to be put on a back burner for a while, and sacrificed for speed building exercises.

evolucian
09-30-2008, 05:47 AM
All the advice here is really great and i won't be able to add much. Have you tried Troy Stetina's "Speed mechanics for lead guitar"? It should be a good place for you to start, he also plays each example in two or three tempos so it helps to know what it sounds like at tempo. He does also have a slow tempo to begin with.

One exercise is great to play continuously to get your speed up but it limits you. Drastically!

Relax, play some scales, improv over a chord progession and just let go. The moment you let go thats when your fingers fly. so keep that in mind, if you are in a rut just let go.
Forget the metronome and just play as fast as you want to. You might land up surprising yourself.

hope this helps... enjoy

**** For economy picking exercises try Frank Gambale's "speed picking" book. It helps nicely****

El CumanÚs
09-30-2008, 10:05 AM
I recommend you to watch the John Petrucci Rock Discipline video (is entirely uploaded on youtube). It got some great exercises and tips about increasing speed applied on the most common techniques used on shredding.
Another thing to keep in mind is to get well warm up before playing anything at a speed close to your limit.
Also is important when practicing, not to play the same exercises over and over until your hand goes numb. Try to change the exercise or rest for a while.

cemetarygates31
09-30-2008, 07:42 PM
i got the same problem
i can shred at like 170 bpm and occasionaly mess up
but the fastest i can play anything with the metronome is 132 bmp at 16 notes
its been this way for like a year

Freepower
09-30-2008, 08:04 PM
And did you read all the advice in this thread? :p:

cemetarygates31
09-30-2008, 08:10 PM
ya i did
most of the stuff ive tried alredy
but im theres a couple things ima give a try
thanks freepower

s-g man
09-30-2008, 09:52 PM
Just another thought, Shawn Lane (RIP) always used to say he developed his speed by playing above his comfortable zone and then cleaned up his playing after.
Maybe switching between the two methods (playing slower, and playing faster) could work better than sticking with just one?

Freepower
09-30-2008, 10:03 PM
Yeah, but that doesn't really work if you can't get above 150 odd, your physical technique is more of an issue than your mental block.

See here, anyway.

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=16440705#post16440705

Answers that issue directly.

Spike6sic6
10-01-2008, 12:38 PM
The speed might not be the problem but it seems like it is, or could be. Why? Something similar happened to me.

So from what you are saying is that the music you're playing is too fast. I'll tell you my story first, then maybe you can make a link.

Okay so it all started when my friend bought a guitar. At the time, he lived about an hour away, in the "mountains". During this period, we would only see each others once in a month or two. But anyways, that's pretty useless to us right now. So he bought a guitar, and as I wanted one too, I couldn't wait to try it. So when I finally did, I loved it. About a year after him, I finally bought mine.

Of course, when I started he was much more advanced then I was. He could play stuff like Enter Sandman, and I died to do the same, even with my unexperience. So I tried. Enter Sandman isn't particularly hard, in fact, it's pretty easy. But there's where my problem started. Since he could play some Metallica and stuff, I started learning ONLY Metallica songs(yeah, it was also in my Metallica era). It started with Enter Sandman, then Master of Puppets, and it went to the point where I pretty much tried every single songs from them. I thought it was all fine, that I'd get better eventually and all.

But after two years of doing it like this, I realised I would still play the same damm songs, at the same speed, and the same sloppyness.

The point is, you seriously need to take it slowly. From what you are saying, you can only play at 120 bpm. You didn't mention what notes you would play tho. Quarter notes might be fine for you, but 8th's is definatly way too fast to start with.

So my tips would be to first, vary your practicing. Start making yourself a collection of all your favorite riffs in GuitarPro or Powertabs format, and practice those with your exercises. That will make it considerably funnier for you, and you will be more motivated to start with. I'd personnally recommend you Metallica and Megadeth, since they have a lot of easy riffs. I'll even add a little start list of songs that are pretty simple(at the end of my post), and you can eventually add your own to it or anything.

Secondly, slow it down. I know you've heard of it a lot, but there's only one reason to that; it works. Often what I would do was slow down to the point where I could pretty much play the riff, but with mistakes, and I wouldn't realise it was still too fast. In my opinion, here is a few things to keep in mind when you are looking for the good speed;
-Can you play it perfectly?
-Do you actually have the time to THINK about what you're playing? If you don't, you won't realise your mistakes and therefore, they won't get solved. You have to be able to tell yourself like "Ok so if I do that, it sounds wrong. But if I do that, it sounds right." You have to be able to hear every mistakes you make.
-If you can play it perfectly at a speed, don't bump it up yet. Keep practicing at this speed. Once in a while, bump up the tempo and try it out a bit. After a few days, you will eventually notice that when you bump it up, you play it just as good. But really I mean, exactly as good. When that happens, you can probably bump it up "permanently". And like I said, you should go with 4 bpm increases. This is about the minimum speed increase human ear can notice.
-Like previously mentionned, make sure you can play without tension, or at least the minimum amount possible(it's humanly impossible to make any movement without tension).
-Do you find it TOO slow? If it's the case, you probably are at a good speed.

Finally, don't make such a big deal out of speed. The speed, you probably have it already. But the accuracy/hand sync is probably where the problem is at. You gotta work on your accuracy, that's what truly make you play fast. For example, I could play a 250 bpm riff, but chances are you will mess up because of your sync, accuracy or even your speed itself. Heck, you might even be trying to play it too fast. Speed is a by product of accuracy, like a lot like to say. It might be a hard concept to fully grasp, but once you practice slow enough for a few days, you should already see an improvement, at least in your accuracy.

I'll conclude saying, try speeding it down, and play stuff you love, additionnaly to your exercises. You might think you're practicing slow enough, but there's clearly something wrong if you're not making any progress. At this point, you should experiment new things rather then stay in your old habits. Give it at least a few days, a week practicing slower. I guanrantee you that if you can do that, you WILL see an improvement, as little as it might seem to be. Even if it's not your speed, it's gonna be your accuracy. Don't give up and try it out. I mean, you can't possibly harm your playing like this. All that can result is progress.

And here's the list of Metallica/Megadeth songs you should look into;
Metallica
-Enter Sandman
-Master of Puppets
-Seed and destroy
-Call of Ktulu
-Orion
-To live is to die
-One
-Unforgiven 1

Megadeth
-A secret place
-Tears in a vial
-Countdown to exctinction
-Trust
-Symphony of Destruction

And remember; slow them down! All these songs contain rather simple riffs that you could learn(you probably can play some of them at full speed, but I wouldn't advise it, unless you're pretty sure, like Enter Sandman's intro). Also note that I left a lot of songs out. That's not necessarly because they are too hard, but because I haven't listened to these bands in ages. I probably forgot a lot of songs, so you should go out there and look at all the tabs from your fav songs. After all, only YOU know what you can play and can't.

I hope it helps. I got through the same and it took me a long time to figure out the right way to practice(years, in fact). If it can indeed help, then my goal was reached. Good luck friend :cheers:.

1337void
10-01-2008, 12:46 PM
Try this song: Hangar 18. Slow and steady riffing, nice and smooth there.

Spike6sic6
10-01-2008, 12:47 PM
Try this song: Hangar 18. Slow and steady riffing, nice and smooth there.

Forgot this one, but it has hard parts. I'd recommend only the verses, since the rest is pretty fast. Or like I said, slow them down.

sock_demon
10-01-2008, 02:25 PM
PARADIGM SHIFT TIME!!!


Instead of picking everything, try hammers and pulls or even tapping.

these videos really helped me gain speed, and they should for you too.


http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=efq_lPN2TZE

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=57q5zdvMw58

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=uT3CuibES7Y

Ultimately you should get Rock Discipline by John Petrucci.
Solid DVD and will really improve your playing.

stefan1988
10-01-2008, 09:24 PM
I hope it helps. I got through the same and it took me a long time to figure out the right way to practice(years, in fact). If it can indeed help, then my goal was reached. Good luck friend

i appreciate your long thoughtful response :)

today i tried the approach of playing at a really really really slow speed i played around 36bpm and i did this for an hour and i jumped to 120 to see if it really did a difference and it kind of did a little difference my picking was able to keep up with the speed but my left hand wasnt able to and my motions were smaller this time around.

i think i found what my problem is :D im going to practice a few days like this
and see if it improves my speed i let you know if this method works

should i stay at this speed for 5 days? and then increase another 5bpm? or how often should i kick the tempo speed up?
PARADIGM SHIFT TIME!!!

this is the exercise im doing is on guitarpro the only think i know is that is 120bpm lol i dont know how to disntiguish what kind of notes they are maybe quick lesson from you guys be helpful :p:

http://www.yousendit.com/download/bVlDSkhWT004aU5jR0E9PQ
i check the videos later on im kind of busy right now but i will check them

thanks for help guys i give an update to let you know how it works out for me

The.new.guy
10-02-2008, 09:34 PM
It sounds to me like you've created a mental black for yourself. It might sound like a simple thing to get over but, trust me, it's been one of the hardest things for me. I've been stuck on the same exercise, at 80bpm for about a month. Now, after reading this thread, I realize you should do much, much, much, more than 1 or 2 exercises!

Not only do I hope this helps, but I thank you, UG, for helping me on this thread!

edg
10-03-2008, 02:43 PM
This thread is a good illustration of why the skill of guitar is shaped like a pyramid.
You have all the masses at the bottom and that's where they usually stay. A few
make it to the top. The only real difference is that those at the top knew what
questions to ask and where to look for answers.

I think until you wake up to that, you're pretty much destined to be a bottom of the
pyramid dweller.

Erc
10-03-2008, 04:37 PM
stop focusing on speed, and start focusing on music.

Truth.

I attended a masterclass held by Douglas Humphreys over the summer, the head of the piano department at Eastman School of Music, and he made a very terse remark on technique to a student who had known, but needed to be reminded, that 90% of a musicians technique is in their EARS. I suspect you are making the mistake of focusing too much on the physical elements.

The most important practice one can perform is absolutely slow and MUSICAL practice, where the musician experiences every nuance of the music at a slower speed. I can guarantee you that that kind of practice will yield far more results then racing your metronome on your exercise speedway. (I am not saying abandon exercises and metronome practice entirely, they both have their places, but to lose the big musical picture is the worst thing one can do in their practice)

sisuphi
10-03-2008, 08:18 PM
erc, i don't think anyone who is giving advice in here is suggesting not to practice or experience musical nuances. the thread is about a physical technique. i do agree with you that musicality is the majority of what a musician needs, but that's not what is being discussed here, and i don't think it's right to assume that people are ignoring that aspect of the art of playing guitar because they are asking focused questions.

but fair point.

z4twenny
10-03-2008, 09:36 PM
This thread is a good illustration of why the skill of guitar is shaped like a pyramid.
You have all the masses at the bottom and that's where they usually stay. A few
make it to the top. The only real difference is that those at the top knew what
questions to ask and where to look for answers.

I think until you wake up to that, you're pretty much destined to be a bottom of the
pyramid dweller.

this is so true it almost boggles the mind. the most basic fact is: your hands will move faster when they're ready to

also i agree 100% with what erc said.

Freepower
10-03-2008, 09:43 PM
^ there's actually a lot of luck involved as well. Even though I am obsessive and hardworking in nature, as well as a voracious reader, I probably would have sucked at guitar unless certain people both encouraged me to be creative with the crap I created and admonished me for not playing it to a professional level. As it is now, I could name 3 people without whom I wouldn't even be playing guitar if I hadn't chanced on them or listened to them at the right moment.

Then again, perhaps the most important thing is to get the most out of every opportunity. You get out what you put in...

GuitarMunky
10-03-2008, 10:00 PM
Some people have a desire for speed though ya know? To reach a goal, in terms of shred.

So sometimes playing music has to be put on a back burner for a while, and sacrificed for speed building exercises.



IMO playing music, never has to be put on the back burner....ever. Thats not to say you shouldn't focus on technique, or even speed.... but there is no reason to not work on it in a musical context..... assuming your goals are to play music on your musical instrument.

I've seen so many players fall into that "I've got to get fast" frame of mind. They often let go of the music part as you suggest in order to pursue speed. Unfortunately many never get back to the music part.



90% of a musicians technique is in their EARS. I suspect you are making the mistake of focusing too much on the physical elements.

+ 1000000000000
alot of people get so caught up in training their fingers, that they forget about their mind / ears.



The most important practice one can perform is absolutely slow and MUSICAL practice, where the musician experiences every nuance of the music at a slower speed. I can guarantee you that that kind of practice will yield far more results then racing your metronome on your exercise speedway. (I am not saying abandon exercises and metronome practice entirely, they both have their places, but to lose the big musical picture is the worst thing one can do in their practice)


I agree, though I'll just say that the most important practice one can perform is musical practice..... at any speed. obviously there are times when you have to take it slow. My view is that you really shouldn't practice it any faster than you can hear it. That speed will differ from piece to piece and from person to person depending on their skill level.

Freepower
10-03-2008, 10:17 PM
^ while this may seem odd coming from me, as I am fond of playing scales very fast, I wish I hadn't put music on the back burner when I did (2 years ago to about 1 year ago) and instead worked on building a better repetoire - and had the guts to admit it wasn't that I wanted to be a pure "composer/improviser", but rather that I didn't have the follow through to polish up simple songs if I felt I was "better" than them.

Humility is an improvement steroid. I saw no improvement in my ability to follow chord changes until I took it down to no tempo at all and found every chord tone around the neck.

All this stuff is obvious, and it's so much easier to talk the game than to live it, and that's precisely why I'm going to say, as I have in many a lesson -

Go and play your guitars now! (seriously, NOW! I'm going to :p: )

se012101
10-03-2008, 10:21 PM
You absolutely have to bring both up together.

Ok, lets say a person has a lifetime goal of reaching a virtuoso level of technique at the guitar. So, why would a person want this, given that we are easily talking about 10-25 years of focused practice? To me, a good reason for wanting that is to be able to express oneself without technical limitations getting in the way - so that the music in your head is able to drive what you play, not considerations of what you are able to pull off technically.

Well, with that in mind, if the real goal is to express yourself, then a person should start expressing themselves (imperfectly though it may be) immediately, then as the technique comes up they will gradually be able to express themselves better and better, due to less technical barriers. It makes totally no sense to wait all those years before even trying.
Analogy - does a young child learning to speak wait until he/she has acquired a 10,000 word vocabulary before saying a word?

SilverDark
10-03-2008, 11:21 PM
You absolutely have to bring both up together.

Ok, lets say a person has a lifetime goal of reaching a virtuoso level of technique at the guitar. So, why would a person want this, given that we are easily talking about 10-25 years of focused practice? To me, a good reason for wanting that is to be able to express oneself without technical limitations getting in the way - so that the music in your head is able to drive what you play, not considerations of what you are able to pull off technically.

Well, with that in mind, if the real goal is to express yourself, then a person should start expressing themselves (imperfectly though it may be) immediately, then as the technique comes up they will gradually be able to express themselves better and better, due to less technical barriers. It makes totally no sense to wait all those years before even trying.
Analogy - does a young child learning to speak wait until he/she has acquired a 10,000 word vocabulary before saying a word?
Bleagh... It kinda does make sense. The only problem here is that we want to play as fast as the guys we listen to, so we play a bunch of exercises to help us play like them. The exercises do help, in a way, and we look up a bunch of tabs to learn our heroes' fast riffs and licks, but what we are doing instead is trying to learn how to play like them, and in turn, search for our own style.

I want the ability to express myself, but also have the proper technique for speed. I'm going to take FP's regret and use it to learn more pieces! I only know like 6, 8... I should really look for slower pieces and practice on those, while also slowing down the ones I already know and improving those.

God, UG is THE place to get knowledge like this!

EDIT: A contradiction. Stupid me.

se012101
10-04-2008, 01:16 AM
The exercises do help, in a way, and we look up a bunch of tabs to learn our heroes' fast riffs and licks, but what we are doing instead is trying to learn how to play like them, and not how to play like ourselves, and so expressing oneself is shot.


Not true! Learning the music of others is an essential part of the process of finding your own style. Learning others people's music is a great way of broadening your horizons. Nobody creates their own style out of thin air. Instead its more a process of getting thousands of fragments and ideas gotten by listening to and learning existing music, and assmbling them in a new and interesting way.

GuitarMunky
10-04-2008, 02:24 AM
Learning the music of others is an essential part of the process of finding your own style. Learning others people's music is a great way of broadening your horizons.

+ 1

besides that, its lots of fun!

SilverDark
10-04-2008, 07:23 AM
Not true! Learning the music of others is an essential part of the process of finding your own style. Learning others people's music is a great way of broadening your horizons. Nobody creates their own style out of thin air. Instead its more a process of getting thousands of fragments and ideas gotten by listening to and learning existing music, and assmbling them in a new and interesting way.
Didn't you see me contradict myself? :p: Yea, you're right.

My overall point that I was trying to make (just thought of it while I was walking my dog) was that we want to play as fast as our heroes, but some of us have the notion of thinking that by playing faster and faster, just doing runs for endurance, will break down that barrier and help us, like a bodybuilder (and even so, a bodybuilder doesn't even do that, he picks up the weight slowly). In fact, it's doing little or nothing at all, and we got to analyze what is wrong by playing slowly.

This happens in exercises, and also in learning other pieces.

Freepower
10-04-2008, 09:36 AM
Not true! Learning the music of others is an essential part of the process of finding your own style. Learning others people's music is a great way of broadening your horizons. Nobody creates their own style out of thin air. Instead its more a process of getting thousands of fragments and ideas gotten by listening to and learning existing music, and assmbling them in a new and interesting way.

Yeah, I nowadays I can almost always pinpoint where my pieces come from and which influences there are there. It doesn't mean I don't have my own style. I remember the first thing I ever composed was basically the intro to New Born by Muse with a few wrong notes here and there. Funnily enough, New Born was what I was trying to learn at the time. :o

mdc
10-04-2008, 12:17 PM
Thats not to say you shouldn't focus on technique, or even speed.... but there is no reason to not work on it in a musical context..... assuming your goals are to play music on your musical instrument.
Sorry yeah, that's exactly what I meant. I should've pointed out that guitarists pursuing speed should focus on speed building exercises in a musical context. Non of that chromatic stuff like 5-6-7-8 on all strings.

That first post of mine was lacking the famous "more haste, less speed" quote. Hmm, funny how that applies to "shred" too. :p:

Freepower
10-04-2008, 12:28 PM
^ it's "more speed, less haste". More result, less effort and stress. :p:

mdc
10-04-2008, 12:34 PM
Lol! I think I must hold the UG record for "Most posts misinterpreted" and "User most misinterpreted"

Zaphod_Beeblebr
10-04-2008, 12:41 PM
^ it's "more speed, less haste". More result, less effort and stress. :p:

Umm...sorry FP but no, the saying is indeed "More haste, less speed" and it should stay that way, 'Haste' being concentrated effort in the right areas and 'speed' being rushing ahead without thought.

se012101
10-04-2008, 12:41 PM
Yeah, I nowadays I can almost always pinpoint where my pieces come from and which influences there are there. It doesn't mean I don't have my own style. I remember the first thing I ever composed was basically the intro to New Born by Muse with a few wrong notes here and there. Funnily enough, New Born was what I was trying to learn at the time. :o

Its always interesting to me to listen to what my improvising sounds like right after I've learned a difficult song (like something that takes more than a couple of weeks of working on it hard). Usually there's a noticeable mutation. To me that's good because it means that as well as improving my chops learning the song, I incorporated something new into the repetoire, the stuff I can actually use to make my own stuff.

To Silverdark - about the wanting to play fast like our heroes thing. There is nothing wrong with that. If you like a certain type of music - just like I do - that requires fast playing, then absolutely you have to work on your speed some. My point is more that as you are working on this, you also need to be working on the more creative aspects. As opposed to putting almost all the effort into the speed and waiting until you've reached a certain level before trying to do something with it.

edg
10-04-2008, 01:38 PM
this is so true it almost boggles the mind. the most basic fact is: your hands will move faster when they're ready to

also i agree 100% with what erc said.

I posted that after reading another thread about sweeping. The kid was asking
if he should sweep two notes per tick instead of 1 because he reached the top
speed his metronome would go. What's wrong with this picture!?

Assuming everyone wants to be a good player, it's asking the wrong questions and
looking for the answers in the wrong places.

There's nothing wrong with learning the physical mechanics of playing. It's also a
physical activity and quite necessary. But, if you don't spend a little bit of time
learning the basics of your chosen activity, you have willfully chosen to remain in
ignorance about it and it's simple ignorance that will keep you from any real
progress.

The overarching assumption seems to be the speed and fancy technique tricks have
made someone a good player. So that's all that is focused on to the exclusion of
all else. But what you're seeing is only an end result. Consider this: you can
generally tell a master player by listening to them play a handful of notes at a very
moderate speed. What's going on there?

Freepower
10-04-2008, 02:19 PM
Umm...sorry FP but no, the saying is indeed "More haste, less speed" and it should stay that way, 'Haste' being concentrated effort in the right areas and 'speed' being rushing ahead without thought.

You see, the funny thing is that the I've only ever heard it "more speed" until I googled it, where there seems to be an abundance of "more haste" - although the interesting thing is that "both" sayings mean to progess with more care and less outright velocity. :p:

To me, haste implies being in a hurry -


1. Rapidity of action or motion.
2. Overeagerness to act.
3. Rash or headlong action; precipitateness.

Whereas speed doesn't have any similar negative connotations, so regardless of which may be more common on google, I'll stick to my way round.

Anyway, we both mean the same thing. :p:

Zaphod_Beeblebr
10-04-2008, 02:39 PM
You see, the funny thing is that the I've only ever heard it "more speed" until I googled it, where there seems to be an abundance of "more haste" - although the interesting thing is that "both" sayings mean to progess with more care and less outright velocity. :p:

To me, haste implies being in a hurry -



Whereas speed doesn't have any similar negative connotations, so regardless of which may be more common on google, I'll stick to my way round.

Anyway, we both mean the same thing. :p:

Well now that I did not know...I never associated haste with anything negative before...well you learn something every day, the important point is that we're on the same page.................as it were........dammit, I'm a walking cliche today :sad:

stefan1988
10-06-2008, 09:10 PM
i tried the same exercise again today and is basically impossible to keep up :(
so i might just abandon that exercise and try my luck on other things

i got more questions on a bunch on little things

1.should i play on my fingertips or can i use the finger pads of my fingers?

2.do hammer ons and pull-offs help with left hand speed?

for example i can do pull-offs as well as some hammer on runs faster than i could do it if i picked every note but my left hand speed on hammer ons is not the same as if i was picking note by note

so basically what im asking if i train hammer on speed and pull offs will that help me synch my left hand with my picking hand?


can somebody tell me how fast is this :p: i always describe it as 120bpm but i wish i knew more exactly what im playing is it quarter notes or 8ths or 16ths or what?

here is the exercise i do is on guitar pro format

http://www.yousendit.com/download/bVlEZm1kQ1JreER2Wmc9PQ

a little lesson or some good links would be appreciated to identify what kind of notes im playing

i got more questions but i forgot most of them at the moment i got to study for a few tests :( so i post later on

TheShred201
10-06-2008, 09:33 PM
i tried the same exercise again today and is basically impossible to keep up :(
so i might just abandon that exercise and try my luck on other things

i got more questions on a bunch on little things

11.should i play on my fingertips or can i use the finger pads of my fingers?

22.do hammer ons and pull-offs help with left hand speed?

for example i can do pull-offs as well as some hammer on runs faster than i could do it if i picked every note but my left hand speed on hammer ons is not the same as if i was picking note by note

3so basically what im asking if i train hammer on speed and pull offs will that help me synch my left hand with my picking hand?

4
can somebody tell me how fast is this :p: i always describe it as 120bpm but i wish i knew more exactly what im playing is it quarter notes or 8ths or 16ths or what?

here is the exercise i do is on guitar pro format

http://www.yousendit.com/download/bVlEZm1kQ1JreER2Wmc9PQ

a little lesson or some good links would be appreciated to identify what kind of notes im playing

i got more questions but i forgot most of them at the moment i got to study for a few tests :( so i post later on
1. Tips.
2. Yes and no--for a while, making sure to cleanly hammer on and pull off will definitely be slower. Eventually however, it won't really hurt your speed at all--after a while, how fast you can pick will limit speed more than the left hand. Overall though, it will strengthen your left hand and build it's dexterity, and gives more dynamic options, so it's good to work on.
3. Yes and no--it will improve your left hands precision, which will make syncing them easier, but to truly sync your hands together you definitely need to pick each note.
4. 16th notes at 120 Beats per minute. 8 notes per second.

stefan1988
10-10-2008, 12:15 AM
got more questions today :p:

i met a guy that has been playing for over 10 years and he gave me some tips on how to develop speed how to angle the pick and that kind of thing he explained to me that the pick should be more perpendicular on a way that kind of scratches the strings so it doesn't get stuck

when you play stuff with the pick parallel is more lkely to get stuck obvious common sense but he showed me in person how to angle it

so i was wondering how does this angle of the pick apply to sweep picking and strumming

is the pick held the same way in the 2 situations mentioned above?

for example is the pick held parallel to the strings in strumming? or should i do it more perpendicular?



same question but with sweep picking? how should i angle it?

also what is the difference between a rake and sweep picking is it that a rake has just more strentght applied to it?

i got more questions is just that i forgot most of them

TheShred201
10-10-2008, 01:05 AM
read the sticky (second link in my sig)

steven seagull
10-10-2008, 04:52 AM
Umm...sorry FP but no, the saying is indeed "More haste, less speed" and it should stay that way, 'Haste' being concentrated effort in the right areas and 'speed' being rushing ahead without thought.
Actually it's "less haste, more speed" :p:

The less you rush about trying to get something done the faster you'll actually do it.