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Old 02-19-2013, 03:31 AM   #1
PeaceReeper
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A question about gaining speed

Hi there, I've been playing for about five and a half years, and I'm a pretty slow player (especially with licks that span several strings). The worst: I don't seem to have gained any speed in a couple of years! The reason I ask this now is that I've been trying to learn the solos to "Paradise City" and "Bark at the Moon", but no matter how much I practice, it seems that I can't gain any speed, and when I do play any lick at the highest speed that I can manage, my upper arm/shoulder gets sore. I've even tried this exercise, to no avail: How to Increase Speed

My question is probably one that gets asked on here a lot, but here it is: is this something I can power through, or is my fundamental technique completely wrong. I've noticed that people that play without anchoring to the bridge seem to have less trouble, so should I try to learn to play without an anchor? If, however, my technique is okay, how should I go about improving my playing using my current picking technique?

I guess what I'm asking is: is there a right way and a wrong way, or is it just a question of playing whichever way feels most natural?

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by PeaceReeper : 02-19-2013 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:16 AM   #2
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there's no right or wrong way, but there are better and worse. the better ones are the ones that allow you to relax while playing. don't just do what feels natural, because that's probably what led you to how you're playing today. for example, natural is tensing up when you reach difficult parts, but that's obviously unhelpful. guitar playing isn't really a natural thing for our hands, anyway, or else we'd be born knowing how to move our hands like that.

and definitely try to play without anchoring heavily, it helps a ton if speed is what you're going for. less tension that way. bottom line is, you need to relax. just keep thinking that guitar playing is easy, and the tension will go away.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:19 AM   #3
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yeah, that article is wrong about increasing speed, speed is generated through technique, not gradually trying to speed up with a metronome (this works well for beginners but gets less effective the more you've played), in most post 80's rock music sped is generated through tremolo picking, sweep picking, economy picking, and tapping, look for exercises and lessons that work on these particular techniques and practice the hell out of them at multiple speeds (slow and fast), and your speed will increase
Anchoring is almost essential for shred guitar, all the best players do it, Shawn Lane, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci... etc.
the reason people talk so much about it is they don't understand it, in classical guitar (or fingerstyle) anchoring will cause tension that will slow your playing, but in rock or jazz, it will help to control your picking
now you may have other technical issues, watch good players see their technique and imitate it, if yours looks different then fix it
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vIsIbleNoIsE
bottom line is, you need to relax. just keep thinking that guitar playing is easy, and the tension will go away.


True story. The coolest thing is when you simultaneously speed up a riff at the same time as relaxing the motions in your arms/wrists/hands
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad Kharmel
Anchoring is almost essential for shred guitar, all the best players do it, Shawn Lane, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci... etc.


Only one of those players actually anchors at all, do you have any idea what you're talking about?

TS: vIsIbleNoIsE is more on the money than either of the others who've posted so far; you need to practice for relaxation and economy of motion since that's where speed in playing comes from. It's not as easy as it sounds though, you need to practice at a speed where you can completely control what you do and be entirely aware of everything you're doing, which is much slower than most people think it is. Also it's not something you can just practice for a few days and *bam* it's part of your playing now. You have to practice for years so it filters in to your every day playing slowly.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:58 AM   #6
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Just make sure that your hands are working at similar speeds when you are trying to play faster.

A great way to do it is to play Yngwie Malmsteen; that's how I learnt to play faster. Now, I'm not saying just dive right in to playing at crazy speeds but I learnt "Vengeance" to start with and this really helped with the riff as it is relatively fast when you haven't played at speed before.

I just gradually used this song to get to the correct speed and now I just straight up refuse to try and play things slower than their actual speed. I personally feel that learning things at the correct speed instantly instead of gradually speeding up now has definitely improved my writing and playing skills, due to me picking up different patterns and phrasing and being able to play them at pace.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad Kharmel
now you may have other technical issues, watch good players see their technique and imitate it, if yours looks different then fix it


This I personally disagree with. There are some times when you can actually benefit from this but the whole reason I play guitar is to have my own style and express my own ideas through music.

If people kept watching other people's techniques and imitating them we would all sound the same! Take some ideas from their techniques sure; don't dwell on being exactly like them though man.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RndyW0
This I personally disagree with. There are some times when you can actually benefit from this but the whole reason I play guitar is to have my own style and express my own ideas through music.

If people kept watching other people's techniques and imitating them we would all sound the same! Take some ideas from their techniques sure; don't dwell on being exactly like them though man.


You're mistaking the technique with the music. Technique is a means to the music, if the technique becomes the music then you're doing something wrong anyway.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by RndyW0

I just gradually used this song to get to the correct speed and now I just straight up refuse to try and play things slower than their actual speed. I personally feel that learning things at the correct speed instantly instead of gradually speeding up now has definitely improved my writing and playing skills, due to me picking up different patterns and phrasing and being able to play them at pace.

That's pretty terrible advice that goes against the accepted principles of practice not just for guitar, but for anything. "Refusing" to play things slower than their actual speed is both stupid and arrogant. All you're doing is hindering your progress for the sake of some misplaced principles...in essence you're saying " I'm too good to practice this way". I guarantee that all your guitar heros don't believe themselves to be to good to practice correctly, that's not only how they got so good in the first place it's also how they stay good.

Why do you think racing drivers walk the track before driving it? It's not for exercise i'll tell you that much.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:05 AM   #10
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Speed? That's a product of sweet repetition. Practice for hours. Slow and steady. You'll know when you've got it.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:27 AM   #11
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Lots of metronome, and working up in very small increments is the only way!
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steven seagull
That's pretty terrible advice that goes against the accepted principles of practice not just for guitar, but for anything. "Refusing" to play things slower than their actual speed is both stupid and arrogant. All you're doing is hindering your progress for the sake of some misplaced principles...in essence you're saying " I'm too good to practice this way". I guarantee that all your guitar heros don't believe themselves to be to good to practice correctly, that's not only how they got so good in the first place it's also how they stay good.

Why do you think racing drivers walk the track before driving it? It's not for exercise i'll tell you that much.


I understand your opinion but it seems I might have made myself sound a little more arrogant than anything else then.

What I am trying to say here is that I tend to learn stuff at the original pace even if it takes me ages to learn it so that I can nail it at the correct speed each time. It's more of a personal preference than anything else.

I do still play a lot of slow music and don't just play incredibly fast things; I was just merely stating that how I learnt to play fast was to play at that speed when I could get to it, slowly building up from Vengeance onwards.

I wholeheartedly agree that it is a good idea to keep working on it to get to that speed but the way that I was personally able to learn is what I explained; might not work for everyone but it did work for me.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:59 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by steven seagull
Why do you think racing drivers walk the track before driving it? It's not for exercise i'll tell you that much.


For the record I do enjoy a good walk as well.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:30 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by RndyW0
What I am trying to say here is that I tend to learn stuff at the original pace even if it takes me ages to learn it so that I can nail it at the correct speed each time. It's more of a personal preference than anything else.


If you're literally only playing a piece at the original tempo to learn it, then you're going to reach a limit very quickly with what you can play.

Try to learn something like Scarified (for example) at the original speed only. No slowing down. You won't be able to learn it if you just play it at the original speed because you're never able to ingrain proper technique into your muscle memory at that speed.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:38 AM   #15
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- Wrist
- Economy of motions (right hand and left hand)
- Relaxation
- Slowly
- Practice
- Don't chase speed, think "music"

I learnt so much thanks to some very great players/teachers here, trust them, it's worth it and it works.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:57 AM   #16
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Slayer riffs - nothin is as good for picking speed as speed/thrash/death metal rythym guitar. Your picking fast alot on the biggest strings and alot of power chords. I like to alternate pick power chords riffs alot too. Its like weight lifting for your picking hand.

And keeping the pick really close to the string. Dont move too much.

The one thing that held me back the most is I used to only palm mute the strings above the one Im playing like when you tap... But I dont think that works with fast picking. You should keep your palm on or off the strings - not moving on and off. Its too much multi tasking when your picking fast. You can do that with everything else I think.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon17
If you're literally only playing a piece at the original tempo to learn it, then you're going to reach a limit very quickly with what you can play.

Try to learn something like Scarified (for example) at the original speed only. No slowing down. You won't be able to learn it if you just play it at the original speed because you're never able to ingrain proper technique into your muscle memory at that speed.


I'm also not saying that I don't study guitar techniques as well. Learning a whole variety of techniques is completely essential to anyone's guitar playing and believe me I have spent a lot of time on learning them and I'm still nowhere near done.

I have also learnt Scarified before and can play it at the regular speed (another fun one to play with different techniques is Glasgow Kiss).

This isn't me gloating about my guitar abilities as I am more than certain there are a ton of guitarists better than me.

If you play the tracks in sections that will be a good way to learn though; I split it into a lot of tiny sections and master how to play that then move onto the next small section.

Last edited by RndyW0 : 02-19-2013 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:42 PM   #18
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Noobtards. Why would you want to play fast anyways? Everyone knows the simple catchy melody makes the most money.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by SSMMUURRFF69
Noobtards. Why would you want to play fast anyways? Everyone knows the simple catchy melody makes the most money.

True but like me who suffers from ADD cant right simple catchy slow poppy parts. And for most musicians here it aint about the money.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon17
If you're literally only playing a piece at the original tempo to learn it, then you're going to reach a limit very quickly with what you can play.

Try to learn something like Scarified (for example) at the original speed only. No slowing down. You won't be able to learn it if you just play it at the original speed because you're never able to ingrain proper technique into your muscle memory at that speed
.


I strongly disagree. I can play that almost without slowing down, only the string skipping gets me because I never have done string skipping intensly.

It just depends on where you are and your ability on the instrument. I'm sure a lot of people here could learn things at full speed without practicing it or practicing it heavily. Just depends on your ability and comfortability. I'm sure a lot of us now could play "Smoke on the Water" without slowing down? Not a super example because a lot of us learned it as we were still in our first stages of guitars. But lets say you didn't play it for years and didn't hear it and assuming you still maintained your current guitar abilities, could you?

Another example is transcribbing. Ever see someone do it in real time on something quite insane without having to go back much? I have and I wish I had the ability of that person. But can I still transcribe other things in my ability in real time and without slowing it down? Sure can. But not what the other person could. Why? They have a lot more application process and more training in that area then I have applied to myself. In time I could do it if I kept up heavy ear training and daily challenges.

It's all about your ability and where you stand in that ability.
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