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Old 02-19-2013, 05:01 PM   #21
vIsIbleNoIsE
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Originally Posted by Xter
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.


well, yea... this whole discussion makes the assumption that you're playing something you're unable to play because you lack the technique. yngwie malmsteen doesn't need to slow down because he's already practiced most of the things you would ask him to do, in enough different situations.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:49 PM   #22
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I know that speed is gained through economy of motions, and is mainly in the wrist. The problem is that although I think that I'm playing with the wrist, my upper arm still gets sore, which indicates that I'm not merely playing from the wrist. So if doing an exercise like the one I linked to above isn't going to help me gain speed, what is? Doing the same exercise with an entire song, as RndyW0 suggested doing with Yngwie's "Vengeance"?

A couple replied saying that I should simply gain speed through repetition with a metronome. The problem is that this approach is what's not working for me in the first place.

I'm beginning to think Zaphod and visibleNoisE are right - I have to change my entire technique (un-anchor). Trouble is, once I take my hand off the bridge, I can't even hit the right strings; I'm trash. What is an actionable, step-by-step plan that I can put in action to increase my speed?
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:14 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by PeaceReeper
Trouble is, once I take my hand off the bridge, I can't even hit the right strings; I'm trash. What is an actionable, step-by-step plan that I can put in action to increase my speed?


for me, it was learning black metal. a lot of the tremolo-picked lines and chords would be nearly impossible to play if you anchored the picking hand at all.

here's a first step though, you can use it as sort of a warmup as you're transitioning: start by just completely focusing on the picking hand. un-anchor it, then start on the 6th string. play a downstroke on the open note with a tiny, relaxed, but controlled flick of the wrist. then do the upstroke the same way. again and again until you can do it without anchoring, but still feel like you have a stable fulcrum point at your wrist. do it on the other strings as well because they feel different.

or, just try playing some Emperor and you will figure something out eventually =P

*note that it's okay to touch your palm to the strings you're not playing, to sense whether your hand is floating out of place.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:32 PM   #24
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Oh, I was expected to relearn everything I already knew by playing it with a floating hand Which Emperor songs should I start with?
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:58 PM   #25
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In my limited experience, proper methods and techniques increase speed tremendously.

For example, has anyone even asked how he plucks the guitar? What if he is just down stroking? Up Down Up is about 3-4 times faster than all down strokes. You might be playing a song that you finger-style with, which would account for how slow you play it. Like trying to play Stairway to Heaven with a pick.


I mean that is something very basic, but speed can be effected by lots of little things. Personally, a nicer guitar can make a big difference, with great intonation, strings an low action. If your working with a cheap stock guitar non-setup guitar, you might want something intermediate or professional and professionally setup if you can't do it. Even a nicely setup Squier should be just fine. Getting a guitar like a Tele or Les Paul, in my experience most comforable guitars, I would also look into the neck size, a thin taper might help you, historically it has been considered easier to play.

Make sure you got a comfortable guitar, strings, strap and picks. The more comfortable you are, the easier it is to play, so experiment, check out some Randy Rhoads videos, that helped me. Part of the not being tense is by stretching and working out the muscles in your hands, wrists and forearms, so that when you play they don't get tired so quick. Some of the best players have very strong hands, wrists and forearms. Its cause you just don't grab a guitar and go 110% full speed. You play for a couple minutes and build it up, which is how you get loose.


Also, warming up everyday, and working out your fingers and stretching them is a super plus. I bought the Planet Waves Finger Worker Outer, and allows me to work out individual fingers and not just my overall grip or combined finger power. I seriously use it while I drive and pretend to play a certain song with it, even moving my hand up and down like going up and down strings, cause part of speed is understanding the material that your playing to a 'T'(I am talking knowing every note in your head, so as you read the music and play it, you are steps ahead, if your not reading music as you play it, this might also give a boost, cause you can visually see it before it happens, which is pretty much what you do in your head).

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Old 02-19-2013, 10:11 PM   #26
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The Planet Waves also allows you to hold your index down and press down with your pinky and ring finger, which is a great workout/warm up. Pinky strength is crucial for speed, cause if your not using the correct fingering on the frets you need to do way more hand movement which super slows you down.

I use to put my pinky down on my right hand while I strum as a brace, but if I am not palm muting, I try to tuck my pinky in! Even if you don't tuck it don't make it your brace, use your fore arm as the brace, you can move your hand up and down quicker, a lot more compared to using your pinky as a brace.

Also a lot of where you put your left thumb, is how much hand movement is needed to shift to the next spot, which is why I keep my thumb around the imaginary line. I mean trying cupping the neck around your thumb with no gap and try and go from a G chord to a Fm Chord. The flap of skin between your thumb and index shouldn't touch the bottom of the neck. You can if your chords are stationary.

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Old 02-19-2013, 10:28 PM   #27
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While I'm sure that my left-hand finger strength and coordination has to do with my lack of speed, I mainly expressed concern over the strain my playing put on my right arm. Should I play with my right hand anchored, or not? And when I've made that decision, what should I do to improve my speed?
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:46 PM   #28
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I am not sure exactly what Anchor means, but I brace my right arm on my forearm on the upper body of the guitar body. I use to put my pinky down for a brace. Unless I am doing some palm mutes, I don't bother to put my hand on the guitar.

when you put your hand down on the guitar, you use it for a brace and that time it takes to shift is precious time. I had the problem with my left hand where I would take like 1.4 seconds to go from a G to F chord, cause I cupped my hand around the whole neck instead of leaving space.


I sometimes keep my hand on the strings/bridge area, but thats when I play stuff like Rammstein where your palm muting a lot.

I just tried to put my whole hand onthe bridge and found it akward, and probably why your straining. Cause your using all wrist to go up and down. Instead of using lots of elbow and combination with fingers and wrist.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:48 PM   #29
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I honestly have no idea how you could even play chords with your hand on the bridge. I mean I don't do the bowling arm or reverse bowling arm but I play like a country boy playing Folk and Blues.

Well I guess I might be over-anchoring, by putting the side of my pinky on the bridge. Even if you put your wrist, the place were people cut themselves in movies, it just feels like I am forcing my hand into a weird position, instead of just letting my hands and arms flow like pancakes on Teflon.

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Old 02-19-2013, 11:30 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeaceReeper
While I'm sure that my left-hand finger strength and coordination has to do with my lack of speed, I mainly expressed concern over the strain my playing put on my right arm. Should I play with my right hand anchored, or not? And when I've made that decision, what should I do to improve my speed?


Anchoring is fine as long as there is no tension in the pinky and arm from it. I switch between anchoring and a fanned hand. Depends on what I'm doing.

if you are relaxed, comfortable, injury free, and able to do everything you want without strain, then your technique is fine in that sense. Economy of motion and practice will gain speed. Speed is the product of accurate and relaxed playing. Perfect Practice makes perfect.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:41 PM   #31
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Economy of motion and practice will gain speed. Speed is the product of accurate and relaxed playing. Perfect Practice makes perfect.


So keeping that in mind, what should I add/change about my practice routine?

I appreciate all of you guys contributing to the thread. I'd just like a concrete answer

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Old 02-20-2013, 12:10 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by PeaceReeper
So keeping that in mind, what should I add/change about my practice routine?

I appreciate all of you guys contributing to the thread. I'd just like a concrete answer


Depends on what you prefer.

I'd suggest to find a lick, exercise, or an excerpt from a song. Something you'd like, and to play it EXTREMELY Slow. Where you can control every factor into your playing.

Make sure you have proper posture, you are fretting the notes with as little as pressure as possible. It does not take much to fret a note, you shouldn't even notice the pressure really. Make sure your pick strokes are as minimal as possible and letting the string ring out. Angle your pick, flat picking can slow you down, there's videos on angling your pick and I think even Paul Gilbert has one. Make sure you are COMPLETELY relaxed. There should be no strain, no pressure, no nothing, just relaxation.

Another thing in fast playing, legato helps A LOT and is a dynamic. Picking every note will make it hard at times, and sometimes legato sounds better. Depends on your context. Also group your notes up close in licks or have a way to connect them. The less movement, the faster.

Besides that just practice. And when you get a lick down slowly and it's ingrained in your mind, you can sit in front of the TV or something and repeat it slowly during your shows. Just be sure you are still maintaining everything I said. I use to do that at times when I was being a technique monster. That's how I learned to sweep without focusing on it forever, just going super slow and repeating that same thing over and over as long as you are maintaining what I said. Over time the speed will come when you want to bump the tempo up.

Have fun and keep your practicing safe,
Sincerely,
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:11 AM   #33
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"you are fretting the notes with as little as pressure as possible. It does not take much to fret a note.."

This goes part with having a nicer guitar that is setup properly. So many people play with stock guitars, without having good intonation, action, strings, picks etc. If you take a bar of notes, and your action is high, each note takes and extra 1/32th of a second longer to play, which adds up(not very likely but much easier to play a setup guitar).

If your completely skeptical with your own playing, make a video and put it on youtube and ask people to make a comment.


I tell every beginner its not always about speed, but I find myself telling myself and professionals the same thing. Like it is way more impressive if someone can play Cocaine correctly, even if its way slower, compared to someone who can play part of it at full Clapton speed, but can't play it all the way through or don't actually play it completely correctly(improvised).

I already put all my ideas about speed before, and didn't want add to much more. Your daily training is up to you. I started with lessons in Jr. and Highschool but now take them once a year at the learning center, but I get most my training from Training DVD's and Song Books and Websites. You should check out DVD's or even iPad apps like Guitar Worlds Lick of the Day.

There is nothing better than having someone teach you a song. And a big thing that has helped me is actually watching live videos. I mean there is a big difference in watching Randy Rhodes play than reading his tabs.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:12 AM   #34
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Everyone is different, so what works for one person, even if that person is very accomplished, won't necessarily work for you. Xter's advice is good. Keep the pick at about a 45-degree angle for speed picking. It should be about halfway between perpendicular and parallel to the string. So whereas you get a big plink-type sound when you normally flat-pick, you should instead get a somewhat "scratchy" sound as the pick goes over the strings. Keep the pick movement over the string to a minimum; it should go from one side of the string, to directly on the other side, and no more. Also, make sure that only the very tip of the pick is just barely grazing the string, just enough to get a note out of it. That way you're not having to force the pick over the string. Sometimes choking up on the pick can help with that.

Some anchor, some don't (Petrucci, Gilbert). Most players pick from the wrist, and this is usually "standard", but Zakk Wylde uses his entire arm even when he's speed-picking (which baffles me how he's so fast playing like that). Steve Morse ALTERNATE-PICKS arpeggios so fast it sounds like he's sweeping them. That STILL blows my mind. I personally anchor my palm at the bridge. It allows me to lay my picking hand as close to the strings as possible, and use the remainder of my hand to mute the other strings.

As far as tension, which it sounds like you're having a problem with: fret lightly, no death grip. Check your left-hand position: is the neck snug in the palm, or is your thumb behind the neck? Generally thumb behind the neck is best for most fast playing, especially the wider the stretch, since it allows your left-hand fingers to come up over the fretboard more. If you're getting tension in your right shoulder, you may want to try changing your posture. We tend to slouch over our guitars a lot, and you may be getting the soreness due to the body of the guitar being too far up to where you have to extend your picking arm out too much.

Also, you may want to "evaluate" your hands individually: how is your left-hand trilling? If you can't do a fast trill evenly with all fingers, you may need to work on that. What about your right-hand tremolo/speed-picking? Are you maintaining minimum pick movement? Minimum finger movement? All of these things need to be up to a certain level, and then, obviously, the hands need to be synchronized. Do exercises training each individual thing as a warm-up.

Players are divided about metronome usage. Some are big advocates, like both Petrucci and Gilbert, and it's hard to argue when they're so fast and accurate. But then again, Guthrie Govan is anti-metronome. So was Shawn Lane, and he was mind-blowingly fast. His philosophy on learning to play fast was to just "go for it", even if it's sloppy, and the more you get used to being fast, you can concentrate on cleaning it up later, once you don't have to focus all of your energies so much on just the speed aspect. Some will say that it's not possible to clean it up later, that if you learn it sloppy it will always be sloppy, but that's bullshit. No guitarist on the face of the planet ever started off playing anything perfectly at first. Initially when you learn to play fast, it will seem difficult to be able to clean it up because even when you play a lick, it will still seem like a blur of notes to you. However, once you get more used to playing fast, you are more and more able to concentrate on each individual note, regardless of how fast you're playing it. It becomes almost like "bullet-time", where even though you're playing fast, your brain is processing it, and your hands are feeling it, almost like it's in normal time. That's the best way I can think to describe it.

This is the way that I learned to play fast. I tried pretty much everything trying to increase speed and nothing seemed to be working, and one day I just almost absent-mindedly just "went for it" trying to play a particular 6-note lick as fast as I possibly could, and I did it. I couldn't believe it, it just came out of the blue. Granted, it was sloppy at first, but I did it. I sat there doing it, and variations of the lick, over and over for about an hour, afraid that if I put the guitar down, I wouldn't be able to do it again. But over the next few weeks I not only cleaned that lick up, but added several others to it, and before long I was playing many different standard "shred" licks that had seemed completely, totally impossible only a few weeks before. For just starting to play fast, or for especially difficult licks, do this: Break the lick up into manageable pieces, 3 or 4 notes at a time, depending on how the lick is structured, especially if it involves going from string to string. Concentrate on playing only those 3 or 4 notes as fast as you can. Work on the sections individually, then put them together.

Going back to the metronome, here's the thing with using one: most people who use one see gradual progress that they're happy with, until they reach a point where they hit a wall. Suddenly, there's this "threshold" that they can't cross. The reason is because when you get up to a certain speed, the mechanics of your hands start to change, if ever so slightly. But it's the difference between a car being in 5th gear, and being in overdrive. And you're either in "overdrive", or you're not. Some players gradually push past it, and for some people, it becomes insurmountable, and they never reach the speed they want to get to, or either quit playing altogether (although if you quit playing because you can't get up to a certain speed, you're probably playing for the wrong reasons). Some people do great with the metronome, others do great without it. My take on it is, no one NEEDS a metronome to become fast. I think some people feel that the metronome "pushes" them to become faster, but this is mostly just a perception. A metronome can't physically make you faster. When you increase the BPM, it doesn't make your picking faster, or make your fretting hand faster, or make your hands more synchronized. The metronome isn't pushing you, YOU are pushing YOURSELF. And that's nothing that you can't do without a metronome, as well.

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Old 02-20-2013, 07:11 AM   #35
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well, yea... this whole discussion makes the assumption that you're playing something you're unable to play because you lack the technique. yngwie malmsteen doesn't need to slow down because he's already practiced most of the things you would ask him to do, in enough different situations.


This, I don't get why everyone insists on making guitar technique discussions such a dick swinging contest.

The fact is if you're not up to the level that you can play X song at full speed, then you're going to need to slow down to improve your technique or get the passages into your muscle memory.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #36
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I also think its hard. I have found at least a dozen movies, how how to build speed. Just watching one Malsteem video was enough to slap me back about 2 years of practice.

After looking into much more than my personal experience, if I had to say what one thing is the ultimate answer to building speed.

I would have to say your ability to sync up your left hand and your right hand. But being good at that isn't everything. Malmsteen uses tons of different things in his playing, so looking at his tabs and wondering why you don't sound the same, is cause he is major technique.

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Old 02-20-2013, 09:05 PM   #37
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Okay, so is there any exercise that I can do to improve my synchronization? What I would like is a list of songs that gradually get faster with each song, that I can learn to play faster with.

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Old 02-20-2013, 10:09 PM   #38
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Take your fingers alone and tap them across frets 1 2 3 and 4 on E string. You can probably do it really fast. But try and pick the string at the same thing, you probably do it much slower.

Up Down Up, is about as fast as you can go on one string while picking, but then there is also tons of other ways to play notes, such as legato. But if you don't know what legato is then you will never be able to pick a song as fast as a song with legato. Cause in legato you can play 3 or 5 notes with one pluck. You can play a scale with out even plucking, it just all depends on how you want to play it.

No one method is definitive. The absolute method is overall guitar theory and how you practice it! Once you know lots of techniques, and can read music, then you won't have as big of problem playing songs. Compare it to Piano players, even the best in the world practice the music and songs, and continue to learn.



Dude is right, if you can't play a song cause you don't know what it is made of, even if your looking at its music sheets, then your not going to be fast enough for it, let alone good enough to play it period, so why bother playing it slowly. Don't attempt something difficult, not until your ability has risen, so its up to you to know yourself and how you learn stuff. The best guitarist knows himself/herself, and how they learn.

Each big player took their lifetime of guitar playing to develop their technique, picking up one of their song books and expecting to play it just as good, even if you know all the concepts, doesn't mean you will be as good, or even good enough to play it.

Which is why suggest you look into something like JustinGuitar or Lick Library, they have videos on how to do everything, and even if I laid out my entire guitar playing careers lessons and tips(which I have been doing), it doesn't compare to having some one visually teach you or spell it out letter by letter, something that can be re-watched. Cause it just seems like your in need of lessons. Video lessons are awesome for study, but nothing beats real guitar lessons from an experienced player.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:53 AM   #39
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I would have to say your ability to sync up your left hand and your right hand. But being good at that isn't everything.


Actually, that is everything. Because if your hands are out of sync, you're not going to be able to play "Three Blind Mice" worth a damn. And you definitely won't be able to speed-pick. That's one reason why exercises exist, and why it's good to practice simple licks slowly at first, to make sure you're fretting and picking perfectly in time. Try this lick/exercise: fret, on the D string, at the 10th, then 11th, then 13th frets, then jump over to the G string and fret the 10th fret. Then jump back to the D string and go back down those same positions: the 13th, then 11th, until you're back at the 10th, then repeat. Some people call this the "Paul Gilbert lick" because I think he advocates it in one of his vids or something, but I've seen it numerous times. It's a good exercise to get your hands/fingers synced up, and since it jumps to another string, it'll help with getting used to doing that fast, as well. Start off doing it slowly, then build it up to as fast as you can play it. You should be using your index, middle, and pinky fingers to play it.

Edit: Also, a variation you can do to mix it up, and throw a different fingering in there, is to swap out the C# at the 11th fret for the D at the 12th fret on the D string. You still play it the same way, except for that one note, and you can use your ring finger to fret that one.

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Old 02-21-2013, 03:04 AM   #40
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i think you're all inundating him with marginally applicable advice. he's not a complete noob, he's been playing for five and half years for heaven's sake.

just focus on relaxing your picking hand/arm, and not anchoring hard. if you manage to do both of those to a good degree, you will solve a lot of your problems.
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