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Old 08-12-2013, 01:06 PM   #1
RoKHED
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US I suck at playing fast, any advice?

Okay, here's the thing... I have been playing for 1 3/4 yrs, and I cannot get a grasp on how to play fast, and sound good at the same time. I can only play fast by progressing up and down the same scale over and over until it gets annoying... I know all ranges of the petatonic scale, and can play the efficiently at about 90 bpm (rough guess...) unfortunately, I do not have a metronome for all your fancy methods. Is there perhaps a pattern I can play over and over to get "faster?" I can pick really fast, but I trip over myself when I try to go up & down the scales like Yngwie Malmsteen. I would like to play as fast as EVH or Yngwie by the time I graduate if at all possible...
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoKHED
Okay, here's the thing... I have been playing for 1 3/4 yrs, and I cannot get a grasp on how to play fast, and sound good at the same time. I can only play fast by progressing up and down the same scale over and over until it gets annoying... I know all ranges of the petatonic scale, and can play the efficiently at about 90 bpm (rough guess...) unfortunately, I do not have a metronome for all your fancy methods. Is there perhaps a pattern I can play over and over to get "faster?" I can pick really fast, but I trip over myself when I try to go up & down the scales like Yngwie Malmsteen. I would like to play as fast as EVH or Yngwie by the time I graduate if at all possible...


Get better at playing slow. Stop thinking about speed. Don't give yourself a time line for getting to a certain pace.

Learn how to play well first, playing fast will come in time.
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Old 08-12-2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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playing fast will come in time.

This
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Old 08-12-2013, 02:23 PM   #4
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the chromatic stuff was good for me. 1324/1324/1324 over and over again. then 4231 back down. play it at a relaxed speed, and play it unplugged until you can clearly hear every note and it feels uniform under your fretting fingers. once you know how to play it right, feel free to watch tv while you do it.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by vIsIbleNoIsE
once you know how to play it right, feel free to watch tv while you do it.


No point practicing without thinking; you're never going to actually improve if you do that.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:16 PM   #6
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No point practicing without thinking; you're never going to actually improve if you do that.


a large part of practicing is the pure repetition though, there isn't that much to think about once you're used to the way it feels when you're playing correctly. especially when it's just chromatic drills. i'll admit that it may be more efficient not to play in front of the tv, but chromatic drills are so damn boring. yet, that's the kind of time it takes for your hands to get used to it.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Learn how to play well first, playing fast will come in time.

+1. I once heard that speed is simply a by-product of accuracy, and that's advice I'd recommend anyone looking to improve speed should take to heart. No sense in trying to jump into playing fast if you can't be precise about it.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:31 PM   #8
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Zaphod hit the nail dead on. Don't focus on speed, focus on playing well and playing relaxed.

You can play a million notes a second but if none of them sound well none will want to listen, and if you can't play relaxed you will not be able to do it for long anyways.

Always go for good sound at lower tempos and relaxed playing first and let the speed come when it comes, otherwise you will be cursed to go back later and fix your technique drastically.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by vIsIbleNoIsE
a large part of practicing is the pure repetition though, there isn't that much to think about once you're used to the way it feels when you're playing correctly.


Ok, time to make a quite fine but very important distinction:

Practicing and learning are different things. Practice is focused and with the intent of improvement; it must be done with your full attention or no improvement will happen. Practice involves making conscious effort to reduce tension, make movements smaller, improve finger independence, whatever.

Learning is through pure brute repetition. You might, maybe, just be able to do this in front of the TV with no thought if it's something you already know well. But then if you know it well and you're not paying attention how are you going to know when you've made a mistake? If you don't know it well enough to sit and play then what are you going to do with the TV on? Try and learn something with other noise going on? I don't think so somehow.

Practicing and learning with the TV on are not good ways to go about improving your skills at all. You're better off trying to improve your ear when the TV's on by trying to transcribe jingles, themes and advert music by ear than you are trying to make any physical improvements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vIsIbleNoIsE
especially when it's just chromatic drills. i'll admit that it may be more efficient not to play in front of the tv, but chromatic drills are so damn boring. yet, that's the kind of time it takes for your hands to get used to it.


Chromatic drills are largely pointless as a practice tool for this exact reason. They're so easy to do that doing them badly is almost inevitable if you're not paying a lot of attention and even if you do get it completely right you're not likely to use them in the vast majority of music anyway... I can think of maybe 2 solos in my whole music collection that have a plain 4 finger chromatic part to them.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:28 PM   #10
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well okay, i'm no teacher, i'm just relaying my experience. but i really believe it worked for me. the chromatic exercises give your fingers the stability required to play everything else.

i used to put on a tv show and do scales and chromatics over one episode, then start actually playing and practicing more musical things. so i rarely did any speed drills.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:08 PM   #11
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so, let me get this straight... I need to focus more on what I am playing, rather than how fast I play it?
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by RoKHED
so, let me get this straight... I need to focus more on what I am playing, rather than how fast I play it?


Not so much what but more how you are playing it. Focus on things like economy of motion, tension and/or relaxation, keeping the fingers close to the fretboard, etcetera.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:20 PM   #13
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oh... I understand... My "Standstill" of progress if a result of not even knowing what direction to go... Now I should consider everyone's helpful advice, grab my guitar, and make some progress!

Thank all of you for your words of "wisdom"
Enjoy your summer, and God Bless... peace out!
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:35 AM   #14
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30 hours steve vai excersises. Check this out. Use metronome. And yes it shall come later. I met with speed (not quality) very early, but what matters is accuracy and quality. Well interesting thing i realized these days. I was lifting for the first time serious. 2 days in one week. Or three cant remember. And 2-3 months later i stopped. There was nothing on speed on my mind nor fingers... Now i see that my teacher told me that i was playing lot of faster than before was , just 2-3 months later i stopped lifting. Later I went to lift again on like 16 lbs dumbells. i was hardly playing 8 notes per second maybe 6.. Go to gym for a while later stop see if any difference. Thats my theory. I abused lifting ,stopped immed. , im like 100-110, 52kgs very slim boy... Anyways, i believe that while lifting you tense your nerves towards arms and they wake up.
Lol. motor speed is related with nerves. If you crush them you cant play fast thats for sure, but you might tighten yourself i think it might help.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:07 AM   #15
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Work on trills with every permutation between fingers work on legato get those fingers strong. ascending pick every new string descending no picking start with pinky on every new string when you're descending. Now that your left hand can fly through on the fingerboard by itself you should simultaneously be working on left and right hand coordination your picking hand devolpes slower for sheer speed then your left hand but atleast ur left hand is now capable of speed. Alternate picking shredding takes more time but it does come in time and catches up with ur left hand.

Remember though time is important so practice with a metronome. also playing just fast all the time does not sound good if you do not hear fast phrases in ur head at the time when ur playing do not bust it out just because you can it'll sound to forced even if it's clean.

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Old 08-13-2013, 08:25 AM   #16
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Speed is something you'll build up over time. As stated previously, it's a byproduct of accuracy.

Also, make sure you're not tensing up your hands when you're trying to play fast.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:31 PM   #17
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Actually, I have noticed that over the course of a few days, let alone a few HOURS...
I just did similar stuff to Steve Vai's workout, and tried playing the Pentatonic Scale over and over, progressing speed each time, and restarting if I mess up... Once again, thank you all for the advice, keep rocking, and God bless...
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Ok, time to make a quite fine but very important distinction:

Practicing and learning are different things. Practice is focused and with the intent of improvement; it must be done with your full attention or no improvement will happen. Practice involves making conscious effort to reduce tension, make movements smaller, improve finger independence, whatever.

Learning is through pure brute repetition. You might, maybe, just be able to do this in front of the TV with no thought if it's something you already know well. But then if you know it well and you're not paying attention how are you going to know when you've made a mistake? If you don't know it well enough to sit and play then what are you going to do with the TV on? Try and learn something with other noise going on? I don't think so somehow.

Practicing and learning with the TV on are not good ways to go about improving your skills at all. You're better off trying to improve your ear when the TV's on by trying to transcribe jingles, themes and advert music by ear than you are trying to make any physical improvements.



Chromatic drills are largely pointless as a practice tool for this exact reason. They're so easy to do that doing them badly is almost inevitable if you're not paying a lot of attention and even if you do get it completely right you're not likely to use them in the vast majority of music anyway... I can think of maybe 2 solos in my whole music collection that have a plain 4 finger chromatic part to them.


You kinda have that backwards...practicing is on the physical side, learning is...learning, you're gaining knowledge

Anyway, you can always DOWNLOAD a metronome, just google it, or hell, use powertabs. Not like they somehow lose rhythm. If you wanna build speed, you have to go through all the boring repetition. Practice makes perfect, you've gotta work to have fun, and not all practice is fun. As far as physical speed, learning proper technique and playing as light as possible is key. Look up various finger independence and exercises on youtube. For individual songs, you just have to start slow and work your way up. Get comfortable playing it slow, then gradually increase the BPM on your metronome. 10 BPM at a time is a good measurement, but make sure you can easily play at the current speed or else you'll shoot yourself in the foot by trying to advance.

Really though, just google metronome program. I use Weird Metronome, it's simple, but good.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:14 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Velcro Man
You kinda have that backwards...practicing is on the physical side, learning is...learning, you're gaining knowledge


Learning is also improving repertoire; learning new songs.

The important thing here is the distinction between practicing material and practicing technique; the way you approach both of those should be different. There is, as far as I know, no better distinction between those two in linguistic terms without having to fully explain myself every time.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:23 AM   #20
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play slow, with a metronome and focus on playing cleanly, gradually increase the tempo on the metronome
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