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Old 09-29-2008, 02:01 AM   #21
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do what reb beach did, get hella good at tapping and shred that way!
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:02 AM   #22
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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.
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:17 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by stefan1988
im so freaking frustrated

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 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


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

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.
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:27 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by GuitarMunky
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.

Last edited by mdc : 09-29-2008 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:47 AM   #25
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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****

Last edited by evolucian : 09-30-2008 at 05:49 AM.
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:05 AM   #26
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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.
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:42 PM   #27
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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
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Old 09-30-2008, 08:04 PM   #28
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And did you read all the advice in this thread?
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Old 09-30-2008, 08:10 PM   #29
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ya i did
most of the stuff ive tried alredy
but im theres a couple things ima give a try
thanks freepower
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:52 PM   #30
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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?
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:03 PM   #31
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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.


Answers that issue directly.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:38 PM   #32
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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;
-Enter Sandman
-Master of Puppets
-Seed and destroy
-Call of Ktulu
-To live is to die
-Unforgiven 1

-A secret place
-Tears in a vial
-Countdown to exctinction
-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 .
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:46 PM   #33
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Try this song: Hangar 18. Slow and steady riffing, nice and smooth there.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:47 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by 1337void
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.
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:25 PM   #35
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Instead of picking everything, try hammers and pulls or even tapping.

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

Ultimately you should get Rock Discipline by John Petrucci.
Solid DVD and will really improve your playing.
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:24 PM   #36
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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 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?

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

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
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:34 PM   #37
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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!

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Old 10-03-2008, 02:43 PM   #38
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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.
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Old 10-03-2008, 04:37 PM   #39
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stop focusing on speed, and start focusing on music.


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)
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:18 PM   #40
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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.
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