Speed Buster. Part 2 - Developing Speed And Accuracy

author: UG Team date: 07/31/2003 category: guitar techniques
rating: 9.1 / votes: 40 
When I first heard of the metronome, I thought it was yet another one of those lousy drum machines which was too difficult to use. I was wrong. Nowadays thanks to the metronome, I get a little faster everyday. You can play hundreds and hundreds of exercises, but without the metronome you'll never get faster. So how do you use metronome. Well first get one, its there in almost every Yamaha keyboard (if you have one) or else download it from any website. There are hundreds of free ones. Now there is a lot of stuff like 6th note, 8th note, 16th note. But I will go the easy way. Between each beat of the metronome you can play two notes, three notes, four notes- eight notes. If you can play something above that, then you are superman. You can vary the speed say from 40 beats per minute to 200+. But this does not mean that you will set the metronome to 240 bpm and play 1 note per time interval! Its much more complicated than that.
Exercise 1 

4 note per beat pattern (16th note pattern in musical terms). 

|------------------------------------------1-2-3-4--5-4-3-2---------------- 
|----------------------------------1-2-3-4------------------5-4-3-2-------- 
|--------------------------1-2-3-4----------------------------------5-4-3-2 
|------------------1-2-3-4-------------------------------------------------etc 
|----------1-2-3-4--------------------------------------------------------- 
|--1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------------------------------
Ok set your metronome to 40 bmp. In every time interval (beat) you have to play 4 notes. Here you have to play 1 2 3 4. So when you hear the beat play the first note with greater impact, and then the next three at slightly lesser impact. In other words hit 1 loud, this has to be simeltaneously played with the 1st beat. You can play the next three notes with less impact. This takes a little time to get used to. But you\'ll get it after a while. Another important thing, the notes should be played evenly. In other words you should give the same time for every note. Your speed must be constant. When you feel comfortable with 40 bmp, increase it by 5 bmp to 45. This way go till the point you cant get any further. Say you are stuck on 100 bmp. You cant nail it in any way. What do you do? The problem is your finger cant go any faster. Maximum speed. But dont worry, unlike cars your maximum speed can be increased! You can do this in 2 ways. 1) Play at say 80-90 bmp for a while. Take a break. Pickup your guitar the next day you'll find out that you can play 80-90 bmp with a lot of ease. Try 95 bmp, and then take a break. What actually happens here is your fingers get a chance to adjust! 2) Another way- Try playing 100 bmp as hard as you can. It does not matter if you fail to do so. Then go to 95 bmp, it will feel really easy. Then go back to 100, and again back to 95. Do this until you get comfortable with 100. Chromatics are a great way of improving your speed. This is because they are easy, and make use of all 4 fingers. Play this, then play the chromatics at different intervals and ways like 1324, 1423. Beginners will struggle to get to 120 bmp, but those of you who have played for a while should be able to get to 150 bmp. To become a speed maniac try getting to 220. It will take a lion hearted effort. I heard guys like Michael Angelo can hit 250!
Exercise 2 

3 note per pattern 

A Major Scale 
e|--------------------------------7-9-10------------------| 
B|--------------------------7-9-10------------------------| 
G|--------------------6-7-9-------------------------------| 
D|---------------6-7-9------------------------------------| 
A|---------5-7-9------------------------------------------| 
E|---5-7-9------------------------------------------------|
Repeat the things I said above with all three note per pattern scales. You can also do it with pentatonics and other scales with different number of notes per string. But it will be a bit tougher. Its best to do the easy things first. Exercise 3 Once you have mastered these, you can try different stuff. Like 5 note, 6 note or 8 note per beat patterns. Play any exercise you find on the net with the metronome. With perseverance, determination and patience you can one day get as fast as your idol! - Jeeshan Mirza (jeeshan2000@hotmail.com)
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