#1
Interesting video where he talks about what helped him become fast and how you should try practicing.
#2
Probably worth looking at, seeing as he was one of the fastest, cleanest guitarists ever..
Call me Batman.
#3
Sure, but I'd like to make a really important point. (I made this somewhere else in great detail but the search bar is failing me, damn forum move)

Shawn is not talking about replacing the slow practice method - he's talking about a small add-on to deal with specific roadblocks.

If I hear one (one!) more person using this video as a justification for practicing fast and sloppy I swear to god I will explode. Thassal.
#4
Quote by Freepower
Sure, but I'd like to make a really important point. (I made this somewhere else in great detail but the search bar is failing me, damn forum move)

Shawn is not talking about replacing the slow practice method - he's talking about a small add-on to deal with specific roadblocks.

If I hear one (one!) more person using this video as a justification for practicing fast and sloppy I swear to god I will explode. Thassal.


But of course. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Although if someone can practice faster perfectly, then why not eh?
You gotta put your faith in a loud guitar.
#5
Quote by Freepower
Sure, but I'd like to make a really important point. (I made this somewhere else in great detail but the search bar is failing me, damn forum move)

Shawn is not talking about replacing the slow practice method - he's talking about a small add-on to deal with specific roadblocks.

If I hear one (one!) more person using this video as a justification for practicing fast and sloppy I swear to god I will explode. Thassal.



I hear ya Freepower...and I agree, for those who even attempt to say Shawn is telling us to practice fast/sloppy - well they missed his KEY point!

Beginning at 2:35 he plainly states what 'his' method is: Start slowly to learn the lick and notes cleanly. SLOWLY speed it up. Once a barrier is reached, instead of slowly continuing to increase - try playing the lick at a ridiculous speed for you...one you surely can't do. Then try and clean it up.

It's simply a way he uses to overcome a barrier - he never says this is the way he learns a new lick....just a way to get a little bit faster with it when he gets stuck.
#6
Yeah I have seen this, he makes a valid point and it sort of works for me but if I do it too long it sets me back.
#7
The reason I don't teach this method through the net (or even mostly face to face) is because people get the wrong idea about it. I'm glad to see that you guys are on top of this.

Another pointer is that you do these "speed bursts" totally relaxed. You may play it sloppy but you still play it loose. Excuse me for a second while I PM someone who knows more about this than me.
#8
Quote by Freepower
Shawn is not talking about replacing the slow practice method - he's talking about a small add-on to deal with specific roadblocks.


I don't think he's saying it like you suggest it at all. What I'm understanding is that he's saying fast and sloppy to build speed, combined with slow smooth and steady to reinforce proper technique.

Another pointer is that you do these "speed bursts" totally relaxed. You may play it sloppy but you still play it loose. Excuse me for a second while I PM someone who knows more about this than me.


That's technically not possible unless you're playing way beneath your actual speed limit.

There will always be tension when you're close to hitting your top speed. Unless you're actually suggesting to ignore any speed you can cleanly play if there's even a trace of tension.

I think some people totally forget that for the few months of picking up a guitar, there is no such thing as tension free playing.

Anyway, when it comes to speed and stamina, the guitar shares a surprising relationship to athletics, at least as far as strength, speed and stamina are concerned.

First it's important to know how your muscles grow. Muscle growth is essentially caused by microscopic damage to your muscle. During the healing process it essentially becomes bigger/stronger and has more stamina. The harder you push your muscles the faster this process takes place. Unless of course you push too hard and injure yourself.

Anyway, ask yourself this

Will a runner get faster if he runs at a speed at which he is comfortable?
Will he be able to run farther, if he always stops just before his legs get sore, or before he runs out of breath?
Will a weight lifter get stronger by lifting weights he can comfortably lift without tension?
Will a diver ever be able to do a triple backflip cleanly, by practicing double backflips?

Of course not. In order to improve any athlete will tell you that you have to push yourself beyond your own limits. Guitar essentially is based upon the exact same mechanics.

You must absolutely push yourself into the tension zone to become faster, you must absolutely practice with ****ty technique even to the point where you're only hitting a few of the notes you're aiming for, even if you're guitar is sounding like a cat being tortured by a member of the Spanish Inquisition.

Have you ever seen those kids on youtube who've only played for a year, yet manage blisteringly fast speeds? Sure, they have no control, sure they sound stacatto, sure they can't maintain a solid tempo, but in spite of that, they speed they play is mind boggling, especially after such a short time. They've achieved this by the exact method I speak of.

Here's the important part. The realization that speed and technique are separate entities. Speed building is NOT A SUBSTITUTE for slow smooth tension free practice. And that's what most people seem to think, either one method or the other. For proper growth one must effectively use both methods of practice. It is however absolutely critical that you start and end each practice session with slow smooth practice. It's also very important to return to it as often as possible.

This way, you're properly reinforcing technique, while using speed bursts as a way to simply speed up and strengthen your muscles, while not actually having a dramatic effect on the quality of your technique.
#9
Have you ever seen those kids on youtube who've only played for a year, yet manage blisteringly fast speeds? Sure, they have no control, sure they sound stacatto, sure they can't maintain a solid tempo, but in spite of that, they speed they play is mind boggling, especially after such a short time. They've achieved this by the exact method I speak of.

You make that sound like a good thing.
Call me Batman.
#10
Quote by icronic
Have you ever seen those kids on youtube who've only played for a year, yet manage blisteringly fast speeds? Sure, they have no control, sure they sound stacatto, sure they can't maintain a solid tempo, but in spite of that, they speed they play is mind boggling, especially after such a short time. They've achieved this by the exact method I speak of.


Yeah...

I'd rather be able to play slowly and well than sound like one of those little bastards.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


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#11
I don't think he's saying it like you suggest it at all. What I'm understanding is that he's saying fast and sloppy to build speed, combined with slow smooth and steady to reinforce proper technique.


I'll rewatch this soonish, can't atm. However, your post is very interesting.
That's technically not possible unless you're playing way beneath your actual speed limit.


Well, obviously your loose speed limit is lower than your tense speed limit. "Actuality" isn't important, it's clearly possible to play as fast as you can loosely. "Completely relaxed" was the wrong choice of words, but I'll stick to "loose".

I think some people totally forget that for the few months of picking up a guitar, there is no such thing as tension free playing.


Not me, I've got plenty of beginners under my wing.

First it's important to know how your muscles grow. Muscle growth is essentially caused by microscopic damage to your muscle. During the healing process it essentially becomes bigger/stronger and has more stamina. The harder you push your muscles the faster this process takes place. Unless of course you push too hard and injure yourself.


Sure, but that implies exceptional hand/arm strength leads to large, concrete gains for guitar playing. Most "technical" "rock guitar" - and I do not speak of slap acoustic, gypsy jazz, etc - requires very small amounts of physical exertion.

Granted, these are provided by rather specialised muscles that do need to be developed, but the control of those specialised muscles is far more important and the correct application of those forces to the strings and fretboard are more important during practice - they will develop enough through playing.

Anyway, ask yourself this

Will a runner get faster if he runs at a speed at which he is comfortable?
Will he be able to run farther, if he always stops just before his legs get sore, or before he runs out of breath?
Will a weight lifter get stronger by lifting weights he can comfortably lift without tension?
Will a diver ever be able to do a triple backflip cleanly, by practicing double backflips?

Of course not. In order to improve any athlete will tell you that you have to push yourself beyond your own limits. Guitar essentially is based upon the exact same mechanics.


Well, not exactly the same. Apart from your last example, all of those are activities commonly found in nature and preformed by muscle groups specifically designed to do those things or bodily systems specifically designed to do those things.

The hands are simple grabbing things at the end of our arms - intricate, accurate, tiny and forceful motions between fingers and co-ordinated with similar movements in our other hand - you must learn and develop co-ordination to a much greater degree than you must develop strength or stamina.

Have you ever seen those kids on youtube who've only played for a year, yet manage blisteringly fast speeds? Sure, they have no control, sure they sound stacatto, sure they can't maintain a solid tempo, but in spite of that, they speed they play is mind boggling, especially after such a short time. They've achieved this by the exact method I speak of.


And, speaking from experience, they'll have to scrap it all apart from the strength and stamina they've built by playing with such poor technique that they are handicapped to the point where only the most intense exertion can produce notes.

Here's the important part. The realization that speed and technique are separate entities. Speed building is NOT A SUBSTITUTE for slow smooth tension free practice. And that's what most people seem to think, either one method or the other. For proper growth one must effectively use both methods of practice. It is however absolutely critical that you start and end each practice session with slow smooth practice. It's also very important to return to it as often as possible.

This way, you're properly reinforcing technique, while using speed bursts as a way to simply speed up and strengthen your muscles, while not actually having a dramatic effect on the quality of your technique.


Ok, we're agreed that slow practice is more important, although we may differ in emphasis - and we've agreed that muscle development is essential.

However, why can't people simply develop an acceptable level of strength and stamina from playing, and then if needs be, increase their strength and stamina through repeated drills at a moderate tempo with good technique?

That's what I'd recommend. I'm glad of this dialogue to add to the thread.
#12
In my experience, the speed bursts are mostly helpful for breaking through the mental barriers to playing fast, rather than the physical aspects.

What I'm getting at is this - suppose you are used to playing lick A in 16th notes, at 130 bpm. If you were to suddenly crank the metronome to 160 bpm, there is a strong tendency to think "oh! sh*t must play as fast as I possibly can!". And from this comes the tension. The speed bursts help get you used to the higher speed, so it doesn't seem as fast to you mentally.
#13
Quote by J.A.M
You make that sound like a good thing.


Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Yeah...

I'd rather be able to play slowly and well than sound like one of those little bastards.


You guys obviously missed my point. The point was bad practice focused entirely on speed has given these people incredible speed in a very short period of time. Obviously you don't want to sound like that, so you make a routine that will combine the aspects of insane speed building, while reinforcing positive technique.

Quote by Freepower
Well, obviously your loose speed limit is lower than your tense speed limit. "Actuality" isn't important, it's clearly possible to play as fast as you can loosely. "Completely relaxed" was the wrong choice of words, but I'll stick to "loose".


Out of curiosity, if you personally were playing at your maximum "loose" speed, and you wanted to play slightly faster, what would happen? Would you be physically incapable of doing so, or would it simply add tension? I know for myself there's a range of about 20 bpm where I go from loose, to tense, while still remaining clean before it just becomes sloppy.

Not me, I've got plenty of beginners under my wing.


I wish that were true for all professional teachers.

Sure, but that implies exceptional hand/arm strength leads to large, concrete gains for guitar playing. Most "technical" "rock guitar" - and I do not speak of slap acoustic, gypsy jazz, etc - requires very small amounts of physical exertion.

Granted, these are provided by rather specialised muscles that do need to be developed, but the control of those specialised muscles is far more important and the correct application of those forces to the strings and fretboard are more important during practice - they will develop enough through playing.


It's not only strength as it is speed. Pushing your muscles faster than they are actually capable of moving, will obviously make them faster. Granted the guitar doesn't require a great deal of exertion, but as you said, the muscles you're using to play, and the way you're using them is fairly unique to the guitar, and as such they still need to be built up like any other muscle. I totally agree that control is far more important. I just feel that for maximum gain, control and speed should be treated as separate things. (Emphasizing control obviously, but still pushing speed)

Well, not exactly the same. Apart from your last example, all of those are activities commonly found in nature and preformed by muscle groups specifically designed to do those things or bodily systems specifically designed to do those things.


Not entirely true, and to be honest it really surprised me to learn about all of this. Anyway, our muscles are specificially designed for, if anything "everyday life" Anything related to sports or anything requiring agility uses muscles in ways that are very specific to that particular activity. Even something so simple as running. I know I'm probably not explaining this as good as I could, but I hope I'm still getting my point across.

The hands are simple grabbing things at the end of our arms - intricate, accurate, tiny and forceful motions between fingers and co-ordinated with similar movements in our other hand - you must learn and develop co-ordination to a much greater degree than you must develop strength or stamina.


Well it's not so much about strength as it is about agility, and to a lesser degree stamina. Still the basic process is the same. Again, I agree co-ordination is more important than speed. All I'm arguing is a more economical way to build speed while maintaining proper technique.

And, speaking from experience, they'll have to scrap it all apart from the strength and stamina they've built by playing with such poor technique that they are handicapped to the point where only the most intense exertion can produce notes.


That's only if someone is only focused on speed building. It's also why is absolutely critical to always end any practice session off with perfect practice. Because it's often the last thing that you play before you put down the guitar for any period of time that your body will store into muscle memory. This kind of method has to be heavily structured. If it's not, then yes, it may net incredible speed gain, but like you said, in the long run you'd have to scrap everything you've done and rebuild your technique.

However, why can't people simply develop an acceptable level of strength and stamina from playing, and then if needs be, increase their strength and stamina through repeated drills at a moderate tempo with good technique?


Strength and stamina you can. Even speed/agility to a lesser extent. But it is a dramatically faster process doing it my way, with the provision that you properly allocate your time between speed and technique, are aware of the possible pitfalls of such a method, and have the ability to spot and clean up sloppy playing before it requires a complete rebuild of your playing method.
#14
I must say I've seen this video a million times. To be honest, Freepower pretty much has the whole thing down and yes, he is saying that play fast and sloppy and then trying to clean it up can also build speed with some people better than doing it the other way around - Being perfectly accurate and speeding it up from there. However, this for of practice not always technically correct, and thus, we must still practice slowly to get our technique down. It seems to be a fine balance that I haven't quite found yet, but I'm sure you should still practice* slowly more than you clean up your sloppy speed.

Freepower is also right when he say's that what Shawn is talking about is just a little add-on of what your normal practice routine should be. I think I explained it nicely in the rest of my post above...

Also, I'm very tired of the weight-lifting/running symilie - if that's the word you would use... They are not even close to the same thing as playing the guitar. As Freepower said, the muscles you use to do those things were DESIGNED to do those things. That being said, a slight pain/discomfort/fatigue is OK when doing those things. However, the muscles in your body were NOT designed for playing the guitar. It doesn't take 150lbs of pressure to move that little string, does it? Then why would you have to get tired from doing it? When running/weightlifting, there are also more muscles - or should be more - at work. This causes you to use energy more, making you more tired, faster. My point; Playing the guitar is NOT the same as weight lifting/running.

*Practice is different from playing. Practice you are actually working to fix problems in your technique, where playing you are just...well playing.


EDIT:
Quote by Freepower
If I hear one (one!) more person using this video as a justification for practicing fast and sloppy I swear to god I will explode. Thassal.

This is a perfect justification for playing fast and sloppy. DON'T EXPLODE PLEASE!
Last edited by The.new.guy at Mar 26, 2009,
#15
You guys obviously missed my point. The point was bad practice focused entirely on speed has given these people incredible speed in a very short period of time. Obviously you don't want to sound like that, so you make a routine that will combine the aspects of insane speed building, while reinforcing positive technique.

That's not a bad idea.

I've actually been playing a lick slowly for 2 weeks now to build perfect technique; in another week I should theoretically be able to play it fast, because I'll have built a solid habit. If I can play it fast, in my mind you'll be wrong, and perfect technique will hold dominance over anything else.
If I can't, I'll look into your alternate method of combining perfect practise with speed building
Call me Batman.
#16
But it is a dramatically faster process doing it my way, with the provision that you properly allocate your time between speed and technique, are aware of the possible pitfalls of such a method, and have the ability to spot and clean up sloppy playing before it requires a complete rebuild of your playing method.


You see, all of this requires so much knowledge of practice and long term awareness and focus on technique and listening that I just would not recommend it to anyone without a teacher who's familiar with the method. I would disagree that the gain is speed is that much greater (although I agree that there's certainly a time and place for loose speed bursts in practice and there's certainly room for sloppy OTT playing when just playing), and I would say that the risks outweigh the benefits.

Out of curiosity, if you personally were playing at your maximum "loose" speed, and you wanted to play slightly faster, what would happen? Would you be physically incapable of doing so, or would it simply add tension? I know for myself there's a range of about 20 bpm where I go from loose, to tense, while still remaining clean before it just becomes sloppy.


Depends on the complexity of the riff. Tension locks down on complicated sequences right away and I find I just can't play them if I'm not loose, whereas a really simple sequence (say, 3nps Paul Gilbert style sixes) I can continue to play for another 20-30 odd bpm through increasing tension.
#17
Quote by The.new.guy
Also, I'm very tired of the weight-lifting/running symilie - if that's the word you would use... They are not even close to the same thing as playing the guitar. As Freepower said, the muscles you use to do those things were DESIGNED to do those things. That being said, a slight pain/discomfort/fatigue is OK when doing those things. However, the muscles in your body were NOT designed for playing the guitar. It doesn't take 150lbs of pressure to move that little string, does it? Then why would you have to get tired from doing it? When running/weightlifting, there are also more muscles - or should be more - at work. This causes you to use energy more, making you more tired, faster. My point; Playing the guitar is NOT the same as weight lifting/running.


Well agility and strength are build through all muscles in the same manner.

Also think of it in a matter of scale, and everything ends up being relative. No it doesn't take 150lbs of pressure to move a string. If it did, the muscles in your hands and fingers would be the size of your biceps. It all equals out to roughly the same thing on a much smaller scale. But anyway, the strength thing is getting a little off track, since more than anything it's about speed and agility, and pushing your fingers to move faster than they're actually capable.

Quote by Freepower
You see, all of this requires so much knowledge of practice and long term awareness and focus on technique and listening that I just would not recommend it to anyone without a teacher who's familiar with the method. I would disagree that the gain is speed is that much greater (although I agree that there's certainly a time and place for loose speed bursts in practice and there's certainly room for sloppy OTT playing when just playing), and I would say that the risks outweigh the benefits.


Granted. Although any good teacher should be able to properly teach this method. It's also worth considering that most students, depending on their age discipline/dedication are simply not going to bother with consistent and proper practice, as often as they should, so having some degree of control in how they do their "improper" practicing really helps in the long run.

You'd be surprised at how much of a difference it can make. I suppose it depends on the person, but it made a dramatic effect on my overall speed, and it's also really helped a couple other people I've shown it to. Obviously "because I said it does" isn't the best of arguments. All I'm really getting at is that this should be seen as a vaild form of speed building, and not dismissed as quickly as it normally is.
#18
There is 1 thing I completely agree with all parties about on this thread: This is a complex topic.

I tend to think that everyone has the same knowledge, understanding or even desire to learn as I do when it comes to guitar. I check the web daily and am constantly looking to improve my practice routine, learn tricks, pick the brains of 'the elders' and so on. For me, what Shawn is saying makes perfect sense and is already being applied to my routine.


However, for the guy who gets a few tidbits of advice and then goes away for 6months at a time to practice 'alone'.... I would consider Shawn's method to be fairly bad advice. As he wouldnt have a sounding board to keep this 'method' in context.
#19
I can see where Icronic is coming from and how this method could be beneficial in a controlled manner. I would figure this sort of method would be good in small doses, accompanied by playing the same tab/notes right after in a slower, correct technique to recondition the neural pathways that you just blasted out through your brain. As mostly everyone knows, playing well comes through muscle memory. If you play at an extended speed, you're training your nervous system to be able to act quicker. While it may not be as accurate as playing slower, you're still laying the tracks for more accurate play in the future, just at higher speeds. The manner in which you correct this sloppy speed burst is the important part and why, as Icronic says, should be at the rear end of your sessions. You must reinforce proper playing, otherwise you will end up fast but at the cost of clarity and proper technique. It's important to note when you play fast, which parts you play sloppily. This is a very direct way of finding out what motions you need to focus on correcting through proper play. That way, when you do play slower, you'll know what you need to focus on. I'm quite positive that after you identify your problems through playing quickly, you will be able to disect your play at slower speeds and emphasize practice on needed areas more-so as opposed to areas you may not need to improve as much, or at all. After going through a slow practice using what you've learned to be your weak points in fast play, you're definitely going to see improvements in your play when you alternate back to speed playing as you will have reinforced the parts of your sloppy playing through slower, proper technique.

I guess this method of learning is almost hybrid in a way. You're using the quicker bursts to train your nervous system to react quicker and you're also using it to pick out what parts of your playing you need to work on. You then switch to slow play to correct and reinforce proper control and you're essentially getting the best of both worlds.
You gotta put your faith in a loud guitar.
#20
Granted. Although any good teacher should be able to properly teach this method. It's also worth considering that most students, depending on their age discipline/dedication are simply not going to bother with consistent and proper practice, as often as they should, so having some degree of control in how they do their "improper" practicing really helps in the long run.


Amen, brother.

You'd be surprised at how much of a difference it can make. I suppose it depends on the person, but it made a dramatic effect on my overall speed, and it's also really helped a couple other people I've shown it to. Obviously "because I said it does" isn't the best of arguments. All I'm really getting at is that this should be seen as a vaild form of speed building, and not dismissed as quickly as it normally is.


Well, reading this topic and some other interesting practice books a go, I'm going to be experimenting with this.

I agree that it shouldn't be dismissed, but I've been presenting my reasoning for not really mentioning it.

Where have you been hiding, btw? Excellent posts here and elsewhere.

And finally, the responses in this thread have been a cut above all round.

#22
Quote by BucketHayden
hes still fat, no matter how good he is....i hate fat people i hate shawn lane


You, sir, are a collosal idiot on a scale rarely seen outside of the youtube comments. Good day and GTFO.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#24
Quote by BucketHayden
hes still fat, no matter how good he is....i hate fat people i hate shawn lane



You realize he had psoriasis, meaning he had to take steroids, which is why he gained weight, right? I'll dare say Shawn Lane was the most naturally gifted guitarist to ever hold the instrument, not to mention one of the most humble guys. You're an obvious troll.
#25
Quote by CrimsonHorn
You're an obvious troll.


Don't feed the trolls, they'll just come back looking for more.
You gotta put your faith in a loud guitar.
#26
I loved the days before YT was big. I still remember that hilarious moment people had when they discovered that

A) Shawn Lane was fat.
and
B) Greg Howe was black.

It was pretty lulzy on occasion.
#27
Quote by CrimsonHorn
You realize he had psoriasis, meaning he had to take steroids, which is why he gained weight, right? I'll dare say Shawn Lane was the most naturally gifted guitarist to ever hold the instrument, not to mention one of the most humble guys. You're an obvious troll.


so did my freind and hes a healthy weight, so its not that

Zaphod_Beeblebr you must be fat
#29
Yeah, what is it with chubby guitarists with fast fingers? Lane, Romeo, Yngwie...*heads off to steakhouse to order 32oz steak*