#1
Before I get flamed, I know not to judge your skill by how fast you can play. I am learning theory, chords, bends, vibrato, but now, I want to know specifically how my speed is coming along.
The fastest I can play cleanly with metronome is the minor pentatonic at 84 bpm 16th notes and the major scale at 80 bpm 16th notes. The fastest of those turns out to be 5.6 nps. This is played with clean, even alternate picking. I can go a little bit faster, pushing 6 notes per second but I start making mistake around there, so im speeding up slowly.
For a 4 month player, is that a good speed?
Last edited by GoldfishMoon at Jul 11, 2009,
#2
Quote by GoldfishMoon
Before I get flamed, I know not to judge your skill by how fast you can play. I am learning theory, chords, bends, vibrato, but now, I want to know specifically how my speed is coming along.
The fastest I can play cleanly with metronome is the minor pentatonic at 84 bpm 16th notes and the major scale at 80 bpm 16th notes. The fastest of those turns out to be 5.6 nps. This is played with clean, even alternate picking. I can go a little bit faster, pushing 6 notes per second but I start making mistake around there, so im speeding up slowly.
For a 4 month player, is that a good speed?


Terrible, you suck just give up.

but for real, I wouldn't worry. Just practice until you can do 3 triplets in between each beat at 219 BPM.
- ---------
-- --------
--- -------
---- ------
----- -----
------ ----
------- ---
-------- --
--------- -
#3
Yeah dude for four months thats great! You're definitely getting a good start. Just keep working really hard at it and you be up to 16th notes at 150+ bpm in probably a few months. But be sure to keep the technique clean and don't take any short cuts. Really work at it!
#4
Am I on the way to being able to do the Trooper solo? I want to learn it when I get my electric at christmas.
Also, is it strange that I can pick faster then everyone I know that plays guitar, butI still cant do a barre chord to save my life. Seriously.... a 10 year old girl (My sisters friend) who had played for a year can do them, and I still can't....


Edit: Is a song like Welcome to Bucketheadland good practice for applying the picking speed? It's a bit out of my leauge at the moment (The main riff is around 9.5 nps) but im using it as a challenge to improve my speed.
Last edited by GoldfishMoon at Jul 11, 2009,
#5
Your doing great. The fact that you even bother to practice with a metronome shows your doing well. Keep it up.
#6
hey man. good work! and you definitely have the right attitude about speed and cleanliness. you'll definitely be able to play the trooper solo by the time you hit the one year mark. don't worry too much about barre chords. they are hard to do. just play them as best as you can and they will get better with time
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#7
just make sure you have a very well rounded practise schedule. If barre chords are a weakness practise them constantly until you can do them in your sleep. When I first started playing I made them a priority to learn and I had decent transition 3 months into playing guitar. But like I said, I was practising them everyday until my wrist hurt. I'm sure you've heard this 1000 times but I'm goig to say it anyways, it is better to play corectly and smoothly and cleanly than it is to be sloppy at rally high speeds. FOcus on all your weaknesses and and then move on to playing them at higher speeds. Also, practise all the time
#8
Thanks guys, this was a huge boost in self-confidence.
I'll keep practicing, a lot of my time now is just spent improvising with penatatonic/major/minor scales. It's so much fin to see what I can come up with.
#9
One last question, I promise this is the last one.
Should I practice ascending/descending scales with different combinations of H.O's P.O's? I can do them, I just have trouble incorporating them into my plsying when im already playing at higher speeds.
#10
Quote by GoldfishMoon
One last question, I promise this is the last one.
Should I practice ascending/descending scales with different combinations of H.O's P.O's? I can do them, I just have trouble incorporating them into my plsying when im already playing at higher speeds.


Make sure to keep your left hand strong. A quote from Paul Gilbert (paraphrased) "Your left hand is like the steering wheel and your right hand is like the gas. If you can't steer, you're not going to want to step on the gas!". So, to answer your question, YES! Work your hammer-ons and pull-offs until they're buttery smooth. Legato techniques are just as important as fast picking.

Also, instead of just practicing scales up and down, try turning scales into exercises. For example, try doing a major scale in thirds (ex. in the key of C: C - E - D - F - E - G - etc.), or in sets of 3, 4, and 5 (ex. in the key of C: C - D - E - D - E - F - E - F - G - etc. for sets of 3. Just add one more note for 4, 2 more for 5). Really, just work your technique and make it clean, and make exercises that sound good and work your hand.
#11
I think it's something to do with my guitar, but on the high E, I can hammer on perfectly, and P.O of nice and loud as well, but no matter how hard I do it, when I hammer baqck on after I pull-off it just isnt as loud. The sound when I P.O is just as loud, it's just thin.
Does this make sense?
Last edited by GoldfishMoon at Jul 11, 2009,
#12
^ that's pretty normal. It will improve with time as your technique improves, and your fingers get stronger. Your callouses play a role, and at four months they're probably not fully developed yet.

Re: your original post. Speed-wise you a doing great. Just don't push it too hard. All that playing you do under your top speed, where you are playing really locked in and with good technique is like your foundation. Once the foundation is strong enough, the additional speed will come. Just be patient, and let it come up a few bpm each month, and before you know it you'll be playing fast AND clean.
#13
For pull-offs, be sure to slow it way down and make sure you're doing it correctly and NOT bending the string. That will make you play sloppy down the road.
#14
Quote by GoldfishMoon
Before I get flamed, I know not to judge your skill by how fast you can play. I am learning theory, chords, bends, vibrato, but now, I want to know specifically how my speed is coming along.
The fastest I can play cleanly with metronome is the minor pentatonic at 84 bpm 16th notes and the major scale at 80 bpm 16th notes. The fastest of those turns out to be 5.6 nps. This is played with clean, even alternate picking. I can go a little bit faster, pushing 6 notes per second but I start making mistake around there, so im speeding up slowly.
For a 4 month player, is that a good speed?

It's irrelevant.

Fast doesn't equate to good, and trying to measure your ability by one exercise is pointless. I see this all the time on UG, somebody says " I can play at XXXbpm but I need to get faster", and it turns out that that only thing they can actually play at that speed is one lick, or one exercise. It serves no purpose other than as a self-serving ego boost, it doesn't really help your playing at all.

Think about it for a second, all you're doing is spending an disproportionate amount of time on one tiny thing - it's not even a whole song, it's not even the whole scale pattern. It's teaching you nothing, it's practice time down the drain. Instead, use your time constructively - far better to spend it using the scale so you learn how it works, or practice things that have some practical application like constructing patterns from withing the scale that you could actually use when playing. Practicing straight scale patterns is in general a pretty poor use of your time, it's a good picking exercise and a good warmup but that's what your aim should be because it's not something you'll ever do when playing, you shouldn't be trying to get better at playing the scale pattern.

That's why you're no good at barre chords, because you haven't spent enough time on them and instead you've been trying to get your scale pattern faster. Don't lose sight of what's important, and don't try to make big jumps because all you'll do is leave massive gaps in your ability and knowledge. You don't judge a guitarist by the single fastest/most complicated thing they know - the guy that can run up and down 6 string sweeps but can't tell you what notes are in them and can't jam blues isn't a better guitarist than an average technician with a broad musical knowledge who can pick out a melody by ear, he's arguably worse. As far as progression goes you should always be looking to build directly on the kowledge you already have, if you want to learn something and you can't quite see how it connects or relates to what you already know then that simply means there's a load of other stuff you're going to have to learn first.

Stop chasing speed with an exercise, it's a waste of your time - you don't play exercises so you get better at playing exercises, you play them to help you get better at playing the guitar. Worrying about how well you play exercises or set patterns is a dangerous trap to fall into, especially so early on. If you wan't to measure your speed then see how fast you can play anything you happen to know, not just one tiny thing.
Actually called Mark!

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Last edited by steven seagull at Jul 12, 2009,
#15
Quote by steven seagull
It's irrelevant.

Fast doesn't equate to good, and trying to measure your ability by one exercise is pointless. I see this all the time on UG, somebody says " I can play at XXXbpm but I need to get faster", and it turns out that that only thing they can actually play at that speed is one lick, or one exercise. It serves no purpose other than as a self-serving ego boost, it doesn't really help your playing at all.

Think about it for a second, all you're doing is spending an disproportionate amount of time on one tiny thing - it's not even a whole song, it's not even the whole scale pattern. It's teaching you nothing, it's practice time down the drain. Instead, use your time constructively - far better to spend it using the scale so you learn how it works, or practice things that have some practical application like constructing patterns from withing the scale that you could actually use when playing. Practicing straight scale patterns is in general a pretty poor use of your time, it's a good picking exercise and a good warmup but that's what your aim should be because it's not something you'll ever do when playing, you shouldn't be trying to get better at playing the scale pattern.

That's why you're no good at barre chords, because you haven't spent enough time on them and instead you've been trying to get your scale pattern faster. Don't lose sight of what's important, and don't try to make big jumps because all you'll do is leave massive gaps in your ability and knowledge. You don't judge a guitarist by the single fastest/most complicated thing they know - the guy that can run up and down 6 string sweeps but can't tell you what notes are in them and can't jam blues isn't a better guitarist than an average technician with a broad musical knowledge who can pick out a melody by ear, he's arguably worse. As far as progression goes you should always be looking to build directly on the kowledge you already have, if you want to learn something and you can't quite see how it connects or relates to what you already know then that simply means there's a load of other stuff you're going to have to learn first.

Stop chasing speed with an exercise, it's a waste of your time - you don't play exercises so you get better at playing exercises, you play them to help you get better at playing the guitar. Worrying about how well you play exercises or set patterns is a dangerous trap to fall into, especially so early on. If you wan't to measure your speed then see how fast you can play anything you happen to know, not just one tiny thing.


Although your advice is usually good, and you are a far more experienced guitarist than me, I disagree. I AM learning the different positions of the scales and the notes in them. I AM practicing barre chords as much as I can. But for this specific thread, I want to know how my speed is coming along. Im not just learning one random shape and playing it fast, im learning as many as I can all over the fretboard, and why they go like that theorywise. The two shapes I can play fast are simply the ones I learned as a beginner and practiced lots, but im working on getting all of them good.

And it is helping me. I took one look at the Holiday solo and managed to play it. (I know it's easy, but bear with me) I recognised all the shapes and notes in it, and managed to play it easy, due to previous practice on scales.

As I mentioned earlier. I am also improvising with the scale, seeing how they work and what sounds good and doesnt. Im throwing in bends and vibrato to practice it.

How is that bad?
Last edited by GoldfishMoon at Jul 12, 2009,
#16
That's just it, it doesn't matter - it's of no importance when it comes to practicing.

Speed isn't a skill, it's not something you can practice - speed is dependent on your skills but it's a symptom, not a cause. If you're good at the things that govern speed such as accuracy, cleanliness, synchronisation, timing, fretboard knowledge etc then you'll be able to play quicker - and those are all concrete things you can actively practice and work to improve, speed is not.
Actually called Mark!

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#17
Quote by steven seagull
That's just it, it doesn't matter - it's of no importance when it comes to practicing.

Speed isn't a skill, it's not something you can practice - speed is dependent on your skills but it's a symptom, not a cause. If you're good at the things that govern speed such as accuracy, cleanliness, synchronisation, timing, fretboard knowledge etc then you'll be able to play quicker - and those are all concrete things you can actively practice and work to improve, speed is not.


Exactly.

Speed shouldn't even be of importance to you at this point, what you should be working on is learning chords/scales (barre included), accuracy, and cleanliness overall. I have been playing for 1 and a half years and I haven't really begun to worry about speed, because I would rather get my techniques down pat so eventually I'll have an easier time playing fast and clean than if I just worried about speed right off the bat.

Best of luck.
#18
Quote by GoldfishMoon
Am I on the way to being able to do the Trooper solo? I want to learn it when I get my electric at christmas.
Also, is it strange that I can pick faster then everyone I know that plays guitar, butI still cant do a barre chord to save my life. Seriously.... a 10 year old girl (My sisters friend) who had played for a year can do them, and I still can't....


Edit: Is a song like Welcome to Bucketheadland good practice for applying the picking speed? It's a bit out of my leauge at the moment (The main riff is around 9.5 nps) but im using it as a challenge to improve my speed.


The Trooper solo is a lot easier than you think. I'm a beginner and I learned that solo with very little trouble. It's the third solo I learned after Paranoid, and One.You should be able to pull off at least most of it right now.

And barre chords are a pain in the ass. Just keep practicing them until you get used to it. For me(and most people I talked to about it) I just practiced them everyday for a week and then one day I woke up and was able to do them.
Chinese Democracy is a great album, people need to get over Slash.

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#19
Guitar is not a competition.

Therefore it is irrelevant how good you are at anything at any period in time.

Just play for yourself, you don't need anyone else to tell you if your good if your truly enjoying the instrument.
#20
I got my first barre chord yesterday. Finally held down all 6 strings. My wrist gave out after about 10 seconds though, and hurt for a while so im taking a break.
I know guitar is not a competition, and that speed comes with accuracy and good technique. I did not force the speed, it came with practice at accurate scale playing. I was simply asking about how it was developing. I am not now going to spend hours on end getting it a fed bpm faster, I just want to know wether i'm developing speed at a normal rate so far.
Last edited by GoldfishMoon at Jul 13, 2009,
#21
Its good that you're focused on practicing, but (IMHO) leave the scales alone for a while. Learn your chord fundamentals, practice strumming some Bob Dylan songs or something with barre chords, as they are ultimately more fundamental than scales. And if you want to play The Trooper, start playing it! You'll learn it faster by playing IT than by working on your scales.
#22
Also after listening to the song (The Trooper): There's not a lot of fast pentatonics in here (there's some). What you should be practicing is that fast chord-strumming; that'll probably be more difficult to play well than the weedly weedly bits. But, as far as the weedly bits ARE concerned, try this if you want to do pentatonic practice. Play the minor pent up the neck using only one string, and use legato. i.e.

|----3-h5p3--5-h8p5-8-h10p8-10-h12p10-12 h15p12---------------------------|

Etc...that's more the Iron Maiden style of playing.\
#23
Ok, thanks. I noticed that a lot of the solo was trilling on the high E. I can already do the 5h8 pretty good. Im trying to learn more strumming songs. The only ones I know are Californication, Knocking on Heavens Door and Wonderwall. Do you know any that use simple barre chords?
#24
Try All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan version), I believe it is just F, G, and A. It will help you to switch your barre chords, plus F is hard since you need to exert more pressure being in the first fret.

You also may want to try switching from open chords such as Am or C to an F barre just to build muscle memory, but the primary thing when first learning is just building endurance and finger strength to be able to handle them.

Good luck man, I still have a bit of trouble with them and I've been practicing them for awhile.
#26
^and the prize for "Most Innovative Spammer of the Year" goes to...

*reported*
Actually called Mark!

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#27
Sounds like you're improving well, but don't forget that playing guitar is about having fun, don't get to wrapped up in the thought that you HAVE to improve.
When it comes to barre chords, they are actually pretty easy, look up some lessons on youtube and download the tab for the song The Funeral by the band Band of Horses, that song helps you tremendously on barre chords, at least for me:P
#28
Quote by steven seagull
That's just it, it doesn't matter - it's of no importance when it comes to practicing.

Speed isn't a skill, it's not something you can practice - speed is dependent on your skills but it's a symptom, not a cause. If you're good at the things that govern speed such as accuracy, cleanliness, synchronisation, timing, fretboard knowledge etc then you'll be able to play quicker - and those are all concrete things you can actively practice and work to improve, speed is not.


Once again, I agree with Mark. Speed means absolutely nothing. It's overall knowledge and playing ability that are important. Take Hendrix for example. Was he the fastest guitarist to ever live? Not even close. And yet he was and will forever be worshiped as a god by many people because of what he could do on a guitar. People weren't impressed because he had a bit of speed, they were impressed because he could make a guitar sing like no one else.
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Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
Last edited by Junior#1 at Jul 29, 2009,
#29
Am i one of the only people that sees guitar practice as a tool - a tool which will allow me to play the music i like to play, at a level at which i want to play it?

I'm not bothered about speed, or difficulty. As long as you enjoy your music and other people dig it it doesn't matter. As Gilbert has also said 'who cares what your hands are doing as long as it sounds cool'?
#30
Quote by Ikonoklast
Am i one of the only people that sees guitar practice as a tool - a tool which will allow me to play the music i like to play, at a level at which i want to play it?

I'm not bothered about speed, or difficulty. As long as you enjoy your music and other people dig it it doesn't matter. As Gilbert has also said 'who cares what your hands are doing as long as it sounds cool'?

Nope your not - like I always say...exercises are a means to an end, not the end itself.
Actually called Mark!

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#31
Quote by Lariviere
Exactly.

Speed shouldn't even be of importance to you at this point, what you should be working on is learning chords/scales (barre included), accuracy, and cleanliness overall. I have been playing for 1 and a half years and I haven't really begun to worry about speed, because I would rather get my techniques down pat so eventually I'll have an easier time playing fast and clean than if I just worried about speed right off the bat.

Best of luck.


Definitely. I have been playing also for that time and i do the same thing. Sometimes i turn on the metronome just to see how i improved or just to help out with difficult time signatures.. Getting strumming and rhythm first is advised. Cheers