#1
Hello UG! Now everyone keeps talking about 'playing fast' so simple question - two actually:
1. What constitutes playing fast? (BPM) - No wise cracks please!
2. When doing exercises for speed and coordination, at what point do you stop doing one and move on to the next? Coz you could be doing the same exercises forever? Is there a point (BPM) where you can comfortably move on?
#2
1. accuracy, comfort and efficiency of motion contribute to playing fast.
2. whenever YOUR comfortable
#3
well personaly it depends on what you want to do..really you just play to whatever you think is fine and move on to the next and maybe the next day start at that speed and go faster or something along those lines or you can just go to such and such speed and feel that its perfect enough for you unless you want to improve more
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#5
Quote by eddievanzant
well if you just want a number... what is 'fast' depends on what everyone thinks it means. once you get above like 13-15 notes per second, things basically sounds fast.
if you just want to be 'fast' then get something to like 160 bpm and most people will call that fast.


Umm, when you say 160 bpm, are you implying 16th notes at 160 bpm?
#6
How fast you can play exercises is irrelevant, it means nothing in terms of whether you're a good guitarist.

What matters is whether what you've done in those exercises has filtered through and made you better at actually playing the guitar. If it hasn't then the exercise itself is worthless.

You don't concern yourself with speed if you want to get "fast", instead you focus on accuracy, playing cleanly and playing in sync with both hands. Concentrate on those thigs and speed will take care of itself.
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#7
Quote by steven seagull
How fast you can play exercises is irrelevant, it means nothing in terms of whether you're a good guitarist.

What matters is whether what you've done in those exercises has filtered through and made you better at actually playing the guitar. If it hasn't then the exercise itself is worthless.

You don't concern yourself with speed if you want to get "fast", instead you focus on accuracy, playing cleanly and playing in sync with both hands. Concentrate on those thigs and speed will take care of itself.


I totally agree with your first point! However, it is good practice (and im sure everyone agrees) to practice with a metronome right? I'm just trying to understand one two things - for how long is an exercise useful and when do you stop turning up the dial on the metronome with one exercise? How do YOU approach this?
#8
You don't chase the metronome, it's not there to somehow measure how good you are and you shoud'n't approach it as such, it's just there to keep time.

You start slow, really slow like 40bpm, and concentrate on perfecting the movements required for whatever it is you want to play. You want to be as economical as possible and your timing needs to be bang on. Once you've got to the point where you can play it consitently without mistakes you can look at bumping the metronome up a couple of bpm and repeat the process, if you get to the point where you start making loads of mistakes then you've gone too far ahead and need to slow back down.
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#9
Quote by steven seagull
You don't chase the metronome, it's not there to somehow measure how good you are and you shoud'n't approach it as such, it's just there to keep time.

You start slow, really slow like 40bpm, and concentrate on perfecting the movements required for whatever it is you want to play.


Again Steven, I agree with your thinking. I'm not into metronome chasing and have understood the importance and benefits of SLOOOW practice. Take for instance something simple like this:

-----5--7--8--10--8--7--repeated over and over.

Are you saying that it can be as useful if played at 40bpm as it would be played at 80bpm or whatever just as long as i'm playing accurately and economically?
#10
I'd say it's not particularly useful at all, simply because it's not really going to have much practical application. If you want to make the most of your practicing always ask yourself "how will this improve my playing". As far as timing goes, just always start at a speed at which you can play something perfectly without mistakes and completely controlled.

Stuff like this is useful as you can drop the whole run, or bits of it directly into your playing. It's in Em but obviously will transpose into any key.


e|---------------------------------------------------------
B|---------------------------------------------------------
G|----12s11--11s9-----9s7----7s5----5s4----4s2----2s0-----
D|-14------12------10------9------7------5------4------2---
A|---------------------------------------------------------
E|---------------------------------------------------------
Actually called Mark!

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#11
Ok so here's how i'd answer your questions.

1. in terms of beats per minute your speed is usually measured in terms of how fast you can play 16th notes to a click track. You start to get into shred territory after about 170+ bpm. Of course, however, all speed matters are just a matter of opinion.

2. The best way to play fast is to start off slow, do all your exercises really slow until you have them mastered. Always play to a click track when practicing (this is one of the main differences between practice and play).

When you get comfortable with your phrasing and accuracy playing slow you'll then be able to bring your speed up a bit. The best way to do it would be to build it up in stages for example mastering a lick, phrase or pattern in 16ths at a reasonable speed like 80 bmp, mastering it then building up the click over a set period of time, so you could increase the click by 5 or 10 bmp when you feel satisfied enough to move on and keep working that into your practice routine.

As far as a point in beats per minute for you to move on from an exercise goes I can only suggest that you move on when you're ready. There is however nothing wrong with playing the same exercise forever, you can only play so fast before hitting your limit and doing the same exercises over and over might be what you'll need to maintain the speed you can play at.


Hope this helps!


[edit] After reading steves posts I do have to say that he knows his stuff, listen to him
Last edited by EatShreddies at Aug 17, 2009,
#12
Quote by wise1man
Umm, when you say 160 bpm, are you implying 16th notes at 160 bpm?

yeah

it also depends on what you consider an exercise, and what yoou mean by getting something 'up to speed' up to speed for what most people consider an exercise is just getting the exercise perfectly ingrained to memory so you can do it as fast as your technique will sllow. then there are exercises that are actually exercises.


-----5--7--8--10--8--7--

that's not that good of an exercise. playing this will basically just make you a bit better at something that is just like this. you could work on this for three hours a day every day for a year if you wanted to, and you wouldn't improve that much. then you could add some variety to it, such as playing it above the neck, or with odd rhythms, double picking, triple picking, different starting notes, different starting strokes, pure legato, a mix of legato and picking, different fingering, higher action, then it becomes more of 'an exercise'

you shouldn't even worry about playing specific exercises. you should just be exercising. try to get into that mindset. you can boil most guitar exercising into a few simple exercises, but with infinite variations.
Last edited by eddievanzant at Aug 17, 2009,
#13
Quote by steven seagull


Stuff like this is useful as you can drop the whole run, or bits of it directly into your playing. It's in Em but obviously will transpose into any key.


e|---------------------------------------------------------
B|---------------------------------------------------------
G|----12s11--11s9-----9s7----7s5----5s4----4s2----2s0-----
D|-14------12------10------9------7------5------4------2---
A|---------------------------------------------------------
E|---------------------------------------------------------


Man, thanks a lot! Appreciate all the advise. The exercise is good AND practical (Played in triplets, right?). Is there more where that came from? Website perhaps?
#15
Quote by eddievanzant

it also depends on what you consider an exercise, and what yoou mean by getting something 'up to speed' up to speed for what most people consider an exercise is just getting the exercise perfectly ingrained to memory so you can do it as fast as your technique will sllow. then there are exercises that are actually exercises.
...
you shouldn't even worry about playing specific exercises. you should just be exercising. try to get into that mindset. you can boil most guitar exercising into a few simple exercises, but with infinite variations.


Thanks eddie. So i should play 'as fast as my technique allows' then all else falls in place right? Cool.

About specific exercises, wouldn't it help a lot more to have a bunch of particular exercises and licks to work on on a regular basis?
#16
well what i mean is that a lot of exercises just show you where you are, and there are exercises that improve you. the best exercises that i know come from simple ideas

i randomly make posts about things that actually help, and some lessons really helped me too
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=21144101#post21144101
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/guitar_techniques/finger_strength_and_speed_building.html
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=19163720#post19163720

sweep in odd orders (triplets, 5s, 7s)
start on a different note
play the guitar backward (facing you), not possible to fret, but learn to pick

practice playing staccato, at no tempo, as in, play a note, any note, and then immediately rest your pick on the string again. on one string it should sound like dut... dut... dut... practice all up strokes, all down strokes, alternating, and sweeping. do this for like ten minutes and you should notice an increase in speed.


      1 e + a
e-------------------------------------------------------5h6h7h8--
b---------------------------------------------5h6h7h8------------
g----------------------------------5h6h7h8h----------------------
d------------------------5h6h7h8---------------------------------
a-------------5h6h7h8--------------------------------------------
e---5h6h7h8------------------------------------------------------


If you can already play this over 200, which shouldn't be hard at all, and your goal is 180, then you might never have to worry about your left hand.

Now how fast can you pick?
Just playing one note as fast as you can, how fast can you play all upstrokes? all downstrokes? Down and up? two downs, then two ups?
How fast canyou play triplets? as in down up down - up down up

This is probably where you're having trouble. If you can't play one note at 180 bpm, you certainly can't play a song.

You're coordinated speed increases when you work on each hand individually, but it can also be tackled directly. The best ways to coordinate your hands, it seems, is to double pick notes, not pick notes, use strange rhythms, and....... reverse the roles, as in playing guitar lefty. Don't say you've done everything you can to get fast until you do this, but back to the other stuff.

Try doing the same chromatic exercise, but try these changes. you'll probably be amazed at how bad at them you are.

1h2h3 4
1h2 3h4
1 2h3h3

How fast can you play the exercises but with a three note grouping?

how fast can you do this?
1h4 2h4 3h4 2h4

Also try double picking the whole thing, as in playing two notes for each note. Do down up, up down, down down, up up, and up up down down


There are a million different combinations of things to to work on your coordination.

DON'T TOUCH THE WOOD OF THE FRETBOARD EVARR
#17
yeah having a few exercises that you do regularly keeps things simple as far as remembering everything

i don't really do 'exercises' by either definition when it comes to picking speed. is that what you're having trouble with?
#18
Quote by eddievanzant
yeah having a few exercises that you do regularly keeps things simple as far as remembering everything

i don't really do 'exercises' by either definition when it comes to picking speed. is that what you're having trouble with?


Thanks for the bunch of exercise ideas up there. And yeah, i'm trying to work on the picking speed just to add dynamics to my playing so that i can burst into short quick licks in the middle of regular speed licks and all. Would also be nice to be able to play 'shred speed' but im in no rush. I know it takes time.
#19
Playing fast is always most effective when you contrast it with playing slow - if you play fast all the time it stops being interesting because there's nothing to compare it with.
Actually called Mark!

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#20
this is a good thread. Hopefully it will benefit me as well.
Its kinda embarrasing, I have been playing about 20 years and just now decided to sit and practice like i never have.
I would be awesome by now

Speed and soloing are my hangup as well. i cant play the solo for the trooper..although someone on here stated how simple it is, i just cant go that fast yet.
i spend 30minutes to 2 hours every evening, running scales (usually pentatonic) and just working on building speed, hopefully I will see an improvement soon, then i need to learn to apply it..
I should probably learn a major scale instead of pentatonic, start playing with that one..


I say I alot in this post, referring to myself and my hangups, but maybe it can benefit you as well to learn the major scale and start improvising with it also. (if you havent already, i dont know)
#21
Most of my practice consists of working on learning technically challenging songs - stuff that I have to really work on rather than just learn. I feel there is so much I can learn from these great guitarist that it would be a real waste to sit there doing exercises every day. Every song exposes new weaknesses in my playing that I never even knew I had, and by working on the material until I overcome those weaknesses I get better at the instrument

So, speed...I do worry about it, but only as far as getting the song material up to the original tempo, and even then only when I feel I've got a good handle on the licks at slower tempos.

I do play a few exercises, but usually how it goes will be something like -

1) Try to learn a chunk of a song (usually I'll grab about 4 bars at a time, but this varies).
2) After a bunch of work, if I'm still having trouble attaining song speed, I'll find the problem part, and practice a much smaller section.
3) If I still have trouble, I'll work on an exercise that focuses even more specifically on the skill that I'm lacking.

By the time I get to 3), the point is not speed, it's to work on correcting technique problems, so I do that slow.
#22
Quote by Cisc
this is a good thread. Hopefully it will benefit me as well.

I say I alot in this post, referring to myself and my hangups, but maybe it can benefit you as well to learn the major scale and start improvising with it also. (if you havent already, i dont know)


Cisc, no sweat man. The threads are made to help everyone. Hope this one has helped you as much as its helped me out.
#23
Quote by Cisc
Speed and soloing are my hangup as well. i cant play the solo for the trooper..although someone on here stated how simple it is, i just cant go that fast yet.
i spend 30minutes to 2 hours every evening, running scales (usually pentatonic) and just working on building speed, hopefully I will see an improvement soon, then i need to learn to apply it..
I should probably learn a major scale instead of pentatonic, start playing with that one..
Playing a scale straight up and down won't help your speed much unless you just want to play scales straight up and down fast. You need to work on coordination between your picking and fretting hands, accuracy and economy of motion - running scales is building muscle memory more than anything else.

If you play everything at a speed you can play it cleanly and accurately, your picking/fretting coordination will improve and you'll gradually realise you are playing faster.
#24
Quote by se012101
Most of my practice consists of working on learning technically challenging songs - stuff that I have to really work on rather than just learn. I feel there is so much I can learn from these great guitarist that it would be a real waste to sit there doing exercises every day. Every song exposes new weaknesses in my playing that I never even knew I had, and by working on the material until I overcome those weaknesses I get better at the instrument


I've also been wondering about the effectiveness of practicing actual songs as opposed to flat out repetitive exercises. Is this a good idea or could you end up biting more than you can chew? Though it is a lot more interesting practicing a song you like with lots of cool licks and all.