#1
To be able to play 16th notes at 160bpm? I'm trying to learn to alternate pick fast and I know that speed comes from accuracy. I don't know any other guitar players, personally, so I would like to ask forum members who can play fast how long it took them to accomplish the above and how much and what type of practice.

cheers
#2
Depends on what you mean, for example... 16th @ 160 on the same string are really easy.

16th's sweeping is not as easy

16th's on diatonic scales/pentatonic is between sweeping and tremolo


I can do all the above at 160 bpm, but it took years. Some days I don't even play, others I dish out 2+ hours
#3
Thank-you for the reply, I guess I mean strictly alternate picking scale runs, patterns and arpeggios on many strings and just one string, too. I'm not into sweep picking and I'll probably never be into it (unless I eventually master alternate picking, lol).
#4
It doesn't matter, some people will say they can do it because they can play one scale pattern at that speed but honestly, what use is that?

You shouldn't get so hung up on speed, a metronome isn't a speedometer or some kind of way to measure your ability...it's just there to keep time. Ignore the numbers and just concentrate on learning to play the songs you want to play. If you can play the stuff you want then you're good enough, if you're not then keep practicing until you are.
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#5
I understand what your saying, but I'm concerned about how long, on average, it takes most people to reach 'shred-like' speeds.
#6
And it's both impossible to answer and completely irrelevant - knowing what other people have done is only going to do one of two things, it'll either make you feel smug about yourself because it makes you feel you're "better" than everyone else, or you'll end up feeling like crap because you think you're "behind" everyone else.

And it's bullshit, because the only person that has any bearing or relevance to how good you are or will be is you. Everyone learns different things in different ways at different speeds.
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#7
Quote by steven seagull
It doesn't matter, some people will say they can do it because they can play one scale pattern at that speed but honestly, what use is that?

You shouldn't get so hung up on speed, a metronome isn't a speedometer or some kind of way to measure your ability...it's just there to keep time. Ignore the numbers and just concentrate on learning to play the songs you want to play. If you can play the stuff you want then you're good enough, if you're not then keep practicing until you are.


I like this
#8
Quote by steven seagull
And it's both impossible to answer and completely irrelevant - knowing what other people have done is only going to do one of two things, it'll either make you feel smug about yourself because it makes you feel you're "better" than everyone else, or you'll end up feeling like crap because you think you're "behind" everyone else.

And it's bullshit, because the only person that has any bearing or relevance to how good you are or will be is you. Everyone learns different things in different ways at different speeds.


I completely agree with the last statement, everyone learns different things in different ways at different speeds.
#9
First, I am aware that everyone learns different things in different ways at different speeds. I am also aware that no one answer, taken by itself, and therefore anecdotal, is particularly informative. As for the relevance, I was hoping that many UG'ers would provide an idea of how long it took them to play at the speed I stated. I have some experience with statistics, and though I am certainly no expert, I was looking forward to getting an idea of the average length of time it took--if enough people answered.

Many people probably would feel smug or feel like crap based on the answers, I'll grant you. But I simply want to guage my progress compared to others--not because I want to feel smug, and, frankly, I already feel about as crappy as reasonably healthy 45 year old can feel, hehe. I don't have any friends who play guitar and I'm quite shy about asking strange guitarists questions (or any strangers questions, for that matter). So I guess what I'm looking for is hope, lol. I love to play the guitar, but I've always wanted to play fast--I just love the dramatic sound of fast playing, the power of it, you know?
#10
Yeah I can play some 16th note runs with alt picking at 160 bpm but deff not sweeping or anything like that. Instead of asking how long it took people why not ask what exercises people used to get to that speed?
#12
Quote by afrika18
First, I am aware that everyone learns different things in different ways at different speeds. I am also aware that no one answer, taken by itself, and therefore anecdotal, is particularly informative. As for the relevance, I was hoping that many UG'ers would provide an idea of how long it took them to play at the speed I stated. I have some experience with statistics, and though I am certainly no expert, I was looking forward to getting an idea of the average length of time it took--if enough people answered.

Many people probably would feel smug or feel like crap based on the answers, I'll grant you. But I simply want to guage my progress compared to others--not because I want to feel smug, and, frankly, I already feel about as crappy as reasonably healthy 45 year old can feel, hehe. I don't have any friends who play guitar and I'm quite shy about asking strange guitarists questions (or any strangers questions, for that matter). So I guess what I'm looking for is hope, lol. I love to play the guitar, but I've always wanted to play fast--I just love the dramatic sound of fast playing, the power of it, you know?


If you could get such a statistic it would be meaningless anyway, it's not going to change anything you do or how long it takes you to get there, you won't suddenly get as good as someone else by using their exercises either. There is no magic bullet exercise, it takes a combination of tonnes of different ones.

As long as you practice and practice well you'll get there in time. Just make sure you have good technique and you'll be fine.


Edit: Actually now that I think about it... the statistic already exists. Studies apparently show that it takes, on average, anywhere between 6000 and 10000 hours of practice to become a virtuoso on almost any instrument. There you are.

Now get back to the damn woodshed!
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at May 26, 2011,
#13
Its the journey that makes the destination worthwhile, man....
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#14
It took me about 5 years to get up to that speed. I did not focus my practice for all 5 years in order to reach that speed however. If your main focus is reaching that speed than you can probably reach that speed a lot faster. Just find some good speed building strategies and be patient. Dont rush it because if you develop bad technique then it is going to hurt your playing. Hope this helps you a little bit!
#15
16th notes at 160!? Jesus. So would that be, for e.g, in a chromatic exercise.


-------------------1234
-------------1234
------1234
1234

per beat? Because that just seems insane.
#16
Quote by Calibos
16th notes at 160!? Jesus. So would that be, for e.g, in a chromatic exercise.


-------------------1234
-------------1234
------1234
1234

per beat? Because that just seems insane.

thats per measure in 4/4 timing, sixteenth notes are 4 per beat..... if they were sixty fourth notes then yes that would be one beat.
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#17
Quote by Calibos
16th notes at 160!? Jesus. So would that be, for e.g, in a chromatic exercise.


-------------------1234
-------------1234
------1234
1234

per beat? Because that just seems insane.


Realistically, 16ths at 160 isn't actually that fast, it's pretty pacey but in the world of shred (and therefore the kind of people likely to worry about technique) it's not much.
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.
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#18
Quote by krypticguitar87
thats per measure in 4/4 timing, sixteenth notes are 4 per beat..... if they were sixty fourth notes then yes that would be one beat.


Cheers for clarifying, doesn't seem anywhere near as impossible now
#19
Thanks for the replies, 6000 to 10000 hours, eh? That's actually pretty encouraging. I've never applied myself to the pursuit of fast guitar playing for more than a couple of months every couple of years. I've played the guitar on and off since I was 12, but never for more than about 2 years at a time, and then I would get into something else and not play for a couple of years. I've acquired some discipline however and I'm determined to apply myself to getting good at the guitar.

cheers
#20
Quote by afrika18
First, I am aware that everyone learns different things in different ways at different speeds. I am also aware that no one answer, taken by itself, and therefore anecdotal, is particularly informative. As for the relevance, I was hoping that many UG'ers would provide an idea of how long it took them to play at the speed I stated. I have some experience with statistics, and though I am certainly no expert, I was looking forward to getting an idea of the average length of time it took--if enough people answered.

Many people probably would feel smug or feel like crap based on the answers, I'll grant you. But I simply want to guage my progress compared to others--not because I want to feel smug, and, frankly, I already feel about as crappy as reasonably healthy 45 year old can feel, hehe. I don't have any friends who play guitar and I'm quite shy about asking strange guitarists questions (or any strangers questions, for that matter). So I guess what I'm looking for is hope, lol. I love to play the guitar, but I've always wanted to play fast--I just love the dramatic sound of fast playing, the power of it, you know?


I quite often go up to other guitarists at gigs and ask them questions and I normally find other guitarists love talking about their stories and sharing techniques etc. It keeps me really motivated as none of my friends play guitar either. If someone is rude to me (they were once) that's their problem. I've made some great contacts just going up to people.

Helen
#21
It can be difficult if you don't have many guitarists around you - it's not so much a case of comparing yourself to them though, like Helen said it's more about sharing information - rather than looking at someone and thinking they're better or worse, instead you'd ask "what can they teach me?", and conversely "what can I teach them?".
Actually called Mark!

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#22
Quote by afrika18
Thanks for the replies, 6000 to 10000 hours, eh? That's actually pretty encouraging. I've never applied myself to the pursuit of fast guitar playing for more than a couple of months every couple of years. I've played the guitar on and off since I was 12, but never for more than about 2 years at a time, and then I would get into something else and not play for a couple of years. I've acquired some discipline however and I'm determined to apply myself to getting good at the guitar.

cheers


Remember, that's dedicated practice, not just playing about.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

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#24
Quote by Zen Skin

Play music .. forget notes per second -- that is a pitfall.


I agree with this.

I find it very hard to get out of that mind state of focusing on speed, although it does not bother me if i will never be able to do chromatics at 200bpm etc.. It will never be useful to me musically.
#25
Quote by afrika18
Thanks for the replies, 6000 to 10000 hours, eh? That's actually pretty encouraging. I've never applied myself to the pursuit of fast guitar playing for more than a couple of months every couple of years. I've played the guitar on and off since I was 12, but never for more than about 2 years at a time, and then I would get into something else and not play for a couple of years. I've acquired some discipline however and I'm determined to apply myself to getting good at the guitar.

cheers



If you practice 5 hours a day, 7 days a week -- no breaks, not time off, nothing but constant practice at music -- that is over 5 years.
#26
Quote by Zen Skin
If you practice 5 hours a day, 7 days a week -- no breaks, not time off, nothing but constant practice at music -- that is over 5 years.



I'm cool with that. For a while (and this is going to sound silly), I thought that being able to play fast was either something you could do, or something that you couldn't ever do--that shredding was exclusively only for those born with the correct body structure/genes...whatever, lol. But, truth is, I've been my own worst enemy because I've never stuck with it for more than a couple of years...but this time, I'm going to really go for it. I'll occasionally post my progress and what exercises I use in case anyone is interested.

cheers
#27
I can pick really simple stuff around that kind of speed, I've done about 3000 hours of pretty intense practise.

It's worth pointing out that it's not a binary matter of "picking 160" or "not" - some things are really hard to pick. I have exercises that I can't play at 90bpm, let alone 160.

It's much much better to work to improve your technique than it is to try and hit a metronome target. In fact, I would honestly say any practice I've done in order to reach a speed goal has actually done me no good at all.

You start pushing harder and making compromises to make "improvement" towards your goal, until you end up roadblocked even harder 10 or 20 bpm higher.

On the other hand, every time I work on improving my technique I just get better.
#28
What's your current speed? And how long have you been playing/practicing?
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#29
my current speed is I can pick chromatic, scalar, and pattern runs in 16th notes cleanly at 105bpm, single notes (strict alternate picking of a single note) in 16ths at 110bpm. Anything faster than that and I tend to tense up and lose it. I've chosen the arpeggio sequence from Eugene's Trick bag by Steve Vai as my arpeggio practice and I can pick that cleanly in 16ths at 90 bpm and if I stretch it I can sometimes hit it at 100 bpm. I've played guitar since I was 12 and I'm now 45, but I've never practiced consistently for more than a couple of months at a time, and over the whole period there have been lots of stretches where I have not played at all for 2 to 4 years. If I add up the total years I've been playing out of this period, its probably about 6 years.
#30
Quote by Lennon993
What's your current speed? And how long have you been playing/practicing?


I don't know what my current speed is, it's certainly not 160 except for really simple stuff.

And my "speed" would be totally different depending on what kind of thing we're talking about anyway. Anywhere between "painfully slow" and "quite fast".

I've been playing nearly 8 years, done about 3000 hours of practice.
#31
^ LISTEN to what he says. He KNOWS what he's talking about. /thread
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#32
Quote by afrika18
Thanks for the replies, 6000 to 10000 hours, eh? That's actually pretty encouraging. I've never applied myself to the pursuit of fast guitar playing for more than a couple of months every couple of years. I've played the guitar on and off since I was 12, but never for more than about 2 years at a time, and then I would get into something else and not play for a couple of years. I've acquired some discipline however and I'm determined to apply myself to getting good at the guitar.

cheers


On and off for years? 2 years break?? Damn. Makes me feel better about taking Friday and Saturday nights off from practicing.
#33
Quote by afrika18
To be able to play 16th notes at 160bpm? I'm trying to learn to alternate pick fast and I know that speed comes from accuracy. I don't know any other guitar players, personally, so I would like to ask forum members who can play fast how long it took them to accomplish the above and how much and what type of practice.

cheers

Funny, you can see exactly that on my page. 1 year exactly, I went from clean 100 to 160 approx.

Ignore some of the confusing titles, I need to re-title them but, show it's possible.
#34
Quote by afrika18
I'm cool with that. For a while (and this is going to sound silly), I thought that being able to play fast was either something you could do, or something that you couldn't ever do--that shredding was exclusively only for those born with the correct body structure/genes...whatever, lol. But, truth is, I've been my own worst enemy because I've never stuck with it for more than a couple of years...but this time, I'm going to really go for it. I'll occasionally post my progress and what exercises I use in case anyone is interested.

cheers



It's cool to see that commitment.

But, in truth, if all you have to show for 5 years of intense practice is some REALLY fast runs ... that is time wasted, IMO.

I don't practice 5 hours a day on a regular basis but when I am in "music mode" and playing a lot I alternate between reading/learning new songs, arranging chord solos or voice leading exercises, ear training and writing. I spend some time with a metronome getting chord changes and licks under my fingers -- simply to maintain dexterity. But, it is not my goal to be a shredder.

I believe the best approach (and I am not saying I am an expert, but I have some experience and have worked with some very solid musicians) is a combination of learning new material, building dexterity, ear training, playing with other musicians, writing, arranging and pecking away at theory.

So, in my opinion, the best approach to guitar is to try to become a better musician. The guitar is the instrument, the music comes from someplace inside the player. If one's goal is to alternate pick at such and such speed, that's a very limited goal. Either you achieve it and learn nothing else or you miss it and get frustrated.

One other really important thing ... listen to a lot of music and soak up everything. Jazz, Latin, Funk, Metal, Blues, Folk, Classical ... listen to great players of guitar in all of these genres but also listen to piano, saxophone, trumpet, violin, etc etc etc
#35
Quote by Zen Skin
It's cool to see that commitment.

But, in truth, if all you have to show for 5 years of intense practice is some REALLY fast runs ... that is time wasted, IMO.

I don't practice 5 hours a day on a regular basis but when I am in "music mode" and playing a lot I alternate between reading/learning new songs, arranging chord solos or voice leading exercises, ear training and writing. I spend some time with a metronome getting chord changes and licks under my fingers -- simply to maintain dexterity. But, it is not my goal to be a shredder.

I believe the best approach (and I am not saying I am an expert, but I have some experience and have worked with some very solid musicians) is a combination of learning new material, building dexterity, ear training, playing with other musicians, writing, arranging and pecking away at theory.

So, in my opinion, the best approach to guitar is to try to become a better musician. The guitar is the instrument, the music comes from someplace inside the player. If one's goal is to alternate pick at such and such speed, that's a very limited goal. Either you achieve it and learn nothing else or you miss it and get frustrated.

One other really important thing ... listen to a lot of music and soak up everything. Jazz, Latin, Funk, Metal, Blues, Folk, Classical ... listen to great players of guitar in all of these genres but also listen to piano, saxophone, trumpet, violin, etc etc etc



I agree with this. I still play songs/chords etc..., but what I really, really want to be able to do is to shred--not to impress anybody either: I don't play in front of others, I'm strictly a basement guitarist who likes to throw on some old 80's metal and jam along. I love to improvise over Queensryche, Metallica, Dio....and I can already play pretty fast (cleanly) legato. But I just love the sound and energy of fast alternate picking and I'd love to nail songs like Whiplash, Black Star etc... I'm going to spend a year concentrating on alternate picking, and if I make significant progress, then yay! If I don't, then I'll stick to moderate picking and fast legato stuff. Thanks for the input though, I fully agree with you.
#38
I just thought I'd provide a progress update in my pursuit of speed/technique in case anybody doing something similar is interested: Since April 16th, 2011, I've been practicing for an hour-and-a-half each day beginning with simple alternate picking exercises, then chromatic exercises, scalar exercises, patterns and finally arpeggios. I've been starting very slow and increasing metronome speed by 5bpm after every passage until I reach a point where my playing begins to break down, then I decrease the speed by 5bpm until I reach a point at which I can play perfectly again...then I play at this speed for a while longer. What I have discovered, is that I never actually had technique before. I have learned that relaxation is everything and I am using muscles in my wrist now that I never thought previously existed. It is like I have a new right hand. The stuff that use to be hard to play at about 100-105 bpm, I can now play relaxed and far more eloquently than before. I still cannot play fast, but I am only a month-and-a-half into my journey, and I am delighted with my new-found technique. I can see now that the speed will come, but only from relaxed, accurate playing. I will provide another update in about a month, I guess.

cheers
#39
Quote by Widefingers
Since I don't know what that means, I guess I am not there yet


When you hit on a string hard enough for the note to ring out. The other one is a pull off which is exactly the opposite of a hammer on. These techniques are part of 'legato' which refers to smooth playing (literally).
Quote by jpnyc
You are what they call a “rhythm guitarist”. While it's not as glamorous as playing lead you can still get laid. Especially if you can sing and play.




Beer is the solutions to the world's problems.