#1
Hello guys, I would like to hear your opinions about my problem. I've been playing guitar for a bit more than 4 years, and I've been practicing a lot, always using the metronome and reading and learning stuff available online. The thing is that I haven't really improved in terms of speed for more than a year and a half. I still remember hiting the 160 BPM on metronome in 16th notes almost two years ago, but I still can't get past that limit.

The question is what to do now? I feel that I have hit the limit set by my current guitar approach and I'm not sure if I could improve anymore by doing the same practice program. I've read a lot of articles online about "hitting the wall" and I'm slowly running out of patience. I also can't get faster at downpicking - even after I warm up, it's hard for me to play 8th notes on tempos faster than 190.

Also, I have to practice a lot just to keep the current level. Last month I haven't been home and I didn't have guitar with me, so when I came home I started practicing and after a few weeks I can't play faster than 16th notes at about 142 BPM.

The songs I would like to play require me to be able to play in significantly faster tempos than I am able now. For instance, I'm learning the solo to Dio's "Don't talk to strangers", and I've come to the fast sextuplet part in the middle of the solo. I've been watching videos and Vivian Campbell seems to pick all the notes, but I can't play that pattern faster than 100 BPM, while the original tempo is somewhere around 135 BPM. Then I tried to learn that pattern using legato, but I still rarely can play it over 115 BPM that way. What to do?
Last edited by ivan987 at Oct 5, 2011,
#2
had the same problem once.

solution :

1. if you wanna play a song just because it includes fast passages, you won't do any good.
2. if you truly like and wanna play a song which include fast passages, you'll do good.

- before goin into the song ;

do a little picking exercise. start with 120/min with 16th. pick for 2 minutes non-stop.
after 2 minutes, get the metronome to 130/min with 16th, pick for another 2 minutes. then go 5+5+5+5 till you reach 160s. this will take about 20/30 minutes. (and is also my daily practice)

and the song, play it slower first, just like the exercise, speed up bit by bit. you'll eventually get there.

and yes that speeding exercise i gave you does work. : )
#4
You can't force yourself to improve technically - your little exercsise is of limited use because it only works if you're already good enough.

If you aren't all you end up doing is teaching yourself to play sloppily and out of time, because that's all you can do if you try to play at speeds you're not technically good enough to reach yet.
Actually called Mark!

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#5
Quote by satrionic1
had the same problem once.

do a little picking exercise. start with 120/min with 16th. pick for 2 minutes non-stop.
after 2 minutes, get the metronome to 130/min with 16th, pick for another 2 minutes. then go 5+5+5+5 till you reach 160s. this will take about 20/30 minutes. (and is also my daily practice)

and the song, play it slower first, just like the exercise, speed up bit by bit. you'll eventually get there.

and yes that speeding exercise i gave you does work. : )



That's something what I've been doing constantly for the last year, but there is no improvement. Should I keep "attacking" the 160s tempos, or should I totally roll back and play in tempos under 100 BPM and try to develop a more efficient technique?
#6
Quote by ivan987
That's something what I've been doing constantly for the last year, but there is no improvement. Should I keep "attacking" the 160s tempos, or should I totally roll back and play in tempos under 100 BPM and try to develop a more efficient technique?


tried streching your wrist a bit before practicing ? maybe the way ur holding the plectrum is not right ? you can always develop new techniques, but try figuring out what the problem might be first.

you can get a thinner pick aswell or maybe a change in the strings might also work. you'll eventually improve, just try anything. like i said stretching your wrists before any practice helps a lot.
#7
Yes, I stretch both wrists and all of the fingers every time before I play. Warming up is not the problem. Maybe I'll record a video of my playing and post it here if I get a camera, maybe then you could help me with my technique.
#8
Quote by ivan987
Yes, I stretch both wrists and all of the fingers every time before I play. Warming up is not the problem. Maybe I'll record a video of my playing and post it here if I get a camera, maybe then you could help me with my technique.


yes that'll help a lot.
#9
Be systematic:

1-Can you reach the desired tempo on your open E string effortesly/consistently? Yes ?
1.1 Strings A,D,G,B,E ? Yes/No ?
1.2 Can you reach the desired tempo on adjacent strings Yes/No ?
1.3 Can you reach the desired tempo on non adjacent strings ? yes
1.3.1 all permutations?
1.3.2 triplets? 4ths 5ths? etc.. Yes /No ?

If you answered yes to all you seem to have your picking down to your desired speed
so lets move on to number 2

2.1 Can you do all those excercises down/up picking only (same bpm doesnt apply obviously but you get the concept)
2.2 Can you alternate pick all the excercises mentioned above starting with a down stroke ? yes? starting with an upstroke ?
2.3 Can you do 1.1,1.2,1.3 using only your left hand legato ? yes ?

3-WTF you have your technique down! just combine them both and thats it.

If you answer no to any of those questions it is obvious where the problem is and what you need to work on :P remember to find the stuff your worst at or least comfortable with and work hard on it!

good luck mate
Last edited by Slashiepie at Oct 5, 2011,
#10
Quote by ivan987
That's something what I've been doing constantly for the last year, but there is no improvement. Should I keep "attacking" the 160s tempos, or should I totally roll back and play in tempos under 100 BPM and try to develop a more efficient technique?

Roll back. Yeah, it can be really boring, but it'll help you refine a better technique. Play only as fast as when you completely have things under control.
E:-6
B:-0
G:-5
D:-6
A:-0
E:-3
#11
Ant time you feel like you've reached a plateau in your playing, it's because of one of two issues: poor technique and/or limited muscle memory.

In either case, the appropriate reaction is to roll back your speed and focus on your technique. Ask yourself some questions. Are your picking motions optimally small and efficient? Are your fretting fingers moving the minimal distance to fret/unfret the note? Do you have tension in your arms? Focus on making your picking and fretting motions as small and economical as possible. Play slowly and make sure that efficiency is your goal. Eventually, smaller motions will become habitual and are locked into muscle memory. Begin gradually speeding up and you should see some increase in your maximum speed.

For example, by doing this, I have been able to increase my maximum clean alternate picking speed from sixteenth notes at 150 bpm to around 180 bpm. That's an increase of two notes per second by focusing on economizing my technique. It took time, of course, and it was aggravating to do, but it got me the results I wanted without tension or a reduction in accuracy, which is exactly what you want.
#12
Ive been the same way for a long time.

While not being able to play much faster than I used to, I can certainly play smarter.

Still want to conquer a few of my favourite Paul Gilbert tunes, like Scarified, at some point though so I geuss Ill have to hit the metronome and really start pushing myself again.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Last edited by Hydra150 at Oct 5, 2011,
#13
I had that problem .
The problem probably is that you developed the habit of playing tensed. The interesting thing is that probably your not even aware of it.

The solution:

Start with 120 bpm or so, and try be as relaxed as you can. Be patient and don't do bpm raises more then 20-30 a day

You to be completely relaxed when practicing, it is almost like you are a spectator of your own playing, you don;t feel anything, you just enjoy the ride.

And i thing it is better to practice technique separately. If you practice the riff you want to play, you will be able to play that riff.

If you practice the technique that is used in that song, you will be able to play any song that uses that technique.

It is your call
#14
Thanks guys, you've all been really helpful, I'll get back to practicing, and try to stick to the advices you gave me.
#15
Personally I think it's pretty normal to hit speed barriers. I think a really good way of dealing with them is to ignore them completely and concentrate on playing better at tempos below your max.

Generally people pushing the metronome are only playing easy licks. What I like to do is simply learn much harder stuff. This is much better for your technique and hence for your actual playing than just pushing chromatics or diatonic sextuplets. I like to practice interval skips, arpeggio sequences and pentatonic stuff.

I'm not saying you'll definitely get faster, but you'll definitely get better.