#1
Yes, this again.........

But its different this time. I'm not a beginner wanting to shred. Well, at least not the beginner part.

I just want to know how to get faster at playing. People say speed cones with experience but after playing for a few years I expect to get through the fast part of the sweet child solo or something similar.

It's just that lead playing never appealed to me but now I realize its something I should be able o do, play at a decent speed that is.

What/how would I need to practice to improve. I know it sounds stupid but trust me. Me only being able to do something bluesy or just palm muting over a metal backing track sounds worse.

I just don't get how people that play for a year of two can get up to a decent speed. Maybe cuz I never cared about it but now I realize it was foolish of me not to.

Help......please?
Quote by FEngHLyan

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#2
http://licklibrary.ceros.com/iguitarmag/iguitarmag-issue-6/issue6/page/1

Check out the lessons with Andy James and Michael Angelo. Andy James mainly for the actually speed bit, But Michael Angelo makes some valuable points to.


My input is this list:

Build up strong muscles
Play relaxed
Technique should feel natural
tone should be even
Motion should be economical
You want to feel in control of what your doing
Last edited by jkielq91 at Jan 7, 2012,
#3
Relax. Slow down. Practice to a metronome and make sure your hands are synchronised. Slowly increase the tempo when you can play it perfectly. Make sure you are not tense.

I'm sure you've heard this before. And no wonder... it works. So get back to basics.


But, every now and again, push yourself. Play that fast lick purely legato, see if your left hand can keep up! Then try to add your picking hand to the mix, as well. Try picking one note as fast as you possibly can.

And while you're doing that, pay special attention to whether you're tensing or not. If you're tensing up, stop, and relax. Loosen up your muscles, and try again. If you can't do it without tensing, then just stop and go back to basics. Start at a slow tempo and work your way up again, and see if you can continue increasing the tempo without tensing. It's a good warm-up as well; you may find you need to warm-up before you can go fast without tensing.


Hmm, what else... oh. Make sure you also know what you are playing. Memorise it, internalise it, and visualise yourself playing it. If you can't even see your fingers in your mind up to speed, how can you expect your fingers to go any faster? That's part of the reason why you're meant to start slow: you have to build memory and muscle memory. Practise the lick slowly, pay attention to what you're playing, and learn it to internalise it.

For example, sometimes I can play some very complex sweeps and contorted legato runs at any tempo, but a simpler thing might be harder to learn and speed up, simply because I haven't learned it and don't know where I'm going.
Ibanez RG2228 w/ EMG808Xs | Line 6 POD HD500 | Mackie HD1221
#4
Quote by Dayn
Relax. Slow down. Practice to a metronome and make sure your hands are synchronised. Slowly increase the tempo when you can play it perfectly. Make sure you are not tense.

^This. That is basically all you need to know.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#5
Quote by Dayn
Relax. Slow down. Practice to a metronome and make sure your hands are synchronised. Slowly increase the tempo when you can play it perfectly. Make sure you are not tense.

I'm sure you've heard this before. And no wonder... it works. So get back to basics.


But, every now and again, push yourself. Play that fast lick purely legato, see if your left hand can keep up! Then try to add your picking hand to the mix, as well. Try picking one note as fast as you possibly can.

And while you're doing that, pay special attention to whether you're tensing or not. If you're tensing up, stop, and relax. Loosen up your muscles, and try again. If you can't do it without tensing, then just stop and go back to basics. Start at a slow tempo and work your way up again, and see if you can continue increasing the tempo without tensing. It's a good warm-up as well; you may find you need to warm-up before you can go fast without tensing.


Hmm, what else... oh. Make sure you also know what you are playing. Memorise it, internalise it, and visualise yourself playing it. If you can't even see your fingers in your mind up to speed, how can you expect your fingers to go any faster? That's part of the reason why you're meant to start slow: you have to build memory and muscle memory. Practise the lick slowly, pay attention to what you're playing, and learn it to internalise it.

For example, sometimes I can play some very complex sweeps and contorted legato runs at any tempo, but a simpler thing might be harder to learn and speed up, simply because I haven't learned it and don't know where I'm going.


This is so true. Often a big barrier to speed is simply not knowing exactly what you're playing because you've only just listened to it. That's your short term speed limit, which can be overcome by simply learning the piece slowly so that its ingrained. Increasing your maximum speed is something that comes with time (and something that comes with playing things that you know well a lot).

I'm not that fast to be honest, but I have been seeing significant increases over the past few months, and the 2 things I've noticed in terms of speed for a particular piece are - 1. Often the limiting factor is going too fast too quickly. If you play it at a comfortable speed (while maybe every so often pushing it a bit, but not to the point you feel uncomfortable) you'll be a lot better at it. You may not see immediate results, but usually I find if I practice something at a moderate tempo, I can play it pretty well the following day.

The second thing is this - learn things by ear. You may think "well how does this help me with speed?". Because a) you've worked it out yourself, and your brain generally responds better to that, helping you memorise things better. But, more importantly, it will help your ear. This will make it much quicker for you to pick up new pieces and also means that you see a piece you're playing as a series of sounds that your brain can make by using your fingers, rather than simply a series of numbers on a fretboard. The more you work stuff out, the quicker you'll be able to spot patterns, arpeggios, scale runs etc, and the quicker you'll be able to just play them.

Another good thing to do is to learn some really, really difficult stuff (again by ear) but only at speeds you can actually play it (much like the 21 day challenge only slightly less extreme). This is good because you'll see a measurable improvement over time (especially if you play the stuff every day). Plus, when you eventually can reach the speeds of the ridiculously hard stuff, you'll have perfectly memorised a whole little library of seriously hard licks/solos :P

Everything else everyone else said is also completely true - relax. Technique wise, that's the most important thing you can do.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
Last edited by llBlackenedll at Jan 8, 2012,
#6
First of all, speed is a byproduct of good technique. If you can play 16th note sextuplets at 250 bpm, good for you, however if you're sloppy and not clean, it'll still sound like crap. Therefore, always practise at a speed you're comfortable with - a speed at which you can play whatever you need to play perfectly, making sure every note is clear and there is no tension anywhere in either of your arms. Metronomes really help with this - they're great for your sense of rhythm and they really tighten your playing.

In the end, there are many, many ways to learn how to shred, but it all comes down to this: everyone who has ever gotten really good at playing the guitar did so by playing the guitar a lot. So if you want to get that sweeptapping legato lick down, take it easy, get it clean, practise practise practise until you're comfortable playing it at a higher speed. That's really all there is to it - just make sure to take regular breaks. You don't want to end up getting sloppy again, or god forbid, stop playing because it's too frustrating.

Current gear:
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#7
How I know when I can increase my speed? to increase our speed, I have to play at a tempo where I am comfortable with it, but when should I increase ? How to know ?
#8
Quote by Syndromed
How I know when I can increase my speed? to increase our speed, I have to play at a tempo where I am comfortable with it, but when should I increase ? How to know ?



I'll just write down how I do it.
I hear a lick, look up tabs, practise it a bit so I know it by heart.
1) I put the metronome at.. say, 70 bpm and play it. Just pick any speed at which you can already play it perfectly, I use 70 because it's usually doable.
2) You stay at 70 bpm until you can play the lick perfectly at that speed, say, 4 times in a row. Usually doesn't take too long, if it's a new technique, usually an hour or two, if it's something you're already pretty good at this will take 30 minutes or so ( in my case atleast, doesn't matter how long it takes, just make sure you get it down).
3) You think, hmm, I have absolutely mastered this lick at this speed. Can I play it faster? Put the metronome at 75 bpm and see what happens. Can you still play in time? No? Either practise more or lower the bpm. Yes? Keep on doing it, play it perfectly 4 times in a row again, raise the bpm!

Repeat until you're at a speed you like! ^^
Current gear:
Carvin CT6M
TC Electronics Dark Matter distortion
Harley Benton 2x12, with Celestion V30s
Laney Ironheart 60w tube amp
#9
I see, thank you for the explanation. But let's say my raw speed limit is 120 (maximum for my exercises), if my riff is 140, I do not think it will take a few hours to go from 120 to 140 right?
#10
If you can 'effortlessly' play it at 120, then no, 140 probably won't take that long! Just set it at 125 and see what happens. Take the occasional break though - your brain and your muscles need time to absorb all the new information.
Current gear:
Carvin CT6M
TC Electronics Dark Matter distortion
Harley Benton 2x12, with Celestion V30s
Laney Ironheart 60w tube amp
#11
Quote by LordPino
If you can 'effortlessly' play it at 120, then no, 140 probably won't take that long! Just set it at 125 and see what happens. Take the occasional break though - your brain and your muscles need time to absorb all the new information.


120 to 140 is a huge jump... depending on the note length. If it's sextuplets at 120, going to 140 will take more work than just a few hours.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#12
It might, it might not...what you think isn't really relevant and may be part of the problem. You don't get to "decide" when you get better. Things take as long as they take but one thing is certain, if you keep concerning yourself with speed and getting faster it will never happen.

A metronome isn't a speedometer and bpm isnt a measure of your skill...the metronome is simply there to keep accurate time for you, don't start chasing it. Guitar follows the law of diminishing returns, the better you get at it the more effort you have to put in for less improvement. So that increase from 120bpm might well take a few hours of intense practise, but equally it could take days, weeks or even months. Also you have to remember the big picture, the speed at which you can play that one exercise you've been grinding for weeks means absolutely nothing, quoting your bpm doesn't make you a "better" guitarist. What matters is whether or not that practising is enabling you to play the music you're trying to play.
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#13
Ok.
I was referring to sixteenth note, so I understand: if I can do perfectly my exercise (or my riff) to 120, I have to try to move to 125 and so on and if I can't 125 I go back to 120.

So to summarize: I have to stay some time on the tempo to which I am comfortable with and occasionally try to increase the tempo?

Another question about playing "well": if 90% of the time I play my riff perfectly, but sometimes I make mistakes from time to time (string missed, finger slipped, deconcentration etc ...) , it does not pose a problem? it's just the usual mistakes, not mistakes because "I can not." ?

I never said that I will be better if I could go faster, I need the speed for the music I play. In any case, it will make me a better guitarist.
I think we need a minimum of technique to play comfortably that we want to play.

edit : someone posted just before me ! sorry if sorry if I repeat myself.
Last edited by Syndromed at Jan 8, 2012,
#14
Quote by steven seagull
It might, it might not...what you think isn't really relevant and may be part of the problem. You don't get to "decide" when you get better. Things take as long as they take but one thing is certain, if you keep concerning yourself with speed and getting faster it will never happen.

A metronome isn't a speedometer and bpm isnt a measure of your skill...the metronome is simply there to keep accurate time for you, don't start chasing it. Guitar follows the law of diminishing returns, the better you get at it the more effort you have to put in for less improvement. So that increase from 120bpm might well take a few hours of intense practise, but equally it could take days, weeks or even months. Also you have to remember the big picture, the speed at which you can play that one exercise you've been grinding for weeks means absolutely nothing, quoting your bpm doesn't make you a "better" guitarist. What matters is whether or not that practising is enabling you to play the music you're trying to play.


This is why I started to put much less of a focus on exercises and more focus on learning difficult songs/licks by ear, and it seems to be much more beneficial as everything has context. I still do some exercises (finger independence generally) but learning new things regularly and by ear seems to have helped a lot. Plus if you learn a lot of new things, I figure it helps you learn to learn so you learn quicker.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#15
Thanks for all the responses. Everyone's been restating what I've been doing so far.

But my other issue is playing by ear. How am i supposed to know which note to play? The idea of just walking blindly into a piece without tabs seems daunting to me.
Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
#16
Quote by JKHC
Thanks for all the responses. Everyone's been restating what I've been doing so far.

But my other issue is playing by ear. How am i supposed to know which note to play? The idea of just walking blindly into a piece without tabs seems daunting to me.

For a while it'll feel like stabbing in the dark, but if you practice it enough it will become much easier. I still find it difficult to work out chords (especially distorted ones) but for lead stuff, the hardest part is usually finding the first note (especially if you don't have perfect pitch). But once you've got that, if you practice it enough, the rest should start to come fairly easy. You can always try to work stuff out then verify it with tabs if you're not completely confident, but the act of working stuff out alone makes it much easier to remember.

Anyway, once you have the first note in a lead run, the rest is just training your ear to detect intervals. If you don't know what intervals are, and how they're used, I'd recommend learning some chord theory just to give what you're learning some context.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#17
What works for me with sweeps is playing ridiculously slow, the same pattern up and down a few hundred times until you start to build muscle memory. Once it becomes second nature and you can do it without concentrating, start to increase the speed. It's important that your hands remain in sync, so take the speed increases very gradually.

Also, a metronome is your best friend, never practice without one.
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