#1
Okay, quick hypothetical since I'm woodshedding my technique yet again and I don't want to woodshed the wrong way.

Let's say I have riff X, which I'm trying to get to 200bpm (numbers don't matter, just an example). I can play riff X cleanly and relaxed for a long time at 50bpm. At 100bpm, I can play riff X cleanly and relaxed let's say for 10 minutes, at 120bpm for 5 minutes, and at 130-150bpm I can play it relaxed for the first couple of minutes. Past that I start losing control.

So which way would you practice?

1 - Play at 50bpm forever and ever and ever, increase speed only when you can play for hours without getting tired and increase by 2bpm or so.

2 - Play at 100bpm, slowly increase the speed providing you can play relaxed and clean for a good 5-10 minutes at the next speed.

3 - Play at 150bpm (the fastest speed that can be played at clean and relaxed) for a couple of minutes then shake, relax and rest your hands/wrists and repeat after a little break.

Bearing in mind when I say clean and relaxed at tempo X I do mean clean and relaxed (with good technique, picking from the wrist etc...), and when I say for "10 minutes" I mean after those ten minutes my wrist starts to ache and burn increasingly (I think this is due to stamina and my hand tiring, but it could be tension - which would be weird because playing the riff for the first ten minutes was without tension).

Also, not to sound rude, but please no "pick from ur wrist, increase speed slowly" answers. I've searched this forum enough to get that far, I'm interested in exactly which method of practice is more efficient and will teach better technique. The ones I tend to see posted are methods 1 and 3, although in methods 1 case I don't see how people are going to be downpicking at 240bpm 8ths (FOR EXAMPLE) for hours on end but in example 3's case it seems like it might cause bad habits to arise.

Sorry for the walk of text, tl;dr - Pick an option (or otherwise), and explain why. Thanks in advance.
#2
I propose something else:

Do the standard "start at a comfortable tempo and speed up" until you get to a speed at which you're having trouble then stop and find out why you're having trouble. Once you know why slow right down (50bpm or something) and work on that issue specifically.
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#3
Id recommend the same. Start at a comfortable speed, maybe even a little slower, once you can play 3x in a row flawlessly increase by 10 bpm and continue this pattern until you can play at about 20 BPM higher than the riff calls for. Then you'll be good to go. Also don't be afraid to alter the riff and add your own phrasing into it as well. Learn everything you can from the riff, not just the original notes
#4
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I propose something else:

Do the standard "start at a comfortable tempo and speed up" until you get to a speed at which you're having trouble then stop and find out why you're having trouble. Once you know why slow right down (50bpm or something) and work on that issue specifically.


I think you two are misunderstanding me or I haven't explained my question well enough - That's what I'm on about doing, but I'm asking which method would be better to do this with. I start at a comfortable tempo, speed up over quite a few sessions when I can and slow down when needed.

I guess that partially answers my question, but I'm confused for how long to practice at once - If I'm comfortable at a certain speed, but I'm only able to play at that speed for five minutes constantly (relaxed) before my wrist starts burning out a bit, is that okay? Do I need to master my technique at a speed such that I can play for much longer constantly, or does this come with simply improving technique and playing (stamina)?

Sorry for all the text.

EDIT - Actually, when reading it again I guess my first post wasn't that clear. Hopefully this one will be better.
Last edited by Anon17 at Apr 2, 2012,
#5
What I do is try to play it perfectly 5 to 10 times in a row. If I mess up, I start over. If I can do it 5 to 10 times in a row perfectly, I bump up the bpm by anywhere from 3 to 8 and keep going until I reach my target.
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#6
Quote by Anon17
I think you two are misunderstanding me or I haven't explained my question well enough - That's what I'm on about doing, but I'm asking which method would be better to do this with. I start at a comfortable tempo, speed up over quite a few sessions when I can and slow down when needed.

I guess that partially answers my question, but I'm confused for how long to practice at once - If I'm comfortable at a certain speed, but I'm only able to play at that speed for five minutes constantly (relaxed) before my wrist starts burning out a bit, is that okay? Do I need to master my technique at a speed such that I can play for much longer constantly, or does this come with simply improving technique and playing (stamina)?

Sorry for all the text.

EDIT - Actually, when reading it again I guess my first post wasn't that clear. Hopefully this one will be better.


Ah, right, ok, I'll give you my take on this then: if I can play a single song that I consider to be a good stamina workout then good, the real test is if I can put together a relatively trying 'setlist' (45-50 minutes of songs) and play that through as if I were playing an actual set. For me that generally involves a lot of songs with hefty downpicking and tremolo picking sections.

Once you've got that you really need to apply the same kind of process: if you can't play a decent set then what is stopping you? Is it stamina or technique? You can tell the difference relatively easily because a lack of stamina will feel like it does when you run too much or work out to your limit. That kind of muscle burn is fine and any other kind of pain is bad. Just make sure you can tell the difference between the two reliably.

Also: the burning shouldn't be in your wrist since there are no muscles in your wrist. The muscles that operate your hand in the way you should be playing guitar are up in your forearm, just below the elbow, on the top of your arm rather than the bottom, if you're getting burning anywhere else then you probably need to look at your technique and make sure you're getting the motion and power from the right bits of your body.
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#7
Ah alright, fair enough.

So for the minute long alternate picking riff in Disposable Heroes (180bpm 16ths for reference), if I could play that at speed hypothetically for 10 minutes (much longer than needed) that would be sufficient (provided I'm not too tired to keep playing of course)? Then for something with a 30 second downpicking riff, playing that for 5 minutes straight?

I said wrist as I meant the area of muscles that control the wrist, which is burning on the forearm like you said. Occasionally my wrist muscle aches but this isn't consistant. I think it's my muscles tiring anyway - Should it feel harder to play, and after playing with this burn for a bit, is it normal to start messing up and tensing to keep going? Obviously I stop when this happens as it's bad technique.

Thanks for the answers by the way,
#8
Quote by Anon17
Ah alright, fair enough.

So for the minute long alternate picking riff in Disposable Heroes (180bpm 16ths for reference), if I could play that at speed hypothetically for 10 minutes (much longer than needed) that would be sufficient (provided I'm not too tired to keep playing of course)? Then for something with a 30 second downpicking riff, playing that for 5 minutes straight?

I said wrist as I meant the area of muscles that control the wrist, which is burning on the forearm like you said. Occasionally my wrist muscle aches but this isn't consistant. I think it's my muscles tiring anyway - Should it feel harder to play, and after playing with this burn for a bit, is it normal to start messing up and tensing to keep going? Obviously I stop when this happens as it's bad technique.

Thanks for the answers by the way,


For the first part, the real questions you should ask yourself are:

1 - Can I play this actual song perfectly all the way through?
2 - Does playing this song all the way through tire me out too much to keep playing a set?

Really you don't need any more stamina than you will need to play a pretty hefty set, anything more than that is a bonus and good but that's enough. If you just keep playing as much as you want and keep an eye on your technique you should really end up with more than enough stamina; personally when I had enough time I'd sit and play for literally hours on end, day after day so now I've got enough stamina that I can play a good 2+ hours of fast thrash without needing much of a break without much difficulty at all.


As for the second part:

No, if you're messing up and tensing then you need to stop because you're reaching your limit. If/when you get to that point then go and do something else for a while, get something to eat and something to drink and come back when you're nice and fresh again. Rinse and repeat until you can play a whole set's worth of material.
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.”


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