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#1
Okay, here's the thing... I have been playing for 1 3/4 yrs, and I cannot get a grasp on how to play fast, and sound good at the same time. I can only play fast by progressing up and down the same scale over and over until it gets annoying... I know all ranges of the petatonic scale, and can play the efficiently at about 90 bpm (rough guess...) unfortunately, I do not have a metronome for all your fancy methods. Is there perhaps a pattern I can play over and over to get "faster?" I can pick really fast, but I trip over myself when I try to go up & down the scales like Yngwie Malmsteen. I would like to play as fast as EVH or Yngwie by the time I graduate if at all possible...
Rock N' Roll isn't just a genre of music. It's a way of life. If you fall; get the hell up, brush off, and keep rockin!
#2
Quote by RoKHED
Okay, here's the thing... I have been playing for 1 3/4 yrs, and I cannot get a grasp on how to play fast, and sound good at the same time. I can only play fast by progressing up and down the same scale over and over until it gets annoying... I know all ranges of the petatonic scale, and can play the efficiently at about 90 bpm (rough guess...) unfortunately, I do not have a metronome for all your fancy methods. Is there perhaps a pattern I can play over and over to get "faster?" I can pick really fast, but I trip over myself when I try to go up & down the scales like Yngwie Malmsteen. I would like to play as fast as EVH or Yngwie by the time I graduate if at all possible...


Get better at playing slow. Stop thinking about speed. Don't give yourself a time line for getting to a certain pace.

Learn how to play well first, playing fast will come in time.
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#4
the chromatic stuff was good for me. 1324/1324/1324 over and over again. then 4231 back down. play it at a relaxed speed, and play it unplugged until you can clearly hear every note and it feels uniform under your fretting fingers. once you know how to play it right, feel free to watch tv while you do it.
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#5
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
once you know how to play it right, feel free to watch tv while you do it.


No point practicing without thinking; you're never going to actually improve if you do that.
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#6
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
No point practicing without thinking; you're never going to actually improve if you do that.


a large part of practicing is the pure repetition though, there isn't that much to think about once you're used to the way it feels when you're playing correctly. especially when it's just chromatic drills. i'll admit that it may be more efficient not to play in front of the tv, but chromatic drills are so damn boring. yet, that's the kind of time it takes for your hands to get used to it.
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#7
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Learn how to play well first, playing fast will come in time.

+1. I once heard that speed is simply a by-product of accuracy, and that's advice I'd recommend anyone looking to improve speed should take to heart. No sense in trying to jump into playing fast if you can't be precise about it.
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#8
Zaphod hit the nail dead on. Don't focus on speed, focus on playing well and playing relaxed.

You can play a million notes a second but if none of them sound well none will want to listen, and if you can't play relaxed you will not be able to do it for long anyways.

Always go for good sound at lower tempos and relaxed playing first and let the speed come when it comes, otherwise you will be cursed to go back later and fix your technique drastically.
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#9
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
a large part of practicing is the pure repetition though, there isn't that much to think about once you're used to the way it feels when you're playing correctly.


Ok, time to make a quite fine but very important distinction:

Practicing and learning are different things. Practice is focused and with the intent of improvement; it must be done with your full attention or no improvement will happen. Practice involves making conscious effort to reduce tension, make movements smaller, improve finger independence, whatever.

Learning is through pure brute repetition. You might, maybe, just be able to do this in front of the TV with no thought if it's something you already know well. But then if you know it well and you're not paying attention how are you going to know when you've made a mistake? If you don't know it well enough to sit and play then what are you going to do with the TV on? Try and learn something with other noise going on? I don't think so somehow.

Practicing and learning with the TV on are not good ways to go about improving your skills at all. You're better off trying to improve your ear when the TV's on by trying to transcribe jingles, themes and advert music by ear than you are trying to make any physical improvements.

Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
especially when it's just chromatic drills. i'll admit that it may be more efficient not to play in front of the tv, but chromatic drills are so damn boring. yet, that's the kind of time it takes for your hands to get used to it.


Chromatic drills are largely pointless as a practice tool for this exact reason. They're so easy to do that doing them badly is almost inevitable if you're not paying a lot of attention and even if you do get it completely right you're not likely to use them in the vast majority of music anyway... I can think of maybe 2 solos in my whole music collection that have a plain 4 finger chromatic part to them.
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#10
well okay, i'm no teacher, i'm just relaying my experience. but i really believe it worked for me. the chromatic exercises give your fingers the stability required to play everything else.

i used to put on a tv show and do scales and chromatics over one episode, then start actually playing and practicing more musical things. so i rarely did any speed drills.
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#11
so, let me get this straight... I need to focus more on what I am playing, rather than how fast I play it?
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#12
Quote by RoKHED
so, let me get this straight... I need to focus more on what I am playing, rather than how fast I play it?


Not so much what but more how you are playing it. Focus on things like economy of motion, tension and/or relaxation, keeping the fingers close to the fretboard, etcetera.
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#13
oh... I understand... My "Standstill" of progress if a result of not even knowing what direction to go... Now I should consider everyone's helpful advice, grab my guitar, and make some progress!

Thank all of you for your words of "wisdom"
Enjoy your summer, and God Bless... peace out!
Rock N' Roll isn't just a genre of music. It's a way of life. If you fall; get the hell up, brush off, and keep rockin!
#14
30 hours steve vai excersises. Check this out. Use metronome. And yes it shall come later. I met with speed (not quality) very early, but what matters is accuracy and quality. Well interesting thing i realized these days. I was lifting for the first time serious. 2 days in one week. Or three cant remember. And 2-3 months later i stopped. There was nothing on speed on my mind nor fingers... Now i see that my teacher told me that i was playing lot of faster than before was , just 2-3 months later i stopped lifting. Later I went to lift again on like 16 lbs dumbells. i was hardly playing 8 notes per second maybe 6.. Go to gym for a while later stop see if any difference. Thats my theory. I abused lifting ,stopped immed. , im like 100-110, 52kgs very slim boy... Anyways, i believe that while lifting you tense your nerves towards arms and they wake up.
Lol. motor speed is related with nerves. If you crush them you cant play fast thats for sure, but you might tighten yourself i think it might help.
#15
Work on trills with every permutation between fingers work on legato get those fingers strong. ascending pick every new string descending no picking start with pinky on every new string when you're descending. Now that your left hand can fly through on the fingerboard by itself you should simultaneously be working on left and right hand coordination your picking hand devolpes slower for sheer speed then your left hand but atleast ur left hand is now capable of speed. Alternate picking shredding takes more time but it does come in time and catches up with ur left hand.

Remember though time is important so practice with a metronome. also playing just fast all the time does not sound good if you do not hear fast phrases in ur head at the time when ur playing do not bust it out just because you can it'll sound to forced even if it's clean.
Last edited by Fourfourforever at Aug 13, 2013,
#16
Speed is something you'll build up over time. As stated previously, it's a byproduct of accuracy.

Also, make sure you're not tensing up your hands when you're trying to play fast.
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#17
Actually, I have noticed that over the course of a few days, let alone a few HOURS...
I just did similar stuff to Steve Vai's workout, and tried playing the Pentatonic Scale over and over, progressing speed each time, and restarting if I mess up... Once again, thank you all for the advice, keep rocking, and God bless...
Rock N' Roll isn't just a genre of music. It's a way of life. If you fall; get the hell up, brush off, and keep rockin!
#18
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Ok, time to make a quite fine but very important distinction:

Practicing and learning are different things. Practice is focused and with the intent of improvement; it must be done with your full attention or no improvement will happen. Practice involves making conscious effort to reduce tension, make movements smaller, improve finger independence, whatever.

Learning is through pure brute repetition. You might, maybe, just be able to do this in front of the TV with no thought if it's something you already know well. But then if you know it well and you're not paying attention how are you going to know when you've made a mistake? If you don't know it well enough to sit and play then what are you going to do with the TV on? Try and learn something with other noise going on? I don't think so somehow.

Practicing and learning with the TV on are not good ways to go about improving your skills at all. You're better off trying to improve your ear when the TV's on by trying to transcribe jingles, themes and advert music by ear than you are trying to make any physical improvements.


Chromatic drills are largely pointless as a practice tool for this exact reason. They're so easy to do that doing them badly is almost inevitable if you're not paying a lot of attention and even if you do get it completely right you're not likely to use them in the vast majority of music anyway... I can think of maybe 2 solos in my whole music collection that have a plain 4 finger chromatic part to them.


You kinda have that backwards...practicing is on the physical side, learning is...learning, you're gaining knowledge

Anyway, you can always DOWNLOAD a metronome, just google it, or hell, use powertabs. Not like they somehow lose rhythm. If you wanna build speed, you have to go through all the boring repetition. Practice makes perfect, you've gotta work to have fun, and not all practice is fun. As far as physical speed, learning proper technique and playing as light as possible is key. Look up various finger independence and exercises on youtube. For individual songs, you just have to start slow and work your way up. Get comfortable playing it slow, then gradually increase the BPM on your metronome. 10 BPM at a time is a good measurement, but make sure you can easily play at the current speed or else you'll shoot yourself in the foot by trying to advance.

Really though, just google metronome program. I use Weird Metronome, it's simple, but good.
#19
Quote by Velcro Man
You kinda have that backwards...practicing is on the physical side, learning is...learning, you're gaining knowledge


Learning is also improving repertoire; learning new songs.

The important thing here is the distinction between practicing material and practicing technique; the way you approach both of those should be different. There is, as far as I know, no better distinction between those two in linguistic terms without having to fully explain myself every time.
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#20
play slow, with a metronome and focus on playing cleanly, gradually increase the tempo on the metronome
#21
Quote by RoKHED
Actually, I have noticed that over the course of a few days, let alone a few HOURS...
I just did similar stuff to Steve Vai's workout, and tried playing the Pentatonic Scale over and over, progressing speed each time, and restarting if I mess up... Once again, thank you all for the advice, keep rocking, and God bless...

Just remember that speed on it's own counts for very little, there's not a lot to be gained from "being able to play the pentatonic scale quickly", it's not going to necesarily make you any better as a guitarist.

Practice is a means to an end, not the end itself. You didn't pick up a guitar so you could run up and down the pentatonic scale blindly, you picked it up because you wanted to play music - and that's how you judge progress. Are the hours your putting into your practice making you play better because that's all that matters...are you better at playing the songs you want to play because of it. How "good" you are at practicing doesn't matter, always bear that in mind. the worst thing you can do is get bogged down in chasing the metronome with the same exercise just because you want to be able to say you can play "something" fast.
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#22
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Learning is also improving repertoire; learning new songs.

The important thing here is the distinction between practicing material and practicing technique; the way you approach both of those should be different. There is, as far as I know, no better distinction between those two in linguistic terms without having to fully explain myself every time.


I usually go with finger exercises...
#23
Quote by Velcro Man
I usually go with finger exercises...


For practice as opposed to learning? Then you're thinking in the wrong way. The difference is in how you practice; the two things require very definitely different things of you.

If that's not what you mean... then I am confused. Please restate your point.
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#24
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
For practice as opposed to learning? Then you're thinking in the wrong way. The difference is in how you practice; the two things require very definitely different things of you.

If that's not what you mean... then I am confused. Please restate your point.


For the linguistic differences. If it's physical, they're exercises, if it's mental, it's learning :I
#25
Speed is a by-product of accuracy.Its been said many times before.You dont even have to worry about speed.Worry about the things you are not doing right.Are you fingers relaxed and not tensing up?Do you grab the pick so tight like you want to melt it? How about economy of motion? Do you do a lot of unecessary movements? finger independence? etc etc etc.

Solve every issue with a teacher or infront of a mirror and make sure your technique is relaxed,efficient and sound.After that speed is something that ll be aquired no matter what.Speed is all about efficient movement on guitar not fast movement....a really fast player doenst have "fast" or "faster" hands than you...not at all...but he has deadly efficient and relaxed hands doing only whats necessary .
#26
Quote by Velcro Man
For the linguistic differences. If it's physical, they're exercises, if it's mental, it's learning :I


Quote by dictionary
learn·ing
/ˈlərniNG/
Noun

The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught.
Knowledge acquired in this way.


Seems pretty open and shut to me.
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#27
okay... The only thing is, I was wondering if there is anything I can LEARN that will boost my brain-to-hand connection... Plus, adjusting the action on my Raptor really helped my speed...
I think that my slow progress was a result of VERY HIGH action... I made the action much lower and focused on the exercises AND learned how to move a bit faster... IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN LEARN TO MAKE ME EVEN FASTER?
Rock N' Roll isn't just a genre of music. It's a way of life. If you fall; get the hell up, brush off, and keep rockin!
#28
Quote by RoKHED
okay... The only thing is, I was wondering if there is anything I can LEARN that will boost my brain-to-hand connection... Plus, adjusting the action on my Raptor really helped my speed...
I think that my slow progress was a result of VERY HIGH action... I made the action much lower and focused on the exercises AND learned how to move a bit faster... IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN LEARN TO MAKE ME EVEN FASTER?


No. Practice, improve your technique. That's the only way.
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#29
Quote by RoKHED
Okay, here's the thing... I have been playing for 1 3/4 yrs,


Lol.

I haven't posted here for a long time, but everytime I come on here there's someone asking why they can't play like EVH after 2 years.

Here's the truth. You'll probably never be able to play as fast as EVH. I've been playing for 20 years and I still can't play as fast as he could when he was 23. Of course, I can do some things that EVH most likely couldn't at age 23. I can solo over jazz standards and I can sight read and I can play James Taylor on the acoustic.

You are a product of what you practice.

If you want to play that fast and accurate, you are probably looking at 4 hours of technically related practice a day for the next 3 or 4 years.

Or an hour a day or so for the next 10 years. Something like that.

Speed is such a funny thing on the guitar. To me, at least, you work on it and work on it, and you seem to get no results, and then maybe 3-4 years later, you just realize you can play a little faster. It's not like studying for a test. You study, you learn, you get an A. It's such a SLOW process. At least that is my experience. I used to practice a lot too ... back in the day. Hours. But not all too much of that was on purely technical stuff.

Others may have different experiences. And you may be one of those people who is willing to practice 10 hours a day for years, so I can't totally discount it.

Good luck!
Last edited by jogogonne at Aug 22, 2013,
#31
Quote by RoKHED
okay... The only thing is, I was wondering if there is anything I can LEARN that will boost my brain-to-hand connection... Plus, adjusting the action on my Raptor really helped my speed...
I think that my slow progress was a result of VERY HIGH action... I made the action much lower and focused on the exercises AND learned how to move a bit faster... IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN LEARN TO MAKE ME EVEN FASTER?

You have to realise that this isn't going to happen overnight, it's going to take years.
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#32
No doubt about that... I took a dumb approach on this topic... I meant to ask if there are any ways as to I can gradually build speed. You know; can I learn songs that will add techniques to my "bag of tricks?"
Rock N' Roll isn't just a genre of music. It's a way of life. If you fall; get the hell up, brush off, and keep rockin!
#33
Quote by RoKHED
No doubt about that... I took a dumb approach on this topic... I meant to ask if there are any ways as to I can gradually build speed. You know; can I learn songs that will add techniques to my "bag of tricks?"


Again, no; the real secret (as if it were a secret anyway) to playing fast is to do the basics really, really well. You already know about practicing properly and gradually building speed, there's nothing else to say.
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#34
Quote by RoKHED
No doubt about that... I took a dumb approach on this topic... I meant to ask if there are any ways as to I can gradually build speed. You know; can I learn songs that will add techniques to my "bag of tricks?"


Here is how I think of it. Don't worry about "speed" because it will come in time with correct practice, diligence, and focus. The more you worry about speed, the more you worry and the less motivating & fun that will be!

The guitar requires very fine hand motor movements. You gradually develop these over many, many hours of practice. When you keep repeating them, the brain learns them and forms pathways and they become more effortless. So many things to think about, but your ear will help you adjust your technique.

I really like EVH and SRV and all that technically demanding stuff, too. I can't play it fast enough because I am still learning. What I do is learn some of that stuff, even if can't play it fast, but I also focus more on stuff that demands ultimate control like BB King and Gilmour solos. There is musically interesting stuff that isn't necessarily fast, you just have to be patient. You will stick with it and a couple years down the road you will amaze yourself how far you have gotten.

The biggest technique for fast runs is getting a solid grounding in strict alternate picking. Troy Stetina's book is helpful for this.
#35
Quote by sweetdude3000
The biggest technique for fast runs is getting a solid grounding in strict alternate picking. Troy Stetina's book is helpful for this.


There are a great many people who would disagree with that. Myself included. Alternate picking is a tonal and stylistic choice, not a necessity.
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#36
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
There are a great many people who would disagree with that. Myself included. Alternate picking is a tonal and stylistic choice, not a necessity.


There are times when you want all downstrokes, economy or alternate - some are more economical and appropriate given the context. It's best to work on those separately than just do whatever, otherwise you never really get them down. In my experience, I wasn't doing alternate correctly when trying to play fast. It was a sloppy mix of economy and alternate. But when I focused on only one technique at a time, using a consistent pattern, it started to click.
#37
Quote by sweetdude3000
There are times when you want all downstrokes, economy or alternate - some are more economical and appropriate given the context. It's best to work on those separately than just do whatever, otherwise you never really get them down. In my experience, I wasn't doing alternate correctly when trying to play fast. It was a sloppy mix of economy and alternate. But when I focused on only one technique at a time, using a consistent pattern, it started to click.


I didn't say that you should just "do whatever" when practicing, I just disagreed that alternate picking was the only way to go for speed, which is what you said. Obviously you're not going to be good at any of them if you don't zone in and focus.
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#38
Quote by sweetdude3000
There are times when you want all downstrokes, economy or alternate - some are more economical and appropriate given the context. It's best to work on those separately than just do whatever, otherwise you never really get them down. In my experience, I wasn't doing alternate correctly when trying to play fast. It was a sloppy mix of economy and alternate. But when I focused on only one technique at a time, using a consistent pattern, it started to click.

What about going full legato
#39
woah-woah WOAH! LEGATO? That's WAY outta my league! I have only been playing for 1 year & 8 months! When you are all talking about these different techniques- I am getting a little confused... So what you're all trying to say- is I should focus more on accuracy and what I am trying to play, and (somehow) the speed will come by itself whilst I am focusing on mastering other techniques?
Rock N' Roll isn't just a genre of music. It's a way of life. If you fall; get the hell up, brush off, and keep rockin!
#40
Quote by RoKHED
woah-woah WOAH! LEGATO? That's WAY outta my league! I have only been playing for 1 year & 8 months!




You do know that legato, for the most part, is just hammer-ons and pull-offs, right? I mean, there's a bit more to it than that but as far as guitar is concerned that's more or less it.

RoKHED]So what you're all trying to say- is I should focus more on accuracy and what I am trying to play, and (somehow) the speed will come by itself whilst I am focusing on mastering other techniques?


You should focus on playing well: making it interesting, being relaxed, making small movements. If you do that and don't think about speed, then it will come on its own. If you just play with no regard to technique at all then chances are it won't come at all.
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