#1
Does anyone know what speeds improv normally happens at in various genres? I'm mainly looking for upper range(although full range is better). I've heard for bebop it's 180bpm, but that's about all I've ever found. I'd really prefer NPS or bpm + note size.

I'm not really interested in muscle memory shredding or song speeds, but more or less real improv. (I do understand they mix a bit, but hopefully you get what I'm saying)
#2
As far as I know, there's no set speed for an improvisation to be played at. It's all dependant on your choice of rhythm behind it.
#4
As far as I know, there's no set speed for an improvisation to be played at. It's all dependant on your choice of rhythm behind it.


I'm not looking for set speed as much as average. I'm trying to figure out a good goal to aim for for my max improv speed. Seeing where an average performer would improv in different genres(and more importantly the speeds they cap out at) gives me an idea of a goal.
#6
it's kinda like asking which speed you normally compose in..


a perfectly reasonable question in my mind. You mean to tell me you wouldn't be able to answer what a normal tempo is for a punk song? If I answered 40bpm-60bpm single notes that wouldn't seem low? If I answered 16ths at 220bpm-260bpm that wouldn't seem a bit high?

I'm not looking for scientific answers, but guidelines. I can find them for hip-hop and dance music genres, just not more guitar-oriented styles.
Last edited by capiCrimm at Feb 8, 2008,
#7
Quote by capiCrimm
Does anyone know what speeds improv normally happens at in various genres? I'm mainly looking for upper range(although full range is better). I've heard for bebop it's 180bpm, but that's about all I've ever found. I'd really prefer NPS or bpm + note size.

I'm not really interested in muscle memory shredding or song speeds, but more or less real improv. (I do understand they mix a bit, but hopefully you get what I'm saying)

yr dumb
#8
^ there is no standard really. i stopped worrying about speed a long time ago, its not the end all be all. just write what you wanna write at the tempo at which is sounds best. honestly imo guidelines suck, i wouldn't confine myself to the standard tempo at which everything is written and seriously, for ANY genre of music (yes even punk) you can go from mind numbingly slow to insanely fast. and your max speed should be the max speed at which you can play cleanly and efficiently, if you measure yourself by nps like 85% of the 14 year olds who come on here then you lose. remember gilmour doesn't blaze the frets like paul gilbert, but he can make ANYTHING sound excellent.
#9
i stopped worrying about speed a long time ago, its not the end all be all.


congratulations, that has nothing to do with this topic.

i wouldn't confine myself to the standard tempo at which everything is written and seriously, for ANY genre of music (yes even punk) you can go from mind numbingly slow to insanely fast


I'm not asking for exceptions, I'm asking for general rules. Songs are grouped by genres because they share certain aspects. Tempo being one of them.

and your max speed should be the max speed at which you can play cleanly and efficiently,


but that is far below my improv speed. Max speed is entirely different from improv. Gilbert, Vai, and all of them can play blazingly fast, but they can't compose on the fly at those speeds.

What I'm trying to figure out is a good goal speed for improv. I can aim to go as high as possible, but that doesn't give me any of idea where I'll hit diminishing returns. I don't want to be amazingly fast, but I also don't want to find myself in a situation where I wished I practiced improving at 32nds instead of 16ths..

I've made it clear I do not want to shred.
Last edited by capiCrimm at Feb 8, 2008,
#10
^ that makes NO sense at all. the fastest you should play ANYTHING is the fastest that you can play it cleanly and it efficiently, be it improv or something else you've written. there is no "improv speed" or "non-improv speed" and i'm fairly positive the guitar gods can compose at the speed at which they play. you put in 10 million hours of practice and you get good like that.
#11
and i'm fairly positive the guitar gods can compose at the speed at which they play


I'm fairly certain they can't, not on the fly at least. Unless your telling me every wanker shredder who learns a couple vai songs can immediately improv at that speed as well. Most of that stuff is either modified patterns and bits they already know at speed or stuff they started slow and took up to speed.

(edit: people like vai may be able to improvise at speed, but I'm mainly saying people who play vai's stuff.)
#12
OMGz SP33D ISN't 3V3RYTH|NG!11!.

kidding...kidding...am I the only one that read this post carefully? Anyway, I guess I have no answer for you - sorry. But to advance the topic, it's interesting to see what is the "norm" in improvisational guitar.

I would think (traditional) blues would be the easiest to measure and would generally be slow(duh). The only other genres that come to mind with defining style of improv is Jazz, some Progressive rock, and Fusion. Oh, and whatever hippy-genre Phish is in. And I don't know too much about country, but Bluegrass comes to mind.

I think the fundamental problem is splitting Jazz into their different sub-genres. I think BeBop is the easiest because it really has a set standard of fast improv. Now that I think of it, Ragtime would be easy too. I *think* to get a decent answer for "improv speed" we'd have to come up with our own definitions of improvisational genres.

yeah, I know I didn't answer your question at all, just thought I'd expand on the topic.
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#13
Quote by capiCrimm
I'm fairly certain they can't, not on the fly at least. Unless your telling me every wanker shredder who learns a couple vai songs can immediately improv at that speed as well. Most of that stuff is either modified patterns and bits they already know at speed or stuff they started slow and took up to speed.

(edit: people like vai may be able to improvise at speed, but I'm mainly saying people who play vai's stuff.)


uh yes, i'm fairly certain they can. note that i didn't say wanker shredder. i said guitar gods. thats the difference. i'm personally am not a "guitar god" but i compose at speed, is it the level of vai/satch/gilbert? no, but thats only because my technique isn't at that level. marty friedman composes at speed (melodic control videos show this)

as for the statement of "i stopped worrying about speed, its not the end all be all" yes i think it is relevent to this as speed is not the most important thing, its good to be able to play fast but it SEEMS LIKE (i emphasize that for a reason, as it seems like, i'm not saying you are however) judging ability based on the nps ideal that so many young kids subscribe to and it is never the case.

in closing, i suggest playing at the speed at which you can play while staying clean and efficient, be it "fast" or "slow"
#14
well it kinda depends on the genre of music, and the rhythm of the song... it comes naturally you know, just play whatever you think will fit that genre.
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#15
nps is a useful measure, regardless of if it's associated with certain people. A lot of Yngwie songs are written in 32nd notes and a lot of Greenday songs are written in half notes and 16ths. If you were to compare the two by bpm alone you'd come to the conclusion that Greenday is faster then Yngwie(i.e. 180*2 < 90*8)

The point I was trying to make with the vai thing wasn't about the max improv speed. I'm sure Vai and Marty Friedman can. My point was you can play a Vai song and not be able to improv at that speed. I might want to play a shred solo or two in my life, but I don't see being able to improv at that speed important for me. Vai and them obviously spent a lot of time learning to imrpov at those speeds, and for me, since I'm not a big shred fan, I'd rather spend my time on something else.
#16
Okay, I think I know what you're asking (tell me if this post doesn't help you).

What style of music do you normally play? Nothing in your profile indicates what you play. Practice composing at the speed of whatever style you normally play in, and if you feel like you may ever need to do so in a faster style, then do so.

And when you ask this, are you asking about actual compositions - like Stairway to Heaven or something, or just solos?

In any case, learning theory and getting better at recognizing intervals will help you with this. When you can hear a meldoy line in your head and immediately put it on your guitar, then you'll be able to do pretty much whatever you want with the guitar. The only thing that would limit you is technical ability. This video sort of describes the goals I have with music. Basically everything from 1:00 to the end...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4hPuczopwk
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#17
I'm sure you're aware the tempo of a tune (BPM) has absolutely nothing to do
with playing speed. Tempos are all over the map, you can't say a particular genre
is in some kind of tempo range.

I suppose if you wanted to figure out some kind of overall average of a maximum
playing speed you could use 120 BPM (considered "mid" tempo) using 16th notes.

There ya go. I think it's a fairly pointless exercise, but that would more or less
the number.
#19

Look into people like Marty Friedman then.


I said Vai could improvise at speed...


(edit: people like vai may be able to improvise at speed, but I'm mainly saying people who play vai's stuff.)


... the original point I was making, though, was that the fastest you can play does not equal the fastest you can improvise. Whatever Vai improvises I'm sure he could take a couple weeks and speed it up a bit. Even if it's a couple fractions of a second it'll be faster. The contrast is even bigger for someone who just learned a Vai solo. They might only be able to improvise at 1/4 of the solo speed or not even able to improvise at all.

I was not saying people can't improvise at fast speeds, but that by using muscle memory you can play faster. Of course, the faster you can improvise, the closer those two numbers will be. They might even be the same, but they aren't equivalent. Just like your car's max speed might coincidentally be the speed limit, that doesn't mean your car's top speed *is* the speed limit(i.e., you might go to another road with a different speed limit). In other words, my original point...

Max speed is entirely different from improv.
..
Last edited by capiCrimm at Feb 8, 2008,
#20
max speed = the maximum speed at which you can play cleanly and efficiently

improv = shortened term for improvisation which is creating (music in this case) on the spot with little or no forthought

so yes you're right, the 2 are different.

just practice till the speed at which you improv is the same as your max speed?
#21
Ignoring the fact that the speed of improvisation varies to a huge amount in any genre, on average, it would tend to be on the faster (much, much faster) side in genres like neo-classical and progressive metal.
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#22
For "fast licks", rather than trying to pull one out of your backside, just play a pattern that you are really familiar with in whatever key you are playing in.

For general improv, just go with it. Figure out what you want your general sound to be (ie rock, blues, exotic, minor), and just go for it.
#23
I'm pretty sure bebop is like at 280-300 bpm, or at least thats how fast the kids in my school play bebop.