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#1
Are some people built more for speed than others ??

Cause i look at my playing and realise the reason i can't play faster than 90 bpm consistantly is cause according to me anyways my fingers move too far from the fretboard when i play 4-3-2-1. They flail.

So i sat down and i did zero bpm and made sure to only move the correct finger. No tension. Perfect. I play real lightly. So when i speed it up again hey i can't control my fingers again. I can play some phrases pretty fast, but not upto shredding standards of say 170 bpm. I've practised things for AGES ! Cannot play chromatics past 90. At 90 everything starts to go outta sync. So any help in stopping my fingers flailing cause zero bpm is only helping till i get to like 60. Then my fingers go crazy again.

Do i have to like stop playing anything else on the guitar ? Cause if i'm playing anything other than the zero bpm exercises, my fingers go away from the fretboard and maybe i'm unlearning the keeping the fingers to the fretboard ? This sucks...Don't tell me i can't play my guitar for the next year and can only play the exercise. Cause i really want to be able to play with some speed.

And the worst part is when i look at shredders like satch, he plays fast! But his fingers flail too...as much as mine. But i just can't speed up. How come satch, vai, gilbert all flail and their pinkies and third fingers move together and flail but they are still fast. Am i missing something ?

Freepower...any help ??
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#2
practise the only answer biznitch.
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#4
You're speeding up again waaay too soon. Get slow and stay there for a while, do the 21 days challenge if you're up to it. Then see how you're doing.
#5
Yeah, you have to practise the slow stuff A LOT, so that you build up your muscle memory. I mean, A LOT. You know how people pick their nose, or bite their nails? They have a lot of trouble quitting those habits, because they're "built into them". You need to build new ones on top of the old ones. The bad thing is that the old ones are much easier than the new ones!
#6
ts, calm down...
everyone gets in periods like this. No some people are not built for speed, it is aquirred through hard work. keep at it and you'll be ok
Out here you've gotta know where your towel is!
#7
K i'll do anything.

What's this 21 day challenge ?

A lot ? See it's very easy to get discouraged !! When you see people who've been playing for 2 years play better than you..

I have perfect form playing till 90 bpm...then all hell breaks loose...I've been stuck there for years and that's why i've been so put off at practising lately. I've given up hope.

K. Someone tell me what's the 21 say challenge ? I'll stick to it perfectly and report back.


Edit: Lol these are not periods. I've been so put off guitar i picked up drums like 2 years back. Put everything in it. I can stick at like 240bpm. It took me ages !! But like you said slow it down and slowly bump it up. Works. But i've been stuck at this guitar speed for AGES ! Like 2 years or so. I try for like a few months. I get to like 100, then the next day i can't play 90. So i bump it down to 60 and start again to the same result. I've done that like 10 times i guess. And then i put down guitar. Start again after a month. Same result. So recently i've just given up and been content playing at 85. But then maybe it's just the way im practising. Maybe you guys have a tried and tested regime thatll work...
Quote by blynd_snyper
yes we all need answers to xboys questions hurry up goddam it


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TURNED 18 TODAY !!! (22/02)
Last edited by X-Boy at Oct 16, 2008,
#8
you cant let yourself get discouraged and quit for a month thats just not how it works,to build your finger independence try some trills and just hammer and pull up and down a scale if anything that should help rein in those fingers. also remmeber to do all the hard finger combinaltions like 3,4 or 2,4 or u could do 4 fingers in differnet order like 3412 that one is hard at first.I hope i helped u some .just remember u get out of it what u put in to it
#9
21 day challenge is breaking a habit and starting a new one over a 21 day period. That's about how long it takes to break old habits and set now ones. In your case, you practice slow for 21 days, never even approaching 90 bpm. Focus on making your movements as smooth and economical - as perfect, even - as possible. Make sure you're practicing with a metronome, if you're not in time at slow speeds there's no way you'll keep rhythm at higher speeds. Don't just do a particular exercise, though - it's ok to play lots of exercises, songs, whatever you want, so long as you take them slow. If you can't keep your fingers from flying off the fretboard you're going too fast.
I do this from time to time for various techniques, and it works wonders. Good luck!
#10
K. This is my plan. I'm gonna get the steve vai ten hour guitar workout and do it at 40 bpm for the next 21 days.

Am i allowed to play anything else for fun if i randomly pick up the guitar ? Or is nothing else allowed ?? And how much can one finger affect the other ? Do i have to make sure when i move a finger nothing else moves? Or is keeping close to the fretboard all i have to bother about ?
Quote by blynd_snyper
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Quote by Kankuro
Damn you X-Boy!!!


Founder And Member Of The " I Don't Masturbate Club "

TURNED 18 TODAY !!! (22/02)
#11
Dude, it took me years of practicing with a metronome to get from 60 bpm to 160 bpm on 16th notes. And I still struggle to maintain it.
#12
Quote by X-Boy
Edit: Lol these are not periods. I've been so put off guitar i picked up drums like 2 years back. Put everything in it. I can stick at like 240bpm. It took me ages !! But like you said slow it down and slowly bump it up. Works. But i've been stuck at this guitar speed for AGES ! Like 2 years or so. I try for like a few months. I get to like 100, then the next day i can't play 90. So i bump it down to 60 and start again to the same result. I've done that like 10 times i guess. And then i put down guitar. Start again after a month. Same result. So recently i've just given up and been content playing at 85. But then maybe it's just the way im practising. Maybe you guys have a tried and tested regime thatll work...

Two years are not ages. 10 years are ages. Playing 16th notes at 240bpm properly will not happen over the course of just a few months. It's a gradual change. And the only way to get that is to focus on your slow playing.

It's not to discourage, but seriously, I can't even get past 100bpm without applying a needle of pressure on my arm! You have to slow down and focus.
If you play guitar, please don't waste your time in The Pit, and please instead educate yourself in the Musician Talk forum, where you can be missing out on valuable info.
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#13
Exactly...But there are so many kids playing for like a few years, 2-3 who can play at like 140-150 . How come ? There is something we're really missing here....
Quote by blynd_snyper
yes we all need answers to xboys questions hurry up goddam it


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Damn you X-Boy!!!


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TURNED 18 TODAY !!! (22/02)
#14
Quote by X-Boy
K. This is my plan. I'm gonna get the steve vai ten hour guitar workout and do it at 40 bpm for the next 21 days.

Am i allowed to play anything else for fun if i randomly pick up the guitar ? Or is nothing else allowed ?? And how much can one finger affect the other ? Do i have to make sure when i move a finger nothing else moves? Or is keeping close to the fretboard all i have to bother about ?

Play whatever you like, but keep it slow enough that you have full control of your fingers. Ideally your other fingers shouldn't move much if at all, though the ideal isn't always reality, especially with the pinky and ring fingers. Keep every finger close to the fretboard at all times.
I can't guarantee that this will give you more speed. That's also in your picking, which is a whole other issue and one I still struggle with daily. I've been working on improving my technique for the past couple of months, but given how often I practice it's gonna be a couple of years before I'm anywhere near up to scratch in that department.
EDIT:
Quote by X-Boy
Exactly...But there are so many kids playing for like a few years, 2-3 who can play at like 140-150 . How come ? There is something we're really missing here....

Yup. It's called discipline, time, and natural inclination. My wrist isn't naturally inclined to the translation, rotation, or oscillation motions of picking. That gave rise to my current technique. Other people take to a picking motion very well and have the discipline to train themselves in good picking to the point where they can play very fast in a short period of time. Cleanliness of technique is another issue though, I pride myself on clean playing but some people here who are much faster than me have sacrificed clean playing for speed I think. I don't have much time to practice given my commitment to bassoon, so that hasn't helped my case.
Also, if they were playing a different instrument before guitar that helps. Once you pick up one instrument it's much easier to learn another.
Last edited by Nightfyre at Oct 16, 2008,
#15
K...I'll report back in 21 days...

THANKS NIGHTFYRE

And everyone else in the thread...
Quote by blynd_snyper
yes we all need answers to xboys questions hurry up goddam it


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Damn you X-Boy!!!


Founder And Member Of The " I Don't Masturbate Club "

TURNED 18 TODAY !!! (22/02)
#16

I got thanked?! Me, specifically?
Anyway, good luck! I look forward to hearing back from you.
#17
Quote by X-Boy
Are some people built more for speed than others ??


Absolutely, definately, NOT.

Here's something for you - http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/Freepower/music/playlist/

I was not "built for speed", as I think those recordings will attest.

Cause i look at my playing and realise the reason i can't play faster than 90 bpm consistantly is cause according to me anyways my fingers move too far from the fretboard when i play 4-3-2-1. They flail.

So i sat down and i did zero bpm and made sure to only move the correct finger. No tension. Perfect. I play real lightly. So when i speed it up again hey i can't control my fingers again. I can play some phrases pretty fast, but not upto shredding standards of say 170 bpm. I've practised things for AGES ! Cannot play chromatics past 90. At 90 everything starts to go outta sync. So any help in stopping my fingers flailing cause zero bpm is only helping till i get to like 60. Then my fingers go crazy again.


This is normal! All the time you practice this economy of motion, it becomes gradually more and more part of your playing.

Just to point out something important about practicing ages -

10 minutes a day is better than 70 minutes on Saturday. You have to be consistent. Just in case you are just having mad frenzies of doing this occasionally.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that you have a great attitude to practice and technique - you are identifying problems and solving them properly. Don't worry that it takes a long time.

Do i have to like stop playing anything else on the guitar ? Cause if i'm playing anything other than the zero bpm exercises, my fingers go away from the fretboard and maybe i'm unlearning the keeping the fingers to the fretboard ? This sucks...Don't tell me i can't play my guitar for the next year and can only play the exercise. Cause i really want to be able to play with some speed.


No, no, play guitar as well. Playing is as important as practice.

And the worst part is when i look at shredders like satch, he plays fast! But his fingers flail too...as much as mine. But i just can't speed up. How come satch, vai, gilbert all flail and their pinkies and third fingers move together and flail but they are still fast. Am i missing something ?


Well, the most important thing you're missing is how they practiced to get fast - by practicing like you are. And they don't flail as much as you think - even Gilbert, with his HUGE hands, is pretty precise.

2nd, don't forget that they aren't advocating fast playing with lots of flail - they're playing live and everyone plays worse live (technically) - if you look at any of those players when they're sitting down doing lessons for mags or youtube, they play with great economy of motion.

3rd - they have practiced a lot more than you. Their fingers have tendons of steel and know every note of the fretboard. Gilbert was doing 7 hours a day for years. Is it any wonder he's so fast even when he flails a bit?

But i've been stuck at this guitar speed for AGES ! Like 2 years or so. I try for like a few months. I get to like 100, then the next day i can't play 90. So i bump it down to 60 and start again to the same result. I've done that like 10 times i guess. And then i put down guitar. Start again after a month. Same result. So recently i've just given up and been content playing at 85. But then maybe it's just the way im practising. Maybe you guys have a tried and tested regime thatll work...


Well, I was stuck at around 120ish bpm with pure alternate for about 2 years, recently did about 3 month of at least an hour a day of nothing but alternate picking practice. It's up in my blog.

All I can say is, more practice, of more intensity and greater difficulty, more often.

I also believe in focus - ie, working on just two things at any time. So, I would work on alternate picking and phrasing for an hour, not picking, sweeping, fretboard knowledge, tapping, phrasing, string skipping and vibrato for an hour and a half.

Best of luck.

Freepower...any help ??


You tell me.
#18
K. So bassically i'm gonna do like half and hour or how much i can of 40bpm, super precise playing. Then maybe fool a round for like 10-15 mins i should still be good ??

Cool...

And i've always wondered how much freedom can you get outta your fingers. Is it even possible to play with so much control that only one finger moves ?
Quote by blynd_snyper
yes we all need answers to xboys questions hurry up goddam it


Quote by Kankuro
Damn you X-Boy!!!


Founder And Member Of The " I Don't Masturbate Club "

TURNED 18 TODAY !!! (22/02)
#19
^ well, yes and no. The whole "one finger moves" thing is to ingrain into your hands the idea that when not working your fingers should be relaxed, and when working they should be precise. That said, it's not really ever going to happen playing wise due to how many odd physical co-ordinations are needed for guitar - that's not to say that practicing like that isn't very beneficial though.
#20
Quote by X-Boy
So recently i've just given up and been content playing at 85.


That could be the answer right there. Sometimes we build up things in our heads. You know, like you put the metronome at 90 and say "ok, this is close to my limit, so I've got to really try hard". Not precisely in those words, but I think that's kind of what happens. And as soon as you have that "trying really hard" thought, the fingers start flailing. So, sometimes the best approach is to say, you know what "I'm just going to concentrate on working hard and playing with the best technique I can, and not worry about that for a while". And while you aren't looking at it directly, the barrier goes away. Most of the speed barriers I've had, I broke through when I wasn't focused directly on them.
#22
Quote by se012101
That could be the answer right there. Sometimes we build up things in our heads. You know, like you put the metronome at 90 and say "ok, this is close to my limit, so I've got to really try hard". Not precisely in those words, but I think that's kind of what happens. And as soon as you have that "trying really hard" thought, the fingers start flailing. So, sometimes the best approach is to say, you know what "I'm just going to concentrate on working hard and playing with the best technique I can, and not worry about that for a while". And while you aren't looking at it directly, the barrier goes away. Most of the speed barriers I've had, I broke through when I wasn't focused directly on them.


+1 to the whole "mental block" thing I do speed bursts at higher tempos to help break free from the robotic approach of "trying to break the same metronome speed day and day again"
#23
Quote by Nightfyre
Cleanliness of technique is another issue though, I pride myself on clean playing but some people here who are much faster than me have sacrificed clean playing for speed I think.


i know i did for a very long time sacrifice cleanliness for speed - i was playing 18 nps alternate picking and it sounds like a sloppy mess. i needed allot of overdrive for that because i used it to mask mistakes. now I'm back down to 8 nps, clean as hell without any distortion and trying to get back up there - but this time without trying to cut any corners. its a slow process due to getting bored rather quickly, especially when working on stamina etc, in which i will play a continuous scale run for exactly 5 minutes.

"The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n"

- John Milton, Paradise Lost
#24
Hey guys...

I actually enjoy playing real slow...it's fun...atleast now

But i was wondering...alternate picking and fretting is all fine, but if i'm gonna do a pull off or a hammer on i'd have to put some force into it and that makes my pinky go crazy when i hammer on with the third...so how do i combat that ? Or do i first work on keeping my fingers close to the fretboard for the 21 days and then it'll come naturally ?

Thanks..
Quote by blynd_snyper
yes we all need answers to xboys questions hurry up goddam it


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#26


Ai yai yai !!! I'm playing 16th notes right now at 15bpm under total control or so i think...atlease all the finger are not too far from the fretboard and nothing flails and everything. At the end for like i minute i was just gonna wing it and play some stuff i normally play...like riffs i made up. Not too fast. Around 85bpm. I was always able to play it. Now my co-ordination on that is CRAP !!! It is a tricky thing to play but i was always able too...No i can't. It's either me totally losing everything or my technique getting better and me unable to play stuff with bad technique like i used too...

IT'S SCARY !!!


Edit: Oh and thanks freepower...now i'm using my index always as a goal keeper
Quote by blynd_snyper
yes we all need answers to xboys questions hurry up goddam it


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Damn you X-Boy!!!


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#27
Your technique may seem to fall apart and later come back together at speeds close to your max early on in the relearning process. Don't sweat it, it'll pass.
#28
just to reiterate what was has been working for me and was advised by se012101 and Freepower:

I was practicing basically every technique every day for about 10mins each. Needless to say I got nowhere. I came on this forum.

First Freepower and se012101 told me that it would be better to focus on one or two elements of technique and to devote 30-45mins each to them. it works. se012101 also suggested (i'm not sure how FP feels about this, don't want to put words in your mouth) to organize my focused practice into two main categories: Primary Focus and Secondary Focus. Into the primary focus category I would put any technique that I wanted to delve into much more thoroughly and see marked improvement. The techniques in this category would be practiced for 7 days (or seven practice sessions) until being swapped out for a new technique. Into the Secondary Focus category I was to put any technique that I wanted to practice to see a little improvement. These techniques are practiced for 3 days and then swapped out for a new one.

I think this method of practising really helps with setting reasonable, attainable goals as you are more aware of a sort of "horizon" where you will be swapping the technique out for another one. se012101 recommended it because it has variety and the majority of results that you see come within the first seven days of focused, intense practice. i agree. and it makes practicing more fun and varied.

and finally i also practice theory, ear training, and learning songs and phrasing as additions to the primary focus, so in the space of about 2 hour to 2.5 hours i practice both the technical aspects of the guitar and the creative aspects of the guitar.

just keep working at it, stay focused, don't be afraid that your technique is going "downhill" because if you are practicing efficiently and focusing, you will be making improvements.
#29
^ yeah, that'd be pretty much exactly what I'd recommend, except that I keep my Primary and Secondary focus the same for a month or more before changing.

Glad to hear it's worked out for you!
#30
sisuphi - glad to hear it's working out for you man!
FP - The way I look at the secondary focus section is that this is your maintenance/polish time for other techniques. So you have the primary focus where you give a given technique a good hard push. The secondary focus is more for giving other techniques a bit of love in the meantime, so I cycle through them more quickly. For me, it's a good way to bring the whole kit-and-keboodle up together, while still allowing time to take something and really woodshed it.
#32
Quote by X-Boy


Ai yai yai !!! I'm playing 16th notes right now at 15bpm under total control or so i think...atlease all the finger are not too far from the fretboard and nothing flails and everything. At the end for like i minute i was just gonna wing it and play some stuff i normally play...like riffs i made up. Not too fast. Around 85bpm. I was always able to play it. Now my co-ordination on that is CRAP !!! It is a tricky thing to play but i was always able too...No i can't. It's either me totally losing everything or my technique getting better and me unable to play stuff with bad technique like i used too...

IT'S SCARY !!!


Edit: Oh and thanks freepower...now i'm using my index always as a goal keeper


I agree with what NightFyre said about this. You've still got some of the old flailing fingers programmed into your muscle memory, so right now, the new muscle memory that you are building up is fighting with the old. It will sort itself out over time.
#33
was there ever a verdict on speed bursts? i think i read a post by FP which said, "they're ok if you can stay completely and 100% relaxed". I think the argument is that they will help you speed up cleanly by removing mental blocks to playing quickly. is there any truth to that? or should i continue to practice at a slow speed and only bring it up 5bpm after i can play it perfectly 15-20 times in a row?
#34
I've been playing over 30 years and I can tell you the secret to speed: never, ever think
about it or practice it. Most of you aren't going to believe that and will continue trying
the parlor game of "increasing the metronome just right". Good luck. I've tried
that too for a long long time. It really doesn't work.

It you want to solve a problem, look in the place where the answers are. The answers
are where the cause is. "Speed problems" are an effect, not a cause. If you keep trying
to deal with "speed problems" you'll never fix them. So, what's the problem? It's
a control problem and it's an awareness problem. Simply put, if you lose control and/or
awareness of what you're doing, you can't ever play effectively -- at any speed!

Focus on having total control over your notes -- the timing, dynamics, feeling of them.
Be aware of how you want a note to sound. When you're in control and aware, you
are naturally relaxed. Make it your goal to feel like that all the time. When you don't feel
that way, something has gone wrong and that's a signal to look into it. Practicing total
control and awareness at slow speed, will give that to you at ANY speed.

Control and awareness and focusing your attention aren't just something you either
have or not and that's it. They are SKILLS. If you practice them, you get better at
them. They may not be easy skills to master, but that's what it is. Anyone can play
fast. All you need to do is correctly identify the right causes of what's preventing that,
and address them.
#35
^ very good points.
The thing is, speed is not a technique, it's just one test of how strong your technique is. So if you make your technique strong enough, it can withstand the test of playing something fast, and hold together.
Regarding speed bursts, as in literally setting the metronome faster than you can handle and playing as fast as possible without worrying about quality - I don't really agree with that. I think you should always strive to play with good techique and quality. The one thing I do sometimes that I've found to be helpful is..ok, example. lets say you have a 16 notes run that is difficult to play at the desired tempo. Sometimes I will split it into 4 notes sections, and play it 4 notes at a time (with the 5th note being the 1st note of the next 4 note section held for a quarter note or so) at a slightly faster speed than I can play the whole 16 notes. But I focus on playing each 4 note section perfectly and effortlessly. And once I've reinforced the effortless execution of the short sections enough, it's a lot easier to join them back together and still keep the good technique.
#36
Speed bursts? Gpb, Shawn Lane and Casualty01 would endorse them and me and Resi and ^seemingly this generation of MT regs wouldn't.

Honestly, I can't give a verdict. There's sense on both sides, I just haven't found they worked for me and that I believe most UGers would make a mess of using them in the manner described by those who do endorse it.
#37
Maybe if you were to sort of "ghost" the notes you'd play at that speed, rather than actually play them; just try and think about it in your head? Then your muscle memory won't go to hell..

If the whole idea is to try and break your mentality about "x" speed being fast, maybe just listening to a click and THINK about what you would do.

note; I've never tried this, but I think it may be worth a go..

But then Edg says don't bother about concentrating on speed, so the whole things' kinda moot.
Call me Batman.
#38
Well i'm not technically concentrating on speed. My thought process is that my fingers flailing is the reason i can't play fast cause my fingers are all over the place and too far from the fretboard. I'm hoping if i can tame that even by a little margin the results would be my fingers playing with more control resulting in speed...
Quote by blynd_snyper
yes we all need answers to xboys questions hurry up goddam it


Quote by Kankuro
Damn you X-Boy!!!


Founder And Member Of The " I Don't Masturbate Club "

TURNED 18 TODAY !!! (22/02)
#39
^ you're totally thinking about it correctly, man. Identifying the cause why you can't play fast, then fixing the cause, and the speed comes as a result of having the problem fixed.
#40
yea i was just wondering what the consesus was. i haven't been doing the speed bursts, i was just wondering if it was a technique that worked.

what i have been doing which i have found really really motivational is finding passages from songs that are intensive to a particular technique. for example i'm playing the position shifting arpeggio passage from eugene's trick bag right now. at full speed the song is actually a little bit over my level, but my alternate picking, synchronization, dynamics, left hand muting and feel has gotten so much better just from the practice techniques that have been recommended to me here.

so what i'm saying to people who are reading this thread is that if you are struggling with a practice regimen because you find it boring, maybe find a passage from a song that you are unable to play that works on a specific technique.

and funnily enough, without speed bursts, i actually have gotten faster. so i think that goes to validate se012101, edg, and FP, among others. it really is all about awareness, focus and intensity and about constantly putting in mental effort and being honest with yourself. in FP's words, "don't practice harder, practice smarter."
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