Speed Buster. Part 3 - Improving Technique

Increasing speed above 140 beats per min, was a great challenge for me. I just couldn't. I played wrong notes, and eventually lost control. Thats when I started watching John Pettrucis Rock Disclipline carefully.

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Increasing speed above 140 beats per min (4note pattern), was a great challenge for me. I just couldn't. My wrists just could take the pressure. I played wrong notes, and eventually lost control. That's when I started watching John Pettrucis Rock Disclipline carefully. The tips he gave were: 01. One should always start playing from 80 (or less). Then we should increase the tempo by 10 beats everytime (Depends on us). Only then will we able to get to our target speed. 02. Try playing something faster than your target speed, then try your target speed. This means if 150 beats per minute is your target. Try 160 first even if you cant. Then try 150, it will be a lot easier. You will feel more comfortable. (Keep in mind you are working your way up the metronome). 03. Play a pattern (In one string) at a slow speed a few times, then at a greater speed (The Fastest you can) the next few times, then again at a slow speed few times and then again at a fast tempo, and so on. You will find out your greater speed is increasing everytime you alternate. Keep in mind you dont need the metronome for this. These tips were useful, but still I struggled. I remember I got to 146 after a lot of effort. But the next time I picked up a guitar I could even get to that. So I decided to look at my technique. I found several problems: 01. I was not holding the pick properly. I was holding it too straight, and my grip was too hard. So I held increased the angle with which I was holding the pick, and I loosened my grip. 02. I was also fretting notes quite tightly, and striking the strings with more intensity. So I was fretting more simply, and picking the strings as mildly as possible. (If you want to listen to your notes so carefully, why dont you just increase the volume). 03. I noticed when I picked a note I moved my right arm and wrist a bit. So I tried not moving my forearm and upper arms too much. I also tried to keep my pick as close as possible to the strings. So when I struck a second note it took less time to get to it. 04. My third finger and fourth finger were very weak. Whats more if I played a normal three note riff, with my second, third and fourth finger (pinky) I struggled. So I had to do many exercise to strenghten my muscles (below third and fourth finger). Exercises are given at the end. 05. Finally I changed my posture I. e. the way I was holding at guitar and the way I was sitting. At the end all the changes did work. My speed increased all right, but not as much as I wanted! Thats probably because I did not practice as much as I needed to. To tell you the truth these are things you have to learn when you first pick up the instrument. For someone who has not been using these methods, it takes a while to get used to and overcome your bad habits. So beginners take notice. Watch your technique carefuly, its very difficult to change it after two or three years of playing. These exercises are very useful and give your left hand (right hand to lefties) a good workout.
-------------------------------1-2-3-4-3-2---------------
-------------------------1-2-3-------------4-3-2---------
-------------------1-2-3-------------------------4-3-2---
-------------1-2-3-------------------------------------4-
-------1-2-3---------------------------------------------
  fingers      2  3  4
After doing this several times, instead of picking all three notes, use hammer ons and pull off's. Play the 123 with hammer ons, and 432 with pull offs. You will not find it easy. This is the best exercise. If you need more, let me know. - Jeeshan Mirza (jeeshan2000@hotmail.com)

171 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    sheumack111
    Marcus paus plays 44.6 nps in "casperens secret fetish" in his band called Mr. Cucumber. Marcus has a nerve condition in his hands which allows him too doo soo. This equates to about 1750bpm playing 64'ths (16 notes per beat)!!!
    Jarrott
    Personally, I find this lessont to very uninformative. But you gave it a try and you do have some information, so I'll give it a 5.
    guitarmonkey77
    hi i just registered on site after seeing post i downloaded a metranone(demo it only went to 250) and i found it easy to do the above lesson at that speed and i couldve gone faster so i dont think the guy is lying who said he did it at 260 but nice lesson although you should av added the pinky..
    the_solo
    Sup i just registered as well. I seem to have real troble with speed picking. I'm tryin g to learn cowboys from hell by pantera and even though it's probably pretty easy for you lot it's quite hard for me. I find sometimes I can do and sometimes i cant. You'd think that if i can play the solo then surely i can play the main riff. But I think playin it with upstrokes will make it a lot easier, stupidly it never really occured to me.
    Godly Moose
    Tranquility wrote: Well isnt world record 26 notes in a second?
    No it's 44.6 nps. But that is still iffy.
    d d b b z z
    how can you tell... 160.. 230..16th..32th?????can someone please tell me how do i measure this.am i stupid? how can u count the notes at that speed.. and listen to the metronome AND play..?
    sheumack111
    Marcus Paus (from the band Mr Cucumber) is the world record holder. In "casperens secret fetish" he plays 64'ths(16 notes per beat) at about 175bpm. This equates to 44.6 nps. He has a nervous condition which allows him to do soo.
    sam_morad
    if u wanna become fast ur picking hand must pick fast so try to the pps (potential pickin speed)
    kobtron
    Have you ever tried singing any melody fast, then try to play it on the guitar? If you can sing any melody fast then you have the capability of producing that same sound using any instrument if phsysically possible. Just dont think too much on the technique. Your brain does it all. I'm not lying! Try it. If you couldn't sing it, just practice tuning your voice, and develop your ear capabilities by hearing and singing music you like. Remember, the guitar is like an extension of your voice.
    Metalology
    Speed_DemonX wrote: Right, I thought I'd set you lot straight, since most of you seem to not know what speed is at all! Firstly, whoever the dipshit was who said that 260bpm doesn't exist, and playing 18 notes per second is impossible, is, well, a dipshit. Secondly, I believe the world record (don't know if thats official) for picking speed was set by Marcus Paus, a Norwegian guitarist in a band called Mr. Cucumber, and he can play around 45 notes per second! Clips are scarce, but if you do a search on Google, for Marcus Paus or Mr. Cucumber or Caspersens Secret Fetish (Song title) I'm sure you'll find it. It actually sounds pretty cool in my opinion, much better than most other shredders, like Francesco Fareri for instance. Anyways, the lesson was very good, SHRED
    That clip is bullshit and sped up.
    vai_way
    " ibanezrocks : I just dont see how its possible to do that. POSTED: 04/29/2006 - 010 pm / quote |" Why you even saying that. Just google on that guy there is a mp3 (bad quality) but that just proves it. I have loaded that piece on my Tascam and tried to slow it down to max and it was still fast like hell.
    mauritia
    just a tip, i shaved a few millimeters off the side of my pick, it really helped me pick up speed....
    mauritia
    just a tip, i shaved a few millimeters off the side of my pick,which made it kanda pointy it really helped me pick up speed....
    paulowther01
    hey i thought music was about melody, harmony, rhythm? people u dont necessarily need speed. yeh its good to have and of course i love shreddin and all that! but dont focus completly on learning to increase speed. develop the skills needed to create music. oh and at the end of the day learn what u want to learn,i tell you all to create music but if you want to just shred its up to you!
    ibanezrocks
    kyrios thanks alot.i've got a friend that is really fast and he is like at 175bpm at the chromatic. he's been playing for awhile. i want to start a metal band and be a lead player. i'm somewhat fast at some things and can play a couple of songs like come as you are and beautiful people i know very easy huh. well thanks you keep in touch pal.
    bigal_85
    I think the people that say speed is gay are the ones who cant play fast, i agree melody harmony and rythm are all really important, and can sound as good but seriously, dont you sometimes just feel like a shred!
    lespaulbuddy
    drock. just do take you left hand and go (2-4-2-5-2-4-2-5hameron's and pull'ofs until you can't anymore.... or like (3-2-0-4-2-0-5-2-0) these work for newbs cuz teh 2 for you social finger lets the other weaker ons get ready, so less, DA** I CAN'T DO IT, to , DA** I CANT MOVE MY PINKY AND RING FINGER!!
    ROCKaMIC
    I've been playing for almost 4 years now, i've always wanted to be fast and i was faster than most people i played with, anyways, about 6 or 8 weeks ago i started using the metronome, my max speed was at around 115, now i'm able to play at 152bpm. When ascending (9-10-11-12) my 3rd and 4th finger lag so i can't go any faster because of the 2 suckers lol i think i'll spend some weeks working on them, and staying at 152bpm and then continue going further. BTW before some of the guys flame me, no, speed is not everything but wouldn't you like to be able to play a shred every once in a while? come on. Besides, it's a technique just like all others, so why neglect it, variety makes excellence. Anybody has some good exercises for working the 3rd and 4th finger?
    drock19
    good excercise but should also use the 4th finger.. don't neglect the pinky!
    Axer
    WTF!!!.. I cant believe this. Everyone is talking about playing how fast they can play blah lah blah. But no one sais what they are playing at said speed. Ill just say that I can play all scales I play (major minor, all modes, harmonic and melodic minor, diminished and whole tone) at 160bpm in 16th notes (four per beat) while still being relaxed... And Im not playing 3 note per string shapes, just traditional five patterns for each scale. This is completely relaxed and a comfortable tempo for me, and im sure a lot of other people. This is very common in jazz music to play lines at speeds like this (not just scales up and down) which I do. Just saying, when you say "I play at XXXbpm" that could mean anything.
    Axer
    WTF!!!.. I cant believe this. Everyone is talking about playing how fast they can play blah lah blah. But no one sais what they are playing at said speed. Ill just say that I can play all scales I play (major minor, all modes, harmonic and melodic minor, diminished and whole tone) at 160bpm in 16th notes (four per beat) while still being relaxed... And Im not playing 3 note per string shapes, just traditional five patterns for each scale. This is completely relaxed and a comfortable tempo for me, and im sure a lot of other people. This is very common in jazz music to play lines at speeds like this (not just scales up and down) which I do. Just saying, when you say "I play at XXXbpm" that could mean anything.
    dan_the_pie
    OMG ANGELO IS 17 NOTES PER SECOND? I CAN PICK 42 NOTES PER SECOND, NOT JUST OPEN STRING EITHER.ITS SCALE RUNS ON THE B AND E strings AND I USE MY PINKY AS WELL AS THE OTHER 3 FINGERS
    dan_the_pie
    OMG ANGELO IS 17 NOTES PER SECOND? I CAN PICK 42 NOTES PER SECOND, NOT JUST OPEN STRING EITHER.ITS SCALE RUNS ON THE B AND E strings AND I USE MY PINKY AS WELL AS THE OTHER 3 FINGERS.. o by the way, i hate children of scrotum. he cant sing, its like a painful wail
    Kyrios
    dont worry ibanez, when i was at 5 months i was probabbly slower than you, im like 1.5 years now and im probably at like 120+ depending on the scale/pattern/position. Do speed drills like that, then switch the patterns around, try 1423 and 1324 when you get faster, also focus on working your ring and pinky, they are naturally weaker and need more work to keep up.
    rochesterguitar
    cool lesson i think most peoples proplem though will just getting there pinky to do what they want it to do, also 2mm picks? i use a brass pick and its f-ing sweet, it just takes about a week to get used to.oh and alexi liaho can kick your ass even if he cant sing he's still a sick guitarist
    lsf
    I feel I should point out that Fucking Hostile by Pantera is 190 BPM, and that during the solo Dimebag switches to 16th notes (380 bpm) so the assertion that 25 notes per second by Vai is the record is bullshit. Check out that song ON FUCKING RECORD by Dimebag and stop talking out of your arses. "The fastest guitarist i know is Michael Angelo who can play around 260. " BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT. Dimebag is hardly the fastest shredder going. I can hit 190 as standard, and usually solo around 240 bpm, I've been playing since 14 and I hardly practice. Some of you need to stop putting people off. IT IS NOT HARD TO PLAY FAST. It just takes 3 hours practice for a year, and you'll master it maybe for 5 years before you need to brush up again. Check out Darrell. Wasn't even practicing before he got shot. Hit the speeds on auto pilot.
    fender 168
    hey nice lesson anyway i wanted to show u guys what speed is all about download this song Yngwie Malmsteen- Trilogy Suite Op in the begining it sounds really good than he starts playing fast on a acusting and it is kinda wierd to hear so much speed on a acustic anyway i am not really a big fan of him i mostly listen to Ritchie Blackmore stuff he has some speed too anyway get that song and enjoy P.S try playing it it might improve your speed
    bluehicke35
    eh, i didn't think it was the best lesson but still good. Next time use some more examples of exercises to improve technique. Just a tip
    bluehicke35
    not the best lesson in the world but still good. You should use more examples next time to improve technique. Just a tip
    ibanezrocks
    o.k. i've been playing for about 5 months. i was playing above 200bpm but then i too realized that i wasnt playing 4 notes per beat. now when i try to the chromatic scale 1234etc all 4 of them making 1 beat on up the fret board i'm only doing dont laugh but only 66bpm that way all this talk about 200 this way is discouraging. please help me someone how can i improve seriously. any feedback would be appreciated.
    Rapid_Fire
    I like practising triplets along with a metronome to build speed and accuracy. So far doing one per beat I can go up to 250 bpm (works out to 12.5 nps) its definately a good thing to practise.
    Qaphela
    thanx man! this lesson helped me a damn lot! not that i am yngwie malmsteen now (i just read the lesson) but what u said about holding the pick loosely and fretting the strings more softly already increased my speed! cheers! Keep shreddin'!
    eCaHdAgSbEe
    its true that speed isnt every thing but nowadays even the most average famous guitarist can play fast so if any of you prefer to play slow then your morons, and if you think fast guitarists are tasteless then let me ask you this one question."Do you think classical music is tasteless?" or answer this "do you think Beethoven was tasteless?" if so then your a tasteless douchbag who should not be discussing who does and doesnt have taste.But if you do like classical music then you should no almost all of Beethovens stuff was not easy therefor when Yngwie Malmsteen plays Beethovens 5th symphony you better not call him a tasteless shredder.
    ShreddingSkin6s
    I just make drum patterns that are like 200-250 bpm and play along with those and that is a fun way in my opinion to learn to play fast. Like the song, "silent night fever" by Deminsion Zero is set at 250, what I do it make a similar drum track and set it at 250 or if I need to work up to it I set it to say 215 and then make two more to work up to like I'll have one at 215, one at 230 and one at 250 and pretty soon with practice you'll get it and learn a new song.
    rusted gut
    OK fixxxer_928 : what you said in the bigiining just makes me angry!!! ``when moving down a string use a down stroke and when moving up a string use up strokes`` Ever heard of alternate picking? It doesnt matter if you are going up or down... if picked up last you pick down next... ALWAYS... it doesnt mater if you change strings! if your hands get a constant up down motion you have better teqnique and speed... otherwise youl be doing this sweep picking mixed with alternate and up down strokes wich will suck! I love tremelo picking, but its important to be able to play licks and scales full speed with teqnique, but yea, watever fits the song. Yngie Malmsteen is one of the best because of his great vibrato bend thing! not speed
    fleh
    rusted gut wrote: OK fixxxer_928 : what you said in the bigiining just makes me angry!!! ``when moving down a string use a down stroke and when moving up a string use up strokes`` Ever heard of alternate picking? It doesnt matter if you are going up or down... if picked up last you pick down next... ALWAYS... it doesnt mater if you change strings! if your hands get a constant up down motion you have better teqnique and speed... otherwise youl be doing this sweep picking mixed with alternate and up down strokes wich will suck! I love tremelo picking, but its important to be able to play licks and scales full speed with teqnique, but yea, watever fits the song. Yngie Malmsteen is one of the best because of his great vibrato bend thing! not speed
    try looking up economy picking then apologize.....
    guitarist10
    I play guitar and can play fairly fast for a beginner (about 115bpm w/ 3 yrs of exp) and I'm confused... how much of an angle does it take to be holding it properly, because I play with it at a rather steep angle and it then almost sounds like a pickslide. Then, if I hold it at a less steep angle I feel like I'm holding it too parallel to the strings. So, about how much of an angle should I hold it at? -Guitarist10
    guitarist10
    vanhalen984 wrote: i got the same problem. what should i do?
    I rotate my hand so I can play with my pinky but, I also play with my thumb behind the neck.