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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    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.
    aprilburnsblack
    are we talkin 4 notes i was just randomnly reading this and see about tempos, i went on http://www.met ronomeonlin e.com/ and the fastest on there is 208, i can pick 4 notes per second for each beat. is that what ppl mean when they say they can pick at a tempo (4 notes per beat)? whos that dude who can play 260, just listenin to my 4 notes per second on 208, 260 seems pretty impossible. surely no one could play that... but i dunno, im quite far behind the likes of malmsteen and vai, maybe they could
    SiisAZN
    260 bpm sixteenth note tremolo picking is possible. I can pull 270 and I've been playing for just over a year. Now, playing notes... Well, I can pull off 3 note/string at about 230. Jason Becker, Michael Angelo, and John Petrucci are three players I know that can pull off about 280 bpm playing notes, and over 300 tremelo picking. I don't think it's physically possible to play accurately after about 300 though.
    pinak
    lesson was cool!!!!well i agree 260 is awesome...but its not bout' speed but the melody u can create even at 60 or 80.....anyone out there who's a fan of Alexi Laiho...
    pinak
    That lesson was ***in' cool!!!!well i agree 260 is awesome...but its not bout' speed but the melody u can create even at 60 or 80.....anyone out there who's a fan of Alexi Laiho...
    pinak
    Need some tips to help me nail arpeggios.....hey!!! check out the new G3...Malmsteen kicked ass!!!!!
    purerock
    did this guy lose a finger in a war? if you're going to play a chromatic scale play it 1-2-3-4 with all your fingers all the way up and down the strings, and gradually move up fret by fret until you do the entire neck. and for those of you bitching about playing at 260, it's not impossible, I play that chromatic scale at 250 (as that's as fast as my drum machine goes) but of course anyone can pick an open string on one note as fast as they god damn well please (260 and faster) with the proper picking technique.
    Wojdude
    i'm confused, is this the same as trem/tremelo picking, as in fast alternate up+down picks? or is it something differnt to do with that?
    dk-Lupnus
    i can play 170 Bpm, i just got the online metronome and im playing 170 easily
    TONfan01
    dont bitch at "Ace From Space", i believe he can hit that anything is posible on gtar, but there is no mood, no felling, playing that fast is cool but not always appropriate. also the article was very basic, good for beginners.
    skwerl066
    this is pretty good. i tried doing this little part that i made up. i started it slow but now i can rip through it. this is on the high e string: e -12-7-8-7-10-8-7-8-5-7-5-7-8-7-5-7 just keep repeatin that
    skwerl066
    ***...this article is for bass isnt it? im ***ed in the head....well for those who play guitar too, try it.
    dimebag_andy
    Yeah nice lesson man but i agree with " purerock" With the four finger descend. P.S Does any one know what pick-ups dimebag darrell uses on his dimebolt 333 i think it Seymour Duncan 59 at bridge and washburn 600 or dimebucker at neck????
    distraught
    Right on article - very useful stuff there! Some of the folks here need to re-evaluate thier definition of fast though. Metallica shouldn't be your gauge if you're talking pure unadulterated technical speed ability. Check out Rusty Cooley (www.rustycooley.com) or Francesco Fareri (www.francescofareri.com) for some shred!
    Wojdude
    ah, i think this is trem picknig then if ur talking about master of puppets. Hehe i have a m8 who can whiz through that no problem. In fact i know 2 guys in my area who can play extremely fast so i dont think 260 is impossible, he coulda bin tellin the truth
    Remebol
    ***..let me retype that crap,,, And my brother played that song in god damn triplets, so that is like, a lot
    jetman_james
    good lesson but ace from space has lost his mind! i'm pretty fast, although i've never been timed, and i know that i cant and never will play 18 beats in a second. not picking. not unless i had 9 fingers and could do a 9 finger pull-off cycle for a whole minute. you don't have to lie to make friends, ace; you just have to lie to keep them. i'm not your friend so let's be honest man.
    Aetius
    I know him, he's good I was just making fun out of Ace from Space...
    jeesh
    Aetius, consistency doesnt come that easily. How do you generally practice? Exercise from the three lessons will really help. If you practice these carefully for a month or two your consistency will come. If you stop, you will have to start from the beginning again. Guitarro 777, 160 is quite fast! Trust me it takes a lot of effort to get there. If you do so, you better start trying more difficult 16 note patterns!
    Aetius
    I beg my pardon, when did I say that consistency comes easy? By the way I practice about 30 mins-60 mins a day working on this speedy stuff. Besides that I play many chords and practice other things. I can reach 130 bpm thanks to this. Cheers
    Guitarro777
    it's hard to get fast. Usually there's a point where it seems like you're not getting faster then one day... it happens!
    Zeve
    If you hold your hand out in front of you, the palm facing the floor and just let it go limp, then keeping it limp flip your hand over, your first finger and thumb will naturally come together. thats where you put the pick!
    Ace From Space
    Im guessing the guy meant he could play 260 playing on every beat the metronome does, not 4 notes in between each beat.
    thats what i meant.
    Nemesis_x
    Really helpful lesson. I'm gonna work on that right now. (The fast that im a lefty playing right-handed doesnt help ) Oh, and Guitarro, speed alone does not make a good guitarist. Never judge a guitarist by how fast he can pick.
    Remebol
    any my brother played that song is god damn triplets, so that s like , a lot (guess:260 maybe, or 255 i dunno, i need a metranome)
    Slashpepper
    I'm only up to about 140 at the moment, but I know Steve Vai has been recorded up to 25 notes a second... thats 375bpm (check out the total guitar worlds fastest players). But thats not the point. I don't need to be fast. I need to be good. Theres a difference.
    jrmy54
    hey, i've been playing guitar for about a year and a half. I've been playing acoustic and now I want to start learning scales and stuff....how do i know what proper tech. looks like, and if i am doing..or if i am doing something wrong? any suggestions or anything??? thanks!
    cloudsquall17
    who cares if u can play lightning speed. u probly can only play lightning speed without any musicality. creativity should be above speed. who wants to listen to someone wank one string super fast?
    harak
    What are you all actually playing when you say you can pick 16th notes at 140+bpm ?
    Wickeh
    Nice one, 260 can be a lie but I dunno. I can play about 200 without real effort, look @ Lagwagon - Baggage if you want a nice idea of how speedstrumming/picking would be like. There's a powertab on www.powertabs.net on it .
    Bleed_On_you
    im too lazy to scroll up to see who typed it , but 260 DOES exist in musical terms... im tryin to remember what words he used.... cuz master of puppets is played at 220 i believe , and Stone cold Crazy from queen is at 250 or 255 or something like that , so either your a moron or ur a newb
    Remebol
    well, is master of puppets is 220 bpm, i am like, 230 bpm, becuase i can just blow through that crap
    jason_whoelse
    I play at about 160-180 right now and I am wanting to increase my speed to at least 210-220. Does anyone know of any good songs that have decent solos? So I can print off the tab and practice with my speed and try and increase it? if you find anything email it to free_to_run03@yahoo.com and label it "tab of solo" so I don't think it is junk mail . Thanks
    Aetius
    The fastest guitarist i know is Michael Angelo who can play around 260.
    No, Ace from Space can play that too.
    100 is real friggin slow! i thought i was slow and i can get to about 260!!!
    See, he can play 260 as well
    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
    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!!
    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