cleaner / faster playing

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by MikeyST, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. MikeyST

    MikeyST Member

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    Old guy here needs some suggestions.
    I play mostly by ear...and Ive always used overdrive and distortion for rock.
    I think its easy to get sloppy and hit different strings while playing , and still hide it because the guitar isnt clean.

    Any practice techniques you guys could think of to improve speed and clean picking ?

    Saw Albert Lee and Vince Gill this summer at the crossroads festival. Im amazed at the speed and clarity of the country players.

    Woudl like to clean up my guitar and get a little faster while still hitting clean notes.

    Mike
     
  2. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    start by playing slowly. focus on articulation, timbre, dynamics and practice with the most unforgiving sound and gear you can muster up.

    when i was studying with the late ed mcguire, i practiced on a harmony that might as well have had a slide nut.
     
  3. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    My belief, not shared by everyone, is to avoid making mistakes when practicing. Everytime you do, you train your fingers to make the mistake. It takes several correct executions to undo the confusion the mistake causes to your muscle memory. To that end, practice as slowly as is needed to execute with the level of accuracy you desire.

    Next, touch the guitar everyday. Two 30 minute sessions on two consecutive days is better than a 60 minute session every two days. Sleep plays a role in consolidating the gains from rehearsal. Daily rehearsals give you more opportunities to "sleep on it".
     
  4. CrazyFingers

    CrazyFingers Member

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    You may consider purchasing Tomo's AYGP DVD (www.tomofujita.com). "Clean" strumming and picking are covered. There are some great exercises for developing good technique. Lots of discussion on this site about it.

    Also--esp. if you are playing acoustic--any flatpicking DVD lessons are fun and help develop clean, fast alternate picking technique.

    Steve Kaufman is a great player. I've used these but never got all the way through them:
    http://www.homespuntapes.com/prodpg/prodpg.asp?prodID=837&prodType=

    Good Luck!
     
  5. MikeyST

    MikeyST Member

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    Thanks guys
    Mike
     
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Start slow and gradually build speed with a metronome.

    Lose any effects that might be masking mistakes. Distortion, compression, delay, reverb, etc., can all mask mistakes. An acoustic or a clean electric is a great place to start. I don't know about Matte's comment about playing a guitar that is difficult to play, but the proof is definitely in the pudding with Matte's playing. I think Paco de Lucia has a similar philosophy.

    Focus on minimizing motion. Watch how far off the fingerboard your fingers come when not fretting a note. Minimize that. Apply the same principle to your picking.

    Minimize tension in your fingers/hands/arms/shoulders/etc. When a lot of folks try to play fast they unintentionally tense up.

    Find fingerings and picking patterns that make sense. Speed is easier to achieve if the parts are thought-through. Three note-per-string patterns, economy picking, and other things can give a speed boost.

    Practice things that don't make sense. String-skipping, odd phrasings, and other aspects will build your speed for when things don't lie as cleanly on the guitar.

    Take a few lessons. Someone watching and commenting is well worth the small investment.

    Hope that helps,
    Bryan
     
  7. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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  8. MikeyST

    MikeyST Member

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    Start slow and build...
    Mostly start with scales?
    Would that make sense?
     
  9. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I tend to encourage my students to work on things other than scales, as when it comes time to play quickly in an improv setting being able to play a scale quickly isn't that important of a skill, at least in my mind. There are lots of etudes out there that work great as chops builders. Bach's Inventions can be very useful.

    Bryan
     
  10. guitardr

    guitardr Silver Supporting Member

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    A great teacher in Chicago named Jack Cecchini and his protegee Vito had a nifty regimine for getting some semblance of left hand/right hand development.

    Left hand: various hammer (no rt. hand at all) exercises using 1-2-3-4th fingers, thumb in mid-neck, wrist out, fingers perpendicular to fret board. That one alone took me months to conquer my horrid style. Much more from that point on. PM me and I can give you support/ideas - no strings attached.
     
  11. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

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    I have just startted wioht Petrucci's Rock Discipline.
    It will do the trick if you follow it, and uses lots of etudes as suggested about , rather than scales, as well as specific chromatic exercises.
    Just watching Petrucci demonstrate 16th's at 208bpm is mesmerising.
     
  12. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    The question of what to practice is more interesting than how to actually cultivate speed. It is generally accepted that speed is developed by starting slow. But the question of what to practice to make you sound the way you want is much less frequently discussed.

    I happen to think that mastering arpeggios is more important than mastering scales. IMHO, the chord tones are the notes you need immediate access to. If you can nail chord tones on the beats - you can surround them with ANY other notes and your lines will make sense.

    Melodies are great too. Not that I have ever done this, but I bet learning simple melodies like "The Musters Theme" or "Hawaii 5-0" and cranking them up to speed would do a guy good.

    It's better to learn to rip on actual music rather than scales. As far as arpeggios go, I think they are a more expressive of the harmony than scales and are therefore more important to learn.
     
  13. 55bar

    55bar Member

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    100% with Will!!! :AOK
     
  14. Free

    Free Member

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    That is well said, Will. Sometimes the simplest insights like this are also the most brilliant. I never really thought of it all in exactly that way.

    Come to think of it - I'm reminded of a concept of Joe Pass', somewhat similar to this - where he states the importance of being cognizant of chord shapes, so the applicable scales will be obvious based on the chord patterns (ie: arpeggio). So, if you know how to voice a chord in several voicings up the neck - it will follow that you'll have access to the notes of that chords harmony (and the surrounding key notes) up and down the neck too. Jim Hall says it's a way to be less theorietical and cluttered with thought while playing and to focus more on shapes...
     
  15. rosscoep

    rosscoep Member

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    +1. With a gradually increasing metronome or click. Then back down on the bpms after you've reached the zenith. Dizzy Gillespie said that the hardest thing to do was play whole notes and did so until the end.
     
  16. 84leek

    84leek Member

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    For most people accuracy and speed are the result of mastering small details with both hands. Starting with THE NECK HAND- keep the fingers as close to the neck as possible-you should use fingertips only. Practice planting your target finger before hitting the next note. All scales and arpeggios are just combinations of small movements . master 3 or 4 note finger movements. set the metronome at 60. play these 4 notes C D F G on any 2 strings. alternate pick. play the pattern 8 times no mistakes. move the metronome up 10 each time. play C D F G F D in 8th notes 2 times then 16th notes 2 times. do this 8 times in a row. You can also play any combination of 4 notes.[-tetrachords] C D Eb F etc. THE PICKING HAND. All this should be done with as little motion as posisble.. For most of us having the least amount of pick showing works best. A lot of players anchor their picking hand on the strings.The pick angle is important. as i cannot see your hand movement i will suggest a couple of things to try. . Some people have the pick parrallel to the strings, others have the pick angled a bit. Try to use as little motion as possible.Experiment with the picking angle. to change a habit requires a lot of effort. 3000 repetitions or more to break a bad habit . maybe a 1000 or so to develop a new one..have patience and be very aware of both hands. You will probably have to work on one hand at a time. Find a good teacher.
     

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