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Fast players - How did you get there?

geetarplayer

Member
Messages
1,131
For those who are able to play fast... i.e. shredders, I suppose.

How did you get there? Was it as simple as seeing someone do it in GC, and you went home and started copying EVH leads at the age of 14?

Or was it hard at first, and you had to work your butt off with drills and such to become fast?

Have any of you who are "not there yet" been working on it for years, without success?

My theory is that, physically, some of us will never get there. I think it's a fast twitch/slow twitch muscle thing.
 
Messages
2,012
Define fast.
this. Speed is relative. But if you want how I do it or done it (depending on your perspective) I play licks and lines slowly during my morning routine all week. In the evening/night I'll have different days where I put more focus on choice licks. On the weekends I do a ladder system speed training. It basically puts the metronome up and down and eventually pushes beyond your comfort zone. Wakes the hands and brain up that fast playing is possible.

Now once you get some speed make sure you use it tastily haha good luck!
 

Andy Pollow

Member
Messages
33
Nah I think everyone can learn to pick fast but its tricky for some. I used to pick fast with the elbow. That worked great but you feel tense all the way up your whole arm. If you like to play fast alot that gets annoying. So I learned to pick with the wrist. I think the best way to alternate pick fast with the wrist is like knocking on a door. And you can find that by thinking of picking more toward and away from the guitar. Not just straight up and down. You can also learn that by anchoring fingers. Like training wheels. Then do the same thing without the anchor if you prefer. Thats the same thing Eric Johnson calls bounce picking.
 

monty

Member
Messages
24,088
Metronome is your friend. My left hand has always been speedy but years later when I wanted my right to catch up it wasnt until I started using a metronome that I really started seeing improvements.
 
Messages
231
I'm about as fast as Yngwie (but I play more blues licks these days), and get asked this alot. I was in GC a few weeks back and someone came up to me and asked me how long I have been playing, as he had been playing for almost as long as me and was the same age but he couldn't play as fast-'almost but not quite' were his words.

All I can tell you is practice practice practice. Yes it took me years, starting around 10 years old. You could probably get there faster than the route I took, which was just wanking along to Maiden, Dio, Van Halen and on and on with no set practice workouts. It was hard to get there but I enjoyed the ride there.

Also, I have been playing videogames since I was 7. Pong, Defender, Asteroids, Space Invaders...I grew up playing those fast reaction games and I really believe that helped. I haven't played any FPS online games in a few years but I was one of the top deathmatch players on Call Of Duty 2. You gotta be quick to be on top.

Maybe genetics plays a big part and some people can't do it but I believe there is no magical trick to being a good musician in all techniques and styles other than to practice that technique on a regular basis.
 

rajsmooth

Member
Messages
183
this is something i've always been curious about as well, my favorite style to play hands down is blues but i've always admired guys like joe bonamassa and the late gary moore who could tastefully (in my opinion) add some shred elements into the blues. ive always felt that i could play certain licks fast (especially if they involve legato/mini sweeps) but overall i really would like to improve in the speed department - i feel like i am stuck at a certain "speed limit" and after that my playing starts to break down and gets sloppy.

6 string samurai - when you say wanking along, did you play those ideas from maiden, VH, and Dio very slowly over and over again and gradually increase tempo, or did you start off playing them full speed and then polishing them? i am interested in hearing people's contributions to this thread.
 

filtersweep

Member
Messages
4,882
I really do not believe it is a fast twitch muscle thing. Speed is more about control and coordination... and muscle memory.
 
Messages
231
No I couldn't play fast but just tried to go as fast as I could. Matter of fact early on I had guys in guitar stores telling me it's more important to play fast cleanly than play fast like I was, so my picking hand was faster than my frethand for a long time. It's not the recommended way to learn to play fast I think.

Also I would highly recommend learning some classical guitar if you want to improve your chops immensely. I was fast -faster than Van Halen at that time-but became much more fluid and precise -approaching Yngwie -after taking some lessons for a couple of years. If you can play even a moderate difficulty and tempo classical piece, playing rock and metal will be a piece of cake. Economy of movement is very important classical technique.
 

vernplum

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
598
Start very very slowly and make sure your pick strokes and fretting is very clean, pronounced and deliberate sounding each note at consistent volume and tone. [EDIT] also - coordinating the pick stroke with the fretted note seems obvious but is something that you might want to really home in on, in other words timing the picking precisely when the note is fretted.

Use a metronome; as mentioned - start slow, do it many many times slowly increasing speed once you are happy your notes are well defined.
 

anderson110

Member
Messages
478
Just because I was curious, I once took a single lick and practiced it daily, using a metronome, pushing it up as I could. Just one lick.

I did this for 100 days straight (minus a handful of good excuses). I got faster, but not much. Maybe 15% faster than I started. And the speed did not transfer to other lines. A few weeks later after stopping the daily drilling, most of the gains were gone.

For me, the time necessary to play fast (cleanly) is simply not worth it. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it comes extremely difficult to me, and it's just not worth the time that could be put to other uses.

95% of people are going to get more enjoyment out of hearing a simple funky rhythm played well anyway.
 

SPH77

Member
Messages
497
For those who are able to play fast... i.e. shredders, I suppose.

How did you get there? Was it as simple as seeing someone do it in GC, and you went home and started copying EVH leads at the age of 14?

Or was it hard at first, and you had to work your butt off with drills and such to become fast?

Have any of you who are "not there yet" been working on it for years, without success?

My theory is that, physically, some of us will never get there. I think it's a fast twitch/slow twitch muscle thing.

I'm totally in the minority here, but I agree with you. Just like everyone won't be Michael Jordan or Usain Bolt, I don't think everyone can necessarily shred or be an acoustic fingerstyle wizard. What I mean is this, just because I follow Steve Vai's practice regiment, I don't think I will ever be able to play like him.

I am not a naturally fast player. I will see 13 year old kid prodigies who after one year can pick faster than me, and I guarantee I have spent more time working on scales, exercises, and metronome work than those kids. It's no different than a 13 year old who is better at painting or programing, or whatever than someone twice his age. They're just a natural.

I still work pretty hard at being the best I can be (using metronome, practicing slowly etc), but I became more comfortable in my own musical skin when I realized I never was going to be great at everything pertaining to the guitar.

So to answer your question, yes, I feel like I have worked on it for years and am not where I'd like to be.
 

Jon

Member
Messages
1,579
Just like everyone won't be Michael Jordan or Usain Bolt, I don't think everyone can necessarily shred or be an acoustic fingerstyle wizard.
You're talking about the pinnacle of ability here though - I agree that certain people are born with a physical make-up which allows them to develop their ability to a higher level than others, but that doesn't mean that others can't get part-way there with hard work and dedication.

It's more about actually doing the work - if you practice (properly) something regularly and with dedication, you will get better at it, whether it's jogging, lifting weights or playing guitar fast - I think the problem is that people don't practice consistently - they go mad at it for a few weeks then the practice starts to drop off and they'll do nothing for a week, then do one big practice session, then nothing again for a while and then a few more sessions and eventually get disheartened because they're not seeing results, and then assume that they aren't a natural - to steal golfer's quote (can't remember which one) "it's funny....the more I practice, the more natural talent I have".
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,689
Best advice is how you hold your pick.

Check this out at 6:20


I see younger generations doing just this, the ones that grew up on video games, approach it like that. All concerned with only the one aspect of this type of playing, and they use their eyes more than their ears. If you listen to a lot of the players from the 80's, Yngwie, Vai, Lynch, Eddie, Nuno etc... They were fast, but very musical and great vibratos. They all had signature sounds and vibratos and never hurried like that. They still do and why no one sounds like them. I love fast playing, but GOOD fast playing, with control, and nice phrasing, vibrato. Not exercises from the video game mentality.

To the OP's ?, I think how you get there is you genuinely like that style of playing. Listen and absorb it, while practicing and develop your style. Your brain slows it down and as your fingers get on the same page, it happens with practice and time.
 
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monty

Member
Messages
24,088
I am not a naturally fast player. I will see 13 year old kid prodigies who after one year can pick faster than me, and I guarantee I have spent more time working on scales, exercises, and metronome work than those kids.
But did you spend that time in the last year like the kids did? That's where I think the dif. is.
 
Messages
2,012
You're talking about the pinnacle of ability here though - I agree that certain people are born with a physical make-up which allows them to develop their ability to a higher level than others, but that doesn't mean that others can't get part-way there with hard work and dedication.

It's more about actually doing the work - if you practice (properly) something regularly and with dedication, you will get better at it, whether it's jogging, lifting weights or playing guitar fast - I think the problem is that people don't practice consistently - they go mad at it for a few weeks then the practice starts to drop off and they'll do nothing for a week, then do one big practice session, then nothing again for a while and then a few more sessions and eventually get disheartened because they're not seeing results, and then assume that they aren't a natural - to steal golfer's quote (can't remember which one) "it's funny....the more I practice, the more natural talent I have".
I agree. If you mentally tell yourself you can't ever do what, in your heart you want, then you really won't. The only thing stopping you from developing musicianship and technique is you. It takes time and focus to develop fluidity and you really have to enjoy the process, the brain learns better when in a feel good state. Sure in a months time you may only gain a little speed but its those extra 10 BPMs that determine if you can play a lick well or topple all over yourself, and the process gets faster as you go, and it does transfer. Besides forgetting speed for a moment, the strength you gain can make your slow playing sweeter sounding with a better touch. Just my experience.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,689
But did you spend that time in the last year like the kids did? That's where I think the dif. is.
Not really. Some can pick fast right off the bat, how they're wired. Others can practice for 20 years and not get there, but there are other ways. Lots of great, fast legato style players. the good players really capitalize on their strengths.

A lot of great players, can't do what other great players do.
 




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