How to play fast...IMO

suckamc

Member
Messages
4,614
I take a different approach with students from the traditional one.

The approach we've received from our ancestors says that you must practice playing perfectly and the speed will come. I think that works for a rather small number of guitarists who are, not coincidentally, the ones who turn around and write the magazine articles for the millions of perpetually-frustrated players for whom it just never seems to work. You may be or have been one of them. I was.

In my experience, it's demonstrably, statistically more successful to practice fast and let the perfection come. Honestly, I have too many students who can play fast for this to be a fluke (I'm not counting a lot of the Skype students, many of whom are already extremely good players and a few of whom play for a living). For YOUNG students and students who are undeveloped in their chops, this method works almost universally.

I know that playing perfectly and clicking the metronome up one bpm at a time may have worked for Ynwgie and the others. It didn't work for me, and I'm rather fast now. And I haven't seen it work for too many people who've tried it with great dedication. The opposite approach works in a much greater percentage of cases, in my experience.

Take that for what it's worth. But try it, if you're one of the frustrated ones (or if you'd just like to add to your chops).
 

jeffmatz

Member
Messages
325
I think there needs to be a balance...right, conventional wisdom says you need to practice slow and clean...which is true. But you're never going to play fast unless you do some practice playing fast.

I wonder how long it will take for someone to say something cool like "I'd rather hear [insert cool guitar hero here] play 1 note than some fast shredder guy..."

But truthfully, fast playing has it's time and place, and if you find yourself in one of those times and places without the chops...well...
 

rublalup

Member
Messages
486
+1 with OP

You have to work on accuracy, but working with a metronome and speeding the beat has a limit... in some moment you have to make the mistakes and the speed will come
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,851
Yngwie is a good example of your theory actually, that's the way he did it, not by metronome. :)
 

suckamc

Member
Messages
4,614
Really? Very cool.

And I'm not saying the metronome is the problem. It's what SPEED you use on the metronome. I use a metronome a lot to this day.

Silver, I haven't played proper classical guitar for years. But it certainly worked for me for classical violin passages. I will say, though, that achieving that accuracy goal is even more important for classical repertoire than in improvising. But again, the method I'm proposing IS a way to achieve accuracy at high speed.
 

Lephty

Member
Messages
1,584
I actually think it's best to do it both ways. I agree that you do need to try practicing fast at times so that you can see what it actually feels like to play up to tempo. But I also think that any small problems you may have in your technique (in either the right or left hand) will become magnified if you are practicing too fast, and you'll run the risk of practicing mistakes that you later have to un-learn. And those little "mistakes" get ironed out, generally, by practicing slowly.

When I'm practicing something difficult, I usually work it out and get it dialed at slow tempos. Then I'll up the tempo, sometimes even faster than it needs to be, even if I can't quite nail it at that tempo. But then I'll go back and do it slowly again and make sure I'm still nailing it. I find that this way of mixing it up is pretty effective for me.
 

amstrtatnut

Member
Messages
12,953
Im a slow metronome guy. Its time consuming but the slow approach allows me to stay relaxed as I speed up metronome. Tension pretty much kills my speed.

I also practice fast but when time allows the slow method seems to work better for me.

Im not that fast though so...this is just what works for me.

I think I started fast and sloppy and have really had to focus on being less sloppy.
 

GLB98

Member
Messages
395
Interesting post, thanks. Not a new idea of course, but that doesn't make it any less valuable.

I've put most of my eggs in the step by step metronome approach, without getting the results I want. I'm working on more of the approach that you are suggesting.
 

straycat113

Member
Messages
2,926
This was George Lynch's approach also, as ever interview I read of his he always said he played every song as fast as possible. But you have to have a certain degree of chops firs,t as I wouldn't advise someone just learning diatonic scales to blaze through them. But I agree with the OP it could be the approach to get a lot of guys over the hump to shredville. At 53 I already have my own style and burning away at 200bpm was never apart of it lol.
 

Flyin' Brian

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,250
The basis of Howard Roberts' book Superchops is to start slowly, practice perfectly, regularly and continuously increase speed to gain both speed and accuracy.

If you keep playing something wrong, you not only have to spend time getting it right, but you also have to spend time undoing the incorrect messages that your brain has been sending to your muscles.

Given Howards' ability, his teaching methods that evolved into GIT and eventually Musicians' Institute, and the fact that it has worked for me, I'm continuing with his method. It's not my style to burn either. I don't and never have had the desire to play a bazillion notes, so I get what I want from this method.
 

suckamc

Member
Messages
4,614
And yes, it may work for you. It works for some people. I also think it's quite ineffective for a great many people who wholeheartedly devote themselves to it. While one may be able to marshal a theory against the other approach, the empirical fact is that it works for many people (people who achieve great accuracy...certainly not an inferior amount of accuracy to most of those who follow Roberts' approach).
 

Flyin' Brian

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,250
And yes, it may work for you. It works for some people. I also think it's quite ineffective for a great many people who wholeheartedly devote themselves to it. While one may be able to marshal a theory against the other approach, the fact is that it works empirically for many people (people who achieve great accuracy...certainly not an inferior amount of accuracy to most of those who follow Roberts' approach).

Easy there Sparky. I'm not arguing with ya. Nor am I making any superior/inferior comparisons. I'm just offering my experience with the "other" method for those who are interested in both. In addition to Super Chops, I also took some lessons with Henry Johnson (who can get around seriously as seen in the vid posted). He said the same thing start slow and build up. Whatever works. And certainly both Howard and Henry have wholeheartedly devoted themselves to the guitar.



 

Lucidology

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,243
I take a different approach with students from the traditional one.

The approach we've received from our ancestors says that you must practice playing perfectly and the speed will come. I think that works for a rather small number of guitarists who are, not coincidentally, the ones who turn around and write the magazine articles for the millions of perpetually-frustrated players for whom it just never seems to work. You may be or have been one of them. I was.

In my experience, it's demonstrably, statistically more successful to practice fast and let the perfection come. Honestly, I have too many students who can play fast for this to be a fluke (I'm not counting a lot of the Skype students, many of whom are already extremely good players and a few of whom play for a living). For YOUNG students and students who are undeveloped in their chops, this method works almost universally.

I know that playing perfectly and clicking the metronome up one bpm at a time may have worked for Ynwgie and the others. It didn't work for me, and I'm rather fast now. And I haven't seen it work for too many people who've tried it with great dedication. The opposite approach works in a much greater percentage of cases, in my experience.

Take that for what it's worth. But try it, if you're one of the frustrated ones (or if you'd just like to add to your chops).
Well said ... & if anything ... you're a personal testament to that ...
As you're a very skilled guitarist ...
 

bobbyatomic

Senior Member
Messages
1,331
The basis of Howard Roberts' book Superchops is to start slowly, practice perfectly, regularly and continuously increase speed to gain both speed and accuracy.

If you keep playing something wrong, you not only have to spend time getting it right, but you also have to spend time undoing the incorrect messages that your brain has been sending to your muscles.

Given Howards' ability, his teaching methods that evolved into GIT and eventually Musicians' Institute, and the fact that it has worked for me, I'm continuing with his method. It's not my style to burn either. I don't and never have had the desire to play a bazillion notes, so I get what I want from this method.
I guess people can only vouch for what worked for them, so I'm not trying to say anyone is right or wrong, but I absolutely agree with everything posted above. For years I tried to just play fast without slowing down and putting the practice in, and pretty much word for word whats written above applies to me, I'd say it took me more time to undo the bad habits I'd gotten into by playing fast and sloppy for all those years than it would have taken me to play fast if I'd started from scratch. Start slow and accurate, take your time, break pieces up into small 6 notes or less blocks, drill the crap out of them, get one down, move to the next, that's what works for me.
 

monty

Member
Messages
23,164
I like it OP. Reminds me of a golf instructor who got his newer students swinging out of their shoes figuring they should learn to swing hard, the accuracy would come later.
 






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