Frustrated with trying to gain speed

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by 357mag, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,329
    Joined:
    May 1, 2014
    Location:
    Greece
    You can lose yourself in the sea of information and the sea of conflicting views...hell people wont even agree what is "fast" and what is "slow" but if you have to remember one thing remember this:

    Play something fast like you are playing it slow.

    Dont change technique,hand position,add extra tension..nothing.If you catch yourself doing ANYTHING differently from the "slow" version stop and take that from the top again.
     
    Bob the builder likes this.
  2. Aleksej79ns

    Aleksej79ns Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    41
    Messages:
    14
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2019
    Location:
    Novi Sad
    Try this channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/user/BenEllerGuitars

    Maybe You will find something for You. I do not remember exactly which video that was, but I know that he was explaining about how to gain speed... I mean, I saw many people on YT explaining but this was better... The guy explains really good.
     
  3. Frank_plays_HSS

    Frank_plays_HSS Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    36
    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    May 29, 2021
    Location:
    Berlin
    I found this wonderful thread after getting more into this topic over the past days. Watching Troy Grady's videos, it was easy to realise that I tend to do some less effective string hopping with my picking hand.

    But: When I tried to follow the advice and slant the pick and give it more edge while copying his advised arm/hand angle, the sound gets more wobbly and less accentuated. The more I slant the pick, the more muffled the string sounds.

    Is this a normal effect or am I still doing something significantly wrong (which I probably do anyway)?
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2021
  4. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

    Messages:
    25,616
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2015
    Location:
    Sachse TX behind the cemetary
    I do not approve this message.
     
    rocknrollrich likes this.
  5. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,329
    Joined:
    May 1, 2014
    Location:
    Greece
    The picking hand doesnt like to received multiple mixed messages...for example if you play with a floating hand slow its not wise to start planting your hand down when playing fast(or the opposite) or grab the pick with a certain amount of strength when playing slow and start clenching it when playing fast......the more you keep things uniform, the easier it is for the picking hand to establish engrained patterns and make things easier to come under your fingers.
     
    Wound_Up likes this.
  6. Wound_Up

    Wound_Up CUSTOM USER TITLE Silver Member

    Messages:
    3,323
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2020
    Location:
    Shreveport, LA
    Send him a message and ask him about it personally


    Sort of off-topic:

    I remember an interview with Paul Gilbert when he was talking about when he was Bucketheads teacher. He said something to the effect of Buckethead had some sort of "tick" that helped him play so fast. Paul was amazed by how fast he could play even back then, IIRC. I'd have to listen to the interview again so I could be recalling details incorrectly.

    Pretty sure Bucket is considered one of the fastest shredders in the world. He's not really one you can learn anything from, though. That'd require him to talk to the camera and I don't see that happening all the sudden, after 30 years lol. With him always wearing the mask and bucket, he really is ageless. Hard to believe he's been doing this professionally for over 30 years now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2021
  7. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

    Messages:
    25,616
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2015
    Location:
    Sachse TX behind the cemetary
    Ohh it's you again. :D Buckethead has a lot of not standard physiology what with being so tall. Would for sure be hard to emulate.
     
    Wound_Up likes this.
  8. Wound_Up

    Wound_Up CUSTOM USER TITLE Silver Member

    Messages:
    3,323
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2020
    Location:
    Shreveport, LA
    Since I've been using thinner picks lately, I've noticed that I apparently grip them pretty hard when I play. The thinner ones are all warped and bent up while my 1.14mm picks don't do that. Seems like I need to work on loosening my grip and see how that affects my playing. Being a beginner still, I feel like it'd be easier for me to "fix" things right now since they're not ingrained in my head and into muscle memory that much, yet.
     
  9. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

    Messages:
    25,616
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2015
    Location:
    Sachse TX behind the cemetary
    I agree with all of this. My disagreements regarding this topic is that while similar, technique in my view does need subtle changes going from slow to fast.
     
  10. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,329
    Joined:
    May 1, 2014
    Location:
    Greece
    Subtle adjustments yes...cause economy of motion has to kick in at some point so the hand can travel less distance(and save time) but the nature of the motion doesnt..the angles,the hand positioning,the tension,the way he holds the pick,the way he mutes the strings etc etc etc.If they do, someone that has to learn how to pick he ll put a huge amount of stress on his picking hand for...no reason whatsoever.
     
  11. bsman

    bsman Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    1,205
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    Location:
    Storage B
    I'm of the opinion that if I really wanted to increase my picking speed I would sell all of my current guitars and start playing lefty - because I am a lefty who plays righty (> 50 years). Since that's not happening, I will continue to play slowly, but try and feel every note...
     
  12. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    50
    Messages:
    6,304
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Location:
    philadelphia
    I have said this before on this forum and I have gotten flamed, but it is absolutely true for me...

    You will never pick fast by practicing slow. What I mean is, the mechanics of picking slow, are completely different from the mechanics of picking fast.
    The same way you will never learn to run, by walking fast.
    You can't walk incrementally faster each day and learn to run.
    At some point, you have to go for it and let your feet figure it out.

    Same with tremolo picking.
    You have to try. You will fail sometimes, and you will have success sometimes. Your brain will make a note of your successes, and it will try to replicate them.

    Learning things slow and performing them perfectly is a very useful tool, but not in this case.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2021
  13. Dain Bramage

    Dain Bramage Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    156
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Location:
    Earth
    Oy, lots of advice. First, a very stiff (not necessarily thick, slows 'return' time per stroke), sharp-ish plectrum, like a Black Diamond Jazz sort (your comfort and experiments will ultimately choose, try lots of picks, they're cheap), I've used Tortex to bell-grade bronze (like cymbal material but sanded down to as thin as can, soft enough not to rip the strings to shreds, pun intended). Three-on-a-string scales (practice, practice, practice), both hammer-on/pull off and alternate picking every note. With your picking hand, play/ think "mandolin" picking, start one note at a time in your scale each note getting several-ish strokes and progress to each note of your scale getting picked once at mando speeds. Eventually modulate the scales (example 9 up 6 back repeat and variations of same). After you pick up the technique, then you can make it musical. Mastering "muting" along the way (to clean up the clatter/clutter) is necessary. Listen to some super-clean speed pickers Maestro Malmsteen, Al DiMiola, etc. It can be done. nothing worth doing is easy.
     
  14. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

    Messages:
    25,616
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2015
    Location:
    Sachse TX behind the cemetary
    Well, thank you very much!!!! I keep saying this and saying this and getting shot down. So there are at least two of us that have the same opinion... My growth in speed was due to my having made up little drills and practicing them as fast as possible. Slow picking involves a lot of really nicely coordinated small muscles doing cool stuff but playing fast, most of those small muscles need to chill and let bigger muscles take over.
     
  15. ResidentRen

    ResidentRen Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    66
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2016
    Location:
    Montevideo, URUGUAY

    Respectfully, I disagree. But I do know many instructors that think fast motion is quite different from slow... So it should be learned differently.

    First of all, I won't say you're wrong. You're not right, either. I'll just say 'not in my personal experience'.

    And btw, I won't shoot you down for your opinion. I hope I never get to the habit of criticizing people who disagrees with me. I aim to learn patience, tolerance, even humbleness to change my opinions.

    That being said...

    My experience learning fast picking was and is different.

    I never sat down to learn 'Flight of the Bumblebee' even though I've heard it many times. One day doing warmup with a chromatic finger pattern, I realized I could pick the intro run quite fast and clean. Not 100% speed, just about 60%. And I never did even bother to learn a single note before.

    My main critique on the "fast playing should be learned fast" concept is that you're already learning 'fast playing by playing fast' going from 60 to 61 BPM on a metronome. Technically you ARE playing a tiny little bit faster. But it's not evident to the 'naked ear'. It just takes time and patience.

    It's already been said. Different people learn differently. Wes picked with his thumb, Jimi played an upside down Strat. No right or wrong way... If it works for you, it's good.

    Peace!
     
    rocknrollrich likes this.
  16. ResidentRen

    ResidentRen Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    66
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2016
    Location:
    Montevideo, URUGUAY
    It's the same body, same muscles and nerves.

    When I practice slow picking I aim for economy of movement.

    That alone saves you a lot of time and energy, it makes you really fly over the fretboard.

    Peace!
     
  17. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    4,965
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    Location:
    Michigan
  18. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    50
    Messages:
    6,304
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Location:
    philadelphia
    Nothing at all wrong with disagreeing.
    It's actually essential to growth and development.
    I can only go by my personal experiences. I spent the 10k hours doing it "the right way" and made little progress in gaining picking speed.
    Now I will say those hours weren't wasted by any means. I DID learn accuracy, feel, timing, phrasing, and many other positive aspects of playing. I just didn't really ever break the speed barrier I had in front of me.
    Sure, I would make some small gains, and then lose a little ground, back and forth, for many years.

    Once I started "just going for it" I would often fail, but I would fail my way forward. Then I eventually started to get it right, and I learned (muscle memory) what it felt like when I was getting it right. Then eventually I would be able to replicate that muscle memory on demand. Which is basically where I am now.

    Granted, if I don't practice speedy picked lines often enough, my skills dull in that aspect of my playing.
    So, it really is a never ending process for me.

    And I am not anywhere near a Paul Gilbert level of speed and accuracy, or other top tier pickers, but I have achieved a level of speed and accuracy that I previously thought impossible for me.