Anyone just give up on playing fast?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Burnt Gerbil, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. Burnt Gerbil

    Burnt Gerbil Tele-Meister

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    I know and completely agree that speed isn't the end-all-be-all of guitar ability. I'm not a metal head, I don't want to "shred," I don't even like the word "shred." But I still feel like that really cool, really fast lick can be good for the song when appropriately applied.

    That being said, I am starting to feel like I'm just physically incapable of pulling it off. I play/practice a few hours a day (most days), and played 6 hours every day all through college (GPA be damned!). I watch YouTube videos and usually (at the risk of sounding cocky) feel like I'm a better all-around guitarist than whoever I'm watching (I don't consider myself a great player by any means, but it's one amateur watching another, and I think I'm better than most other amateurs), yet they seem to be able to zoom across the fretboard 10x faster than myself.

    Is there anyone else out there who just gave up on ambitions of developing any sort of speed? It's to the point that I've about decided that my left fingers are dysfunctional and I'm only now figuring it out. Or better yet, are there any of you who were in a similar position once upon a time and ended up finding a way to break through it?
     
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    For me, fast playing is like fast food.
    How good can it be?
    Building speed is a gradual process.
    Results come from practice, but the right teacher can help immeasurably.
    Sometimes you have to "shop" for the right one.
     
  3. sir humphrey

    sir humphrey Friend of Leo's

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    You won't be physically incapable of playing fast, as long as your fingers work!

    Speed is all about technique rather than any superpowers in your fingers.

    If you want to play fast, get a good teacher to look at your technique and tell you where you can improve.

    Even if you are a good self-taught player it's always worth having the occasional technical check up with a pro - there are some things that only happen if you know the right technique.
     
  4. hwy145

    hwy145 Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not as fast as I want to be, but concentrating on my left hand really helped. I would struggle with my two hands not lining up- ie execution of individual notes were inconsistent. My teacher noticed that my fingers were moving off the fretboard far too high. I practice 4 note chromatic runs (4 notes on each string, move to the next string), and really try to keep my fingers as low to the fretboard as possible. I also mix up the fingering. I spend about five minutes going up and down the fretboard. It has made a significant difference.
     
  5. Rob Moody

    Rob Moody Tele-Meister

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    Yeah ive totally given up, just lost all interest in it, wasnt really part of making the music i want to make, plus I didnt want to be THAT guy, shredding on stage etc, ive gone back to my childhood Knopfler influences for instance. Touch, and class is what im after.
     
  6. KCKC

    KCKC Tele-Afflicted

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    This was my issue too! My left hand fingers had way too much movement away from the fretboard and when I did try to play fast my hands weren't in sync. I also found my speed and coordinating my hands together improved when I minimized my pic strokes.

    This is what worked for me YMMV.

    I like the blues so part of my practice is on bursts of speed doing scales and different 3,4,5 note licks. I also work on my slurs, slides, bends, HO's and PO's.

    good luck!

    KC
     
  7. nickrom

    nickrom Tele-Meister

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    Working with a metronome can help a lot. For me, it helps synchronize my left and right hand and i can go from quarter notes to eighths to sixteenths in time. It also improves muscle memory.
     
  8. tooncaster

    tooncaster Tele-Afflicted

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    No, I haven't given up. I play faster than I used to, mostly because I now have an idea where I'm going and what I am trying to sound out. I worked on legato and picking exercises for a few minutes every day; and learning modes and scales helped a lot, too. But speed isn't my main focus, so I am certainly not blazing. I'm more concerned with articulation and phrasing, and the interplay of chords and melodies.

    This is super cheesy, but it actually was helpful. Super Shred Guitar by Andy Aledort and Jeff Loomis. I picked it up from a Safeway magazine rack a couple years ago. I am not a shredder, but those guys certainly know a lot about increasing your speed while remaining articulate.
     
  9. Tele-Monster

    Tele-Monster Friend of Leo's

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    Like others have said...repetition, technique and LOTS of practice. That's just about the only way. Its like learning a lick or a song, you just have to keep chiseling away at it.
     
  10. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    When I was learning my first open chords on a friends cheesy asian acoustic guitar early on in highschool.. late 60's early 70;s...
    we were also listening to Frank Zappa LP's and the British invasion...

    some ladder to climb even back then...
    FZ was touted to be playing the most notes per bar than anyone else...

    I knew back then ..and from listening to a lot of shredders through the ages...

    give me a single well bent note with some feeling/sustain and I'm happy to get that "right"...
     
  11. pictoratus

    pictoratus TDPRI Member

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    I can't say that I've given up but I am more concerned with getting a good sound and rhythm with what little speed I have as I gradually get faster.
     
  12. StoogeSurfer

    StoogeSurfer Tele-Afflicted

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    +10 squared. :cool:
     
  13. allen st. john

    allen st. john Friend of Leo's

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    Here's the question.
    Do you practice playing fast?

    In bluegrass speed is a big thing. Steve Kaufman argues that instead of playing "medium fast" you should spend some time playing really slowly and perfectly.
    And then play faster then you really can, knowing that you'll train wreck, but building up the mechanisms you need to play fast.
    By trying to hang in with CDs that were just too fast, and playing a little cleaner each time, I've been able to get to the point where I can play a bunch of songs at Clarence White tempo. And of course, you don't need to always play that fast, but if you can play at 180 BPM, then 150 feels relatively slow and you can concentrate on playing well rather than merely hanging on.
    And toward that end, after literally years of practicing I was recently able to get "out of the kiddie pool" and hang in a jam with some great players playing at their chosen tempo, not mine.
     
  14. OceanBoy

    OceanBoy Tele-Meister

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    I gave up.

    I practiced 8 hours a day with a metronome for months. Just scales. Nothing else.

    I think we all have limitations, although I probably was lifting my fingers too far off of the fretboard like other posters have said. I would look up a teacher as well.

    My articulation and tone improved considerably though. Even if you can't reach the speed you desire, practice is never a bad idea.
     
  15. guitarbiker

    guitarbiker Tele-Holic

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    I have found the "Stylus Pick" (you can order it online) helps my students learn to play faster. It prevents you from digging your pick into the strings to far. It must be used with a metronome.
     
  16. samato

    samato Tele-Afflicted

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    I gave up on playing fast a long time ago but I think someday I'll try to pick it up again. In the past when I tried to build speed I realized it would take too much time, time I needed to practice more important things.
     
  17. twangplank

    twangplank Tele-Afflicted

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    I was learning "Liza Jane " by Vince Gill and started slow , getting the licks down and then speeding them up incrementally. I was so disgusted that I couldn't do it at "full" speed.

    I figured I'd give it a try with the music and to my surprise I was going faster than the Cd recording.

    As I tell my kids can't never did anything so don't give up. I figured out vince isn't super human so I don't hafta be either!

    Don't give up. Once you get your technique down the fast stuff is easy.
     
  18. eddie knuckles

    eddie knuckles Tele-Afflicted

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    I LOVE bluegrass, but I also hate bluegrass for just this reason - I've never been able to play quickly in the lead area. Now rythym guitar, I can hold my own at 130 mph in the breakdown lane.

    I've never quite had the patience to transend my fast rythym playing with fast lead playing...

    I have a metronome and a "Guitar Grimoire"... so its just a matter of time
     
  19. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    It's important to push your limits, but of course the ultimate object is to play cleanly. If you are practicing at tempo and trying to eliminate mistake, you are just practicing the mistakes. I've gotten my best results this way, using a metronome to control the tempo:

    *Slow as much as necessary to play the piece/exercise cleanly.
    *Once you can play it clean consistently, speed up the metronome a bit. Repeat as often as needed until you get to the tempo you need.

    I'll second the advice to have a good teacher check out your technique if you haven't already. If you have a flaw, it's just making it harder for you.
     
  20. Telesavalis

    Telesavalis Friend of Leo's

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    I go by the 'Joe Walsh rule of guitar playing' ...
    Let the other guys play the machine gun licks...My aim is to put the right note in the right place.
     
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