Not just playing fast, but thinking fast???

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ASATKat, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    Playing fast has a lot to do with fast and relaxed mental processes. So this thread is about training your/my brain to think fast and stay relaxed.

    This exercise just came to me about a week ago and I've never heard of it before so I'm asking the community what they think about it.

    The exercise is simple, I like to use YouTube audiobook novels and prerecorded news.
    Simply speed up the narration by using YouTube's speed adjuster (press the 3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of your screen to access the variable speed).

    1.25 speed is reasonable, pretty easy.
    1.50 gets harder and I can navigate it pretty well,
    1.75 is really hard and is a speed I'll have to woodshed on, so that's my goal.

    Question, if I can navigate the fast syllables and phrasing to a place where I can hear it all and be relaxed, could that transfer to relaxed playing at higher speed on the guitar?
     
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  2. teletail

    teletail Tele-Meister

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    IMO, no. Playing fast isn't about hearing something and quickly identifying it. If you want to play fast, practice playing fast.

    I used to think that to play fast, you practice slowly and build up speed. Although that's true to a point, I realized that I pick differently at very fast speeds than I do at slow speeds. Sometimes I have to muddle through something really fast to figure out how to pick it, THEN slow it down.
     
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  3. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I thought about this once because I practice at 5:30 am, while the coffee kicks in.

    It sure is the case in my case that it's *really freakin hard* to play over fast changes when the noodle is only doing 35 on a 70 mph road. So processing speed is surely important.

    However, rote licks aren't affected. I can rip just fine when it's foggy upstairs. Which makes sense. Muscle memory doesn't need that part of the noggin. Which is good. In fact, that's my musical retirement plan: when I start to dodder around and not remember names and start hitting on women wearing girdles, I'm hoping muscle memory will save my sorry ass.

    I've seen the ads for "playing this app is like steroids for your brain!" and I laugh.

    There are two truths that govern what I can do that approaches 'speed' on guitar:

    "You can't play fast what you can't play slow."

    and

    "Know the neck."

    There's no substitute for work, unfortunately. In the meantime, we have coffee.
     
  4. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    The way that Yngwie Malmsteen developed his speed was partially an accident; he had a rehearsal studio with a tape recorder, which ran a little slower than his tape recorder at home. He'd record his rehearsals, then come home and duplicate what he played along with the tape at home. Over time this brought his speed up.
     
  5. ddewerd

    ddewerd Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I agree on the rote licks. I can play pretty fast with songs or chord progressions I am familiar with.

    I have a harder time improvising with new stuff though, especially if it veers away from the typical 3 or 4 chord stuff I normally play. I can decompose a chord progression when I'm sitting on the couch and really working on it. But then when I play it live, my brain can't keep up.

    This is mostly for the jazzier stuff I've trying to get more into, so I'm sure it's just a matter of keeping at it. I can tweedle dee in pentatonic wankery all day long, but there's a lot more to it than just that. I've been working on alternate scales and techniques, but I still have a long ways to go!

    Cheers,
    Doug
     
  6. Stefanovich

    Stefanovich Tele-Holic

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    I am pretty sure people that can play fast aren't thinking fast. I suspect they aren't thinking at all and the process is automatic.

    The only way I know to play something fast is to practice it slow. Once I get it down at a slow tempo, it is easy to increase the metronome speed and move quickly to a fast tempo. With regards to playing songs you have never heard before at a fast tempo, the only people I know who are good at that are seasoned pros who have played everything and have amazing ears. They hear the changes ahead of time and have a massive bag of licks, scales and arpeggios that are in their comfort zone.
     
  7. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Holic

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    I think you need to beable to think ahead abit and know the neck, going slow did not help me neither the picking is different as mentioned above.

    I just did as Shawn Lane used just go fast even if unclean then clean it up over time, once you can do one lick then just add more and more and then you gain confidence the method works. So maybe confidence is important and one gets more relaxed, and this is good because tense muscles stop speed i believe.
     
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  8. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    /\ /\ This /\ /\

    When I am playing, fast or slow on stage, I don't play new stuff. Chances are I will fail. When I am playing at home, I fail constantly. At home, during practice, is where I try new stuff, and try it over and over again until I can play it at speed, until it ingrained in my noggin.

    When I get on stage I cannot think, or I will hose myself.

    It's not that I play the same solo, ever really. It is that the licks that I string together I have played many, many times. I know that certain licks sound correct over certain chords or transitions between chords, etc.

    So, to play fast, there must be a few things present. A knowledge/familiarity of the music, a library of licks and the mechanical ability to move your fingers quickly through the library of licks.

    Of course, my level of fast is truly far from fast... I'd call it reasonably quick. So, maybe I'm not doing it correctly? LOL
     
  9. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Holic

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    No playing fast is not everything you are doing well, it is just something i learnt i dont really know why now, i like playing medium slow stuff much better now is much more pleasure.
     
  10. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Jimmy Bruno has great advice on this.

    Lately I'm making a little progress in jazz by focusing just on pairs or trios of strings and the four-finger span.

    If we have a fretboard, let's work with it instead of against it?
     
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  11. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think the opposite to 'thinking fast' is the reality of the situation. When you hear elite athletes, for example, speak about being 'in the zone' their perception of time actually slows and each moment seems to enlarge.

    I think using some of the ubiquitous 'slow down' technologies available will actually help more then speeding up in the way you're describing. Slowing down fast passages and working them out and then listening/playing at the original fast tempo. Perceiving a fast passage in slow motion so to speak...not being overwhelmed with the speed but being 'in the zone' to be able to subjectively and perceptually widen the space between notes is the goal.
     
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  12. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    OK, maybe I shouldn't have said "thinking fast",

    It would have been better if I said "quick processing in the brain".

    Julian Lage says he is basically "an observer" when he plays and he doesn't think about it, he just flows or channels and bypasses analytical processes.

    Shawn Lane was known to read 10 full non fiction books a day, it would seem to me he was not thinking about it much. And of course he brought that talent to his music, effortless.

    So going to sleep with a well known audiobook story playing at 1.75 normal speed, like 2001 or The Andromeda Strain, two books I know well, and fall asleep following the story at high speed. It's subliminal learning. The stories are around 9 hours long so I wake up and it's still going. All night at some level this fast talk is taken in, and if you do the same thing in the day, the fast talk can get very comfortable. Getting relaxed and comfortable with "fast" is the idea. And I'd like to think the mind is all a state of mind, a mind that can change, is malleable.

    I hope that explains my questions on this topic better, it's not about getting physically fast, it's more like becoming SHARP, having smarts, Quick processing in the brain, being brilliant.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
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  13. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I never thought about this and at 69 going on 70, my thinking isn’t as fast as it once was. I picked up my guitar and played all the way through a few of the numbers that require faster play and found something I didn’t expect. I don’t think each note of a fast part. My brain starts a phrase of sixteenth notes or even sixteenth note triplets and I play through it as if on autopilot. Learning a new piece takes concentration and a lot of practice until autopilot takes over.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
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  14. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    If I try to play fast, I slop it up. But sometimes, if I'm in my "zone", it just sort of happens.
     
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  15. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    The best way to facilitate this is by being comfortable in your surroundings: the song, the band, your sound. And being confident in the fact that you know that you know how to navigate those surroundings.
    From a 'jazz' improv perspective it's about really knowing the chord changes (and the possible substitutions), a few ways to play over them and the melody as well. When I say "know" I mean you can see and ideally hear them all laid out in front of you like google maps at all times.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  16. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    ^^^This is my speed philosophy.

    I believe that you need to get to a point where a lick or even a sequence of licks are like words of a sentence. We don’t think about the individual letters when we speak. Sometimes we don’t even think to much about the words. So it is with guitar soloing. You think about a certain lick and how it sounds in you head and then your fingers play it as if you’re on autopilot. So, find licks and phrases that you like and work well in solos, then practice playing these by first singing the notes then playing them. Once you master that, then you can work on speed, playing over chord changes, different phrasing, etc.
     
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  17. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    exactly, we do not study to play fast but rather to PLAY from routine , from practice, from our study. EVERYDAY. We build up our abilities. SLOWLY.

    If we can't play slow, which is very difficult by the way, we can never play fast. The discipline of playing slow is what allows us to visualize the fretboard. What positions, what scales, what chord forms, what root positions, all that matters. Nobody is winging it, certainly not Malmsteen mentioned above.

    Are we paying attention to what we are doing or just playing notes in a flurry which more often than not come out as sloppy with poor execution.

    Playing fast allows us to play what we already know , very well, UHH... faster !

    If we know where our "fretboard pockets of comfort" are then we connect the dots. SLOW or FAST. If we don't, then..we can't connect the dots. Obviously we need to have hand and finger dexterity as well. Otherwise even if we know what we are doing, our body says slow down. Like mine as I get older.

    We should study to play, learn to connect the dots, then we decide, should we play what we know SLOW or FAST ?

    Think of it this way, as we are driving down a road that we are not familiar with, do we drive slow or put the hammer down ? But if we know that road REAL well....like the back of our hand... its the same thing , we are driving from continued experience.
     
  18. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    The 5th of a Dm7 is:
    The Gm chord is in the major keys of:
    The note A is in the triads:
    The chords A Em F#7 Bsus4 have a common tone:
    Recite triad spellings through the circle of 5ths: C E G, F A C, Bb D F, Eb G Bb, etc.

    How long do these answers take? At a glance? After mental counting? On paper? By ear?

    Jazz improvisers tend to have nearly instant spelling abilities.

    When I taught theory and analysis, the students with a fast responses did better in the course as a whole. When I lectured in analysis, I had to be mindful of the different recall speeds of the students. Those with fast recall could follow me and predict what is coming. The slower students had to be walked through the spellings during the analysis, which slowed class time to a crawl.
     
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  19. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Do accomplished guitar players think of and answer questions like that while playing ?
     
  20. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    One of my favorite ‘lessons’ from my brief experience with guitar lessons was
    Play at brain speed, not finger speed.

    So that’s why I’m a hack, my brain! I wish I had pursued formal lessons as a young player, and not been impatient when I would go back to a teacher.
     
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