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  1. #101

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    Hey Jake... yea, your picking has really improved from the last time I watched a vid from you. I personally believe slant is one of those basic requirements for faster technique. Not so much to just play fast... but to articulate as notated or as phrased.

    The being able to play fast or slow thing is all BS. You either have put the time into developing the technique... or you haven't and your left with whatever technique you have by chance.

    Being able to perform fast or slow music... with respect to having good technique, isn't about putting in time rehearsing a lick etc... it's about how your able to perform something the first time. Granted it should get better with practiced, but that is about performance, not technique

    Just like sight reading.... you don't end up being able to sight read because of natural abilities, you either put in the time and developed the skills... or you didn't. If you just keep trying to read music..... without understanding what techniques you need on the guitar and an understanding of what notated music is.... again your left with the BS one liners... you either can or can't sight read.

    There are obviously different techniques, different physical aspects of our bodies etc... but without developing some type of organization with respect to technique, which leads to being able to repeat and eventually becomes instinctive or natural for oneself...
    the one liners will become facts of life.

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  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Hey Jake... yea, your picking has really improved from the last time I watched a vid from you. I personally believe slant is one of those basic requirements for faster technique. Not so much to just play fast... but to articulate as notated or as phrased.

    The being able to play fast or slow thing is all BS. You either have put the time into developing the technique... or you haven't and your left with whatever technique you have by chance.

    Being able to perform fast or slow music... with respect to having good technique, isn't about putting in time rehearsing a lick etc... it's about how your able to perform something the first time. Granted it should get better with practiced, but that is about performance, not technique
    Totally agree with all of this.

    I'd add that chops are focussed on the music. Sometimes you'll play another style, or a composer will write something for you that's really hard to play... Then you learn something.

    Also no school of technique has everything. You always make choices.

    Also - the instrument is an illusion (Hal Galper.) Hearing a phrase in detail in your mind before you play it is more than 80% of the work. Really. Don't get too involved in the instrument all the time. I'm starting to understand this in my own playing. Stay loose.

    Just like sight reading.... you don't end up being able to sight read because of natural abilities, you either put in the time and developed the skills... or you didn't. If you just keep trying to read music..... without understanding what techniques you need on the guitar and an understanding of what notated music is.... again your left with the BS one liners... you either can or can't sight read.
    Ain't that the truth.

    I believe the same thing about time/feel and rhythm. It's just that some people develop these skills so early on they are like walking or eating with a fork to them. But that doesn't mean they can't be learned in adult life. We are flexible beings.

    Pick technique will probably be something you address later in life.

    There are obviously different techniques, different physical aspects of our bodies etc... but without developing some type of organization with respect to technique, which leads to being able to repeat and eventually becomes instinctive or natural for oneself...
    the one liners will become facts of life.
    Nicely put. Great post, Reg.

  4. #103
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Hey Jake... yea, your picking has really improved from the last time I watched a vid from you. I personally believe slant is one of those basic requirements for faster technique. Not so much to just play fast... but to articulate as notated or as phrased.

    The being able to play fast or slow thing is all BS. You either have put the time into developing the technique... or you haven't and your left with whatever technique you have by chance.

    Being able to perform fast or slow music... with respect to having good technique, isn't about putting in time rehearsing a lick etc... it's about how your able to perform something the first time. Granted it should get better with practiced, but that is about performance, not technique

    Just like sight reading.... you don't end up being able to sight read because of natural abilities, you either put in the time and developed the skills... or you didn't. If you just keep trying to read music..... without understanding what techniques you need on the guitar and an understanding of what notated music is.... again your left with the BS one liners... you either can or can't sight read.

    There are obviously different techniques, different physical aspects of our bodies etc... but without developing some type of organization with respect to technique, which leads to being able to repeat and eventually becomes instinctive or natural for oneself...
    the one liners will become facts of life.
    Hey thanks Reg. I think the one liners are often the conventional wisdom of mediocrity. A lot of "common knowledge" is the knowledge of folks at a common level, regarding things besides guitar technique/jazz playing. I think there's often a reason that some people reach a higher level of success beyond talent/luck.

    I'm not a professional jazz player but I think I can see now where the one liners, conventional wisdom can get most people stuck, especially regarding picking technique.

  5. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Well, I dunno. Practice what interests you, nothing more.
    Sure, but be realistic. That's all I'm saying.

    Last edited by mr. beaumont; 11-04-2016 at 11:27 AM.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
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  6. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    likely just throwing a lot of fuel to the fire but here we go: ...
    Nice video JakeAcci, seems we all adressed the problem quite alike, trying similar things ...
    gentle plucks, moving fretting fingers ...
    I think you did not try heavy shuffle swing, you know, the horse galloping rhythm, that way you can use economy picking, combine with alternate here and there, after some practice 155 may become medium tempo ... just thinking.

    In regard to my attempts, you are considerably cleaner, at least in overall impression.
    Namely, for some stuff you say is "swiping" I'd say it was "clean, with tiniest possible ammount of pick being used." For me, swiping is only when I play "through" muted string, on the way to the wanted one. In playing this exercise, I think I do it with less "full swipes" than what you showed, but if we count "clean swipes" overall you do it far less.
    In my real playing I go heavilly through muted strings, it's that clunky sound that makes me feel alive. No joke.

    Which brings me to another point in regard to S theory. In theory S brings the pick out of a plane of the strings, where plane is plane flat, as plane planes are. However, plane of the strings on my tele is not really a plane, it is a segment of a cilinder with 7.25" radius, if strings would follow curvature of the neck. In reality it's not that much curved, but still it is quite a curve. It is so curved that going outside from 6th to ...., the move I'd have to make in order to completely clear above 5th would be so ridiculously angled, that it is practically not an option. Of course I do S, we all do, it is impossible not to, but I do it so that on the way I'm still swiping the 5th. From 5th to 4th it is kess exagerated, 4th and 3rd are at same level. then image is mirrored for high strings. You could say strings lay in 5 different planes intersecting @ 4 different angles where 2 and 2 are complementary. Is S theory addressing this?

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  7. #106

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    Finally got to watch the video on a bigger screen.

    Armchair quarterbacking here, as your picking technique is far better than mine, but I notice two things...I think, my eyes might be deceiving me...wouldn't be the first time...


    I feel like I see a little more movement in the fingers gripping the pick when you get to the "lick in question."

    Your elbow seems much more free in the earlier examples in the video, even leaving contact with the guitar and coming back...in the "lick in question," your elbow crease seems a little more firmly planted on the upper curve of the guitar.

    Chicken or egg question, I assume both of those things could build tension, which could slow you down...or is there a level of frustration (and I mean that in a light sense, you don't seem to be getting bent out of shape or anything) that's coming with "the lick" that creates an expectation/builds tension before you even go in?

    I dunno, just observations, hopefully sort of helpful.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
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    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  8. #107

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post







    For some reason the above figure reminds me of this...



    You can't analyze something you can't play! (Robert Conti)

    Technique is the means to play just like your voice is your means to speak. (Robert Conti)

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    About 120 going in cold before it fell apart.

    Then I remembered I'm a hybrid picker. Got my middle finger involved, was over 155 with no warm up.

    So my answer: I'd cheat.
    THIS is how I have to play Seven come Eleven.
    Edit: yeah I dictated that to my phone, and no I'm not going to fix the mistakes.

  10. #109
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Finally got to watch the video on a bigger screen.

    Armchair quarterbacking here, as your picking technique is far better than mine, but I notice two things...I think, my eyes might be deceiving me...wouldn't be the first time...


    I feel like I see a little more movement in the fingers gripping the pick when you get to the "lick in question."

    Your elbow seems much more free in the earlier examples in the video, even leaving contact with the guitar and coming back...in the "lick in question," your elbow crease seems a little more firmly planted on the upper curve of the guitar.

    Chicken or egg question, I assume both of those things could build tension, which could slow you down...or is there a level of frustration (and I mean that in a light sense, you don't seem to be getting bent out of shape or anything) that's coming with "the lick" that creates an expectation/builds tension before you even go in?

    I dunno, just observations, hopefully sort of helpful.
    finally getting the chance to respond - thanks for this, I actually think you are on to something. It seems like my 'fast' technique has much more elbow and wrist movement, whereas when I try to do things like the LIQ (hah) i start trying to use my fingers to move the pick which doesn't really work the way I do it. I will experiment. definitely interesting.

  11. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    finally getting the chance to respond - thanks for this, I actually think you are on to something. It seems like my 'fast' technique has much more elbow and wrist movement, whereas when I try to do things like the LIQ (hah) i start trying to use my fingers to move the pick which doesn't really work the way I do it. I will experiment. definitely interesting.
    Jake,

    I could be wrong, but I would swear that Andreas Oberg did the same thing in a video in which he played a Jazz Blues. At a certain point, he really take off into "hyperspeed" and it looked to be predominantly elbow movement supplemented with a little wrist. And then, when he dropped down to his normal fast speed, it appeared to be back to all wrist movement.

    Maybe great players, when the go into their top speed do it because they can squeeze out a few more beats per minute. Maybe they know they can't, nor do they have to maintain it for very long, so they use it kind of the way race car driver's use a shot of nitrous oxide.

    Check out this video particularly at around 2:12 and 2:30.


  12. #111

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    I haven't tried Nitrous Oxide. Not sure it would help with my playing tho.

  13. #112

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    Around 120 as written and not for long.

    But, if I had to play it faster in a reading situation, I'd do pick, pull-off on one string.

    I think about calligraphy. One brush, one color, one stroke and it's art.

    Or, you can do a complex oil painting that you work on for a year, and that's art too.

  14. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I haven't tried Nitrous Oxide. Not sure it would help with my playing tho.

    Racers have to be careful with the nitrous oxide. You can disintegrate your connecting rods. I am thinking some picking styles can do the same to connective tissue?


  15. #114

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    Sorry, Jake. Back to the thread.

  16. #115
    It's all fun and games until somebody stops practicing technique.

  17. #116

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    I am reminded of an experience a few years back. I was at a jam with a young player named Scooter. As I recall he was in college, majoring in guitar. Great player. We were both trying to read a passage from a tune called Popo by Chico Pinheiro. It's the interlude after the solos. Not a difficult line at a moderate tempo, but challenging for me at full speed. I couldn't pick it with any of the obvious fingerings -- not alternate and not sweep. Scooter could dash it off perfectly either way.

    Which brings me to my point. I think it had a lot to do with our nervous systems. I've since worked on the passage, but there's no way I'll be able to play it with the fingering Scooter used.

    I had to re-finger it to employ rather drastic position shifts to get multiple notes on the same string. Using that device, along with pull-offs and slides I could get it up to speed maybe two times out of three (which is squarely in "keep practicing" territory. My approach does not sound like I picked every note. Not necessarily worse, but not the same sound.

    The point is, there are differences in our nervous systems and we have our limits.

  18. #117
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I am reminded of an experience a few years back. I was at a jam with a young player named Scooter. As I recall he was in college, majoring in guitar. Great player. We were both trying to read a passage from a tune called Popo by Chico Pinheiro. It's the interlude after the solos. Not a difficult line at a moderate tempo, but challenging for me at full speed. I couldn't pick it with any of the obvious fingerings -- not alternate and not sweep. Scooter could dash it off perfectly either way.

    Which brings me to my point. I think it had a lot to do with our nervous systems. I've since worked on the passage, but there's no way I'll be able to play it with the fingering Scooter used.

    I had to re-finger it to employ rather drastic position shifts to get multiple notes on the same string. Using that device, along with pull-offs and slides I could get it up to speed maybe two times out of three (which is squarely in "keep practicing" territory. My approach does not sound like I picked every note. Not necessarily worse, but not the same sound.

    The point is, there are differences in our nervous systems and we have our limits.
    RP that seems anecdotal and defeatist! I have made huge strides with things I once thought were just impossible. We all have limits, sure, but I’m interested in the exploration.


    I think the most relevant issue might be - how much time do you have, what are your goals, and what do you want to prioritize? For me, my practice is more just about what’s fun and interesting for me rather than any particular performance or recording goals.

  19. #118

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    Nah you should just give up. If you can't do it now you'll never be able to do it.











    *sarcasm*

  20. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I haven't tried Nitrous Oxide. Not sure it would help with my playing tho.
    Somebody say N2O?

    Happy New Year. Pleasant Dreams.

    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  21. #120

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    The first time a novice tries to barre an F chord, it probably feels impossible. And, sure enough, after a short amount of practice, it seems easy.

    But, in my experience, not everything is like that. There are techniques that press against the limits of one's nervous system.

    Fortunately, there are a lot of different ways to accomplish things on guitar.

    So, I would advocate recognizing limits where they exist (definitely not giving up too soon) and spending one's time in ways which are maximally productive.

    My impression is that playing great jazz requires two basic skills. One, you need to be able to generate, in your mind's ear, something interesting to play. Two, you need to be able to make that music come out of the speaker.

    Finding something interesting to play requires, above all else, training your ear. I interpret all of our interest in chords, scales and other theory as a way to find interesting sounds. I know that some people find that approach useful. Others do it the more traditional way: listening and transcribing. Like everything in guitar, there are great players who do it one way and equally great players who do it a completely different way. Andres Varady made the cover of GP at about age 14 on merit (he's a great player) without any theoretical knowledge whatsover. He could hear it all. Others are Berklee trained, are encyclopedic, use the knowledge and sound great too.

    Making it come out the speaker means you have the technique you need to play the music you hear. Having more technique will probably expand what your mind generates, so it's a two way street. But, I tend to see the technique issues as secondary. That is, figure out what you want to play first, and work on the technique to make it happen.

    So, generally speaking, my thought is that the quickest path to playing great guitar is to focus on ear training and the technique you need to play what you hear.

    Of course, others will have very different ideas and those may work well too.

    To bring it back to the OP -- I spent plenty of time (measured in decades of daily practice) trying to get my right hand to do fancy things. It didn't work well for me and I wouldn't mind having some of that time back. I think I've made more progress by accepting some limitations, working around them, and focusing on music and individual style rather than technique.

    Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  22. #121
    Apologies RP - I mean no disrespect but I feel like I addressed these opinions earlier in the thread. I'm not going to be convinced to not be interested in my original question and instead focus my efforts on ear training. Again, no offense intended, but I believe the position and stating of it in this context to be missing the point entirely. There have been about a thousand threads on this forum and others on whether playing fast is "good" and I think the discussion has been beat to death - even in this very thread. I'm not going to make an argument for the 'usefulness' of my question beyond "it interests me."

  23. #122
    this is sort of the equivalent of somebody posting on a cooking forum asking for cake batter recipes and somebody saying "you know I used to bake cakes but then I realized that cookies are really the best dessert, so I think any effort searching for a good cake batter recipe should be spent on cookies - cookies are where the true value of dessert lies."

    Apologies again if my tone comes off agitated - to be honest I do a get a little agitated at the repetitive nature of some of these discussions, especially when this isn't even the discussion!

  24. #123
    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    Jake,

    I could be wrong, but I would swear that Andreas Oberg did the same thing in a video in which he played a Jazz Blues. At a certain point, he really take off into "hyperspeed" and it looked to be predominantly elbow movement supplemented with a little wrist. And then, when he dropped down to his normal fast speed, it appeared to be back to all wrist movement.

    Maybe great players, when the go into their top speed do it because they can squeeze out a few more beats per minute. Maybe they know they can't, nor do they have to maintain it for very long, so they use it kind of the way race car driver's use a shot of nitrous oxide.

    Check out this video particularly at around 2:12 and 2:30.

    hey AlsoRan - yeah he changes his "motion mechanic" when he's going for essentially 'tremolo' picking, just going as fast as possible on a single string. The mechanics of tremolo picking are more flexible as you don't have to change strings with much precision, so you take out a big chunk of the equation (string-changing.) Instead it's just about going back and forth on a single string as quick as possible.

  25. #124

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    I see prodigious chops as a potential advantage. But, I am convinced that some people will be able to do things that others can't. Nervous systems vary. It's the middle ground that's desirable. Don't give up too soon, but be realistic about what you can accomplish - because practice time isn't infinite. If that point had already been made ad nauseum, my apologies.

  26. #125
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I see prodigious chops as a potential advantage. But, I am convinced that some people will be able to do things that others can't. Nervous systems vary. It's the middle ground that's desirable. Don't give up too soon, but be realistic about what you can accomplish - because practice time isn't infinite. If that point had already been made ad nauseum, my apologies.



    I agree with all of that, for sure, just a matter of degrees and quantities: where the point of diminishing returns is, how much time is being spent and how much is available, but most importantly: what are the individual’s goals? When we talk about what’s “good” or “bad” it depends a lot on what a particular player is trying to achieve.


    Thanks for being patient with my outburst.

  27. #126

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    hey AlsoRan - yeah he changes his "motion mechanic" when he's going for essentially 'tremolo' picking, just going as fast as possible on a single string. The mechanics of tremolo picking are more flexible as you don't have to change strings with much precision, so you take out a big chunk of the equation (string-changing.) Instead it's just about going back and forth on a single string as quick as possible.
    Not sure how relevant this is to Oberg, but in trad GJ technique, the tremolo and standard picking have a different mechanic. Obv. Oberg isn't a trad GJ picker...

  28. #127

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    The Mephisto Waltz by Liszt

    Just a thought so bear with me on this one.



    I heard this on the classical radio today. The host said that in the beginning, Franz Liszt was the only player in the world to be able to play this extremely difficult piece that he wrote. He then taught his student (I forget the name) who then taught his student (Liszt => student+> Student of student... and on and on and you get the picture) till it arrived to us today.

    All this is to say that, it seems that students of other instruments with hallowed histories are not frowned upon in their search for extreme proficiency that enables them to play highly challenging pieces on their instruments. These difficult pieces often include being able to play passages that require rapid fire dexterity - end of story. Saxophone players for example are expected to show high single note playing facility on their instruments early on in their musical journeys. Is this because their instrument allows only single notes? Or is it because their instrument is naturally "fluid sounding". Mellifluous anyone?

    Personally, I see classical pieces as original improvised pieces that are then committed to memory and “interpreted” by the player. Jazz players commit musical phrases to memory so that they can play them in no particular order when "improvising". Slow, medium, fast passages all add to the excitement of the listener.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but somehow, in the guitar world and especially our jazz world extreme facility and especially of the single note variety are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Speed is sometimes viewed as “speed for speed’s” sake. John Petrucci, Joe Satriani and AL Di Meola et al must thank their lucky stars that they are "allowed" to do what they do.

    Maybe I haven’t boned up on piano and sax blogs to read where players get chastised for playing too many notes (and I’m sure there is criticism). Becker and Coltrane are you listening?

    So......Are players like McLaughlin, Lagrene and even Metheny to be penalized for playing too many "blurred" notes?

    Just a thought, that’s all.



    You can't analyze something you can't play! (Robert Conti)

    Technique is the means to play just like your voice is your means to speak. (Robert Conti)

  29. #128

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    There must be sone 4 - 5 year old kid from Japan, or Korea who can play that Liszt piece on guitar, blindfolded.

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  30. #129

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    There must be sone 4 - 5 year old kid from Japan, or Korea who can play that Liszt piece on guitar, blindfolded.

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    You can't analyze something you can't play! (Robert Conti)

    Technique is the means to play just like your voice is your means to speak. (Robert Conti)

  31. #130

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    Quote Originally Posted by West LA Jazz View Post
    I love his adapted technique to compensate for his small hands - including standing up in the finale to reach for the deep bass note.
    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  32. #131

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    Quote Originally Posted by West LA Jazz View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omuYi2Vhgjo 4 Year Old Boy Plays Piano Better Than Any Master - YouTube & url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgkfvVxPVa0 & CHINA GIRL Liu Pinxi aka Yoyo Plays Mindblowing Guitar Ages 8 -10
    Yes, from China, too. Sorry China.

    That boy really put the smile on my face.
    The girl..., well, her string gauges are all wrong, PU pole pieces should be set differently and her right hand movements are far from economical, she could practice some sl***ing ...

    ... YEAH!
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  33. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by West LA Jazz View Post
    All this is to say that, it seems that students of other instruments with hallowed histories are not frowned upon in their search for extreme proficiency that enables them to play highly challenging pieces on their instruments. These difficult pieces often include being able to play passages that require rapid fire dexterity - end of story. Saxophone players for example are expected to show high single note playing facility on their instruments early on in their musical journeys. Is this because their instrument allows only single notes? Or is it because their instrument is naturally "fluid sounding". Mellifluous anyone?
    Indeed...

    IMO it's partly social, partly down to the way the music is organised (which I suppose is the same thing.)

    I studied classical singing for a while, and it's all about mastering everything technically so that you can start to interpret and shape your performance. Some music is out and out shred (Donizetti etc) and some is just technically very demanding for purely musical reasons (Bach, a lot of modern stuff.)

    Guitar has a problem because it has little purpose built repertoire - even classical guitar. When it comes to pick guitar, we have no classical repertoire written for the instrument. (And the few legit classical works that include electric guitar are, of course, modern.)

    Why is this a problem? Well 'classical' works are still regarded with absolute respect in our culture. A musician learning to scale the dizzying heights of the repertoire of their instrument is engaging in a journey based around a tradition. There's something quite ego-less about it. The technique is at the service of the written music, and technically mastering a piece is really just the first step. Also I have seen little 'show off' or 'check this out' culture in my involvement in the classical music world. Classical musicians play for only two reasons - they are practicing or rehearsing, or they are performing.

    (Singers may be more likely to show off :-))

    Another thing is the classical music rightly or wrongly is 'canonised.' There are wealthy and important institutions (still) dedicated to the Western canon. There is considerable kudos in these highly visible institutions - for instance, a wealthy philanthropist (as pointed out in David Byrne's wonderful book 'How Music Works') is much more likely to give to the Opera or the Ballet, or even the Symphony, than the local Jazz Club.

    (Wynton's efforts IMO have been directed towards giving jazz the same kudos in the US.)

    Now for improvisors this raises an interesting question - if we are playing and composing simultaneously how can the audience know that something is 'legit' or mere display? So these arguments about 'simple emotional' players and 'technical' players comes into play. It's an option to not have chops as an electric guitarist, while every serious classical guitarist, say, has to master the Villa Lobos etudes.

    In terms of composition - well electric guitar players playing pseudo classical stuff always sound to me essentially kitsch. It can be fun, but it's more on the level of someone getting really really good at Mario Karts.

    Fusion? I have trouble taking that music seriously on the same level as Bach or Ravel TBH. I know many may argue with me on that.

    Bebop is hard because it's not guitar music (but I have learned much more about technique playing bop heads than any other activity I think.)

    Gypsy jazz and Bluegrass have more credible traditions of virtuosity, but there are some how regarded Django as a bit of a shred head haha.

  34. #133
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Indeed...

    IMO it's partly social, partly down to the way the music is organised (which I suppose is the same thing.)

    I studied classical singing for a while, and it's all about mastering everything technically so that you can start to interpret and shape your performance. Some music is out and out shred (Donizetti etc) and some is just technically very demanding for purely musical reasons (Bach, a lot of modern stuff.)

    Guitar has a problem because it has little purpose built repertoire - even classical guitar. When it comes to pick guitar, we have no classical repertoire written for the instrument. (And the few legit classical works that include electric guitar are, of course, modern.)

    Why is this a problem? Well 'classical' works are still regarded with absolute respect in our culture. A musician learning to scale the dizzying heights of the repertoire of their instrument is engaging in a journey based around a tradition. There's something quite ego-less about it. The technique is at the service of the written music, and technically mastering a piece is really just the first step. Also I have seen little 'show off' or 'check this out' culture in my involvement in the classical music world. Classical musicians play for only two reasons - they are practicing or rehearsing, or they are performing.

    (Singers may be more likely to show off :-))

    Another thing is the classical music rightly or wrongly is 'canonised.' There are wealthy and important institutions (still) dedicated to the Western canon. There is considerable kudos in these highly visible institutions - for instance, a wealthy philanthropist (as pointed out in David Byrne's wonderful book 'How Music Works') is much more likely to give to the Opera or the Ballet, or even the Symphony, than the local Jazz Club.

    (Wynton's efforts IMO have been directed towards giving jazz the same kudos in the US.)

    Now for improvisors this raises an interesting question - if we are playing and composing simultaneously how can the audience know that something is 'legit' or mere display? So these arguments about 'simple emotional' players and 'technical' players comes into play. It's an option to not have chops as an electric guitarist, while every serious classical guitarist, say, has to master the Villa Lobos etudes.

    In terms of composition - well electric guitar players playing pseudo classical stuff always sound to me essentially kitsch. It can be fun, but it's more on the level of someone getting really really good at Mario Karts.

    Fusion? I have trouble taking that music seriously on the same level as Bach or Ravel TBH. I know many may argue with me on that.

    Bebop is hard because it's not guitar music (but I have learned much more about technique playing bop heads than any other activity I think.)

    Gypsy jazz and Bluegrass have more credible traditions of virtuosity, but there are some how regarded Django as a bit of a shred head haha.
    having to accept that threads to inevitably get off topic, this was a fun post as a bit of a bird’s eye view with some historical context. Thanks.


    It is bizarre how much can be said not about ‘fast guitar playing’ but about how many different views and opinions there are about ‘fast guitar playing.’ It’s a subject that sure gets a lot of people talking.


    I’ve noticed, on the internet, that people tend to progress through sorts of phases with their perception of fast playing/technique etc.


    Phase 1 is often “holy shit I want to be able to play that/that’s amazing”


    Phase 2 is often the backlash of how it’s not “emotional” or somehow more notes in a given time frame is less artistic or something


    And then from there, with luck, people develop more nuanced perspectives on the issue…sometimes happily regressing back to phase 1. personally I’d like to think that ideally it’s just a non issue entirely…nobody gets emotional or heated about which notes to add to chords or issues of ahead/behind the beat or whatever. It’s just another…thing, simply an aspect of music. But when you grow up as a guitarist, especially in a rock context, it’s hard for that ‘thing’ to not have a little extra weight.

  35. #134

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    Professional musicians I have met don't seem to have these hang ups in the same way.

    I get very heated up about rhythm, swing and so on actually. The speed of a player, or otherwise couldn't interest me less. Some fast players have great feel, some not so much. Most slow players seem to have great feel simply because they kind of have to haha.

    It's probably a really obvious thing, but a great way to develop chops is through trying to play music - whether by ear, or through reading.

    This is the way people like Holdsworth, Satriani, Vai etc etc learned. Modern shred/fusion players like Govan or Quayle also have this feeling in their playing. They might play patterns/cool guitar licks etc, but that comes out of the musicality thing.

    Perhaps this has to come from a different instrument - sax and violin for Holdsworth. Pasquale has to shred because he's playing Tatum and Bud Powell on guitar. There's nothing egotistical about that.

    I think it's all to do with what you want to do as a musician. What do you want to play? Make it about the music.

  36. #135
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    The speed of a player, or otherwise couldn't interest me less.
    Ah, but - would you say that there may be a bias against fast playing? I mean my point is basically 'it's all about the music' so I don't think speed should necessarily get any extra attention either negative or positive. It's just an element, but it's part of playing, requires certain awareness and practice, etc. I mean, taking your 'develop chop through music' phrasing, the fact is we come up against a phrase we can't play sometimes, then either say 'well, guess i'm not playing this phrase' which is fine by me, or start problem solving ways to make it happen.

  37. #136

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Perhaps this has to come from a different instrument - sax and violin for Holdsworth. Pasquale has to shred because he's playing Tatum and Bud Powell on guitar. There's nothing egotistical about that.
    So speed's cool, as long as we're influenced by an approved source?

    Just playing devil's advocate a bit.

    My thoughts on speed:

    1. Folks who say they don't like fast playing generally can't play fast.
    2. Fast can be really important for certain effects. If it's the only effect, it's like painting everything the same shade of one color.
    3. Speed is "unimportant" until you have to play something that's faster than you can play. Then it becomes an issue.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

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  38. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    Ah, but - would you say that there may be a bias against fast playing?
    Actually I'm not sure that there is. There was about 15-20 years ago. Nowadays, people seem pretty eclectic. That said I've not been playing rock gigs for over 20 years. I used to get flack for playing any type of lead back then. It was all post-Grunge everywhere and britpop in the UK.

    I mean, you want shred? Check out some of this modern pop/bluegrass stuff. The mandolin solo...



    From my own perspective, audiences seem to dig it when I play fast, it's like OOOO from the audience. I regard it as a cheap trick, personally (because that stuff tends to be licks, at least for me), but hey, you got to have some cheap tricks live.

    Guitarists who speak ill of players who can play fast are on the whole, IMO, talking about their own insecurities. Now, Vai's music may not be my cup of tea, but I respect him hugely, which is perhaps to say my massive insecurities lie elsewhere :-)

    OTOH I think things that signal 'heavy rock guitar' are very specific and not necessarily to do with speed - I'm thinking about certain types of bends, pinch harmonics, heavy vibrato, whammy tricks, certain types of overdrive. I tend to completely avoid these things in my own electric playing for a cleaner, more modern synth like aesthetic. (Influence probably by Kurt.) Although sometimes I want a 'bluesy vibe' and go towards that - but that's more BB King or Jimi than Vai or Yngwie.

    I mean my point is basically 'it's all about the music' so I don't think speed should necessarily get any extra attention either negative or positive. It's just an element, but it's part of playing, requires certain awareness and practice, etc. I mean, taking your 'develop chop through music' phrasing, the fact is we come up against a phrase we can't play sometimes, then either say 'well, guess i'm not playing this phrase' which is fine by me, or start problem solving ways to make it happen.
    Indeed. To me these discussions about speed versus feel are infantile for that exact reason.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-11-2017 at 12:09 PM.

  39. #138
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Actually I'm not sure that there is. There was about 15-20 years ago. Nowadays, people seem pretty eclectic. That said I've not been playing rock gigs for over 20 years.
    Sorry, I should have clarified, I meant, do YOU have a bias against fast playing, or technique? You say the speed of a player doesn't interest you, but I feel that you are actually adding more weight to these issues of technique than needed - not just seeing it as just another element of music (like harmony, rhythm, pickguard transparency, blah blah)

    I started a thread here just about a relatively simple picking mechanic issue - a means to solve a musical problem - and people get , my interpretation, somewhat emotional about whether we should even be talking about speed or whether speed is good. It is just me, or is that pretty bizzare? I'm not a shred head, was just interested in the solution to a specific mechanical problem on the guitar. It seems to me that if somebody doesn't have a solution they can choose to not respond, and that's about it...this thread was definitely not started to praise the path to shredding or something.

    To me these discussions about speed versus technique are infantile.
    Huh? You lost me here

  40. #139

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    Sorry, I should have clarified, I meant, do YOU have a bias against fast playing, or technique? You say the speed of a player doesn't interest you, but I feel that you are actually adding more weight to these issues of technique than needed - not just seeing it as just another element of music (like harmony, rhythm, pickguard transparency, blah blah)
    Pickguard transparency is obviously the central issue in musical performance, but beyond that you have your style and resources and improvisor and you need to deploy these to your best ability. Some people will use sheer speed as an effect, and why not?

    Then you have written music you need to play sometimes too, including stuff you've written.

    I can't see a huge amount beyond that.

    I started a thread here just about a relatively simple picking mechanic issue - a means to solve a musical problem - and people get , my interpretation, somewhat emotional about whether we should even be talking about speed or whether speed is good. It is just me, or is that pretty bizzare? I'm not a shred head, was just interested in the solution to a specific mechanical problem on the guitar. It seems to me that if somebody doesn't have a solution they can choose to not respond, and that's about it...this thread was definitely not started to praise the path to shredding or something.
    Apologies! :-) I am a divergent thinker so I classically derail everything. But can I ask what was the musical context of the original query?

    How fast does it need to go? And if so why?

    There's only so many hours in the day. What do you spend your time on? How do you decide? I'm not saying that to be critical of anyone, it's just a question I find important to ask, and the key thing is to realise there is a decision to me to made.

    Huh? You lost me here
    Sorry I corrected my mistake.

    But there is a difference between speed and technique obviously. Yngwie was very fast but had bad technique in the '80s for example. Why do I say that? Because he injured himself. If your playing injures you, you have bad technique.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-11-2017 at 12:45 PM.

  41. #140
    Pickguard transparency is obviously the central issue in musical performance, but beyond that you have your style and resources and improvisor and you need to deploy these to your best ability. Some people will use sheer speed as an effect, and why not?

    Then you have written music you need to play sometimes too, including stuff you've written.

    I can't see a huge amount beyond that.
    I think there's a group of people that drool over speed and technique, and then there's a group that chastises that other group, and then, like you inferred in an earlier post, there are people who are just trying to play music and solve problems! The last guy I studied with, he pointed out that a lot of his students were timid about bringing up speed or tempo issues and he felt it was silly, his response was "I want to be able to play with a lot of nuance and I want to be able to play slow with a lot of nuance."


    Apologies! :-) I am a divergent thinker so I classically derail everything.
    Apologies on my end; I did not mean to single you out, as others contributed. Just pointing out that it is common for discussions of pick technique to expand into some sort of 'what does it all mean' thing when discussions of other elements don't.

    But can I ask what was the musical context of the original query?
    It's a move that is hard to avoid in the context of fairly conventional jazz lines. I think it may have been a Pat Martino line I was trying. Doing both notes on the same string did not give me the timbre I wanted, same with any sort of slur or hybrid solution.

    There's only so many hours in the day. What do you spend your time on? How do you decide?
    We have to pick goals - I feel extremely comfortable in where my personal sights are set and what role music has in my life. Something that has occasionally frustrated me in this forum, since I started posting here maybe seven years ago (yikes) is that people often assume we all have the same goals - maybe that's to be doing standards gigs every night and sound like our heroes, but that's not what everybody wants. So sometimes responses come in assuming that the poster is trying to get to that point, when that really isn't the issue.

    I mean - myself for example, I don't gig much anymore, but I have, and feel my playing on standards at a restaurant gig is 'fine' and don't have a heavily vested interest to make it all that much better. I enjoy exploring various things on the guitar because I find it personally interesting and satisfying (and it helps my teaching immensely), and a lot of it is jazz related, so that's where I'm coming from.

    So, hah, it's like "hey curious about this specific problem" and responses are "just play TUNES, man!" it's like...ok...not really the point.
    Last edited by JakeAcci; 01-11-2017 at 12:49 PM.

  42. #141

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    I think there's a group of people that drool over speed and technique, and then there's a group that chastises that other group, and then, like you inferred in an earlier post, there are people who are just trying to play music and solve problems!
    *Just*? Ha! That alone provides me with enough material to practice for 2 hours a day. On top of that, general practice, ear training, reading practice, writing, listening, gigging etc. It's a lot of work just to play music. Also - why do work that isn't used?

    The last guy I studied with, he pointed out that a lot of his students were timid about bringing up speed or tempo issues and he felt it was silly, his response was "I want to be able to play with a lot of nuance and I want to be able to play slow with a lot of nuance."
    I suppose a lot of my time is spent trying to get myself to play less notes. For example I feel I want to develop rhythmic versatility at high tempos. That's not quite the same thing as playing fast. Jim Hall could do this for instance.

    Martino does both IMO - play strings of notes but also include interesting rhythms.

    It's a move that is hard to avoid in the context of fairly conventional jazz lines. I think it may have been a Pat Martino line I was trying. Doing both notes on the same string did not give me the timbre I wanted, same with any sort of slur or hybrid solution.
    Was the alternation part of the original line? For me that's the tricky bit.

    Seven Come Eleven, which has something like your example, is not crazy fast - eights at around 260 or less. It's tricky but not super difficult although ATM I have a little trouble getting it super clean. Something worth practicing within that context, because it's something I actually play.

    But within that context I probably wouldn't focus on getting it down at shred speeds, which might require a different mechanic.

    BTW, Martino of course executes it cleanly, as in fact does Jim Hall and Charlie Christian.


    We have to pick goals - I feel extremely comfortable in where my personal sights are set and what role music has in my life. Something that has occasionally frustrated me in this forum, since I started posting here maybe seven years ago (yikes) is that people often assume we all have the same goals - maybe that's to be doing standards gigs every night and sound like our heroes, but that's not what everybody wants. So sometimes responses come in assuming that the poster is trying to get to that point, when that really isn't the issue.
    It would be interesting to see what people's goals were a bit more.

    I mean - myself for example, I don't gig much anymore, but I have, and feel my playing on standards at a restaurant gig is 'fine' and don't have a heavily invested interest to make it all that much better. I enjoy exploring various things on the guitar because I find it personally interesting and satisfying (and it helps my teaching immensely), and a lot of it is jazz related, so that's where I'm coming from.

    So, hah, it's like "hey curious about this specific problem" and responses are "just play TUNES, man!" it's like...ok...not really the point.
    I suppose I don't see the point much beyond a specific musical situation, it just becomes like sports science or something. But that's me...

  43. #142
    [QUOTE=christianm77;729125]
    *Just*? Ha! That alone provides me with enough material to practice for 2 hours a day. On top of that, general practice, ear training, reading practice, writing, listening, gigging etc. It's a lot of work just to play music. Also - why do work that isn't used?
    Sorry, misinterpreting my use of the word 'just,' kind of a tone thing. Just re-read it without that word.


    I suppose I don't see the point much beyond a specific musical situation, it just becomes like sports science or something. But that's me...
    Full disclosure - I definitely find sports science interesting.

  44. #143
    Ok, additional point - I often find that in this technical explorations I find things that are very useful for my teaching - for example, if I can figure out a way to get myself doing something at X tempo, especially if it involves pushing past a barrier, then what i use will often be extremely helpful to me teaching a student how to do push past their barrier which may be 10-20%, or whatever, of mine. In this context we're not at all talking about shredding, we're talking about very basic playing, say something that is 8th notes at 120 or something. I give physical corrections and guidance that get them to be able to perform something at the appropriate tempo without mistakes. Now, granted, it's not rocket science to get somebody to play something at that tempo, but 1. my profession revolves around being able to teach things like that as efficiently as possible, and 2. I'd like to set my students up with habits so that if they get more ambitious with their musicianship (most of them are kids/beginners) that they have good habits and techniques set up.

  45. #144

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    So speed's cool, as long as we're influenced by an approved source?
    Ha yes!

    Seriously? Of course not, you naughty internet arguer, you.

    In practice I like the players I like and that's it. Intellectualising it, well I think I like players who are really musicians in the wider sense. But I think most of the good players in any genre are like that.

    The point for me is that in these cases the speed comes from the ears not from hours running patterns etc. That's a given right? People who just spend hours mechanically playing scales etc don't become musicians.

    That said, youtube may change this a bit.

    Just playing devil's advocate a bit.

    My thoughts on speed:

    1. Folks who say they don't like fast playing generally can't play fast.
    2. Fast can be really important for certain effects. If it's the only effect, it's like painting everything the same shade of one color.
    3. Speed is "unimportant" until you have to play something that's faster than you can play. Then it becomes an issue.
    Don't come across 3 too much in terms of sheer speed. I don't play much fusion though, for instance In my experience technical problem arise from something un-guitaristic often at quite moderate tempos. My advice would be - play non guitar music.

    The whole of bebop could fall under that umbrella haha.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-11-2017 at 01:39 PM.

  46. #145

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    Ok, additional point - I often find that in this technical explorations I find things that are very useful for my teaching - for example, if I can figure out a way to get myself doing something at X tempo, especially if it involves pushing past a barrier, then what i use will often be extremely helpful to me teaching a student how to do push past their barrier which may be 10-20%, or whatever, of mine. In this context we're not at all talking about shredding, we're talking about very basic playing, say something that is 8th notes at 120 or something.

    I give physical corrections and guidance that get them to be able to perform something at the appropriate tempo without mistakes. Now, granted, it's not rocket science to get somebody to play something at that tempo, but 1. my profession revolves around being able to teach things like that as efficiently as possible, and 2. I'd like to set my students up with habits so that if they get more ambitious with their musicianship (most of them are kids/beginners) that they have good habits and techniques set up.
    Now I'm getting the context a bit more...

  47. #146

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    Saw a touring blues/rock band at a club a few years back. Two very good guitarists swapping off lead work. One clearly loved the arena/glam rock style of the time and had great proficiency at those high speed runs and turns and repeated figures.

    The other ... wow. He could take a medium to slow scalic passage, with a chromatic or turn figure tossed in ... but with subtle ... pauses ... sudden speedups to ... pause in a slightly off-time way ... give it so much interest he could nearly make the crowd cry.

    We definitely all held our breath at times. Making an amazing group experience.

    You know which of the two I preferred ... 😉

    Make me cry just with your "axe" ... you got a fan.

    Stumbling fingers still need love ...

  48. #147
    Quote Originally Posted by R Neil View Post
    Saw a touring blues/rock band at a club a few years back. Two very good guitarists swapping off lead work. One clearly loved the arena/glam rock style of the time and had great proficiency at those high speed runs and turns and repeated figures.

    The other ... wow. He could take a medium to slow scalic passage, with a chromatic or turn figure tossed in ... but with subtle ... pauses ... sudden speedups to ... pause in a slightly off-time way ... give it so much interest he could nearly make the crowd cry.

    We definitely all held our breath at times. Making an amazing group experience.

    You know which of the two I preferred ... 

    Make me cry just with your "axe" ... you got a fan.

    Stumbling fingers still need love ...
    what is this in response to?

  49. #148

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    what is this in response to?
    Discussion of speed in playing ... personally I have the same response to most instrumental music. Or vocal for that matter. Speed may be of necessity for some things, same as ... pauses.

    Stumbling fingers still need love ...

  50. #149

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    You're all hypnotized, no other explanation.
    Have to find those sunglasses, aliens might be just around the corner. And some bubble gum, so I could get out of it at appropriate moment.


    Sent from VladanMovies @ YouTube
    You don't have to read this, you know..
    Last edited by ronjazz; 01-28-2017 at 12:59 AM.

  51. #150

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    You don't have to read this, you know..
    I know, but don't know why would not I.

    Also, I really think you should read the whole thread before making smart ass comment on a joke I made almost 3 months ago.
    Comments like yours above are insulting. The show lack of effort to understand what's going on, but instead, reacting on cue with an canned stereotyped comment.

    I came to this thread because of it's title. Only on further reading, I found reference to Troy Grady's teachings, which I don't hold for being of much worth (As per what I could see in his freebies, I have no access, or any wish to have it, to his full commercial offerings).
    If Grady was mentioned in the title, I probably would not even read this thread. However, since I already was here and since I've learned OP could not solve his problem by applying teachings of TG, I wrote my first comment.
    From that time, I made many other comments and had couple side discussions, which all made context for this one comment you decided to respond on. All my comments, even if superficially they might seem snide and jest, no matter if they included references to TG or not, were strictly on topic, that is trying to/ solving the way to pick certain set of notes at certain speed, or they were direct answers to direct questions,

    So, give me a break. You don't have to read what I write, you know ..
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