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  1. #1

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    Now I've never been a slow player. I always could play fast it seems. But I would sometimes hit a strange in between tempo that would kill me.

    I think really what I want to talk about is analyzing accurately the problem.

    I have been working on a great program I put together. I've mentioned it before. Technical exercises for the left and right hands. Various picking techniques focusing on phrasing on the beat where it receives the downstroke, triplets, legato. Fast triplets, where I can't do down, up, up, doing alternate strokes but emphasizing the down beat by feel and the left hand. That's frigging hard to make them sound like triplets that way. AND most importantly improvising on tunes at various tempos from 60-320 BPM.

    Ridiculously I became fairly comfortable at 320. I have to be careful to phrase musically or it starts sounding cartoony. BUT the tempo 280 killed me. It's fast, but not super fast, and a common tempo. It only JUST came to me, that I had to fix this. That working at faster tempos wasn't going to fix this. I kept thinking it would. Doh.

    So for the past few days I moved my basic BPM from 160/320 to 140/280. My wrist isn't comfortable there. But after forcing it, really working with it, now even the faster tempos are MUCH more comfortable and relaxed.

    The problem with playing fast, for me, is being completely relaxed. The ideas are flowing, no attention on technique, phrasing is relaxed and there's no sense of effort.

    It's required some real work. My basic practice routine takes 3+ hours a day. I've been doing it 6 days a week. Sometimes 5, but rarely. I added an hour about 3 months ago, without knowing it.

    So if you need to improve your speed, it can be done. There's a common myth, I've heard, that everyone has their own speed limit and it's impossible to really break the ceiling. I'm 61 and I've never played this fast before. Yeah, it's been an issue. It's all because if that common 280 tempo. That was it. I'm not sure anyone else has that. It's because of my strange right hand technique I'm sure.

    I'm sure that Howard Roberts course will be great for those folks doing it. I think my program has some similar things, though I haven't looked at that thread much.


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    Last edited by henryrobinett; 07-12-2017 at 10:53 PM.

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  3. #2

  4. #3

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    Watch out! You are going to break the sound barrier!

    But seriously, thanks. I always like reading about advanced players who are able to add yet another weapon to their arsenal.

  5. #4

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    Hey, maybe it's just me but I'm having a tiny bit of a problem empathizing with someone who can play comfortably at 320 but seems to have a wee problem at 280...

    Signed,

    Mr. 180

  6. #5

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    Sorry. I'm just saying. I was a fly on the wall listening to Sonny Rollins talk to Monk's last tenor player. Age. I can't remember his name, yet HE was my friend. They were recalling how Sonny gave him advice that Monk played these impossible in between tempos. My friend said he didn't get it until he played with Monk and found those impossible in between tempos.

    Edit - The tenor player was Paul Jeffrey. The last tenor player in Monks band and one of Mingus's arrangers.


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    Last edited by henryrobinett; 07-17-2017 at 07:59 PM.

  7. #6

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    Sorry. I know. It so sounds so pretentious. I'm just saying. I was a fly on the wall listening to Sonny Rollins talk to Monk's last tenor player. Age. I can't remember his name, yet HE was my friend. They were recalling how Sonny gave him advice that Monk played these impossible in between tempos. My friend said he didn't get it until he played with Monk and found those impossible in between tempos.


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  8. #7

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    Awesome, glad to hear that you are continuing to grow as a player, that's what I hope for myself.

    It's funny how some tempos are 'in the cracks' - I used to have trouble with 220 for some reason. 200 fine. 240, fine. 220 - never quite solid.

    But it goes finer than that. Most players I think, call in tempos that they practice on the metronome. But why not practice at 123 or 157 bpm?

    Playing for swing dancers is interesting too. Many shades of medium tempo. In my experience, jazz club players can struggle a bit with these shades of grey - absolutely rinse it at 180 - 240, and play great at below 100 but be a bit shonky at 120 or 130.

    It's all in what feels you play day in and day out, of course.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-13-2017 at 08:16 AM.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Awesome, glad to hear that you are continuing to grow as a player, that's what I hope for myself.

    It's funny how some tempos are 'in the cracks' - I used to have trouble with 220 for some reason. 200 fine. 240, fine. 220 - never quite solid.

    But it goes finer than that. Most players I think, call in tempos that they practice on the metronome. But why not practice at 123 or 157 bpm?

    Playing for swing dancers is interesting too. Many shades of medium tempo. In my experience, jazz club players can struggle a bit with these shades of grey - absolutely rinse it at 180 - 240, and play great at below 100 but be a bit shonky at 120 or 130.

    It's all in what feels you play day in and day out, of course.
    You guys have identified something that I have not seen talked about much. You use the term "cracks" and it fits.

    I discovered those "cracks" in my technique while practicing. For instance, at one time, I would practice the Major Scale or maybe sequences with the Major Scale, and I would be find at 120 bpm (quarter notes) but found my timing to be uneven at 85 bpm. For some reason, the area of 85 bpm was a killer.

    It turned out that I used two different ways of picking, one for higher speeds and one for lower speeds. At 85 bpm (quarter notes), this is where my technique was in "no man's land" and I would start unconsciously changing my pick angle.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    You guys have identified something that I have not seen talked about much. You use the term "cracks" and it fits.

    I discovered those "cracks" in my technique while practicing. For instance, at one time, I would practice the Major Scale or maybe sequences with the Major Scale, and I would be find at 120 bpm (quarter notes) but found my timing to be uneven at 85 bpm. For some reason, the area of 85 bpm was a killer.

    It turned out that I used two different ways of picking, one for higher speeds and one for lower speeds. At 85 bpm (quarter notes), this is where my technique was in "no man's land" and I would start unconsciously changing my pick angle.
    Yes! Exactly. ButI continued working at what I THOUGHT was the more "difficult" faster tempo, only getting reasonably better. But when I addressed the real problem tempo head on, my technique improved all over the place.

  11. #10

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    I thought tempo was related to human heart beats. The musicologist in the bunch will know the theory better than me, but isn't 60bpm related to resting heart rate, 120 excited, 150 high active, 180 frenetic, etc. In that view gaps make sense. Areas where human heart rate rarely settles.

    Anyhoo, that was something I leaned a very long time ago and never questioned. Who knows if there is any truth to that.


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  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    I thought tempo was related to human heart beats. The musicologist in the bunch will know the theory better than me, but isn't 60bpm related to resting heart rate, 120 excited, 150 high active, 180 frenetic, etc. In that view gaps make sense. Areas where human heart rate rarely settles.

    Anyhoo, that was something I leaned a very long time ago and never questioned. Who knows if there is any truth to that.


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    Interesting musings, rlrhett. But, I would have to see some sort of data before I began to put too much stock in this theory.

  13. #12

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    I put no stock in that, interesting though it sounds. The deal is to overcome preconceived limitations, like heartbeats anyway, for me.


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  14. #13

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    Thank you for sharing. The only way I can hit 320bpm is to play the same note over and over. No más! I would be happy to hit 160bpm without dropping the beat.

    I'll at least try. Thank you for the encouragement.
    Great Deals with Great Folks: max52 (Guild-Benedetto Artist Award); prickards (Ribbecke GC Halfling); Cincy2 (Comins Concert)

  15. #14

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    Practicing fast uses different muscle groups for different durations. Much practice at 300+ especially effects legato strength, where fast pull offs (for example) become easier than slower pull offs. Mini sweeps are also easier played faster than slower. Also, even when alt picking every note, too much practice at fast tempos tends to entrench "synchronous rhythm" for these tempos which make it harder to slow down.

    I'm practicing much more at these "gap tempos" these days, but mostly because I like the vibe of 260 for some reason. It's slow enough that I can still think on my feet and take risks. The other thing about 260 is that I can still throw in the odd run of triplets that I can just squeeze in. At 300+ it's all 8ths, apart from some mini sweep triplets. It can be fun to burn that fast for practice routines etc, but I'd hate to listen to myself like that at an actual gig!

  16. #15

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    isn't bird's fastest playing on ballads? - maybe anyway - he sure plays some notes very close together on ballads

    one thing i notice is that the move to a double or half tempo (to 'semi-quavers' from 'quavers' etc. etc.) feels different at different (starting) tempos

    and for me - its all about doubling or halving (etc.) the tempo (i want to be able to play fluidly 'fast' mainly because i want to be able to pass in and out of double time passages at (already) brisk tempos - like what bird does and sonny

    that's always been a primary goal for me

    so certain very hip slower medium tempos seem to pull you into doubling the time too much - or make it harder for you to play 8ths really nicely (rather than 16ths). its hard to hold out and play strong 8th note ideas at these tempos sometimes.

    so if you want to blaze you may prefer a bright (or dull) medium tempo so you can double up effectively - or you may want to make the 8ths super fast and so prefer a very high tempo (that you can't double up on).

    at very high tempos it will be how things feel when you half the time that is important...

    a tempo at the beginning of the bright range (270?) may feel constricting because its not fast enough to satisfy with 8th note lines but too fast to do much or anything with 16ths - whereas a brighter bright tempo over 300 could feel more comfy.

    slower tempos can tempt you into trying to 'think' out what you're playing - but you just 'let go' at the really bright tempos and can play more fluidly. but this is mental stuff not physical stuff.
    Last edited by Groyniad; 07-15-2017 at 02:38 PM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad View Post
    isn't bird's fastest playing on ballads? - maybe anyway - he sure plays some notes very close together on ballads

    one thing i notice is that the move to a double or half tempo (to 'semi-quavers' from 'quavers' etc. etc.) feels different at different (starting) tempos

    and for me - its all about doubling or halving (etc.) the tempo (i want to be able to play fluidly 'fast' mainly because i want to be able to pass in and out of double time passages at (already) brisk tempos - like what bird does and sonny

    that's always been a primary goal for me

    so certain very hip slower medium tempos seem to pull you into doubling the time too much - or make it harder for you to play 8ths really nicely (rather than 16ths). its hard to hold out and play strong 8th note ideas at these tempos sometimes.

    so if you want to blaze you may prefer a bright (or dull) medium tempo so you can double up effectively - or you may want to make the 8ths super fast and so prefer a very high tempo (that you can't double up on).

    at very high tempos it will be how things feel when you half the time that is important...

    a tempo at the beginning of the bright range (270?) may feel constricting because its not fast enough to satisfy with 8th note lines but too fast to do much or anything with 16ths - whereas a brighter bright tempo over 300 could feel more comfy.

    slower tempos can tempt you into trying to 'think' out what you're playing - but you just 'let go' at the really bright tempos and can play more fluidly. but this is mental stuff not physical stuff.
    All good stuff.

    Something I think is relevant is a concept I call 'rhythmic activity' - simply put to what extent the line has accents, upbeats etc define a tempo. So for example, when you solo at a tempo you want to play lines that have a lot funky, interesting rhythmic activity to them.

    A simple idea of rhythmic activity can be found in the solo string music of Bach - the tempo is clearly defined through regular accents with enough variation to keep it interesting (hemiolas, some syncopation etc.)

    More complex version of rhythmic activity appears in bebop lines - for instance Parker - where a line will feature more irregular, funky accents and so on. Meter can be somewhat blurred in this case but there is always a prevailing sense of pulse.

    The rhythmic activity of a line is key to whether or not it defines the tempo. Scalar runs have very little rhythmic activity for instance. In ballad playing it may be better to keep 16th notes relatively inactive so that the tempo remains in the ground pulse.

    True double time is in the construction of lines that have rhythmic activity in - well - double time. Not merely 16th notes. A good example would be the 16th note phrases in the middle 8 of Confirmation. That was one of Parker's gifts. This is not easy.

    So - no I'm not sure it's easier to play truly double time at a slow tempo then it is to play single time at a fast tempo. It's only easy (in my experience) to play relatively rhythmic inactive 16th note phrases, but it won't project the double tempo - it'll merely be 16th note. To truly play double time you have to feel the double time tempo by the use of the phasing and accentuation that projects that tempo. You have to feel 240 on 120, etc.

    There are, perhaps, a series of junctions here (that may vary from player to player.) One is where the prevailing pulse is perceived not as 4/4 but 2/2 (for me around the 200 mark, but this may vary a lot for players.) Another is where it becomes no longer easy to phrase on the upbeats, perhaps above 280ish. So 320 starts to feel like 16ths at 160, so to speak.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-15-2017 at 06:48 PM.

  18. #17

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    Donna Lee and all of those tracks were long ago. Plus I wasn't trying to play at top out speed. I'm not sure what you're talking about. And what song are you talking about as the first ink. First link of what? I haven't played anything at 320. Certainly haven't recorded anything there. I'm a little confused to what you're trying to say. Or are you JUST trying to insult?

  19. #18

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    Well, that's not my flagship recording. Soundcloud has their own way of doing things. I don't know why it's in that order. It probably should have been Uncommon Prayer. I have Fly With The Wind that's probably over 320.

    Fair enough though. Talk is cheap. I wasn't trying to be egotistical. I was just sharing something I was excited about. Are you sure you're not really Zucker?

    So I took a couple of minutes tonight when my wife went out with some friends to record a quick version of me playing Cherokee at 320 BPM. I try to use taste. So I only play or record music at the required tempo. Just because I haven't recorded anything at a certain tempo doesn't mean I can't play it at that tempo. And it also doesn't mean that EVERYTHING I play has to be fast or at my fastest tempo.

    So Cherokee. At 320 BPM. There are mistakes. It's not perfect. It was done quickly.

    Last edited by henryrobinett; 07-16-2017 at 01:42 AM.

  20. #19

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    Matekski - I need to say this as well. There's no need in the world to be insulting. None. Period. If you don't like something just step away. You don't HAVE to make a comment. I certainly don't. Not even to be "constructive". If somebody posts something I don't like I NEVER am insulting to someone who is trying. It would say more about me than him.


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    Last edited by henryrobinett; 07-16-2017 at 10:05 AM.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    Can I ask a question?

    Who or what the hell is "Matekski?" I don't recall ever seeing that name on this forum.
    John McLaughlin.



  22. #21

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    I guess I missed it. I was wondering how or why a Matekski philosophy or person was getting folks upset.

    If John M. himself came by and put in his thoughts, then now I understand. As they used to say when I was growing up, "Son, these are 'grown people' talking."

    And when advanced players, or advanced "anythings or anyones" are talking, I stay out of it unless I am advanced as well or unless my input is solicited.

    Anyway, I hope we can all just continue to get along without a dedicated moderator, and try to give the benefit of the doubt to each other.

  23. #22

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    Well, it's just BS. People get their egos pushed out of shape for silly reasons. I think he's whatshisname. He's always had a problem with me and speed. LOL. For stuoopid is that? He's banned and keeps re-upping under different names.

  24. #23

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    henry (and I say this chuckling),

    Surely no one would join this forum just to take a potshot at somebody? That is very mischievous at best, and at its worst, a bit childish. Either way, I shake my head. I guess you just rate that kind of attention. You are just that good.

    (Shaking my head...)

  25. #24

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    Lol. Well no, I don't think he joins the forum just to take pot shots at ME!! No, no. But while he's in disguise he might find it irresistible. Lol.


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  26. #25

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    I showed this to my wife and she is just laughing. What a world.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
    Lol. Well no, I don't think he joins the forum just to take pot shots at ME!! No, no. But while he's in disguise he might find it irresistible. Lol.


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    I thought this was Hannah-Barbera's finest: Dick Dastardly - Wikipedia

  28. #27

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    One way to check. Hey Matekski, what do you think about Metheny's double time? I've heard it said it can be a bit sloppy.

  29. #28

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    Lol!! Or Snidely Whiplash.


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  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    , what do you think about Metheny's double time? I've heard it said it can be a bit sloppy.
    On the internet? Oh, then it must be true
    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

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    On the internet? Oh, then it must be true
    This is the point where the point gets missed and the whole thing devolves into a flame war. Although, I daresay if that happens, the original intention will be fulfilled #subtext

    Ahem. Where was I?

    *stage whisper* Yeah Metheny is great, man, but he lacks the rhythmic aspect of certain other players I enjoy. *looks around shiftily*
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-16-2017 at 04:52 PM.

  32. #31

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    Catwoman (laughing at that one).

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    This is the point where the point gets missed and the whole thing devolves into a flame war. Although, I daresay if that happens, the original intention will be fulfilled #subtext

    Ahem. Where was I?

    *stage whisper* Yeah Metheny is great, man, but he lacks the rhythmic aspect of certain other players I enjoy. *looks around shiftily*
    Oh, lighten up francis, I'm just giving you some shit because you know what saying anything bad about certain players or brands of guitars turns into.

    That said, Pat doesn't play music that swings in the literal sense (very often), so I'm not sure what you're expecting his double time feel to sound like?
    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

  34. #33

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    I like his double time feel. It's unique and WAY better than I can do. But yeah, I don't think of him as a hard swinger. And that's OK too.

  35. #34

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    Perhaps I'm being too obvious? Maybe I should just wait for 12 hours and see what happens.

    *looks disappointed*

  36. #35

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    I could say MODERN GIBSONS ARE SHIT, but that would just bring every lurker out of the woodwork and we'd be none the wiser.
    Last edited by christianm77; 07-16-2017 at 06:05 PM.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I could say MODERN GIBSONS ARE SHIT, but that would just bring every lurker out of the woodwork and we'd be none the wiser.
    No, you're supposed to say something that's false, silly.
    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

  38. #37

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    I remember when I had a speed breakthrough in my Ford Pinto 40 years ago...I hit 102 mph in it going downhill with a tailwind..boy, was that scary. I tell ya, it was shaking faster than 320 bpm.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    One way to check. Hey Matekski, what do you think about Metheny's double time? I've heard it said it can be a bit sloppy.
    Careful. When fishing for trolls beware of bycatch.

  40. #39

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    Wow. He just completely disappeared.

  41. #40

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    *crickets chirping*

  42. #41

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    I just noticed his couple of posts have been deleted. I guess I was right. LOL.

  43. #42

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    I'm missing him already. I want to know how he will continue to insult me, and anyone else, who ruffles his feathers for one reason or another.


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  44. #43

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    Still amusing over here, heh, heh.

    Sounds a little like the spirit of Minton's Playhouse in the after hours is still alive and well!

  45. #44

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    What do you mean? Juggling for position? In fighting? Competition?


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  46. #45

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    OK. I did another one. BIAB Mr. PC. Much shorter, thank god. I'm supposed to be busy learning two sets of Steely Dan music for a gig subbing with a Dan Tribute band. But instead, I reeled off this. Sue me. I guess I play fast better quietly. I'll have to find a loud burner.


  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by matelski View Post
    to chrisianm77 ... metheny is the most commercially successful jazz guitarist of all time... i don't think suggesting that HR is not phrasing convincingly/in time has anything to do with that.
    There we have it Henry. He's not Zucker after all. ;-)

  48. #47

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    By the way, I think these are quite listenable. But I also do a lot very listenable music, as can be seen by radio airplay I've gotten on some.

    I don't know why you feel so hostile towards me. I really don't get it at all. I do know sometimes people are challenged by others. But I don't get what it is you feel is worthy of attacking me for. I think people who go on attacking rampages, it says more about them than the person they're presumably attacking. I'm just trying to play music the best possible way I know how to. I'm dedicated to it, as I'm sure you are as well. We're in this together. To my recollection, I never attacked you. I defended myself. It's not a contest. Not really.

    We all have this piece of shit instrument. It's a bitch. The challenge, for me, and for all of us, I presume, is to figure this bitch out. It's a zen koan. I've been at it passionately probably longer than most here have. We have different ways of going about it. I'm old enough to have started on this journey long before there was CADGED or economy picking, as teachable concepts. I formulated my ideas long before I ever heard of them. I was well on my way. I'm not, nor have I ever been, a follower. Once I studied with various teachers, including Howard Roberts, I got it. I just needed to implement it. And I did, in my own way. It makes great sense to me. AND my students. But for some reason, when you push against the standard accepted lines you push peoples buttons. It pisses people off.

    For me, it's all about the music. The phrasing has got to be with the music, not with the ease of use for the instrument. Be well. Have fun. Don't be mean. It shortens one's life.

  49. #48

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    I don't get really the sense of this thread. Maybe my english sucks to much.

    But generally you said that you had a speed breakthrough. Then you post your Audio File to show it to us.
    And what i hear is nice tone and phrasing, and when you try to play fast its only noises and less clarity.
    I have to be true, and maybe thats hard but i really thought that the audio file is defect.
    The notes are so quiet and short. People would say simply sloppy .

    You say you play better if you play fast quiet, but if nobody can hear your line, then its maybe to quiet

    If you don't want true feedback, why you posting audio files in a thread and ask what people think about it.
    How have you record it? Maybe there is a problem too.
    Don't get me wrong it seems that you are a good advanced player, but maybe you loose the focus and good tone if you try to breakthrough all these speed limits.

    Edit: I have found you on youtube and just listening to a live record of L- impossible and i really enjoy it. There are much more clarity in your fast lines
    Last edited by ginod; 07-30-2017 at 08:05 AM.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    There we have it Henry. He's not Zucker after all. ;-)
    Initials JM. I'm thinking... James Mason?

  51. #50

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    LOL. above clip is with subtitles in Serbian. Cool.
    ^ ^ ^
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