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  1. #1

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    I've been working on a couple of (new-to-me) tunes lately, "Sunny", and "It's You or No One". Neither are too difficult, melody or changes.
    I don't usually play along with recordings, but I decided to try with Pat Martino's version, and Dexter Gordon's, respectively.
    Sunny is medium tempo, not hard to hang with- but the maestro pretty much play's a double time solo. And Dexter's live version seemed so much faster than the old studio version I remembered, it was tough just to keep up with the changes!

    I realized, I don't work on up tempos enough. I used to play a lot of bebop, but now I focus on chord melody and solo work, and playing fast doesn't seem appropriate or tasteful. I don't think I really enjoy playing fast anymore, but I feel like I need to work on it now.

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  3. #2

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    There's that old adage, "practice slow to play fast."

    I hate that adage. If you want to play fast, you gotta practice fast (and double time on a medium tune is a killer, totally different feel to my brain)

    You do have to be careful not to just practice fast and sloppy, start slower than you want to be and keep bumping up the bpm. Metronomes and Drumgenius are your buddies.
    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

  4. #3

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    A thing that has helped me a lot is feeling the time in larger chunks, like, the "1" of each bar. The best players at really fast tempos always seem super relaxed to me. The Bill Charlap Trio is really the modern group that comes to mind that is committed to playing really fast tempos.

    I feel like when I was young and coming up in my local jazz scene, playing fast tempos was kind of a big deal and older players would definitely call fast tempos to see if you could hang. I've not seen this kind of behavior/attitude for a *long* time, and I don't think most people particularly want to hear very fast tempos.

    Hell, one of the best records for fast tempos ever is even called "for musicians only"....

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    There's that old adage, "practice slow to play fast."

    I hate that adage. If you want to play fast, you gotta practice fast (and double time on a medium tune is a killer, totally different feel to my brain)

    You do have to be careful not to just practice fast and sloppy, start slower than you want to be and keep bumping up the bpm. Metronomes and Drumgenius are your buddies.
    Yes.

  6. #5

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    There is a balance there. Playing slow and clean then speeding up while staying clean increases speed up to a point. When progress slows down or stops altogether, strategy can be reversed. Play faster at the expense of accuracy, then clean up after. It works but care must be shown not to abuse the second strategy.

    Doing short, fast bursts are also important. Much easier to play much faster when it's only 4-8 notes and it trains your coordination.

  7. #6

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    Yes. Fast playing is all about chunks and modules and physical sequencing. Gestures.

  8. #7

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    Warren Nunes taught what he called "speed technique". He did not suggest simply playing the same thing faster.

    He had a method for refingering the left hand to accommodate alternate picking. Some of the refingering could seem quite extreme. But, it was generally taking advantage of the ability of the left hand to switch positions surprisingly quickly. The bottlenecks being addressed were always in the right hand.

    Sweep pickers don't seem to have this problem.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Warren Nunes taught what he called "speed technique". He did not suggest simply playing the same thing faster.

    He had a method for refingering the left hand to accommodate alternate picking. Some of the refingering could seem quite extreme. But, it was generally taking advantage of the ability of the left hand to switch positions surprisingly quickly. The bottlenecks being addressed were always in the right hand.

    Sweep pickers don't seem to have this problem.
    Was Nunes a 3nps guy or am I thinking of someone else?

    Sweep picking is more flexible. As is well optimised alt picking.

    Problem is developing well optimised alt picking is very hard. At least I find it is.

    What Nunes did doesn’t sound so different to many GJ players in a sense. Optimise left hand to simplify right hand. It’s an approach. A lot of people think it is incompatible with true improv. But true improv in that sense isn’t really doable at fast tempi. A basic player will have speed licks. A sophisticated player will combine modules into longer lines.

    Personally I mix it up with legato as well. That’s another way of doing it.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Was Nunes a 3nps guy or am I thinking of someone else?

    Sweep picking is more flexible. As is well optimised alt picking.

    Problem is developing well optimised alt picking is very hard. At least I find it is.

    What Nunes did doesn’t sound so different to many GJ players in a sense. Optimise left hand to simplify right hand. It’s an approach. A lot of people think it is incompatible with true improv. But true improv in that sense isn’t really doable at fast tempi. A basic player will have speed licks. A sophisticated player will combine modules into longer lines.

    Personally I mix it up with legato as well. That’s another way of doing it.
    Warren was not 3 nps. If you were thinking of one of my posts, it would have referred to Chuck Wayne as a 3 nps player.

    I'm not sure I'd even want to venture a guess as to what "true improv" actually is, particularly at high tempo.

    Warren had a very clear style. He played within it, always sounding like himself, but not playing the same licks, iirc. On chord melody, he couldn't play the same arrangement twice in a row. He'd play something brilliant and, when you asked him to play it again so that you could cop it, he'd play another version, just as good and completely different. I really don't know if he really couldn't repeat it or if he just didn't want to.

    His refingering for speed was focused on getting multiple notes on the same string to avoid descending lines with one note on each of three strings.

    So, for example, when he played a descending Am7 lick G E C A (starting with the G at the third fret of the string or 8th fret of B string) he did it this way. 1st string third fret, followed by third string 9th fret. Then he pulled off the E to get the C. That gave his pick a eighth note break in the action which he used to reposition it to play the A. When he played this lick, I think he gave the first note (G) an extra half beat, which allowed him to get the pick ready for the E. Thus, he went to a lot of trouble to avoid having consecutive notes on strings while descending.

    He had some other tricks, probably more familiar, such as playing a G# on the second string followed by an F on the third string, using his first finger for the G# and his fourth finger for the F. That may not be an obvious move to the beginner, but it can be executed smoothly at high speed and puts your hand in the position you might want for what comes next, depending, of course, on what that is.

    He has one recording, Half Moon Bay, which you can hear on line. I've never heard anybody with his jackhammer approach.

    He had all of that codified and could teach it precisely. That including making picks of his own design.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Warren was not 3 nps. If you were thinking of one of my posts, it would have referred to Chuck Wayne as a 3 nps player.

    I'm not sure I'd even want to venture a guess as to what "true improv" actually is, particularly at high tempo.
    I think it’s kind of a waste of time? There’s music to play...

    Warren had a very clear style. He played within it, always sounding like himself, but not playing the same licks, iirc. On chord melody, he couldn't play the same arrangement twice in a row. He'd play something brilliant and, when you asked him to play it again so that you could cop it, he'd play another version, just as good and completely different. I really don't know if he really couldn't repeat it or if he just didn't want to.

    His refingering for speed was focused on getting multiple notes on the same string to avoid descending lines with one note on each of three strings.

    So, for example, when he played a descending Am7 lick G E C A (starting with the G at the third fret of the string or 8th fret of B string) he did it this way. 1st string third fret, followed by third string 9th fret. Then he pulled off the E to get the C. That gave his pick a eighth note break in the action which he used to reposition it to play the A. When he played this lick, I think he gave the first note (G) an extra half beat, which allowed him to get the pick ready for the E. Thus, he went to a lot of trouble to avoid having consecutive notes on strings while descending.
    Jens does it a bit like this

    He had some other tricks, probably more familiar, such as playing a G# on the second string followed by an F on the third string, using his first finger for the G# and his fourth finger for the F. That may not be an obvious move to the beginner, but it can be executed smoothly at high speed and puts your hand in the position you might want for what comes next, depending, of course, on what that is.

    He has one recording, Half Moon Bay, which you can hear on line. I've never heard anybody with his jackhammer approach.

    He had all of that codified and could teach it precisely. That including making picks of his own design.
    Makes sense to me. I couldn’t be bothered with it myself, but I’ve sunk time into a different way.

  12. #11

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    Yea... I can shred, or Burn. I don't need to rehearse or memorize. I generally can play any tune at any speed 1st time. I'm saying this because I worked at the skill and can actually play at very fast tempos and don't need to stare at the fretboard at those fast tempos.

    The simple reason is I have good technique based on the instrument, my hands and how music is organized. I'm old now and I can still burn and most of the time seems effortless. Same with comping. And I'm just an average pro...

    When I suck, it's not from not being able to play at tempo, but that is another thread.

    So... working at up tempos... is just part of being able to actually perform at up tempos. Actually I think that hurts... really. Playing clean slow or fast is always about technique. Memorizing slow technique... is almost an oxymoron. Three notes per string is just position fingerings with position changes , it does work. Playing in 7 positions helps keep all musical aspects tied together. Theory, harmony, scales, arpeggions chords etc...

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Yea... I can shred, or Burn. I don't need to rehearse or memorize. I generally can play any tune at any speed 1st time. I'm saying this because I worked at the skill and can actually play at very fast tempos and don't need to stare at the fretboard at those fast tempos.

    The simple reason is I have good technique based on the instrument, my hands and how music is organized. I'm old now and I can still burn and most of the time seems effortless. Same with comping. And I'm just an average pro...

    When I suck, it's not from not being able to play at tempo, but that is another thread.

    So... working at up tempos... is just part of being able to actually perform at up tempos. Actually I think that hurts... really. Playing clean slow or fast is always about technique. Memorizing slow technique... is almost an oxymoron. Three notes per string is just position fingerings with position changes , it does work. Playing in 7 positions helps keep all musical aspects tied together. Theory, harmony, scales, arpeggions chords etc...
    As far as the three note per string thing goes, are you recommending practicing scales using three notes per string to gain the technique (picking especially) needed to play at fast tempos, or are you advocating improvising using three note per string scales?
    I ask, because the former seems to result in a cleaner technique, while the former seems to result in a overly scalar approach to improvisation, a good example being the improvising of Tommy Tedesco (who used the three note per string method in his books and recorded jazz playing).

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    As far as the three note per string thing goes, are you recommending practicing scales using three notes per string to gain the technique (picking especially) needed to play at fast tempos, or are you advocating improvising using three note per string scales?
    I ask, because the former seems to result in a cleaner technique, while the former seems to result in a overly scalar approach to improvisation, a good example being the improvising of Tommy Tedesco (who used the three note per string method in his books and recorded jazz playing).
    It's all former, no latter! ;o) I think you want FORMER to refer to 'practicing 3 nps scales to gain technique' and meant to use LATTER to refer to 'improvising using 3 nps scales. At least, that's how I interpreted it.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola