I'm not fast enough!

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spamel
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I'm not fast enough!

#1 Post by spamel » 19 Dec 2010 23:52

I can play some reasonably quick stuff, but Wolf and Raven is kicking my butt! How on earth can that riff be played, it seems almost impossible if it wasn't for videos of other people playing it! I need help getting quicker, and I need to start using my pinky finger more in fret work, as it is really weak. Any tips for strengthening and speed exercises?
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Desert_Storm
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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#2 Post by Desert_Storm » 20 Dec 2010 13:19

well, that depends on how long you have been playing and what fast alternate picking stuff you have already played. I also remember having used a different fingering than jani did, because he had this long stretches in that made it impossible for me to get at the right speed. I don't remember what note the riff starts in the original version, let's just say it start's with an a (fifth fret on first string). Jani would then play: (1) 5-3-1-(2)5-(1)3-1-(2)5-3-2-3-5-(1)1-3-1-(2)5-3 (the number in brackets indicate the string on which the following notes are played, the other numbers indicate the frets).
I found it much easier to stay within one position so that I could play it without stretches and without moving my left hand, so I started the a (fifth fret on first string) with the first finger of my left hand and played: (1)5-(2)8-6-5-8-6-5-(3)7-6-7-(2)5-6-8-6-5-(3)7. Do you get the idea? It's a little hard to explain without the option to write neither sheet music nor tab ;)
Also, you don't get fast quickly if you just take the melody, play it slow, and then try to speed it up. instead, you should first make sure that you get each switch from one note to the next right. A good way to do that is to take the melody and brake it down into different values. So instead of 16 semiquavers you would play
ImageImage etc.
then you reverse that pattern, playing ImageImageImageImage etc.
that's already a little harder, because the accents are now on the "wrong" notes, but don't get irritated by that.
When you have practised that, you can be certain that there's no single point in the melody where you can't switch the note in time. With this exercise you picked fast twice and than had some time to rest. Now you only have to gradually fill in more fast notes between the slow ones and there you go.
So, the next exercise would be
Image ImageImage Image
...and reverse....
ImageImageImageImage
... and so on.
next play four fast-two slow-four fast-two slow, resp. two slow-four fast-two slow-four fast and then maybe the same with six fast notes in between two slow ones. this technique is sometimes called "speed bursts", the point is that you play short but fast patterns while keeping the over-all control, something that is often lost when you just play the melody slow and then speed it up.
Don't play the melody once in a pattern and then start again, just cycle it, so every note and every change gets to be fast once in a while, which will eliminate struggles in single spots. Also, that way, you also do the change from the last note to the first note of the melody (since it's repeated), something that is often overlooked.
Using this technique, you shouldn't have too much problems with the piece if it's not too far above your current level. Give it a good try, even though at first it feels awkward to accentuate the wrong notes when playing different rhythmic patterns, it works really great for me an several other guitarists I know, and I've not only saved lots of time using it, but also got much more control over stuff I already could play when revisiting it with that technique. It will clear pretty much all the "blind spots" out of fast runs.
Just post some stuff that you can play, maybe there's some other pieces with fast alternate picking that you should practice first. After all, Wolf/Raven is a pretty hard piece to learn.
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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#3 Post by Andreas » 24 Dec 2010 15:31

spamel wrote:I can play some reasonably quick stuff, but Wolf and Raven is kicking my butt! How on earth can that riff be played, it seems almost impossible if it wasn't for videos of other people playing it! I need help getting quicker, and I need to start using my pinky finger more in fret work, as it is really weak. Any tips for strengthening and speed exercises?
Have you ever considered the Van Canto approach?

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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#4 Post by Avelar » 08 Jan 2011 22:10

Desert Storm is right :!: That are good methods of speeding up your playing. I used the same approaches (learned by myself, not through tutorials) and they are really effective. Something more that can be taken into consideration: I am usually trying to concentrate not on playing exactly how it is written in a tab, but on a melody, on important notes. If a melody is in your head and you are relaxed (!) then you can skip some notes just to get used to this particular piece of music. Later on you can add skipped notes (as Desert Storm said), but don't postpone it too much or it will be difficult to switch from an already familiar way of playing to more precise.
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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#5 Post by Desert_Storm » 09 Jan 2011 20:56

Avelar wrote:Desert Storm is right :!:
thx :)
That are good methods of speeding up your playing. I used the same approaches (learned by myself, not through tutorials) and they are really effective.
I don't know what you mean with "tutorials", to me it was shown by a former teacher.
Something more that can be taken into consideration: I am usually trying to concentrate not on playing exactly how it is written in a tab, but on a melody, on important notes. If a melody is in your head and you are relaxed (!) then you can skip some notes just to get used to this particular piece of music. Later on you can add skipped notes (as Desert Storm said), but don't postpone it too much or it will be difficult to switch from an already familiar way of playing to more precise.
Here again I'm not sure if I understand you right, so just to clear up, I didn't talk of leaving out actual notes, just playing them in different values, instead of playing
ImageImageImageImage right from the start to play
ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage
then reverse the values
ImageImageImageImage etc.
and then ImageImageImageImage etc.
reverse,
ImageImageImageImage etc.
then four 16th - two 8th + reversed, six 16th - two 8th + reverse so that you grow accustomed to playing more and more short notes in a row with less and less long notes in between (the long notes help to stay in time, and give you some relaxation), until you can play a lot of short notes at high speed, but you never actually leave out any notes. In Wolf/Raven, there are a lot of short notes at a very high speed, so it will naturally take a while, depending on how fast you are now a long while.
A last side note to that (for now): In order to get better in general high speed alternate picking, it is helpful to not only practise one pattern (in this case the w/r intro) with this speed burst technique, but to include it in your practise routine, i. e. to play your scales with this technique, so your hands become used to the coordination while moving fast in general, whereas when you only use this technique for one piece, you'll eventually master the piece (with a lot of patience), rather then the technique (fast alternate picking), so when you start the next piece where this technique is required, you'll have to start all over again, because "muscular memory" associates fast picking coordination only with one pattern and not in general (I'm somehow incapable of phrasing this sentence in a way that is more or less easy to read, sorry for that ;) )

To come back to what Avelar proposed: leaving notes out is very helpful with certain pieces only. When I play Bach suites for examples, it works very well for me to concentrate on the essence of the music first, the main melodies and harmonies, and leave out all grace notes and ornaments and fill them in later once I'm comfortable with the "skeleton" of the piece.
For wolf/raven intro that wouldn't be of much use though, because it's just a row of single notes with the same rhythmic values, hardly a melody at all, and none is really more important than the next or last one. Of course you could only play every first and third note (the once that are rhythmically accentuated), but I don't see any use of it. If you would play it alternate picking, you have upstrokes on notes that are downstrokes when playing the full pattern, what would be rather confusing, and if you would play it downstrokes only, well, you wouldn't have that problem, but I don't see what you would gain, since the point was to get better at alternate picking in the first place. Or did I misunderstand you?

sorry for making this so long, but I wanted to be as clear as possible, maybe it will help someone. :)
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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#6 Post by Led Guardian » 09 Jan 2011 21:00

When I pick, I tend to lightly rest my pinky on the body to help guide my hand, or I have more trouble picking accurately. I'm wondering though, is that alright, or am I hurting myself in the long run not learning to use my hand in a more free-floating manner?
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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#7 Post by Desert_Storm » 09 Jan 2011 21:46

Led Guardian wrote:When I pick, I tend to lightly rest my pinky on the body to help guide my hand, or I have more trouble picking accurately. I'm wondering though, is that alright, or am I hurting myself in the long run not learning to use my hand in a more free-floating manner?
Completely free floating is not really common among e-guitarists. Whereas it would be deadly for a classical guitar player to have any fixed contact to the top of the guitar, most electric players have a point or two where they rest their right hand on. I myself rest my palm on the thumb-side on the top (just past the low sixth string in height of the bridge pickup) when I play riffs and stuff on the lower strings and on the bridge/lower strings when I play stuff on the trebles, and that seems to be how most guitarists do it (of course when just strumming along some chords the hand normally floats free). Anyway, there are some players who rest their pinky and sometimes the ring finger too on the top of the guitar for some stuff, and it seems to come natural that way to a lot of people (some of my students did it automatically for certain parts). I wouldn't recommend it because it tends to create tension in the right hand (when picking on the fourth or third string for example, the pinky is quite "splayed out"(not sure on the term) when still resting on the top), but as long as it works and the hand is relaxed it's probably ok. Just try different hand positions for different stuff and you'll see what comes easiest, for example I use the pinky/ring finger rest for a few pieces where I cannot use my palm due to technical reasons but need some kind of support so that I have enough accuracy, i. e. in the acoustic riff of the verse of Metallica's Fade To Black when I play it with a pick and not with my fingers. Hope that helped!
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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#8 Post by Avelar » 10 Jan 2011 22:07

@Desert_Storm:
I misunderstood your first post a bit. But the main idea was clear for me. Specifically, I agreed with positions changing on different strings to make it more comfortable. Btw, many tabs display positions not like it played by songs' authors, there are many examples with Andre Olbrich's melodies - on videos he plays it in a more convenient way than the tabs show. The other important moment that I agreed with: don't play slow to speed up gradually. That is ineffective. However, I think it is necessary to play a piece a few times very slowly just to remember all notes and find a correct moves. Now that I finally understood what you suggested with notes duration and how to switch them, it seems to be an interesting method, which I am curious to see in action. :wink:

When I said about leaving out notes I had Helloween's Guardians intro in mind. It is a difficult piece for me if try to play it exactly how it is tabbed, but it is possible to emit 16th notes, play only 8ths and the result will be not far from the original. When I am accustomed to this melody and left hand moves it is easier to add missing notes. Just my opinion... Can't say anything about Wolf/Raven since I never played it. Can you suggest their tab? I'd like to try.
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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#9 Post by Desert_Storm » 11 Jan 2011 01:43

Avelar wrote:@Desert_Storm:
I misunderstood your first post a bit. But the main idea was clear for me. Specifically, I agreed with positions changing on different strings to make it more comfortable. Btw, many tabs display positions not like it played by songs' authors, there are many examples with Andre Olbrich's melodies - on videos he plays it in a more convenient way than the tabs show.
That's one of the big problems when playing from tabs... On sheet music you normally have fingerings indicated too, but just as suggestions, and when you read " e' ", for example, it's clear that you can play it on the open first string, the fifth fret of the second, or the ninth fret of the third, and so on. When you have just tabs and you read a "9" on the fourth line it's not so obvious what note you are actually playing and where else you could play it...
A little more on that: Generally, for choosing a position, I find it easiest to look for a fingering where you don't have to shift your left hand and have all notes accessible without any stretches, so that every finger covers one fret (i. e. first finger fret 5, second finger fret 6, third finger fret 7, fourth finger fret 8 ), and most melodies can be fingered in that way, since you can play almost every scale without switching your left hand position.
The other important moment that I agreed with: don't play slow to speed up gradually. That is ineffective. However, I think it is necessary to play a piece a few times very slowly just to remember all notes and find a correct moves. Now that I finally understood what you suggested with notes duration and how to switch them, it seems to be an interesting method, which I am curious to see in action. :wink:
you should by all means try it! Normally, when playing fast single note alternate picking stuff, the problem lies in certain switch from note x to note y, and when you play a phrase fast-slow-fast-slow and then slow-fast-slow-fast you make sure that you nail every note change, and there lies the key to success :) If you're not sure how exactly to do it I could send you a short explanation video, some stuff is much easier to show than to explain ;)
When I said about leaving out notes I had Helloween's Guardians intro in mind. It is a difficult piece for me if try to play it exactly how it is tabbed, but it is possible to emit 16th notes, play only 8ths and the result will be not far from the original. When I am accustomed to this melody and left hand moves it is easier to add missing notes. Just my opinion... Can't say anything about Wolf/Raven since I never played it. Can you suggest their tab? I'd like to try.
honestly, I can't even make out the exact melody of that intro, it sounds all kind of noisy and blurry, but anyway, if it works for you, stick to it! It's been some years since I checked out the wolf/raven song so I can't give you a link to a good tab, but I think on ultimateguitar or 911tabs they have some nice guitar pro tabs where at least the intro is tabbed correct. I mean, the correct notes, not necessarily the right positions ;) though Jani really used to play it with those weird long stretches in (like I wrote in my first post), maybe because the stretches were easier for him to do than the string changes, no idea how the new guy plays it...
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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#10 Post by Frozen within » 24 Feb 2011 21:15

Just give up and learn to become a chef cook, it's a turn for the better like you wouldn't believe !
Eat more vegetables !

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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#11 Post by Dentarthurdent » 06 Apr 2011 23:06

Desert_Storm wrote:though Jani really used to play it with those weird long stretches in (like I wrote in my first post), maybe because the stretches were easier for him to do than the string changes, no idea how the new guy plays it...
Guitarists with a Blues-background often learn to spread their fingers really wide (as Destruction's Mike also said on their DVD). And if you're used to that and are easily able to do it, it's of course easier to play as much as possible on the same string, especially at that speed.
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Re: I'm not fast enough!

#12 Post by The Rider Of Rohan » 07 Apr 2011 22:37

The trick is to use hammerons and pulloffs. It took me some practice, but I was finally able to finish Raining Blood on Expert.
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