Playing fast tempos

(10 posts)

No tags yet.

  1. cruxtable
    Member

    hey all-

    i've always had a problem with playing at really uptempo speeds...approaching 300 bpm and beyond.. in my combo at school we're playing one finger snap at between 300-320, and in the past playing tunes like cherokee or other tunes at ridiculous speed... i can through it fine playing mostly quarter notes, but i just don't have the chops or vocab to run 8th note lines at those tempos, and when i do i almost always lose my place and drop a beat or something like that (i'm playing in groups as the only comper, no piano).

    i really want to be able to play some solid bebop lines over any tempo, and get my chops together so i can play them and not lose my form. i've always been a weak link as far as playing fast goes, i've never been able to play all that fast or have amazing technique, usually playing a bit slower (sort of like kurt does most of the time, but i've heard him shred too), but i'd like to get there. i really want to get my bebop stuff together...do you have any suggestions?

    i also have a picking problem...it's easy for me to economy pick going from high to low strings, but going from low to high is sort of an issue - i want to be able to economy pick to play faster and cleaner, but it feels unnatural, and i always alternate by habit. i can't economy pick cleanly and accurately yet going in that direction.

    thoughts?

  2. cruxtable
    Member

    another thing - the few bebop lines i can play at fast tempos are really old school, standard cliches which i'd like to get away from...do you have any thoughts on being able to play fast tempos, bebop lines, etc. but in a more modern way?

  3. As far as the bebop lines are concerned, take some time to transcribe a few of your favorite bebop solos. Than take a few lines from those solos and figure out what is going on conceptually. Once you have identified some concepts being employed in those lines than start trying to play your own lines using the same concepts. This way you can play lines with bebop elements that are not cliche and perhaps more modern. Again, if you want to go more in the modern direction take some of your favorite "modern" solos and do the same thing. You can mix bebop concepts with modern concepts as you see fit to try and find the sounds your looking for. Hope that helps in some way. I don't have so much insight into the tempo aspect of things...check some of Metheny's beastly tempo stuff and see if you get any ideas from that

  4. 111
    Member

    Paul-You hit on a ton stuff in your post, great questions.

    ...if I could suggest, besides learning lines on your own, maybe think about spending time looking for the best (preferably guitar-oriented) music teacher readily accessible in your area and just ask them if they can show you how to nail all those elements you mention in your post. Start by picking one thing to work on, say playing slowly through a tune, but playing all eighth notes keeping them intervalically as close together in key as you can, but don't get too caught up in that until you can flow through a tune. Slow it down as slow as you need to, but play with along with a metronome. Then bring to a boil.

    Good luck and have fun, also check out some of the guitarist mentioned on this website.

  5. Hey paul, I've thought about how to make the best out of fast tempos for a long time and figured that one of the most important things is to stay loose and relaxed. When tempos get faster the tendency is to think more, when you should be thinking less, for example if you're thinking about the frantic pace of the quarter notes on the bass and trying to play eight notes to that the tendency is for you to start moving your wrist faster, harder and tighter and that will kill whatever technique you have. What you should do is think of faster tempos in longer subdivisions like, a fast tune with one chord per bar becomes a medium with two chords per bar, instead of thinking of the straight 4/4 try to "hear" the tune in two feel and play from there, and the faster you go, the more relaxed and loose you play so you don't lock your wrist, this is true for drummers and for us, guitarists as well. I have heard the same idea from Hal Crook and Jerry Bergonzi. I hope it helps you out, and as far as technique, transcribing Adam Rogers "Long Ago And Far Away" from Art Of The Invisible did wonders for me, not only picking wise as super-imposing different groupings over the tempo.
    Let me know how it goes. Peace

  6. Colonel Trane
    Member

    I always try to approach a fast tune as if it's a ballad to help me relax and not think to much about making the tempo.

    Edit page
  7. i know exactly what you mean. ricardo had a really good point with saying you shouldn't tense your body. i used to do that and get really focused and it wouldn't work out. but if i just did it relaxed it would already go much better. one bit of advice i can give is to just practice the chromatic (or another) scale at different tempos with a metronome and work your way up with tempos. it's labor intensive, but it'll pay off in the end. also, i've never heard guys like Jim Hall and Ed Bickert play at those breakneck speeds yet are still amazing. speed isn't everything!

    i'm interested to hear kurt's thoughts on this though.

  8. jbroad
    Member

    jim hall at a breakneck tempo:

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Flash Video

  9. Sandemose
    Member

    There are such great advice here so I dont have much to add, but this is how I work. I sort of systemize and make a check list.

    1. Tempos and subdivisions (quarter notes, 8th, tripplets etc)

    2. Categories of tunes (Boptunes, Blues, Jazzblues, Rhythm changes, Coltrane Changes, Standards etc).

    With tempos and subdivisions I try to investigate my "tempo and subdivision status". I could start with 200 bpm. I take a scale, major, minor, pentatonic whatever, and play quarter notes. Can I do it? Okey, lets say I can. Which subdivisions do I feel comfortable with? I guess its quarter notes, 8th, tripplets (I cant pull of quintuplets or whatever its called). But instead of 8th notes tripplets I play qarter note tripplets. That is next subdivision I know closest to quarter notes. Can I do it? Is the subdivision in it self hard to pull off? Lets say I can do it. The next is 8th notes, streight or swing. I go for tripplets and fail. I dont even bother trying with 16th notes. So, one thing I could do is to increase the metronome to find out were I fail with playing 8th notes (streight/swing). Lets say 230 bpm. How fast can I play quarter tripplets? Lets say 250 bpm. (I have no idea if this is my actuall status, Im just taking this as an example.

    I guess there is were I am when playing a SCALE at faster tempos. It doesnt say anything about my capabilty to play music. So, which is the order from easy to advanced when it comes to categories of tunes mentioned above?

    For me it is: Blues, Jazz Blues, Standards (it depends on the standard of course, but like Autumn Leaves. Lots of II-V-I cadences etc), Boptunes, Rhythm Changes (the last two can mix together sometimes I guess), Coltrane Changes.

    So, I start with 200 bpm again. Go through one tune each from these categories. The result might be 280 bpm on a easier Blues tune, Jazz Blues (tenor madness) perhaps 230 bpm. The Standard end up at 200 bpm. The boptune/rhythm changetune I only feel comfartable with in 180 bpm. Coltrane Changes fail big. What conclusions can I draw from this? 1. I need more chops. I have to work hard to get my technuiqe more stable and accurate with basic structures like arpeggios, scale fragments etc. 2. I need to develop a better feel for subdivisions over different tempos. I need to work with different groupings of subdivisions and increase the tempo with slow pace. Better to have it internalized at slow tempos than anything else. 3. I need better knowledge of different genres/categories of tunes. It is easier to play a blues tune than Coltrane changes. But I need to work on it.

    My two cents.

    Best, Sandemose

  10. Alvin
    Member

    Hey!

    I found a cool woodoo trick on Fareed Haque's webpage once... He said that it helped him a lot when he started to play an egg-shaker while listening to music (from radio or whatever). The thing is that while you're shakin' away, your brain teaches the hand, when to make a move. So basically you're elliminating one problem the brain is dealing with while playing.
    So just five minutes a day for The Amazing Abmaster and another five for the eggshaker! Your speed and time-feel will be on the same level with your washboard-stomach!

    All the best
    Alvin


Reply

You must log in to post.