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Unread 09-10-2012, 08:28 PM   #1
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Hitting a Brick Wall

So, I've been seriously playing guitar for about three years, and I have hit a brick wall. No matter how much I practice, build up speed and tempo, I cannot seem to play anything faster than 16th notes at 120 BPM. Even then that's a struggle (the only thing I feel comfortable playing at that speed is the solo from "Today is the Day" by Lincoln Brewster). I'm trying to learn Eric Johnson's "Cliffs of Dover" and I can a lot of the melody, but I can't seem to play any of the harder parts (read: beginning) at tempo, and can only get them to about 100 BPM at 16th notes. I just can't seem to play fast. Any advice on it? Do I just need to keep shedding away at it? If it helps, I'm playing on Ernie Ball 9s and using a Jazz III pick. I've considered using a medium heavy pick instead, but I gotta wait til I get to Guitar Center to pick up a few different kinds of picks.

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Unread 09-10-2012, 08:35 PM   #2
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I must of missunderstood you, 16th notes at 120 bpm is FAST, 140 is about the highest you have to go to play almost any song at all...

Anyways, how do you pratice with the mertonome? what do you do?
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Unread 09-10-2012, 08:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentl View Post
I must of missunderstood you, 16th notes at 120 bpm is FAST, 140 is about the highest you have to go to play almost any song at all...

Anyways, how do you pratice with the mertonome? what do you do?
16th notes at 140BPM is actually what Cliffs of Dover starts at...so yeah haha XD. What I usually do is I start super slow (50-65 BPM at 8th notes depending on the complexity of the lead line) and practice the lick until I can play it at least 5 times in a row without screwing up. Then I bump up the tempo 5-7 BPM (depending on if the metronome can be adjusted by 1BPM or has predetermined intervals). I continue this until I get up to tempo (if I can).

There was one song I was learning (Winter Mvt. 1 from Vivaldi's Seasons) that had 32nd notes at 70BPM, which translates out to 16th notes at 140. THAT was insane (2 string skipping, 1 string skipping, alternate picking into tapping...that was hard (granted, I arranged it myself XD). I did the same thing, but could only get to 50 BPM at 32nd notes.
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Unread 09-11-2012, 08:19 AM   #4
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Hey bro, you can try this I found it helped me improve my speed. Practice just tremolo picking with no fret hand intervention. I actually use this to warm up before I play. Start at your comfort level 120 BPM using 16th notes, and begin tremoloing on the 6th string, then move to the 5th, 4th, etc. keep doing this until you feel comfortable playing at that speed then move your metronome up to 124 BPM and try that speed. I can only speak for myself but usually my left hand can keep up to whatever speed my right hand is picking at (or left hand if you're a leftie). When you feel warmed up or up to speed (no pun intended) try some scales to synchronize your hands...There are many ways, but it just ends up to good old practicing.
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Unread 09-11-2012, 08:24 AM   #5
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As far as picks are concerned...I prefer a 1.5mm pick. This is an extremely heavy pick that does not bend at all. I found through experimentation that the more stiff a pick is the faster string transition is. Again, this how I play, you may find something else easier for you.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 08:34 AM   #6
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If you are looking for technique help on single string speed picking or sweep picking hit up youtube and look into some 'metal' guitar techniques.
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Unread 11-07-2012, 12:20 PM   #7
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Sometimes you just need to push yourself through that wall I have gotten stuck myself and found I was being such a perfectionist at my "top" speed that I wouldn't let myself go any higher. I finally just upped the tempo a little past where I was comfortable with and played a little sloppy until I wasn't sloppy anymore. Eat, sleep, repeat.
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Unread 11-07-2012, 12:35 PM   #8
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I wonder if there is too much tension in your writst... I can't play fast at all so I'm no expert ---- but do know that tension is the enemy of speed in both guitar and piano...
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Unread 12-07-2015, 12:39 PM   #9
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that as crazy tempo. what trying to do is play at 480 bpm. if my math correct and in 4/4 time. I dive 4/16 which equals 0.25. 120/0.25=480
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