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Sammy J

Fast licks

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Any advice on building speed on the guitar when playing licks please? I am struggling to play fast licks. I'm not talking about shredding, I just want to be able to do one of those super cliche bluesy scale runs. I've got the notes, the music theory etc. However I just can't do it fast. Any advice would be helpful please. Thanks.

Edited by Sammy J

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4 minutes ago, Sammy J said:

...Any advice would be helpful please. Thanks.

The fastest way to build up speed is to slow down. Get a metronome (or similar 'app' type of thing...), and play the licks, scales, runs etc at a comfortable speed. Every week, turn the metronome up 5 bpm, rinse and repeat. Do not try to play fast. Play at a regular speed, and increase it slowly. That's the fastest, and most sure-fire, way to build up speed. B|
Disclaimer : a medium-sized bucket of Patience is required; it helps a lot. Renew whenever it runs out (as I suspect it might 9_9 ...).

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You're right, it does run out! I've been avoiding the metronome for so long, but I do appreciate its importance so I'm going to start using it properly. We all start somewhere so I do need to be more patient. Thanks for the advice!

 

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3 hours ago, Sammy J said:

You're right, it does run out! I've been avoiding the metronome for so long, but I do appreciate its importance so I'm going to start using it properly. We all start somewhere so I do need to be more patient. Thanks for the advice!

 

I agree with Dad3353, control and quality of playing is more important than speed.  So yeah, slow it down, work on your notes, get control of the piece and then play slightly faster until you make mistakes.  Once you make a mistake, stick at that speed for a while until you get control again.  

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As annoying as it is, I've found everything above to be true.

It's just taken me about 4 weeks to get one 2 bar run up to tempo for a recording I need to do. I knew what I wanted to play, but could only manage it about half speed. I did try to take a shortcut, but all the way along I knew what was probably the only way... so I went for it, same run  every time I picked up the guitar, increasing the metronome by a couple of BPM every few days when I could do it comfortably.

It's probably not even that fast or complex for a proper guitarist, but there's a sense of achievement playing it right (almost) every time now. 

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Exactly and even more of a sense of achievement if you can manage to get close to your fave guitarist!

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Improvising was what I had in mind when I was writing my question, however answers concerning playing well-known licks are also helpful, thanks.

Edited by Sammy J

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On 15/11/2020 at 22:10, Dad3353 said:

The fastest way to build up speed is to slow down

THIS 🙂

On 15/11/2020 at 22:10, Dad3353 said:

Get a metronome

Careful, he'll get a sense of timing and you'll turn him into a bass player...

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On 21/11/2020 at 22:21, Sammy J said:

Improvising was what I had in mind when I was writing my question, however answers concerning playing well-known licks are also helpful, thanks.

In that case I would recommend the following:

1. Improvisation generally works best if you have a half decent understanding of and familiarity with scales. For Blues and early Rock, the minor pentatonic would be a good place to start. Some would doubtless recommend the Blues scale but in truth you don't really need it as you can simply add blue notes into your pentatonic scale as your skill develops. In learning scales, don't forget that the reason you're learning them is so that you can play music. I haven't taught for some years so I'm a bit out of touch, but you can get Blues backing tracks as freebies off the internet - I've just had a quick look on Youtube and there's loads of 'em. Metronomes are ok for building speed and accuracy into your scales, but not recommended for playing actual music IME. As time passes and your technique develops you can start looking at other scale types; Major scale and some of it's modes would be a good place to go next. You may develop an interest in Jazz improvisation, but fair warning, that's another ballgame entirely.

2. Depending on your preferred playing style it might be a good idea to start looking at some fretting-hand techniques: slides, hammers, pulls and string bending are all important tools for Blues and Rock improvisation. Again, there's plenty of guidance around the net.

3. Whilst it is possible to pick up standard licks, trying to learn them in isolation is definitely doing it the hard way. You'll have a better chance of learning them effectively if you've spent some time developing the techniques needed to play them

4. If you can afford it, try to get some lessons from a good teacher. Yes it's an expensive way to do it, but you'll get the benefit of a structured approach and expert guidance. Getting things right the first time is a lot less painful than having to sort bad habits ten years down the line. Your money your choice of course, but just so I've said it.

5. Don't expect to be reeling off classy Blues licks in a couple of weeks; improvisational skill takes time, practice, perseverence and patience. Learn how to manage your expectations. You will get bad days, so be prepared for them and don't let them put you off. Worst case scenario, you can always put the guitar down and come back to it tomorrow.

 

Edited by leftybassman392
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Good advice from all above, the only thing I would say is that for me playing along to a metronome is slightly less boring than watching paint dry.

Playing along with drums can make things a bit more interesting, plenty of free apps available on the t'internet.

Also playing along with songs can be good as this will also work your 'ear' as you find the key and how to fit the licks.

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