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faster tempos

 
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stratnut
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Joined: 09 Oct 2009
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:59 pm    Post subject: faster tempos Reply with quote

Here's a question for ya'll

On a good day I think I'm pretty halfway decent at playing a slow to moderate blues. But, when the tempo goes up it all just falls apart. I've been playing for 30 years so I can fall back on som stuff that gets me through, (I'm thingkning Johnny B. Goode here), but I can't seem to get smooth 16th note lines happening over this. I mostly fall back on blues box Hendrix/Stevie Ray stuff, and chuck berry type riffs.

What I'd like to do is get smoother linear stuff happening, and although country licks aren't necessarily smooth, they tend to be more chord oriented, which is what I'm after. I use Mixo and major and minor pentatoics interchangeably but, like I said, at faster tempos it just gets rough.

Any solos I can check out? Any ideas?
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frank0936
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Joined: 26 Nov 2003
Posts: 916
Location: Fairhope, AL

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:34 am    Post subject: speed Reply with quote

How is your right hand technique? Do you use mostly down strokes or is your alternate picking (up and down) pretty good? When I practice my scales - and I use those same ones a lot - I alternate pick each note and try to gradually work up my speed. I also try to work through all the patterns of the pentatonics so I'm not stuck in any one spot. That has helped me feel more comfortable, and has helped my speed, too. Somebody asked Robben once how to craft a solo. He said, "I figure out where the wrong notes are - and I don't play 'em". I thought that was a pretty rude answer until I started working the patterns up and down the board and figured out that there are more right notes than wrong - so learning which notes don't work is actually easier! I hope some of this rambling helped!
Frank
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stratnut
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Joined: 09 Oct 2009
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:25 am    Post subject: right hand technique Reply with quote

I think my right hand technique can be very good when I woodshed a LOT with a metronome. But realistically my playing is pretty choppy at faster tempos. I use alternating picking. Iv'e recently started to use some Hybrid picking, which really helps me get my string crossing to sound smoother (when my fingers work). When I play fast 16ths and altenate between the B and E strings a couple times my picking gets choppy so the extra fingers help with that.

You're right about the wrong notes. Thats where recording oneself can really help. I've found that I can play the same wrong notes or bad sounding phrases over and over in the moment. Somehow I don't hear how bad it sounds. But when I play it back it becomes obvious which notes to avoid or figure out why they don't sound right.

Speedy pentatonic lines can sound really cool, but mine tend to be kind of like I'm just running up and down scales. So thats an other area to work on.

After posting my original question I came up with some suggestions for myself.

Number one would be to make a rhythm track at a tempo where I can flesh out and execute my ideas and gradually record faster ones once I get proficient at the slower tempos.

Also this morning when I was practicing I found that major ideas over the three chords lent themselve to more melodic ideas, with the trade off of sounding slightly less cool or more square. When I slowed down and stopped trying to cram 16th runs in everywhere then the ideas started to flow. I still want the 16ths for excitement so thats an area to work on, but if I have to choose between musicality and fast lines mared by my limited technique then I know what I'll choose.
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frank0936
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Joined: 26 Nov 2003
Posts: 916
Location: Fairhope, AL

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:41 pm    Post subject: speed Reply with quote

Those are good ideas. I especially like the idea of developing a melodic line. After you do that, then you can find some places to throw in short fast runs and keep it smooth. Leaving space in your playing can do that, too. Take breaks for breathing like a sax or horn player would. "Stand Alone Tracks" from Alfred have a CD with around a dozen tracks in different styles and tempos and allow you to play along with a full rhythm section. They are available for different types of music. They also have suggestions for what scales to use for soloing, too.
Frank
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