HomeForumsGuitar InstructorsIs it worth practicing a single lick for 30 minutes a day?

This topic contains 38 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  superblonde 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #5833

    barks62
    Participant

    The Speed and Accuracy challenge proved how much you can accomplish by practicing one single thing for 30 minutes a day.  One of the major problems I have with my playing is picking speed.  When I’m trying to learn a solo, I get to those fast parts and just can’t get my pick hand to work fast enough.  Which is probably ok, since my fretting hand probably wouldn’t work fast enough either, but I digress…

    When it comes to my own attempts to write solos, I usually don’t even try any fast stuff because I just can’t play it.  Or I tab out a fast part, but end up dumbing it down for the final version because it’s too fast.  Today I got to thinking, would it be helpful to throw the 30 minute strategy at a single repeating speed lick and see what happens?  Maybe not a non-stop 30 minutes because my hand might fall off without a break, but you get the idea.  If you take one single speed lick and focused on it every day, do you think my picking could go from below average to legitimately fast?  Or would it be better to just continue practicing varied techniques to improve my overall playing?

    I get the feeling that if I can’t throw eight hours a day into my playing, I’m just not going to be a fast player, even for one lick.  If I could play just one fast repeater, I’d be thrilled to throw that in every solo I ever play.

  • #5834

    barks62
    Participant

    I feel like I should clarify this question:

    If you’re just an average or below average player, is it worth practicing the same lick for 30 minutes to be able to play one thing fast?  Or is it better to broaden your focus and try to improve all aspects of your playing?

    The “or” part is what I’ve been doing.  And now I’m average at everything else, but still can’t play anything fast.

  • #5835

    stringbender
    Participant

    I have to say yes it is worth practicing  a single lick for 30 minutes, I use guitar pro (didn’t know how to use the speed trainer till this site).  I actually spend more than that on a lick and I don’t even realize how much time has gone by, don’t dwell on how long your are practicing and just take small steps to get faster.  1 bar at a time upto speed is a start and then start putting it all together.

    Tim

  • #5836

    grondak
    Participant

    The speed and accuracy challenge tab is close to the same 3 licks repeated all the way down the fretboard.

    I’m on the “accuracy” part of the speed and accuracy challenge nowadays.  The speed part went from 50/55 bp to around 140bpm,  but not as accurate as I would have it . My friends on the forum provided gracious feedback and I took it to heart. I was playing ~120 today with much improved form.  I am not nearly as embarrassed by today’s playing. I had to really move my picking speed up to get from 50 to 140. There were days when I practiced tremolo picking for 10 minutes straight just to figure it out.  A lot of picking speed is finger placement– you can’t pick when the note isn’t fretted, for example.

    Here’s the deal: for the challenge, we have played the same licks over and over for a month or even months.  I learned a lot about practicing in that time and am reaping the rewards.  Practice every day.  Practice twice a day if you can.  I get up at 6:30 AM to practice for 30 min before work.  Practice well: go slowly and make corrections quickly.  Video yourself.  Ramp the speed up. If you stumble, slow back down and do another stint at the slower speed. Those four things are essential to good practice.  If you practice once well, you gain much more than a lot of times poorly.  I’m no guitar instructor but I thought I’d give an answer because I spend so much time on speed and accuracy.

    It is absolutely worth it. Make your hottest solo into your own challenge.

     

    Metal Method is helping me across the board!

  • #5837

    barks62
    Participant

    If you guys could pick one repeating lick to focus on, what would it be?

  • #5838

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    I thought the S&A exercise 13 or whatever was intended as “the one single all-supreme greatest practice lick ever for getting better at all guitar solos in the world forever and ever or at least pentatonically that is”. 😀

    Maybe what you are really asking is this:
    “Do the skills learned from S&A exercises really translate into being able to play faster solos on other typical metal songs or on my own songs?”

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #5839

    barks62
    Participant

    That’s part of it, superblonde.  The other part is, if I’m only an average or below average player, is it worth sacrificing 30 minutes a day (1/4 to 1/2 of my average practice time) on one single lick?

  • #5840

    MotleyCrue81
    Participant

    When practicing a lick, you’ll want to start slow and play it perfectly. Playing it perfectly at a slower tempo is the only way to get it down at the normal tempo. The S&A is not a program that gives you the technique to play any lick. The purpose of S&A is to improve precision of frethand finger placement and picking the string simultaneously for super clean playing. The program builds up your speed and accuracy, hence the name haha. It’s not a cure-all that will make you able to play every lick. When you keep upping the tempo on the lick you’re practicing, you’ll notice that you kind of reach a gray area where instead of having so much muscle control with your pick hand, you just have to let it fly and run in your subconscious. That right there is what is attained over time with S&A. Frethand finger placement should really be the only difficult part. But the only way to make it easy is with many repetitions so that the technique to play the lick is ingrained into your fingers and head. I’ve probably played the lead for Stage 5 hundreds of times, and that’s why when I play it I don’t really need to think too much, my hands just take care of it.

    Bring hair metal back!

  • #5847

    grondak
    Participant

    Try 30 min a day for 1 month. Pick your lick.  In the scheme of life and the future and practice time, this is a small tradeoff. Watch what happens to the rest of your playing. Then tell us what happens! 🙂

    Metal Method is helping me across the board!

  • #5856

    barks62
    Participant

    Today was my third day in a row of putting a solid 30 minutes of the same repeating lick. I’m setting a timer on my metronome, then doing 5 minutes at a time. I don’t think I could do 30 straight minutes, lol. I’ll check back in a month and see what happens.

  • #5857

    grondak
    Participant

    Stretch your fingers from time to time. I don’t do 30 straight but play some barre chords or something for a pause. I am still no instructor but 30 minutes on the same lick has let me find all kinds of things that I can correct with my playing. Join us in the Speed and Accuracy challenge, sir?

    Metal Method is helping me across the board!

  • #5874

    2handband
    Participant

    if I’m only an average or below average player, is it worth sacrificing 30 minutes a day (1/4 to 1/2 of my average practice time) on one single lick?

     

    Absolutely. If you practice one thing you’re practicing everything. When you focus intensely on a single lick that will improve your picking speed, you’ll find that your improved picking speed makes EVERYTHING else easier. You’re not thinking of your right hand as much, so you’re free to concentrate on other stuff that may be giving you trouble.

    As for what to practice, my general rule over the years is “whatever I’m trying to learn at the moment”. Come up against something you can’t play? Turn it into an exercise and beat it like a dead horse until you can play it. Not just until you can play it… practice it till it’s easy.

    A trick: when learning a new song, MASTER each part before moving on to the next. The intro riff should be practiced until you can play it in your sleep, then the next section, then the next section. Don’t move on until the part you’re working on is easy to play.

    One more trick: if you’re having trouble with a lick that’s more than a few notes, you might come to realize that it’s only a very small part of the lick that’s giving you a problem. Just work on that little part; no sense wasting practice time plowing through the whole lick.

    Speaking of wasting time, I recommend avoiding speed trainers. Because lead-in. You get to the end of the lick, then have to wait for it to count you in again. That’s nuts, and a huge waste of limited practice time. Use a metronome. That allows you to just loop yourself back around without ever breaking stride, thus maximizing your precious practice time. You’ll also develop better time-keeping skills when you’re just playing against the raw beat without anything else to serve a s a guide.

  • #5878

    TommyZ
    Participant

    For me it’s always about applying what you’ve learned.Yes it’s important to learn something new but applying is just as important review also so keep those notes dates times content etc.. Good luck!!

    "The level of achievement that we have at anything is a reflection of how well we're able to focus on it " Steve Vai

  • #5884

    PaulWolfe
    Participant

    I’ve been working on the lead fill from Crazy Train from the first chorus and the 2nd lead fill from Mr. Crowley in exactly the way you describe in your initial post – isolating just that fill for extended periods (maybe 30 minutes maybe 20) at a time. I often use Guitar Pro to slow step up the speed until I can’t play it correctly anymore (just like the Speed & Accuracy method). I’ve gotten better at both licks, but I’m nowhere near the recording’s tempo yet.

     

    I’ve also avoided fast parts for years because I’m simply not that good yet. Hopefully one day I’ll hit the speeds I hope for (I’m farther along now than I ever thought I’d be), so I keep working at it.

  • #5892

    TommyZ
    Participant

    Thats key keeping at it! Play slow and clean nail the part then repeat it’s not a race it’s to help you get comfortable and confident with the lick at your own pace.Good Luck!!

    "The level of achievement that we have at anything is a reflection of how well we're able to focus on it " Steve Vai

  • #6305

    barks62
    Participant

    Well, it’s been over a month now.  I worked on the same lick for 30 minutes every day since starting this post.  I have to say – it was kind of a waste of time.

    Not that the practice time was a waste.  I just wish I was practicing something more relevant to the way I play.  The problem is, it’s meant to be a speed lick, and I can’t play fast.  I started playing the lick In 16th notes at about 50 bpm.  By the end of the month, I had it up to 90 bpm.  Yes, that’s a good improvement, but it’s nowhere near fast enough to actually use.

    I’m going to spend the next month trying to improve my ear.  Then, I hope to improve my melody writing.  I think there has to be a way to be an effective lead guitar player without playing fast; I just can’t seem to figure it out.  And being an effective lead player is my goal.  Being able to write good solos is my goal.  I thought adding some speed to my toolbox would help, but that didn’t happen.  So, it’s on to Plan B.

  • #6315

    MotleyCrue81
    Participant

    If you think about it though, you practically doubled your speed at which you can play the lick. I’d say that’s some great improvement. Even though it’s not as fast as you’d like, don’t worry because speed will come with time. It’s kind of just like a gear that you shift into and sometimes it can take a while for people to find that gear. Speed is always acquired over time, nobody is able to shred without having put in many many hours of practice. And it is possible to play lead guitar without having to completely shred, I’m sure you’ve heard KISS songs before.  😉 A lot of times the slower more melodic solos are more memorable than the lightning fast ones. A lot of times arpeggios with a little bit of flair can sound pretty cool for something to be played at a more relaxed tempo.

    Bring hair metal back!

  • #6317

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    The natural question is, if you take a similar solo (from the same guitarist, in the same band, so it will probably have the same riff style), can you now play that at near 90 bpm without spending a month practicing it? That would mean that the time you have spent is a transferable skill.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #6318

    barks62
    Participant

    The natural question is, if you take a similar solo (from the same guitarist, in the same band, so it will probably have the same riff style), can you now play that at near 90 bpm without spending a month practicing it? That would mean that the time you have spent is a transferable skill.

    No doubt it is a transferrable skill.  My picking speed has always been terrible so doing anything to improve that will help.  I would just feel much, much better if I had spent that time on a useable skill.  Metal Method, to me, has always been about efficiency.  It’s more efficient to practice the correct thing the correct way than to just play random stuff all the time.  I feel like trying to play shred licks is the same as playing random, useless stuff for me (for me, not for everybody)  I feel like me trying to fight against my nature, while not entirely useless, was not a very efficient use of practice time.  I think I would see more improvement if I could accept that I’m not going to be a fast player any time soon, and work to improve things that can make me an effective lead player in spite of that.  Unfortunately, I have no clue how to do that, lol…

    If you think about it though, you practically doubled your speed at which you can play the lick. I’d say that’s some great improvement. Even though it’s not as fast as you’d like, don’t worry because speed will come with time. It’s kind of just like a gear that you shift into and sometimes it can take a while for people to find that gear. Speed is always acquired over time, nobody is able to shred without having put in many many hours of practice.

    I agree with this.  But, being 39 already, I’m not sure I want to spend the next 10 years focusing only on improving my speed.  I’d rather do something to become a better player without the speed.  I mean, let’s assume for a second that I can learn to write killer solos without playing fast.  IF I can do that, then if I ever develop the ability to play super fast, my solos will be even better, right?  I’m not saying I can never be a fast player… I’m saying I don’t think it’s the best thing for me to focus on right now.  And it’s probably best for me to be ok with it if I never develop lightning fast speed.  That way, instead of constantly feeling like I’m failing, I can be happy with what I do well.

    A lot of times the slower more melodic solos are more memorable than the lightning fast ones.

    Yes, and this is who I want to be.  I just have no clue yet how to get there.

    Like I said, I want to spend the next month trying to improve my ear, which is the only aspect of my playing that’s as bad as my picking speed, lol.  I’m also not sure how to do that, but I’m gonna try.

  • #6323

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    improve my ear

    Transcribing gives me a big improvements when I do it. But wow, it’s frustrating. It really hit home to me a couple months ago that the ear is much like a muscle and best put thru a daily workout too just like S&A.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #6337

    2handband
    Participant

    First off… it’s already been said, but 50 to 90 is damn near double. That’s extremely impressive improvement for 30 days. I’m not sure I get your complaint. I also don’t see how it’s unusable; ANY improvement in speed means you can now play stuff you couldn’t play before. So you can create cool licks that are faster than the cool licks you could create before. Even if you’re not as fast as you would like to be, you win.

    Secondly, who says you have to practice speed exclusively for the next ten years? You’ve just proved to yourself you can make excellent progress in a month on only 30 minutes a day… what could you do if you doubled that? Better still, what if you spent 30 minutes with the metronome, then spent a couple hours watching a movie while you practiced the lick over and over on your unplugged guitar? You could have that bitch up to 160BPM in a matter of months, and then what kind of cool fast licks could you come up with?

    Of course, training your ear is a good idea; it’s the single most important thing a musician can do. But I wouldn’t ignore technique in the meantime, because technique is what allows you to play the music in your head. It sucks when you have something you want to play but can’t physically produce it.

    OTOH, I’m certainly not suggesting you can’t make great music with limited technique… Pete Townshend, anyone? I’m not sure how to address the problem you’re referring to, that of how to make great music with what you’ve got. Maybe this: music is in your head first, THEN on your instrument. Never the other way around. The idea is you play melodic ideas. I somehow get the impression you’re trying to get the music out of the instrument rather than your brain. Am I making sense?

    A few soloists you should listen to: Pete Townshend I already mentioned. Check out John Fogerty from the Creedence days. He (and this is pretty much his own words) became famous before he became a good guitar player, so he took what he had and made it work. Listen to The Cars; Elliot Easton is a master at playing simple, melodic solos. Also check out Neil Schon from Journey; the man does have some serious shred chops but he’s at his best when he’s playing melodically. A monkey could play the Don’t Stop Believin’ solo… and it kills.

  • #6341

    barks62
    Participant

    My only complaint is that I didn’t end up with something I could use in songs.  I improved a lot, but I would feel better about things if I had something I could throw in a song.

    I’m not going to forget about technique practice.  I’ve just been on this kick lately where I dedicate a larger chunk of practice time to focus on one problem area.  So for the next month or so I’m going to spend that time really focused on ear training.  Here’s a story that I think is hilarious… I took singing lessons for six months last year, with the hope that my ear would improve.  In one of my last lessons, my teacher was remarking about how bad my ear still was.  Her exact words were “I don’t understand why it’s so bad…”  So yeah, it’s a problem area, lol.

  • #6342

    barks62
    Participant

    One guitarist I’ve really grown to like since learning to play is Matt Bellamy from Muse.  He doesn’t do the 80’s style shredding that I grew up with, but so many of his solos are so damn perfect for the song.  And he does some really creative things that revolve around the arpeggios of the song’s chord changes (which is why they are so perfect for the songs…).  Anyway, I hope to someday develop that kind of creativity and sense of melody, even if I can’t shred.

    But like I said, first I have to stop being tone deaf…

  • #6346

    MotleyCrue81
    Participant

    I never really liked Muse a whole lot but I did have to play one of their songs for an event at school. The deal for the event was that we had three days to come up with a set list. We played 4 songs and one of them was Panic Station by Muse. I learned the song completely in several hours.  :p I mean it’s an ok song but man the solo was weak haha, I don’t even think I needed to use one upstroke for it.  :p I just don’t see what’s so special about Muse. I guess they just appeal to the people that like the mostly untalented pop scene that’s out there today. But you’re right about the arpeggios, the song has some in there. And for ear training, there’s actually some phone apps that turn that type of stuff into games and it’s pretty fun. I know of GuiitarTuna, you should give it a try. Try to search for others too.

    Bring hair metal back!

  • #6347

    barks62
    Participant

    See, there is nothing special about the Panic Station solo, except that it sticks in my head because of the groove it carries.  Same with Madness, Hysteria, etc… from Muse.  I think that Bellamy finds creative melodies and uses them to fit the song.  I wouldn’t personally call Muse untalented pop, but that’s just me.  I know I wish I could come up with the kinds of melodies he uses in his solos.

    I did get an ear trainer app this week.  They play intervals and you have to figure out what interval it is.  When I started, I would actually play the guitar along with the app to help figure out what the notes were, and I was still only getting them right about 40% of the time, lol.  But I’m getting better.

    • #6353

      MotleyCrue81
      Participant

      I didn’t say that Muse was untalented pop haha, I just said that a lot of people that like the artists in the mostly untalented pop scene seem to like Muse a lot. I just have a personal thing with music today and the lack of talent and people supporting untalented artists.. rap.. yadda yadda.. I’m weird.  😛 Anyways, that’s good to hear that you’re improving. It’s all the little bits of improvement here and there that eventually turn people into MAB guitar gods if they keep at it hard enough.

      Bring hair metal back!

    • #6432

      barks62
      Participant

      I gotcha. It’s all good. And yeah, the little improvements over time are what become huge improvements. I get that. I just want to be as efficient as possible.

  • #6351

    2handband
    Participant

    I’m still not getting you. What do you mean, you can’t use it in the context of a song? Any increase in speed should allow you to play licks that are faster than the ones you could play before, and you almost doubled. How is that not usable in real terms?

  • #6354

    grondak
    Participant

    My fastest “reliable” Speed and Accuracy rate is 120bpm playing quarter-note triplets.  3 notes per beat means that is 360 notes per minute, or straight-up 6 beats per second (I heard shred speed is minimum 10-12 bps) You mentioned 90bpm sixteenth notes.  That’s 4 notes per beat, which is exactly the same bpm , 360. My fingers are flying at 120 and at 140 they are a blur to me.  I’ll get up there to 10-12bps one day but for now I am working to revamp how I hold the neck, fret notes, and hold the pick to make playing even easier.  I think you’ve done <i>fantastically, </i>barks, sir!!

    Metal Method is helping me across the board!

  • #6366

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    50 to 90 is damn near double.

    90 is also where it gets really hard, right? Barks, maybe you should keep going just another 20 days to get over the hump.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #6371

    2handband
    Participant

    50 to 90 is damn near double.

    90 is also where it gets really hard, right? Barks, maybe you should keep going just another 20 days to get over the hump.

    Well… to tell you the truth, once you get close to or north of 100 this is where you really want to think about taking three or four weeks and just spending every spare second of time you have practicing. Critical mass; it’s not just how much total time you’ve spent. Cramming A LOT of practicing into a short amount of time sends a powerful signal to the brain to allocate a lot of resources to developing that skill. I get that barks is 39 and has way more responsibilities than a teenager, but I’m 41 and have sole custody of two young kids, the eldest of which I am home-schooling (and volunteering with the 4H club she’s in). My secret? One: I practice after the kids are in bed. Two: I practice when the TV is on (I keep their TV watching pretty limited, but it still buys me 30-60 minutes a day). I still generally manage to grab 2 hours overall.

    Bear in mind you don’t have to do this all the time; I doubt anyone really does. But if you can grab 2-4 week periods in which you are practicing like an insane maniac (2-4 hours a day) and concentrating almost all of that on a single skill, you’ll be astounded what that can do for your playing. I’ll log back in later today with some suggestions on how to really supercharge things (including a couple of things that in my opinion almost all methods get wrong).

  • #6392

    2handband
    Participant

    Okay, a little delayed but i promised some tips. How to supercharge your practicing:

    1) When you are trying to seriously improve a difficult skill such as fast alternate picking, you’ll die before you get what you want if you’re only doing 30 minutes a day. You did great… but now you’re reaching the point where it gets hard. Nor do you need to practice 4 hours a day for a year. What you need is periods of at least ten days at a stretch where you cram a ridiculous amount of playing into the shortest possible timespan. The idea is to get your brain to allocate extra resources to improving the skill quickly. So if you can get in 2-6 hours a day for maybe 2-4 weeks, you’ll be on your way.

    2) No matter your age, this is NOT a waste of time. The old saying that if you practice one thing you practice everything is really true; improving your picking speed will improve your overall control of the instrument and EVERYTHING will be that little bit smoother and easier. You’ll do much better just focusing on one thing and making it your bitch before moving on.

    3) When you’re working on picking speed, you’re not working on being faster on a single string. Being fast on a single string is easy! It’s cross-string picking that’s hard; in fact it’s one of the most difficult guitar skills to master. When it comes to string shifts, I have to agree with Tom Hess on one point: strict alternate picking is nothing but a waste of motion. You should always, always, always choose the shortest path to the next string. The basic rule for string shifts is: use alternate picking when necessary, and economy picking when possible. This is not anything anybody taught me (and in fact I wondered if I was the only person who picked like that), but it just seemed to make sense, so I rolled with it. It bothers me that most methods (if they cover this at all) treat it as advanced technique. It’s only harder at first because you REALLY have to think about your picking until you get acclimated, but I learned it as a beginner with no instruction whatsoever. That means with instruction it shouldn’t be an issue.

    4) Here’s an issue that I have with almost every method I’ve encountered, and judging by his interviews I think I have Yngwie on my side on this one. When focusing on developing your right-hand technique it is critical to focus 100% of your attention on the right hand. What I did once I really hit the wall speed-wise was to devise a series of exercises to focus exclusively on right-hand string shifts. I played nothing at all with my left hand; just muted the strings and spent as much time as possible just repeating those string-shift exercises. No licks, no sequences, nothing but picking muted strings with a metronome. It worked AMAZINGLY. I can almost never get my students to take these exercises seriously, but the handful that do have always shown excellent results. If you want I will post some samples.

    Hope some of that helps.

  • #6429

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    periods of at least ten days at a stretch where you cram a ridiculous amount of playing into the shortest possible timespan. … If you want I will post some samples.

    I’d be interested in seeing this. You might have to post more details about how to go about it though. For example MAB has the story about practicing a riff 1,000 times in a day and I’m not sure if he says how he kept count — I just typically lose count after 15 mins, which sounds silly though it’s true, so I’ve wondered about practice details like that. So if you mean, repeat so-and-so exercise for 2 hours straight at bpm so-and-so, followed by changing the bpm to so-and-so for the next 1 hour, or whatever the routine might be, then you’d have to describe that quite literally. I have found that doing sprints focused on one thing is what really seem to net me a jump in progress.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #6430

    barks62
    Participant

    I’m still not getting you. What do you mean, you can’t use it in the context of a song? Any increase in speed should allow you to play licks that are faster than the ones you could play before, and you almost doubled. How is that not usable in real terms?

    Well, the lick I was focused on is supposed to be a “shred” type of lick.  It just doesn’t sound right played at 90 bpm.  So to throw that into a song just wouldn’t work.  At least it sounds like it wouldn’t work.  But then I read this:

    Well… to tell you the truth, once you get close to or north of 100 this is where you really want to think about taking three or four weeks and just spending every spare second of time you have practicing.

    And it filled me with some hope.  At 90 bpm, am I really close to having a real shred type lick here?  This was almost a question that I asked… how fast is “fast enough”?  I know, it’s never really fast enough, but fast enough to use??  It doesn’t sound like I’m playing all that fast when I’m at 90 bpm.  I’ve clocked it out at slower speeds just to make sure I’m really playing 16th notes, and I am, but even at 90 it doesn’t sound too impressive to me.  But should I stick with it and try to get up to, say, 110?  Which may or may not be realistic, I’m not sure, I’m just throwing a number out there.  If I can play something at 16th notes at 110, would that sound like I know what I’m doing?? (assuming it’s clean, of course).  Here I am thinking that I’ll need to play it at 200 bpm to make it useable.

    Like I said before, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks REALLY focusing on ear training.  I have religiously put 30 minutes a day or more into it, no matter how boring it is, lol.  I’ve also tried to focus on melody, and trying to do interesting things with the skills that I have.  I think I’ve come up with some of the best solos I’ve ever done in that time, too.  That’s not saying much, but it means I’m improving at least.   And it doesn’t feel like I’m bashing my head off a brick wall trying to come up with stuff.  That was the most frustrating part… trying to come up with a solo and having absolutely nothing.

    Needless to say, I’m looking forward to Doug’s next four newsletters!  That’s an colossal understatement, too.  Those soloing lessons sound like they were made for me!

    • #6439

      superblonde
      Keymaster

      how fast is “fast enough”?

      Survey says..

      Black Sabbath War Pigs – Iommi solo, 8th notes 120 BPM
      Megadeth Breadline – Marty Friedman solo, 8th notes 126 BPM
      Guns n’ Roses November Rain – Slash solo, 16th notes 78 BPM
      BTO Let It Ride – solo 16th notes 104 BPM
      Wasp Hellion – Blackie Lawless solo 8th notes, Chris Holmes solo 16th triplets 214 BPM
      Johnny Winter Good Morning Little School Girl – solo 8th triplets 176 BPM
      Pantera Cowboys From Hell – Dimebag solo, 16th note 6-tuplets 112 BPM
      Eric Johnson Cliffs of Dover – solo 16th triplets 190 BPM
      Anthrax Only – 32nd notes 112 BPM
      Motley Crue Dr Feelgood – Mick Mars solo, 32nd notes 113 BPM
      Megadeth Mechanix – Mustaine solo, 8th triplets 215 BPM
      Metallica Master of Puppets – solo 8th triplets at 220 BPM

      I looked all thru some stuff and I don’t have any AIC tabs! Crazy.
      Anyway maybe someone wants to do the math for comparative notes-per-second.

      I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
      And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

    • #6755

      superblonde
      Keymaster

      Steve Vai Rescue Me or Bury Me — Steve Vai solo 32nd notes 6-, 7-, and 9-tuplets with and without tapping 72 BPM

      The good news is that it’s only 72 BPM. The bad news.. should be obvious. The final good news is that after playing this solo at tempo you’ll likely never have to worry about anything ever again in Metal. The final bad news… Steve Vai may have recorded the final track in a single take.

      AIC… well within reach.. more known for their harmony rather than solos of course..

      Alice in Chains Rooster – Jerry Cantrell solo 8th notes 69 BPM
      Alice in Chains Brother – solo 16th notes 96 BPM

      I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
      And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

      Attachments:
      1. Steve-Vai-Rescue-Me-or-Bury-Me.png

  • #6431

    barks62
    Participant

    But thanks for the advice, guys.  I’m gonna keep plugging away.  I just want to make sure I’m making the best use of my time.  That’s my goal, make sure I get the most out of my practice time and translate that into decent music.

  • #6441

    barks62
    Participant

    Excellent work, Superblonde!!!

  • #22618

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    Soooo I’ve definitely proved this false “Is it worth practicing a single lick for 30 minutes a day?”

    [ edit.. this question could be taken multiple ways but I think it is really about “learning a single lick that is faster than current max playing speed” and not about a lick that is easy or tricky and simply needs to be learned.. ]

    1. It takes way longer than 30 days to get a faster “max” speed on anything. Like try 90 days or 120 days.

    2. Pretty much all research says that 30 minutes is too much time on a single thing, and that 10-15 or sometimes 20 minutes is the max. Altho many older guitarists claim they got better by playing the same lick while watching an entire movie (1+ hrs), this doesn’t match research studies and also didnt seem to work for me. So 30 minutes, or 2 hours while watching TV, just seems to be the wrong way to go.

    3. Lets define a lick as a 2-measure solo, maybe with repetitive moves, similar to any metal method exercise. It definitely seems far far better to play 5 exercises for 6 minutes each vs. playing 1 exercise for 30 minutes. The unfortunate thing is that playing 5 exercises for 6 minutes is much less gratifying in the short term. (This was also the conclusion of one of the research articles I posted a while back) By being frustrated on slowly learning 5 different exercises in parallel and crawling along slowly on all of them.

    4. In order to increase finger dexterity aka speed, just somehow be ruthless about identifying which specific finger moves are the slowest in any given lick or solo or exercise, keep asking “Why is this lick slow? Which move is the slowest?”, and isolate that single move (maybe it is only 2 notes) and practice that for 5 minutes at varying speeds from very slow to max speed. For example maybe it’s shifting position on the neck, then do that, or changing from one chord to another chord, then just do that change with perfect form for 5 minutes. I noticed a speed slowdown changing from normal grip to thumb-over-top for a bend, so I just practiced that single hand shift. Maybe its a picking style, so practice that. Or if it is something major, hunt around for some exercise that focuses on curing that one problem (the difficulty is finding the appropriate exercise which isolates and fixes the problem…).

    5. From past years of this forum’s archive (including old forum), many many students have a comment like: “I started playing this solo again after a few weeks away and I’m much faster than I was before”.. which suggests the same as above, go play something else which happens to isolate a problem and improve speed from a different angle, then return back to the lick. It could naturally get faster.

    6. Taking a rest break seems to increase speed maybe just due to muscle rest (for intermediate and advanced players only). Just as many past forum commenters said they improved after a break of playing nothing at all or playing only cowboy chords or something.

    There was a comment about finger speed on one lick carrying over to speed on another similar lick and I havent really found that to be the case so far, unless the lick is super easy finger moves in comparison to what I can already play. Every lick seems to be a brand new learning curve.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

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