Basic Question On Metronome use
I am practising scales at various positions and timing myself with the metronome. My metronome settings are ONE two three four, where ONE is accented. I guess you got the beat. Let's assume a C Major scale, so I play C D E F G A B C and then backwards like C B A G F E D C. So there are sixteen notes. In one set ONE two three four. I play both forward and backward. Is that how you normally play. I was not able to cross a speed of 68 till a few weeks back. Now I have reached 95 to 100. But as the other guys say, 250 to 300 looks scary. One thing I did to improve my speed is to hold the pick loose. I was holding it hard and was striking the string hard. Now I hold it loose and strike it soft. This way I could increase the speed. Is this correct or should I still hold the pick hard and improve on it. Any other pointers of holding the pick or the angle of strike to improve the speed. Please help.
Speed is not the end of the world.
If you met Steve Vai after a show and told him "Wow you played so fast today" hes likely to just ignore you completely.
Another thing I raid somewhere is that "speed is a by product of accuracy"
So if you can play each note crisply and clearly, speed will come by itself.
Concentrate on getting those notes right, and the tone of the notes rather than speed.
Thirdly, your sense of rhythm is more important than speed. Can you handle odd counts in even beats? Try playing sets of threes or fives and fit them in 8. One way is to play "CDE DEF EFG FGA,.." over ONE two three four. Then try "CDCDE DEDEF EFEFG .." etc. This is still elementary, as you are playing atomic units over each beat.
Break it up and try to play this: "CCC DDD EE CC DD EE FF" over ONE two thee four. First try it at two notes per beat, then 4. (go on with DDD EEE FF DD EE FF GG EEE FFF GG EE FF GG AA .. and so on). This riff is actually taken from "jantai varisai" used for classical vocal training. You can experiment and come up with more your self, or ask me if you need more.
Next is blanks or pauses. This is very important as your rhythm sense is really tested in pauses. Play "C.C D.D EE CC DD EE FF" in the same rhythm as above, where "." denotes a pause. Then experiment by placing the pause in other places (eg: .CC .DD EE etc). Once you have these mastered, you'll see your rhythm really improve.
Of course you can impress a lot of your friends by playing fast, but for your own good, quality is more important than quantity.
Thanks for the "Jantai Varisai" and "Dhaatu Varisai" examples. I have had classical training too. . I have played the 3s and 5s too. I dont have any problems with timings or pauses, since I used to play drums and that sense of timing helps here . With whatever speed I am playing, I feel that I am sounding clear. The only issue is I am not sure whether my technique of playing the scales are correct. I was playing at the metronome speed of 68 and was trying hard to touch 80. One fine day, I just held pick loosely and I could play at about 90+ easily in a single day. It took me two weeks time to reach from 68 to 80 and just one day from 80 to 98. The notes still sounded clear and I could make at least 10 repetition of the scale without breaking in between (that's for endurance). Now that I have found this holding the pick loose helps and I want further pointers as the angle of strike on the string or things like that.
Nice Steve Vai story anyway.
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