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I seem to have reached a speed limit.
Not looking for mega shred type speeds, but the ability to do quick flurries.
16th notes at 90bpm seems to be my limit. No matter how long or often I practice with a metronome, going back to slower speeds then moving back up, my limit is reached.
Any tips and tricks to get me through this limit? I've trained myself such that my fingers bearly leave the fingerboard, so flying fingers is not the problem.
Or has 30 years of playing the blues come back to bite me?
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  • MajorscaleMajorscale Frets: 1081
    A bit of a cheat but tremolo pick twice ( ie down and up) on each note. Gives the impression your left hand is busier than it is...
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  • Are you talking about alternate picking?

    Do you have an example of a really tricky bit?
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  • Axe_meisterAxe_meister Frets: 3196
    edited November 20
    Even just scales (Gaged), Yes alternate picking
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  • BarneyBarney Frets: 454
    Try just using either upstrokes or down strokes for a while .....it seems as though a lot of people's weaknes is the upstroke ...so that's the one that would need work on but it will show iff you analyse where your weakness is...so basically you need to be as quick with just upstrokes as you are down strokes  
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  • Axe_meisterAxe_meister Frets: 3196
    If anything it's my fretting hand that has the weakness

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  • Hard to say without seeing an example. Do you think your hands are in-sync?

    Play a simple passage...16th notes at 100bpm...can you play it reliably and cleanly in the following ways:
    • alternate picked
    • double-picked notes (so the passage is twice as long, fretting hand moving half as much, all 16th notes still)
    • change the rhythm to four 8th notes followed by four 16th notes, etc (passage takes twice as long)
    • change the rhythm to skip, i.e. dotted 8th + 16th + dotted 8th + 16th, etc (passage takes twice as long)
    • reverse the skip rhythm, i.e. 16th + dotted 8th + 16th + dotted 8th, etc
    • as many hammer-ons/pull-offs as possible
    What's easy, what's hard?

    The double-picked example is interesting: no matter what pattern you've chosen, you'll always have an even number of notes per string. This makes string-crossing much easier (I'm thinking 'cracking the code' material here).

    Being frank, 16th notes at 90bpm is not a tremendous pace so we should be able to improve something!
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  • BarneyBarney Frets: 454
    If anything it's my fretting hand that has the weakness

    How are you with left hand alone without the pick .  It could be that your picking hand and fretting hand are not locked in....it's hard to tell without seeing 
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  • Axe_meisterAxe_meister Frets: 3196
    That is where my problem is the left hand just won't go any faster.
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  • BarneyBarney Frets: 454
    That is where my problem is the left hand just won't go any faster.
    It's hard to tell without seeing ...have you no vids 
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  • VibetronicVibetronic Frets: 657
    Barney said:
    That is where my problem is the left hand just won't go any faster.
    It's hard to tell without seeing ...have you no vids 
    Yeah a video would be really useful. It may be something as simple as your fretting hand position, your picking hand position, pick grip/angle of attack etc...simple technical adjustments can make a lot of difference. Everyone has the capacity for a bit of speed but getting set up to do it properly in the first place can really help. 
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  • CrankyCranky Frets: 750
    Barney said:
    Try just using either upstrokes or down strokes for a while .....it seems as though a lot of people's weaknes is the upstroke ...so that's the one that would need work on but it will show iff you analyse where your weakness is...so basically you need to be as quick with just upstrokes as you are down strokes  
    This is a good point.  Accordingly, I punched something into Google and saw a Paul Gilbert video showing some upstroked drills.  I noticed that his guitar hangs quite a bit lower than I prefer mine because I have flexibility issues that make it really difficult to position my fretting hand around the neck when it hangs lower.  But I did try it and found that my upstroke and alternate picking was faster that way, but it was totally at the expense of accuracy and musicality with the fretting hand.

    Speed and upstrokes are quite difficult and unnatural for me.  I generally have processing delays, I think slow and play slow, but also melodically.  Just gotta keep working on technique while also remembering to do the parts that you already enjoy as well.
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  • GrangousierGrangousier Frets: 1016
    Is it that you've tension in your hand and arm?

    Too much pressure under the fingers? Rest your fingertip on a string in between harmonics nodes, so when you pluck the note is muted, then increase pressure until the note rings out - that's as much pressure as you need.

    Another thing that helps for this is to release the finger rather than removing it - relaxing the hand so the finger returns to its position above the string rather than pulling it away - the latter would be increased tension rather than release.  So the neutral position for the fingers is just over the string, you introduce tension to apply it to the string, then release the tension to allow the finger to return to the neutral position. 

    That probably seems mad. It isn't, but it probably seems so. 

    The other thing is that the position of the guitar should be such that when the hand is in the neutral position the whole arm should be relaxed. A certain amount of tension is necessary to hold it there, but any more than that is going to get in the way of the playing. In order to get faster you need to get more relaxed. I found that increasing the energy to the arm to get over the tension increased the tension, which required more energy... until the arm locked up, or at least the business end did.
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