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Full-out onslaught of 16th notes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ElectroVibe, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    Does anyone else have trouble playing songs like U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name"? It is basically just all 16th notes from start to finish. He plays with 2 fingers rather than a pick.

    Flea does a similar thing on one the songs on RHCP's Californication album. My friend who has been playing for 30 years asked if he was using a pick on it, but no, I saw a clip and he was using his fingers too.

    I think that one of the earlier U2 songs had Adam playing 5 notes in a row, and pausing for 3. I can actually do that. But I just can't figure out how to do them non-stop. I know that doesn't make sense.

    Anyone else have trouble with this? Is it just a matter of practice?
  2. I love playing straight 8s and 16s.

    When I first started, and had trouble with faster lines, I would play half of the notes. If it was an 8th note line, Id play the quarters.

    Knowing the changes helps, you can only play as fast as your brain can think.
    This may help some
  3. It can be tiring for sure. Try playing with a softer touch and cranking up the amp a little more.
  4. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Totally a matter of practice. There's really nothing to figure out here; you just need to develop stamina. Early on, you can make leaps, but getting to fast 16ths (16ths being a very relative term depending on tempo and how it's written) at a fast tempo simply takes gobs of stamina.

    In my last band, I wrote a cool lick that I could only play 8 or 10 times in a row before collapsing (and I've played Beethoven in a symphony orchestra). The band wanted to make it the center-piece of the tune. I put an end to that. It ended up as a bookend for the guitar solo; 4 bars at each end.

    Just keep hammering; and yes, trying to develop a lighter touch with the amp doing more work is good. However, I'm a hammer it type, so I don't follow that advice.:D
  5. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    I'm not sure if your question is technical or not.

    If it is technical, then practice with a metronome any type of exercises like scales or spiders.

    If your question is more aiming towards the conceptual aspect of a bassline then analyze them and listen to the relationship between the bass, the vocal and the band. There are good reasons to use spaces and rests in music,especially in the bottom range ;-)

    BTW The U2 song is build on 8th notes, not 16 ths.
  6. Bingo!

    And then practice using a gentle touch for 10 minutes per day.

    5 weeks later, you too will be a master.

    (as I get older, however, the wrist/arm/fingers hurt for a while - so now I use a pick - again with a very light touch)
  7. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    My question is about technique/ability.

    I am thinking that Adam Clayton developed it from his earlier U2 song where he played 5 beats, rested 3, over and over. That seems easier.

    But I'm amazed by anyone that plays that fast non stop without a pick. (I can do it very easily with a pick.) And I'm just talking about single root notes.

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