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how does one build up speed?

Discussion in 'Ask Janek Gwizdala' started by woaheasylang, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. woaheasylang


    Feb 11, 2009
    i dont get it.. i play with a metronome, very slowly, and spend around 2-4 hours a day practicing modes and scales and inversions, but i just cant get up to speed. am i doing something wrong? how did you start picking up speed for your playing?
  2. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    I apologize if this seems like a snarky response, but once you establish good time with your scales/inversions, etc, at the slower tempos, do you increase the metronome speed?

    I liken metronome practice for speed to be like lifting weights. I establish what tempo I can do an exercise cleanly at, then I bump up the metronome a bit to where the cleanliness of execution *juuuuust* starts to come apart. Then I bump the tempo a bit more to where the execution is just plain bad. Write those numbers down, because just like lifting weights, tracking where you've been is essential for measuring progress and will keep you from getting discouraged.

    Now, warm up at the 'good' speed. Then practice at the 'just starts to come apart' speed, until it's clean. (this might take a day or four). Once it's clean, congratulations! You've established a new baseline (no pun intended) for 'clean speed at given tempo X'. Write that **** down, yo! Now with your new tempo in the 'clean' column, figure out the new 'just starts to come apart' and 'sounds like crap' tempos. Rinse and repeat until you're doing syncopated 16th-note triplets at 320 ;-)

  3. Mike McGibney

    Mike McGibney Not impossible ... Inevitable

    Apr 13, 2005
    Essex, UK.
    Great response! I should really be more organised administratively about this kind of thing.
  4. janekbass


    Jan 28, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Founder and CEO of http://bassstudio.janekgwizdala.com
    speed is pretty irrelevant if you don't have anything musical to say with it. I would be concentrating on melodies, transcriptions, and developing as a musician until you actually find a musical need for higher speed and fluidity in your playing. You need to get a foundation of melody and harmony into your playing before you will find it necessary to increase your speed. Transcribing passages of music that require a better technique will be the motivation and signal of being time to increase this part of your playing. But just playing scales and exercises for the sake of increasing speed is not the way I think about it. I use them to maintain agility on the instrument, but they're not the driving force behind the music.


  5. +1

    Spot on Janek!

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