how slow do you go?

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by marsk, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. marsk


    Aug 17, 2002
    Michael and Steve,

    When warming up, how slowly do you begin these days, and how slow were you in your student days? For example, do/did you spend much time playing scales or other exercises at a speed such as 40 bpm with whole notes, or even letting each note decay completely before playing the next one?
  2. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Hi marsk,

    I have found that, for some exercises, there does seem to be a benefit in playing as slowly as possible. The trick is to find a tempo that’s slow enough, but not so slow that you’re not actually practicing the skills you want to develop. Practicing a passage at half the speed you want to be able to play it seems like a good place to start. I find that I often want to practice things slower than that, but half speed seems to offer a good perspective.

    I used to have a metronome that went down to 20 BPM (great idea -- I wish more of them did this) and I often did exercises playing notes at this tempo. It really helps you focus! A great way to learn to play a line better is to start by playing it as slowly as you can while basically keeping the concept together, then increase the metronome setting by a very small amount and play the exercise again. If you find you’re successful at that tempo you can continue on until you get to a speed where you can’t play the part as well as you want to. Then gradually slow things back down to where you are playing the line well and gradually speed up again. It takes big time patience, but it does seem to work.