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No, really, how fast CAN you play

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by sleazylenny, Aug 29, 2002.

  1. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    I think you some of you folks were a little high handed with the bass player of doom. He had a simple question and was treated like a dufus. Bad form.

    His question becomes relevant when applied to speed metal ( a VALID form of music ). Much of a bass players responsibility IS to hammer out blistering eigths or sixteenths for short stretches in songs, accompanying the kick drum, on ONE note. To be sure, it takes no knowledge of melody, harmony or music theory, but it is a valuable and measurable tool in the speed metal bassists repetiore. To ask how fast others could do this particular technique is not, in my opinion, good reason for derision.

    Not everything in bass playing has to do with Jaco, Victor, 9 string basses and polyrhythmic time sigs. I think some of you were a bit hard on the guy.

    Flame away if it makes you feel good.

  2. You do realize that everyone is just going to say music is not a competition and therefore your question is rediculous, don't you?

    Just letting you know now.
  3. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    I missed that thread, but if that's what happened, that sucks! I don't even like to see retards treated like retards. You know?

    I never "measured" my speed, but I think I am pretty fast. I'd say fast to moderately fast. Yep.
  4. istaticl


    Nov 29, 2000
    Prescott, AZ
    I think that happens a lot around here too, too much in fact. I guess the Talkbass ninjas that have been here a long time dont want to accept any newbies into the clan. I guess if you dont have a avatar or moderator by your name, you may be subject to ridicule. Oh yea i dont know about the speed thing, maybe you could give some scales of what you think slow normal and fast are. Later.
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It's simply not true that we don't want newbies here.

    But when a question like that one is posted twice, you have to expect some (friendly) sarcasm.

    Speed is just a tool. It means nothing on its own, you just have to be able to play something cleanly and in time, no matter at what tempo.

    If you want to compare (typing) speeds, become a secretary. ;)
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I must apologize to those who read this post in it's previous form. As I give the issue more thought, at the request of several, I realize that the poster did NOT violate the usage agreement.

    I've reopened the thread. If it degenerates as the last one on this same subject did, I'll close it in a hearbeat. So please, if you don't want to answer this, don't. But do NOT turn this into "It's not all about speed". We know that the subject is generally pointless, but if you want to answer the question, feel free. Otherwise, leave it alone.

    Again, I aplogize to sleazylenny. I jumped too quickly.
  7. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    Thank you, sir. Ever the gentleman:)

    Now I feel I must apologize for taking a slightly confrontational stance on the original post. Sorry guys, if I offended.

    I think some of you may have misunderstood the intent of the original post by Bplayerof doom and the sequel posted by myself. Competition certainly wasn't the focus ( who can play the fastest). Nor was any specific value assigned to the " skill" of hammering out single-note speed lines. It was a simple question, " how fast can you play?"

    Granted, it's a difficult question to answer, relying on a lot of honesty on the part of the respondants. But perhaps one or two guys out there REALLY LIKE playing sixteenths at 120 bpm ( or better) and are having a hard time with it. Maybe they want to know if others are in the same boat.

    People get their ya-ya's different ways. Some walk. Some pop. Some thrash. Some just play fast. I thought the guys question, while difficult to quantify, was legit. As many here have stated before, there's value to be found in all types of playing.

    So, back to topic, has anyone here tried to keep up with the bass drum on, say, Fear Factory. I've often wondered whether their bassist actually plays all those notes or not.

  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Hmm, yeah, I think it can happen. I asked a "dumb" question on my 1st post and got shot down in flames! Fairly deservedly I think but what the hey...

    ..but I certainly disagree that if you dont have an avatar or are a moderator you get different treatement. There is a masive wealth of knowledge and experience on TB and many are very willing to share that with you, if you're prepared to listen. I've learnt a great deal. It's well worth the membership fee.

    Re: speed. Much as I think the question is a tad on the fishy side and can see why it got a negative response... I do see where you're coming from on the speed metal front.

    I'll try recording myself over a click this evening and let y'all know Monday, just for interests sake!

    I wonder if I could have a future in speed metal? :rolleyes:
  9. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I used to be all about speed and cleanliness while at speedy tempos. Now that I've gotten a little older, I still think speed is important, but other things much more so, ie, groove, time and playing the right line. I've come to realize that speed is a result of technique, not the other way around.

    It's true that there are metal bands out there that pride themselves on being very fast and having razor-sharp technique, and in my mind there is nothing wrong with this at all. Check out some Darkane, Theory in Practice, Cryptopsy etc etc.

    As for my answer - 16ths at probably around 150 or 160 bpm. Getting them to sound cleaner and more articulate is the hard part.

    Speed does impress the crowds. But, if you're a real musician, you'll want to impress yourself more than the crowds. It's far more satisfying to me to be able to improvise and play songs that I've never heard before on the spot.
  10. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I'm quite new at bass (almost 5 months). I can do 1/8s at about 150bpm.

    I know this is pretty slow (especially compared to thrash jazz there), but I have noticed that as I have practiced more at slower tempos (70 - 90 bpm, working on triplets), my ability to pound out open 1/8s more evenly and at higher tempos has steadily progressed.
  11. 1/16ths at 120 is 8 notes a second. That's about what I Can do with two fingers. I remember from my psychoacoustics class that the human brain/ear can process about 20 notes a second before it becomes literally a blur, and the events become more like the Hz in a pitch. That'd be 32nd notes at 180!

    This means if you played some particular note 32 times per second, as some magazine ad dude claims to have achieved, it would come out sounding a lot like a low C. `

    I heard Regi Wooten pass this threshold once, it was actually pretty cool. Obviously not with two finger technique. That much fast twitch muscle couldn't fit into a human finger. He uses 10 finger technique, so each finger need only play 2 notes per second. The only trick being coordination.

    It's like movies being ~30 still shots per second. Now SOME people can see the 30 individual frames, and these people can't even go to movies (but they can hit 100mph fastballs and fly fighter planes and stuff) But practically everyone sees it as motion.
  12. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Another aside - if you play a lot of fast stuff regularly and for long periods of time, for goodness' sake do a proper warm-up, and if your hands start hurting, PAY ATTENTION and give them a rest. It's a very easy way to get hurt.
  13. XavierG

    XavierG In Memoriam

    When I was younger (back in the late 1800's) I would have killed to play "fast" and became very frustrated when my fingers would tense up and freeze every time I tried to keep a steady quick pace. I think that being confident in your playing, and knowing where to find the notes makes playing fast a breeze. Nowadays, I can play (but don't necessarily choose to do so) at a decent clip without pain. If you know your fretboard, and know where to find the notes, you should (theoretically) be able to play as fast as you are able to tap your fingers on a table. Does any of this make sense to anyone but me?
  14. hey. well i cant go very fast: can just about keep up with some fast maiden stuff but i'd like some little tips to make my fingers move quicker.
    Thanks alot
  15. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    thats beautiful.....playing notes so fast it becomes another note...I love that kind of stuff.
    my new goal as a bassist is to be able to play a song all above the threshold of individual notes :D
    so it just sounds like a bunch of tones.
    har har har...If I could do that...my hand would probably fall off :)
    thats so cool....I've seen reggie get fast, but never that fast...I'd really like to hear such a thing.
    on some synths I have and my drum machine you can loop a sample and then speed it up to where it becomes notes....whats cool is how you can do it to practically anything if you speed it up enough.

    I can play fast enough, or slow enough if the situation requires....or at least I'd like to think I can :D
  16. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    yup, thats good thinking...cause if you don't know your fretboard really well, then each time you go to hit a new note your brain might stutter, just the tiniest bit, but thats enough to slow your fingers down.
    however there is also the added factor of plucking a string and meeting its resistance as compared to tappign your fingers on a table...but thats not a big factor if you've been playing for a little while and have good finger style technique I guess.
  17. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i'll have to try and play the fastest thing i can and record it and see what i can do. the fastest recording i have is 32nd note triplets at 77 bpm, which comes out to ~ 14 notes a second. also, the first bass/drums break in the instrumental (at about 6:10) is mostly 16th and 32nd notes at 150 bpm.
  18. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    ha! I remember that exact part JT...I remember thinking....yea...this is...cool...kind weird...but its...whoa!...
  19. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    :) yeah, i have it transcribed out in midi - in fact, i have the bass for most of the song except for the final solo transcribed in a sequence. i oughta post it.
  20. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Practice. That is the only way to increase your speed.

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