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Sextuplets and that speed barrier

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by El Bajo, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. El Bajo

    El Bajo

    Apr 12, 2006
    I play with a guitarist and keyboard player who like sextuplet runs and I wanna join in the fun. What are your tips for learning these and overcoming that cursed speed barrier.

    Do you set up quarter notes then play six notes for every beat? And what left hand finger exercise do you use?
  2. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I am probably going to get slammed since I don't necessarily do things 'right', but here goes.

    Metronome or drum machine (I use a korg pandora) is the way to go if you are going to try and bring yourself to hit a new level of speed on runs. I would try to figure out what your target speed is (I've been on vacation until a few hours ago so my brain isn't quite working right, but sextuplets are like two sets or triplets? or is it a group of seven?), then figure out where you are confortable, and then try to build it up from there.

    If they are blazing out triplets at 160 bps, and you can manage 130 bps, then you need to shoot for getting comfy at 135 or 140. do your scales, do your arpeggios, then make up little runs that either you like the sound of, or that you are somewhat familiar with. Be fair on how clean you are with them. The goal shouldn't be aboue getting a single run down at 140 or so, but the get your fingers moving at that speed while consistently opping off notes when they should be popped off. Hell, just do four notes, one finger per fret on the same string, until you know you are pulling them off compltely in time and somewhat clean.

    I WOULD SAY that pushing yourself and then sometimes not having the run super clean is ok in the sense that you are trying to work with the speed barrier as well, but be sure to go back to those slower speeds and get the line right and clean.

    And of course, keep your hands somewhat relaxed and don't apply more pressure as you get faster, that is a recipe for tearing up your hands.
  3. El Bajo

    El Bajo

    Apr 12, 2006
    It sis the pressure that gets me, I proper dig in which muffles the sound. I think I will do what you say and start of on one finger per fret until I've got that in my head.
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    The metronome idea is great and really that's what that machine does best. Use it.

    Also remember you are doing this for the music, not your hands. That probably seems like a silly thing to say but it is helpful to keep it in mind. In other words, take the thoughts of how you are holding the bass, how much tension in your fingers, where to you go next and put them in the background and concentrate on the music. Let your hands react to the music ideal in your mind.

    I'm sure when you are kicking a ball you think about where you want the ball to go, not what muscles in your legs you are using. Keep your mind on the purpose of your movement, not the mechanics of your movement.

    Use the metronome. Go slow. Make sure everything is working as it should. As you increase speed... think of the music... think of the sound.... hear how your notes fit with other sounds around you. Relax and let your body deliver.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Lamar has it. Satrt off as fast as you can play them CLEAN with a metronome and slowly work up from there.

    Welcome back from vacation Lamar! Your brain is just fine.
  6. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC

    Greenville boy? That is where I grew up, I spent some quality time dealing with the nonsense that is ECU while in high school. The clubs down there are the time is what got me hooked on live music. I hear it isn't the same music wise, but the chicks still seem hot as hell!!!
  7. xzzy


    Mar 6, 2009
    One method I've heard for guitarists who want to learn the rapid-fire solos that got popular in the 80's (sweep picking and its ilk) is to start slower than you think you should be.

    You need to analyze your technique, muscle control and movement economy get very important when you play fast. Find out where your hands are wasting effort and find a way to fix it. Playing slow should make this easier to identify, only once you've taken the time to clean up your playing should you start to speed up.

    Resist the urge to start jamming.. practice time is practice time. When you bump up the metronome, make sure to stay aware of what your hands are doing, don't let them forget everything you taught them.

    You'll have to hunt around for exercises to train on. Normally these come from a teacher, so if you don't have one of those spend some quality time with google.
  8. El Bajo

    El Bajo

    Apr 12, 2006
    Alot of the runs a re very scaley, sometimes over 2 octaves, but I'm gonna start with just one string for now. I here you on the technique. One thing i didnt mention is I play with three fingers and when it comes to these kind of things its very easy to break out of good left hand technique which is of course where most of the mistakes are made. So yeah, start r e a l l y slow and count rather than looking at the beginning and the end and just cramming notes in as fast as possible. I t would be nice to have some control. maybe when I get to where I want to be I will post the song that most requires it
  9. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Yep as mentioned above, playing fast is all about practicing slow and making your playing as efficient as possible. Any stray motion like fingers lifting farther off the board than necessary will get multiplied 1,000 fold at bright tempos.

    If you want to play fast, practice slowly every day, building up scales in all 12 keys a couple metronome notches a week. You can see your progress, and your playing will jump through the roof in no time.
  10. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    Great analogy, and great advice.

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