Speed exercises?

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by Hoyt, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. Hoyt


    Jun 29, 2006
    Saint Charles, IL.
    I need to build up some speed.

    I remember coming back from a tour and everything was so easy, but I’m having a tough time breaking through the wall now.

    I’d like not to change my setup too much as I’m mostly happy with my tone at the moment. I’m playing EP Slaps and the tension is fine.

    I just can’t seem to get past this invisible speed wall. Not sure how else to describe it. I’m going to be playing with a new drummer and I sort of feel like I need to up my game.

    So, any helpful advice?
    Keith Rawlings and Youngspanion like this.
  2. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    You might do a search because I've seen this question asked every couple of years and remember some pretty extensive discussion about it.
    I'm no expert and am usually pretty uncomfortable playing over 250 bpm but a year or so I tried to address the issue and found I could get to 280 bpm if I knew the tune cold and crept up on the tempo with a metronome. The typical advice I hear is to work it slowly with good technique - efficient, effortless - and then speed that up. HTHs.
    Keith Rawlings and Hoyt like this.
  3. Slaphound

    Slaphound Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    I'm certainly no expert by a mile but I think that sometimes you have to slow it down and then the speed comes with the time spent playing. I just had to get fast for a song we cover called "Just Because". One of Elvis' Sun Records recordings. Its a quick song to start with and they are also using a washboard but Bill Black takes it a step further by playing double time over the solos. Amazing. I think I clocked it at about 230 BPM.
    What worked for me was just slowing down and getting the groove down. Once I feel it inside and its flowing then I stay on it and push the speed. It comes naturally.

    I'm sorry. Its not an exercise but it works for me and I am trying to get faster as well.
    210superair and Keith Rawlings like this.
  4. SteIIa


    Mar 5, 2018
    The School of Agility practiced slowly, and then faster, and faster, and faster, faster, fastr, fstr, f!

    But yeah, really, it's about slowing down, being precise, and then bringing that up skosh. I like to do it 5 clicks at a time (play at 60bpm, 65bpm, 70bpm, etc).
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Practice slow, play along with a metronome making sure not to slow down or speed up and slowly work up to higher tempi. Play for five minutes at each tempo with ZERO mistakes before ratcheting up to the next higher tempo. Stop whenever you start feeling any pain. Keep notes on your daily progress.

    Exercises? Scales, arpeggios, slapping and bowing if appropriate, walking common chord progressions like blues and rhythm changes...ideally in all 12 keys but at least in the keys most common to the style(s) you play (sharp keys for rock, flat keys for blues, etc.) and any particular songs in your repertoire that have tricky figures.

    Try some steady breathing exercises (like in yoga) to keep relaxed while playing...you can't play at high tempos when you're tensed up.
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  6. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    Yes. Start slow and work your way up to speed; remember that the trick to slapping really fast is to just focus on keeping your wrist movement consistent. I’m slapping at my fastest about 3/4 of the way through the first set. I do a lot of stretching too before using the drummer’s drum sticks to loosen up my forearms and wrists. I hold the sticks in my hands palm up with both thumbs facing out and my arms straight, then I hold the position and lift the sticks up over my head. Then I repeat the same thing but with the sticks behind my back and stretch down. It does wonders for keeping me loose for a show.
  7. 210superair


    Sep 10, 2019
    Yeah, Bill is killin it here....
    Youngspanion and Keith Rawlings like this.
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