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View Full Version : Is 250 BPM fast or slow for one year of playing?



UnknownToaster
01-06-2012, 12:11 PM
Hey Ukulele Underground!

I was wondering, I've been playing guitar for about a year but I really haven't taken it up all that seriously until more recently and I feel like I've wasted a lot of time. I just recently started using a metronome and I've been practicing scales and arpeggios. I was wondering, is 250 bpm fast or slow for playing for a year now?

250 is the fastest I can play without getting sloppy and I'm still practicing so I think I can still do better soon. I have been able to do 260 a few times but I don't count it because more often than not I'll make a mistake or two at 260. 250 I have no issues with.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Dan

DaveVisi
01-06-2012, 12:17 PM
I think it's time to stop bragging and start playing! ;)

UnknownToaster
01-06-2012, 12:44 PM
I think it's time to stop bragging and start playing! ;)

Haha! Alright well that answers my question pretty well. :)

I'll also take your recommendation. :)

Thank you.

micahlele
01-06-2012, 12:47 PM
I suppose it's all relative. 250 should be plenty fast for anything you want to play, but you have a long ways to go before you get to this guy's level: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/12/pl_fastguitar/

itsme
01-06-2012, 12:49 PM
Dang! I have one of those old-fashioned Seth Thomas wooden windup metronomes and the top speed on it is 208 BPM. :eek:

stevepetergal
01-06-2012, 01:00 PM
I can go that fast with my eyes closed. One note for every eight or ten clicks, and all wrong notes. Your uke is probably bigger than mine, too.
An old guy like me is just trying to have some fun, not getting out the tape measure.

UnknownToaster
01-06-2012, 01:11 PM
I suppose it's all relative. 250 should be plenty fast for anything you want to play, but you have a long ways to go before you get to this guy's level: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/12/pl_fastguitar/

Ah that guy is crazy. I've seen that video before. It's crazy fast. Though I've heard Buckethead can play 15 bps alt picking (keep in mind I heard this from Wikipedia so source might not be so valid). 16 notes every second. Times that by 60 it's 960 BPM. Now that's insanity.

I can go that fast with my eyes closed. One note for every eight or ten clicks, and all wrong notes. Your uke is probably bigger than mine, too.
An old guy like me is just trying to have some fun, not getting out the tape measure.
You have no idea how much I enjoyed that comment. It was glorious. :)

KamakOzzie
01-06-2012, 01:38 PM
O.K., you have the speed. Now try for discipline! See how long you can stay exactly in time at 35 or 40 bpm. That might be harder than going fast.

Bill

UnknownToaster
01-06-2012, 04:02 PM
O.K., you have the speed. Now try for discipline! See how long you can stay exactly in time at 35 or 40 bpm. That might be harder than going fast.

Bill
Hmm..this is quite interesting. Is this to torture myself or help me understand what I'm playing inside and out? :)

That actually sounds like it could be a beneficial practice. I'm curious as to what specifically would be gained from in besides obviously timing and understanding of what I am playing.
On multiple occasions I played it at 60 bpm if that counts for anything. To play something fast, you must first learn to play it slow. The chant of all guitar teachers and players. Similar to walking before learning to run.

KamakOzzie
01-07-2012, 06:24 AM
Hmm..this is quite interesting. Is this to torture myself or help me understand what I'm playing inside and out? :)

That actually sounds like it could be a beneficial practice. I'm curious as to what specifically would be gained from in besides obviously timing and understanding of what I am playing.
On multiple occasions I played it at 60 bpm if that counts for anything. To play something fast, you must first learn to play it slow. The chant of all guitar teachers and players. Similar to walking before learning to run.

Hi, I didn't mean to come off as a smart a$$, and 35 to 40 is an exaggeration, but the concept does have some validity. I am coming from a bluegrass background (and I'm a bass player). There are tons of hot pickers on all the bluegrass instruments. Quite a few want to speed up when it's their turn for a break (solo). Timing is just another aspect of overall musicianship.

"To play something fast, you must first learn to play it slow."
"To play something slow, you must first learn to play it slow."

Timing is my pet peeve,
Getting off soap box now,
Bill

Heading out to a bluegrass jam now.

Olarte
01-07-2012, 06:53 AM
The best way to get to a good speed, is to practice your technique SLOWLY.

Accuracy of both hands will never come through practicing fast or brute force. If you can play cleanly, with accuracy and confidence, believe me the speed will come in due time.

UnknownToaster
01-07-2012, 11:08 AM
Hi, I didn't mean to come off as a smart a$$, and 35 to 40 is an exaggeration, but the concept does have some validity. I am coming from a bluegrass background (and I'm a bass player). There are tons of hot pickers on all the bluegrass instruments. Quite a few want to speed up when it's their turn for a break (solo). Timing is just another aspect of overall musicianship.

"To play something fast, you must first learn to play it slow."
"To play something slow, you must first learn to play it slow."

Timing is my pet peeve,
Getting off soap box now,
Bill

Heading out to a bluegrass jam now.

You didn't come across that way. Trust me, I've been practicing this specific arpeggio for the last week playing it very slowly until I was able to play it perfectly clean ascending and descending. One I got to the point in which I didn't even need to think about the next notes and was just able to play it from muscle memory, I decided to clock and see how fast I could really play it at and I kept going another 10-20 bpm faster every time I was able to play it without mistake. 250 was the speed I was able to still play it cleanly at. I'm not pushing myself and overworking myself to play as fast as I can, I was just seeing the fastest I can actually play it and still be comfortable.

Practice is what I need to top my current speed and that's what I plan to do! :)

I am worrying about accuracy and timing, don't think I'm just trying to play it as fast as I can, 250 is my max where I'm still playing it on time and with out error.

But to clarify, I only want speed to increase my ability and I understand speed is not everything. :)
I don't want people to think I'm one of those people who play guitar to learn techniques rather than learn techniques to play guitar.

Olarte
01-07-2012, 11:40 AM
I'm sorry but you have if backwards.

Ability will increase speed, not the other way around!



But to clarify, I only want speed to increase my ability and I understand speed is not everything. :)

UnknownToaster
01-07-2012, 12:51 PM
Pardon my ignorance, but wouldn't techniques increase overall ability rather than ability as a pre-requisite to learn techniques?

Or do you mean more simply that speed is not something to worry about as it will come with experience and practice and I shouldn't jump after it so quickly?

Olarte
01-07-2012, 01:59 PM
Technique is the most important as far as I'm concerned. But it has nothing to do with speed.

Slow methodical practice with attention to technique and clean clear playing yields great ability and confidence, which in turn will result in speed as needed.

I never worry about speed, and yet I'm able to play pieces that are very fast. Do a search on YouTube for classical guitar Bach cello prelude, or the third movement of Barrios' La Catedral, and you will see the speed I'm talking about.

Speed is like starting a cake with the icing first. Shouldn't the icing be the last thing you put on the cake?

I've been studying classical guitar for the last 4-5 years, and I have managed to learn 8 of the 10 pieces that were on my dream list. And I guarantee you that the last thing my teacher and I ever discuss is speed. That comes after learning the piece, finguerings, rhythm, dynamics etc...

The more experience I have the more I'm learning that worrying about speed, performing only results in tension and brute force which is the last thing you want if you want to make music... The more I relax, and take my time, the more it flows and it sound like music and not noise or at best mechanichal sequence of notes.

Discussing this has made me hungry, maybe I'll go bake a cake, and when it's DONE put some icing on it *grin*

UnknownToaster
01-07-2012, 06:17 PM
I understand completely. I made sure what I was playing was clear, in time, and smooth and I used the metronome to stay in time. I realize now that the thread makes it seem like I'm worried about how fast I play ahead of other things, which now that I look at it, would make it seem like the exact point of the thread, but really I was curious because it seemed a little fast for me and I didn't really expect it. I made a thread because my guitar teacher (I've had him for 2 weeks now and he's already a help) wasn't around this week and my friend who plays guitar didn't answer me.

Speed is on the horizon, it's not my first goal, but it's a goal, I goal I will eventually build to. It doesn't concern me that much. I just was curious as to where most people are by their first year as I felt I kind of slacked off and could have done more. That was one of the reasons I wanted a teacher.

I've been practicing scales and arpeggios for the last week or so, but what I was mostly hoping to get out of it was increasing my accuracy and cleanliness of my playing. I clocked myself to see how fast I could play it, not just to see what the fastest I could play it at was, but really to show my accomplishment of practicing it actively, because before this, I found it hard to organize what I would play day to day, I wasn't truly practicing. I was just playing what I already could play.

And..do you bake cakes as snacks when you're hungry? Because if so, you may just have become my new greatest hero.

stratman79
02-16-2012, 01:14 PM
Surely it depends if you're playing 1/4 notes, 1/8th notes or 1/16th notes....
Really when everyone talks about 'speed' they refer to 1/16th note exercises...
I doubt very much your playing 1/16th notes at 250bpm... if your playing 1/8th notes, it's fairly quick bt nothing amazing and 1/4notes not at all.
But fair play for having goals and focus...
THE main thing is what you do with the scales, it's all very well been able to play quick but it seems to be something guitarists get obsessed by, really it's all about phrasing.. thats what makes you stand out .. IMO

Gwynedd
02-16-2012, 01:28 PM
I can go that fast with my eyes closed. One note for every eight or ten clicks, and all wrong notes.

Mine goes at least 500 BPM if I drop it on the floor--more if it bumps down the stairs.

konglong
06-13-2013, 11:23 PM
Dang! I have one of those old-fashioned Seth Thomas wooden windup metronomes and the top speed on it is 208 BPM.


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TJ Uke
06-18-2013, 12:06 PM
Be aware that it also matters how awkward the fingerings are for whatever you play at a certain tempo.

For example I find this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbq8aArGyCw

Much harder than this sweeping progression at 1:54 in this vid :
http://youtu.be/hajqqRxkZek?t=1m54s

Even though the one-note-per-string arpeggios are way faster they are much easier to play, they are very comfortable physically and the right hand technique is basically slow-motion strumming!

Being able to play at higher tempos is the end result of becoming more efficient at proper technique.

If you have altered your technique to go fast (lighter touch, changed guitar setup, sharper pick or anything along those lines) you're making a grave mistake IMHO.

OregonJim
01-02-2015, 10:07 AM
Yeah, I know - this is an ancient thread and the OP is probably long gone, but...

Guitar shredding has no musical value in my opinion - it's just an exercise in showmanship. Worse than that, actually - have you ever looked closely at the audience in front of a shredder? They always look angry, with fists in the air, as if a fight were imminent. Nope, not musical at all.

CeeJay
01-02-2015, 02:00 PM
Dang! I have one of those old-fashioned Seth Thomas wooden windup metronomes and the top speed on it is 208 BPM. :eek:

Well you could set it going and then throw it down the stairs ....or out the window on a piece of string........:)

IamNoMan
01-02-2015, 06:05 PM
Hey Ukulele Underground!

I was wondering, I've been playing guitar for about a year but I really haven't taken it up all that seriously until more recently and I feel like I've wasted a lot of time. I just recently started using a metronome and I've been practicing scales and arpeggios. I was wondering, is 250 bpm fast or slow for playing for a year now?

250 is the fastest I can play without getting sloppy and I'm still practicing so I think I can still do better soon. I have been able to do 260 a few times but I don't count it because more often than not I'll make a mistake or two at 260. 250 I have no issues with.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Dan Read this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_step) Maybe I should meet this fellow's pharmacist.

CeeJay
01-03-2015, 02:44 AM
Yeah, I know - this is an ancient thread and the OP is probably long gone, but...

Guitar shredding has no musical value in my opinion - it's just an exercise in showmanship. Worse than that, actually - have you ever looked closely at the audience in front of a shredder? They always look angry, with fists in the air, as if a fight were imminent. Nope, not musical at all.

Disagree....:D