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Re: Best way to get fast

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Posted by anonymouse ( on July 01, 2002 at 12:22:09:

In Reply to: Best way to get fast posted by Simon on June 28, 2002 at 04:49:48:

Playing fast does not necessarily equate to playing well, especially for a bass player. But, having been warned, here is how to "get fast".

I learned this technique from a concert pianist and it really works.

1) Learn the fingering COLD without trying to play the piece at speed - don't even try to hold the rhythmn yet, just get the fingering PERFECT.

2) Get the rhythmn perfect with the fingering at a snails pace.

3) Get a metronome and set it at a setting where you can play the piece PERFECTLY. No squeaks, no stumbles, no fret noise,correct time, proper accents, proper feel, etc. The metronome speed can be ridiculously slow, just as long as you can play the piece or the lick flawlessly. For pieces with lots of 16th notes, halving the tempo so the beat is on every eighth noteis sometime helpful.

At this step, you are laying the foundation of the "neuromuscular reflex" that will bring great speed.


5)Increase the metronome speed gradually - how much is you - just make sure that you can play flawlessly at the higher speed. With a normal piece, I start out at 60 BPM, then boost to 80,100,120,140... assuming I can play flawlessly at that speed. If the piece is tough and I am at high tempos, sometimes just boosting 4 beats a minute can put move in the uncomfortable zone. When you reach a point where the speed is uncomfortable, back it down a notch.

One other key point is to focus on the music totally and not let your mind drift, thinking about work or sex or whatever. Otherwise, you are wasting part of your effort. Great musicians ( have been lucky to work with 2) cultivate this habit in their playing and their practicing. Learn to tune out everything except you and the music.

When you do this exercise properly, you can feel it "burning" in. I guess its a Zen thing.

6) Practice the piece daily for a week, and watch the results. If you don't improve tremendously, look critically at your playing. It may be just one little part that is screwing you up - slow down and fix the part thats screwing you up.

Good Luck
Uebung macht der Meister. ({Practice makes the Master})

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