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Posted by Jerry on April 27, 2000 at 23:16:51:
In Reply to: I need speed! posted by Steve on March 17, 2000 at 00:01:36:
Try this: after briefly warming up, practice chromatic scales (where you use all four fingers of your left hand to play notes on a given string, and then move up a string and back a position to play the next four notes, etc...) Try this with quarter notes, eighth notes, eighth-note triplets, and then sixteenth notes.
If you play these in both ascending and descending patterns, I think you'll see a lot of benefits: increased speed and dexterity, improved sense of time, and improved intonation (you mentioned fretless) being high on the list.
After doing this for a brief time (one week?...obviously depends on how often you can pick up the instrument) you'll certainly notice an improvement. Obviously, this works for any scales/arpeggios/patterns you want to apply as well, which would probably sound much more musical than the chromatic scale. Just be sure to use all four fingers of your note-fingering hand.
NOW...the even more important factor is your note-STRIKING hand (I assume you're right hand.) You mentioned a pick...if you're using a pick, please ignore the rest of my post, because other than to encourage you to use your fingers, I can't offer any advice. However, if you do use your fingers, make sure that you alternate fingers as much as possible. You can definitely draw an analogy of having your picking fingers "walk" their way through the notes. This is the most efficient way to increase speed, and remarkably, it helps with building a sense of time as well. Finally, as I'm sure you've noticed, the closer to the bridge you play, the more tension. The more tension you have, the faster and cleaner you can play.
Ok...one last thing and I'll shut up! If Carol Kaye has anything to say, listen to it! She's forgotten more about the instrument than most of us will learn, and she's an incredibly nice lady to boot.
Good luck and keep playing those low notes.
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