STRUGGLING WITH SPEED
I’ve been working on the speed of my alternate picking and down strokes for a while, and I do yearn to play quickly enough to make a decent job out of covers of metal and rock songs. What I have an issue with is choosing (or should I say picking?) songs to learn. I am often duped by what appears to be reasonable speed where I am able to pick similar patterns, but when I start to learn pieces such as alternate picking triplets at 184 bpm in Metallica’s Creeping Death solo, I find myself struggling, even though I can pick happily at 184 bpm. This has led to me spending huge amounts of time struggling on one or two solos that are probably too hard for me and not learning stuff that is level appropriate. Do you have any tips for choosing appropriate pieces to skill level? Matt Rowley One thing you’ll see repeated over again in GT is that you are far, far better to learn ANYTHING slowly, so you can play it with no mistakes whatsoever, than to attack something at speed and keep messing up. When you learn something at a slow tempo, your muscles begin to remember where they need to go next, rather than constantly failing to get it right and embedding errors into your playing. Try learning something at a much slower speed – if you don’t have one of those devices that slows music down but keeps it in key, think about getting one – and when you can play it impeccably at the slow tempo, only then start to build the pace. If you’re a metronome owner then clearly this will be your best friend here. Even things that seem well within your grasp are better learned this way, as it’s surprising how things like string noise can go unnoticed in the excitement of thinking you’ve nailed a riff. And you don’t want to build that into the full tempo, full gain version, do you?
Metallica’s Creeping Death proving tricky