Thursday, August 27, 2009


alfonso 4/23/2005 2:32 PM
Don, Just got your book on "Symmetrical Scales", wow! This is gonna be some challenge, that's a good thing as Martha would say. I was just wondering if you have any suggestions on developing speed? My other post on speed didn't get any response, thanx. Oh, anyone who has any ideas on speed please post...

Don Mock 4/24/2005 11:35 PM
Thanks for this and the other post on the free lesson Alfonso. Speed is a tough topic to talk about cause there are so many versions that different players develop. But let's start with Howard Roberts' famous phrase that "speed is the bi-product of accuracy." Which means play things slow and without mistakes first and slowly increase the tempo over time. As far as different versions of speed, some players are literally born with it. Some call it "twitch fibers," or even nervous energy that can give some young players instant pick and fingering speed. I've seen people who don't even play the guitar grab a pick and buzz saw on a string faster than a hummingbird wing. But this is not a requirement by a long shot. Some of the best technicians don't have enormous natural speed but have learned how to compensate by modifying their technique. Here's a few names of players who are considered guitars finest technical players but don't really have lightning quick chops. Wes Montgomery figured out somehow how to pick 16th notes with his bare thumb. Allen Holdsworth and Scott Henderson developed a combination of picking and hammers and pull-off to play as many notes as any one would need. The bottom line is to stay on your personal course working on everything from scale sequences, licks to small repetitive phrases. But the key is knowing clearly what you are playing and have a definite idea what it should sound like at the speed you want to achieve. Lots of players fault their chops when their real problem is just not knowing what they are trying to play. Which takes us back to the H.R. "accuracy" phrase. Hope this gets you thinking and feeling better about your speed issue. -Don Mock

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