Getting from 85% to 100% ?

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I am an avid transcriber of solos and songs, however, there are countless passages or phrases from particular solos and songs that I just can't get at the correct tempo, it's too quick. Some are 85%, some 75% etc.

Now, I know the answer and what I need to do, I need to build up to that speed from a slower speed and practice it, repetition is the key, muscle memory and all that. Thing is with me, I get very bored doing strict practice, I like to just play the Guitar.

The only strict practice I have ever done is the Ross Bolton Funk Video Tutorial on youtube, somehow I really got into that and did well out of it.

But as a kind of new year's resolution, I have decided to put a percentage of my time to nailing these licks at 100% speed. I've picked several that I am only willing to give 5-10 minutes each per day. I slow them down in Audacity to a speed I can play them at without making any mistakes.

What I am asking is how long do you think it will take with this little "5-10 minute each" regime to nail them at 100% speed? I'm guessing 9 months, but I may be way out.

I'm guessing I'm practicing this in the correct way? When do you know to move up from 85% to 90%, I might have nailed it at 85, but be instantly shit at 90%, going up in steps of 2% would feel like torture.

Who knows, if I get there quicker than I expected, it may inspire me to go further.

Thanks for any help.
Tha'll stand for t'egg under t'cap.
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  • I'd go the total opposite way.

    I'd spend 9 minutes playing at 50-60% speed, to a metronome, and then test your clean top speed at the end.  Give it a try for a week and see how you get on.  I have found practicing much slower to be more beneficial than practicing almost at full speed most of the time.  It really forces you to play perfectly in time and with clean technique.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1149
    Yep, agree with taking it at a slower speed and getting it right. You also only need to play it right about 10 times for the brain to remember. Then sleep on it. The brain processes the information while you sleep, and the next day it's easier to play. Then let the speed build up. Let speed happen rather than force it. Do this one lick at a time so as not to confuse things, and move on to a new lick after a few days
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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 1912
    Thanks @Roland and @guitarfishbay ;

    I'll slow them down a bit more, I did notice a mistake I was making on one lick, if it is a mistake.

    It regards Alternate picking, that's what I should be doing on these(I think) every note is picked I know that much, but I did notice that on one lick I played 2 downstrokes consecutively, when should have been alternate, but I could play it faster with the 2 downstrokes, would you try to correct it or go with what comes natural? Are there hard and fast rules that every note should be alternate picked or best to go with how I do it, what feels best?

    Cheers.
    Tha'll stand for t'egg under t'cap.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1149
    There are no rules, just conventions. To me Alternate picking is an exercise which helps you put equal weight on each note. Economy picking is an exercise which helps you move quickly between notes on adjacent strings. Then there's Outside picking and Inside picking, which help increase attack and volume of certain notes, and a few others ... They are all conventions, and an easy way of cataloging and teaching knowledge. In practice you just want to use the picking pattern which suits what you are playing, and gives the right emphasis to the notes in the phrase.
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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 1912
    Aye, I've never had the disciplined approach (for lead Guitar) and for the years I've been playing I should be Steve Vai standard, but you know, I've just ended up playing like I play.

    I think I'm truly a Rhythm player at heart, I am quite disciplined in that. I like to at least try to improve my lead playing though or expand it, so here we go again :)

    Cheers.
    Tha'll stand for t'egg under t'cap.
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  • BarneyBarney Frets: 282
    Its maybe a good idea to find the main problem areas that stop you getting up to speed ...iff its only certain parts try and see why and what you need to do to make it quicker...maybe make small exercises out of the problem areas...

    Iff it all of it you will just need to slowly increase speed looking at minimum movement with the picking hand ...
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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 1912
    Thanks @Barney that is good advice, I have done that to an extent in the past and it did cure some issues, but I may need to look deeper, faster soloing is not territory I visit regularly. It'll be a slog and likely take fair time, but I'll try to stick to it this time.

    :)
    Tha'll stand for t'egg under t'cap.
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  • TheBlueWolfTheBlueWolf Frets: 1366
    All the above really.

    Focus on the areas that you find hardest. Playing what you're capable of won't see you making much progress. Use the type of picking you feel most comfortable with too.
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  • Good advice in this thread.  But what happens if you've done all that and still can't get it up to speed?  Also, don't overlook that if you want to perform it at 100% speed, you ideally want to have it nailed in practice at 110%+ speed, to give you a comfort zone for the pressure situation.

    A speciality subject of mine, and I'm now doing Skype lessons if anyone fancies some different approaches to this issue (see my signature).
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  • DanjiDanji Frets: 125

    It depends on how deep you want to get with the transcribing.  

    Do you want to know just the notes, and the 'shape' of the line?

    Do you want to know the reason behind the lick, for example it implies an E7 arpeggio over a Cmaj?

    Do you want to play it as an exact copy as the original in regards to articulation, dynamics, and time feel?

    I would suggest trying different fingerings on the fretboard, there's loads of different ways to explore how someone played three notes, let alone a whole section.

    I've spent a long time transcribing, and you get to know how the person plays after a while and it gets easier, but I've spent hours and hours over two seconds of music, and still not quite got it right. It's bloody good fun though! 

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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 1912
    Thanks @Danji good advice, I am very capable at transcribing, I do quite a bit, it is literally the "speed" of certain things I'm referring to, which of course can only be done by repetition and building up.

    It's quite a while since I posted this and I am seeing some improvement. ;)
    Tha'll stand for t'egg under t'cap.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 15312
    Thanks @Danji good advice, I am very capable at transcribing, I do quite a bit, it is literally the "speed" of certain things I'm referring to, which of course can only be done by repetition and building up.

    It's quite a while since I posted this and I am seeing some improvement. ;)
    Play most of the time at 50-75% of your maximum speed and then spend the last 5 minutes of a practice session trying to work on speed.
    Progress at 5 bpm per week, no faster.

    You don't want to play fast, your want to play fast and clean- the only way you do that is it learn to play it clean in the first place at slower speeds.
    I am the juice of four limes.
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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 1912
    Thanks @octatonic ;

    Most of my playing doesn't rely on very fast stuff, but there are occasions when I get frustrated, a good example is the solo(First solo) in Rosanna by Toto, that last run up at the end, that's a classic example of something that was 15% too fast for me.

    But progress is slowly being made with that, I'm up to about 92% with that now Yay...... Aside from Rosanna, I've noticed one thing in that sometimes when I think something is too fast for me, it actually isn't, it was because I wasn't playing it in time, I was rushing it or something. I try to analyse everything I do now and it's good to be able to self diagnose errors.
    Tha'll stand for t'egg under t'cap.
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  • ... sometimes when I think something is too fast for me, it actually isn't, it was because I wasn't playing it in time, I was rushing it or something. I try to analyse everything I do now and it's good to be able to self diagnose errors.
    Bang on, we get faster by getting better!
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 447
    Thanks @octatonic ;

    Most of my playing doesn't rely on very fast stuff, but there are occasions when I get frustrated, a good example is the solo(First solo) in Rosanna by Toto, that last run up at the end, that's a classic example of something that was 15% too fast for me.

    How do you play that run? I find it easier if I put a little slide up in the middle that (in effect) helps me catch my breathe (see pic below). But I don't know exactly what Steve Lukather does. There seem to be lots of different views on Youtube.

    http://i.imgur.com/EY31OBr.png
    It's not a competition
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 15312
    I would naturally play that DUDU DUDDUD DUDUDU.

    I am the juice of four limes.
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  • DanjiDanji Frets: 125
    You could go Gilbert and play the line as a three note per string  ;)

    Have those extra wide stretches! 
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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 1912
    @stratman3142  I play the passing G# note near the beginning on the A String, like this....excuse, I'm not used to writing out TAB.

    10 13 10 13
    10 13 10 11 13
    10     12
    10     12
    10 11 12 (A String)

    I've slowed it down in Audacity and it's right (although the passing G# note played an octave above would also work). I alternate pick each note(one finger per fret), I've tried it sometimes with a slide in there(forget where) and tried it in different positions or shapes but settled on this one.

    Like I said in the OP, I only give this one 5 minutes per night(as well as 5 ins each for a few other passages I'm learning) as I am not very disciplined and find myself wanting to just play along to stuff or learn songs.

    I guess my original question in the OP will only be answered if I keep plugging away at it, it'll be a while though :)

    Tha'll stand for t'egg under t'cap.
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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 40
    @stratman3142  I play the passing G# note near the beginning on the A String, like this....excuse, I'm not used to writing out TAB.

    10 13 10 13
    10 13 10 11 13
    10     12
    10     12
    10 11 12 (A String)

    I've slowed it down in Audacity and it's right (although the passing G# note played an octave above would also work). I alternate pick each note(one finger per fret), I've tried it sometimes with a slide in there(forget where) and tried it in different positions or shapes but settled on this one.

    Like I said in the OP, I only give this one 5 minutes per night(as well as 5 ins each for a few other passages I'm learning) as I am not very disciplined and find myself wanting to just play along to stuff or learn songs.

    I guess my original question in the OP will only be answered if I keep plugging away at it, it'll be a while though :)

    I would suggest not limiting your time to 5 minutes if you want to get it 100% right. Perhaps, also slow down even more the part you're finding a challenge - listening to it in this way may help identify subtleties. If you don't get it first time, sleep on it and come back to it and keep doing this until you crack it.
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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 1912
    @CarpeDiem ;

    I'll try to give it a bit more time, but like I say, I'm trying a couple of other phrases/licks as well at 5 mins(sometimes it may be 7 or 8 mins) each and when you add up the inbetween bits it adds up to more like 25 - 30 mins(out of 1 hour or so). I have to commit some time to other things as well or it's all work and no play as they say, but I always make good use of my time time in whatever context.

    I'm not really finding that above section challenging (only at full speed), I can play it cleanly at 90% or a tad over. So I suppose there has been some progress. The 85% when I first wrote the thread was a bit over optimistic, it was more like 80% :)
    Tha'll stand for t'egg under t'cap.
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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 40
    @CarpeDiem ;

    I'll try to give it a bit more time, but like I say, I'm trying a couple of other phrases/licks as well at 5 mins(sometimes it may be 7 or 8 mins) each and when you add up the inbetween bits it adds up to more like 25 - 30 mins(out of 1 hour or so). I have to commit some time to other things as well or it's all work and no play as they say, but I always make good use of my time time in whatever context.

    I'm not really finding that above section challenging (only at full speed), I can play it cleanly at 90% or a tad over. So I suppose there has been some progress. The 85% when I first wrote the thread was a bit over optimistic, it was more like 80% :)
    I think you're right to keep your practice routine varied, and also wanting it to be fun. Since you've already got from 80% to 90%, I'd suggest keeping this in your routine every time you play to see how close to 100% you get by continuing to limit the time you spend. Depending on how far you get, you may want to reconsider your priorities, say spending more time on this and dropping another phrase/lick. I've read that some of the top players would typically spend 10 hours plus a day learning, and this is when they were in their formative years. I guess this puts the learning challenges that most of us face into perspective!
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 447
    edited April 25
    Having listened to the isolated guitar track for Rosanna (3:13 in clip one at the end of this post), I think Steve Lukather might be playing the following. It's possible the first G to A could be a slide up.


    It's what I notated in an earlier post, except the Ab is on the 2nd string instead of the 3rd string.

    But having looked at live clips of Toto (for example 3:24 in clip 2 at the end of this post) I think Steve Lukather might play the following, which is slightly different to the album version:


    I think I might stick with my original approach because it's more resilient for me (i.e. less prone to error).

    I agree with what's been touched on earlier in the thread, that different approaches work for different players and it's good to experiment with different approaches to find one that works, even if it might be a bit different to how it was originally played. 

    Btw: Steve Lukather is one of my favourite guitar players.

    Clip 1 - isolated guitar track ( solo at 3:13)



    Clip 2 - Toto Live ( solo at 3:24)

    It's not a competition
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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 1912
    Thanks for that @stratman3142 I'll get round to studying that, would have responded earlier but mental busy with rehearsals last night.
    Tha'll stand for t'egg under t'cap.
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  • CatthanCatthan Frets: 180
    I find that the barrier with that final 10-15% speed is with my hearing. I can't hear smth as fast in my head. 
    The more I listen to it the better it gets so playing slowly focusing on listening rather than finger movements may help.
    It will come out when it is ready. The fingers will do their bit once the brain knows what that is..

    For me anyway, good luck


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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 1912
    Catthan said:
    I find that the barrier with that final 10-15% speed is with my hearing. I can't hear smth as fast in my head. 
    The more I listen to it the better it gets so playing slowly focusing on listening rather than finger movements may help.
    It will come out when it is ready. The fingers will do their bit once the brain knows what that is..

    For me anyway, good luck

    Totally agree, I tend to be good at listening for the notes, but there are other nuances that can be picked up. It is probably wise to give as much time to listening to the timing etc.
    Tha'll stand for t'egg under t'cap.
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  • Paul_LPaul_L Frets: 52
    I find that I need to learn the solo / riff as a melody that I can sing in my head otherwise I dont really know what I am trying to play. Once I do this timing and speed is a little easier. The only problem with this is that I am then sinnging the part using "do dahs, wahs and bum-chick-a-wah-wahs" which is very silly.
    Maintained it for 20 years. This old guitar's had 17 new necks and 14 new bodies in its time.
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