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Author: Subject: Playing fast

Peach Master





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  posted on 11/5/2003 at 10:22 PM
Okay, this really rips me. Why is it people equate FAST with GOOD when it comes to guitar playing. I know all of you know the deal, I'm talking about people in general, pretty much everyone else..everyone here knows guitar doesn't have to be a zillion notes a second to be good..so why is it that without fail, anytime anyone sees someone blazing around the guitar neck they are 'great'...now, not saying THEY AREN'T...I admire the fact it takes much practice to get that proficient. I'm just saying that just because they're fast doesn't mean they automatically can be classified as great. I remember one time seeing this band, with this guy (who was like 20 years too old to be Mr. Rock God, but that's besides the point) just ripping scales up and down the neck, and people at the bar were just like 'wow he's great'...and I remember talking to someone and they said, 'well I know this guy that's even better, he can play even faster'. What the hell? Then you think of stuff like Robert Johnson, like Dickey said if you play that for a kid they think it's stupid or easy, but then once they're serious players it's like he said-'wait a minute, I can't really do what he's doing'. That is so true. There is much going on there even if it's not at blinding speed. And then I've gone to jam with people once in a while, and I hate hearing myself say 'it's not about speed'. (I learned without a pick so i'm not as fast as someone who has a good up/down technique with a pick. And I do plan on learning some of that technique, just because it would be good to be able to have that ability. I've just not gotten around to it yet. I can go at a decent speed now as it is, just not the..what do you call it..shred(?) style of playing.) It makes you not even want to do it. It's like you just want to play with someone that understands. Again, this is not to say that there's anything wrong with playing fast, and hats off to those that do-I'm just saying that way too few people seem to know that it takes more than just speed to equal 'great'.
 
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A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 11/5/2003 at 10:46 PM
I agree entirely.
Most "fast" playing is all about memorizing scales and patterens and not improvising.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/5/2003 at 11:56 PM
Playing fast implies some skills - it takes work to do that. Playing slow doesn't. And it DOES sound impressive. I guess that's about it.

 

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Peach Head



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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 02:42 AM
playing fast comes under two catergories-I beleive. Playing fast cause you can and playing fast cause it fits the song or mood. People who play fast may practice ALOT and I can respect that-but it's not that musical. Now on the other hand if the fast playing is still done musically and some melody-takes the music/mood somewhere then that's different. My favorite example of an amazing speed player who DOESN'T play fast just cause he can is John McLaughlin. He's amazing. Not only does he have amazingly fast chops-but it also fits the song, it goes somewhere. And he can play amazingly fast on an acoustic, and do it impeccably, which is amazing. Let's see most shredders do that-now that's shredding.
 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 03:50 AM
I'd include Jimmy Herring there, too. He'd be a great player if he didn't play superfast, but it sure impresses me when he does. You'd think his fingers would get tied up in knots.

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 03:55 AM
Dare I add to this subject, by naming a guy who does play fast, w/out emotional expression? I'm thinking of... Jimmy Herring.

First up, I really like the way he played with the Bros on the 2000 tour - maybe it's something to do with having respect for the material and sound of the ABB, but he played with economy and style on that tour.

Unfortunately, I don't get that feeling from his work with Phil & Friends and (especially) The Dead/Other Ones - long stretches of aimless widdling in the jams, as he follows the other musicians' cues. Perhaps it is something to do with the fact that, in this particular band, the lead guitarist is NOT dictating the direction of the music (unlike most other bands), but I come away with the impression that he is often just throwing in long streams of "hot licks" (admittedly very impressive, technically-speaking), to cover the patches where Bob Weir or Phil Lesh isn't signalling some sort of change in direction.

I suspect it's not for nothing that folk have started to call them "The Jimmy Herring Experience"!

 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 03:58 AM
Haven't heard anyone call the Dead that, but if they are I think it's probably because he's the liveliest thing in the band...

 

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Sublime Peach



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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 08:26 AM
Don't you do that, boy, you're worrying me so, you're complicating every little thing, you don't have to play so many notes, if you just get what each note brings...

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 09:27 AM
I read an interview with Al Dimeola where he mentions that most players who complain about speed can't play fast. I have often found the same thing. A guitarist doesn't need to play at breakneck speed to be great but it is another tool he can use when needed.
 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 10:15 AM
PLAY FASTER!!!!! (toking sound) FASTER!!! (more toking sounds) FASTER!!!!

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 10:23 AM
like air/space, playing fast is another color in the paintbox...

some do use the excuse that fast playing isn't soulful to avoid practicing...

john mclaughlin said the important things are tone, timing, and tuning...he also said guitarists spend half their time tuning, and the other half playing out of tune

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 10:30 AM
Hell, I just want to learn to play, I'm learning Little Martha now, and probably will be for a whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiillllllllllllllllllle!

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 10:35 AM
I dont like the "fast" stuff much anymore.... Yngwie Malmsteen was damn cool though

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 10:37 AM
quote:
john mclaughlin said the important things are tone, timing, and tuning...he also said guitarists spend half their time tuning, and the other half playing out of tune


Ain't it the truth!

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 10:37 AM
"You can say more with one good guitar note than you can with the entire Declaration of Independence." - Frank Zappa

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 10:46 AM
The trouble is if you play that note all night no one will come. The honest answer is all aspects of guitar are important. Maybe classical playing isn't your thing but without the ability you will never be able to play certain pieces. I love guitar and I enjoy practicing in all styles. Fast, slow and in between it is all good to me.
 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 12:15 PM
Well, I think we've all made a valid point here: Everyone has different ears and likes different things. I've been playing guitar since I was in second grade. I can play fairly fast and sometimes I do and sometimes I like to hear others playing fast. But, as someone already mentioned, it has to be "tasteful" and played with emotion. You are not "required" to play fast to be a great guitar player. In fact, I LOVE George Harrison's guitar playing and he hardly ever plays fast. - Jack Pearson is a great example of someone who can play at fast speeds, but hardly ever does. He has also sited one of his favourite guitar moments, which is one of mine as well, as being from BB King's LIVE AT COOK COUNTY JAIL, during "How Blue Can You Get?" when he flips his pickup and holds that one note out forever. I love that. - It's all in the emotion. - I LOVE Jimmy Herring, not because he plays fast, but because the precision in which he plays when he plays fast, and of course for other reasons. It all depends. - Sometimes I feel the kind of jamming that Phil Lesh & Friends plays, requires a little less emotion and more "noodling" & "tinkering". And again being a musician and dealing with so many other musicians and music fans, I just find that different things are important to different people, which in turn makes every aspect important...
 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 12:16 PM
One of my students asked me today if I thought anybody played "better" than Slash, 'cuz he's so fast.
 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 12:16 PM
I think everyone here can agree that CC Deville is the greatest guitar player who ever lived. He could really do it all.

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 12:18 PM
quote:
I'd include Jimmy Herring there, too. He'd be a great player if he didn't play superfast, but it sure impresses me when he does. You'd think his fingers would get tied up in knots.


Jimmy Herring is a great player. Who else could step in for both Dickety Betts and Jerry Garcia?

Speed has nothing to do with being great. It is about the notes you play.
It is giving yourself to the music.

Bruce Hampton never gave Jimmy a nickname, because he was playing himself.
He is the real Jimmy Herring.

John McLaughlin is very fast. But he has fire and emotion in the playing.

its is not how fast you play, It is how you play.

Santana is not blasing fast, but plays with a lot of heart.
He learned that from Miles Davis.

Peace
John

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 12:48 PM
greeting and all that

When I was trying to become a rock star back in the early-mid-and late 80's. Fast guitar players were a dime a dozen. Sure they could throw arpeggios and other zingin scales down your neck all day n night long. BUT they couldn't write a song if thier life depended on it. Much less play the blues. To them it was like "quack" why learn to play those "simple and slow chords and scales" when I can do this... The point about improvising is a valid one. I auditioned for alot of bands back then, some famous, some very very famous, and others not and we would often just "jam". In the end though the kind of music we jammed to and what was popular at the time were very different. I came close a time or two and even played a time or two for with a soon to be super rich and famous band before they broke. Guess it wasn't my fate but I really don't care. Looking back I realize that due to my convictions of refusing to dress like a woman and look like a woman, I stayed true to music being the importance and not compromisng so my name could be on a album cover or whatever. Now when I give lessons from time to time, the kids have that "wanna play fast" mentality even regarding the drums. I grin at em and start em with boring slow stuff in a dull repedative pace untill they learn the basics. I strongly urge the students to find guitar and bass players to jam with as opposed to just practicing what I teach them. The knowledge gained from that is something I could never teach. Boy did I ever "run off at the mouth" maybe my ol lady slipped me some estrogen with my morning vitamins ?

Be blessed
Laters On
Brother James

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 03:01 PM
gotdrumz,

Excellent post. I couldn't agree more.

You know, who really cares about if the average person thinks playing fast means more talent? The average person doesn't really care... Stay true to yourself, if you're a musician. - I mean, can Britney Spears really sing? Does it matter if she can? No, because she'll be a celebrity as long as she poses half naked on Rolling Stone and has the body to do so... I don't let that bother me, but I don't buy her records either! - I love talking with you all because it reminds me that there are plenty of people out there who are passionate about music...

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 03:28 PM
quote:
I think everyone here can agree that CC Deville is the greatest guitar player who ever lived. He could really do it all.


LOL!

CC Deville was just like every other guitarist in the '80s. They could play fast. I admit that my favorite music to come out of the '80s was the hard rock stuff. But after I discovered the ABB it all changed for me. I can't play extremely fast, but I don't care. When I saw Phil & Friends I was mostly watching Warren (I'm a huge Warren fan), but I started hearing these incredible licks from somewhere in the band. I soon realized that Jimmy Herring was standing in the back just tearing it up. I wasn't a real big Jimmy fan until that night. It was amazing at some of the stuff he was doing. He can play fast, but that doesn't necessarily make him a good guitarist. What he plays, not how fast he can play it is what matters.

Peach Out

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 03:51 PM
quote:
I dont like the "fast" stuff much anymore.... Yngwie Malmsteen was damn cool though


I saw Yngwie the other night at the Warner on the G3 tour. He was wild. Throwing
guitars, drop kicking picks. He was a metal God. Lots of fast scales. He gave
the crowd what they wanted. I like the heavy stuff more than the more classical
styled things.

Steve Vai had a hot band with Billy Sheehan and Tony MacAlpine. Steve was
on playing some moving stuff.

Satriani was last, Wasn't his best night. I liked his old band with Stu Hamm better
than his current band. But this band was good last tour, not as good this time out.
Or maybe it was me..

Peace
John

 

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  posted on 11/6/2003 at 06:44 PM
quote:
I think everyone here can agree that CC Deville is the greatest guitar player who ever lived. He could really do it all.


If you think that CC Deville is the greatest guitar player that ever lived, then you have got **** for brains. Duane would have kicked his ass in a guitar contest.

 

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