WHO’S THE FASTEST GUITAR PLAYER IN THE WORLD (AND WHY YOU SHOULDN'T CARE)
There’s the old joke if you want to get a guitar player to stop playing put a piece of sheet music in front of him. And I won't get into the reasons why you should or shouldn’t learn to read music but I remember the first time someone put a piece of music in front of me it was funny to watch.
In recent years, it seems like guitar players have become obsessed with playing faster and faster and faster what we know as "shred" guitar. While I love that style of guitar playing I grew up listening to it I do hate the word "shred" it just sounds a little cheesy and degrading to most guitar players but that's just my opinion. While playing fast is certainly something cool to achieve and it makes a solo exciting if done well at the end of the day it's not the be-all end all everyone thinks it is.
Playing fast is just one tool in the arsenal of a guitar player. You see many videos on YouTube with players measuring how fast they can play with metronomes and people write in and say oh you're cheating; the video is altered or some inane or derogatory comment but I wrote this article for the players who make the comments "I'll never be that good " etc. You can be that good. When you watch some of these players you begin to realize just playing fast isn't really that hard when you look at what they're playing.
I witnessed a video the other day on YouTube where they had a player at some University with electrodes all over his arms and muscles trying to see why he can play as fast as he can Now I get it that stuff like that is interesting, at the end of the day he's only playing certain things that fast. Nothing against him as a player but at the end of the day what is really going to prove.
If you were to take a major scale and play it as fast as you could and you were literally known as the fastest guitar player in the world I'm going to explain to you why it isn't necessarily true because if you were to take that same scale and play it with intervals of 3rds fourths or fifths or sixths etc. you would realize that suddenly playing that same scale as fast as you could become much, much harder simply because the jumps between the notes the interval skips and what your guitar pick has to do to play those notes drastically changes so at the end of the day it becomes a moot point. You would physically have to slow down simply because the spaces between the notes and the time between the notes becomes longer even though by small amounts. So, at the end of the day it’s like chasing your tail
I mention things like this because I hate to see someone who is just starting out playing the guitar to watch these videos and you'll see the comments all the time “I could never play like that” or whatever the comment maybe most players get defeated before they even begin, they must realize that playing fast can involve many different techniques and facets of guitar playing and that some of the players you see in the videos may only be good at certain things fast. I thought I was a pretty hip fast guitar player when I started taking lessons and then I sat down and watched my jazz teacher play chords and chord progressions that I had never even heard before suddenly playing a scale fast just didn't seem that hard anymore and I realized that just being technically faster playing scales didn't make me a great guitar player it was a lot more to it than that so before you get caught up in the need for speed these are just some things I wanted to mention to put some ideas in your head that yes it's one goal to achieve speed but again it's not everything, not even close. You’ll find creating your own style and character as much or maybe more of a fulfilling challenge.
If you practice correctly speed will come weather you want it to or not
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© 2017 Mike Gayda
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