Can Anybody Here Play Mr. Crowley? I Need Advice

TSJMajesty

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So, I'm talking about the solo, and staying pretty close to how Randy played it. Been putting up a few threads about technique here, since my main focus is getting better as a guitarist, and I wanna reach a level of this sort of challenging stuff. Been going hard for a few years, and I'm stoked with my progress, so I'd love to get some real conversations going with like-minded players, here, cuz I don't wanna go over to, you know, that other place, cuz you know, this place rocks! But it's still just getting going, so not nearly as many people.

Anyway, I've been mainly working on alt-picking stuff, and as far as sextuplets go (most of this solo), I can juusst about get 3-note-per-string riffs at the tempo of Mr. Crowley. As long as they're fairly linear, like Petrucci's runs. But where I really struggle is when it's mostly hammer-ons & pull-offs. My trill speed of my fingers is just slooowww. So these kinds of solos are really challenging for me. But I know I need to mix this technique into my practice time, since so many songs have this style.

And being Pentatonic-based makes it even harder, since it's mostly 2 n.p.s. Even if I alt-picked this solo, I might be able to get it up to 85% of the tempo atm. I have practiced just doing trills (bor-ing), and worked on the Jimmy Page-type triplet riffs that go back-and-forth (think: Good Times Bad Times, Godzilla), but I'm beginning to wonder if my fingers are just not made for pulling off stuff like this, no pun intended. A buddy of mine back in high school could play Good Times Bad Times, and it did seem like it was just second nature to him!

So one question I have, if you can play this type of riffage..., when you first started messing with it, were your fingers "fast", or did you really have to work on building speed? I mean I know nothing comes totally naturally, but I'm just wondering if guys who can do this sort of stuff, did it come to you pretty quickly? And if not, did you see a decent rate of progress? As in, how long did it take to get there?

And of course, can you give me any tips how to get there? Like, does gaining stamina and strength eventually translate to increased speed, for example? I'm not trying to, nor am I ever gonna, be a "shredder" (despite what it says under my avatar! Lol), but I have always wanted to someday be able to conquer this solo, and others like it. Especially since, once I can do one of them, the others will come that much easier.

Thanks!
 
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So, I'm talking about the solo, and staying pretty close to how Randy played it. Been putting up a few threads about technique here, since my main focus is getting better as a guitarist, and I wanna reach a level of this sort of challenging stuff. Been going hard for a few years, and I'm stoked with my progress, so I'd love to get some real conversations going with like-minded players, here, cuz I don't wanna go over to, you know, that other place, cuz you know, this place rocks! But it's still just getting going, so not nearly as many people.

Anyway, I've been mainly working on alt-picking stuff, and as far as sextuplets go (most of this solo), I can juusst about get 3-note-per-string riffs at the tempo of Mr. Crowley. As long as they're fairly linear, like Petrucci's runs. But where I really struggle is when it's mostly hammer-ons & pull-offs. My trill speed of my fingers is just slooowww. So these kinds of solos are really challenging for me. But I know I need to mix this technique into my practice time, since so many songs have this style.

And being Pentatonic-based makes it even harder, since it's mostly 2 n.p.s. Even if I alt-picked this solo, I might be able to get it up to 85% of the tempo atm. I have practiced just doing trills (bor-ing), and worked on the Jimmy Page-type triplet riffs that go back-and-forth (think: Good Times Bad Times, Godzilla), but I'm beginning to wonder if my fingers are just not made for pulling off stuff like this, no pun intended. A buddy of mine back in high school could play Good Times Bad Times, and it did seem like it was just second nature to him!

So one question I have, if you can play this type of riffage..., when you first started messing with it, were your fingers "fast", or did you really have to work on building speed? I mean I know nothing comes totally naturally, but I'm just wondering if guys who can do this sort of stuff, did it come to you pretty quickly? And if not, did you see a decent rate of progress? As in, how long did it take to get there?

And of course, can you give me any tips how to get there? Like, does gaining stamina and strength eventually translate to increased speed, for example? I not trying to, nor am I ever gonna, be a "shredder" (despite what it says under my avatar! Lol), but I have always wanted to someday be able to conquer this solo, and others like it. Especially since, once I can do one of them, the others will come that much easier.

Thanks!
Following this .
I can relate to much of your post !

That fact that there are less members might be a bonus 🤷🏻
Might be less of a chance for the thread going sideways and far away from them original topic.
Like what I’m doing now 😂
 
With speed stuff it’s always been practice for months and not get it then one day I’d realize I wasn’t hearing what I was trying to learn correctly with the timing and figure it out right there and then I’d stick at that level for months/years. The very first descending part in this solo is a perfect example; that would hang me up for months because I‘d think it’d require much more speed than it actually does and I’d tighten up my hands preparing for it, when it’s not really a blistering speed and I’ve played notes grouped together faster in other things I’ve played, I just wasn’t grasping the timing of it, especially with triplets, which are practically all I play these days when doing fast stuff.

Separating my picking hand from the fingering hand helped a lot. I’d just mute the strings and pick the strings as I was supposed to until I figured out the timing of what I was trying to play with just muted notes. That was probably the thing that sped me up the most because like I said, there’s a good chance you’re already playing other things faster than you would parts of this solo, but it’s hard to realize that out of the context you’re used to hearing them in.

Then if you do the same thing with your fingering hand; just finger the notes as you’re supposed to without picking them, you figure out the other part. If I tried to tackle both ends at the same time, I’d get hung up on something.

Finger pressure over all was the biggest thing for me and speed. I can still feel how I used to tense up my fingers preparing for a fast section. There’s a few licks in this section that are my regular go-to licks and I didn’t even realize it, the first descending and ascending run around 2:05-2:08 I use in like every solo. :rofl
 
There’s no one who knows as much about teaching speed improvement as Michael Angelo Batio.
 
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Solo starts at bar 55 of this tab. To what bars are you referring to?



One example would be the sextuplet- F-D-C-D-C-A (8x's) around measure 60. I can do 1 or 2 beats of that, but then I start falling behind.
I'll just keep at it...
 
So..., nobody has really answered my main question which is, can you really build trill speed?
Can you trill fast, and if so, was it pretty much always there, and you just had to refine it?

Like, with my alternate picking, I could always tremolo-pick a single string at about 600 nps. But in order to play actual riffs at that speed, I had to develop control, and L/R finger hand coordination. And I had to practice it to a metronome to get it consistent, without "tripping" over the string. But I can't seem to "will" myself to go much faster, even with practice.

I've said this before, and I got disagreements, but I think we all have a natural speed limit that we just can't go beyond. Sure, you may be able to gain say, 10-20% extra, but beyond that, I'm not so sure.

Which is why I was looking to see if anyone, who when they started working on hammer-ons/pull-offs, were able to really see any truly appreciable speed gains with practice.
 
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There’s no one who knows as much about teaching speed improvement as Michael Angelo Batio.
Iirc, in one of his videos I watched a while back, he said he takes his students, and has them tremolo-pick a single string as fast as they can, and then he said, That's your speed limit. (I'm pretty sure I'm remembering that right.) As if to say, that's it. That's you. That's all there is, and the best you can do is learn how to play riffs up to that speed.
 
Iirc, in one of his videos I watched a while back, he said he takes his students, and has them tremolo-pick a single string as fast as they can, and then he said, That's your speed limit. (I'm pretty sure I'm remembering that right.) As if to say, that's it. That's you. That's all there is, and the best you can do is learn how to play riffs up to that speed.
He says a good bit more. That portion just is a method to gauge one’s current limits. Many professionals used to go to him on the side to improve in that area. In some of his content that can be found online I think at various points he also explains elements with the left hand.

Personally I think most people can get faster if they go back and rebuild their muscle memory from the ground up. More tightly bundling the neural connections with the fingers.

For example: put your hand down on a flat surface finger tips down and close your eyes. Pick various fingers at random for a single tap. Does everything feel fluid or are there any mingled responses?

There’s a saying about playing slow to play fast. That’s to clean up the muscle memory so there’s less resistance/more efficiency for the nervous system. Once the muscle memory is clean someone’s speed can dramatically increase even if they’re historically slow. From what I understand practicing legato increases finger strength/endurance which will translate over into more speed overall, and especially with hammers, pulloffs, etc…, and of course like Drew mentioned increasing the relaxation in the hands reduces resistance to motion.

Then all of that combines with the right hand limit of pick speed which can also increase over time for most people.

Come to think of it maybe I could stand to work on my speed a bit too!

:beer
 
Learning Take Note GIF by BLoafX
 
He says a good bit more. That portion just is a method to gauge one’s current limits. Many professionals used to go to him on the side to improve in that area. In some of his content that can be found online I think at various points he also explains elements with the left hand.

Personally I think most people can get faster if they go back and rebuild their muscle memory from the ground up. More tightly bundling the neural connections with the fingers.

For example: put your hand down on a flat surface finger tips down and close your eyes. Pick various fingers at random for a single tap. Does everything feel fluid or are there any mingled responses?

There’s a saying about playing slow to play fast. That’s to clean up the muscle memory so there’s less resistance/more efficiency for the nervous system. Once the muscle memory is clean someone’s speed can dramatically increase even if they’re historically slow. From what I understand practicing legato increases finger strength/endurance which will translate over into more speed overall, and especially with hammers, pulloffs, etc…, and of course like Drew mentioned increasing the relaxation in the hands reduces resistance to motion.

Then all of that combines with the right hand limit of pick speed which can also increase over time for most people.

Come to think of it maybe I could stand to work on my speed a bit too!

:beer
Thank you! Some of that certainly resonates with what I've seen in my own improvements in alt-picking.
 
Come to think of it maybe I could stand to work on my speed a bit too!
My goals, wrt speed, are wrapped up in wanting to be able to play certain solos. I don't care foremost about being a "fast" player; it just so happens that a bunch of the songs I have in my sights are in that range of which I really have to work at to be able to play.

It was the same way back in my youth when I played Clarinet. The faster stuff was the hardest for me. (But it was interesting, in that my overall technique, especially my tone, got me moved up in a 100-piece concert band that toured Europe for 3 weeks when I was 16, past many other players in my section, that I thought were much better than me. They were definitely faster.)

I'd put being able to string together a melodic riff higher on my priority list, but fortunately, as I study these great players (JP, RR, PG, YJM, DG, RB, Nuno, Neal Schon, EVH, Jake, AL, even Paganinni), those elements kinda develop as an extra bonus. I'm stealing a lot of licks!

But I'm after both- great technique: clean, accurate, in-time, with proper dynamics..., along with interesting melody. Yeah, I want it all. :rawk
And I'm truly putting in the effort, playing an average of at least 3 hours a day, some days as much as 6 or so. I've never in my entire life been this focused on my guitar abilities!
 
My experience is that when picking notes our fretting hand can be a bit lighter in touch than
it needs to be when trilling. When we trill we have to have a bit more heft/intensity in the fretting
hand in order to get those notes to ring out properly, since there is no plectrum involved in that
initial attack.

Trilling might be boring, but I do think it can build some of the necessary finger strength so we can
"hammer" the notes and pull them off faster and more fluently.

The cool thing about trilling/legato is we don't have to synchronize the picking and fretting hands.
I do think we need a bit more strength in the fretting hand, though.
 
My experience is that when picking notes our fretting hand can be a bit lighter in touch than
it needs to be when trilling. When we trill we have to have a bit more heft/intensity in the fretting
hand in order to get those notes to ring out properly, since there is no plectrum involved in that
initial attack.

Trilling might be boring, but I do think it can build some of the necessary finger strength so we can
"hammer" the notes and pull them off faster and more fluently.

The cool thing about trilling/legato is we don't have to synchronize the picking and fretting hands.
I do think we need a bit more strength in the fretting hand, though.
Yep. Absolutely. And because you have to rely on finger strength for not only the notes to ring out evenly, but also in time (ever play the 4-3-1 pull-off, and the first note is much shorter than the other 2?), I practice several legato riffs unplugged. And definitely with a metronome.

One of the coolest-sounding things you can do on a guitar is play a fast legato riff evenly.

And you also need to break that pinky/ring finger connection, and build independence (YJM's I'll See The Light Tonight is one of my basics for that.)

It also really helps in cleaning up a legato riff if, when changing to a lower string, you have enough finger strength to do a "hammer-on from nowhere" with your pinky or ring finger. I.e., not picked.
 
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