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Posted by pcfive on Saturday, June 1, 2013

Speed kills. If you are trying to learn bluegrass banjo, the worst thing you can do is try to play too fast.

Yes that's true, it was one of the first things I learned. When I tried to play fast, timing went out the window. Don't even think about tone.

Now years later, I still get tempted by the speed demon. However, I do know that I can play very fast. Finding out how fast, and proving it, is more of a challenge.

Every day, I start practicing with the metronome at 100. I try to play every note perfectly, with perfect timing and micro-timing. It's easy to play at that speed.

Then I increase it by 10s or 20s, still trying to get every note perfect. It gets a little harder as the speed increases. But it still seems possible, at least until 160.

I think that once it gets faster than 160, maybe I start having trouble hearing the clicks. I really think I can play a lot faster than 160, but I have to find something I can hear better than my metronome. Even with headphones, it gets hard to follow at fast speeds.

Then of course someone will ask why I even care about playing faster than 160. It's because I think it's good practice and it makes your playing more accurate. If you can play accurately at 160+, then your slower playing will be more precise.

Just my ignorant theory, but it seems true to me.

I do believe that my method is working, since I am doing a lot better at jam sessions.




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