Some of you may know I have a guitar coach who lives just outside of Las Vegas. She is my guru, and the real reason why I am able to play guitar nowadays. The last time I had a lesson with her, I asked her about the maximum tempo for her when she plays here classical pieces. Of course it depends on the piece of music, but generally she stops at about 120bpm.
I do like guys who play some fast licks, but there is no reason for me to spend hours trying to play 16th notes at 180bpm. I’d rather work on emotion, melody, fantastic rhythm, and kickass phrases. With this in my mind I put a limit on how fast I play a 16th note phrase…..ready?
If I nail a phrase at that tempo, I stop. No reason to keep going to see how fast I can get it. In my opinion I am wasting my time trying to develop insane amounts of speed. After analyzing my favorite fast licks from the players I love, about 140bpm is the fastest I care to go. Mind you, 16th notes at 140bpm is pretty damn fast. And I don’t often play music that fast, but it is nice to know its there if I intend to suddenly rip it up.
Adding grease, inflections, how to approach note, and especially vibrato is suuuuuper important to me. Nice to lay out a fast link here and there, but there’s so many other things work on for guitar. I highly recommend a speed diet/limit. Cut out the bullshit and get right to it! :)