Just so we’re clear here, are you talking about 130bpm sextuplets, aka 195bpm sixteenths? Because if so, let’s be honest, that’s pretty damn fast! I would go as far as to suggest that most players at that speed can probably only play repetitive sequence-type patterns like the Yngwie phrase, if they can play anything at all. So if that’s your roadblock I wouldn’t beat yourself up over that. That’s a nice problem to have.
While you’re working on this, also keep in mind for all those players out there who are bummed bout about speed, that 150bpm with any fingering you can throw at it, pure alternate picking, is probably a significantly rarer skill than the ability to do the Yngwie pattern at 210bpm. And it’s arguably just as useful in a wide range of musical situations.
So even if there is some kind of physiological limitation to how fast you can move your hands - and I’m not saying there is - there are lots of other things you can work on in the coordination department that can complement your single-string high tempo work.
Great work on these - nice clear lighting happening here. When we’re talking about motions though I would include the normal speed video. I don’t think there’s anything we’re going to see in slow motion that’s necessarily going to tell us anything operative in this case. Instead, I think learning picking motions is about learning smoothness and we’ll get a better sense of what that looks like from regular speed video.
More generally, I will offer a counterpoint to the metronomes and repetitions crowd. Most of the fast playing I do has happened as a result of learning to be smooth with a particular motion, not by consciously trying to push past a certain bpm limit. And it has never, ever happened as a result of slowly working up to an arbitrary limit in tiny metronomic increments for X number of repetitions.
So I still think the big elephant in the room about all these speed-related posts needs to be addressed and that is what, exactly, metronome-style speed practice is supposed to be doing:
- Is it helping you learn smoothness of a movement?
- Or is it taking a movement you are already good at, like a bench press, and just adding more weight to that bench press?
Because these to me are two totally different activities. And I’m not even convinced that category 2 really exists. Or if it does, it’s doesn’t exist as significantly as people might think.
As an example, I’ve seen Technique Critique posts here of single-string motion that is not consistent. It’s fast for a second or two, then spazzes out and becomes another movement for a second, then spazzes out again and becomes the first movement. You’ll see all sorts of things happening - random combinations of finger movement, forearm movement, wrist movement. But in the short stretches where it’s consistent, it’s also fast. That to me is evidence for category 1, i.e. “movement is not yet learned”. And a non-learned movement is not smooth, and therefore not fast. Learning to do the coordination of the movement will increase the length of time you can do it smoothly, and you’ll experience that sensation of cruising along at highway speeds.
So this is my long-winded question for you. Are you category 1 or 2? Do your movements feel smooth and effortless, or do they feel a little awkward like they might be not totally learned yet?
If you think they might not be totally learned yet, than repetitions and metronomes are not the way I personally learn new motions. I use trial and error and I’m always trying to change something about my motion, or form or grip or pick choice or anchoring or even the phrase I’m working on to find a way that works better. And I’m always paying attention to those little “a ha” moments, because when they occur you want to notice them and try and reproduce them.