How do you handle these fast rhythms?

I see this type of thing in a lot of “shreddy” licks, where there’s super complicated rhythmic patterns. I mostly see it in improvised stuff, so it could be that the guitarist is just throwing “adherence to the rhythm” to the wind to just stuff as many notes in a small amount of time as they can to build excitement or for some other effect. Anyway, to get to the main topic, if you were playing a lick like this, from “D-Grade F*** Movie Jam”:

Would you practice it and play it with the specified rhythm, or would you simplify it, practicing it as a steady stream of constant sixteenth/thirty-second notes then try to line it up to the recording at speed?

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I don’t think anybody does that, I’d just concentrate on fitting all the notes in a way that the long note is in place. In the shred world that’s super common thing to do, Eddie, Yngwie, Shawn Lane, Greg Howe and many others do that.

I actually dealt with this recently, one with a part of a Petrucci solo where he shifts to a faster subdivision, and the other is a Nuno solo where he shifts to a slower subdivision. I practice the overlapping portion enough to feel the accent change to a metronome, and slowly increase the tempo. This is assuming that the limitation isn’t technical speed, just feel.

I think that there’s a “natural” comfort that can be developed with any type of division of two or three, so mixing triplets and 8th/16th etc isn’t that bad. I think when it’s 5s and 7s it becomes more likely that it’s just “squeeze in a bunch of notes” but depends on which player you’re talking about. Some folks consciously try to play with those odd subdivisions, but ‘most’ rock players don’t do so intentionally.

Just relative to my own personal opinions about ‘what’s important in music’ I’d recommend trying to get the rhythm ‘for real’ as you are practicing it, even if that involves putting it into notation software and having it play back so you can hear. I’d also just listen to the real thing slowed down and hear how tight it sounds. If it’s just a mess of notes with the end of the phrase on beat 4, so be it. Sometimes the notation is approximation, sometimes it’s really what’s up.

The rhythm in the screenshot you posted isn’t too crazy, it’s just fast.

For example, if I wrote out the exact same rhythm but made each note twice as long and doubled the tempo it would look like this:

if I did that process again we’d get this, which really isn’t bonkers:

I’d argue if that rhythm is really difficult for anyone, who also has the technical ability to play the lick posted, then it should be a priority to learn how to read and count that rhythm, as that’s a bit of an imbalance of skills in my opinion.

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