Interesting thoughts from Guthrie on shredding

How did you learn to shred?
Once you’ve figured out how to play some new thing that you couldn’t play before, I’m a believer in maybe don’t reach for the metronome and crank it up immediately. Now see if you can play the same thing again but use fewer calories. Can you play the same thing again whilst, like, watching the TV, or thinking about something else? Can you do it so that you can play it a hundred times in a row without hurting yourself? If you prioritize stuff like that, then you end up with good technique. And then one day when you need to do it at twice the speed, your body kind of knows how. Nobody ever practices how fast they can talk. People spend their lives using languages to say stuff that they want to say. And then one day when they get excited, and they naturally want to speak quicker, they find that they can do it.

Any thoughts on this? I tend to agree more with Troy’s advice of play at a medium fast tempo because your movements at speed are not the same as your slow movements.

I’m guessing Guthrie, like so many elite guitarists, can play fast naturally and isn’t sure how he can do it and this is maybe his way of how he thinks he does it?

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IMO, I take this as advice more on developing good control, intonation, consistency, and “touch” on the guitar, rather than speed. He’s talking about it in the context of building speed, but IMO it sounds more like he’s talking about articulation and control.

Troy’s talking about figuring out how to make a picking motion work at speed, and how the best way to actually make sure it works is to practice at high speeds. I think what Guthrie is talking about is more hand coordination and fretting hand control, personally.

Although I agree, my first thought was he was talking about smoothness, ease and close-looped chunking

some people are metronome people, some people arent. Sounds like Guthrie is not a metronome guy. So his approach is just to live with the lick(s) and get super comfortable with them and trust that by doing so he will get faster etc.

Joe Stump though, huge metronome guy. John Taylor, huge metronome guy.

Slow, fast, medium (and all in between) practice speeds have their place.

Use a metronome or not. It’s up to you. A car going 60 mph without a radar gun is still going 60 mph.

It gauges speed. It has literally nothing to do with building speed itself. I’ve never used it once - and I really mean not even once - to build my current level of technique. It’s optional.

These players are all smart people and all talking about things that probably work for different parts of a complicated multi-step process. As with so many things, which part of the process you’re talking about matters. The speed thing we talk about is used for rapidly determining whether a motion is correct and efficient. I am not aware of any way of doing this at a very slow speed.

Once you have that, or the beginnings of that, you can move forward with a thousand slightly different takes that all basically converge on the same idea: playing naturally, at a wide variety of realistic speeds, including occasional fast ones, with an ear toward smoothness, consistency and reducing error rate over time. I think of as that as the long tail of the process, and that’s what I think he’s describing here.

I have no good reason or evidence to suspect that this process works any differently for any of us, whether you’re a super genius or a regular person. The variety of answers you get owe more to the vagueness of the questions being asked. Like the three blind dudes describing an elephant, the answer you get really depends on which part of that elephant you’re describing, and most of the time the speaker isn’t being too particular about which part that is.