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wetwonder

Learning to strum faster

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Hi,

 

Waiting on my first ever Gibson - my dream 2002 mahogony j-45 to come UPS. I've been perusing the forums and found more than a few references to Pete Townshend videos, and discussions of his guitars and abilities.

 

His super fast strumming gives an extra range of expression. So serious question, being a learning player. How do I practice increasing my acoustic strumming speed? I know the Pete videos are an extreme example, being he's a master, but even so I noticed that when he nails it there is a physical body control that he harnesses, and you can see him going into intense concentration - so there is a mechanism to making that superhuman skill happen.

 

So just wondering if someone could break it down for me on the steps to improve strumming. I'm self taught. I've been surfing the internet to find some blogs on this subject but am having no luck.

 

Thanks,

Dave

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there are many strumming patterns on the net but everything ive ever wanted to speed up I always start slug slow with a metronome and slowly increase the speed when I feel like I can do it in my sleep. just my 2 cents

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Great question! Many songs I've been messing with lately 'require' that kind of speed for a few bars and since I can't get that to work - the results are bad. Half of my problem though is in the left hand. C/F/C/F becomes ... abcdefg#! I'll try the metronome on my Gibson app and try kicking it up to 200. First have to put my 'guitar bra' on to keep from scraping the design off my pickguard. I wonder how many picks I'll drop in the hole? I may need to buy some spares. Something to look forward to this weekend besides yardwork! Thanks for the great question Wet!

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Hi' date='

 

Waiting on my first ever Gibson - my dream 2002 mahogony j-45 to come UPS. I've been perusing the forums and found more than a few references to Pete Townshend videos, and discussions of his guitars and abilities.

 

His super fast strumming gives an extra range of expression. So serious question, being a learning player. How do I practice increasing my acoustic strumming speed? I know the Pete videos are an extreme example, being he's a master, but even so I noticed that when he nails it there is a physical body control that he harnesses, and you can see him going into intense concentration - so there is a mechanism to making that superhuman skill happen.

 

So just wondering if someone could break it down for me on the steps to improve strumming. I'm self taught. I've been surfing the internet to find some blogs on this subject but am having no luck.

 

Thanks,

Dave[/quote']

 

For me the trick to fast strumming is really focusing on strumming from the wrist and keeping a loose grip. If your forearm is moving you'll never get the speed needed for playing "Pinball Wizard". Imagine you have an elbow cast on!

 

The other thing, of course, is practice and starting slow and building up speed.

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caffeine man. :)

 

Coffee

Mtn. Dew

Jolt

Tea

Colas... [wink]

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Pick control is another key to faster strumming, particularly how deeply the pick bites into the plane of the strings. With a thinner pick you can bite deeper and still get speed due to the flex of the pick; heavier gauges require a shallow bite to avoid overdriving the string. I think the "loose wrist" thing is up to the player. I find more control with a stiff wrist and a flat angle of attack with the pick.........everyone has their own means to a similar end. It is good advice to start slow as you learn muscle memory, increasing speed as the motions become ingrained.

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Pick control is another key to faster strumming' date=' particularly how deeply the pick bites into the plane of the strings. With a thinner pick you can bite deeper and still get speed due to the flex of the pick; heavier gauges require a shallow bite to avoid overdriving the string. I think the "loose wrist" thing is up to the player. I find more control with a stiff wrist and a flat angle of attack with the pick.........everyone has their own means to a similar end. It is good advice to start slow as you learn muscle memory, increasing speed as the motions become ingrained.

 

[/quote']

 

This.

 

I play in a Celtic band, and basically what we do is play traditional songs at punk rock speeds. It took me a long time to be able to play up to tempo.

 

It's mostly in your wrist, but your forearm has to move a bit. I kind of plant my elbow at the edge of the lower bout and use that as a pivot point. Like Buc said, you can't dig the pick in too hard. Also, I don't think it's possible to strum at that speed without a thin pick (I suggest Dunlop .60 Nylon).

 

Also, find the point of least tension on the strings. For me at has always been right where the neck ends. That'll be the easiest place to strum.

 

Mostly, like everything, it's just practice and muscle memory.

 

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Also, I haven't listened to Pinball Wizard in years, but IIRC, he's basically doing a variation on a Celtic Slip Jig, which is the old timey way of saying, straight strumming in 9/8. Except most Slip Jigs are not that fast. so, if you wanted to learn that, you could start with some slip jigs and increase the tempo. It's not just the fast strumming, it's the syncopation in the beat that you have to get used to.

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I think if you buy a J-200 it is a law you have to learn to play Pinball Wizard.

 

If you want to play as hard as Townsend, be prepared to spend alot of time fishing the pick out of the guitar when starting off.

 

But it is not only the right hand you will need to get a handle on but the left if you want to do things like get that sweet boom chicka, boom chicka rhythm going.

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I think if you buy a J-200 it is a law you have to learn to play Pinball Wizard.

 

If you want to play as hard as Townsend' date=' be prepared to spend alot of time fishing the pick out of the guitar when starting off.

 

But it is not only the right hand you will need to get a handle on but the left if you want to do things like get that sweet boom chicka, boom chicka rhythm going. [/quote']

 

 

It also helps to smash your guitar at the end of the song......

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It also helps to smash your guitar at the end of the song......

 

 

Don't forget the leaping leg split and the windmilling arm! [lol]

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Pete has always used mostly arm for these Pinball Wizard, faux flamenco style of strumming. As a friend of the Townshend family I can tell you that neither brother can copy what Pete does even after many years of trying.

 

Maybe a lesson from Estaban would help??? lol.

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It's mostly in your wrist' date=' but your forearm has to move a bit. I kind of plant my elbow at the edge of the lower bout and use that as a pivot point. Like Buc said, you can't dig the pick in too hard. Also, I don't think it's possible to strum at that speed without a thin pick (I suggest Dunlop .60 Nylon).

 

Also, find the point of least tension on the strings. For me at has always been right where the neck ends. That'll be the easiest place to strum.

 

Mostly, like everything, it's just practice and muscle memory.

 

[/quote']

 

 

From what I remember of the Pete videos posted here, I think he does plant his elbow and makes it into a pivot point. What struck is that his entire body goes into position, all seeming to be involved in making the strum happen. But I think he does anchor his elbow on the bout, but whether he uses mostly wrist of not, it's too fast for me too tell.

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Don't forget the leaping leg split and the windmilling arm! [biggrin]

 

Pete stole the windmilling arm bit from Keef who used to do it while warming up.

 

Betcha there is some marketing guy right now thinking to himself - hey, we have not yet put out a Keef signature Hummingbird yet.

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Pinball wizard? You mean this one ?

(lol).

 

Agree with most, re loose wrist, pick control, building to speed. I'd be thinking that you'd shred light picks at that tempo. Splits are extra, smashing a non-no.

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If you notice there is very little wrist acton in PT's strumming. It isn't easy to copy but then again not impossible.

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