How to practice playing fast

Channing

Member
I'm trying to play Everlong. It's really fast. Right now I can play the whole song at about 125 bpm, but the actual tempo is 158.
A couple months ago I learned Roxanne, which is also pretty fast.. what I did was learn it at a slower tempo, then gradually speed it up over the course of many practice sessions until I could play it at full tempo. This worked, but I was wondering if there's anything specific technique-wise that I could do that might help me play those really fast 16th notes.

Also the song About a Girl by Nirvana I've been playing for literally months and can do it at its actual tempo but the fills are just super sloppy, or feel sloppy to me anyway, and I'm not sure how to fix that. I can play them cleanly at like 5 bpm less than the actual tempo of the song, but any time I try to play the song at its real tempo, the fills just don't sound right and it's pretty frustrating considering how much time I've spent working on this.
 

TMe

Senior Member
...the song About a Girl by Nirvana I've been playing for literally months and can do it at its actual tempo but the fills are just super sloppy, or feel sloppy to me anyway, and I'm not sure how to fix that.
That "sloppiness" is what gives the drumming its feel. It's unique to each drummer, and somewhat random. Songs with a loose feel aren't the best to play along with because you can never quite match what the original drummer is doing. The original drummer might not be able to match what's on the recording. So don't sweat it if you play the fills a bit differently.

If you want a cleaned up version to practice with, you'd need to put the song into software and quantize it.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Crawl, then walk, then run. According to Stanton Moore, start at 100BPM until it is near perfect. Stop. Go to 110, and repeat, then 120, etc. You can't go from 150 to 200. It will be sloppy.
 

Rochelle Rochelle

Senior Member
Don't feel bad. I have the same issues with those two songs. I can play Everlong at about 125-130 too and I practice it a lot. My drum teacher said to really play those 16th low on the hi-hat (don't use big strokes) so you're not tiring out. I'm pretty sloppy on the fills in About a Girl too. I just keep at it.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Broken down you're just having trouble playing single stroke rolls at 158bpm. This isn't unusual and you'll need some relatively decent hand technique to accomplish this smoothly. How do you do when just playing single strokes on a single drum or pad at this tempo?

If the fills in About A Girl are sloppy, don't play them yet. Go through one fill at a time along with a metronome, figure out the stickings and make sure they accurately start and end in time. After you do the first fill or two you may be able to simply use those same fills in the other sections of the song. Dave Grohl (Nirvana drummer) has solid time and I would trust his performance to be solid enough to play along to. Find the tempo of the song and play a measure of groove and then the fill you want to tighten up and loop it over and over until it sounds nice and musical. Record yourself whenever you can and listen back

There's nothing worse than hearing a drummer live who is trying to force notes into a section that they can't fit. Just play time/the groove if you hear that going on and trust yourself. If they sound sloppy to you, they are sloppy, don't ignore that sloppiness. By playing them badly you're training your ears and self to play and hear them badly and they will be harder to correct down the road.
 

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
I'm trying to play Everlong. It's really fast. ...This worked, but I was wondering if there's anything specific technique-wise that I could do that might help me play those really fast 16th notes.

Also the song About a Girl by Nirvana I've been playing for literally months and can do it at its actual tempo but the fills are just super sloppy...
I think most likely there is nothing wrong with you, just that you are a beginner, none of these songs are considered FAST or complex for a REGULAR drummer.

Then on one side is a matter of time that you´ll be able to play them (how long you have been playing drums?, do you study seriously?, can you read?, have teacher?, etc.?.), on the other you might never play them because, you need at least some technique (not a lot) to play that.

And yes, there are techniques that made some of the things you want to play easier...they are also esential so you don´t get hurt too.

Disregard what some say about sloppiness, don´t play like that, it hurts only thinking about it, hahah!
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
How to practice playing fast..?

By starting slow..

Simple as that..

In case of the Foo Fighters song (i assume thats the one you mean) the part you most likely struggle with are the 16th's on the hi hat at quarter note 158 bpm..

Can you play normal 16th's on snare drum or practice pad at 158 bpm or also not..?

My advice, as always, is to have a decent drum teacher look at your technique..

In this case even 1 or 2 Skype lessons will be enough for that and by far the quickest (and cheapest) way to really help you out..

Edit..:

Contact the man who replied above..!:)
 

mrthirsty

Junior Member
I heard a drummer say the secret to playing fast is to take a deep breath...…..play........then when you are about to pass out take another breath.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It's a process.

You're not really practicing effectively if you're playing things faster than you can feel and hear. There must be a full body mind connection.

Obviously, technique can always be improved and refined, but don't consciously ignore sloppy playing. Identify those pieces or sections and spend your time fixing those. Then put it together.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Be patient and go SLOW. This advice was already given, so I thought I'd repeat it for emphasis.

Besides, when you can comfortably execute things, then you're having fun and your confidence level is going up. When you're frustrated with not being able to do something, you tend to tighten up because you're trying too hard, then it becomes un-fun, then you don't want to do it, and you end up not playing everyday.

BTW - for the older guys here - although there's technically two hi-hat parts going on, Jeff Porcaro played Box Skaggs' Low Down with one hand. That's a groove everyone should know too ;)
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
start slow where it is tight and sounds good. increase by 1-2 BPM every day.. keep practicing until it sounds good. if you can play it slow you can't keep that muscle memory at higher speeds. it's the same for everything. I should save this to copy and paste it in all these posts.

If I am playing 16th notes at 220+ BPM I didn't learn it by starting there. I crept my way up there for years.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..BTW - for the older guys here - although there's technically two hi-hat parts going on, Jeff Porcaro played Box Skaggs' Low Down with one hand. That's a groove everyone should know too..

Not sure what you mean by this, since that song has indeed a few hi hat overdubs..

But i never considered Porcaro really a speed guy and i really doubt that he ever played the complete song with one handed 16th's on that tempo and on all the videos i saw from him playing the song he also played two handed 16th's..

Still, i would be more than happy to be proven wrong by seeing a video of him playing the song like that..
 
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