This is a public version of the members-only Bluegrass Mandolin with Mike Marshall, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Bluegrass Mandolin with Mike Marshall.
Join Now

Beginner Mandolin
Intermediate Mandolin
Advanced Mandolin
Additional Tunes & More
Holiday Tunes
Gear & Setup
30 Day Challenge
Lick of the Week
Tune of the Week
«Prev of Next»

Mandolin Lessons: Practicing for Speed

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials Quizzes
information below Close
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Beginner Mandolin

+Intermediate Mandolin

+Advanced Mandolin

+Additional Tunes & More

+Holiday Tunes

+Lick of the Week

+Tune of the Week

Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   

This video lesson is available only to members of
Bluegrass Mandolin with Mike Marshall.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Bluegrass Mandolin with Mike Marshall. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Mandolin Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
Here's a little exercise for
practicing for speed.
I know we all wanna play a little quicker
somehow and do it cleanly.
So again I love to zero down in on, on
something very simple so that you're not
trying to play an entire piece with a lot
of position jumps all over the place, and
bring the whole thing up to speed.
Here we're just gonna play.
Over and over, as an exercise.
And we're gonna start at 80.
We'll get our good friend, John, here to
be my torture chamber.
He's going to gradually bring the clicks
up in sort of five-click amounts.
And I'll just do the best I can, we'll see
how I survive.
And he'll just keep going until I scream.
This will be fun.
Let's have it.
>> All right, here's, here's 80.
[LAUGH] Ridiculous, as it is, you do the
best you can.
You don't have to go that fast.
But it's a good exercise.
You could program a metronome to do that,
probably on your computer.
And I don't know what I can say about it.
At some point it starts feeling like it's
really going fast of course, and
that's the point where you need to fight
the tension.
So you get up there to that, to that point
where it's like okay,
I feel like I'm getting to my wall here.
This is about it.
So that's the point where I just
consciously back off and
take the pick out of the string a little
I started playing a little bit lighter.
I also wasn't perfect in terms of when he
hit the new tempo I wasn't exactly on it.
I probably came into the new tempo
Sometimes even overshot it and had to back
it back down, but yeah, so
trying to keep your mind on the metronome
and on your own, time is is an exercise.
And I really love what Victor Wooten has
to say about playing with a metronome.
He, he's into this idea that you should
be trying to get yourself weened off of
the metronome and trying to do,
you know, obviously developing your own
internal sense of good time.
And that's really the goal.
But this will at least put you in
some kind of honesty zone of exactly where
you sit.
And you'll probably find that there's a,
there's just a limit, you know.
That, that 130 is it, or 140, or whatever
that number is, and that's your wall.
And that's okay.
That's totally normal.
But what you want to do is see if you can
nudge it up gradually, you know.
But I love doing it from 80 all the way to
whatever that,
that place is rather than starting right
at that place first thing in the morning.
Let's see, can I go faster today?
Don't do that.
Always start at a slower tempo and bring
it up.
And you'll be surprised.
You'll, you'll definitely get a few more
notches on that thing if you stay with it.
Again, keep the melodic ideas really
I'll give you another example of, of
something you might do.
Just the two finger.
Let's hear that metronome again at 80.
I'll just give you a few different things,
things that occur a lot in bluegrass,
little melodic fragments.
You know, that's a nice one.
Or you do it with.
The fifth fret.
Sixth fret.
Seventh fret.
Chromatically working your way back.
A more difficult one would be one where
you're leaving, the finger down.
Cuz that, that first finger's gonna get
Maybe not.
Let's hear it again.
All right, now the next level of this is
where you begin to change strings.
And that's where things are gonna
get hard, cuz you're asking a lot of the
right hand now.
any, any change that you're making is
make it really difficult to bring the
tempo real high.
So if you're really trying to work on just
than limit the amount of different things
you're trying to do with your left hand.
If you're just trying to work on
then keep the metronome steady.
Don't keep raising it.
And just work on the coordination side of
So good luck.
I hope this helps you get those tempos up.
Okay, here's a few other simple little
melodic fragments that you can play with
this metronome.
And in fact,
we're gonna have ArtistWorks, we'll make
metronome that gradually comes up.
That you'll be able to download off the
site and, and try this yourself.
So here is a.
A simple one.
Let's have it at 80.
It has a little stop in it.
Try bringing that one up.
Here's another one that's sort of three
against two, it's.
if you're in two four time, one, two, one,
One, two, three, one, two, three, one,
two, three, one, two, three, one, two,
three, one, two, three.
So I'm playing a three note figure, so
it rotates as it gets played against the
Let's try that one at 80.
And again when you learn a simple phrase
like that try it in different melodic
So try it with a G-Sharp, instead of the
With various
combinations of fingers, that's a G and B.
G-Sharp and B.
F-Sharp and A.
Or go backwards.
each of these can be a, an accelerandoing
And it's just for, for getting
the muscles to work and getting the pick
coordinated with pressing the strings.