A dancer I used to work with a lot used to say that if you want to do three turns on stage, you’d better be able to do five in the studio. By extension, you could argue that to perform a fast piece you might want to practice it at an even faster tempo to make sure you can control it. These videos take that idea perhaps a step too far, performing the pieces much faster than most of us might consider necessary, and the guys at GSI have been kicking these videos back forth, so here are a few of them:

I actually like this performance – Aguirre nails it, doesn’t seem to sacrifice tone (or at least as far as I can tell from the not-so-great audio) and to me seems to have just made a choice to play the piece faster. A few guys were put off by the performance, but they were more familiar with the piece than I am (I’ve certainly heard it quite a bit, but I’ve never played it or anything), so perhaps it’s just that it’s so different from what they’re used to that it sounds off to them.

I think this guy’s just having some fun, and what’s impressive to me is that he seems pretty relaxed, given how fast he’s going. My gut tells me that while he might practice at this speed he would perform it at a ‘normal’ tempo. And, after all, it is an etude.

As we were talking about fast players the name Matt Palmer kept coming up, so here’s his very fast Villa Lobos #2.

This guy definitely does not look relaxed, and he’s actually performing at this speed, so I can’t cut him quite as much slack. And he seems angry. This might be the argument against trying to play too fast.

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21 Responses to “Really Fast Guitar”

  1. Those guys are really amazing! Thanks for sharing this videos! I really enjoyed them.

    I especially like the last guy who just had a a very unique and contradictory stage presence. If I can beg to disagree whether he’s angry or not, I would plainly say that it’s a face of him having a good time. So unlikely! Nevertheless, he’s good and funny.

    Anyway, those guys really did a good job.

    Cheers! 🙂

    • Kai says:

      Fair enough – I looked at him again to see if he’s maybe having a good time, and you could be right. I’m still on the fence, but I like your take on it better.


  2. Nignog says:

    Wow applause for these douchebags!

  3. Martin says:

    I think this man is brilliant

    Kazuhito Yamashita, Playing Winter with Larry Coryell

    Kazuhito Yamashita Playing
    castillo Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt

    Show me some one who can play like this

  4. Scott says:

    The first man plays cleanly with good tone, but Allegro does not mean as fast as possible; it suggests to play with the affect of happiness. Of the three etude performances, the first does not seem, as you say, entirely for performance; Matt Palmer has the piece completely under control—clean, clear, beautiful tone—and he gets away with it in that context; the last fellow, hmm, not ready for primetime. Most of the great, well-known guitars today can do parlor tricks, but there are good, musical reasons they remain parlor tricks and are not concert performances.

  5. Warren says:

    The issue that arises any time fast playing is discussed is that we tend to forget for a while that it’s music. We might listen to, and even enjoy some of the hyperfast players online these days. But ask yourself if you’d respond with something like, “Great music, really touches me, I want to hear that again!” ? As for me, not with most, and not with any of these examples.

  6. cuchares says:

    I like classical guitar fast.Gets the boring schtick over more quickly.
    The second guy sounds like he’s gargling but his admiring friend is impressed.:-)The third guy has the singing saw down.Really pretty funny.
    The last guy ; expression by PDL and tone by nino miguel.The jutting frog face was original.He laughs at the end.Villa lobos in the age of meth.
    .It needs some wooo sounds as accompaniment.love it.

  7. Mark says:

    Thank you Kai and GSI for sharing so many videos with us… These guys are fast, but none are like Grisha…

  8. james perrotti says:

    give me Segovia or give me death… or silence I guess or at least Julian Bream!

  9. Zack says:

    I really like GSI weekly blogs. This is all interesting and everyone has there own take on the tunes likes and dislikes.We can all learn something from all these players. I would like to say to GSI you should have put this video up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbeAbllBpGo
    This is an argument for not to play so fast on certain tunes. Elliot is a horrible player and anyone who watches this and thinks other wise needs to hit the woodshed

  10. It’s simple to me. I always ask myself, “Is the artist using the piece to show off technique or using technique to serve the music?”

  11. Leo says:

    marco tamayo for supreme control at fast tempi


  12. John Ferrara says:

    This one gets my vote for FASTEST, CLEANEST & MOST MUSICAL CONTROL!!!!




  13. Martin says:

    Kazuhito Yamashita, Playing Winter with Larry Coryell


  14. Martin says:

    Kazuhito Yamashita Playing
    castillo Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt


  15. andre says:

    check out ivan rijos etude 7 by villa lobos. The video quality is bad but he’s blazing

  16. Erik says:

    That last guy is completely priceless, words fail me to describe exactly what it must feel like to be in the audience, I can imagine people wondering if he might start foaming at the mouth at any moment. I sort of half expect him to grab the guitar smash it on the music stand, jump into the audience and bite someone. Possibly the best part is the big smile at the end almost like he did it all sort of tong in cheek. of the above guitarist I might actually pay money to go see a show with this guy the deal would be slightly sweetened if he promised to make the agonizing looks all thru the performance even on slower pieces.and might be willing to sigh my forehead with a sharpie at the end of the conference.

  17. Very impressive. Its not my style, me and alot of other guys are just plain jealous. My congrats to all of the performers. They are a rare breed.

  18. guitar says:

    this is basically important thing on guitar is said to be the guitar part that plays the melody, creating instrumental passages filling and guitar solos within a song.


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