Video Review: “Let’s Burn One!” by Paul Bollenback

Review by Mike Bryant

Speed can be an impressive form of musical expression when executed well on guitar.

Paul Bollenback commences this video on playing in fast tempos with a bit of humor saying, “If you want to get good at playing fast, you just have to do it and you’re going to sound terrible for a while. But be patient!”

But what he offers in this video is a unique package of approaches in one video that are useable and can have an immediate effect in both overall technique and speed improvement.

He offers strategies for practice and live playing by soloing on the standard ‘Cherokee’ playing at 300 beats per minute. Due to his friendly, relaxed style he helps you to see that this is achievable.

Paul’s approach to speed development focuses on four areas:

1) Time: He shows different ways to count that facilitate soloing in fast tempos, demonstrating the differences between counting in four to two or even one beat per measure. This alone is an illuminating idea which can produce different feels.Keeping a notebook of licks, exercises and lines serve as a useful technique to work in a focused way. This helps with creating jazz-sounding melodic development.

2) Language: Melodic language: he urges guitarists to seek out the sounds of horn players from 1950 – mid sixties, such as Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Lou Donaldson, Hank Mobley, Clifford Brown, and Lee Morgan.

Rhythmic language: Paul demos a single Charlie Parker lick and repeats the rhythm of this lick over a song. He shows how by taking a portion of the same lick you can begin to play with faster tempos. This is another exciting moment where by learning this helpful technique you can immediately solo over fast bebop tunes.

The language of lines: he shows how – with some care – you can even take longer melodic lines and work these over any harmonies.

3) Mechanics ( Technique ) There is a section of the video where he focuses on assessing your left and right hand abilities and develops way to work on either or both hands with different exercises for speed.

4) Knowledge of fretboard: Paul also discusses developing your fretboard knowledge.

By bringing these four areas together, this video presents a unique package that will immediately boost your confidence in playing a fast tempos.

If you want to play at fast tempos, this is a must-have class.

Let's Burn One! - Playing Fast Tempos | Paul Bollenback
April 16, 2019

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