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Faster, Pussycat! Shred! Shred!
July 28, 2011 7:13 PM   Subscribe

John Taylor playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" on electric guitar at 600 beats per minute
posted by Trurl (97 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
well damn
posted by past at 7:14 PM on July 28, 2011


It delights me that people have a chance of coming across this by googling my name.
posted by odinsdream at 7:17 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


That sounds like shit.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:21 PM on July 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


LOL it's the same clip.
posted by Meatafoecure at 7:23 PM on July 28, 2011


If I saw that dude on the street, I'd say "I put he can play Flight of the Bumblebee at 550bpm."

I'd only be slightly off.
posted by gcbv at 7:23 PM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Which 600 beats, though?
posted by Eideteker at 7:25 PM on July 28, 2011


If you slow it down, it sounds like this.
posted by Eideteker at 7:27 PM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Still can't write a decent song to save his life.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:28 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


That was amazing even if the guitar didn't burst into flame at the end. He must burn though 1/8 inch worth of finger callus every time he does that though.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:29 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I knew I'd seen this guy before.
posted by Eideteker at 7:29 PM on July 28, 2011


I would love to see it slowed down, because - mad guitar skills aside - it sounds like he's missing a shitload of notes, basically from the first recording on.
posted by smoke at 7:29 PM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Next up: a hot dog eating contest!
posted by kozad at 7:30 PM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


The distortion really helps him blur the notes, but still impressive. That poor little heavy metal bee surely had a heart attack.
posted by Skygazer at 7:35 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, I'm glad I don't work at Guitar Center. That is the most soul-killing music store ever.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:35 PM on July 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


Distortion hides a lot of shit playing. Do it clean the way classical players do, then I'll be impressed.
posted by supercres at 7:36 PM on July 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


I would love to see it slowed down, because - mad guitar skills aside - it sounds like he's missing a shitload of notes, basically from the first recording on.

And if he played it without distortion or overdrive (which makes it much easier to get all the notes out because you don't have to play them as carefully to get a decent amount of volume) that would be painfully obvious.
posted by awfurby at 7:36 PM on July 28, 2011


Gah.
posted by awfurby at 7:36 PM on July 28, 2011


This is why I don't go to Guitar Center anymore.
posted by Grumpy old geek at 7:40 PM on July 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Just FYI, in case anyone clicks on the link expecting it to be a certain 1980s rock star upon whom you had a teenage crush, you do not need to see his identification, these are not the John Taylors you are looking for.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:44 PM on July 28, 2011 [16 favorites]


oh man.... Guitar Center... always half a dozen guys playing at unholy volume because they are trying to play over the other 5, and none of them realizing that no one (NO one) cares if they shred or not, meanwhile the staff are all failed rock stars who never made it (well, except for their egos which are almost always rock star sized) who offer advice and most often contempt and seem to treat every one as if they are damned lucky to be getting attention because they are guitar gods, soon to be legends.... all while keeping big markups on crap selection.

Sorry for the run on sentence, but... oh man... Guitar Center.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 7:46 PM on July 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also... if you were more interested in style and grace, rather than pyrotechnics... sometimes the guitar can do beautiful things too!
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 7:48 PM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's not John Taylor!
posted by Alles at 7:48 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


LOOK HOW FAST I CAN FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!
posted by emelenjr at 7:50 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I want to see that guy masturbate.

Not really...

Ok really.
posted by LordSludge at 7:51 PM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Did anyone like the title at least?
posted by Trurl at 7:59 PM on July 28, 2011 [19 favorites]


At least it sounds better than ‪this.
posted by scruss at 8:00 PM on July 28, 2011


I don't hear the tone where the modem connects.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:04 PM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


At first I called shenanigans, 'cause something about that particular vid made it look sped-up ... then I saw this.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:05 PM on July 28, 2011


The man can shred, I guess, but true speed can't really be heard
posted by philip-random at 8:11 PM on July 28, 2011


scruss. Thanks. That hit the spot.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 8:13 PM on July 28, 2011


I logged in because I wanted to say that that is a clever fucking title. So; damn, that is a clever fucking title.
posted by truex at 8:16 PM on July 28, 2011


That is, indeed, crazy fast, though I'm curious about the criteria for possibly breaking that record. Like, for instance, if I wrote a song called "Nothing but Open E String (in E Major)," somebody could presumably play it faster, and even more correctly, right?

Anyway, I'll just post this (which I came across via MeFi maybe a year ago) as my favorite piece of virtuosic fast guitar playing.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:22 PM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


I just played one 800 bpm hemidemisemiquaver.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:28 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reminded me of an old Al Di Meola interview I read wherein he declared he wanted to be the fastest guitarist in the world. Not the best, or the most interesting or enjoyable...the fastest. "Dude," I thought, "it's not a race."
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:28 PM on July 28, 2011


Nice title!

Blurry, distorted playing.
posted by zarq at 8:35 PM on July 28, 2011


And it's kinda hysterical that my Eva Cassidy post is the first related suggestion at the bottom of the page here.
posted by zarq at 8:36 PM on July 28, 2011


So, the bar for wankery has been set higher? or lower?

Doesn't hold a candle to the Mnozil Brass, though.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:41 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rimsky-Korsakov must be spinning in his grave.
posted by Flashman at 8:50 PM on July 28, 2011


at 600bpm we'd hear him whining, surely?
posted by Brockles at 8:54 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Classical Gas! CLASSICAL GAS!
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:07 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


If only he had used his powers for good, instead of evil.
posted by pompomtom at 9:08 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just FYI, in case anyone clicks on the link expecting it to be a certain 1980s rock star upon whom you had a teenage crush, you do not need to see his identification, these are not the John Taylors you are looking for.

An even more rude awakening occurs when you think the it said James Taylor.
posted by King Bee at 9:57 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


buh, "the it", whatever.
posted by King Bee at 9:58 PM on July 28, 2011


yeah but two lingering notes from BB King still beats the fuck out of this.
posted by not_on_display at 10:00 PM on July 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Call me when he can play it at 600 bees per minute.
posted by davejay at 10:12 PM on July 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's an impressive feat, but the music's not really 600bpm unless it's scored really weirdly. All the individual notes would be quarter notes, so the music would be 150bpm. Perhaps the judging criteria uses the 'bpm of individual notes', but if you're comparing it to a standard house track at 120bpm for example it's 30bpm faster
posted by Not Supplied at 10:35 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Suck it Yngwie!
posted by symbioid at 10:40 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Grumpy old geek: "This is why I don't go to Guitar Center anymore."

They seem to have killed our local music store, which now seems to specialize in school band instruments. I went to the local store, and they had a whopping six basses. 6! And they were all shit generic basses, too. WTF?
posted by symbioid at 10:43 PM on July 28, 2011


It delights me that people have a chance of coming across this by googling my name.

What on earth possessed your parents to call you "Flight of the Bumblebee"?
posted by pracowity at 11:08 PM on July 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


Manowar.
posted by rainperimeter at 11:15 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


as one of those jazz greats Monk? Ellington? was wont to indicate, it is the space between the notes that makes music. There is no goddamn space there.
posted by edgeways at 11:41 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I prefer Mystery Guitar Man's stop-motion versions of Flight of the Bumblebee and The Marriage of Figaro.
posted by George Clooney at 12:13 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have no interest in this on a musical level... but his hands look so speedy! And his head is so calm! It looks like how one might depict a robot in a movie, can't think of which it's reminding me of at the moment though.
posted by lookoutbelow at 12:18 AM on July 29, 2011


John Petrucci will destroy them all.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:02 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


What, no buckethead yet?
posted by tmt at 1:13 AM on July 29, 2011


Tried slowing it down using Paulstretch, but it becomes a mostly incomprehensible mush (like pretty much everything Paulstretch touches) but there are some moments when sections of notes are recognizable.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:34 AM on July 29, 2011


It is mush. Articulation? Terrible. Timing? All over it. Soul? Not a drop. It's not in any way musical at all — it might be power lifting or something, but it isn't music.
posted by Wolof at 2:11 AM on July 29, 2011


This guy would be a really good sweatshop worker. As a musician though he's kind of shit.
posted by creasy boy at 2:21 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


it sounds like he's missing a shitload of notes

i can tell because of the photoshop and because i've heard a lot of songs
posted by DU at 2:50 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, the hate in this thread is strong. I loves me some shredding. Always had a soft spot for Chris Impelliterri (bonus awesome points: that's Graham "Since You Been Gone" Bonnet from Rainbow on vocals).
posted by jbickers at 3:47 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Articulation? Terrible. Timing? All over it. Soul? Not a drop. It's not in any way musical at all — it might be power lifting or something, but it isn't music.

This is such a confusing criticism. It isn't music, but it's not trying to be. It's a world record attempt for playing notes on a guitar very quickly. It does exactly what it says on the tin. I don't think he is sitting there, year after year, wondering why he isn't getting a grammy for .

Again, I'm very confused by your comment. It would be like if I read your comment and said "Worst novel ever."
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 3:49 AM on July 29, 2011 [13 favorites]


[Boss walked in, had to hit "Post" quickly. I'll let the your imagine fill in the end of that paragraph]
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 3:53 AM on July 29, 2011


This is currently my favourite version: Alexander Dmitriev on bayan.
posted by raygirvan at 3:55 AM on July 29, 2011


and now some counterpoint...
posted by ennui.bz at 4:07 AM on July 29, 2011


Pfft. Skwisgaar Skwigelf could do that.
posted by neushoorn at 4:57 AM on July 29, 2011


Too many notes.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:12 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's unfair, but I'm still way more impressed by crap like this.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:24 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


deedle deedle deedle dee deedle deedle deedle dee
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:48 AM on July 29, 2011


My God! It's so soulful!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:50 AM on July 29, 2011


The thing is that whenever you speed anything up like this, you start to lose tone. Compare Carlos Ruben Gomez playing it on an acoustic guitar. I find this performance entertaining just for how incongruous and deadpan he looks, but at this tempo, it's all mud.

Where I find things getting instrument is on trumpet. The Mnozil brass Green Hornet definitely hits the style that Al Hirt had, but frankly they're using double tonguing like a party trick (which is easy for me to say since my DT is lousy and always will be). After listening to these, compare Flight of the Bumblebee by Maurice Andre. While it is by no means the fastest (and I don't care for the arrangement), holy shit is his articulation beautiful. Harry James? Party trick.

Another fireworks piece? Hora Staccato. Harry James plays it mechanically and a little slow and with no life (but plenty of "artistic" production value). Sergei Nakariakov - takes the tempo up, articulation is better, but it still sounds like his tongue is fighting with his teeth. Again, have a listen to Maurice Andre. I'm so happy that I got to see him live when I was learning to play.

So the 600bpm FotB? Party trick. Awesome party trick, yes, but still a party trick.
posted by plinth at 6:32 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pff, I'd like to see him play 4′33″ at 600bpm
posted by Pendragon at 6:38 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


My fave version would be Dick Contino's (on the accordion) at the Fabulous Flamingo.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:57 AM on July 29, 2011


try it on trombone
posted by pyramid termite at 6:57 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pfft. Skwisgaar Skwigelf could do that.

Grampas guitars. Dat's for pussies. And grampas. Eh, I think you know it.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:57 AM on July 29, 2011


(left out the Sergei Nakariakov link. My bad)
posted by plinth at 6:58 AM on July 29, 2011


This is why I don't go to Guitar Center anymore.

i can't decide what's worse - listening to kids trying to shred at a zillion notes per minute or listening to some kid trying to slap his bass without the slightest bit of rhythm or funk - especially when you're next to him, trying to figure out how good a bass's tone is and you can't hear anything but bump-pop-bump-pop

there's only one time i've ever heard anyone in a guitar center slap a bass well - that guy was funky as shit - the rest of them - stop it guys, no one's paying you by the note

yeah that goes for the shedders, too

NO ONE'S PAYING YOU BY THE NOTE!!
posted by pyramid termite at 7:05 AM on July 29, 2011


Pff, I'd like to see him play 4′33″ at 600bpm.

By my calculations that would make it 0'55".
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:43 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many times he has played Flight of the Bumblebee, probably a whole boatload.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 8:14 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Our next Olympic sport should be Speed Metal Time Trials. Each band is given the same song, and the band to play it the fastest wins. With each heat, the song gets more complex and difficult to play technically, and judges deduct .10 second for each missed note or bad ensemble synchronization.

You could even have different categories -- Short Form (under 3 minutes) Long Form, (over 10 minutes) and different sized ensembles, from trio to 7-piece. I sort of imagine it like the tobogganing or speed skating setup -- they get all ready to go, in their fastest leopardskin spandex clothing, poised at the starting gate, then you get the lights and the ready, set, go clock -Beeep, Beeep, Beeep, ROCK!

"Thats right Jim, their strength here is the turnaround into the chorus, and now they're coming into the bridge a full 2/10ths of a second ahead of the Swedish team, and... OH NO! broken string! That's a shame."
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:27 AM on July 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


"So that's all you do? Bird imitations?"
posted by timsteil at 8:43 AM on July 29, 2011


Yeah, sorry, just sounds a muddled mess to me. I'd like to hear him play it up an octave, the distortion would be less growly and we could actually perhaps hear more of the notes.
posted by Mister_A at 9:04 AM on July 29, 2011


Not the John Taylor I expected.

DURAN DURAN FOREVAR!!
posted by deborah at 10:18 AM on July 29, 2011


It's an impressive feat, but the music's not really 600bpm unless it's scored really weirdly. All the individual notes would be quarter notes, so the music would be 150bpm. Perhaps the judging criteria uses the 'bpm of individual notes', but if you're comparing it to a standard house track at 120bpm for example it's 30bpm faster

You've got whole notes mixed up with beats here. Flight of the Bumblebes is in 2/4, there are two quarter note beats per bar and BPM = number of quarter note beats per minute. He's playing sixteenth notes, so he's actually playing 2400 notes per minute or 40 notes per second. I find it hard to believe this is humanly possible but his fingers also appear to be moving faster than is humanly possible so who knows. Can't tell how much he is or isn't missing but it's the fastest guitar playing I've ever seen either way and kudos to him for finding something he's really good at and pushing himself to become the best in the world at what he does. I couldn't agree more with marmaduke_yaverland's comment - this is clearly not meant to be anything other than a pure display of technical skill.
posted by tomcooke at 3:07 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gosh, I'd like to see what else he can do with those hands!
posted by rosa at 3:26 PM on July 29, 2011


When I first looked at this, I was sure that the faster rates were CGI. His motions look unnatural, like a speeded-up video. Then fact that the clock and background people were moving at a normal pace made me believe that impression was just an artifact of how fast he played. But, whoa!
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:45 PM on July 29, 2011


Yeah, I'd be impressed without the overdrive and distortion.
posted by princelyfox at 6:17 PM on July 29, 2011


That was pretty cool. Bunch of haters.
posted by Kilovolt at 10:28 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't play guitar, but I am curious because this is a speed record involving digital dexterity.

When measuring typing speed, the phrase "words per minute" is used, in which a "word" is 5 keystrokes. 100 words per minute = 500 keystrokes per minute. The world record for the fastest typing speed, set in 1946, is 216 words (1080 keystrokes) per minute, or 18 keystrokes per second. (For the digitally inclined, I'd like point out that the record was performed on an IBM Selectric typewriter, not a computer keyboard.)

That's fast, approaching the speed of reflex. A human blink reflex, one of our fastest reaction reflexes, lasts (just counting duration, not latency), on average, 44 milliseconds. In other words, we can reflexively blink about 22 times per second.

I'd be curious as to the definition of a "note" here. If each "note" involves a single, complete movement of one or more fingers, then we're talking a complete movement every 25 milliseconds to play 40 notes per second. That's almost twice as fast as the human blink reflex, and more than twice the world record for typing speed.

I'm a bit leery.
posted by FormlessOne at 11:23 PM on July 29, 2011


FormlessOne, a little more than double the world record typing speed or blink reflex actually sounds about right to me. Remember that he's able to change which note he's playing by lifting a finger off the fretboard as well as by placing one onto it which is not possible in typing. Similarly, his picking hand can play a note on the downstroke and a note on the upstroke which means that one complete movement (analogous to a blink) equals two notes. Couple that with the fact that his guitar, strings and picks will be selected so that there's almost zero mechanical resistance to overcome and I think it's plausible.
posted by tomcooke at 12:31 AM on July 30, 2011


Agreed. For instance the 2007 world record holder has a max note burst of 28 notes per second, sustaining 24 notes seconds per second.
posted by clavdivs at 8:14 PM on July 30, 2011


You've got whole notes mixed up with beats here. Flight of the Bumblebes is in 2/4, there are two quarter note beats per bar and BPM = number of quarter note beats per minute.

I've never heard BPM to mean quarternotes per minute. I accept this may be a terminology used for guitar shredding. BPM as used by DJ's, producers etc definitely refers to whole notes. It's cool to have different terminology, but just making sure they compare apples with apples.

Not sure what's going on with your calculations, but I can hear that he isn't playing 40 notes per second. It's less than 8 notes per second. I used to be a classical guitarist and bashed out a lot of variations on chromatic exercises which is a similar deal and can hear what he's playing.
posted by Not Supplied at 2:08 AM on July 31, 2011


Maybe a few more than 8, 10?
posted by Not Supplied at 2:22 AM on July 31, 2011


Which I suppose would make it 600 notes per minute which makes sense with what they say.
posted by Not Supplied at 2:23 AM on July 31, 2011


I've never heard BPM to mean quarternotes per minute. ah sorry, quarternotes=US word for 'crotchet'. You're right.

I'll stop waffling now. I believe he's playing 600 sixteenth notes per minute, 10 notes per second.
posted by Not Supplied at 2:31 AM on July 31, 2011


He plays at 170 BPM to start with and at that point is only playing about 11 notes a second. He repeats the piece several times with increasing speed. Did you watch through to the end?

(I'm in the UK and just using US terminology because that will be more familiar to people on Metafilter!)
posted by tomcooke at 2:37 AM on July 31, 2011


Ah right. That's what I get for watching a portion of the video. I suppose he does go up to 600 then. Still feels dubious that he's getting 40 in, but I can't work out why so I'll have to eat my hat.
posted by Not Supplied at 3:08 AM on July 31, 2011


BPM as used by DJ's, producers etc definitely refers to whole notes.

Half notes, actually. (4 hits on the hi-hat in a standard drum beat)
posted by ShutterBun at 6:31 AM on July 31, 2011


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