Hi willjay. Of course you are right about Paco. Strange how fast and sharp and clear Paco can articulate each note at those speeds. His nephew is a notch faster than him, as can be seen on the DVD "FRANCISCO SANCHEZ". The tune Caña de Azucar, it is around 117bpm, Paco sticks to 6's (sextuplet 24th notes, 11.7 nps), but his nephew banderas launches into a decending run of 8's (32 notes). It is all about rhythmic control with those guys, not cramming notes into a beat persay.
But the fastest I have heard Paco litterally doing a long alternate finger picked run on record, is a tune called "Chanela". Which is about that same speed, 8's at 116 or so. Under 16nps obviously, but so controlled and sweet and clear. It is a problem because just because you don't hear them do it in song doesn't not mean they can't. They are controlling the rhythm, so to push faster is "wrong". They keep in the limits that the song allows for. Little speed bursts here and there should not count.
I guess McLaughlin and others can go faster with alternate picking. But there are other techniques in flamenco, which might have given that idea of 23 nps. For example, there are rasgueados that may use 3 fingers to attack, flicking the wrist. Those can produce speeds close to 20 nps, yet those rhythms must again come out clear and clean. Of course that is not the point of the speed picking contest going on here, but that is real control.
Check it out between 4:25-4:27. I think it is around 180-190 bpm, 6's.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9vNSA0WNlw
Anyway, I check out your vids of Shawn Lane on youtube. Never heard him much before. Very melodic and sensitive player. I love it. But the super speed in spots is really out of left field for me, doesn't fit the tune. but his normal soloing is so nice. I missed the speed you clocked for him alternate picking at 18 nps. could you post again please? Looks like the super speed stuff is economy picking but man it sounds weird it is so fast.
PS, I think that Paco is not under rated. He gets the highest accolades in the flamenco world. And yeah, perhaps the overall best guitarist of all time. But not necessarily the "fastest".
You're right, i can only really say how fast a certain clip is, though if it gets to the point where i've clocked 20 or so of the fastest clips i can find from one person, i think it's fair to say that would be around
their fastest speed.
I personally think Paco could finger pick a little
bit faster than the speeds i've managed to clock (mainly because in one clip i clocked of him, which came out at 14 nps, within that 1 second he actually started to speed up a bit in the last few notes in that second.... if only he had kept that speed up long enough to clock a full second of that speed????).
I just clocked Paco's strumming speed in that part of the video you posted a link for.
Here is a short audio clip of that strumming lick from the video :
Here is exactly 1 second of that (15 sps) :
Here is that 1 second clip slowed down (version 1) (15 sps) :
Here is that 1 second clip slowed down (version 2) (15 sps) :
So that Paco strumming clip clocked in at 15 "strums" per second (sps).
I personally don't
think Paco is underrated, at least not if you think about what "underrated" actually means...... I'm yet to come across one
person who doesn't think Paco is amazing at what he does, and have the most respect for him.
The Shawn Lane picking clip i clocked at 18 nps was this one, from his solo in "Get You Back" (from MIT - 5th Feb 1993), the run he picks at 12 seconds into the clip :
I know Shawn does
use little bits of economy picking on certain
licks/shapes he plays, but i haven't clocked any of his economy picked licks.