Two times Guinness World Records gave me world record certificates for Fastest Guitar Player. Once for playing Flight of the Bumblebee at 600 bpm, and again at 620 bpm.
I believed Guinness was very strict in how they judge things, and scrutinized every note, every pick stroke, etc. I left it at that. I figured that if my performance was good enough for Guinness then I must have actually pulled off picking 40 notes in a single second.
Well... maybe not.
Troy Grady of Cracking the Code did an interview with me to discuss my speed playing. After doing a single string riff for him to demonstrate speed, and watching it in super slow-mo, it turns out I didn't pick all the notes I intended. So, we went with the same riff at a slower pace.
Then, Troy flew me out to NC to get hooked up to all kinds of sensors to read my muscle movements when I play super fast. Here's the trailer where I'm doing a tremelo warm up on one string (at the end of the video)
Troy picked that particular warm up run for the trailer because it was the cleanest/fastest one I did that day. He counted how many notes per second I did. The fastest part was 21 notes per second. That's a far cry from 40.
This led me to think I was indeed NOT picking every note for my Guinness records. I am a FIRM believer that any guitar speed record that involves speed picking needs to have EVERY SINGLE NOTE PICKED! This goes for me too.
So, I went back to look at my initial performance, slowed it down, and instead of just looking to see if my hands synced up, I counted my pick strokes to each metronome click.
I picked everything at 170 bpm. I picked everything at 280 bpm. I did NOT pick everything at 350 bpm.
This means I never broke a damn thing, and my Guinness records were undeserved.
I apologize to anyone I may have let down, including the companies I am associated with.
The following is my video confession:
John Taylor - guitar and bass instructor for Mile High Shred.