Increasing speed and great discussion on picking


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Legion6789
12-14-2009, 12:17 AM
I've been trying to improve my alt picking speed for about 6 weeks now. I've moved through 3 different exercises, a major scale like over the b and e strings that cycles back on itself, a chromatic 1-2-3-4 exercise and a triplet exercise also over the b and e strings. I've tried to keep the exercises fairly simple and elemental so I can get my absolute fastest speed under the best conditions short of just playing on one string.

However I can't break sixteenths at 100bpm. It's so slow, but any faster and synchronization starts to break down. I'm not sure if it's the left or the right hand falling behind.

I feel like it really keeps me back from playing a lot of the stuff I'd like to play.

I'm not sure what I should use to try and improve, keep doing these exercises, switching them out every 2 weeks or something else.

The only other thing I could think of was to switch to doing legato exercises and try to improve my speed in that area and then try to bring in the picking after.

tenfold
12-14-2009, 12:24 AM
Have you tried bursting? Also have you watched and tried everything in Rock Discipline?

Freepower
12-14-2009, 12:25 AM
I'd try practicing more complex exercises - trying to get exercises so you can "get your fastest speed under your best condition" is useless.

You want to improve small aspects of your picking with each exercise.

6 weeks isn't really all that much - how many hours practice each week?

Legion6789
12-14-2009, 12:30 AM
Freepower:
2 to 3 hours per night.

tenfold:
Bursting? Maybe. Describe what you mean, but I think so. Just got Rock Discipline, haven't watched it yet though.

More complex exercises... Is speed kind of like boiling a pot of water? If you're focused on it, it won't come, but if you just work on other things it just happens?

Moonshield17
12-14-2009, 12:49 AM
It happens over time, yes. But throughout this time you have to be watching yourself and fixing your mistakes. If you can't break 100bpm, go back to like 50bpm and see what you're doing wrong. Fix it, and then build up the speed again. If you still can't break it, then repeat the process. go back down, fix it, build up again.

tenfold
12-14-2009, 12:55 AM
Don't focus on speed too much, because it will come with accuracy and relaxation.
If you watch Rock Discipline, you'll see what I mean by bursting. You can find it on Google video it's 2 hours but really worth it.

In_Black_Flames
12-14-2009, 03:24 AM
I'd try practicing more complex exercises - trying to get exercises so you can "get your fastest speed under your best condition" is useless.

You want to improve small aspects of your picking with each exercise.

6 weeks isn't really all that much - how many hours practice each week?

Definitely this. Find a practice that you struggle with and improve its speed. First, focus on accuracy at a low tempo though. If you notice something else giving you problems, try to find an exercise that focuses on that.

Watch videos on youtube of your favorite guitarist and watch their hands/arms/posture. It is hard to fix what you are doing wrong if you don't know what it is. Watch the way your position your left hand, the way your hold the pick, etc.. Find out what you could be doing wrong, and try to improve your playing on different exercises. Over time, the exercises you worked on before will become much easier.

brothertupelo
12-14-2009, 04:15 AM
my advice is just have fun and learn the fretboard and don't worry too much about speed. i mean, push yourself when you want to, but don't get consumed with it. it comes with time and comfort.

fixationdarknes
12-14-2009, 04:48 AM
It happens over time, yes. But throughout this time you have to be watching yourself and fixing your mistakes. If you can't break 100bpm, go back to like 50bpm and see what you're doing wrong. Fix it, and then build up the speed again. If you still can't break it, then repeat the process. go back down, fix it, build up again.

Orly

Moonshield17
12-14-2009, 05:14 AM
Orly

Yarly. I learned from the pros :cool:

og ja, jeg vet du savner meg.

Freepower
12-14-2009, 10:50 AM
Is speed kind of like boiling a pot of water? If you're focused on it, it won't come, but if you just work on other things it just happens?

:haha

I usually find that, yep. :p:

If you work on relaxation, clarity, accuracy, complex string jumps and a good sound you'll find that your picking improves - and it may get faster as well. ;)

RDSElite
12-14-2009, 05:38 PM
Burst it and have patience.
I've "waited" a very long time to get past 120.
I can do 150 now and still working on it.

Minion2580
12-18-2009, 05:31 PM
whenever i pick fast, i rest my picking hand on the strings above the strings im picking. Its like palm muting, except your not picking the strings your muting

Techofthegods
12-18-2009, 06:24 PM
I have had the same problem with hand syncronization breaking down at higher speeds. I too tried a bunch of different things to try to improve this.

My advice is to always keep your pick depth (how far the pick is past the outer-edge of the string) and picking hand vertical movement in the back of your head at all times.
You can adjust both of these slightly as you practice, as I have found this really helps you get a better feel of playing.
In my experience the only sure-fire way to get beyond that speed barrier is to stay disciplined, practice as much as possible and after a while your hand sync will be sufficient and higher speed capabilities will manifest.

Good luck :)

Even Bigger D
12-18-2009, 06:39 PM
You might try playing some actual songs, perhaps ones that aren't full of 16th notes above 100BPM. The idea of sitting there practicing 1234 patterns and the like for 2-3 hours a day for 6 months is absurd and makes me kind of sad to think anyone would waste their time on it.

What's happing here is that you have no sense of rhythm. So synchronization doesn't come naturally - you have to think about it. And that breaks down when you go to fast. The solution is to develop a strong sense of rhythm, and the way you do that is by playing with other people and having to play in time as a result. Metronomes are a substitute, but a very poor one. Drum machines are a little better, but still bad.

Here's your misson: forget every silly speed exercise you've ever learned. Go find a band. Learn 50 songs with a variety of groves - rock, latin, 16th note funk, shuffle, western swing, 3/4 waltz whatever. Always play the rhythm part. Focus on playing in the groove. THEN, you'll have a sense of rhythm and can come back and try to play single note lines fast.

Trying to do it the other way around is musical suicide. Even if you succeed, you will sound stiff and groove-less. More likely you will simply fail.

se012101
12-19-2009, 03:38 PM
Exercises are great for working specific kinks out of your playing, but Even Bigger D is right - you need a wider variety of stuff - songs - to work on. That will be especially effective if you combine that with the exercises - but focusing the exercises on fixing problems you notice from working on songs.

He is also right about the rhythm/timing thing being most likely being behind the lack of sync between your hands. Think about it like this - the picking hand is the driver, the fretting hand is the slave which eventually matches it's timing up to the picking hand. Now if the driver is unsteady and goes in and out of time, then the fretting hand has to keep modifying it's timing to match. It's like you have a moving goal post.

Even Bigger D
12-19-2009, 04:58 PM
That's an excellent way of putting it.

hippieboy444
12-19-2009, 06:09 PM
:haha

I usually find that, yep. :p:

If you work on relaxation, clarity, accuracy, complex string jumps and a good sound you'll find that your picking improves - and it may get faster as well. ;)

What are some complex string jumps? just to interject :p:

Freepower
12-19-2009, 06:12 PM
It's pretty much what it says on the tin. Sequence some arpeggios and see what happens. If you can't do that then you don't need to worry about complex string jumps anyway. :)

Moonshield17
12-19-2009, 06:44 PM
It's pretty much what it says on the tin. Sequence some arpeggios and see what happens. If you can't do that then you don't need to worry about complex string jumps anyway. :)

Is this an example of complex string jumps?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------------4------------------------------------|
--7-------------------5------7------------5-------------------------------|
----0-0-0-0-0-0-0----------------------------------------------7-------5-------3---|
-------------------------3-3----3-3----3-----3-3-3-3-3-3-3-----3-3-----3-3---3-|

fixationdarknes
12-19-2009, 09:00 PM
Is this an example of complex string jumps?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------------4------------------------------------|
--7-------------------5------7------------5-------------------------------|
----0-0-0-0-0-0-0----------------------------------------------7-------5-------3---|
-------------------------3-3----3-3----3-----3-3-3-3-3-3-3-----3-3-----3-3---3-|

Lol trusting the moonlight.

Freepower
12-19-2009, 09:10 PM
Erm, not really. :p:

I'd consider something like this

-----------------------------------------------|
-----------------------------------------------|
-------------------------------10---------9----|
-----11-14-11----12-15-12----9----9----10---10-|
--12----------12----------10--------10---------|
-----------------------------------------------|



--------------------------------------14-17~--|
--------------------------------12-15---------|
--------------------14-------13---------------|
--------15-12----------13-14------------------|
--10-15-------15-12---------------------------|
----------------------------------------------|

More challenging. ;)

juckfush
12-19-2009, 09:16 PM
Freepower, I always see you post that somewhere! I'm sure it's in the huge exercises folder from the exercises thread, but what's the name of the piece again? Thanks in advance. :cheers:

se012101
12-19-2009, 09:18 PM
That's a bit of Paginnini's 5th caprice (I think).

Freepower
12-19-2009, 09:30 PM
Well spotted, it is indeed. I don't think I've posted that bit before either btw. :p:

---------------------------------------------|
-----13----------12----------10--------8-----|
--------12----------10----------9--------7---|
--14-------14-12-------12-10------10-9-----9-|
---------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------|



----------------------------------|
----6-------6-------6--------8----|
------5-------5-------4--------9--|
--7-----7-6-----6-5-----5-10------|
----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|

Try THAT with just a pick. :p:

se012101
12-19-2009, 09:48 PM
Honestly, that entire song has got to be one of the best and most challenging alt picking workouts on the planet. I just started playing it again recently after having left it alone for a couple of years.

Though given that the TS is having some trouble with licks on two strings, this might be a bit too much too soon for him, IMO. I think what the TS is practicing, getting some more songs in there notwithstanding, could be productive. The problem in my mind is pushing the speed on them. There's no reason to push the speed on exercises that much, it's not like they are part of a song that you want to get up to tempo. Just play them at whatever speed that will let you get the technique benefits.

Freepower
12-19-2009, 09:54 PM
Oh, absolutely, that song's WAY beyond him. For him the point is that the attitude towards speed needs to change and that the exercises he's doing aren't actually helpful.

Since then we've gone a bit off topic. :p:

But yeah, exercises imho just don't suit the temperament of about 80% of guitarists. At the minute I'm writing some etudes which should cover small technical ideas but still be musical and fun - and importantly, be challenging and interesting at a normal tempo. :p:

juckfush
12-19-2009, 09:55 PM
Ah, I knew it sounded familiar :p: Cheers! I could have sworn you posted it somewhere else, but ah wells :p:

And to that second phrase :eek: I like! I'm finding that to transition, I'm just bringing my ring finger down to cater for the root and rolling it down for the highest note, and my middle and index fingers take care of their respective frets, but for the change between the G#6 and G dominant 7 I'm staying in position, then jumping to the 10th fret with my index. I've been trying it with alternate, economy and hybrid picking for maximum value! It's definitely a fun one.
If any of that made sense, do you think that's a logical approach?

Freepower
12-19-2009, 10:05 PM
I'd go with ring for the tenth fret at the end if I've understood you correctly - are you refingering those last two notes?

juckfush
12-19-2009, 10:08 PM
I'd go with ring for the tenth fret at the end if I've understood you correctly - are you refingering those last two notes?
Ah, my bad, I'm using the ring for the 10th fret :p: I'm staying strictly positional for all the arpeggios.

Freepower
12-19-2009, 10:12 PM
Whats your favourite way to pick it so far?

I go - D m D U which I find blazes through this section.

In fact - http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/Freepower/skills/play342359 - this is from more than a year ago, be gentle. :p:

se012101
12-19-2009, 10:22 PM
^Not bad at all. Better than I could get it for sure - though I always used straight alt picking on it (mostly for the challenge, and also my hybrid picking isn't great - it's sufficient for noodly stuff, but not anything really challenging).

Freepower
12-19-2009, 10:24 PM
If you're serious about it I'd definitely go hybrid for it, hybrid makes it easy and I much prefer the sound off it.

I had a go at the monster arpeggio/scale intro recently, actually didn't find it too hard apart from my own stupid lack of fingerings for the harmonic minor scale. Might actually nail this piece in the next decade. :haha

juckfush
12-19-2009, 10:30 PM
At first I really liked using strict alternate picking, but it felt a tad awkward and clumsy. But to be honest, since I tried your method I can't seem to go back! I was busy trying to cram my middle and ring fingers into my hybrid picking approach, so that it was a D r m U affair - very cramped!
I do find that hybrid picking offers such a great tone though, much smoother and natural than strict picking, which is why I finally decided to do something about it and start practicing it a couple weeks back (that, and I love Guthrie Govan's and Greg Howe's tone).

And the clip's great, don't worry! I love the slight popping sound you gave to the higher notes of the arpeggios - very slick, and it gives some variety to the tonal qualities of the piece. I think I'll give it a shot!

Freepower
12-19-2009, 10:36 PM
Yeah, I loves that pop. This is one of those licks you always think will work out better with two fingers but one seems to do the job better. :p:

The thing about hybrid picking, sweeping, eco, all that stuff is sometimes even if you're rubbish at them (like I am at all of the above) there's still licks that are ten times easier with them. It doesn't take much work to develop some facility with them either, specially hybrid picking in my experience.

se012101
12-19-2009, 10:38 PM
I'll have a play with hybrid picking that bit and see how it works out. I haven't got to relearning that part yet - I've just been working on the first 16 bars for the last few days. I think I'm going to take it slow this time, just give it 20 mins a day steadily. The last time around I was in too much hurry to get it down, and wound up forcing it. It will be interesting to see what effect 2 more years practice on everything else will have had on it. Though I can tell already from the intro, it's coming quite a bit easier this go around.

juckfush
12-19-2009, 10:59 PM
Oh, definitely. I've found that with certain passages, I'll take the most logical approach to start off (like instantly opting to economy pick a standard A minor arpeggio shape for example), but if it's particularly difficult, I'll try out any and every possible strategy to nail it.

I'm really fond of the idea though, when possible, of using certain techniques for tonality rather than ease of playing, like using hybrid picking or legato for a smoother/more natural tone, and picking for accents and so on. I've gotten really obsessed with the concept of tone recently, so I guess I've grown a greater dependency on developing all my techniques, at least to an intermediate level, so I can act on that sort of idea.

Moonshield17
12-20-2009, 03:18 AM
sorry for the n00b question. but what's the difference between hybrid picking and economy picking? or better yet, what exactly is hybrid picking?

juckfush
12-20-2009, 03:45 AM
Hybrid picking involves using both your pick and remaining fingers of your picking hand to pick notes. It's sort of a hybrid between fingerstyle and picking, in other words. :) The tonal advantage is that you still have your pick in hand for a more ''mechanical'' tone, and your fingers are free for creating a more natural, smoother ''human'' tone. Plus, large interval jumps that you see in string skipping, for example, can be be performed with both the pick (for the lower register) and fingers (for the higher register).

Economy picking is similar to sweeping, in that if you're ascend up the strings - say, one note per string - you'd perform a continuous down stroke on each successive string. Likewise, if you were descending a one note per string pattern, you'd use one continuous up stroke. It follows the principle of economy of motion, in that if you minimize movements, due to keeping one single picking motion to perform notes on adjacent strings.
Of course, you can economy pick a two note per string lick like this:

G------5-7-----5-7
D-5-7----- 5-7

using an U D D U U D D U picking pattern, which would effectively minimize your picking motions. It's difficult to grasp, and there are limitations (in that licks have to be arranged for strict economy picking, such as an odd number of notes per string), but in certain situations, it may be preferable to use this approach.
I've never been able to explain economy picking well, so hopefully that's covered it, or somebody else comes in with a simpler, more accurate explanation :haha:

Moonshield17
12-20-2009, 04:10 AM
oh no, that was fine, I already knew what economy picking was :p Just wasn't so sure about the hybrid picking...which sounds tough imo, but perhaps that's because I've never tried finger picking anyway. Thanks for explaining :)

juckfush
12-20-2009, 04:37 AM
Not a problem ;) It is tough to get to grips with, but with a little bit of practice everything will fall into place. I haven't had any fingerpicking experience, but decided to try my hand (lolpun) at hybrid picking recently, and while it was clumsy at first, it definitely got on track quickly. A simple exercise is a staple lick like this:

S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S
E||-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------||
B||---------3-----3-----3-----3-----3-|-------3-----3-----3-----3-----3---||
G||-------0-----0-----0-----0-----0---|---------0-----0-----0-----0-----0-||
D||--3h-5-----5-----5-----5-----5-----|--3h-5-----5-----5-----5-----5-----||
A||-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------||
E||-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------||

Using the downstroke with the pick for the D string, middle finger for the G, and ring finger for the B. It's a great exercise for getting used to the concept, and it's what got me underway, if you're interested in giving it a shot. =]

Moonshield17
12-20-2009, 04:58 AM
Definitely I am! But at the moment my fingers are all buttery from popcorn, lol. So I'll try this out tomorrow when I pick up my guitar again. It looks like one of those things when played thru a few times, it'll become quite simple. thanks for the tabs!

Legion6789
12-20-2009, 11:09 PM
Wow, I haven't checked here for a while, this thread has taken on a life of its own. I still haven't really had any success getting faster. My guitar teacher recommended I try doing 5-6-7-8 on just the high e string and see how fast I can get it. I can burst it for 110bpm.

I have been learning songs, about 2 or 3 per week. Otherwise I think I'd go insane if all I did were exercises. I find for the most part I can learn the rhythm parts of songs without much trouble (at least the songs I've been interested in learning). But I get frustrated when I want to learn the solo and I realize there isn't much hope cause it's too fast.

It's not that I want to be Paul Gilbert or anything, I just want to be able to play the songs I like.

Anyway, I think most of my problem is in my fretting hand. I've noticed with chromatic exercises that my fingers don't roll across the frets in a 1-2-3-4 motion all the time, as it gets near my speed limit, sometimes the second and third finger come down together. Makes me think it might be partly a finger independence issue.

So I thought maybe I should focus my speed efforts for now on legato exercises. Especially since I've found that multifinger pulloffs like 4p3p2p1 or 4p3p1, etc are really slow and awkward for me.

dethroned
12-21-2009, 07:53 AM
I've never posted on this forum before, so hope I'm doing it right, not pissing anyone off, or giving poor advice.

That said, I'm having sort of the same issue, but I feel I've found the right exercises that are helping me get faster and more accurate. Thought I'd share if it helps you, whether its welcome or not.

You mentioned Paul Gilbert, and its one of the things I practice.

I play Technical difficulties to warm up, and then Marty Friedman's part of Concerto from Cacophony.

Even at 50% speed these sound great, and just gotta metronome it up bit by bit. Each week, try to up it by 10% speed if you can. Any progress is good progress.

My buddy who's pretty sick at guitar and can play just about anything, explained to me that its hugely about muscle memory, and to program what you want to play, exaggerate your movements and let your wrist carry on further than it needs to before coming back up to alternate. Once your muscle memory starts really noting the pattern, tighten her up and try to get it faster.

I switched to these Jim Dunlop Jazz III picks, and its nuts how for me they've made me use my wrist a lot more. I had a huge problem with trying to play using my forearm and elbow. Sometimes I prefer to use bigger picks to scrape the strings and get good meaty rhythm going on, but the Jazz III's are what I use when practicing and putting all of my effort into getting better / learning.

Personally I prefer to stay away from hybrid picking, and even hammerons and pulloffs when I can avoid them, just rathering the sound when just about everything is picked.

Favorite artists: Megadeth, Paul Gilbert, Iron Maiden, Municipal Waste, Razor, Bucket and Bootsy.

I look forward to reading more in this thread. Every bit helps. Thanks everyone else for tips. Peace.

steven seagull
12-21-2009, 08:44 AM
I have to say your buddy's got it ass-backward - it's far easier and more efficient to teach yourself how to do something the right way from the outset rather than learn it wrong then re-learn it which is plain retarded.

Control is everything in guitar.

Freepower
12-21-2009, 09:30 AM
Exaggerating picking patterns seems totally logical to me if you have a particularly tricky one, provided you remember to tighten it up and shrink it once you've got it. I've done it occasionally and I know its worked for others here.