Fast picking


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shredfan
11-13-2005, 11:02 AM
A question for all you speed demons:

How do you go about building picking speed from the wrist? This is something that I really want to do, but is causing me trouble. I'm fairly sure that my problem is not a lack of practice, but a fundamental flaw in my picking mechanic, which means I can't go above a certain speed.

How exactly should the wrist move when alternate picking? Any close up pictures/videos/advice on this VERY much appreciated.

I can pick fast from the elbow, but it all seems like too much effort. I want to develop a picking technique which both looks and feels effortless and which I could use all day. (Think Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane)

PooKoo
11-13-2005, 11:06 AM
I pick with my arm, it was taught to me by my friends dad, who was taught by vinnie moore, so i trust him. Just keep practicing it, youll get good, play however you feel is comfortable.

Im sure some other people could help you more

IROBOTInferno
11-13-2005, 11:13 AM
when you go sfor speed you never go from the wrist the joint bends wrong, bend at your elbow.it's the fast way.

Archaon
11-13-2005, 11:22 AM
for tremolo picking or long shred runs i use the arm, but for short ones i use my wrist.

Scorzerci
11-13-2005, 11:51 AM
i always pick from my wrist but i cant exactly play very fast. is picking from my wrist bad for my wrist and does it slow me down?

wil
11-13-2005, 01:19 PM
i pick from the wrist, i try move my arm as little as possible, it only needs a mintue movement, watch some footage of Malmsteen and he looks effortless, it only punks that thrash their arms all over the place- there should be no tension in your arm whatsoever, if you put in the hours and learn to pick from the wrist, youll be in control of every note you play, rather than tensing your arm and tremelo picking at a fast, but completely random, speed.

shredfan
11-13-2005, 02:42 PM
Ok, thanks to Wil for the most relevant comment so far.

But could someone please tell me HOW they manage to get great speed from using just the wrist, mechanics wise?

If anyone gives me some useful technical advice that helps my picking technique, I'll send them some tracks from Hands Without Shadows (MAB). (or something else if you prefer)

Righteous
11-13-2005, 03:03 PM
I dunno if this is helpful at all, but just be as relaxed as is possible and start out slow trying to make the least amount of motion of the pick using your wrist.

ukdudeinuk
11-13-2005, 03:08 PM
Well, just like picking with the arm, the more you do it, the more you train your muscles and the faster you can go. If you train yourself to do it effortlessly*read-no tension*, youll be able to play all day. I guess, mechanics wise, you can move your wrist as fast or faster than your elbow, in theory, and it seems you would have greater control, which would mean smaller movements, and in turn more notes played. Also, what Wil said about the controlled speed is correct. Hope that helped.

Erich yeung
11-13-2005, 03:51 PM
well theres many picking variations as everyones diffeerent. But usually its either arm, wrist or thumb. Cooley uses arm, steve vai uses his wrist, and michael angelo batio uses his thumb. Those are just examples. I personally use wrist but it should be your preference. I mean lots of people will tell you arm is wrong but look at cooley, i think its should be of your own better judgment. And dont be lazy try all three, just cause you suck at one doesnt mean that you wont like it, you really gotta play around.

Ok so the basic mechanics for speed picking is this. (this is for speed btw no dynamics or anything of mention) You should try to hit the string with the smallest amount of the actually pick possible. (so the very very tip of it) And you should after every pick you want to go in opposite direction, Correct? So you want to make the distance of the next attack smaller so you have less area to travel to hit the string again. So after each pick try to keep the pick closer to the string rather than going really far up or down. Sry about the coherence in what im writing, its hard to explain. I hope this helps though and good luck with your picking.

shredfan
11-13-2005, 04:21 PM
Thanks for those tips. I understand about economy of motion and all that, but the main problem is that I can't seem to move my wrist anything like as fast as I can move my arm, even though in theory it should be able to move faster. I'm not sure if theres something wrong in the way I'm moving it, or if I just need to carry on with what I'm doing and hope for the best.

A few people might also be interested to hear what Rusty Cooley has to say about his picking technique.

It's a little miss leading when you watch me pick because when I'm picking real fast it look like I'm using my elbow but I'm still using my wrist too it's just that the wrist movements have become so small it's hard to detect.

If people want me to email them stuff, they'll need to pm me their addresses.

Erich yeung
11-13-2005, 04:35 PM
^yeah but hes using arm and writst right? See you really have to play around and see what suits you better i mean he mixed it up and hes got great technique so i guess you should play around. I mean if no matter how hard you try you cant pick fast with wrist then stick to arm, and train your arm to relax and have no tension, to each his own, man i cant help you and i think only you can, so keep trying and making an effort.

ukdudeinuk
11-13-2005, 07:07 PM
Well, youre used to using your arm. Youve developed the muscles and fast twitch fibers in your arm directly associated with how you currently pick. The muscles and fast twitch fibers associated with picking from the wrist arent as developed in your case. The more you work at it, the faster you will become, just like what happened with your picking from the arm. I would imagine picking from the wrist would expend less energy, but Zakk Wylde picks from the arm, and he plays for long periods of time, then again he has those massive arms. Anyway, since both have been proven methods of picking, go with whichever you feel more comfortable with.

beckergod
11-14-2005, 01:10 AM
wow for all those who pick from the arm, you guys should stop and re learn, you can really **** up your arm that way its not good for the muscle and over time itll cause stress to your arm, i learned to pick from the wrist, when well trained the wrist is a much better way to go.

wil
11-14-2005, 05:12 AM
The way i learned to pick fast is to lay back on my bed, against the wall holding the guitar upwards with my picking arms elbow positioned on the bed, that way it is stationary, and i trained myself, with hour after hour of chromatics to only move my wrist. I dont know if that makes sense, id draw you a picture if i had the means. This is probably not the best way to do it but it sure as hell helped, the arm is static, but theres no tension in it, like a balance.
Also, if youre practising with a metronome, start off extremely slow- we all know this, but just because its on slow, dont think that because the speed is managable you can be sloppy and move the pick far away from the strings for the next repetition- Basically dont think because its an easy speed that you can be sloppy until the speed gets a bit harder, you need to refine your technique, the pick should only move millimetres away from the string after the initial downstroke in preparation for the upstroke, it needs to be watertight.

Hope that helps.

Freepower
11-14-2005, 12:33 PM
The misinformation or complete lack of any attempt at research in this thread is incredible.

There are all kinds of different muscles, use them for the right jobs - dont strum with your thumb muscles, dont pick minutely using your shoulder.

Its good you use your arm, because most people ignore it completely, and thus lose a lot of mobility and power. Same for your shoudler - these are muscles for making big movements, so use em for it. If you're string skipping, use these muscles to move your wrist so it isn't doing all the work. Anyway, the minute muscles in your wrist are delicate and need to be approached correctly. Look at shawn, his arm and elbow are not just sitting there, but rather help his wrist out. His wrist is where the action is, but the FOUNDATION is the arm and shoulder. To this end, i encourage everyone to at least experiment with these motions.

Shredfan, you probably move your wrist up and down, right? You begin to become tense and rely on your arm at around 12ish nps using this motion. This is TRANSLATORY motion, moving in the plane (it's not really a plane, but anyway) of the strings. It's quite even and its good for many things, but superfast playing is not one of them. Lay your wrist down palm down on the table, keep it there, and draw arcs with a pen, that's translatory motion.

Rotary motion is just what it sounds. Lift your arm, hold the pen, pretend your turning a doorknob - if you were holding a pen, youd make straight lines, where the imaginary circle of your motion cuts the line of the table. This motion is a fair bit faster and more easily controlled, but string skipping, and the evenness of the notes is affected.

Third kind of motion - "Oscilliatory". As you've probably guessed, this is the big one. This is what seperates Effortless Shawn Lane Complexity from Fareri and his Amazing Fast Tension. This is hard to describe, but imagine rapping a door with your knuckles. Thats the motion. Your downstrokes become "in" strokes, your ups "out". Great. Now we're bouncing off the pickups and scratching the strings. Well, that's where your thumb comes in.

http://www.guitarplayer.com.br/materia/94/imagens/shawn/shawn1.jpg
http://www.tarsun.net/images/bio_vigierpromo.jpg

^ the former shows a good hand position to start with, the latter shows best how to hold the pick for this technique - use the pads of your thumb and finger and hold the pick there.

I gtg now, but i hope i helped. I'll post more later if you have questions.

Scorzerci
11-14-2005, 02:16 PM
^ do you think you could try explaining the oscilliatory picking more in depth because i dont get it at all.

shredfan
11-14-2005, 03:06 PM
Third kind of motion - "Oscilliatory". As you've probably guessed, this is the big one. This is what seperates Effortless Shawn Lane Complexity from Fareri and his Amazing Fast Tension. This is hard to describe, but imagine rapping a door with your knuckles. Thats the motion. Your downstrokes become "in" strokes, your ups "out". Great. Now we're bouncing off the pickups and scratching the strings. Well, that's where your thumb comes in.

Cheers Freepower, this is the sort of technical stuff that I want. This oscillation picking business sounds promising, but how do you turn what is essentially an up and down movement into something that will allow you to alternate pick from side to side?

Gabuydachk
11-14-2005, 04:01 PM
here's the best advice I can give:
don't pick like you write (you know with a pen or pencil)
that's what a lot of my friends do and it kills their speed

Freepower
11-14-2005, 05:50 PM
Cheers Freepower, this is the sort of technical stuff that I want. This oscillation picking business sounds promising, but how do you turn what is essentially an up and down movement into something that will allow you to alternate pick from side to side?

Check out the 2nd shawn pick. His hand may be above the strings, as opposed to parallel to the strings and near the bridge, and it's pointing almost vertically down - now, lock your thumb back as far as it'll go. Lock it, not necessarily tense, but bend it back. Bring your PAD of your index finger to touch the pad of your thumb. To do the actual motion, think of it as "in" and "out" strokes.

Hold your hand above the strings a la shawn pic 2, and your pick will (almost) naturally catch the string as it goes it. Ditto for out.

This is the best picking method i've ever come across, i've been using it a few days, and i can really feel the potential. I've tried everything from pure elbow, pure tranlatory and pure rotationary - elbow's fast but makes complexity a bitch. Translatory's even, but you can't go very fast before you start to tense up a little. Rotationary's decent, but really a bit of a middle ground that doesnt really work that great, imo.

Oscilliatory, on the other hand, makes strings skipping a comparitive ease - i dont really know how to say except that it feels natural, i even managed some SL style "snap" picking after a while. And i've never felt completely secure unanchored till i tried it. And to boot, fine movements are easier for me too.

I love it. :) Hope you guys do too. And seriously, if you dont "get" it, (i didnt at first) TRY it, and pay REALLY CLOSE attention to what i said. Knocking a door. Get the motion, copy the pose, and try it, exaggerate the motion, and then condition it small. :)

apocalypse13
11-14-2005, 05:51 PM
I like to trem pick using a combination of my wrist and thumb, more thumb though. When I do it, I barely move my wrist, In a kind of circular motion. I move my thumb at pretty high speeds, in a flex type of motion. Flex, then un-flex. I can pick a lot faster with my elbow, but that's no good and I don't want to risk screwing up my arm. If you use a combination of all three, with a lot of control over the different muscles, you can get fierce speeds effortlessly. And the less, effort, the better. Hope this helps.
:cheers:

Freepower--
Do you mean with the third motion you mentioned that you use a combination of index and thumb to pick extremely fast, without using much wrist? If so, that's what I use.

Freepower
11-15-2005, 04:40 AM
^ no, you lock your thumb and it never moves - it's what MAB calls the secret to advanced alternate picking - he picks from BEHIND the thumb.

ukdudeinuk
11-15-2005, 11:23 AM
Dude Free, is there any way you can get better pictures of whats going on with that, or maybe an instructional type video you can make? Im really confused, Im going to try it, but Im not expecting to understand.

Freepower
11-15-2005, 01:01 PM
^ i'll make a quick instructional vid if im ever around a camera sometime soon. But seriously, just practice the motion, copy the pics i posted, you'll see it soon enough. Seeing as you said you'd try it, tell me if it became more obvious after trying.

ukdudeinuk
11-15-2005, 01:05 PM
No it didnt actually. Ill go look at the pictures again and see if maybe I was doing something wrong, but it made me feel retarded lol. But the way u described it, my brain kept telling me my wrist is supposed to be perpendicular to the strings, but that doesnt seem like what hes doing in the pictures...so yeah.

Edit:WAIT A MINUTE I read everything wrong, I was thinking his hand position in the second picture was correct. Wow, that helps, but I still dont completely get it.

Freepower
11-15-2005, 03:29 PM
^ the second IS correct, its just the way shawn ended up - he's using combinations of the 3 motions (obviously, you think you can play with just one? HA! That'd be too easy! :) ) and his wrist is ALMOST perpendicular to the strings. Its his thumb that brings the pick back into an angle that creates the attack of the movement, and he's angling upwards slightly, which helps me too, so give it a go.

Really, give it a go and it gets easier to "get". :)

ukdudeinuk
11-15-2005, 03:32 PM
Ok. That makes more sense. The door knocking motion I dont get, unless you were completely perpendicular. I have my guitar in hand, I will try it though. The 3 motions, is that the three you were talking about in your original post?

Edit:Ok, I think Im starting to get it. Are downstrokes going towards the pickup, or pulling the string away? And I do get now what you were talking about with the thumb creating the angle of attack.

Edit2:Ok, I think Ive got it, but I want to see some kind of video or something so I dont practice it wrong. Muscle memory of the wrong motions is a very bad thing.

Freepower
11-15-2005, 04:03 PM
^ downstrokes go towards the pickup, and yes, i meant the threee motions from earlier - with shoulder and elbow, but of course. ;)

Picking fast and complex is always harder and more complex than it seems. The trick is to give your right the ability to do anything, so you can concentrate on note choice, etc. :) Shawn almost never thought about his picking - he COULD, but he preferred to save his "RAM" for other things.

ukdudeinuk
11-15-2005, 04:38 PM
Yeah. I dont ever think about my picking anyway, unless Im working on my sweeping, which sucks alot, or if I screw up, I think crap, I screwed up. But while Im playing, I dont think much at all, I have trouble doing it. Man, that means I have it backwards. The way I was doing it, my downstrokes were pulling the string away from the pickup. I can see how I would have to angle my hand, but that feels incredibly awkward. So as long as Im doing the knocking motion, I just have to turn my hand so my downstrokes push the string towards the pickups. The idea of using your shoulder and elbow is weird, in that Ive played so long without doing that, that I will hit the wrong string when I try that. Im going to get this down though, I can already tell how much easier it is, even though I suck at it.

Haha, the idea of ram is a good one. Ive never thought of it like that, but it makes sense. It also makes alot of things clearer in my mind, such as why actually memorizing the notes of the fretboard and the 12 major keys and stuff like that cold helps you to play better. I knew this already, but the idea of thinking about that stuff using "ram" is very helpful. Dude thanks for helping me with that unintentionally!!!

shredfan
11-16-2005, 01:24 PM
http://www.tuckandpatti.com/pick-finger_tech.html

Okay, after reading this I am now more confused than before. Tuck seems to be advising you to rotate your wrist 90 degrees for oscillation picking. But if you did this, how the hell would you be able to reach the strings to pick them? :confused:

torturer6067
11-16-2005, 01:53 PM
what i did was i improvized over chords and played for hours improvizing over diferent chords, i got fast and i mean very fast then i realized that my technique isnt anything special and started to work on my tech,start slow than speed it up, but i never focused on how my right arm is moving when i pick or which part of the arm is moving. but if i look at my technique i dont use my whrist at all, but thats because of the style i hold my pick

Freepower
11-16-2005, 03:37 PM
http://www.tuckandpatti.com/pick-finger_tech.html

Okay, after reading this I am now more confused than before. Tuck seems to be advising you to rotate your wrist 90 degrees for oscillation picking. But if you did this, how the hell would you be able to reach the strings to pick them? :confused:

Lol, no, he's explaining the MOTION -

you rotate your wrist 90 degrees from the previous example so you have your pinky side on the table and then he explains the door knocking motion.

I found that thing confusing so i figured id explain it myself - basically, its a way of demonstrating the motion, but its a really bad way. I was going to get pics and a short video today on my gfs digital camera but it ran out of battery, so im afraid it'll have to wait. But trust me, me and him and saying the same thing, just his example is a little confusing in its detail.

apocalypse13
11-16-2005, 09:09 PM
^Yeah Freepower, a video would help a LOT. I can pick up on vids really quick. But right now:
Me = :confused::confused::confused::confused::confused:

Erc
11-16-2005, 09:16 PM
Yes...video now!! This uh...way of picking intrigues me...but I don't understand and already tried dicking around with it and...meh...nothing.

shenanigans
11-16-2005, 11:37 PM
This site seems really cool for studying picking techniques.....just read what it has to offer.

http://www.troygrady.com/code.php

ukdudeinuk
11-17-2005, 11:31 AM
Man that sucks Free! Anyway, since I cant be sure Im doing it right, Ill wait paitiently for a video.

Freepower
11-17-2005, 12:26 PM
Lol, it could be a while... a LONG while...

beaker
11-17-2005, 01:44 PM
i think way too many of you are taking this way too seriously! as frank zappa sais, shut up n play yer guitar! seriously tho, alot of you are trying to shortcut ways to picking perfection, if most of you put more effort into actually playing your guitars rather than writing about theory's behind secret picking techniques, you would all be playing alot better! you lot are too obsessed with technique

Jujiman
11-17-2005, 01:47 PM
Most really, really good players(which I am not one of by the way)play from the wrist and elbow.

I have watched Zakk Wylde many times and he moves both of them, but it seems like he picks from the elbow a little more.

Try getting his BLS DVD Broozed, Broken, and Boozed live from Detroit. Its badass.

Jujiman

Righteous
11-17-2005, 06:24 PM
i think way too many of you are taking this way too seriously! as frank zappa sais, shut up n play yer guitar! seriously tho, alot of you are trying to shortcut ways to picking perfection, if most of you put more effort into actually playing your guitars rather than writing about theory's behind secret picking techniques, you would all be playing alot better! you lot are too obsessed with technique

Shred is based on technique, and you can't shred without technique. Picking is an especially important technique, so shut up :)

slashlover
11-18-2005, 03:05 AM
i learned that if you train like 1 one solo, or a fast part thing, you first have to play it slowly, so it will sound good but not like "wow hes fast!" so play it slowly and play it a lot. then play it a lil bit faster, a lil faster, and go on... you'll get kind of a muscle-memory, so the speed will come automatically... by the way my teacher is flamencogod so comments to him...

public property
11-18-2005, 04:31 AM
er...yeah this is pretty much the tried and tested method of gaining speed.

Freepower
11-18-2005, 05:05 AM
i think way too many of you are taking this way too seriously! as frank zappa sais, shut up n play yer guitar! seriously tho, alot of you are trying to shortcut ways to picking perfection, if most of you put more effort into actually playing your guitars rather than writing about theory's behind secret picking techniques, you would all be playing alot better! you lot are too obsessed with technique

*shrug*

We do shut up and play our guitars. But we like to know we're practicing stuff right - theres no point developing the world's foremost shoulder picking technique is there?

There are no shortcuts to any kind of significant technique - except knowing what your doing and practicing it. We're working on the former, then the latter. Learn, practice, improve, repeat. :)

beaker
11-18-2005, 01:41 PM
lol dont take my comment as a dig anyone! i just think that if you feel you got a method that works, then stick with it....i have the most weird way of holding the pick, kinda like marty friedman/eddie van halen, but i wouldnt change it cos thats what works! personally, i have no idea if i pick from my wrist, arm or whatever! it kind of depends what im playing, all i can say is if people want to pick fast, then stick to alternate picking(however you do it) and just keep at it

Resiliance
11-18-2005, 03:10 PM
^There's a difference between something working, and something working BETTER.

Freepower
11-18-2005, 03:33 PM
Exactement.

apocalypse13
11-18-2005, 09:39 PM
Shred is based on technique, and you can't shred without technique. Picking is an especially important technique, so shut up :):cheers:

shredfan
11-19-2005, 04:21 AM
Well you need to know what you're doing before you start doing it. If you persist with a bad technique it will only get you so far before you can't improve without taking a step backwards first.

slashlover
11-20-2005, 07:49 AM
er...yeah this is pretty much the tried and tested method of gaining speed.
well ive been playin just for 2 months so im not too smart ya c? :o

wil
11-20-2005, 10:19 AM
Being self taught, and having first learned oasis and nirvana songs mostly by ear, when i finally came down to try and play harder stuff, i realised how many bad habits i had picked up-habits that took a long time to break out of, my alt pixking was terrible, i took the guitar up casually, i never wanted to be yngwie- i didnt even know who he was really, im not one of these kids who says theyve been playing two years and can play most of vai's stuff, THEY ARE LYING. Building up a fast and consistent picking technique takes years of practise, for me, alternate picking is the hardest, but combined with legato, also the most versatile and rewarding.
It really pisses me off when people say, id been playing 6months and learned Eruption note for note- i know its not the hardest piece ever, but it aint the easiest, ive listened to so many internet versions of Eruption and mostly theyre all terrible.

The moral here is,dont believe people when they say there's a fast way to being a great picker, there really is no substitute for practising.
Its an obvious cliche but you get out of stuff what you put in. Therefore, if you practise alt picking for 5 hours- proper practise, not just bad shredding up and down the scales, i mean boring, chromatic finger exercises etc etc- one day, then at some point, those five hours will be rewarded with five hours GREAT playing, rather than 5 hours badplaying. I knw this is something of a sentimentalist view, but the point remains, practise, if it takes months or years, JUST DO IT!

PooKoo
11-20-2005, 10:20 AM
Actually ive been playing for about 1 and a half years and i CAN play a lot of vais stuff.

wil
11-20-2005, 11:02 AM
Really? Id love to hear it...honestly.
Post the Attitude Song and i may consider believing you.

public property
11-20-2005, 11:49 AM
Ah, you're the only other person that knows of the horror of the attitude song. I salute thee wil.

Freepower
11-20-2005, 11:56 AM
^ er, pooky mate, i dont think i would post that till you've cleaned up a bit. :) No offense, we're both working through it.


But you said yourself wil, you developed a lot of bad habits - imagine you had been "serious" about your technique from day one and/or had a good teacher and/or you simply practiced more?

Some people do do very well for themselves, very quickly. People (in real life, you hard SF bastards) are often amazed i've been playing only 2 years, but i personally know i could have been twice as good if i had simply done/not done a few things.

I would certainly agree its few people who have the wit to actually use correct practice from day one, but those that do make giant leaps. You bastards.

Like John Williams - 30mins a day. :) He always said he had simply had great tuition - and it was true. His dad had overseen all his practice for the first few years to make sure he was practicing correctly.

PooKoo
11-20-2005, 12:05 PM
haha i never said i could play them well. Im just being a dick about it.

I just know, a lot of people always claim they can play things, and usually can, but ive never heard anyone play them right.

Freepower
11-20-2005, 12:12 PM
^ resi did Surfing wit' the alien pretty good, methinks. Not one of those bastardized yngwie covers with each lick recorded individually.

And axey and his black star must get an honourable mention. Damn good, if not perfect.

Anyone im missing, feel free to raise your hands for an apology if you deserve it. ;)

PooKoo
11-20-2005, 12:57 PM
yes, you win fp.

I get it, my bad. I just thought wil came off a bit of a dick but going back, i guess i misread. My bad.

Freepower
11-20-2005, 01:08 PM
Lol, he's like resi, he sounds like an asshole when he's being reasonable. No probs. :)

Freepower
11-20-2005, 01:27 PM
I got the benson picking vids and pics sorted today, i'll get em up when i can. :)

PooKoo
11-20-2005, 01:40 PM
Omg Double Post!

Freepower
11-20-2005, 01:52 PM
^ yeh, twas deliberate, to let any prospective bensoners get an update in their email/re-alert them to the thread. :)

apocalypse13
11-20-2005, 08:57 PM
Wil- Some peole pick up faster. If you play for 6 years, and practice an hour a week, you aren't going to have as much experience as someone who has played for 3 years and practiced an hour a day. So if you play for 2 years and practice 4 hours a day, it's certainly possible that you can play some Vai or Malmsteen.

wil
11-21-2005, 05:29 AM
well, post it up then if you can play it.

GraveSs
11-21-2005, 10:04 AM
i might be wrong, but doesnt Vai pick with his elbow? If you watch the crossroads duel he does.

platypus
11-21-2005, 10:33 AM
:p: technically, if you know how to wank well, you are a natural shredder/fast picker. :p:

public property
11-21-2005, 12:18 PM
i might be wrong, but doesnt Vai pick with his elbow? If you watch the crossroads duel he does.

he may have done, but he picks in many different ways depending on the line being played. On the picked bits in the answers live solo he most definately wrist picks.

apocalypse13
11-21-2005, 04:57 PM
well, post it up then if you can play it.I didn't say I could. I said some people....

wil
11-22-2005, 02:07 PM
Yeah, well there's a difference between fluffing up the main theme to Far Beyond the Sun or playing part of For the Love of God and actually being a proficient player. i learned the basis of those songs in about an hour on each one, that is i committed to memory the structure of these songs. Now, does that mean, after about three years playing-and about 9months of anything approaching serious practise- that i was capable of learning them in an hour? Hell no. I could play enough of these songs for people to go ' Wow, that's Steve Vai...' or ' Wow, that's fast' but i sure as hell didnt have the confidence- or is it arrogance?- to say, ' i can play most of Malmsteen and vai's stuff'- I still dont, and ive come on a hell of a lot since then. I'll go back and study them from time to time and refine what i already know, or brush up on sections that i can't pull off, but i have a healthy disdain for people on these sites who just dismiss other- much better- guitarists creations and easy, at the same time, attempting to elevate a status that they dont really have.

John Kimble
11-24-2005, 01:51 PM
Video plz.

apocalypse13
11-24-2005, 02:46 PM
Yeah, but I don't give a crap how fast someone can memorize the notes, I can do that fast too. I memorized Dave's 1st solo and most of Marty's 1st solo in High Speed Dirt last night. But can I play them fluently and with a lot confidence? No. Hell no. I'm saying that a lot of people can memorize a pattern, but may not be able to play it until they've been playing for years. And when you say something like "OMG I just learned Speed Metal Symphony in 1 hour and I've only been playing 5 months," nobody will believe you, nobody. I know someone who learned the Domination (Pantera) solo and could play it in 15 minutes, but he had played for about 10-15 years.

And just for the record, I didn't say ANYTHING about me being able to play something that was extremely difficult fluently.

xNEO-SHREDDERx
11-25-2005, 04:08 PM
arm for speed. wrist for sweeps

PooKoo
11-25-2005, 04:40 PM
^exactly what i do. (in most cases)

Erc
11-30-2005, 10:15 PM
Dude...

I think I'm getting a hang or at least a minor understanding of shawns picking technique, after watching video after video and looking at his hand and reading the description over and over, I think I might almost have it to some degree...

Now..Bump....Fp don't forget about making pictures/videos sometime soon!! You must so that I know that I have it right or if I don't can fix it!!

xNEO-SHREDDERx
11-30-2005, 10:19 PM
you get a lot more clarity if you fast pick from the wrist.

Beckerism
11-30-2005, 11:55 PM
Dude...

I think I'm getting a hang or at least a minor understanding of shawns picking technique, after watching video after video and looking at his hand and reading the description over and over, I think I might almost have it to some degree...

Now..Bump....Fp don't forget about making pictures/videos sometime soon!! You must so that I know that I have it right or if I don't can fix it!!

Description for me please. :p:

Freepower
12-01-2005, 03:26 AM
I have the vids and pics done, now my gf needs to send them to me. :)

Prophet of Page
12-01-2005, 09:24 AM
Hmmm, I don't really agree with anybody here on this.

Most of you guys are saying a light touch coupled with the minimum amount of movement will give the best result. I don't agree with that. At least not at the start. My method;

1. You should exagerate your movements at the start, and play nice and loud. Exagerating your movements will prevent you using economy picks when you are trying to alternate pick strictly.
2. Do this until your picking cleans up.
3. When you're playing clean, reduce the movent. Hence increasing the maximum speed.

Picking loud can sound sloppy if you aren't plugged in, because you can hear the strings hitting the frets, etc. If you are having doubts, get some headphones and hook em up to hear youself play. You'll hear that picking hard doesn't give that sound when plugged in, so don't worry about it.

Look at Al Di Meola, Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert and other really proficient alternate pickers. They all pick hard, with plenty of bounce in their playing. Their movements are tight yes, but watch them play a slower riff and you'll see they pick nice and wide. The faster thay play, the less they move their hands. The point is, it keeps the picking accurate.

I personally would prefer Al's or Paul's picking over Lane's. Whatever your preference I suppose....

Freepower
12-01-2005, 01:19 PM
^ for pure speed, lane takes the biscuit. If you want a little more definition to each note, then a bigger attack and slightly slower speed are certainly great.

I have some shawn vids where he does actually do the kind of heavier picking PG would do, it's quite weird when you find out that he has that much control over nuances at that speed...

But yeh, im just defending lane again. :)

I do agree with you though, it's good to practice picking hard, i tend to lose some attack when i play at my fastest, and i have to do a little of this sometime after i just get alternate picking in general sorted. :)

GraveSs
12-01-2005, 06:51 PM
i need help.

do any of you get that feeling on your wrist, that feeling that tickles your wrist and feels funny, when you try to attemp a fast alternate picking riff?

mercedesisbenz
12-01-2005, 06:59 PM
act like your signing a check or your signature.

Erc
12-01-2005, 06:59 PM
Description for me please. :p:


Well, I gathered help from a couple of places....

I was searching through the guitar payer magazine I bought with Jerry Garcia on the front. I was browsing the lessons and looking at the Petrucci one, turned the page like once or twice and stumbled on some beginner lesson on string skipping and holding a pick right, looked at those pictures and it had what they described as the reversed pick thinggie...well not thinggie...

Anyways it pretty much had a picture with the thumb bent back and what not.

So with the help of that picture and watching over and over the instructional video http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1938099378022643751&q=shawn+lane and waiting for parts that showed a close up of his hand (found about around the 25minute-30minute mark are some good ones) I managed to get the basic idea...or at least how it looked, the explination FP gave was kind of clearer, eh I just say follow it step by step and maybe you'll get it, maybe not.

Or just wait for his pics and videos...which I am anxiously waiting for...I need to verify that I'm doing it right or else I'm going to have to spend money that I don't have on a lesson!!


EDIT --> And oh yea...get those files from your GF FP!!! please my technique is counting on you...or something...

Freepower
12-02-2005, 05:10 AM
Lol, i wouldnt say emulating my technique is the best idea.

Btw, im an inside picker, so my "Outstroke" is a downstroke and my "Instroke" is an upstroke.

Annoyingly, its still completely instinctive to change back to transverse and rotationary picking whenever im jamming or just playing. And then i remember after an hours improv i should be benson picking. :(

pavan
12-02-2005, 07:43 AM
I never really understood the physics of "holding the pick the right way", I never really bothered about noticing how I grip it when playing fast runs. The way I hold it, it seems to work for me reasonably well, is there any actual official real and effective way of holding the pick the right way which will make all the difference to my speed, say like make me 3-4nps faster????

wil
12-02-2005, 08:34 AM
Not really, the most important thing to do is to be comfortable, id advise not having too much tension in the thumb though. Everyone is different, Friedman picks really weirdly but it works for him...Im afraid theres no shortcuts around the road to fast picking although i cant stress this enough;pick from the wrist!

Freepower
12-02-2005, 09:01 AM
^ as long as you hold the pick to get the attack right (your opinion of right) for the motion you want to use, then you can hold it any way you like.

Other than that? Relaxation, and using the right muscles for the right jobs. ie, dont pick with your shoulder, dont strum with your thumb joint.

wil
12-02-2005, 09:14 AM
PLease dont pick with your arm or your elbow, you'll get tendonitis and could really damage yourself. Leave the shoulder picking to the punks, seriously, wrist picking with a relaxed upper arm is the safest and most economical way of picking.

PooKoo
12-02-2005, 02:35 PM
Well i was taught by several people, who could actually play, and one who actually did play, to trem pick with my hand almost in a fist, and to use my arm, but ive never really understood all the conflicting views so i just use whatevers comfortable.

RustyGold
12-02-2005, 05:32 PM
A question for all you speed demons:

How do you go about building picking speed from the wrist? This is something that I really want to do, but is causing me trouble. I'm fairly sure that my problem is not a lack of practice, but a fundamental flaw in my picking mechanic, which means I can't go above a certain speed.

How exactly should the wrist move when alternate picking? Any close up pictures/videos/advice on this VERY much appreciated.

I can pick fast from the elbow, but it all seems like too much effort. I want to develop a picking technique which both looks and feels effortless and which I could use all day. (Think Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane)


Pick from your wrist. Make a "clef" with your wrist, this makes sweeping and economy picking easy.

RustyGold
12-02-2005, 05:45 PM
Well i was taught by several people, who could actually play, and one who actually did play, to trem pick with my hand almost in a fist, and to use my arm, but ive never really understood all the conflicting views so i just use whatevers comfortable.


Yeah, I've seen Johhny Greenwood (Radiohead) do that a lot. He bends over his strat, and looks like he's scractching the strings.

PooKoo
12-02-2005, 05:54 PM
Paul gilbert says he picks like hes "scratching a dog".

I kinda have the same approach, at least sometimes.

raysoh8
12-09-2005, 07:22 AM
So, what do you guys think of anchoring your picking hand on the guitar with your pinky? Is it right or wrong, or is it all preference? Recently i started forcing myself to pick without anchoring my pinky, like paul gilbert, and i could see some immediate difference, after i got used to that way.that just me, or anchoring/not anchoring is wrong?

PooKoo
12-09-2005, 07:39 AM
I think whatever works for you, and doesnt hurt your hand in any way works, I spoke to michaelangelo about his picking briefly (i know i know, ill never let this die), and he told me he really hated people changing their ways to pick like him. In his words, "if it works for you, just do it"

May not be the best advice in all circumstances, as some ways are certantly better then others, but i thought it was kinda cool.

ukdudeinuk
12-09-2005, 03:23 PM
Anchoring isnt wrong or right, but, as was pointed out in some other thread either here or in musician talk, I think it was Freepower that said that most people when anchoring introduce more tension in their arm, which IS bad. If you can anchor without adding tension, and you prefer it, then by all means do it!

Freepower
12-09-2005, 03:32 PM
^ resi pointed it out. :) Credit where credits due.

Resiliance
12-09-2005, 04:14 PM
Paul gilbert says he picks like hes "scratching a dog".

I kinda have the same approach, at least sometimes.

That's only for "Metal Dog" though :p:

Skippy_McNutty
12-10-2005, 01:35 AM
i pick with my fingers. ha ya well I pick with my wrist i guess. My guitar teaccher said it was better cuz I think you can go way faster and you have way more acccuracy. and when I pick I dont pick parallel to the string I pick like kind of on an angle. IMO you can go way faster than parallel.

put_it_on_mytab
12-11-2005, 03:47 AM
i use my wrist, but actually got the technique from using my arm. i would usually play some open chords very fast and flamenco-like. like an "E, F, G, F, E" progression, but it bult up the forearm muscle, which is used in both arm and wrist styles of speedpicking. then when i went to use my wrist to nail single notes, it was intensely fast. it blew me away how much more i could do with wrist than arm. i just reccomend playing an open chord progression so fast that your forearm becomes tired within a few minutes 2 or 3 times daily, and within a few weeks, you will have grown very much in the speed area of things.


edit: yeah like in the above post, you'll be kind of intersecting the string with the pick if you're going your fastest with the wrist movement, but it makes for a very bow-like sound, and this is sometimes annoying when coming through an amp. so, since your fastest picking using a wrist movement almost always requires intersecting with the string, just go a wee bit faster than you would ever desire to play (once you've built up to that) and then you'll be able to nail your preferred speed without making a cutting noise on the string.

edit #2: i sat down to watch myself play for a minute and i realized once more that most players try to tether their palm to a certain area around the bridge for more accuracy, but if one was playing on the bass strings, then climbed to the treble side (as just about anyone who plays a scale shall do), or vise-versa, they tend to keep the palm in one spot. so once you're on the other side of the strings (unless you have rather long fingers) you're back to good ole' string-intersect picking, which makes for that wonderfully-annoying scratching sound. so i suggest when you're going from treble strings to bass, or vise-versa, move your palm, or whatever you use for tethering, down or up as you go, so you can keep the palm directly behind your pick.

public property
12-11-2005, 04:12 AM
Well vai has that kinda fast strumming thing down, I wonder how fast he can pick...
Its a really hard technique to get down, I think I've only seen satch and vai strum that way.

Freepower
12-11-2005, 04:57 AM
^ you need to get out more then, theres loads of people with brilliantly fast strumming - Tommy emmanuel, Justin king, every flamenco guitarist ever...

Its hard due to the ol' economy of motion.

^^ in response to ed 2 - a lot of people have trouble moving their wrist up and down because it's anchored with too much tension. Its kinda hard to notice, but you have to pay 100% attention if you really want to pick well.

wil
12-11-2005, 09:29 AM
It requires so much practise that it becomes second nature- watch any decent shredder and they look completely relaxed and their technique is such that they arent going... ****, here comes that fast alt picked part and i think im gonna screw it up..., you cant, becuase before you know, the song has finished or youve missed the part... I dont find it very productive to get too caught up in the mechanics of picking, because its like Angelo says, if it works for you then thats good enough.

Boghead
12-16-2005, 03:45 AM
man i still dont get that oscillatory stuff,although when i pick it is like knocking on a door
but my hand is almost parallel to the strings,am i doin it right????

Freepower
12-16-2005, 05:20 AM
^ it could be right, its kinda hard to explain, as im sure you've noticed. Another good way to describe the feel would be that you just flick down and grab the notes you want...but maybe im romanticising it. Anyway, i dont know. Gf still has to send the pics.

GraveSs
12-18-2005, 11:03 AM
Pick from your wrist. Make a "clef" with your wrist, this makes sweeping and economy picking easy.

pictures please

fa'q
12-27-2005, 01:46 PM
using your arm/elbow can lead to serious injuries like RSI, vinnie moore also had this problem.

shredfan
12-27-2005, 02:56 PM
Ah, my old thread resurrected...
Any chance of pictures/video soon? And does anyone know where MAB picks from?

PooKoo
12-27-2005, 03:12 PM
using your arm/elbow can lead to serious injuries like RSI, vinnie moore also had this problem.

what is rsi and how does arm picking bring it about?

public property
12-27-2005, 03:26 PM
RSI is repetitive strain injury and using your arm causes it because when you pick from the elbow, you tighten up and the little move ments you just aren't suited to the joint/foream tendons, so you basically hurt them, if you continue to do this you can seriously mess up your arm and cause alot of pain, the wrist is designed for little motions like that, so dosen't suffer from the same problem, unless you are also very tense wit hit.

(I'm drunk so don't take that as gospel)

PooKoo
12-27-2005, 03:33 PM
haha its all good.

Any ideas on picking better from the wrist, im too lazy to go back and read so just quote or something.

I can only play fast from my arm.

apocalypse13
12-27-2005, 03:45 PM
Ah, my old thread resurrected...
Any chance of pictures/video soon? And does anyone know where MAB picks from?
I don't know, in all the vids it looks like he picks from his arm... He holds the pick strangely too. I like to hold it how he does, but I don't know exactly what technique he uses. I know Rusty Cooley picks his arm and wrist.

Resiliance
12-27-2005, 04:15 PM
RSI is repetitive strain injury and using your arm causes it because when you pick from the elbow, you tighten up

I've been saying all along picking from the elbow isn't bad if you don't tighten up, it's just more natural to tighten up using the elbow rather than the wrist.

The wrist is just as vulnerable if used with the same amount of tension you're describing :)

bigwilliestyle
12-27-2005, 05:09 PM
the most economical way to pick i think is the way i do it, moving just my thumb and index finger. its damn hard to learn (for me anyways) but you can literally never get tired

PooKoo
12-27-2005, 05:09 PM
Oh thank god.

I dont think i tighten up, i used to, but stopped.

nomadic_sinner
12-28-2005, 01:17 PM
Rock Disipline by petrucci

sixteen times
12-28-2005, 03:43 PM
Great thread.

Okay... seeing as I've posted, I feel I should add something... umm...

-Remeber to keep you whole arm and wrist and fingers and everything even remotley related to your picking technique loose. Really loose. Tension=bad. Very bad.

-Remeber to start slow, and exaggurate the technique.

-As you begin to speed up, try and use the least amount of motion possible. If it helps, record a video of yourself picking and see if you can spot any possible areas that could be improved upon.

-Most important of all; remeber to practise. You may have the perfect picking technique, you may have a completely tension free arm, but if you don't practice it, you're not going to be able to do it quickly.

I know these are all basic stuff, but seeing as this thread is getting pretty advanced and technical, I think it would be wise to just take a step back and work on the foundations before doing anything else.

Keep the good advice coming, folks.

:cheers:

Freepower
12-28-2005, 03:56 PM
^ the fundamentals are actually the most important part of any aspect of guitar playing. Its obvious when pointed out, but i see people trying to learn a malmsteen song without working on sweeping fundamentals first, etc etc.

Learn to do the small things properly and you can connect them to make anything you want.

Really, i think picking is ALL fundamentals, theres only a few, much more advanced techniques, that require truly complex motions or concepts to be applied.

And another important point - APPLY your picking. I always find it really hard in jam sessions to stay loose and use oscilliatory picking. Why? Because every jam i was in for the past 2 years i didnt! And im in the middle of learning it, so i dont like to be limited like that. On the other hand, whats the point of learning it if you cant apply it?

Thats especially pertinent to me, as often i would play and practice roughly the same amount of time, so if i dont WORK to beat my bad habits WHILE "playing" and not just "practicing" then my bad habits keep a hold.

GraveSs
12-29-2005, 12:22 AM
i have a quesiton: when i start to fast pick. i get this tickling feeling in my wrist, how can i make that feeling go away

davisdavis
12-29-2005, 12:38 AM
how do you pick w/ arm?

Boghead
12-29-2005, 03:53 AM
^ the fundamentals are actually the most important part of any aspect of guitar playing. Its obvious when pointed out, but i see people trying to learn a malmsteen song without working on sweeping fundamentals first, etc etc.

Learn to do the small things properly and you can connect them to make anything you want.

Really, i think picking is ALL fundamentals, theres only a few, much more advanced techniques, that require truly complex motions or concepts to be applied.

And another important point - APPLY your picking. I always find it really hard in jam sessions to stay loose and use oscilliatory picking. Why? Because every jam i was in for the past 2 years i didnt! And im in the middle of learning it, so i dont like to be limited like that. On the other hand, whats the point of learning it if you cant apply it?

Thats especially pertinent to me, as often i would play and practice roughly the same amount of time, so if i dont WORK to beat my bad habits WHILE "playing" and not just "practicing" then my bad habits keep a hold.


same here man, i spend hours working on technique but it all flies out of the window
when it comes to jamming situations,blaahhhh just means we have to work at it more
ya???? :)

Freepower
12-29-2005, 07:26 AM
^ yup. And grave, what you want to do is loosen up - slow down, way way down, and then build back up. The other important factor is the motion you make - some motions use muscles that arent suited to picking. See earlier in the thread for details on my favourite style.

thetearsibleed
12-30-2005, 09:10 PM
i pick from my wrist and i find it faster than my arm and i can go on for a while without getting at all tired, and as for learning slow down first, and what i did, was relearn all songs i knew with strict alternate picking from the wrist, that way everything that you knew b4 that was done wrongly is now know then rite way.

apocalypse13
12-30-2005, 09:53 PM
I know what you're saying about applying it. I knew the solo to Master of Puppets for a while. I learned this new style, I'm not sure if It's oscilliatory or not, but it works fast with almost zero tension. Even though I knewe the solo well, it was hard to apply that style of trem picking in. Also, another solo I find extremely difficult to apply it to, but almost essential is the last solo to Hangar 18. I guess it's because of the extreme string tension, since it's bent at the 24th fret, and not much room to work with. Plus it's roughly 16-17 nps, so it's pretty difficult, at least for me.

Freepower
01-04-2006, 05:18 AM
^ basically, if you're picking fast with 0 tension, then you arent doing ANYTHING "wrong"! Imo. ;)


I finally got the pics and vids of the basic idea of oscilliatory picking. :)

http://s61.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=2Z35SW5ZPZH261USSYFS0J5FJM

ukdudeinuk
01-04-2006, 10:40 AM
Awesome! I think I may be able to get it now...haha if I cant, then I will feel quite stupid.

Freepower
01-04-2006, 11:22 AM
^ the main thing, if you want to do it, is get the "feel" of it. You just "float" above the strings, palm facing down into them, and you flick down to get the note you want. :)

shredfan
01-04-2006, 12:28 PM
Cool, thanks for getting them up. I'm not sure how picking like that enables you to play faster though. Can you personally shred playing like that?

Erc
01-04-2006, 12:33 PM
^ While I'm not FP I do play that way (excpet slightly differently, same motion, I just hold it slightly differently) and yes that is how I shred. It is very possible and easier, though changing my picking like that made me have to somewhat relearn my sweeping.

Freepower
01-04-2006, 12:55 PM
^ thanks homeboy! *high five*

Yup, but now you can more easily use your 2nd finger for hybrid picking (Me? Attempt to steal every last drop of lane technique i can find? Never!), or for running behind the "up" sweep.

Cool, thanks for getting them up. I'm not sure how picking like that enables you to play faster though. Can you personally shred playing like that?

Picking like that allows you to pick more loosely, for me, anyhoo. Can i shred like that? I cant shred, but i play best like that, loosest and fastest. Can i personally? No. Will i personally? Oh yeh. I can feel the difference it makes and i've been practicing like a madman.

Beckerism
01-04-2006, 01:54 PM
I believe I use this type of picking style also. I started using it when I changed my technique. I use to pic with my pinky and ring finger on the fretboard (Malmsteen/Becker) , but now pick freely. (Gilbert/ Lane etc.)

The Virtuoso
01-07-2006, 01:41 AM
What kind of picking does Yngwie do? ( I pick like that).

Nevermind I found out that I use the oscillaratory one.

battleaxe
01-09-2006, 01:57 PM
I hope that I'am not too late or this advice has already been posted...
Economic Picking
This is what you should start learning!!! Your speed will increase dramatically!!!
Google this thing , or you can find it here in Ultimate Guitar....
As you change the string you've gottta move in the same direction as you did to the changed string....

---------------
--------------
----------------
-----------------
-----------4-5-7----
---4-5-7--------
D U D D U D

As u go from 6'th to 5'th , 7'th fret on the 6'th string is picked downwards and pick the 4'th fret in that same flow. of motion and then it goes on and on....

Hope it was helpful!!!!!

apocalypse13
01-09-2006, 05:13 PM
Picking like that allows you to pick more loosely, for me, anyhoo. Can i shred like that? I cant shred, but i play best like that, loosest and fastest. Can i personally? No. Will i personally? Oh yeh. I can feel the difference it makes and i've been practicing like a madman.

Yeah you can definitely feel the difference. I figured that method out a while back in this thread, but I do it slightly different. It's still highly efficient, but I can't mute the strings I'm not playing using my method. I might try to get it like you posted.

robak
03-12-2007, 09:37 AM
hey. i want to know what you are talking about but none of your pictures or videos works :(

sicfreak91
03-12-2007, 10:25 AM
the key in fast clean picking is picking the strings LIGHTLY. I mean, you should have no pressure and depth on the pick and strings when you do it. Also, at least how i do it, i ANCHOR. My middle,third, and pinky, are anchored as my index and thumb hold the pick. it you ever seen micheal angelo pick, thats how i do it. I didn't copy this way, thats just how i developed it and one day i saw a video of him and i said, " hey, i pick like that". He referrs to his picking like the needle on a record or something - how it the string lightly touches and just GLIDES over the strings. Completely lock up your joints in your hands as you do it and make as little movement as possible.

Kailoq
03-12-2007, 01:18 PM
^http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=339913&page=1&pp=20&highlight=floating+hand+tension

IMO only lightly picking the strings will sound dull, sometimes you'll want to hit the strings harder to get more dynamics (look at Gilbert!).

Ney Mello wrote something about this, but I'm not sure if I completly agree.
http://www.guitarprinciples.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=2&topic_id=33116&mesg_id=33116&page=

@Robak: maybe this'll help:

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=353140&page=108&pp=20

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=353140&page=13&pp=20&highlight=oscillation

And here's a video showing oscillation made by Freepower:

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v186/Kai-Loq/?action=view&current=Untitled.flv

Freepower
03-12-2007, 02:46 PM
^ thank you so much.

robak
03-12-2007, 03:46 PM
thanks! it cleared my thoughts

Kailoq
03-12-2007, 05:52 PM
^ thank you so much.

I figured you didn't want to explain all this again.

It's my way of repaying you for your help when I asked questions about oscillation ;)

Rock_n_Roll fan
03-12-2007, 07:37 PM
A question for all you speed demons:

How do you go about building picking speed from the wrist? This is something that I really want to do, but is causing me trouble. I'm fairly sure that my problem is not a lack of practice, but a fundamental flaw in my picking mechanic, which means I can't go above a certain speed.

How exactly should the wrist move when alternate picking? Any close up pictures/videos/advice on this VERY much appreciated.

I can pick fast from the elbow, but it all seems like too much effort. I want to develop a picking technique which both looks and feels effortless and which I could use all day. (Think Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane)


If you want to play fast solos don't pick, Finger Tap it, Watch EVH play Eruption on Youtube if you don't know what that is.

PooKoo
03-12-2007, 08:22 PM
If you want to play fast solos don't pick, Finger Tap it, Watch EVH play Eruption on Youtube if you don't know what that is.

No, just. No.

utahotc
03-13-2007, 07:09 AM
This is good stuff! Is there a website anywhere or a lesson here at UG that explains this as well? I can't copy-paste it anywhere right now.

Prophet of Page
03-13-2007, 02:48 PM
Just something I wrote a while back in the technique thread...

Alternate picking

Ok, alternate picking. Weíre all familiar with the concept of constantly alternating between upward and downward strokes. It is a simple concept, but as with all simple concepts, its applications can become quite difficult. Fluent, consistent alternate picking is something that is easily recognised, and demands respect for the level of skill it takes. Rather than doing it for the sake of bragging rights however, the best reason for using alternate picking are the definition and dynamic control you get with each note. Itís also possibly the most versatile technique you can use on a guitar.

So why does alternate picking get tough, if the basic concept is so simple? Well, there are two main reasons as far as I can tell. The first is that alternate picking is active. Itís the technique that will really test the endurance of a guitarist. I know plenty of players that can play legato all day long, but canít do a straight fully alternate picked lick at the average speed of their legato without exhausting their arms. Muscle endurance, as well as control, is one of requirements of good alternate picking. The second reason is that our brains are naturally inclined to be lazy. We want to make the movements more economical. In most cases, alternate picking is not the most economical of techniques, and so we have to overcome the mental dispute between our conscious mind who wants to alternate pick, and our sub-conscious mind which tells the muscles to move as little as possible. Both of these problems can be overcome, and the best way, as always is to slow it down and exaggerate your movements.

I wonít jump straight in the deep end here (though I will get to it), so those who already have good picking, just bear with me for a little while. Most people find that the easiest licks to alternate pick are scalar three note per string licks. For example, the following lick.

------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------
---------9-10-9---------------------------------------------
-9-10-12--------12-10---------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------

Itís a very simple alternate picking lick, but it allows me to explain exactly how I feel you should be picking. First of all, pick with your wrist. Your fingers have control, but theyíre just too busy with the task of holding the pick tight enough. Your elbow has strength, but less control (as itís a longer lever). Your elbow is also far more likely to get an RSI than your wrist.

Pick with some force. After all, the main reason for the use of alternate picking is the definition. Practicing loudly will increase your dynamic range, and will make any and every mistake you make painfully obvious. The necessary exertion should be all in the wrist. There is no need to tighten the muscles further up your arm; the arm is merely there to hold the wrist over the string youíre picking. You should hold the pick tightly enough so that it doesnít bounce around in your hand when you pick, but no tighter. Due to physics, this means that the harder you pick, the tighter you have to hold (yay for Newton). Finding the balance in each case is vital.

So your wrist motion (oscillatory or translatory) is what picks the string, your fingers control how tightly you hold the pick, and your elbow motions help you switch between strings as you pick.

My own experience says donít anchor, but if want to, go ahead, just watch as everybody else passes you out.

Whether you inside or outside pick primarily is entirely up to you, but Iíd outside pick where possible. Again, better definition and dynamic control.

So three note per string stuff, would in general, be the easiest type of alternate picking to get to a high speed (**** chromatics, Iím not even going to refer to chromatic exercises at all here). So when does it get more difficult? Well, four aspects (all of which I think you should be as fluent with as three note per string scales) would be cross picking, string skipping, two note per string scales and changing (odd to even, even to odd) amounts of note on each string. Since most of us learned the pentatonic scales first, I think Iíll start with them.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------7-9---------------------------------------------------------------
-------7-9-------------------------------------------------------------------
--7-10-----------------------------------------------------------------------

The above lick is a simple B minor pentatonic climb. While easy to pick as slow speeds, playing it quickly poses a few problems. Firstly, do I begin the lick with a downstroke or an upstroke? This is somewhat of a dilemma; the downstroke will result in a more economical sequence, but will also limit dynamic range. The upstroke offers more dynamic control and more fluid motion, even if the distance you need to cover is greater. But then of course, if I wanted to play this lick economically, Iíd just do a hammer on each string after a series of three downstrokes. Use the upstroke for a climb, and a downstroke for the descent. At high speeds even fingering a lick like this can become tricky. You will, most likely be inclined to use your first and third finger for everything, however, I find I get better results when I use the fourth finger for the 7 to 10 gap. By the way, check out Ah Via Musicom by Eric Johnson. At about the 0:52 mark, he begins to repeat the above pentatonic ascent at 15nps.

So then, we have string skipping. I do quite a lot of string skipping, because I like to cover wide intervals. String skipping is a lot easier to do if you arrange the picking such that the string skips are done with outside picking. If you find it easier to do with inside picking, more power to you, but Iíd have difficultly comprehending how youíd manage it. This example is how I play a section of the main theme in Concerto by Cacophony (this is usually swept), again I do it this way because of the definition and dynamic control.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------5-----------5-----------5-9-5-------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---6-9---9-6---6-9---9-6---6-9-------9-7-6-----6-7-9---------------------------------
-7-----------7-----------7-----------------9-7---------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------12----------------12----------------12-16-12-------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----13-16----16-13----13-16----16-13----13-16----------16-14-13-------13-14-16-------
-14----------------14----------------14-------------------------16-14----------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------16-21-16--------------------------
---------14----------------14----------------14-17---------17b19---------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---14-18----18-14----14-18----18-14----14-18-----------------------------------------
16----------------16----------------16-----------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prophet of Page
03-13-2007, 02:48 PM
Alternate picking, part II

So string skipping, which is one way of playing arpeggios that are normally swept by using alternate picking. Another method would be cross picking. This is, I find, is the true measure of alternate pickers ability. Itís exhausting, and it requires that every part of your picking arm is doing exactly what you want it to. Cross picking is basically alternate picking arpeggios in the positions people normally use to sweep them. The example Iím putting here is the main theme from Steve Morseís Tumeni Notes. Every note is picked. This should keep you busy!

----8-10-11-|-12-8---------7-10-7--------7-8-5-------5-7-3-------3-5-1-----3-1-----5-1-----
-10---------|------10---10--------9----9-------5---5-------3---3-------1-1-----1-1-----1-1-
------------|---------9-------------10-----------5-----------4-----------------------------
------------|------------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------|------------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------|------------------------------------------------------------------------------


-8-5-------5---------8-10-11-12-8---------7-10-7--------7-8-5-------5-13-8----------8-12-8-
-----7---7---9-10-12--------------10---10--------9----9-------6---6--------10----10--------
-------8-----------------------------9-------------10-----------5-------------10-----------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st ending 2nd ending
-----10-8-----12-8-----|-13-10-------15-10-------13-10-------|-13-10-------12-10-------16-10
-8-8------8-8------8-8-|-------10-10-------10-10-------10-10-|-------10-10-------10s12------
-----------------------|-------------------------------------|------------------------------
-----------------------|-------------------------------------|------------------------------
-----------------------|-------------------------------------|------------------------------
-----------------------|-------------------------------------|------------------------------


----12-16b17---------------|
-12------------------------|
---------------------------|
---------------------------|
---------------------------|
---------------------------|

Thats a pain in the arse to play, but will do wonders for your picking when you get it down.

Then we come to changing between odd and even amounts of notes on each string. The best example I can think of is the main theme in Technical Difficulties by Racer X.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
-5-----4-----5-----4-----4-5-----5-----4-----5-----4-------------7-----
---3-3---3-3---3-3---3-3-----3-3---3-3---3-3---3-3----------7-10-------
-----------------------------------------------------7-8-10------------


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
-10-----9-----10-----9-----7-9-----10-----9-----10-----9---------------
----7-7---7-7----7-7---7-7-----7-7----7-7---7-7----7-7---------3-5-7---
---------------------------------------------------------3-5-7---------

Ok, now this is a lick inspired by Eric Johnson. It combines every aspect of difficult alternate picking, and is quite pentatonic.

-------------------------------------------------11-15-16----------16-18-20-16----------16-
----------------------------------------------------------13-16-18-------------18----18----
-------------------------------13-15-------13-15----------------------------------17-------
-------------13-15-------13-15-------13-15-------------------------------------------------
-------13-15-------13-15-------------------------------------------------------------------
-13-16-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


-------------------16-18-20----
-------------13-18----------18-
-------------------------------
-------15-18-------------------
-15-18-------------------------
-------------------------------

Work through the examples, and tell me how you guys get on. If you can do all of that cleanly at the speeds they're recorded at (final lick, being my own, is of course not recorded) then youíve got your alternate picking fairly sorted.

Kailoq
03-13-2007, 03:03 PM
^
I already saw this in the technique thread, it's great! I was wondering where you went, I never saw you post after that...

Didn't you say you were planning to do one on legato too? If a plea by a random nubcake will convince you to start on it..*pleads*

Anyways, this might help some people out too:

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=383822
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=210172&page=1&pp=20

Prophet of Page
03-13-2007, 03:08 PM
Yep, I had intended to do one on legato and one on pentatonic ideas. I got busy with life in general though. Might find the time sometime this week.

I actually think the picking one could be revised a bit too, there were some things that I didn't go into, but I think I probably should have.

zebrahead234
03-13-2007, 03:10 PM
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showpost.php?p=4428030&postcount=16

that and what you sed, prophet, mite make a good article

Edit: i think there shud b a UG project to scan thru the technique thread and make a lesson or series of lesson of the best posts. lookg thru 125 on your own is a bit intimidating for a noob.

Kailoq
03-13-2007, 03:22 PM
Yep, I had intended to do one on legato and one on pentatonic ideas. I got busy with life in general though. Might find the time sometime this week.

I actually think the picking one could be revised a bit too, there were some things that I didn't go into, but I think I probably should have.

Oooh! I guess I'll have to keep my fingers crossed. Thanks!

If you can find the time, check out the technique thread. Some people (me!) are clueless on a few things :p:

^Yeah..I haven't read it all, but A LOT of posts are about anchoring and picking motions and you can find some good explanations on those in other threads. You might want to search for posts made by Prophet/Resiliance/Freepower/Erc/Edg too. Maybe I missed some, but those guys seem to be the all-knowing technique thread guru's.

robak
03-13-2007, 04:26 PM
and could you give some pictures of oscillatory picking? because i don't quiet understand and see thoe motion of hand in movie of freepower, cause it is like less then a second. so, I would be grateful. :rolleyes:

Freepower
03-13-2007, 05:42 PM
What's with this refound obsession with oscilliatory picking? It's like every couple of months or something...

paddyo
03-14-2007, 03:24 PM
And really really doesn't deserve all this credit in the form of attention its getting either. Why can't people get good their own way as long as they're aware of it along the way!?

Kailoq
03-14-2007, 04:01 PM
And really really doesn't deserve all this credit in the form of attention its getting either. Why can't people get good their own way as long as they're aware of it along the way!?

Well, in my case I just want to get to know the different kind of motions. I always try to learn as much as possible, guitar is no different for me. So if there's 3 picking motions I consider it normal that I'm ATLEAST able to recognise and slowly use all the motions myself!

Besides, if I know them all and can use them to an extent I can decide what works better for me.

Unfortunally I can't :(

Matt_Malmsteen
03-14-2007, 05:08 PM
I've just read through all this, read everything, watched the video and tried Prphet of Page's exercises and it's all taught me that I pick how FP described anyway.

But, this is all really great stuff, someone should try and stick it all in one lesson or something.

Freepower
03-14-2007, 05:32 PM
It's been done in the technique thread. Also, i don't want to actually submit it as a lesson or something because then it'll just get more of the kind of attention it's getting atm - faddy desperation. Oscill isn't a quickfix for your picking, and never will be, and people fail to realise that 99% of the time, their problem isn't what motion they use but something far simpler - a hunched shoulder, a tense elbow, sloppy hand to hand co-ordination...

Matt_Malmsteen
03-14-2007, 06:58 PM
^^Totally get what you mean there.

And tbh I don't pay too much attention to my picking, well I obviously pay enough to make sure I'm hitting the strings etc But I'm more focused on trying to get my fretting hand in shape.

ih8u2
03-15-2007, 01:03 AM
Does anybody know what type of picking I'm doing? (Vid below)

And also any suggestions for increasing the speed of it?

(Btw, I just fretted notes because it's easier for me that way. I don't really want any flameage for slopiness.)

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=SKKVTUCG

Erich yeung
03-15-2007, 12:51 PM
knock knock

Freepower
03-15-2007, 02:51 PM
Does anybody know what type of picking I'm doing? (Vid below)

And also any suggestions for increasing the speed of it?

(Btw, I just fretted notes because it's easier for me that way. I don't really want any flameage for slopiness.)

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=SKKVTUCG

It's still sloppy. It seems like translation or spastic elbow.

Anyway, speed is the least of your worries. Cleanliness and accents first.

ih8u2
03-15-2007, 05:41 PM
It's still sloppy. It seems like translation or spastic elbow.

Anyway, speed is the least of your worries. Cleanliness and accents first.

Alright, thanks.

araides
04-03-2007, 08:24 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0cvQIPIFRY

is this guys technique oscillitary? just so i know what to follow

abigor731
07-25-2007, 06:07 PM
i normally pick like michael angelo and i am quite sure that i'm using oscillation, but when it comes to speed, the movement from the arm is still faster. am i doing something wrong?

Freepower
07-26-2007, 04:40 PM
^ obviously, if your hand is moving faster and changing strings faster, then your elbow's going to have to move faster to stay attached. :p:

git-airman
08-20-2009, 04:55 PM
heres a good exercise, strum without moving your arm, only using your wrist, then, keeping momentum, close in from all six strings to the 2nd,3rd,4th and 5th, keep building on speed close in on 3rd and 4th strings, then the 4th sting on its own. you should be picking faster each time you lose two strings because you want to keep the effort of the wrist, but reduce the area you use. if you have any problems contact me and ill try to help further.

DaFjory
08-20-2009, 05:10 PM
Oh god, this brings back memories of "oscillation picking" and all that hoodah. :D

RedBabilon
03-24-2011, 02:02 PM
I think it depends on your hand's anatomy and the way you want to express your music, technique is a canon and subjective, that's why there are so many, find yours....

Zaphod_Beeblebr
03-24-2011, 02:14 PM
I think it depends on your hand's anatomy and the way you want to express your music, technique is a canon and subjective, that's why there are so many, find yours....

You necro'd a 2 year old thread to say something we now have a whole forum for? Really?

Also, you might want to look up the words you're using in a dictionary, "canon" and "subjective" are pretty mutually exclusive.

As a final point: people's hands are all pretty much the same biologically and mechnically, there's only so much variation in technique that's actually practical.