Bad habits that should be avoided.. (picking techniques)


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Harwood
11-29-2006, 03:08 PM
Hey everybody!
I have been playing fingerstyle for about a year, and yesterday I just made a pick out of an old credit card, since I felt the urge to try picking. It was fun, as I had been playing solos and junk before fingerstyle.. And it was pretty hard to get the tone I would hear in songs.. >.>

Anyway, I was wondering what bad habitats should be avoided from the start in picking? I have the chance to make a fresh start with a good fretting hand, and develop my picking hand up from the ground. I am gonna check out some books, but if anybody has some tips, it would be great.

Also, alternative picking is where you, instead of hitting a note, moving your hand up, and hitting the note downwards again, you hit the note downwards, then take it upwards, and repeat? M I RITE? If so, wouldn't it be a good idea of getting into it from the start, as it seems like the optimal way of playing on a single string..?

Thanks!

Hinro
11-29-2006, 03:11 PM
Yes that is what alternate picking is. Some people also call it double picking.

M livingdeath L
11-29-2006, 03:14 PM
YES, alternate picking from the start is a great idea. Don't fully depend on it, because certain pieces may sound better only downstroke or only upstroke, but most will come much smoother if you alternate pick from the beginning. I always try and get my students to alt pick from the beginning i don't force it on them right away but it's a useful tool none the less. As for tips, make sure to keep your wrist nice and relaxed, but at the same time keep a firm grip on the pick.

John W
11-29-2006, 03:16 PM
Alternate picking is simply Up Down Up Down OR Down Up Down Up, and you should pretty much do this all the time as it maximises the amount of notes in the one movement
/=down \=up 1= the movement down and up

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/
1 1 1 1 1 1

or just downstrokes (not recommended).
/ / / / /
1 1 1 1 1

If you can understand my diagrams (probably impossible to :P) , you will see that with the one up and down movement you can do 2 strokes (alternate picking) but if you just go down you have to take the time to move it back into "position" so to say.

Obviously some songs DO sound more like it with just one kind of picking technique - but most can be done alt picking.
I hope this hasnt been confusing

John w :devil:

PsychoFreak
11-29-2006, 03:21 PM
Economy Picking is very helpful.

Harwood
11-29-2006, 03:25 PM
Thanks, all of you!

I will work on scales and develop my picking correctly from the start, then.

Just curious, you can never play notes that arent on parallel string at the same with a pick, can you? Or do some people use some of the inactive fingers that arent holding the pick to hit strings?

And if anybody can explain some terms, it'd kick ass. Sweep picking, tremola picking, and (string skipping.) What are the finer points of those strokes? Thanks!

PsychoFreak
11-29-2006, 03:28 PM
Economy Picking - A hybrid of sweep picking and alternate picking, economy picking involves using alternate picking except when changing strings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_picking

Tremolo Picking

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tremolo_picking

Sweep Picking - a technique used on the guitar in which a "sweeping" motion of the pick is combined with a matching fret hand technique in order to produce a specific series of notes which are fast and fluid in sound.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweep_picking

Harwood
11-29-2006, 03:31 PM
Yeah, I have looked at wikipedia. As I will.. again.. and again.. That site is too handy :-) I am going to read up on it, I was just¨looking for personal tips for starting with them. Thanks though, those are good definitions. Economy picking is basically the art of least picking hand movement possible, right?

PsychoFreak
11-29-2006, 03:32 PM
Yup. Basically, it's moving your picking hand with as little stress as possible.

Picking the lazy way, kind of :P

M livingdeath L
11-29-2006, 03:33 PM
Thanks, all of you!

I will work on scales and develop my picking correctly from the start, then.

Just curious, you can never play notes that arent on parallel string at the same with a pick, can you? Or do some people use some of the inactive fingers that arent holding the pick to hit strings?

And if anybody can explain some terms, it'd kick ass. Sweep picking, tremola picking, and (string skipping.) What are the finer points of those strokes? Thanks!

You can use the other fingers on your picking hand to pick the other string. That's called chicken pickin'. You can also use your fretting hand to mute the string thats in between the two strings that you want to play. Tremolo picking - rapid alternate picking. Sweep picking - say your playing an arpeggio, rather then alternate picking on every string, you can simply downstroke in one direction and upstroke in the other direction. It takes many hours to master. String skipping - say you play a note on the E string, and the next note is on the D string, you skip over the A string to pick the second note.

edg
11-29-2006, 04:27 PM
Well, there are a LOAD of places you can go wrong in picking (believe me I know.
after 30 years of playing I've probably had every bad habit in the book :) ).

So, if you really want to get that picking hand working well, here's some advice:

You are likely to hear from a lot of people, "Use only your wrist." That will most likely
lead you down the garden path. You need BOTH your elbow and wrist when it
comes to playing more demanding things (in fact an awareness of your arm from your
neck down to your fingers is a good thing to have).

Train large muscle groups
first. That means starting with the elbow. Training begins by just walking back
and forth across the fretboard. Use 2 notes per string. Do 1 up pick and 1 down pick.
Back and forth, forth and back. Elbow only. You can also do all down or up if you
want to focus on one.

Keep you picking in the plane of the strings. After every up or down pick, your pick
should be ready to pick the next note. So that means it should land right between
2 strings after every pick. If you have to bring the pick "back over" a string, make
the clearance as minimal as possible.

Keep everything as relaxed as possible! A downpick should feel not much more
than gravity dropping your arm thru the string. An uppick will feel like a little bit
more force is needed. Keep your wrist relaxed, but don't use it.

Do NOT rest your hand on the guitar. The whole point of this is to give you good
arm control. Having to steady your hand on the guitar right now will defeat the
purpose.

Go really slow at first and watch where the tip of your pick is going. Use a
metronome and start slowly. If you're relaxed and are working this right, you
should be able to easily and fluidly pick 2 notes per string across all strings at
about 120BPM 16th notes using just your elbow. A lot of people will have trouble
with that because they have statically support the hand on the guitar and have
learned only to use the wrist. Once you get to this point, you can start working on
the wrist motion too, but this will likely keep you busy a while.

Lots more to it, but I hope that helps.

Invictious
11-29-2006, 06:28 PM
Don't anchor.

Harwood
12-01-2006, 11:37 AM
Alright, thanks. :-D I won't anchor, fingerpicking made it so it never felt natural. SO I got that habit out of the way.

Paradigm Shift
12-01-2006, 11:55 AM
Don't anchor.

Anchoring isnt that bad... (atleast to me)

John Petrucci does it
Jani Liimatainen does it
My guitar teacher said its fine and does it
Those are my guitar heroes/inspirations so if they do it, I will.. thats my philosophy on it...

I cant link it since im at school, but go to youtube, search "under a glass moon solo" and look at john petrucci playing it, its an amazing solo and he's anchoring..

edg
12-01-2006, 12:29 PM
Sigh. It never fails. Try and give some good advice about developing your picking,
and you always get someone who says anchoring is a good thing (and a lot of
teachers say this as well! Amazing!)

I will cut and paste my usual comments from Ney Mello about this. He's a world
class player AND a teacher. Decide for yourself:


>Among those things you must do is to keep your hand free to
>move without any anchoring. You need to MUTE with your wrist
>area when playing overdriven guitar..or when using the mutola
>technique ,,,,but that is not anchoring for stability.
>
> The stability comes from your entirer forearm control...which
>is demanding and which most players bypass by using the pinkie
>or the fingers on the pickguard,,,,,,,,I understand why....I
>did it too as a beginner but I realised after a month of it
>what the ramifications woiuld be and I stopped doing that.
>
>To give you an idea...I have started to develop my fingerstyle
> classical tremolo but this time with a pick only......so I
>have to pick 3notes on the high E string and one on the low E,
>low A, low D, G...B.......just like flamenco and classical.
>Now thay sort of thing cant be done with immobilizing methods
>.....you have to be free.
>
>You can play lots of great music with a partially
>immobilised hand and be very happy. But since I have
>boundless right hand technique ..my duty is to show others how
>to have it as well.... not limiting ways...why?....because I
>dont know how far anyione wants to go 5 years from
>now.....they may want to play jazz or be able to play at
>Yngwie's level....and they mustt be free to do so if they
>chose to and not have to start all over again.
>
>

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

>When I started I did rest my pinky.
>
>I soon realized that it was going to limit me and I stopped that
>bad habit.
>
>You can do anything with enough work and that is what you see
>when you see MARTIN TAYLOR OR PETRUCCI at work,,,, but they
>had to practice much more and much longer to make that work
>for them....do you want to have to work so much more or spend
>the time playing music instead???
>
>These players play inspite that handicap.
>
>MARTIN TAYLOR AND GEORGE BENSON are two players who have
>stated in print that they would not rest the pinky and hold
>the pick Benson style if they couid star over. They wouild be
>playng even more complex than now.
>
>The absolute grand masters like JOHN MC LAUGHLIN AL DI MEOLA,
>SHAWN LANE,JIMMY BRUNO etc..dont rest anything for a
>reason..total freedom.and they play acoustic as well.You cant
>play acoustic with right hand crutches and play at the world
>class level.
>

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

>Your right arm should float. No right hand anchoring.
>
>Anchoring is tension inducing and good enough for you to play
>backing basic simple lead guitar for SHANIA TWAIN or THE
>PUSYICAT DOLLS or AVRIL LAVIGNE in the studio or on the road.
>Most rock bands with 2,5 years off career life also have very
>simple physical demands before they fade away due to a variety
>of factors having nothing to do with how fast and furious they
>play or dont play.
>
>That type of playing is quite tolerant of all sorts of poor
>habits and bad technique overall because the music is not very
>fast and the dynamics are moderate.
>
>Now if you want to play styles that are physically demanding
>like bluegrass, some rock, jazz, classical , you will be left
>in the dust or get injured, or plateau forever (unless you
>retrain yourself) if you use the form and technique of those
>players whose style is not very demanding.
>
>
>
>Therefore I prepare all my students to be absolute virtuosos
>in case they care to become one in the future or even right
>right now.If they stay with slow and simple music they will
>still be able to play much better and more musically (due to
>not having to fight with bad form and tension) than their
>counterparts with bad habits.
>
>
>
>Now off course, most of you are not my students and I could
>just say go ahead do whatever "feels good" in the beginning
>but
> what "feells good "to the inexperienced player will prove
>to be a nightmare riddled with physical pain and injury when
>you face demanding music.

Invictious
12-01-2006, 10:38 PM
Anchoring isnt that bad... (atleast to me)

John Petrucci does it
Jani Liimatainen does it
My guitar teacher said its fine and does it
Those are my guitar heroes/inspirations so if they do it, I will.. thats my philosophy on it...

I cant link it since im at school, but go to youtube, search "under a glass moon solo" and look at john petrucci playing it, its an amazing solo and he's anchoring..

Just because they do it, doesn't mean its right

Again, there is no right or wrong.

But your pinky is just..urgh

Chop your pinky off

Post pics if you do that btw

Atomic_gerbil
12-01-2006, 10:41 PM
Get into the habit of alternate picking. Its for the better.

Damn, fingerpicking for a year? I played with my thumb for a max of about 2 weeks, until it got sore, lol