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Old 04-16-2012, 08:15 AM   #1
Von II
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Problems with picking suddenly

So, I play metal, and I have to strum fast. I am able to do that, my downpicking might not be fast enough, but I'm getting good at it. (You know, master of puppets and battery are almost perfect).

However, when I got home yesterday after 4 days, I picked up my guitar and bass, and my speed is something ridiculous. I can't properly downpick Sabbath's Paranoid anymore, and normally I can play it quite easily.

My arm doesn't hurt, nor did I hurt it, it just feels like when I was a beginner and I have to strum for more than 2 mins you know. It's very weird, it's like I unlearned picking in 4 days.

Any suggestions?
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:25 AM   #2
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Re-learn picking.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:25 AM   #3
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A video of your picking could give us more information.
Just look if there's anything wrong with your picking. Maybe you're doing something wrong, maybe you were doing something wrong before and you've now unintentionally picked up (hehe) the right technique, which takes time to get used to.

If your technique is fine, you'll just need to practise more. Some days I play much better than other days. It kinda comes and goes, though a good warming up tends to help.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:26 AM   #4
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Forget about guitar, play Skyrim for 2-4 days, then pick it up again.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:44 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Aralingh
Forget about guitar, play Skyrim for 2-4 days, then pick it up again.

+1
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:48 AM   #6
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Maybe you just need some time to refresh the technique. If you leave the guitar for a certain period of time, its easy for technique to get rusty. Start rebuilding technique by practicing in small chunks but gradually build it up. You should be able to get back to the stage you were at before quite soon.
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:58 PM   #7
Von II
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Well, I hold my pick with 3 fingers, hetfield style, but it's ok for the rest. It's just so weird that I was able to almost do Battery clean, 4 days later I can't even pick Paranoid. I can't just have forgotten it all after some years of playing? Anyway, I just keep practicing but not pushing my muscles, maybe they are a bit strained somehow...
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:17 PM   #8
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Take a few days off and try again, might just need a break
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aralingh
Forget about guitar, play Skyrim for 2-4 days, then pick it up again.


More like 2-4 months.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:33 AM   #10
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Just means you really didnt have your picking down at all..
Anything not learnt solidly will disolve with time.
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:17 PM   #11
Von II
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Well, I practiced some more today. My arm was a little sour in the beginning, but after a while it started going smooth. Now it's as good as back to normal, but my forearm kinde itched a bit in the beginning. Guess it was strained or something.

Quote:
Just means you really didnt have your picking down at all..
Anything not learnt solidly will disolve with time.

I have been playing for a couple of years and I can downpick thrash metal (well, whatever, you get the point) , I'm pretty sure I do have my picking down to some degree.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:22 PM   #12
lilke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Von II
Well, I hold my pick with 3 fingers, hetfield style, but it's ok for the rest. It's just so weird that I was able to almost do Battery clean, 4 days later I can't even pick Paranoid. I can't just have forgotten it all after some years of playing? Anyway, I just keep practicing but not pushing my muscles, maybe they are a bit strained somehow...


I used to hold my pick with 3 fingers as well but then someone with more experience told me it was better to hold it between the thumb and index finger. I changed my style and oh boy, did that help improve my technique.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:50 AM   #13
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I know most people like to hold it the "classical" thumb and index way, I like three fingers better and it works fine. I've tried two fingers, but it's less grip, and I can use grip when I play bass the way I do.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:30 AM   #14
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I thought it worked fine too but I found out the other way was better. Just saying it might help if you learn to pick the other way as well. Of course it's weird at first but you'll get as much grip as necessary once you're used to it. Took me a good couple of weeks getting used to the new way.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:30 PM   #15
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Holding the pick in detail. Take a look, definitely something worth adjusting if you're holding it with 3 fingers.
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siflyn
More like 2-4 months.

+1000
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:51 AM   #17
Von II
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I appreciate all the help, but I'm fine with the way I pick. I have actually learned to pick "normal" about a year ago, did it about two months, but I still highly prefer 3 fingers.

If it works fine for Hetfield and Steve Morse for instance, it should work for me too, which it does.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:35 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilke
I used to hold my pick with 3 fingers as well but then someone with more experience told me it was better to hold it between the thumb and index finger. I changed my style and oh boy, did that help improve my technique.

I picked up something the other day. I strum mostly with 3 fingers on the pick, i find if i take the index finger off the pick (so it's between your thumb and middle finger) it's easier to get in more faster downstrokes when strumming. Especially in the case of palm-muting.

Not sure that it makes a difference which finger, but it seems 2 fingers on the pick does make it easier to play faster when you're picking down/strumming down.

But then again, i am left-handed and play a standard right-handed guitar, so this may only work for backwards people like me.

EDIT: When i say 3 fingers i'm actually refering to "thumb + 2 fingers"

Last edited by RickyThomson : 04-22-2012 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Von II
Well, I hold my pick with 3 fingers, hetfield style, but it's ok for the rest. It's just so weird that I was able to almost do Battery clean, 4 days later I can't even pick Paranoid. I can't just have forgotten it all after some years of playing? Anyway, I just keep practicing but not pushing my muscles, maybe they are a bit strained somehow...


I realize this thread is a couple of weeks old, (and I am new to the forums,) I would like to offer my perspective on this stuff.

First thing, on the day your arm stopped working right, had you been sweating a lot, or had you worked out before you went to practice? The thing is, dehydration can and WILL cause that to happen. If you really want to get the full effect, be dehydrated and don't warm up before you play - you'll run out of gas in less than 5 minutes.

You have to remember that the guitar is a physical instrument, and we're trying to improve muscle memory AND muscle tone. You're a musical athlete, so you need to "train," not practice. Real improvement happens when you train over an extended period of time - not playing for 3 or 4 days, then jamming hard for 6 hours on Sunday will not make you into the rock god you want to be. Just the facts, dude.

(Also if you're only doing downstrokes, you're cheating yourself out of 40-50% of your available power.)

About your 3-finger "Hetfield style" pick holding: Try holding a pick with only your first finger and thumb. With the other hand, feel the muscles of your picking hand. Notice the tension in the muscles of the whole hand. Now hold it with 3 fingers, like you normally do, and you will notice that there is significantly more energy required just to hold the pick. The point is that whether you're picking fast or slow, by holding the pick in that way, you're already working harder than you have to. Work smarter, not harder.

I know I'm sounding kinda preachy here, but I've been playing professionally and teaching for well over 20 years, and I have absolutely been where you are, bro. Keep practicing and bring the rain!!!
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