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Old 04-14-2014, 05:19 AM   #1
nudewithboots
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US tremolo picking

so i love playing my 90's alt rock and and some new stuff (melvins,soungarden AIC, QOTA,COC) but when it comes to thrash bands that i love like metallica/ megadeth/slayer etc im finding the tremolo picking so hard to get down. any tricks or is it just hours of practice....i cant seem to get my speed up and i ve herd that you cant really play metallica if your alternate picking- its cheating/different picking attack sounds different etc etc. anyways..any pointers to a mediocre player who wants to learn thrash guitar? also it takes so much outta me just to play..how do these guys do shows?? crazy.. hit me back if you have any good pointers on how you got there-practicing methods, exercises.. whatever ... thanks
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:18 AM   #2
JNBloomy
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start slow, get both hands co-ordinated first, use a metronome and half the speed and gradually build it up, and work on your alternate picking aswell, first note down, second up, third down etc... I run through a couple of scales doing this as a warm up! you'll get it down in no time
Good luck!
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:15 AM   #3
KailM
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The good news for you is that there really isn't much tremelo picking in Metallica and Megadeth. (There is in Slayer though).

The bad news is that I don't think you really know what tremelo picking is.

What you're describing is plain and simply alternate picking; and while tremelo picking is also alternate picking -- it is purely to help sustain a note with rapid up and down picking -- which mimics the sound of the volume turning on and off rapidly. Perhaps the most well-known instance of tremelo picking would be Miserlou by Dick Dale.

What I think you are wanting to do is gallop, which is quite different. It is definitely alternate picking, but you're accenting some of the notes. Usually this is played over power chords in thrash metal, but you can do it even on just the low E string. It is usually accompanied by palm-muting (a skill at which I suggest you become a pro). It is accomplished by any combination of picking Downupdown, Dud,Dud,Dud (The capital D is accented). That would be the heavy part in "Raining Blood" by Slayer.

You could also accent the last "down" in the sequence ala D,duD, duD, duD -- and it will be a more familiar gallop as heard on "Barracuda" by Heart (and many, many Iron Maiden songs, among countless other bands).

The basic rule to galloping, alternate picking, and tremelo picking is to make your motions as small as possible, using only your wrist to provide the movement -- not your whole forearm. Eliminate tension. The rest is just 100s of hours of practice.
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:16 AM   #4
vIsIbleNoIsE
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- relax your arm/wrist/hand as much as possible. you do have to maintain a tiny bit of tension to keep your hand in place, but it should be a loose tension that doesn't tire you over time
- no matter how quickly you're picking in succession, think of the spaces in between every picking action as tiny breaks, during which you should be relaxing. the result is that your picking is more of a light flicking of the wrist than a forceful movement.
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:14 PM   #5
nudewithboots
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thanks guys this is all great stuff!
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:05 AM   #6
afrika18
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I found that working on lots of downpicking, strangely enough, helped with the fast tremolo picking. The down picking helps isolate the wrist muscles that are used. Anyway, it worked for me.
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:58 AM   #7
nudewithboots
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seriously guys/gals thank you for all your help and interest but when i down pick eventually no matter how hard i try my forearm and wrist become one unit and soon enough im using my entire lower arm to despirately try to acomidate the speed and my arm fills with blood like when i work out and it tires and i have to stop...my forearms are huge after i practice down picking lol-i never get through an entire song. its actually comical..anyways on the other hand, galloping is different-i have no problem using only my wrist and i can now get that hypnotiqe DuD or duD sound pretty efficiently. its just the downpicking man it sucks..guess ill just have to go slow and build up....how does hetfield do it???

ps excuse my spelling im highly uneducated
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:51 AM   #8
se012101
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Hey Dude, I'm a big Slayer fan too, and I've learned lots of their songs in the past. And had a lot of the same issues! So with hindsight being 20-20 and all...it sounds like the problem is that you're attacking the speed issue by going full tilt as fast as you can. That's why you can't control your use of your wrist/forearm enough. The thing with playing fast is that you can't attack it head on, you've got to kind of tease it out. Instead of trying to improve your 100% as fast as you can go speed, you need to work on increasing the speed at which you are going 85-90% as fast as you can.
I'd find some more moderately paced tunes to work on. Seasons in the Abyss is a good one. So is Mandatory Suicide. Ride The Lightning is a great song for working on something fast-ish, but not really fast, with a lot of down picking. These songs are great stepping stones to work on before attacking the really fast stuff. And when you have them to tempo, don't stop practicing them. Keep polishing them, and get them really solid.
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:03 AM   #9
nudewithboots
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i ****ing love seasons in the abyss...expandable youth? what re you r top 10 all time favorite slayer songs?
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KailM
The good news for you is that there really isn't much tremelo picking in Metallica and Megadeth. (There is in Slayer though).

The bad news is that I don't think you really know what tremelo picking is.

What you're describing is plain and simply alternate picking; and while tremelo picking is also alternate picking -- it is purely to help sustain a note with rapid up and down picking -- which mimics the sound of the volume turning on and off rapidly. Perhaps the most well-known instance of tremelo picking would be Miserlou by Dick Dale.

What I think you are wanting to do is gallop, which is quite different. It is definitely alternate picking, but you're accenting some of the notes. Usually this is played over power chords in thrash metal, but you can do it even on just the low E string. It is usually accompanied by palm-muting (a skill at which I suggest you become a pro). It is accomplished by any combination of picking Downupdown, Dud,Dud,Dud (The capital D is accented). That would be the heavy part in "Raining Blood" by Slayer.

You could also accent the last "down" in the sequence ala D,duD, duD, duD -- and it will be a more familiar gallop as heard on "Barracuda" by Heart (and many, many Iron Maiden songs, among countless other bands).

The basic rule to galloping, alternate picking, and tremelo picking is to make your motions as small as possible, using only your wrist to provide the movement -- not your whole forearm. Eliminate tension. The rest is just 100s of hours of practice.



Awesome explanation.
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Old 07-05-2014, 05:41 AM   #11
nudewithboots
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thank you for taking the time to correct me but ive also heard that the gallop should be done with the wrist not the forearm although i start off controlled and using my wrist eventually it tenses up quite a bit and before long i am using my whole arm and my veins and forearms look like a bodybuilder's..how do i keep calm and most important- consistent with my picking as well as relaxed?
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:33 AM   #12
KailM
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^^You are probably attempting to hit speeds at which your body is not ready for. Really, this stuff takes YEARS to develop (not that you can't do a decent job in just a few months of practice -- you just won't have the stamina and precision that you will later).

You are probably able to play the material fast enough, just not while being relaxed. That's a habit you need to force yourself to stop. If you feel that you can't hit the speeds you need without tensing up your whole arm and "spazzing," slow down and keep working on making the smallest motions possible. That's where relaxed speed comes from. You have to be conscious of everything you're doing. Otherwise, you'll tense up without even really realizing it until you feel it in your arm.

One exercise (that admittedly, I should do myself), is to just pick a scale and tremelo pick up and down that scale on every string. Concentrate on being relaxed -- that is the whole goal of the exercise. This will also train you to feel the difference in tension between each string and how to make minor adjustments as you go through them. It's a great warmup exercise as long as you don't start tensing up.

Finally, don't be afraid to alternate pick in Metallica songs. While most of James's riffs were downpicked, he alternate picked too (basically any galloping part, i.e. - Battery, Blackened, the outro to One, Disposable Heros, etc.). There's a lot of alternate picking in Metallica. I don't know who started the whole "to play Metallica, you must only downpick" thing. I can play the intro to Master of Puppets either all downpicked or with some alt. picking and to tell you the truth, it doesn't sound noticeably different. I can tell you which way makes me more tired though...
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Last edited by KailM : 07-05-2014 at 08:37 AM.
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