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Old 12-14-2009, 12:17 AM   #1
Legion6789
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Can't break 100bpm!

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

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

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

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

The only other thing I could think of was to switch to doing legato exercises and try to improve my speed in that area and then try to bring in the picking after.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:24 AM   #2
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Have you tried bursting? Also have you watched and tried everything in Rock Discipline?
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:25 AM   #3
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I'd try practicing more complex exercises - trying to get exercises so you can "get your fastest speed under your best condition" is useless.

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

6 weeks isn't really all that much - how many hours practice each week?
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:30 AM   #4
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Freepower:
2 to 3 hours per night.

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

More complex exercises... Is speed kind of like boiling a pot of water? If you're focused on it, it won't come, but if you just work on other things it just happens?
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:49 AM   #5
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It happens over time, yes. But throughout this time you have to be watching yourself and fixing your mistakes. If you can't break 100bpm, go back to like 50bpm and see what you're doing wrong. Fix it, and then build up the speed again. If you still can't break it, then repeat the process. go back down, fix it, build up again.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:55 AM   #6
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Don't focus on speed too much, because it will come with accuracy and relaxation.
If you watch Rock Discipline, you'll see what I mean by bursting. You can find it on Google video it's 2 hours but really worth it.
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freepower
I'd try practicing more complex exercises - trying to get exercises so you can "get your fastest speed under your best condition" is useless.

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

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


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

Watch videos on youtube of your favorite guitarist and watch their hands/arms/posture. It is hard to fix what you are doing wrong if you don't know what it is. Watch the way your position your left hand, the way your hold the pick, etc.. Find out what you could be doing wrong, and try to improve your playing on different exercises. Over time, the exercises you worked on before will become much easier.
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:15 AM   #8
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my advice is just have fun and learn the fretboard and don't worry too much about speed. i mean, push yourself when you want to, but don't get consumed with it. it comes with time and comfort.
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonshield17
It happens over time, yes. But throughout this time you have to be watching yourself and fixing your mistakes. If you can't break 100bpm, go back to like 50bpm and see what you're doing wrong. Fix it, and then build up the speed again. If you still can't break it, then repeat the process. go back down, fix it, build up again.


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Old 12-14-2009, 05:14 AM   #10
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:50 AM   #11
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Is speed kind of like boiling a pot of water? If you're focused on it, it won't come, but if you just work on other things it just happens?




I usually find that, yep.

If you work on relaxation, clarity, accuracy, complex string jumps and a good sound you'll find that your picking improves - and it may get faster as well.
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:38 PM   #12
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Burst it and have patience.
I've "waited" a very long time to get past 120.
I can do 150 now and still working on it.
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:31 PM   #13
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whenever i pick fast, i rest my picking hand on the strings above the strings im picking. Its like palm muting, except your not picking the strings your muting

Last edited by Minion2580 : 12-18-2009 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:24 PM   #14
Techofthegods
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I have had the same problem with hand syncronization breaking down at higher speeds. I too tried a bunch of different things to try to improve this.

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

Good luck
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:39 PM   #15
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You might try playing some actual songs, perhaps ones that aren't full of 16th notes above 100BPM. The idea of sitting there practicing 1234 patterns and the like for 2-3 hours a day for 6 months is absurd and makes me kind of sad to think anyone would waste their time on it.

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

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

Trying to do it the other way around is musical suicide. Even if you succeed, you will sound stiff and groove-less. More likely you will simply fail.
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Old 12-19-2009, 03:38 PM   #16
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Exercises are great for working specific kinks out of your playing, but Even Bigger D is right - you need a wider variety of stuff - songs - to work on. That will be especially effective if you combine that with the exercises - but focusing the exercises on fixing problems you notice from working on songs.

He is also right about the rhythm/timing thing being most likely being behind the lack of sync between your hands. Think about it like this - the picking hand is the driver, the fretting hand is the slave which eventually matches it's timing up to the picking hand. Now if the driver is unsteady and goes in and out of time, then the fretting hand has to keep modifying it's timing to match. It's like you have a moving goal post.
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Old 12-19-2009, 04:58 PM   #17
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That's an excellent way of putting it.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freepower


I usually find that, yep.

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


What are some complex string jumps? just to interject
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:12 PM   #19
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It's pretty much what it says on the tin. Sequence some arpeggios and see what happens. If you can't do that then you don't need to worry about complex string jumps anyway.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freepower
It's pretty much what it says on the tin. Sequence some arpeggios and see what happens. If you can't do that then you don't need to worry about complex string jumps anyway.


Is this an example of complex string jumps?

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