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Old 01-24-2013, 10:33 PM   #1
Lefty Guitarist
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Alt picking this fast?

So I thought the fastest alt picking possible was 120bpm but i was practicing this song: (the section at :13) today and found out it has 150bpm runs in it. It seems like the technique i use for these fast runs is way different then the way I would for something slower. I angle the pick more and keep my hand in the same spot and just move my wrist using very small motions to hit the notes.

Is this right? Also, any tips or exercises/songs similar to this that will help develop fast picking like this more?
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:55 PM   #2
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What made you think that the fastest possible alt picking was at 120? That makes no sense. Especially since BPM without a specified note duration has nothing to do with the speed of the picking. IE you could alternate pick quarter notes at 200 and your picking would be the same speed if you were playing eighth notes at 100 or sixteenths at 50.

Ideally, you shouldn't have to change your technique to play something fast. Slow it down. The technique you use when playing slow should be the same as playing fast.

And then there's this:
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:15 PM   #3
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I'm referring to 16th notes, and rhythm stuff, not fast lead licks.

Last edited by Lefty Guitarist : 01-24-2013 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Lefty Guitarist
I'm referring to 16th notes, and rhythm stuff, not fast lead licks.

The point I was trying to make is there's really no maximum speed. Of course everyone has their physical limitations, but with practice to a metronome, a speed like 150 is usually quite attainable. Unless you're trying to reach 64th notes. 16th notes or even 32nd notes can be done. And everyone will have a different maximum speed. I know my max - or at least my current max - is 18.6 notes per second, or 16th notes at 279 bpm. Your's may be quite different. There are some people who are over 20 nps. The rhythm in the song is only at 10 nps, which really isn't much when you start practicing it.

The only difference between lead and rhythm is consistency, which, once again, can be improved with practice.
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Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:14 AM   #5
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You could manage the intro at 13s TS. It's got no difficult phrasing and repeats itself after 12 notes.

If you can play it with a metronome at 50 beats per second, you can play it. End of story.
Use increments of 4-8~ on your metronome and build the speed up in time.

Guitar playing tends to reach plateaus. You'll struggle for weeks then find you pick up the guitar one day and you can just play it no problems.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefty Guitarist
So I thought the fastest alt picking possible was 120bpm but i was practicing this song: (the section at :13) today and found out it has 150bpm runs in it. It seems like the technique i use for these fast runs is way different then the way I would for something slower. I angle the pick more and keep my hand in the same spot and just move my wrist using very small motions to hit the notes.

Is this right? Also, any tips or exercises/songs similar to this that will help develop fast picking like this more?

The fastest alternate picking I can think of caps 20 notes per second and there are plenty of players who can hit 15+ cleanly. Most people can break 8 notes per second with practice.

What you're describing sounds like proper technique. Just make sure that there is no excess tension in your wrists as you play.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:48 AM   #7
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What i mean by the technique is different is the fact that I loosen up my wrist in my picking hand alot more so there is no tightness in it while moving it. This also tends to make me play a bit sloppier (but still in time), I know I'm holding the pick tight enough though because I am not loosing grip of it or dropping it.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefty Guitarist
I'm referring to 16th notes, and rhythm stuff, not fast lead licks.


There is no physical difference between the two and the musical differences are only really in your head. And maybe the album mix.

I can think of many songs where what you would probably call the rhythm guitar is doing something much faster and more complex than that section you pointed out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefty Guitarist
What i mean by the technique is different is the fact that I loosen up my wrist in my picking hand alot more so there is no tightness in it while moving it. This also tends to make me play a bit sloppier (but still in time), I know I'm holding the pick tight enough though because I am not loosing grip of it or dropping it.


So so far you're telling us that when you play this part you:

use smaller motions
are more relaxed
pick from the wrist

... this is all very good. That's exactly what you should be doing.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:22 PM   #9
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Maybe you're thinking of when some players stiffen up their forearms for trem picking? It's unnecessary and is basically all speed with no control or dynamic. You can learn to play just as fast with alt and economy picking, and retain that control.
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