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Old 04-22-2013, 11:48 AM   #1
Syndromed
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Advices on downpicking

Hello,

I'm practicing Master of Puppets for 3-4 months now, and I can play it at 85 % (I can play it at 90 % but it starts to be a little bit sloppy ... above 90 % I can't).

I use only my wrist to pick, and I'm pretty relaxed at 85 %.

... and I don't know what to do. Should I continue to practice it at 85 % or something else ? Because, I start to think that it's impossible to reach the "100 %".
I don't want to give up because it would mean that I lost 3-4 months of practice on this song ... I really want to finish this song and start something else.

It's just a matter of practice and time ? If you can give me some advices or share your experience about your downpicking.

I practice the song about 1h30 per day with Amazing Slow Downer. (what a wonderful tool, isn't Freepower ? ).

Thank you in advance, and sorry for my bad english.

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Old 04-22-2013, 12:46 PM   #2
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I don't think I would play it with all down picks.

certainly this guy is not



I don't think you should spend all this time on one song. Learn something easier, practice alternate picking and economy picking then return to this song in 6 months time.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:01 PM   #3
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OK I used to do the exact same thing as the TS some years back and kept practicing over and over non-stop. It did my overall technique way more harm than good. So I am going to use this opportunity to ask;

Why the hell do people downpick this song?
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:03 PM   #4
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Because that's how it's played. It doesn't sound right with alternate picking.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syndromed
It's just a matter of practice and time ? If you can give me some advices or share your experience about your downpicking.

It is, but if you're hitting a wall now, leave off it for a little while and come back to it. It might be that you're becoming fatigued, which is messing with your playing.

Personally, I don't place a whole lot of stock in downpicking. I use it from time to time in my playing, but usually, I use alternate picking. You can get practically the same sound out of alternate picking as you do from downpicking. The secret is to have an upstroke that is as strong and choppy sounding as your downstrokes. If you can get that, you can alternate pick everything.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:14 PM   #6
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Geldin ... I thought the same thing ... when I think "I should just leave it now for a moment and come back later, and work on something else, like alternate picking, something I use more often" ... immediately after this thought, I think "But ... it would me you lost 3-4 months of practice, and you can't do it ..." and I feel like an incapable.

Well ... thank you for your answers ... I'll think about it.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:16 PM   #7
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First of all, it's not impossible. If you start thinking it is, you'll have a lot harder time learning it.

The way I would practice that song is to first play through it at a comfortable tempo (you say you're relaxed at 85 %, so probably around there). Then you should break down the parts you have trouble with and practice individually. Break them down a lot. Don't practice entire riffs, that's a lot of wasted time. Focus on only the part of the riff that is hard to you.

Given the nature of the song I'm going to assume that you become tired from downpicking at higher tempos. You could play it like that video the other guy linked, but personally I think the song should be played with downpicking. That's the way James plays it, and it's a lot more fun I think.

What you should focus on when practicing downpicking (and most other things as well) is to minimize the movement you make, and be as relaxed as possible. Do ONLY downstrokes on the low E-string with your right hand for a few minutes each day with the above in mind, and you should see improvements. Start really slowly each time, and gradually build speed.

You say you spend 1.5 hours each day practicing only this song, which in my opinion is way too much. Chances are you're not that focused during that entire time. If you're effective, you could probably spend 30 minutes instead and get at least as good results. Most of all though, remember to have fun. If you become bored with the song there's no point in practicing it anyway.

I used to practice this song a lot too, and it is really fast up to tempo. These days I play through it once a day at 92 % as a warm up and to keep my downpicking chops up to date. I could probably play it at 100 % if I'm properly warmed up though.

Good luck practicing!
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geldin
(...)You can get practically the same sound out of alternate picking as you do from downpicking. The secret is to have an upstroke that is as strong and choppy sounding as your downstrokes. If you can get that, you can alternate pick everything.


Yeah this is what I mean. I can't a good reason to down pick this song. "Because Metallica does" isn't very convincing. Downpicking similar riffs is useful if they have gallops in them but this doesn't
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fanapathy
Yeah this is what I mean. I can't a good reason to down pick this song. "Because Metallica does" isn't very convincing. Downpicking similar riffs is useful if they have gallops in them but this doesn't

I always think of galloping as being separate from exclusively down picking. Of course, because my upstrokes are really strong, I tend to use straight alternate picking for gallops unless there's double stops or chords involved anyway.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:27 PM   #10
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Well, it's a matter of preference. Personally I like the feeling of playing really fast dowpicking, and it works really well for me. To each his own.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_dreams
First of all, it's not impossible. If you start thinking it is, you'll have a lot harder time learning it.

The way I would practice that song is to first play through it at a comfortable tempo (you say you're relaxed at 85 %, so probably around there). Then you should break down the parts you have trouble with and practice individually. Break them down a lot. Don't practice entire riffs, that's a lot of wasted time. Focus on only the part of the riff that is hard to you.

Given the nature of the song I'm going to assume that you become tired from downpicking at higher tempos. You could play it like that video the other guy linked, but personally I think the song should be played with downpicking. That's the way James plays it, and it's a lot more fun I think.

What you should focus on when practicing downpicking (and most other things as well) is to minimize the movement you make, and be as relaxed as possible. Do ONLY downstrokes on the low E-string with your right hand for a few minutes each day with the above in mind, and you should see improvements. Start really slowly each time, and gradually build speed.

You say you spend 1.5 hours each day practicing only this song, which in my opinion is way too much. Chances are you're not that focused during that entire time. If you're effective, you could probably spend 30 minutes instead and get at least as good results. Most of all though, remember to have fun. If you become bored with the song there's no point in practicing it anyway.

I used to practice this song a lot too, and it is really fast up to tempo. These days I play through it once a day at 92 % as a warm up and to keep my downpicking chops up to date. I could probably play it at 100 % if I'm properly warmed up though.

Good luck practicing!


That's what I did before, to focus on the hardest parts and to practice only these parts. But it becomes quickly boring, so I changed and I decided to practice the whole song with Amazing Slow Downer.
But it's true, some parts are harder (a lot harder) than others for me. I'll focus on it.

And ... once again ... you're right, I'm not totally focused during that 1.5 hours.
It starts to be boring after 30-40 mn and I think to something else when I play, and don't pay attention to what I play.

I like this song, but it starts to be boring after 3-4 months of practice on it.

I think I'm going to practice it 30/40 mn each day on the hardest part, and then practice something else ... the fun starts to fade away ...

Thank you for your great advices.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PSimonR
I don't think I would play it with all down picks.

certainly this guy is not





That sound noticeably more shit being alternate picked. You can tell just by listening without the visuals that it's alternate picked.
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Old 04-22-2013, 03:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by vayne92
That sound noticeably more shit being alternate picked. You can tell just by listening without the visuals that it's alternate picked.



Agreed.

Sure it could just be personal preference, but I'd rather sound as close to the song as possible. Also, you won't get ripped on by other people for not playing it down picked.
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vayne92
That sound noticeably more shit being alternate picked. You can tell just by listening without the visuals that it's alternate picked.

It sounds significantly more shit being played without aggression. Any single note line can be alternate picked with the same aggression as downpicking. Ideally, you should have the same control and power in your up and downstrokes, so your alternate picking should be able to be equally as aggressive as your down picking.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:20 PM   #15
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Well, there's no substitute for hard work and perseverance, but a lot of really fast shredders use sharp tip picks. I know it sounds kind of weird to say that it can boost your speed immediately, but it's like they do... I always use sharp tips, but it's just personal preference.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:54 PM   #16
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Well, there's no substitute for hard work and perseverance, but a lot of really fast shredders use sharp tip picks. I know it sounds kind of weird to say that it can boost your speed immediately, but it's like they do... I always use sharp tips, but it's just personal preference.

I use sharp picks as well. This is going to sound really homoerotic, but a hard, thick one is best.

...by which I mean that many people, myself included, find that a thick pick made from a hard material (I've got some carbon-fiber wonders by Dunlop that have lasted a whole year without dulling). They don't make you faster, but they lessen the effort necessary to push through the string, which is important to picking faster.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:31 AM   #17
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I use Dunlop Jazz III XL ... I like it ... so it's ok for the pick.

And, my questions where not about "playing MOP with alternate picking or downpicking", I just want to play it with downpicking, because it sounds better for me and ... I prefer, that's all, so please (no offense guys,) don't start a debate on that.

Anyways, thank you for your answers and your advices.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:47 AM   #18
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I get it that you can get alternate picking sound exactly same as downpicking with proper practice as far as single notes are concerned, and I always try to alternate pick those unless I am 100% confident I can nail it downpicked, but what about power chords? They usually sound like ass upstroked because it puts emphasis on the high notes. In my ears they have absolutely to be downpicked. Or am I missing something.

Instead of MoP I'm working on Creeping Death. Fast, but simpler than MoP so I can concentrate on the downpicking part more.

On a side note, James didnt become a master of downpicking by practicing it just a couple of short months...
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:02 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaaZeus
I get it that you can get alternate picking sound exactly same as downpicking


I've heard so many people say this and in theory sure it makes sense but I've NEVER seen anyone show any proof. I don't think i ever will to be honest.

If anyone ever can i'll give them a big fat handshake and add some inspirational words about you to my UG sig. I might even fly over to where you live and give you another handshake because you deserve it.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:19 AM   #20
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I've heard so many people say this and in theory sure it makes sense but I've NEVER seen anyone show any proof. I don't think i ever will to be honest.

If anyone ever can i'll give them a big fat handshake and add some inspirational words about you to my UG sig. I might even fly over to where you live and give you another handshake because you deserve it.


I think a lot of difference from the sound comes from that people downpick using different muscles than they do alternate pick, or I do atleast. Alternate picking is usually down by pivoting wrist left and right, where heavy downpicking gets a little of front and back motion mixed in. More muscles come into play, more exaggerated attack. But the faster you go, less you can exaggerate the attack and smaller the difference between downpicking and alternate picking becomes.

This is just my ears and the (poor) technique I have learned to play.
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