Starting Speed Playing I

author: CPDmusic date: 09/21/2010 category: for beginners
rating: 9.6 / votes: 18 
Intro: Hello, and welcome to day 4 of CPDmusic's lesson writing marathon! It is September 20th, and the long wait is over! Continuation is a go for this marathon, so let's get started! Today we will start a four part series called Starting Speed Playing. This series will be a beginners introduction to speed playing, and will cover some of the techniques needed to be able to play the guitar fast. Enjoy! Alternate Picking: In today's lesson, we will be looking at the first technique need for speed playing, that being Alternate Picking. This technique is pretty self explanatory; you alternate your picking direction, between up and down. Why use alternate picking? Well, try this. Starting by picking the open low E string in even sixteenth notes as fast as you can:
     D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------------------------------||
A||----------------------------------||
E||--0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-||
Now, do the exact same thing, except alternate your picking direction between up and down:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------------------------------||
A||----------------------------------||
E||--0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-||
Notice how your going much faster when you use alternate picking. When you use only downward strokes, you need to bring your pick up to play the next downward stroke, so all alternate picking does is make you play the string on your way back up from the down stroke, in turn doubling your picking speed. Someone once told me it's like walking and run; you can only walk so fast, after that, you need to alter your movement to a run to be able to move faster. Picking is much the same, you can only go fast down-picking, until you have to alter your picking movement to play faster. One String: When you start alternate picking, it is best to start practicing on just one string, and build up from there. Feel free to start off by doing the open string exercise above. From there start adding fingers, by playing this chromatic exercise:
    D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U  
E||----------------------------------|
B||----------------------------------|
G||----------------------------------|
D||----------------------------------|
A||----------------------------------|
E||--0-0-0-0-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-2-3-3-3-3-|
 
  D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
----------------------------------||
----------------------------------||
----------------------------------||
----------------------------------||
----------------------------------||
--4-4-4-4-3-3-3-3-2-2-2-2-1-1-1-1-||
Gradually increase your speed, and play this exercise on every string. Once you get the hang of it, try in groups of two:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------------------------------||
A||----------------------------------||
E||--0-0-1-1-2-2-3-3-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1-||
With enough practice, you'll even be able to play that exercise in groups of one!
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------------------------------||
A||----------------------------------||
E||--0-1-2-3-4-3-2-1-0-1-2-3-4-3-2-1-||
Just a few tips to keep in mind while doing these exercises: 1. Start Slow! You can start as slow as you want. In fact, you should probably even start slower than you usually would, to help you get the feeling of alternate picking. 2. GRADUALLY speed up. Don't go slow, and then all of the sudden go try to play it at a blistering speed. You can get metronomes for your computer with a speed training function, which start at a given tempo, and increase that tempo by a given amount after so many bars until a given tempo is reached. Start really slow, such as 40 beats per minute, and increase by five or ten beats per minute, until to reach around 100-120 beats per minute to start. You can increase this number as you get more practice. 3. Practice on every string, not just the low E. Different strings on the guitar have different thicknesses, and will react differently to alternate picking, so play the above exercises on every string. Feel free to stop to change string for now, as we are not focusing on alternate picking on multiple string just yet. Once you are comfortable alternate picking on individual strings (you should be able to play the groups of two exercise at a speed of at least 100 beats per minute before moving on), we will move on to alternate picking multiple string. Picking Over Multiple Open Strings: Now that you are comfortable alternate picking on one string, lets move on to playing on multiple strings. Lets start with the basic; pick two string that are close to each other, and alternate pick them open. Here is an example using the E and A strings:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------------------------------||
A||----------0-0-0-0---------0-0-0-0-||
E||--0-0-0-0---------0-0-0-0---------||
Be sure not to stop when switching strings. Now, much like when we were focusing on single strings, play with different groups of notes:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------------------------------||
A||------0-0-----0-0-----0-0-----0-0-||
E||--0-0-----0-0-----0-0-----0-0-----||
Once you feel comfortable with string close to each other, try widening the gap:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------0-0-0-0---------0-0-0-0-||
A||----------------------------------||
E||--0-0-0-0---------0-0-0-0---------||
Also, add more than two strings into the mix:
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||------------------0-0-0-0---------||
A||----------0-0-0-0---------0-0-0-0-||
E||--0-0-0-0-------------------------||
Eventually, you should get to the point were you can play all six strings:
    D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U  
E||----------------------------------|
B||----------------------------------|
G||--------------------------0-0-0-0-|
D||------------------0-0-0-0---------|
A||----------0-0-0-0-----------------|
E||--0-0-0-0-------------------------|
 
  D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U  
----------0-0-0-0-----------------|
--0-0-0-0---------0-0-0-0---------|
--------------------------0-0-0-0-|
----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|
 
  D U D U D U D U D U D U   
--------------------------||
--------------------------||
--------------------------||
--0-0-0-0-----------------||
----------0-0-0-0---------||
------------------0-0-0-0-||
Once you can achieve that at a speed of at least 100 B.P.M. (if you can do it in groups of two, even better!) you are ready to move on. Adding the Left Hand: The final thing we will look at in regards to alternate picking is adding the left hand while playing multiple strings. Start with this basic exercise:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------------------------------||
A||----------1-2-3-4---------1-2-3-4-||
E||--1-2-3-4---------1-2-3-4---------||
Work on increasing speed, and playing this as clearly as possible, without any mistakes. Remember not to pause between strings. Once you have the hand of that, work on skipping strings:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------1-2-3-4---------1-2-3-4-||
A||----------------------------------||
E||--1-2-3-4---------1-2-3-4---------||
And once you've practice that enough, be sure to practice on more than two strings:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||------------------1-2-3-4---------||
A||----------1-2-3-4---------1-2-3-4-||
E||--1-2-3-4-------------------------||
Much like playing multiple open strings, you should be able to play the above exercise over all six strings. Final Notes: Well, there is the bare basics of alternate picking. Feel free to expand on them, and make up your own exercises. Also, be sure to practice alternate picking scales. Below, I will give you some more advanced alternate picking exercises that you can try once you think your ready. Remember, speed playing isn't going to come easy, so you need to constantly practice. It may not seem that your really getting anywhere at first, but keep practicing, and you will achieve amazing feats. Advanced Exercises:
1-2-3-4 Exercise #1:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------------------------------||
A||----------4-3-2-1---------1-2-3-4-||
E||--1-2-3-4---------4-3-2-1---------||

1-2-3-4 Exercise #2:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U  
E||----------------------------------|
B||----------------------------------|
G||--------------------------1-2-3-4-|
D||----------1-2-3-4-----------------|
A||------------------1-2-3-4---------|
E||--1-2-3-4-------------------------|
 
  D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
--------------------------1-2-3-4-||
----------1-2-3-4-----------------||
------------------1-2-3-4---------||
--1-2-3-4-------------------------||
----------------------------------||
----------------------------------||

Groups of Two Exercise #1:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------------------------------||
A||------2-1-----1-2-----4-3-----3-4-||
E||--1-2-----2-1-----3-4-----4-3-----||

Groups of Two Exercise #2:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||------------------------------1-2-||
B||----------------------1-2---------||
G||--------------1-2---------1-2-----||
D||------1-2---------1-2-------------||
A||----------1-2---------------------||
E||--1-2-----------------------------||

E minor Pentatonic:
     D U D U D U D U D U D U   
E||----------------------0-3-||
B||------------------0-3-----||
G||--------------0-2---------||
D||----------0-2-------------||
A||------0-2-----------------||
E||--0-3---------------------||
Outro: Well that's all for day four of CPDmusic's lesson writing marathon! Hopefully this was a good introduction to alternate picking, and remember to keep practicing! Writing your own exercises, or look some up on the internet, your practice isn't limited to my exercises! Heck, if I wrote ever exercise I could for this lesson, UG would have to build another site, because trust me, there are a lot more out there! Anyways, that's all for today, so goodbye! Support CPDmusic's Lesson Writing Marathon By Joining This Group.
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