#1
Anyone struggle with getting speed with 2 notes per string licks? Like what Zakk plays. I'm playing straight 16th notes through the pentatonic scale at around 120 bpm. Getting them any faster and remaining clean is really difficult. I've practiced these for over 2 year now n making really slow progress. Tried pickslanting and found it really helps but still can't get the speed up. Thanks
#2
16ths @ 120 bpm is 8 notes per second. The kind of stuff you are wanting to do when played by top players is about twice that speed, so on the one hand, you are getting there.

If you feel like you are "hitting the wall" at that speed, then you want to look for what's stopping you. There are technical things involving the mechanics of playing that might be preventing further speed increase, or making further increases get sloppy or inarticulate. There are also some often overlooked things in the way one conceptualizes what one is about to play...

For example, slow playing may be produced by deciding on a sequence of notes one by one, each command to the fingers delivered separately. This works for lots of kinds of playing. For faster playing the commands to the fingers need to contain more information (more notes), so instead one sends a "package" command to the fingers. The package is the command to play, say four notes, and while that is going on another package of four notes is being prepped and delivered before the first package of notes is finished.

You could think of this as sending commands to play licks rather than commanding for notes one at a time. The longer the package of notes, the less often you need to deliver requests to the fingers... this removes you a step back from the detail at the note level and bumps you up to the "line level" as in "musical line of notes". Fast lead players develop the capacity to execute long lines of up to 30 notes or more, mentally conceived, grasped, commanded, and delivered to the fingers as one whole thing, one complete musical idea.

This allows much more clear "headroom" in the mind of the player... less things to configure and arrainge; even though the things are bigger, having to work with fewer of them is a huge gain in the time domain.

I wrote all that because 12 notes per second is just about as fast as anyone can play while retaining the unit packaging of delivering one note at a time to the fingers. Hanging at 8 notes per second suggests to me that you may likely be stuck because you are using the unit note delivery packages when playing.

Think about how you play and see if this might be right. If so, then figuring out how to send "bigger ideas" to the fingers will make a big difference in your speed. If this is not what's going on, then something is happening in your playing mechanics that needs to be evaluated and addressed.

It might help figuring out what's going on by providing a video or sound file of your attempts to play fast.
#3
man thanks for taking the time to reply . I'm obsessed with this technique so I do really look at the mechanics of it but what your saying is very interesting. I feel as tho at speed it's a kind of "pat your head while rubbing your belly feeling" lol. I can play the patterns no problem with the left hand (not barring the notes) so the problem lies in the picking. I use up strokes to start as I find it far more comfortable. I have noticed that some days I really feel as tho I'm getting there then other days just feels really alien... I completely want that fast shredding 2 note per string sound down because in my opinion that's the best sound to me , just sounds so percussive.... I'll read through your post properly tonight just thought I'd reply because I really appreciate you taking the time to give advice and that's great man thanks.
Last edited by dw885868 at Mar 16, 2017,
#4
PlusPaul I love that explanation, which dials right into the brain's ability to handle chunks better than loads of indvidual things. Nice on, PlusPaul.
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#6
Can you pick faster than you can finger the notes, or can you finger the notes faster than you can pick them?  What's your main bottleneck?


EDIT: Let me just make sure you got the pick slanting concept correct. 


If you use downward pick slanting (the fat part of the pick painting towards the floor),  you should only switch strings after an upstroke. So you would have to start with a down stroke in a 2 note per string  pentatonic scale. The first note would be a downstroke in each new string change. 


If you use upward pick slanting (the fat part of picking pointing towards the the ceiling), you should only change switch strings after a downstroke.  So you would have to start with an upstroke in a 2 note per string  pentatonic scale  The first note would be an upstroke in each new string change.
Last edited by Phallic Tractor at Mar 16, 2017,
#7
Yes I start with an upstroke with the fat part of the pick pointing to the ceiling. Almost pushing the top of my thumb in towards the strings. Also I can play the lick at good speeds when I isolate each hand.... So just do the picking part with my right hand , then do the lick with my left hand playing each note. I'm beginning to think my problem lies with synchronising both hands at higher speeds....almost feels as though I'm trying too hard . I've looked into things like "the incredible lightness" which I found really interesting and can also apply it to certain aspects of my playing, but with these 2 note per string licks I really have trouble. Thanks again
#8
I had the same problem, and for me, the issue was hand synchronization.  After recording myself playing a lick a few times, I discovered that my right hand was all over the place.  Sometimes I was picking too slow, and sometimes too fast.  It took a lot of work with a metronome to get it under control.  Just go slow, relax, and increase the bpm by smaller amounts.  Eventually, you'll get there.  
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#9
thanks junior#1. I mean don't get me wrong I love to practice but I'm almost certain I'm doing the mechanics right, at a certain tempo but any real speed and ,like you said it's alover the place. I practice this a lot and just seem to have really slow progress with it.
#10
dw885868 Your main problem is your mindset ... you've equated high speed with problems and stuff going wrong, in this instance ... that mind set needs breaking.  Play at speeds where it feels sloppy, but feel relaxed as much as possible and accept the sloppiness because .... when you  slow down to where it feels in control, this typically notches up in speed.  This can help when playing slowly isn't doing the trick. 

 I think the answer may lie in concentrating on 2 or 3 strings initially, and building speed there.  Then worry about gluing together more of the scale using more strings.  Play in groups of 3 or 4 (for stress points).  As PlusPaul suggests, treat that as one group, with attention on the 1st note, and let muscle memory do the rest.  

The other thing of course is changing direction.  You need to think how to handle that ... because wherever you decide to this, without repeating a note, the pick slant angle goes "wrong" unless you sweep to the next string after the direction change.  

But I suggest you try repeating on the string where you change direction, initially ... so, on 1st string, arrived at from ascending, play (e.g. G m pent)  3 6 6 3 (down up down up) and carry on the 2nd string  (e.g. 6 3, down up).
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Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Mar 16, 2017,
#11
Mostly it's two strings I'm trying to do the repeating pattern (15----12
15------12).
That sort of thing for example.,
I play strict alternate picking so when I'm desending or asending I use the upward pick slanting tecnique. I do push the speed and can "cheat" so to speak but just throws my hands out of synch. I guess I just need to stick at it. Thanks people.
Last edited by dw885868 at Mar 16, 2017,
#13
Check out this article by Tom Hess where he talks about something similar to what JerryKramskoy  mentioned above. It's worth practicing something way above your clean speed even if it's sloppy instead of gradually increasing your speed little by little. You gotta know how it feels to play fast before you're able to play anything cleanly fast. 

https://tomhess.net/MakeFastGuitarPlayingFeelEasy.aspx

Shawn Lane has talked about this before. @1:30

;feature=youtu.be&t=1m33s
Last edited by Phallic Tractor at Mar 16, 2017,
#14
I agree to an extent... Like I'll practice to like 120bom but for recording or playing ect I can speed up the lick if I need to but lose synch and it becomes partly picked , partly legato . I guess picking like that just takes a lot of practice to execute that sort of lick. Just see great players blaze through it and really want that sort of sound
#15
dw885868 Can you video yourself, and then watch for tension in your body.  The mind really does have a huge impact, and if you think you can't do something well, that won't help.  You holding your breath?  Clenching yor jaw?  Is your picking hand forearm or wrist sticking to the guitar body at alol (friction?) ... you tried wearing fingerless gloves?
https://soundcloud.com/jerry-kramskoy-1
#16
I'm certain now it's synchronising issues. I'm self taught and have used the "playing faster than I can" method and do agree it works for some stuff but with these patterns i can only play comfortable slow. Any ideas/advice for synching hands for alternate picking? I think half the problem is that every time a pickup guitar I go straight for these patterns and play slow to a metronome for an hour or more and overlook the musical aspect of what I'm doing. Maybe I need a break and come back to it at a later date.
#17
anyone ever question pickslanting? Is it actually necessary? I have used your advice to play quicker at things a struggle with and I find when I do that I don't seem to pickslant but rather push the pick through the strings..... Worrying more about pick depth. Seems to be working
#18
dw885868 the term "pickslanting" is, from what I know at least, a very new term.  Unless I'm much mistaken the term comes from Troy Grady's "Cracking The Code" series (which is a pretty incredible body of work and well worth a full watch).  The important thing to note here is that Troy isn't telling people what they should or shouldn't do.  He's actually being very descriptive, not prescriptive.  His work is focused on looking at existing mechanics and examining what about that makes them work, what might be holding them back, the hoops people jump through to make it all work as a cohesive whole.

In particular Troy did a video about making pentatonics work with pickslanting, and it (at least to me) was super interesting watching him re-finger the scale completely to make it as seemless as possible with the technique.

So no, pickslanting probably isn't necessary strictly speaking, but if you watch Cracking The Code, and look at what about it will or won't work for you, that's the best way to examine whether you feel like you need it or not.
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#19
I just see I lot of people say it's not possible to play at speed without it. Whereas if a push the speed a kinda feel as though I'm just pushing the very end of the pick through the strings in kind of a "brushing over the top" motion and finding this feels really comfortable. It's like am not thinking about the slant but more the depth. Yeah I've seen troys videos and found them great. The dude can certainly shred. But I agree with Claus levin ..... Pickslanting feels like I'm having to apply extra effort when it's not necessary when I could just focus on pick depth . Thanks man .
#20
dw885868 it's interesting looking at Claus actually, especially in a video where he talks about pick slanting and edging.

For a start, it's all very well and good him saying constant pick depth is a better way of dealing with this issue than pick slanting... but he slants.  He absolutely pickslants when changing strings.  He compares against an extremely exaggerated version of the technique, which isn't really what it looks like in practice, and then almost immediately goes on to play some ascending scale thing with a very subtle downward pickslant.

It's always interesting watching people, who claim to have some sort of profound insight in to playing, actually play, because the number of people who don't do what they say you should is actually hilarious when you really look at it.  It also says interesting things about their systems.

Now, I know Claus is a beast of a player, but as for his teaching... I don't think he's fully cognizant of the things he actually does, which is a bit of a weakness when it comes to actually teaching those things to other people.  Obviously full awareness of everything you do when playing is no mean feat, but if you're going to be talking about the intimate mechanics of playing then I would say it's almost imperative to be fully aware of yourself.

Again, I'm not saying that slanting is necessary for speed.  I'm pretty sure if I looked I could find you players who tear it up who actually don't slant at all.  But it's definitely worth examining these things more closely.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

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#21
Yeah your right he should really look at his playing before teaching. But like you say I've watched other ppl and they don't appear to be slanting. More edging the pick. I'm finding at the minute that a combination of edging the pick and using minimum pick depth seems to be working . I felt as though practicing slowly with the pic slanted felt "right" but just couldn't seem to achieve any speed with it. It was like I was trying to hard and making to many movements . Picking well at speed is certainly an art haha
#22
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
dw885868 the term "pickslanting" is, from what I know at least, a very new term.  Unless I'm much mistaken the term comes from Troy Grady's "Cracking The Code" series (which is a pretty incredible body of work and well worth a full watch).  The important thing to note here is that Troy isn't telling people what they should or shouldn't do.  He's actually being very descriptive, not prescriptive.  His work is focused on looking at existing mechanics and examining what about that makes them work, what might be holding them back, the hoops people jump through to make it all work as a cohesive whole.

In particular Troy did a video about making pentatonics work with pickslanting, and it (at least to me) was super interesting watching him re-finger the scale completely to make it as seemless as possible with the technique.

I've heard some really good things about the Cracking the Code videos from reputable sources - I would encourage you to check those out if you are having problems.  
Last edited by reverb66 at Mar 23, 2017,
#23
i have , I watch a lot of stuff like that. I'm more interested in what people think
About pick slanting because for some people it's a must. There's a player called Pete cotrell (I think that's his name) who is a beast of a player and seen him do the 2 note per string thing and he seems to nail it by only edging the pick. Then again I could be wrong I've only watched that video once lol. Thanks for the input people. It's great been able to talk to fellow lovers of the instrument