#1
Tried using the search function + google but didn't really find what I wanted.

Anyway: have you guys got any advice on how to improve my alternate picking speed?

My left hand is already pretty good, but my right hand just can't keep up. I can only manage 16ths at 160bpm when tremolo picking a single note (staying relaxed + picking from the wrist).
#2
use a metronome. increase by a few bpm, but only when you've got it perfect each time.
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#3
It's all practise, I tend to play a lot of death metal like Origin which is great for working on picking (some sections are as fast as 32nd notes at 135bpm)
Also ensure your picking technique is as efficient as possible, I don't pick purely from the wrist, a lot of it comes from index finger/thumb movement.
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#4
I've got some tips man.

Progressively play some alternate picking until you go at a speed where your playing becomes inaccurate and irregular. When you reach this speed, slow down to a speed when you play it without any hiccups. Practice at this speed, and every time you practice ou will get noticably faster, a metronome in this exercise would benefit but not necessary.
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#6
A lot of slipknot songs use heavy alternate picking. Even if you don't like slipknot, you could just take pieces of different songs and use them as an exercise. i.e. pulse of the maggots or psychosocial
#7
Quote by Shabalaba
metronome


Quote by Hoodoo Child
use a metronome. increase by a few bpm, but only when you've got it perfect each time.



yes Metronome cant get any simpler then that
#8
Quote by petrucci123
Tried using the search function + google but didn't really find what I wanted.

Anyway: have you guys got any advice on how to improve my alternate picking speed?

My left hand is already pretty good, but my right hand just can't keep up. I can only manage 16ths at 160bpm when tremolo picking a single note (staying relaxed + picking from the wrist).


The problem, as usual, is not speed but synchronization at the moment.

Slow down, use a metronome and work up.
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#9
Thanks for the input so far people.

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
The problem, as usual, is not speed but synchronization at the moment.


Thanks, but I'm not sure about this. If I can't tremolo pick faster than 160bpm, then I won't be able to play any real passages faster than 160bpm, no matter how well synchronized my hands are.

I know that playing with a metronome is very helpful, but I'm not sure how best to use one. Is it better to play mostly at very slow tempos in order to reinforce good technique, or to try and push the envelope, (ie play as fast as I can without tensing up/making mistakes + gradually increase the speed)? I've heard people advocate both ways.
Last edited by petrucci123 at Dec 14, 2008,
#10
Quote by petrucci123
Thanks, but I'm not sure about this. If I can't tremolo pick faster than 160bpm, then I won't be able to play any real passages faster than 160bpm, no matter how well synchronized my hands are.

I know that playing with a metronome is very helpful, but I'm not sure how best to use one. Is it better to play mostly at very slow tempos in order to reinforce good technique, or to try and push the envelope, (ie play as fast as I can without tensing up/making mistakes + gradually increase the speed)? I've heard people advocate both ways.


Well if you can't pick any faster than 160bpm then there's a problem with your technique somewhere. What you need to do is slow right down and gradually speed up your playing, concentrating absolutely on what you're doing at every stage and trying to find what speed the fault in your technique is introduced. When you find it stay at that exact speed until you fix the problem.

You should also spend 10-20 minutes every day doing economy of motion exercises at a very low tempo (25 bpm or less), one of the biggest faults in most people's playing is their economy of motion in both hands.
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#11
I can play a 3 note scale up the guitar strings in 3 seconds, 3X6/3= 6, so I would be playing 6 notes a second, so would that mean I would be going at 360 BPM, I was timed with a friend with a stopwatch. I can get Faster than that even, But is that a decent way to tell BPM?
Notes Divided by Play Time = Beats per secondX60 Makes BPM. Is that a reasonable way to judge speed without a metronome?
Last edited by Life Is Brutal at Dec 14, 2008,
#12
Quote by Life Is Brutal
I can play a 3 note scale up the guitar strings in 3 seconds, 3X6/3= 6, so I would be playing 6 notes a second, so would that mean I would be going at 360 BPM, I was timed with a friend with a stopwatch. I can get Faster than that even, But is that a decent way to tell BPM?
Notes Divided by Play Time = Beats per secondX60 Makes BPM. Is that a reasonable way to judge speed without a metronome?


Unrelated post is unrelated.

Either way you're thinking about it wrong, aim for good playing not fast playing.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

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#13
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
aim for good playing not fast playing.


+ 1
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#14
Quote by Life Is Brutal
I can play a 3 note scale up the guitar strings in 3 seconds, 3X6/3= 6, so I would be playing 6 notes a second, so would that mean I would be going at 360 BPM, I was timed with a friend with a stopwatch. I can get Faster than that even, But is that a decent way to tell BPM?
Notes Divided by Play Time = Beats per secondX60 Makes BPM. Is that a reasonable way to judge speed without a metronome?


bpm refers to the speed of the beat. So it doesn't really tell you how fast the guitarist is playing, because you don't know how many notes the guitarist is playing to each beat.

For example, lets say the beat is at 150 bpm. If you are playing 16th notes (4 notes per beat, or 16 per bar in 4/4 - hence 16th note = 1/16th of a bar), then you are playing at 10 notes per second. 4 notes x 150 bpm = 600 notes per min/60 = 10 notes per sec. BUt if you are playing 8th notes, then your are playing 5 notes per sec, but the bpm is still 150.

When people refer to speed in bpm for guitarists, there is an assumption that they are talking about 16th notes at that speed.

But as ZB said, concentrate on your quality of playing over speed. There are dozens of things that make up a good guitarist, and being able to play fast is only one of them. Also, get a metronome - it really helps with your timing, and they start as low as about $15. Or free if you use an online one (not as good imo, because you are stuck in front of your computer when you want to play).
#15
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Well if you can't pick any faster than 160bpm then there's a problem with your technique somewhere. What you need to do is slow right down and gradually speed up your playing, concentrating absolutely on what you're doing at every stage and trying to find what speed the fault in your technique is introduced. When you find it stay at that exact speed until you fix the problem.

You should also spend 10-20 minutes every day doing economy of motion exercises at a very low tempo (25 bpm or less), one of the biggest faults in most people's playing is their economy of motion in both hands.


Thanks for the advice man, I think I'll give this a shot. Is that method what you used to increase your own picking speed? How fast can you trem pick consistently+ cleanly, if you don't mind me asking ?
#16
Quote by petrucci123
Thanks for the advice man, I think I'll give this a shot. Is that method what you used to increase your own picking speed? How fast can you trem pick consistently+ cleanly, if you don't mind me asking ?


On a good day I can hit 16th triplets at 130bpm, averages out at about 120bpm if you include bad days though.

Up to about 115bpm I didn't use any specific exercise to increase my picking speed, just synchronization between the two hands, but now I do economy of motion exercises a lot though and find that it gets much easier to keep up the 120bpm. I spent a lot of time working on down picking stamina as well, being a metal player I kind of had to but it did help my alt. picking a bit.

I will say at this point though that I don't work on speed so much any more, I'm currently working on getting my picking to be very consistent so it doesn't get screwed by inside picking and I'm also working on more interesting musical ideas than the 3 note per string sequencing ideas that I worked on for the most part when I was working specifically on speed.
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#17
^Okay cool. Cheers.

Do you guys reckon controlled speed inevitably comes when you do enough metronome drills enforcing economy of motion+ lack of tension? Or is it likely that I'm being held back by the 'mechanics' of my picking? (i.e. picking from the wrong place, using the wrong picking motion, poor picking angle, etc)

I have tried metronome work in the past, but it's never got me to where I want to be. Maybe I've just not been patient enough, but I do wonder whether there's something fundamentally wrong with my picking technique.
When I watch my picking hand at top speed, there doesn't really seem to be that much wasted movement. Either I'm wrong about that or I just can't move my hand fast enough.
Last edited by petrucci123 at Dec 14, 2008,
#18
Quote by petrucci123
^Okay cool. Cheers.

Do you guys reckon controlled speed inevitably comes when you do enough metronome drills enforcing economy of motion+ lack of tension? Or is it likely that I'm being held back by the 'mechanics' of my picking? (i.e. picking from the wrong place, using the wrong picking motion, poor picking angle, etc)

I have tried metronome work in the past, but it's never got me to where I want to be. Maybe I've just not been patient enough, but I do wonder whether there's something fundamentally wrong with my picking technique.


Economy of motion and being tensionless are the only things that matter, I've seen people pick with all kinds of hand shapes and at just about every point on the string using motion from wrist, elbow, finger and thumb...none of it really makes enough difference to matter as long as you're relaxed and make small movements.

Speed takes a LOT of time to come to you, I worked on speed for a good couple of years before even making it past 16ths at 140 bpm, I've made it from there to where I am now in about 2.5 years and I think I still have a long way to go in terms of technique and consistency.
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#19
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Economy of motion and being tensionless are the only things that matter, I've seen people pick with all kinds of hand shapes and at just about every point on the string using motion from wrist, elbow, finger and thumb...none of it really makes enough difference to matter as long as you're relaxed and make small movements.

Speed takes a LOT of time to come to you, I worked on speed for a good couple of years before even making it past 16ths at 140 bpm, I've made it from there to where I am now in about 2.5 years and I think I still have a long way to go in terms of technique and consistency.


Well that certainly answers my question. Thanks once more.
Time to get to work, I guess.
#20
Quote by petrucci123
Well that certainly answers my question. Thanks once more.
Time to get to work, I guess.


To the woodshed with you!
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


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#21
Quote by Hoodoo Child
use a metronome. increase by a few bpm, but only when you've got it perfect each time.



This is probably the only way to do it.

If you don't have access to a metronome, you can go old school and tap out a beat with your foot.

I can manage 3nps 16ths at 160bpm.
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#22
Whats worked (and is working) for me is just putting the metronome on a slow beat at first, and just work like 4th notes, 8th notes, whatever you are trying to do, as cleanly and on time as possible.

It takes years of practice to really alternate pick cleanly and fast.

But only speed up when its perfect!
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