#1
I have begun to question my practicing method after a while of doing it and seeing little result. What i do is I stretch, followed by a warm up of finger-independence excersises then when im warmed up, I click on the metronome starting at 40bpm.

now onto what i practice. I choose 1 sort of exercise I am going to do for the day, as it takes 2-3 hours to complete one exercise thoroughly. It will be something such as going up and down through my 3nps modal shapes 6 times each (3 starting w/ down stroke other 3 starting w/ upstroke) before increasing the speed by 10 bpm untill I get to around 100bpm, where I start to only increase by 5 (of course paying attention to tension and focusing on what im playing and all that).

Something else I have been doing recently is taking parts of Paganini's caprice 24 and doing the same thing mentioned above. I switch up the exercises I do and the songs I learn, but do not see much improvement overall. Sure the next day I will be able to play the section that I learned better, but as a whole my playing does improve.

What I am struggling with most right now is my picking speed. Nothing I do can increase it. I can only tremolo at about 120-130 bpm and do not know what to do about it. If anyone can give me some tips on how to improve the way I practice, or what to practice please tell me.
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Ibanez S2170FB
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#3
I am alternate picking
Gibson SG Standard
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Peavey JSX
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#4
not every guitarist can pick fast. Hendrix didn't do a lot of speed picking, but he was a god. Same with Stevie Ray Vahn, and Eric Clapton. Maybe they play the wrong style, but your playing may be improving, but did you ever think that you may have just maxed out your speed?
#5
well im pretty sure that with enough practice, anyone can play like PG/MAB/Petrucci/Vai etc. But, you have to be practicing correctly, and practicing the correct material, which is where I think my problems are coming from.
Gibson SG Standard
Ibanez S2170FB
Peavey JSX
Marshall 1960A
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#6
everyone has differn't strengths. I can't speed pick right now. In fact i can hardly use a pick, so i finger pick, their are techniques for speed picking with fingers, but all technique takes time. If anything your to tense by when you play, and your focused to much on practice and your technique. Relax, have some fun, play somehting fun, and work on it while keeping calm. you'll do better if your calm and not worried about just improving. you learned to make music and have fun, right? so do it.
#7
yea, I am a little over-worried about my technique at times. I almost never improv, or create songs because im so worried about improving my technique.

I know speed is not the end-all-be-all of guitar playing, but that is what I personally find enjoyable about the instrument. Becoming technically fluent is my main goal at the moment, and I believe it had payed off so far, but I have reached a halt in my technical abilities lately.
Gibson SG Standard
Ibanez S2170FB
Peavey JSX
Marshall 1960A
TEXAS A&M
#8
work on improve, it'll help you move faster, mentaly, it's a big help. Also quite fun. find a back-up riff, play it, and then do some improve. Be more rounded, that way you have more to put on the table, and if all else fails, at least you can do other things to.
#9
Work on improv and creating your own songs. Playing technically well means nothing if you don't know how to use it. PG/MAB/Petrucci/Vai etc. all know their scales and theory. They can improvise well. Their technical proficiency isn't what makes them special, it's their ability to create pieces with it.
#10
Quote by sacamano79
well im pretty sure that with enough practice, anyone can play like PG/MAB/Petrucci/Vai etc. But, you have to be practicing correctly, and practicing the correct material, which is where I think my problems are coming from.


Well, no, to be honest.

There is unfortunately a thing called natural ability.

Some people could practice their ass off all day and still reach a threshold below that of the mentioned artists.

It's just like only a few people can run 100m at an olympic level, competitively. That's pretty much the same with guitarists.

The other thing all of those artists possess is a unique playing style, with flair and feeling (except maybe MAB, not a big fan).

I'd recommend forming a playing style that is thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. Not as fast as possible, or widest intervals physically playable, but audibly enjoyable. It doesn't matter if you play at 160bpm in sixteenth notes if it sounds robotic and lifeless.

Guthrie Govan is, what I would say, an ideal guitarist. He can play any genre in any style, and you just can't tear your ears away.
#11
I know all of the "play with feeling" stuff, and im all for it, but right now im just trying to improve my chops. Im not saying that speed makes a great player, but I think I hold it higher than you do.
I believe playing guitar is about doing what you enjoy doing on the instrument, and while you enjoy music that may not be extremely technically demanding, I do, so I am working to get to the level to where I can play that style.

Guthrie Govan is the **** btw, and he plays fast as hell.

edit: im not a real believer in "natural ability", I think that while some peopl may pick it up easier, with enough practice anyone can do it.
Gibson SG Standard
Ibanez S2170FB
Peavey JSX
Marshall 1960A
TEXAS A&M
Last edited by sacamano79 at Mar 21, 2009,
#12
Quote by sacamano79
I know all of the "play with feeling" stuff, and im all for it, but right now im just trying to improve my chops. Im not saying that speed makes a great player, but I think I hold it higher than you do.
I believe playing guitar is about doing what you enjoy doing on the instrument, and while you enjoy music that may not be extremely technically demanding, I do, so I am working to get to the level to where I can play that style.

.


I love speed mate. Speed kicks ass. I can express with speed better than other techniques. Currently learning Curse of Castle Dragon, Norwegian Cowbell, and Technical Difficulties (all at 85%-90% full speed atm. Great fun).

There is a plateau everyone seems to reach which it takes a while to overcome. Your fingers will get stronger, more flexible and faster the more you practice, it just takes patience


And Guthrie is indeed the ****! The other point I was making about him is he doesn't have to play fast to command your attention. He is just plain amazing to listen to.

Also, if you combine speed with what seems to be an expanding knowledge of music theory as it applies to guitar, you're likely to be one hell of a guitarist, so keep it up!
#13
Quote by ljohn

Also, if you combine speed with what seems to be an expanding knowledge of music theory as it applies to guitar, you're likely to be one hell of a guitarist, so keep it up!


not to hijack my own thread, but yea, he is quite possibly one the best guitar players I have ever heard because not only can he play fast as hell, he actually uses it in a sensible way. That is VERY hard to come by, and that is really my goal as a musician is not only to play the instrument well, but use it in a sensible way. For real, even the greats like malmsteen and gilbert (and especially MAB) get caried away with it a lot of times.

I know my theory pretty well, but have a really hard time applying it.However im sure that will come with time and a LOT of improv practice.
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#14
This works for lots of things, not just guitar.

sometimes you should just put the guitar down for a minute, and instead of trying to work it out with your fingers, visualise it in your head, the movement of your fingers on both hands. It sounds real easy too but sometimes you can't get it down in your head. I've lay in bed sometimes getting so frustrated coz i cant get it right in my own head but it sort of makes sense i guess, if you don't know exactly how something should look, how are you supposed to do it? it's not instant but you'll improve faster at least.


and for your picking speed, i haven't tried this yet but I read it on UG last night and it makes sense, pick as fast as you can, not trem picking but picking as if it's individual notes, if that makes sense, and whatever speed you can get there is your maximum speed, and then you've got to bring your fretting hand up to it. But you said that your picking hand is the problem, so probably it works in reverse, fret the passage as fast as you can without picking it, it's probably insanely fast and too fast to pick, but that's your maximum speed fretting. I'm pulling this bit out of my arse now but maybe, if you slow it down till its about 10bpm faster than you can play, now just keep practicing at that speed trying to get your picking up to it. that's sort of the same idea as gradually increasing the metronome.

good luck, ive got the same problem, and it helps to keep in mind that when you want to play a solo, not shredding but playing fastish, you can sound a lot faster in a song with some distortion, hammer-ons and pull-offs, bends, slides and other techniques that aren't so hard, maybe listen to some solos and you'll find some where if you listen closely, its not as fast as you first thought, i don't know what you listen to but the best example I can think of is the band Airbourne.
#15
Thanks for the advice, ill try out the things you mentioned.

yea, I know what you mean by "sounding fast". Look at the solo ride the lighting, it sounds really fast, but its just a bunch of pull offs and whatnot, picking is really easy in that song.
Gibson SG Standard
Ibanez S2170FB
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Marshall 1960A
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#16
If you've been working on it for a long time, and don't feel like you're getting anywhere, try going back to basics. Look at your finger movement and your picking motion and see if you can spot any flaws, and work on improving your economy of motion rather than trying to get faster. And record yourself if you don't already - record yourself again doing the same exercise in a month or so and then play them both back. You should be able to see the improvements then, even if you don't feel like you've improved when you are practicing.
#17
Try different picks. Alot of the speed pickers tend to favor the Dunlop Jazz III's. They're small, and the point makes for less resistance. I don't care for them as far as size, but i love the point. Then I found Jazz III XL's....same size as a regular pick, but with the point. Found them to be too thick, a little too much resistance. Then I happened upon the Planet Waves Black Ice picks....80mm. They're in between the Jazz III's and the XL's, but the thickness of a regular pick. For me, they're perfection. Now that's not saying they're good for you.

The best thing that ever came along for me was the Dunlop Stylus pick. It's a pick, but only for training. Look them up on Ebay. They're not always there, but keep checking. Buy these, and you may unlock something. They helped me in less than a week.
#18
just don't be one of those people who just shred up and down the neck, it gets old. Use speed responsibly. Play fast, but have some variety sometimes.
#19
Quote by fretboarddragon
Try different picks. Alot of the speed pickers tend to favor the Dunlop Jazz III's. They're small, and the point makes for less resistance. I don't care for them as far as size, but i love the point. Then I found Jazz III XL's....same size as a regular pick, but with the point. Found them to be too thick, a little too much resistance. Then I happened upon the Planet Waves Black Ice picks....80mm. They're in between the Jazz III's and the XL's, but the thickness of a regular pick. For me, they're perfection. Now that's not saying they're good for you.

The best thing that ever came along for me was the Dunlop Stylus pick. It's a pick, but only for training. Look them up on Ebay. They're not always there, but keep checking. Buy these, and you may unlock something. They helped me in less than a week.


Yea I recently switched to jazz II's, they feel great, so much clearer tone and control! I will look into those stylus picks.

just don't be one of those people who just shred up and down the neck, it gets old. Use speed responsibly. Play fast, but have some variety sometimes.

That is my goal as a guitarist/musician, hit the nail right on the head
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#20
I've never had a lesson, and never will.
From day one i picked the guitar up and improvised, then learn songs.
I still do that today pick it up and play whatever, don't limit yourself to certain warm ups etc.
I see myself improving, maybe that's just my style.
#21
Quote by benmcele
I've never had a lesson, and never will.
From day one i picked the guitar up and improvised, then learn songs.
I still do that today pick it up and play whatever, don't limit yourself to certain warm ups etc.
I see myself improving, maybe that's just my style.

Exactly what I do...Tried out the excersice thing but it wasn't for me I guess! So I just play songs, this way I have much more fun, I improve my skills and learn new songs...
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