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Legion6789
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2009
60 IQ
#1
I've been trying to improve my alt picking speed for about 6 weeks now. I've moved through 3 different exercises, a major scale like over the b and e strings that cycles back on itself, a chromatic 1-2-3-4 exercise and a triplet exercise also over the b and e strings. I've tried to keep the exercises fairly simple and elemental so I can get my absolute fastest speed under the best conditions short of just playing on one string.

However I can't break sixteenths at 100bpm. It's so slow, but any faster and synchronization starts to break down. I'm not sure if it's the left or the right hand falling behind.

I feel like it really keeps me back from playing a lot of the stuff I'd like to play.

I'm not sure what I should use to try and improve, keep doing these exercises, switching them out every 2 weeks or something else.

The only other thing I could think of was to switch to doing legato exercises and try to improve my speed in that area and then try to bring in the picking after.
Freepower
v It's Back! :D
Join date: Feb 2004
479 IQ
#3
I'd try practicing more complex exercises - trying to get exercises so you can "get your fastest speed under your best condition" is useless.

You want to improve small aspects of your picking with each exercise.

6 weeks isn't really all that much - how many hours practice each week?
Legion6789
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2009
60 IQ
#4
Freepower:
2 to 3 hours per night.

tenfold:
Bursting? Maybe. Describe what you mean, but I think so. Just got Rock Discipline, haven't watched it yet though.

More complex exercises... Is speed kind of like boiling a pot of water? If you're focused on it, it won't come, but if you just work on other things it just happens?
Moonshield17
whiskey in the jar
Join date: Apr 2007
50 IQ
#5
It happens over time, yes. But throughout this time you have to be watching yourself and fixing your mistakes. If you can't break 100bpm, go back to like 50bpm and see what you're doing wrong. Fix it, and then build up the speed again. If you still can't break it, then repeat the process. go back down, fix it, build up again.
tenfold
Ibanez Supporter
Join date: Sep 2008
42 IQ
#6
Don't focus on speed too much, because it will come with accuracy and relaxation.
If you watch Rock Discipline, you'll see what I mean by bursting. You can find it on Google video it's 2 hours but really worth it.
In_Black_Flames
UG's Chosen One
Join date: Apr 2004
40 IQ
#7
Quote by Freepower
I'd try practicing more complex exercises - trying to get exercises so you can "get your fastest speed under your best condition" is useless.

You want to improve small aspects of your picking with each exercise.

6 weeks isn't really all that much - how many hours practice each week?


Definitely this. Find a practice that you struggle with and improve its speed. First, focus on accuracy at a low tempo though. If you notice something else giving you problems, try to find an exercise that focuses on that.

Watch videos on youtube of your favorite guitarist and watch their hands/arms/posture. It is hard to fix what you are doing wrong if you don't know what it is. Watch the way your position your left hand, the way your hold the pick, etc.. Find out what you could be doing wrong, and try to improve your playing on different exercises. Over time, the exercises you worked on before will become much easier.
brothertupelo
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2005
10 IQ
#8
my advice is just have fun and learn the fretboard and don't worry too much about speed. i mean, push yourself when you want to, but don't get consumed with it. it comes with time and comfort.
fixationdarknes
RR addict
Join date: Feb 2007
380 IQ
#9
Quote by Moonshield17
It happens over time, yes. But throughout this time you have to be watching yourself and fixing your mistakes. If you can't break 100bpm, go back to like 50bpm and see what you're doing wrong. Fix it, and then build up the speed again. If you still can't break it, then repeat the process. go back down, fix it, build up again.


Orly
Moonshield17
whiskey in the jar
Join date: Apr 2007
50 IQ
#10
Quote by fixationdarknes
Orly


Yarly. I learned from the pros

og ja, jeg vet du savner meg.
Freepower
v It's Back! :D
Join date: Feb 2004
479 IQ
#11
Is speed kind of like boiling a pot of water? If you're focused on it, it won't come, but if you just work on other things it just happens?




I usually find that, yep.

If you work on relaxation, clarity, accuracy, complex string jumps and a good sound you'll find that your picking improves - and it may get faster as well.
RDSElite
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2009
70 IQ
#12
Burst it and have patience.
I've "waited" a very long time to get past 120.
I can do 150 now and still working on it.
I do not want to have a signature anymore.
Minion2580
Banned
Join date: Sep 2008
20 IQ
#13
whenever i pick fast, i rest my picking hand on the strings above the strings im picking. Its like palm muting, except your not picking the strings your muting
Last edited by Minion2580 at Dec 18, 2009,
Techofthegods
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2009
80 IQ
#14
I have had the same problem with hand syncronization breaking down at higher speeds. I too tried a bunch of different things to try to improve this.

My advice is to always keep your pick depth (how far the pick is past the outer-edge of the string) and picking hand vertical movement in the back of your head at all times.
You can adjust both of these slightly as you practice, as I have found this really helps you get a better feel of playing.
In my experience the only sure-fire way to get beyond that speed barrier is to stay disciplined, practice as much as possible and after a while your hand sync will be sufficient and higher speed capabilities will manifest.

Good luck
Even Bigger D
CAE/Soldano Fan
Join date: Dec 2009
110 IQ
#15
You might try playing some actual songs, perhaps ones that aren't full of 16th notes above 100BPM. The idea of sitting there practicing 1234 patterns and the like for 2-3 hours a day for 6 months is absurd and makes me kind of sad to think anyone would waste their time on it.

What's happing here is that you have no sense of rhythm. So synchronization doesn't come naturally - you have to think about it. And that breaks down when you go to fast. The solution is to develop a strong sense of rhythm, and the way you do that is by playing with other people and having to play in time as a result. Metronomes are a substitute, but a very poor one. Drum machines are a little better, but still bad.

Here's your misson: forget every silly speed exercise you've ever learned. Go find a band. Learn 50 songs with a variety of groves - rock, latin, 16th note funk, shuffle, western swing, 3/4 waltz whatever. Always play the rhythm part. Focus on playing in the groove. THEN, you'll have a sense of rhythm and can come back and try to play single note lines fast.

Trying to do it the other way around is musical suicide. Even if you succeed, you will sound stiff and groove-less. More likely you will simply fail.
GMW hot-rod telecaster
GMW soloist
PRS Custom 24
The Illegal Les Paul
CAE 3+SE
Soldano SM-100R
Splawn 4x12

“Life is on the wire…the rest is just waiting” - Papa Wallenda
Substitute the stage for the wire, and he's got it.
se012101
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2008
10 IQ
#16
Exercises are great for working specific kinks out of your playing, but Even Bigger D is right - you need a wider variety of stuff - songs - to work on. That will be especially effective if you combine that with the exercises - but focusing the exercises on fixing problems you notice from working on songs.

He is also right about the rhythm/timing thing being most likely being behind the lack of sync between your hands. Think about it like this - the picking hand is the driver, the fretting hand is the slave which eventually matches it's timing up to the picking hand. Now if the driver is unsteady and goes in and out of time, then the fretting hand has to keep modifying it's timing to match. It's like you have a moving goal post.
Even Bigger D
CAE/Soldano Fan
Join date: Dec 2009
110 IQ
#17
That's an excellent way of putting it.
GMW hot-rod telecaster
GMW soloist
PRS Custom 24
The Illegal Les Paul
CAE 3+SE
Soldano SM-100R
Splawn 4x12

“Life is on the wire…the rest is just waiting” - Papa Wallenda
Substitute the stage for the wire, and he's got it.
hippieboy444
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2006
605 IQ
#18
Quote by Freepower


I usually find that, yep.

If you work on relaxation, clarity, accuracy, complex string jumps and a good sound you'll find that your picking improves - and it may get faster as well.


What are some complex string jumps? just to interject
Moonshield17
whiskey in the jar
Join date: Apr 2007
50 IQ
#20
Quote by Freepower
It's pretty much what it says on the tin. Sequence some arpeggios and see what happens. If you can't do that then you don't need to worry about complex string jumps anyway.


Is this an example of complex string jumps?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------------4------------------------------------|
--7-------------------5------7------------5-------------------------------|
----0-0-0-0-0-0-0----------------------------------------------7-------5-------3---|
-------------------------3-3----3-3----3-----3-3-3-3-3-3-3-----3-3-----3-3---3-|
fixationdarknes
RR addict
Join date: Feb 2007
380 IQ
#21
Quote by Moonshield17
Is this an example of complex string jumps?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------------4------------------------------------|
--7-------------------5------7------------5-------------------------------|
----0-0-0-0-0-0-0----------------------------------------------7-------5-------3---|
-------------------------3-3----3-3----3-----3-3-3-3-3-3-3-----3-3-----3-3---3-|


Lol trusting the moonlight.
Freepower
v It's Back! :D
Join date: Feb 2004
479 IQ
#22
Erm, not really.

I'd consider something like this

-----------------------------------------------|
-----------------------------------------------|
-------------------------------10---------9----|
-----11-14-11----12-15-12----9----9----10---10-|
--12----------12----------10--------10---------|
-----------------------------------------------|


                                               
--------------------------------------14-17~--|
--------------------------------12-15---------|
--------------------14-------13---------------|
--------15-12----------13-14------------------|
--10-15-------15-12---------------------------|
----------------------------------------------|


More challenging.
juckfush
UG's Fancy Antsy-Lope!
Join date: Sep 2007
337 IQ
#23
Freepower, I always see you post that somewhere! I'm sure it's in the huge exercises folder from the exercises thread, but what's the name of the piece again? Thanks in advance.
Freepower
v It's Back! :D
Join date: Feb 2004
479 IQ
#25
Well spotted, it is indeed. I don't think I've posted that bit before either btw.

---------------------------------------------|
-----13----------12----------10--------8-----|
--------12----------10----------9--------7---|
--14-------14-12-------12-10------10-9-----9-|
---------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------|


                                   
----------------------------------|
----6-------6-------6--------8----|
------5-------5-------4--------9--|
--7-----7-6-----6-5-----5-10------|
----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|


Try THAT with just a pick.
se012101
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2008
10 IQ
#26
Honestly, that entire song has got to be one of the best and most challenging alt picking workouts on the planet. I just started playing it again recently after having left it alone for a couple of years.

Though given that the TS is having some trouble with licks on two strings, this might be a bit too much too soon for him, IMO. I think what the TS is practicing, getting some more songs in there notwithstanding, could be productive. The problem in my mind is pushing the speed on them. There's no reason to push the speed on exercises that much, it's not like they are part of a song that you want to get up to tempo. Just play them at whatever speed that will let you get the technique benefits.
Freepower
v It's Back! :D
Join date: Feb 2004
479 IQ
#27
Oh, absolutely, that song's WAY beyond him. For him the point is that the attitude towards speed needs to change and that the exercises he's doing aren't actually helpful.

Since then we've gone a bit off topic.

But yeah, exercises imho just don't suit the temperament of about 80% of guitarists. At the minute I'm writing some etudes which should cover small technical ideas but still be musical and fun - and importantly, be challenging and interesting at a normal tempo.
juckfush
UG's Fancy Antsy-Lope!
Join date: Sep 2007
337 IQ
#28
Ah, I knew it sounded familiar Cheers! I could have sworn you posted it somewhere else, but ah wells

And to that second phrase I like! I'm finding that to transition, I'm just bringing my ring finger down to cater for the root and rolling it down for the highest note, and my middle and index fingers take care of their respective frets, but for the change between the G#6 and G dominant 7 I'm staying in position, then jumping to the 10th fret with my index. I've been trying it with alternate, economy and hybrid picking for maximum value! It's definitely a fun one.
If any of that made sense, do you think that's a logical approach?
Last edited by juckfush at Dec 19, 2009,
juckfush
UG's Fancy Antsy-Lope!
Join date: Sep 2007
337 IQ
#30
Quote by Freepower
I'd go with ring for the tenth fret at the end if I've understood you correctly - are you refingering those last two notes?

Ah, my bad, I'm using the ring for the 10th fret I'm staying strictly positional for all the arpeggios.
se012101
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2008
10 IQ
#32
^Not bad at all. Better than I could get it for sure - though I always used straight alt picking on it (mostly for the challenge, and also my hybrid picking isn't great - it's sufficient for noodly stuff, but not anything really challenging).
Freepower
v It's Back! :D
Join date: Feb 2004
479 IQ
#33
If you're serious about it I'd definitely go hybrid for it, hybrid makes it easy and I much prefer the sound off it.

I had a go at the monster arpeggio/scale intro recently, actually didn't find it too hard apart from my own stupid lack of fingerings for the harmonic minor scale. Might actually nail this piece in the next decade.
juckfush
UG's Fancy Antsy-Lope!
Join date: Sep 2007
337 IQ
#34
At first I really liked using strict alternate picking, but it felt a tad awkward and clumsy. But to be honest, since I tried your method I can't seem to go back! I was busy trying to cram my middle and ring fingers into my hybrid picking approach, so that it was a D r m U affair - very cramped!
I do find that hybrid picking offers such a great tone though, much smoother and natural than strict picking, which is why I finally decided to do something about it and start practicing it a couple weeks back (that, and I love Guthrie Govan's and Greg Howe's tone).

And the clip's great, don't worry! I love the slight popping sound you gave to the higher notes of the arpeggios - very slick, and it gives some variety to the tonal qualities of the piece. I think I'll give it a shot!
Freepower
v It's Back! :D
Join date: Feb 2004
479 IQ
#35
Yeah, I loves that pop. This is one of those licks you always think will work out better with two fingers but one seems to do the job better.

The thing about hybrid picking, sweeping, eco, all that stuff is sometimes even if you're rubbish at them (like I am at all of the above) there's still licks that are ten times easier with them. It doesn't take much work to develop some facility with them either, specially hybrid picking in my experience.
se012101
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2008
10 IQ
#36
I'll have a play with hybrid picking that bit and see how it works out. I haven't got to relearning that part yet - I've just been working on the first 16 bars for the last few days. I think I'm going to take it slow this time, just give it 20 mins a day steadily. The last time around I was in too much hurry to get it down, and wound up forcing it. It will be interesting to see what effect 2 more years practice on everything else will have had on it. Though I can tell already from the intro, it's coming quite a bit easier this go around.
juckfush
UG's Fancy Antsy-Lope!
Join date: Sep 2007
337 IQ
#37
Oh, definitely. I've found that with certain passages, I'll take the most logical approach to start off (like instantly opting to economy pick a standard A minor arpeggio shape for example), but if it's particularly difficult, I'll try out any and every possible strategy to nail it.

I'm really fond of the idea though, when possible, of using certain techniques for tonality rather than ease of playing, like using hybrid picking or legato for a smoother/more natural tone, and picking for accents and so on. I've gotten really obsessed with the concept of tone recently, so I guess I've grown a greater dependency on developing all my techniques, at least to an intermediate level, so I can act on that sort of idea.
Moonshield17
whiskey in the jar
Join date: Apr 2007
50 IQ
#38
sorry for the n00b question. but what's the difference between hybrid picking and economy picking? or better yet, what exactly is hybrid picking?
juckfush
UG's Fancy Antsy-Lope!
Join date: Sep 2007
337 IQ
#39
Hybrid picking involves using both your pick and remaining fingers of your picking hand to pick notes. It's sort of a hybrid between fingerstyle and picking, in other words. The tonal advantage is that you still have your pick in hand for a more ''mechanical'' tone, and your fingers are free for creating a more natural, smoother ''human'' tone. Plus, large interval jumps that you see in string skipping, for example, can be be performed with both the pick (for the lower register) and fingers (for the higher register).

Economy picking is similar to sweeping, in that if you're ascend up the strings - say, one note per string - you'd perform a continuous down stroke on each successive string. Likewise, if you were descending a one note per string pattern, you'd use one continuous up stroke. It follows the principle of economy of motion, in that if you minimize movements, due to keeping one single picking motion to perform notes on adjacent strings.
Of course, you can economy pick a two note per string lick like this:

G------5-7-----5-7
D-5-7----- 5-7

using an U D D U U D D U picking pattern, which would effectively minimize your picking motions. It's difficult to grasp, and there are limitations (in that licks have to be arranged for strict economy picking, such as an odd number of notes per string), but in certain situations, it may be preferable to use this approach.
I've never been able to explain economy picking well, so hopefully that's covered it, or somebody else comes in with a simpler, more accurate explanation
Moonshield17
whiskey in the jar
Join date: Apr 2007
50 IQ
#40
oh no, that was fine, I already knew what economy picking was :p Just wasn't so sure about the hybrid picking...which sounds tough imo, but perhaps that's because I've never tried finger picking anyway. Thanks for explaining
Last edited by Moonshield17 at Dec 20, 2009,
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