#1
Hi!
A short story to make it easier for you to find my problem.
I am playing for exactly 2 years practicing almost everyday for 2-13 hours.
At start I made a big mistake (was using whole my arm in order to pick faster) but I corrected that like 5 months ago and since then my picking is way more effortless.I started to use my wrist and forearm (sometimes,but rarely elbow)
I am influenced by Michael Angelo Batio and my goal since I picked up the guitar for the first time was to learn No Boundaries.I was and I am working on alternate picking (I've picked the fast alternate picking patterns from NB and worked on them) but I've got really annoyed today.At start I was sure I have to practice fast in order to play fast but now its obvious for me that was a huge mistake.since about 2 months I've started to practice slowly (using the 21 days challenge too) and I've managed to "master" (playing it cleanly without mistakes for 20~ times in a row) 2 of the 4 patterns I am working on.The point is I am stuck at a certain speed and I cant get over it.By 'cant get over it' I mean if I try to get it to a higher level my wrist gets blocked by tension.The weird thing for me is that its the exact speed I've achieved when I was doing it wrong (picking with whole arm) I highly doubt I am still doing it wrong (no pain,no tension 'above' my elbow) I am fully aware that No Boundaries is a really hard song and its way over my playing level but its just an example-I've had similiar problem while working on A7X solo from the song 'Scream' and Panteras 'Domination' I was watching both my right and left hand in order to find possible reasons but I didnt notice anything.I keep the pick very close to strings and my left hand close to the fretboard.I've also lowered my strings so theres very small space between them and fretboard.
I am kinda out of ideas what might be wrong so faith in you UG'ers
Thanks in advance.


edit:also a friend of mine suggested my body and mind might be tired of it and suggested 2-3 days break.Whats is your opinion about it?
Last edited by Recon _/ at Sep 12, 2010,
#2
A 2-3 day break is definitely a good idea, especially if you're practicing a lot every day. This summer I went to a festival for 4 days, didn't even look at a guitar during that period. When I came back I was fresh, well rested, playing just felt effortless.

As for fast picking, the single most important thing you HAVE to do to play fast is to relax. If you're tensing up - you're doing it wrong. Relax both your picking AND fretting hands - your touch should be light. The easiest way to relax your picking hand is to grip the pick very lightly, and the rest of the hand will follow.

Also, stop trying to play No Boundaries everyday - play something different, practice scales. Come up with 3-4 note per string patterns across the fretboard that you can play, and try to play them as fast and clean as possible (obviously spend a few minutes first familiarising yourself with them).

Hope this helped.
#3
I will take a 3 days break then and try to play completly relaxed (I was tensing up my wrist when I wanted to increase the speed)
Thank you,I hope it will help
#4
Quote by Recon _/
Hi!
The point is I am stuck at a certain speed and I cant get over it.By 'cant get over it' I mean if I try to get it to a higher level my wrist gets blocked by tension.


Just a guess, but maybe you are trying to make too far of a jump when you increase tempo? If you can play it perfectly and tension-free at some tempo, then you must be able to play it the exact same way one BPM faster. Yes?

Some people follow this theory and always increase only one BPM at a time. Personally, I think that's not really necessary... but there's nothing inherently wrong with it. Regardless, you should only increase tempo as much as you can handle for this moment. Any more than that (i.e. start feeling rushed and tense) will defeat the whole purpose of practicing slow.

So keep playing the figure at the comfortable tempo, until it actually "feels slow" and routine, even boring. (There is no set time for this) You just gotta know that it's no longer challenging and that your technique is perfect. When you get there consistenly... that's when you might want to increase the speed.
How much increase you won't know until you try... there's no pre-determined increase that you are ready for. It's important to understand and accept that.

Experiment with a variety of tempos from a 1 BPM increase - all the way up to a fast tempo that introduces tension, so you know the range. Your next practice tempo lies somewhere in between those extremes.

When you find the approximate tempo that still feels comfortable like before, but it doesn't feel as slow as before. That should be the next tempo you stick with for a while... until that one starts to feel slow and easy. Repeat the cycle.

Tip: a good way to figure out the next tempo is to turn your metronome away from you if possible so you don't know the BPM.
BPM is completely arbitrary to your real goal... and it can cloud judegment when you are mentally fixated on BPM numbers.

You seem dedicated, so increasing at the right pace should most definitely pay off for you soon enough.... It just doesn't happen overnight. Good luck.
#5
I like to take a break for a day maybe once every week and a half. Time to do other fun stuff and just not have to think about your playing. Something I think helps is play immediately in the morning,and prior to bedtime. This allows you to be warmed up during your entire waking period, and get your hands in the motions right before your mind reboots.

Don't worry, I am sure you are making magnificent progress.It's hard to see it sometimes, change happens over months not hour to hour.
BTW, your thread should be titled "Increasing the accuracy-I is stuck."
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#6
Well I was learning the trooper solo like a week ago or for the pit contest till my finger got broke, anyway, at the time I had problems with the first bluesy fast lick at ~75 bpms at the time. Anyway finger broke and I didn't play for a while. Was playing some Vivaldi four season Summer now and decided I should check out the trooper solo again. Anyway that part at 75bmp was easy now, I switched it up to 95 and got it up to 115 of clean playing in like half an hour so now I feel really accomplished. 40 bpm to go.

So now that I stopped bragging, ye you need to take some time to let all the stuff sink in.
#7
You practice thirteen hours straight? I would advise against this and simply practice at your own pace. Sometimes it is better for the mind to practice less than more. Take a couple days off and you will notice yourself even better than before (or at least it was that way for me).
#8
Same thing happened to me. I would suggest to either go back to your forearm technique since it's natural to you... or just totally forget about picking - do it without looking/thinking. It should make your arm more relaxed, only think about the fretting hand. This would be your most natural picking with the wrist.

As for practice... some picking techniques are so awkward to some people that you will hit a wall and stop progressing in terms of speed. If you can play fast for a small period... then you just need practice. If it's physically impossible for you to play fast with a certain technique... you might wanna change it or use two different techniques, because no matter how much you practice, you will, most of the time, be playing at the maximum speed you could before you put all the time into practicing.

Alot of people actually change the muscle movements they use to pick at a certain speed.

MAB picks the same fast as slow... if you use your forearm, chances are you will do this too. If you learn with your wrist, chances are you will use your forearm at higher speeds anyway (200BPM+).

Maybe it's possible with enough practice to break the limit with a picking technique that's not natural to you. But from what I've tried, I could pick 200BPM in 16ths with my wrist before practice, and I can now (just for a lot longer). But anything above that is back to forearm. If you can practice them both, and find a good transition point (will take more time but worth it).
#9
STOP PUSHING FOR SPEED

You can't control speed, it's not a skill, it's a result of the skills you have.

Don't try to edge up the metronome, back it down and work on the things that make up speed: coordination, economy of motion, relaxation and finger independence. That way your skills will increase and as a result your speed will increase but if you force it you'll damage your technique and possibly your body.
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#10
I've had 4 days break now,once im back from school I'll try out your hints,thank you everyone.