#1
I've been playing guitar for 3 and a half years now, and this is probably one of my biggest frustrations. After several hours of warming up/playing, the fastest i can ever pick seems to be straight 16th's at 180bpm on one string (on a good day).

For the past few months i recognized this as a problem that seems to be limiting me especially in the kind of style of music i play, and really started slowing down everything, analyzing my technique, making my movements VERY efficient and making sure my arm is always relaxed.

I pick with most of my movement from my wrist joint, however a little bit of movement is visible from my elbow joint. I know people who have been playing guitar for only a few months that can reach over 16th's at 200 bpm, and have seen videos of people playing over 200 bpm with a fairly uneconomical picking style and make it look easy. It feels like I've hit a major wall, one bigger than I've ever come across in my playing after committing a lot of time and consistency just to alternate picking and seen little to no results. My question is now, what could it be that I'm doing wrong? What other things besides consistent practice can i apply to help me?

tl;dr cant alternate pick as fast as I'd like, wondering how to make an improvement besides sheer consistent practice
#2
try different pick and strings combos. try playing things slowly, and staccato, and speed it up from there w/o a metronome. try for 32nd notes at a slower speed. start at 100 bpm with 32nd notes. then work your way up 5 bpm from there. if you can get 32nd's at 140, that's pretty metal... lol. who cares about 200bpm.
#3
I was talking in terms of 16th's. At my max speed, 16th's at 180 = 32nd at 90bpm.. 32nd at 100 is slow for you?
#4
Well, its practice thats required.

However some small things *might* be causing problem(most probably they won't be).
-Strings of lighter guage=loose strings. This kind of requires kind of *chasing* way to play. Though one feels it if hes playing with string of guage lower than hes used to.
-Picks with rounder edges like dunlop tortex. Picking fast with these never sounded to me. So, i switched to dunlop jazz 3s.

If its nott playing clean and that you actually can't reach it. I believe your way of picking not much economical. Like I use combined motion of wrist and elbow and sometime support my hand on pickguard with last 2 fingers( If I feel doing so). And playing at 200+ is no problem at all.
If the technique really is economical. Try some different practicing method like play 4 or 3 notes per string and continue towards higher strings(create a kind to small box of notes) at some tempo(like 160). Then play same at some increased tempo like +5-10(220 is reasonably fast). And this way progress onwards. And btw I'd prefer playing 16th notes(four note per beat) as 32nd notes(8 notes per beat) get hard to count with the beat if youre not used to.
Btw do use a metronome. as playing a fast burst of notes in start is easy but after that you loose the tempo without noticing (and even rythem sometimes).
#6
no, 32nd at 100 isn't slow it's fast lol, but varying the amount of notes per beat will help you control the movements. i was saying shorten the note value. nothing like practicing to make perfect. 3.5 years isn't a long time to play... it takes time to develop techniques.
#7
The main thing I found helped me was practising things that were very hard to pick - stuff you have to work hard to get to 100bpm, let alone 200. That and mass practice, obviously.

I know people who have been playing guitar for only a few months that can reach over 16th's at 200 bpm, and have seen videos of people playing over 200 bpm with a fairly uneconomical picking style and make it look easy.


Yeah, the former are just spazzing and the latter have practised their arses off.

Few people can pick well at that kind of speed. It's about thousands of hours of practice.
#8
You know it may actually be that you're just not meant to be that kind of player, identify the parts of your playing which come naturally and easily to you and see if you can build a cool style around that. That's much better, and more realistic, than killing yourself trying to do something which just isn't right for you. There are loads of amazing guitar players who can't pick fast but their phrasing, bending, vibrato and musicianship is just so delicious you can't stop listening to them.
#9
Quote by LennyB
You know it may actually be that you're just not meant to be that kind of player, identify the parts of your playing which come naturally and easily to you and see if you can build a cool style around that. That's much better, and more realistic, than killing yourself trying to do something which just isn't right for you. There are loads of amazing guitar players who can't pick fast but their phrasing, bending, vibrato and musicianship is just so delicious you can't stop listening to them.


So if you're not good at something naturally don't practice it?

Seems a bit mad to me. If you practice well you can become physically adept at anything on guitar.

I don't see anything wrong with playing to your strengths but that's no excuse for either being bad at or not practicing something.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Apr 5, 2011,