#1
I figure it be best if I introduce myself before I begin explaining my troubles considering that I'm new here I understand not everyone is interested, so if you're not interested then skip the text in quotes.

Hello forum, I'm Kamil (or just boogyman if you so prefer) and I think I've been playing guitar for a good total of some 3-4 years (if not five... I lost count XD). I'm a programmer and I personally like studying things computer/logic related as those are the topics where I find myself to excel. For the first two years of playing have been pretty harsh for me and I've been really learning things the hard way. For some reason, I really don't like having teachers, and it's not that I think I'll outsmart them (I'm not full of myself and I know that I'm light years away from being able to do that) but it's more so because I'm impatient, or was back then anyway (when I was about 13-15). I got my first guitar (an electric First Act for 50 bucks of which I destroyed the "electric" part) somewhere around there which came with a nice book with an introduction to some chords and some basics. Guitar Hero II introduced me to something really new. I've pretty much entered the metal genre from there (as previously I've hated everything metal related). So off I go, look up Buckethead (considering Jordan was the hardest song on there) and then I looked up how I can improve my playing speed to that kind of level. The answer I found was "practice slow, progress to fast," which was true, but as I am finding out now, was far from the whole truth. Soon enough I began my painful escapade (<- ok, this word just popped into my mind when I was writing this sentence and I forgot I ever even heard it, let alone knew the definition of it... I looked it up, and get this, the definition is :a usually adventurous action that runs counter to approved or conventional conduct ... i have no idea how that happened) to try and become the awesome shredder that I wanted to be. Soon enough, my pick would shoot lightning and my fingers would be the study subject of quantum physicists... or so was the goal anyway >.> At this point, I've been playing with very bad technique. The muscles in the fingers in my left hand were so tight that I could substitute them for strings on my guitar and I was anchoring my right hand with two fingers while tensing my elbow to allow the "twitch" to do the picking. Oh god I can't believe I didn't get some kind of tendon injury (which I think I did because I can sometimes feel it when I work out even though I shouldn't be).
Later on, about 2 or so years later, I decided to get a better guitar. I came home with a 100$ B.C. Rich (guess why I bought it... just a wild guess). My problem with the guitar was very simple: it countered my anchored position. The neck of the guitar met the body at about a 5-10 degree angle (unlike a normal guitar where it would be parallel) so the strings were elevated. Now I can't reach the low strings! At that point I wondered "who the f*** made this guitar," but at the same time I couldn't believe that a manufacturer would make a guitar that was unplayable like that. That's when I found out about anchoring and all that good stuff, so now I have to change my technique to a floating hand. Of course, that didn't go too well either because the anchor pretty much left me with a body tight as a snare drum and instead of fixing it, I plowed right through it. Then I decided to get rid of the guitar because I thought it was the cause of all my problems and I got a fairly decent Ibanez. Now, I forgot to mention it, but all this time I've actually been playing without an amp because all I had was this little POS first act thingy which sounds just god awful and it was a lot more pleasing to my ears to hear my guitar acoustically than to hear it through that amp. Either way, after a year of attempting to increase my speed, I think I've actually decreased it (having switched to an unanchored position with all that tension is a whole different story). Then, after all this trouble, I just quit on the guitar overall. I played it from time to time when I was bored, kind of casually. I got a classic somewhere down the line so I played that guitar more often. Now, however, a year after I quit, I'm restoring my attempts to better up my chops. I'm currently 17 so my patience may have grew a little and I've become anal about getting things down the "right way." Before I began practicing again, I've decided to do hard based research reading as many opinions as I could and dismissing what I thought was bullshit and putting what people had to say to a test. I've stumbled onto shredaholics.com where I found a guy called Tom Hess who offered a 14 day free course on improving speed so I said what the hell, why not. I've tried a few of the exercises that he had in the course and I've noticed that they actually worked, but they still weren't complete; however, I found that what he said was vastly true. To paraphrase, it went something along the lines was "practicing in order to move your hands faster is a waste of time. Your hands are already capable of moving at those speeds, what you need to do now is figure out what in your technique is stopping you from moving that fast." At that point I realized that my right hand was suffering from a very terribly neglected technique and my left hand was hammering on the strings all at the same time completely out of sync with my picking. I then tried to fix those mistakes but I found there was still something missing. I knew what was causing the problem, but I couldn't figure out how I should go about fixing it. Then I somehow came upon Jamie Andreas, who literally helped me improve my tremolo picking from about a 80 bpm to 130 bpm (16th notes). Of course, my performance was still shaky and sometimes I could do it, other days I couldn't, but just about a year ago or before I applied her techniques, I couldn't do it at all! So what the hell, progress is progress, am I right damn it? So now, this is where I'm at, and I'm currently trying to work on my tremolo. And here is my dilema.


Ok, so the problem is as follows. When I was trying to improve my picking technique, I came about a certain position (or motion rather) that doesn't exactly seem correct to me, but it's just about the most comfortable thing I found. I mean, from the quick tests that I ran with it at higher speeds and I find my limit to be in the range of 130 bpm, yet I find it works quite well actually. I feel virtually no tension when my hand is moving (only when I hit the strings, which is what it's supposed to do) and all of that while I actually feel this is what I'm supposed to do. I looked at it in the mirror and it looks as if I was using only my wrist, but I could swear that I'm also moving my fingers. My hand is moving in an oscillatory motion (with a slight bit of translation) but I'm directing it with... my fingers??? I have to be honest, I don't know if it's my fingers creating some kind of momentum and taking my wrist along or if I'm merely changing the position of the pick while doing the actual picking motion with my hand. Out of all techniques I've tried (tilting my hand, 1000 ways to hold a pick, various angles to the strings, etc. etc.) I find that this one is the one I feel the most comfortable with. That on the other hand isn't saying much. When I first started to play guitar I felt best with anchoring, which I found out later was not a particularly beneficial thing to do and now after years of floating I can't even do it anymore (thank god for that!). So I want to ask the forum, does anybody here use a similar way of picking?
#2
TL;DR- The guy wants to pick faster.
Find a good technique that works and doesn't lead to bad habits, practice very very slowly until you get faster. There isn't a secret technique one of us is going to tell you that'll suddenly make you a better player. Find a technique that works properly and practice.
Quote by metaldood91
Hi. Can someone tell me which guitars are real 24 fret guitars and which are just 22 fret guitars with 2 extra frets added on?


http://www.youtube.com/user/Joeseffel


Quote by smcstoronto1234

So very true...
#3
That's what I'm attempting to find, a good technique that works and doesn't lead to bad habits. I'm not asking for magic tricks or secret hidden techniques, but more of an evaluation of the technique I found. I'd love to pick faster, but I don't, so I thought it'd be a good idea to do something about it and ask some folks for some advice maybe ;]
#4
I hear what you're saying. Not everybody's nerves, tendons and muscles are developed in the same way and so finding a comfortable and viable position from which to pick is an individual struggle. If you look at a thousand players a good chunk of them are going to have their unique way of doing things.

The big things you need to do, though, are keeping your hands relaxed (which will allow the movements to flow as they should) and think in terms of efficiency. Your picking motion should be short and compact so you don't waste any time between notes. There should also be as few moving parts as possible, ideally just using your wrist to drive the pick through the string. You shouldn't be moving your fingers while you pick unless you're either a hybrid (pick and fingers) or fingerstyle player.

I personally anchor the heel of my hand on the saddles of the bridge (except on my Rhoads because the Floyd Rose is sensitive to hand pressure), which enables me to mute strings easily and I just rotate my wrist to pick, but I also play almost exclusively sitting down. Playing standing up is another beast entirely in terms of how your hands and body are going to want to arrange everything to make execution of the music possible.

Also, not anchoring your hand seems would be putting a lot of pressure on the muscles in your forearm and that could create injury problems down the road.

So start with the basics and don't overthink it. Find a position that is comfortable and that allows your hand to get a free range of motion through all the strings. Keep your guitar resting on your leg and don't let it lay flat because then your wrist has to overstretch to fret and it isn't a very natural picking position, either. Do a lot of scale work with a metronome and be primarily focused on accuracy and staying in time. The speed will come as you build coordination. However, there will also be times when you will need to take a day long break from guitar to give your brain a chance to wire itself to tell your hands what you want them to do.

Also, if your hand starts feeling fatigued, you need to knock off for the day. Ignoring that tiredness or playing through pain will lead to possible nerve or muscle damage.

The improvement will be incremental and you will have to learn to like each gradual increase in facility because you aren't going to be a virtuoso overnight. Be patient and work at it and you'll do fine.
#5
go to youtube and try to analyse the picking motion of your favourite player. I found Paul Gilbert's picking the best. He rests his wrist above the strings and doesn't anchor with his fingers.
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#6
Pick from your wrist in most situations, you may feel your thumb and index finger contributing little bit too, which is fine. When you start to pick faster, don't be afraid of a little bit of tension in your right arm, although tensing it deliberately isn't recommended. You should try to pick in small concise motions, not moving too far from the strings when possible. Teach yourself to change strings on both an upstroke and a downstroke, something I still have a little bit of trouble with. Check out this video for more information:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4POc2f25wbA&feature=channel_video_title
The guy has loads of videos on picking, just go to his uploads tab on his channel and search "picking"
Good luck!
Quote by metaldood91
Hi. Can someone tell me which guitars are real 24 fret guitars and which are just 22 fret guitars with 2 extra frets added on?


http://www.youtube.com/user/Joeseffel


Quote by smcstoronto1234

So very true...
#7
@CrawlingHorror, Practicing to be relaxed is something I've neglected for a very long time. At the moment I'm trying to relearn the very basics which means I've slowed waaay down (we're taking in the range of 20-30 bpm) so that I can control every fiber of muscle when I play. I'm going to go through all the aspects and mechanics of my technique and make it as flawless and refined as I can. Then I'm going to crank the speed to where ever I'm comfortable and progress gradually from there. Trust me, I've been through this already I've been studying programming for 3 years before I could make a Tic-Tac-Toe game, and even now I'm struggling to make a 2D platformer (playing guitar is a hobby, programming is the real deal for me ) so if it takes me that long to develop the skills in which I find myself to have a preposition, I'm sure practicing guitar will be a whole new adventure. Also, on the anchoring, I'm not a particularly big fan. The way I anchor (with the ring and pinky fingers), I find a whole lot of resistance in my playing and a bouncy motion from my fingers. Three fingers is... impossible, and just the pinky doesn't really do anything... it just proves to be a nuisance because it gets in the way. As far as anchoring the palm, I don't really know. I tried it once and it does give me a little bit of an edge when I pick a single string, but when it comes to changing the posture, it just doesn't work too well. For me, a floating hand is the best all-round general approach. Besides, I play the guitar in a classical position because I'm so used to it so even touching the bridge is a no no

@hames jetfield, my favorite guitarist is Buckethead, but when I watched his technique, I thought he switches his technique a little between shredding and normal playing. I notice when he's playing live, he has little gaps in between shred and the slower playing and there really isn't too much in between. The player who's technique is closest to mine is Paul Gilbert, so when I need to get an idea of where to start, I look him up

@WarriorArtist94, I gave the picking another run and it turns out, the fingers aren't actually not really moving all that much. They're kind of "initiators" for the general motion of my wrist. It's hard to explain, but the best way to explain it is to think of it like when you're writing. You think you're moving your fingers, but in reality, your index and thumb are locked (provided you write with those two fingers) and instead the motion is coming from the wrist. I think I'm actually going to stick with this picking technique in that event. I'll see where it takes me.
#8
That's how you should be picking in fairness, it's a good way of doing things and it allows for more concise motions, which are always good.
Quote by metaldood91
Hi. Can someone tell me which guitars are real 24 fret guitars and which are just 22 fret guitars with 2 extra frets added on?


http://www.youtube.com/user/Joeseffel


Quote by smcstoronto1234

So very true...
#9
Quote by CrawlingHorror

Also, not anchoring your hand seems would be putting a lot of pressure on the muscles in your forearm and that could create injury problems down the road.


How'd you come to that conclusion?! If your hand ISN'T tensing up to fix itself to a specific point on the guitar, but is instead is floating freely, how can that possibly be putting more strain on your forearm?

There is no extra pressure being created...or are you saying that it puts a lot of pressure on your forearm to hold your arm in one place?

...how heavy are your arms, dude?!