#1
I just cannot get any better. My right hand is a piece of junk. I'm not making idiotically big movements, indeed I'm making very economical movements, but I can't even down pick at anything faster than ~80 bpm 16ths. =\ it's just not getting any better. I can't figure out what to do. I can't play like anything. It's like as soon as I get to 84 I just tense up and I can't control it. It's been like this for weeks and weeks. And 80 doesn't feel fast at all to me. Totally relaxed with economic movements. But when I try to move up I just get nowhere.
#2
Post a video of you playing slowly and quickly, clean and with gain. We can't help at all unless we know what's wrong and frankly for that this post is useless.
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#3
Try alternate picking instead of down picking. See if you notice any speed improvements.

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#4
so why are you down picking everything again?
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#5
Yeah. Alternate pick aye. It will make it a tone easier to get faster.
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#6
Should've mentioned I'm going for metal rhythm work so downpicking is quite essential.

Actually I was wrong though, I can go about 14 measures at 95 bpm 16ths before I tense up.
#7
Quote by Eag1e
Should've mentioned I'm going for metal rhythm work so downpicking is quite essential.

Actually I was wrong though, I can go about 14 measures at 95 bpm 16ths before I tense up.


No its not

I play metal most of the time I'm playing and trust me, its for more economical to alternate pick everything. You get the same tone either way, its just easier with alternate picking. If you try to argue dynamics, you can get the same dynamics both ways so long as you know what you're doing. Work on your alternate picking.

My things:
Bowes SLx7
Washburn WG587
Washburn X40Pro
Washburn X50
Washburn HM24
Washburn WR150
Laguna LE200s
Arietta Acoustic
First Act
Valveking 112
VHT Deliverance

#8
Quote by valennic
No its not

I play metal most of the time I'm playing and trust me, its for more economical to alternate pick everything. You get the same tone either way, its just easier with alternate picking. If you try to argue dynamics, you can get the same dynamics both ways so long as you know what you're doing. Work on your alternate picking.

The tone is not the same - there is a really obvious difference between alternate picking and down picking. Down picking is a much punchier sound than alternate picking.

Like any other technique, practicing to reach a certain speed is a matter or diminishing returns. As you get faster, you improve more slowly. Keep on practicing and focus on making your picking motions nice and economical and comfortable. It will come in time.

There is good news - I do not know of any songs that use downpicking much faster than 16th notes at 120 bpm, so you aren't going particularly slowly.
#9
Quote by Geldin
The tone is not the same - there is a really obvious difference between alternate picking and down picking. Down picking is a much punchier sound than alternate picking.

Like any other technique, practicing to reach a certain speed is a matter or diminishing returns. As you get faster, you improve more slowly. Keep on practicing and focus on making your picking motions nice and economical and comfortable. It will come in time.

There is good news - I do not know of any songs that use downpicking much faster than 16th notes at 120 bpm, so you aren't going particularly slowly.


Not if you know how to accentuate the notes the right way. If you're picking just as hard going up and down, you're getting the same sound. The pickups don't give a shit which direction your picking.

My point being he should practice it alongside your treacherous downpicking so he has both tools in the arsenal. .

My things:
Bowes SLx7
Washburn WG587
Washburn X40Pro
Washburn X50
Washburn HM24
Washburn WR150
Laguna LE200s
Arietta Acoustic
First Act
Valveking 112
VHT Deliverance

Last edited by valennic at Aug 3, 2011,
#10
I love the way people seem to infer from people practicing downpicking that the person in question can't or doesn't practice alternate picking as well...

I can alternate pick fine enough for most purposes but I still practice downpicking because it helps getting a constant sound with things like chord hits in rhythm and it helps me to accent beats in a number of ways much more easily than strict alternate.

Downpicking is not be the most efficient way to play, there's no doubt about that, but it's still fine.
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#11
I've been playing extreme metal for 9 years now, and haven't purely downpicked in years. I mean sometimes I do, but your going at a speed where its getting shaky and uneven to just downpick. Alternate pick.
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#12
Hey Eag1e,

Alternate picking is fine if you're trying to play certain things.

But what will REALLY help you the most (this will increase your down-picking speed too!) is UPSTROKING!

For the next 2 week, play EVERYTHING with only upstrokes. I'm surprised I didn't see anybody else say this. Let me explain why this is so powerful:

Imagine you're shooting a bow, and your shots go FAR! You can hit very well, and your arrows go fast. But it takes you a very long time to put the arrow back on the string, aim, and fire again.... You think that it's taking you so long to shoot because the time it takes you to release is just not fast enough, so you focus on the speed that you release the bow with your hand. And you get frustrated because you're still not firing off at faster rates...

What if, instead, you focused on the speed it took you to knock the arrow? What if you focused on making those movements faster, and spent a long time perfecting those movements? NOW, your speed will greatly increase because you don't waste your time so much recoiling...


bahh, bad example. but i think you get the picture. Your pick is taking a long time to get back to it's upward position that it needs to be in just before it makes the downstroke. So, just practice how fast it moves back to that originial position, and your downstrokes will get 10x faster
#13
Um, dunno about anyone else, but that seems like a really daft idea to me.
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#14
Hahaha sorry, my analogy was a bit strange.

It's like this... if you want to punch somebody, and your goal is to punch repeatedly as fast as possible...

You could work on two different speeds: the one it takes to pull back your arm, and the speed your hand punches.

if you try to make your punches FASTER, it's not going to make you very flurrious,

but if you practice pulling your arm back faster, you will become VERY fast!

Try it out, it can't hurt, can it?
(upstrokes, i mean..)
#15
Doesn't make sense to me. There's nothing to be gained by practicing upstrokes alone that you can't get from just practicing alternate picking. Downpicking should be practiced seperately to get the motion of coming back over the string and not picking it right.

Practicing downpicking is fine because that's something you'll use but I can honestly say I've only ever seen one person furiously up-picking in a real life context.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#16
Your alternate picking speed will increase faster if you practice up-strokes...

Have you tried practicing only up-strokes? Why would you practice only downstrokes, and not practice only downstrokes?

that's like lifting weights with only one arm...

After you have practiced up-strokes for an hour, come back and tell me your speed hasn't increased, and I will never speak of upstrokes again hahaha

but until then, I will remain firm in my statement: practicing the recoiling motion will increase your picking speed.
#17
I disagree that practicing either upstrokes or downstrokes will help alternate picking. While it is true that alternate picking is a combination of down and upstrokes, it is really the coordination between the two that matters--at least that how it seems to me. It's like, a lot of people subscribe to the notion that if you practice a certain thing a certain way, and it is the wrong way, then all you will learn is how to play something the wrong way (or at least the most inefficient way). According to this notion, if you practice upstrokes only, you will get better at upstrokes only, and not alternate picking. The muscles involved will certainly become more developed, but, if you go to the gym and lift weights, it won't make your kung fu technique any better or more efficient.
#18
If you're still skeptical, I know how you feel. I used to feel that same way, before someone gave me the suggestion to practice all upstrokes.

And what I've found is that it increased my picking speed dramatically.
#19
Thanks for the upstroke suggestion, maltmn. I will give it a try right away.

Also, I'd like to explain the approach to the brick wall problem that works for me:
Funny enough I reached my downstroke limit at the exact same speed.
I could not get past 84bpm 1/16 notes no matter what I tried.
So I searched the web a bit and found something I'd like to call the "head through wall" approach:
Instead of struggling at the same speed that you can't get past or trying a reasonable speed increase (like say 5bpm)...try an unreasonable speed increase.

I was constantly building up tension at 84 bpm. So I increased the speed to around 120 bpm and tried to play the same riff. No question...I wasn't nearly able to play at that speed, but it's more about trying. So I gave it a shot for about 10 minutes at 120 bpm failing miserably.
But when I went back to 84 bpm, I could play pretty comfortably. I could even push the limit a bit further. Something I could not do in weeks.
Now, whenever I reach a plateau, I push the speed about 40 bpm further and then go back to plateau speed and increase steadily again. So far it works like a miracle for me.

I can't really explain it. I'd like to think of my brain as a really lazy bastard. It will give me just enough rope to get me to a speed it deems reasonable. Then you throw a brick at it and it's like "Dude! WTF! Ok ok, I give you a little more. Just don't hit me with that brick again!".
#20
@maltmn:

You, Sir, are a genius.

I just tried your suggestion of practicing upstrokes only for about an hour (Master of Puppets with upstrokes is just hilarious ).

After that I switched back to my usual Downstroke/Alternate Picking Metal schedule. I immediately felt that the picking was more precise and relaxed. Everything just felt better.

I guess I didn't even realize how flawed my upward motions really are. And as I never had any real problems with alternate picking the idea of practicing upstrokes didn't occur to me.
But when I tried the first riff with upstrokes only it became quite obvious how neglected this part of my picking really is.

Basically you just changed my life.