#1
Ive mentioned this in long past threads but Im still having a bit of an issue with really fast tremolo picking. Some days I seem to be able to get it, and other days not so much. I feel Im doing the right technique; tilted pick, hand rested on bridge and anchored enough to get consistent movement, even trying to relax as much as possible some times it just seems like I cant get it or get faster. If youve ever listened to Fleshgod Apocalypse, thats my goal. I want to be able to tremolo like them but I just seem to have a hard time getting a strong consistent smooth movement, like some times it still seems like the pick is "chopping" through the string even though I have it tilted and I use a heavy pick (jazz III). Any advice?
#3
Yeah - don't anchor your hand :P Also - try slowing down your picking to, say, 30bpm, and try to focus on making really small pick movements.

The chopping sound is likely BECAUSE the pick is angled - out of interest how angled is it? You'll get a smoother sound with a flatter pick in a really relaxed grip, and it is entirely possible to tremolo pick like that (however, yes, it's easier to do with at least a bit of an angle). I try not to angle the pick too much unless it's absolutely necessary, but generally I prefer a flat-ish picking angle. Unless I really want a nasty scratchy sound that is.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#4
Well I guess its angled "enough" And im not anchoring my hand too much just enough to be in a more relaxed position. Also Im trying to really hit high speeds, like 200+ bpm plus, im really trying to max it so I know I should angle it a bit.
#5
Quote by Templar0220
Well I guess its angled "enough" And im not anchoring my hand too much just enough to be in a more relaxed position. Also Im trying to really hit high speeds, like 200+ bpm plus, im really trying to max it so I know I should angle it a bit.

200bpm plus of what? 8ths, 8th triplets, 16ths etc?
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#7
Quote by Templar0220
Sorry, 16ths.

OK. Not that the specific BPM matters too much, it's all relative to the player, was just interested.

What I said still applies though - slow it right down, and really closely look at what your right hand is actually doing. For example:

Are you picking entirely from your wrist, or is there forearm motion?
How wide is your picking motion? Can you make smaller motions?
Is any part of you tensing up? (I mean any part - sometimes I used to tense random parts of my body when playing)

Once you've answered these questions (and likely discovered other things that I hadn't thought of), keep it at that slow tempo and try to correct any issues you discovered. Only bring the tempo up in relatively small increments - that way you can determine the tempo that your technique starts to fall apart. Once you've found that point, drop the tempo by about 5bpm and practice at that speed for a while. Also - I recommend you do this on open strings as they're harder to tremolo pick.

Slowing things down isn't just a great way to learn things and perfect your technique, it's also essential to analyse what you're really doing when you hit those high speeds.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#9
Another thing, don't focus on speed. Get an even sound at a slow tempo, or it'll sound like ass speeded up.
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#10
OK so now I'm actually *at* my guitar I can confirm that yes, it's possible to trem pick 200bpm 16th notes with a flat pick. But this could be because I use a very pointed pick (like an un-worn Jazz III) and it seems like I pick only using the very tip of the pick.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#11
Practice 1 hour on each string and then 6 hours on all strings.
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#12
Honestly I would guess you're just not practising enough. If you've been "stuck" at the same tempo after a couple of months of an hour a day, then you start asking questions. Aside from that, it's relaxation, economy of motion, and practise.
#13
Quote by Slashiepie
Practice 1 hour on each string and then 6 hours on all strings.

That would be such a boring day
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#14
Quote by llBlackenedll
That would be such a boring day

hhh indeed my friend.. indeed, if one does it you get to know the dark sides of your mind very well.. i once spend 7 hours for one complete week doing it.. XD
diminished the time spent graudally.. my tremolo picking became no concern anymore :P
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Nov 22, 2011,
#15
Quote by Slashiepie
hhh indeed my friend.. indeed, if one does it you get to know the dark sides of your mind very well.. i once spend 7 hours for one complete week doing it.. XD
diminished the time spent graudally.. my tremolo picking became no concern anymore :P

Holy crap your alt picking must be amazing... I don't have 7 spare hours in a day to do that.

Though your original post that says it implies 12 hours - 1 hour on each string then 6 hours on all strings?
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#16
Quote by llBlackenedll
Holy crap your alt picking must be amazing... I don't have 7 spare hours in a day to do that.

Though your original post that says it implies 12 hours - 1 hour on each string then 6 hours on all strings?


hhh by no means, but it got decent and stable pretty fast after that shaolin like training.. thats what a guitar teacher named Russel Tuttle from Berklee and Dick Groove used to say to his students XD

it always cracks me up how films like rocky depict training like something so wild (punching dead cows, running around, etc..) if someone made a film about a guitarist it would consist of countless hours of footage of picking with a metronome :P.

I never managed to do 12 hours of the same thing.. to me thats overkill.. maybe Steve Vai could manage to concentrate 12 hours on a single thing..
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#17
I've recently made a huge jump in speed in my picking hand. instead of using the wrist for pick movement i started using the thumb and forefinger muscles, so the wrist stays pretty much stationary. its made a HUGE difference- gotten me past some barriers i feel like ive been against for the last 10 years.

seems like some folks (Zakk Wylde comes to mind) can just use the whole arm and haul ass, but for me the finger movement has nearly doubled my speed on some licks in a few days and halved the effort, and i've just started using this. if you're having trouble speeding up,try it!
#18
*sigh* Im still struggling with this. I just cannot seem to figure out the problem. Sometimes I get it sure, but then other times no. I notice that I have to work up with a metronome and some times I can hit a higher speed than other times etc. Some times no matter what it feels like the pick isnt hitting the strings smoothly and I start to get sore/tense in my forearm EVEN THOUGH I really just focus on using my wrist. I just dont get it, wtf am I doing wrong? Tremolo picking is really key to my style as a lot of the riffs I play and write really require super fast accurate tremolo and I want to be able to do this effortlessly but I just cant get there. Can anyone send me a video to like the "Best" lesson on this? I notice there are a lot of tutorial videos that dont help or are just wrong.
#19
Some times no matter what it feels like the pick isnt hitting the strings smoothly and I start to get sore/tense in my forearm EVEN THOUGH I really just focus on using my wrist. I just dont get it, wtf am I doing wrong?


Eliminating tension from your playing takes years of work.

Ditto for blistering tremolo picking.

Not 2 days.
#20
Quote by Freepower
Eliminating tension from your playing takes years of work.

Ditto for blistering tremolo picking.

Not 2 days.


Yeah I know, but this is something Ive been working at for a very long time.
#21
Have you tried watching what you're doing in front of a mirror? Sounds weird I know but it can be really helpful to see whether you really are just moving your wrist.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#22
Yes I have, even then I think Im doing things right some times and other times im not sure.
#23
and btw for these top speeds (250 bpm 16ths etc) What really IS the best technique? I see different people saying different things, should you just use your wrist or should you get your arm involved?
#26
Ok im going to follow this. My only question from here is I noticed that when I practice I have to start out slow and build up with a metronome to a top speed, but I cant play that speed UNLESS I practice up to it. Would this be considered my top speed or no?
#27
Quote by Templar0220
and btw for these top speeds (250 bpm 16ths etc) What really IS the best technique? I see different people saying different things, should you just use your wrist or should you get your arm involved?


It should be mostly wrist all the time - a little bit of arm isn't a bad thing but you never want to play by vibrating the arm at the elbow, that's just awful for your tendons and muscles.
#28
Quote by Templar0220
Ok im going to follow this. My only question from here is I noticed that when I practice I have to start out slow and build up with a metronome to a top speed, but I cant play that speed UNLESS I practice up to it. Would this be considered my top speed or no?

Well how long does it take to practice up to it? Up to a certain point, you can call it warming up. Sometimes it takes me half an hour up to an hour to warm up! Though admittedly not usually a whole hour..
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#29
Quote by llBlackenedll
Well how long does it take to practice up to it? Up to a certain point, you can call it warming up. Sometimes it takes me half an hour up to an hour to warm up! Though admittedly not usually a whole hour..


I would say a good half hour and upwards to an hour. Should I have my hand rested on the bridge at all times? I can say at least some days im able to get 200+ (worked up to that is) but never too consistently, or entirely comfortable for that matter. Should I just list 200 as my max and do this Tom Hess training routine? Or is my max going to be less depending on something else?
#31
Quote by Freepower
Take your comfortable max.

Exactly. When he says max he means the maximum you're consistently comfortable at (after warming up I assume, I play like crap until I've warmed up).

And as to whether or not to rest your hand on the bridge, people say different things. Personally, I'd say no as resting your hand on the bridge implies you're anchoring. Lightly touching the bridge without applying any pressure is fine..

While I'm at it (it's OT but just figured I'd shove it here anyway) - thanks Freepower for your excellent finger independence video and spider exercises, they've been really useful and I do the ONPS spider SS one every day. I've read similar tutorials before but the video was much better and really informative.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
Last edited by llBlackenedll at Nov 25, 2011,
#33
I actually have a new question that I have developed now in my studies and that is the questioning of my pick. I use really thick strings (im in 6 string B-Standard) so my string setup is 13-60 (so yeah..low E is a 60) and I use Jazz III picks (1.38mm). Do you think this combination is a recipe for my lackluster performance? Because like I said I feel that im doing the technique pretty much right but should I try a thinner pick?
#35
Quote by Templar0220
I actually have a new question that I have developed now in my studies and that is the questioning of my pick. I use really thick strings (im in 6 string B-Standard) so my string setup is 13-60 (so yeah..low E is a 60) and I use Jazz III picks (1.38mm). Do you think this combination is a recipe for my lackluster performance? Because like I said I feel that im doing the technique pretty much right but should I try a thinner pick?


"A bad workman always blames his tools".

I'm not saying that you're a bad player, I don't know what you're like as a player, but you can spend way too much time focusing on this sort of thing... and all that time you could have spent practising your technique. Trust me, the amount of times I used to change picks, adjust my action etc. to work out why I was playing badly and I realised that the answer was that I was playing badly because I was spending so much time focusing on irrelevant things. I honestly believe that focusing on stupid little things like this was one of THE biggest things holding me back. If you play badly it's generally because you didn't practice enough.

That said, different picks, string etc is just down to the individual. Jazz IIIs will be fine - a ridiculous amount of people use them (and play very well with them). That stirng guague sounds very thick to me but you're playing in an insanely low tuning so it's justified. Your high E string (which is obviously B for you) will play exactly the same as the B string from my 10 guague set (so I think my b is a 13). Also if you had lower guague strings (say 11s or 12s) they would likely be HARDER to trem pick because the will slap about a lot more, following the pick and making it harder to get a small picking motion.

tl;dr - stick with what you've got, and just practice.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
Last edited by llBlackenedll at Nov 30, 2011,
#36
anchoring does make it easier but dont do it ( yea...sounds odd)

for trem picking, i usually rest the side of my hand on the trem (further back from where i would usually palm mute)

but im starting to think thats a form of anchoring....

though i only do it for single or 2 adjacent string trem picking
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#37
Quote by llBlackenedll
"A bad workman always blames his tools".

I'm not saying that you're a bad player, I don't know what you're like as a player, but you can spend way too much time focusing on this sort of thing... and all that time you could have spent practising your technique. Trust me, the amount of times I used to change picks, adjust my action etc. to work out why I was playing badly and I realised that the answer was that I was playing badly because I was spending so much time focusing on irrelevant things. I honestly believe that focusing on stupid little things like this was one of THE biggest things holding me back. If you play badly it's generally because you didn't practice enough.

That said, different picks, string etc is just down to the individual. Jazz IIIs will be fine - a ridiculous amount of people use them (and play very well with them). That stirng guague sounds very thick to me but you're playing in an insanely low tuning so it's justified. Your high E string (which is obviously B for you) will play exactly the same as the B string from my 10 guague set (so I think my b is a 13). Also if you had lower guague strings (say 11s or 12s) they would likely be HARDER to trem pick because the will slap about a lot more, following the pick and making it harder to get a small picking motion.

tl;dr - stick with what you've got, and just practice.



Well I wasnt necessarily blaming the tools of mine I was just wondering if this could have been something that I may have not realize when I thought it was right but I do get your point and appreciate that advice.
#38
trem picking is a tricky thing to learn and practice

i think hand posture and the muscle groups you're using plays a huge part in this
mainly because it appears to me that each hand motion is only trainable to a certain degree, there are limits on which motions can be executed at which speeds, also the angles/positioning influence this

so in essence, if you're practicing to a metronome and start slow, you run the risk of using a motion that works well for slower speeds but isn't necessairily the most efficient one for fast speeds
now thats not tragic or anything, if you reach the speed where the normal motion doesn't work anymore, you can just switch to another that works better, so i'm really not advocating against a metronome, on the contrary, but it helps to be aware of that fact, because the worst thing you can do is starting at 50 bpm, and try to get that exact same hand motion faster and faster and don't change it no matter what, because that usually doesn't work,
on the other hand it can be beneficial to consciously attempt to vary the hand posture or picking motion from time to time
mimicking other guitar players picking styles can also be a good idea

you can also try different motions in the air, see which one is fast and can be done through longer periods of time, and then try to translate it to the guitar, it doesn't matter if it involves fingers, rotating your wrist, arm, whatever

unfortunately i have no idea what influences these different tempo limits of different motions, angles, posture whatever, and how exactly they interact, that means there isn't much else than trial and error

so there are probably a hell lot of individual factors for this involved and a hell lot of ways to pull it off, but one way that works well for me is using mostly wrist, and having a slightly "curled" (sorry its so hard to put it in words) hold somewhat similar to this guy here (not implying that i'm anywhere near as good as him):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPmlguGFA9w
there used to be a clinic video somewhere on the internet but i can't find it

the fleshgod guy is doing it differently i think, i also think his motion comes more from the forearm, kinda like the dude from origin - not that this a bad thing, in the end it doesn't matter if its wrist or arm if the result is there, its possible to get fast enough either way,
if you see that you get exhausted pretty quick once your arm turns to arm motion it might be better trying to keep it wrist though, but like i said, its definately possible to get fast either way

for the string gauges:
i recently switched from 11-48 drop c to 10-52 d standard, and i think it does make a difference,
not so much for the maximum trempick speed but endurance-wise it is definately noticeable