#1
Hello,

I have been a long time user of UG, enjoyed a lot of tabs on here and decided to make a post.

I live somewhat remotely and literally there is no one around here who can teach me electric guitar. So I have been learning from the ground up. The style of music I want to play is Black Metal so I have been focusing on those sorts of lessons on here and YouTube etc. So here is my situation after playing 10-20min per day for 2-3 years.

My current setup is:
Peavey 15W Amp Vypyr
Cry baby peddle
Boss Mega-Distortion MD2
Epiphone Annihilation Flying V Red (Jeff Waters)

I drop tune D.

I probably would have been better getting EMG pickups for a better sound but I really liked the look and feel (at least I think I do) of the Annihilation which I got to replace my starter guitar earlier this year.

I know the Vypyr is like a bargain basement amp and I am not expecting to sound like Kerry King through Marshall amps with them, but I just wanted to learn different settings. Right now I basically distort like a demon with lows and highs cranked up and mids scooped low.

Here is my problem. I have very small hands for a guy. I am taking 20cm from outstretched thumb to baby finger and approx 5.5cm max length on my middle finger. The problem comes with even playing something basic.


Darkthrone - Transylvanian Hunger's first riff:

For 10/7 (5th note in) I am struggling always with my fingers. My baby finger on the 10th is slipping constantly onto the fret. The same for my index finger on the 7th. It’s slipping onto the fret. This is because the stretch here is really maxed out (hurting somewhat). The thing is after a year of this sort of stretching, I am none the better.

This is Darkthrone – En Vind Av Sorg
In riff 1 on 12/9 (1st note in) I have the same problem as above but things get worse when I shift from 12/9 to 16/13, the guitar literally drops down like a few cm and I lose my grip and never make the transition. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. It’s like when my hand comes in my body position changes and the guitar falls somewhat. It happens a lot when I make transitions like this.

So these are two issues I would really like to overcome to be able to play better. Any help would be appreciated and any tips on the black metal playing would also be welcome.

Help me overcome my problems with some sage evil advice. Thank you.

Best regards,

Deermonic
Last edited by Deermonic at Oct 27, 2012,
#2
cool, we got about the same handsize. i'm around 19cm.

2 things i'll advise. One based on assumption, and one based on what you've mentioned.

1) Try changing your posture. My small hands can still stretch pretty far if i sit in classical position. The "dead on" grip i get is far more nimble than the usual postures, where the hip of the guitar sits on the right leg and the neck shoots forward.

Since you have a flying V, this will be an awesome naturally posture for you.

2) practice for far more than 20 minutes a day. (given you don't have other obligations. or a life.) Since i had no life, i practiced pretty well all day/night during high school. 2 hours minimum.. probably 5 hours on average. Don't just play tho.. study what you're doing and analyze what is tripping you up. Try to find an easier way about it without being sloppy.

Good luck!
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#3
Try doing some exercises like these - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSrfB7JIzxY - every day and before you play. Also, you say the guitar drops down when you change your hand position? Your aren't holding the neck with your fretting hand are you ? I mean, its not supporting the necks weight. Because if you are, then that's a problem.
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#4
Quote by Deermonic
I live somewhat remotely and literally there is no one around here who can teach me electric guitar. So I have been learning from the ground up. The style of music I want to play is Black Metal so I have been focusing on those sorts of lessons on here and YouTube etc. So here is my situation after playing 10-20min per day for 2-3 years.
In reality, 10 to 20 minutes a day, is barely enough to maintain someone's chops, and certainly not enough to build them.

IMO, you should just be learning to play the guitar, and not focusing on such a narrow area. When you do that, you tend to miss things you really do need to learn, and perhaps might regret not learning them later.

Quote by Deermonic
I know the Vypyr is like a bargain basement amp and I am not expecting to sound like Kerry King through Marshall amps with them, but I just wanted to learn different settings. Right now I basically distort like a demon with lows and highs cranked up and mids scooped low.
News flash, the "Vyper 15" is "the best of the worst". It's far superior to a great many amps in its price range, and world's better than the infamous, "Line 6 Spider".

So, you bought the Vyper for its array of sounds, but it sounds like you only use one setting anyway.

Quote by Deermonic
Here is my problem. I have very small hands for a guy. I am taking 20cm from outstretched thumb to baby finger and approx 5.5cm max length on my middle finger. The problem comes with even playing something basic.


Darkthrone - Transylvanian Hunger's first riff:

For 10/7 (5th note in) I am struggling always with my fingers. My baby finger on the 10th is slipping constantly onto the fret. The same for my index finger on the 7th. It’s slipping onto the fret. This is because the stretch here is really maxed out (hurting somewhat). The thing is after a year of this sort of stretching, I am none the better.

This is Darkthrone – En Vind Av Sorg
In riff 1 on 12/9 (1st note in) I have the same problem as above but things get worse when I shift from 12/9 to 16/13, the guitar literally drops down like a few cm and I lose my grip and never make the transition. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. It’s like when my hand comes in my body position changes and the guitar falls somewhat. It happens a lot when I make transitions like this.

So these are two issues I would really like to overcome to be able to play better. Any help would be appreciated and any tips on the black metal playing would also be welcome.

Help me overcome my problems with some sage evil advice. Thank you.
plenty of people have small hands, others like Jimi Hendrix have freakishly large ones. So, needless to say, we're all not going to grow up and play like him. With that out of the way, you should probably concentrate on what you can do, rather than dedicating 90% of the meager 10 or 20 minutes of practice time you allot, to feeling sorry for yourself.

As to the whole "guitar moves when I change position", are you talking about what is known as "neck dive"? Some guitars are headstock heavy, and you do have to gently control the neck when you change position.

If this is a problem for you, ever go near a 12 string. When you let go of the neck, that big old boat paddle of a headstock, heads straight for the floor.

I've never fooled around with a Vee (left handed am I, don't see many), so I really don't know if they're neck heavy or not.

Let's recap, you need to practice more, and complain less. It the guitar hurts, a keyboard might be the way to go. You don't need to maintain callouses either.

I don't know if you're going to call this "sage" or "evil" advice. It would be best to consider it, "tough love", while you're heading off to practice.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 27, 2012,
#5
Kivarenn82,

I am unsure what posture you have described. When you say shoots forward, do you mean directly in front of me or to the left? What angle should the neck be in and on the V where would the hip be?

I will try and do more than 20min per day.


Bastyn99,
That looks like some excellent stretching there. Thank you. I am holding the neck with my fretting hand a lot. If I place the strap over my body with the guitar either on my tummy or chest, the guitar naturally goes from the 11 or 10 o'clock position to the 7 due to neck weight. So if that's a problem please tell me more. I use a polyester strap.


Captaincranky,
I do learn playing techniques outside of what I am asking for here. I am a member on some lesson sites. I bought the Vypyr to use all the different settings originally but now I am finding a style with it I want to play. I don't want to play keyboards, thank you. I am not complaining (this is my first guitar related post in 3 years of being online reading/doing guitar stuff). I just need the quality of advice that I am getting above.

It looks like I need more advice with the neck dive problem I am having. The change in position of the fretboard is throwing me off a lot.
Last edited by Deermonic at Oct 28, 2012,
#6
Are you sitting in classical position? If you're not, you need to be.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

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#7
offworld,

I am not in the classical position if you mean the head should be at a 11 o'clock position with my left knee raised up supporting part of the guitar.

I tend to move between sitting down and standing up while trying to play and don't raise my legs hardly at all. Sometimes I do sit the inside part of the V over my right leg but if she is plugged in I can't because the lead is plugged in there.
#8
The classical position is universal for sitting and standing. It's purpose in relation to electric guitar is that you don't have to shift the guitar at all whether you're sitting or standing. It's the optimal position for the guitar to be in relation to your hands and body, and allows the most ease of access to upper frets.

If you're using a straight cable, get an angled. And vice versa. Do whatever you need to do so that you can play in the correct position. I can't stress how important it is, particularly in the case of a V. With other shapes you can get away with the dreadnaught position, though I never recommend it, but with a V you just can't do that and play properly. You can see that for yourself, as you can't play properly.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#10
Okay, so I need to get into the classical position with this V.

Offworld,
I have a right angle jack here. I take it that the inside of the V base in going to be on my right leg with each wing going over the left and right side of my thighs? That the input jack is going to be making contact with my leg?

Lemur,
Is your input jack like very loose? I am scared of messing up my guitar's pickups by having that part rubbing constantly against my leg. Now I think you guys are saying, it should be doing that.
#11
My guitar was terrible no matter what. Straight or right-angle cable. The jack was in a spot much worse than yours.

With your particular guitar, if that is your guitar I'm looking at in the screenshot I posted, you shouldn't have much issue with a straight cable into the jack.
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#12
Quote by Deermonic
Captaincranky,
I do learn playing techniques outside of what I am asking for here. I am a member on some lesson sites. I bought the Vypyr to use all the different settings originally but now I am finding a style with it I want to play. I don't want to play keyboards, thank you. I am not complaining (this is my first guitar related post in 3 years of being online reading/doing guitar stuff). I just need the quality of advice that I am getting above.
I can only give advice based on what I've interpreted from your posts, (or what I believe I've interpreted.

And based on what I've read, your problems seem to be outlook and work ethic.

First off "complaining" was perhaps an unfortunate choice of word. So, let me clarify that. A better choice of would be, "defeatist attitude". I don't think you believe you can, and therefore, won't be able to.

Based on your self admitted practice schedule, it would seem that you've allowed yourself to substitute the, "hope of improvement", for the actual pursuit of it.

I just spent 20 minutes typing this reply. I can guarantee that I can't type one word a minute faster than when I started, if you see my point.

Forums are great, but really, there are only a few basics of hand position, and body position you need learn. Moving forward is going to depend more on your ability to analyze you own playing, than as much advice as you can get through forum osmosis. And yeah, you do need to do all those PITA etudes and repetitive drills

You're the first and best person, to determine why that barre chord has buzzes, why the string next to the one you played sounded, or got unintentionally muted.

I'm telling you that if you learn the basics correctly, you won't have to make posts such as the one where you're on about, "and when I try to move from fret 9 to fret 16". It's because you're not controlling the the guitar's movement. Well that, and the fact that the neck heel complicates everything above it.

If you practice more, and aggressively diagnose your own inconsistencies, the answers will come without having to ask others. You are, after all, the first at the scene of the accident, so to speak.

So, before I get called to task on this, it's absolutely fine to ask questions to your hearts content, but in a lot of cases, you may still be the best qualified person to answer them.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 28, 2012,
#13
What size/type of pick should I be using for this style of music?

I am currently using a .50mm Dunlop.
#14
Quote by Deermonic
What size/type of pick should I be using for this style of music?

I am currently using a .50mm Dunlop.



Any pick that you are comfortable with. But due to the music you practice you really should experiment with thicker picks. Thicker picks cut through the strings betters, feels more responsive because the pick isnt bending. I found my personal sweet spot to be 1.14mm Dunlop Gators. Any thicker and they just feel like holding a brick without any apparent improvements.

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#15
First of all thanks to everyone for the recommendation on classical posture. It was already improved my playing. I was able to get the picking well up to speed and the sound was exactly like the Darkthrone songs I wanted to play and even sounded the same through the Peavey VyPyr so I am well happy.

MaaZeus, yes the pick bends and as it flaps back and forth I think it pulls the strings differently to if I am using something thicked but I might give a go at using some Dunlop 1.44 Gators to see how that goes.
#16
Quote by Deermonic
What size/type of pick should I be using for this style of music?

I am currently using a .50mm Dunlop.



I'd go with something twice that thick, and make sure you're using adequate tension on your guitar strings. (maybe go up a gauge if your strings are too noodley). I play the same style of music and that's what works for me. I have to have pretty high tension on my strings and use a thick pick. That way, the tremelo picking (which you have to do quite often in black metal) sounds tighter and more clear.

I also find that the big, equilateral triangle shaped picks work best for me, but I have big hands. The other advantage to those is that when I wear out one point, there are still two more to use. You will go through A LOT of picks playing black metal and death metal, but even moreso with black metal.

By the way, that guitar is PERFECT for what you're trying to do. There's one at my local store and I've spent quite a bit of time on it -- it shreds like nobody's business. One of the best feeling/sounding guitars I've ever played. Also one of the few guitars I can play just as well sitting (in the classical position) as I can play standing. V's rule!
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

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Last edited by KailM at Oct 28, 2012,
#17
KailM. My strings are fairly noodley. I have had higher tension before but when I got this guitar I bought some drop-d tuning strings and the tech at the shop strung the guitar for me. I can string too but I haven't touched them since except for tuning. What strings do you use? I am sure I have slinky packets in a box somewhere that I got.

Yes I agree, I really like the guitar. My sound/playing improved so dramatically that it's almost like I am cheating.

So apart from the classical position what about standing up? Say you are happy with your ability to chug out a tune sitting down. What's the proper position for a V standing up and how do you go about making the transition?
#18
There's a very basic stretching thing that a lot of upright bassists do due to the fact you need to have a large finger range. Put your left hand in front of you with your thumb on top and pinky on bottom and put your right wrist in between your fingers and turn it so the thicker part of your wrist is what's separating your fingers. It does help to stretch for beginners.
#19
Quote by Deermonic
KailM. My strings are fairly noodley. I have had higher tension before but when I got this guitar I bought some drop-d tuning strings and the tech at the shop strung the guitar for me. I can string too but I haven't touched them since except for tuning. What strings do you use? I am sure I have slinky packets in a box somewhere that I got.

Yes I agree, I really like the guitar. My sound/playing improved so dramatically that it's almost like I am cheating.

So apart from the classical position what about standing up? Say you are happy with your ability to chug out a tune sitting down. What's the proper position for a V standing up and how do you go about making the transition?


Well, I play standing 99% of the time. I've always been that way...16 years and counting. When I started getting interested in Vs, I quickly noticed that I could play them sitting in classical position and it felt a lot like it does when standing with a strap. I still play better standing because I can put my whole body into it. For me, it's difficult to play any other style of guitar in classical position, and thus I can't play them well while seated.

I've got a Les Paul tuned to D standard (1 whole step down), and my Schecter V is in C# standard. I use .11-.54s and .12-56s respectively. I really don't use drop-tunings so much. It always seems that if I drop tune I need a custom low-E string that's tighter than before. Plus, I've spent 90% of my guitar career learning voiceings for standard tuning. Most black metal bands used/use standard tunings as well, not drop tunings.
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#20
Thanks for more stretching info, wishthekiller,

okay I might experiment with some of those strings and not using drop d. At the moment though I am getting good sound considering. What I would like to know though is what is the 'classical'? position for standing. If I stand the neck is just going to tilt down, and very quickly.

Also if the day comes that I want to upgrade from my Peavey 15W VyMpYr to another amp, what would be good for black metal? I know in reality these guys are sometimes like singing into a earpiece of an earphone and playing through a 5" speaker for the best gritty effects but I also know that isn't going to cut it outside of a recording room.
#22
Quote by Deermonic
Thanks for more stretching info, wishthekiller,
What I would like to know though is what is the 'classical'? position for standing. If I stand the neck is just going to tilt down, and very quickly.



There is no such a thing as classical position when standing up to my knowledge. Get a strap that is adjustable and try to adjust the height so that it feels comfortable. Good place to start is to set it in same height as it is when you are sitting, and fine tune the rest when you are standing. Let your fretting hand do the talking, if you feel like your wrist have to bend into unnatural feeling angles, most likely something is not right. To tell the truth this is something I am struggling myself, finding the optimal position when standing. I blame my beer stomach that gets in the way and pushes the guitar around.

BTW, if someone says "hurr durr your guitar is too high it doesnt look kewl", dont give a damn, its your wrists and hands that have to do the playing and not theirs.

*edit* Oh, and you mentioned the neck dives down. I dont know if its guitar balance issue or something to do with straps. Abbath manages to keep his guitar in very "classical angle" when standing up.
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Last edited by MaaZeus at Oct 29, 2012,
#23
I have been to a few gigs and have observed how guitar is played. For Paradise Lost I watched the rhythm guitarist play his by swinging his arm into the air and down onto the guitar will rocking his whole body back and forth like he stabbing someone with a bayonet over and over. Yet he was able to hit the right notes every time.

Notice in the video you have put up that he is bending his knees slightly. Like he is not standing up straight completely always. The guitar V base is resting somewhat on his right thigh and he uses the guitar monitors a lot to stand on to get into a sort of classical position. I think his guitar is still neck heavy even with the strap. There is a bit of a tilt there being supported by his hand at times but I think my problem is that the polyester strap I am using is slipping a way too much. I will try to upgrade to a leather one to see if this helps... and maybe find a box I can stick my foot upon while standing up from time to time.

What about Amps for Black Metal? I know one day I will want to go a step better than the Peavey. I don't know what though. Was looking at those Kerry King related Marshall Amps.
#24
Quote by Deermonic


Notice in the video you have put up that he is bending his knees slightly. Like he is not standing up straight completely always. The guitar V base is resting somewhat on his right thigh and he uses the guitar monitors a lot to stand on to get into a sort of classical position. I think his guitar is still neck heavy even with the strap. There is a bit of a tilt there being supported by his hand at times but I think my problem is that the polyester strap I am using is slipping a way too much. I will try to upgrade to a leather one to see if this helps... and maybe find a box I can stick my foot upon while standing up from time to time.

What about Amps for Black Metal? I know one day I will want to go a step better than the Peavey. I don't know what though. Was looking at those Kerry King related Marshall Amps.



I think it's a strap issue for you, I have no problem playing my V standing whether my foot is on top of something or not. If I let go of the neck completely, it definitely falls down, but I simply don't let go of the neck. You just need to control your instrument, man, not the other way around.

As far as amps go, it's really not that important. Just make sure it's a high gain amp. Most of the older black metal bands were not exactly going for a "pretty" tone, lol. I play black metal through a 6505+ because I like how BR00TAL it sounds, plus it does death metal and everything else. For a more vintage black metal sound though, you just crank the gain, dial the mids away and crank the treble. Just realize that it's a genre defined by the playing style, phrasing, chord voicing, and techniques rather than a specific tone. Chances are, if you're playing it right, it'll sound evil and grim even without much gain.
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#25
Immortal is looking kinda chubby.

If your playing sucks just play shittier black metal. The worse the better I say.
#26
Quote by 2PtDescartes
Immortal is looking kinda chubby.

If your playing sucks just play shittier black metal. The worse the better I say.



Yeah, the rock&roll lifestyle is slowly taking its toll...

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#27
Quote by KailM
For a more vintage black metal sound though, you just crank the gain, dial the mids away and crank the treble. Just realize that it's a genre defined by the playing style, phrasing, chord voicing, and techniques rather than a specific tone. Chances are, if you're playing it right, it'll sound evil and grim even without much gain.



Agreed. Amp is quite irrelevant. I can get some really mean black metal sound out of my Vox Pathfinder. Shittier the better! I just crank the treble and turn the bass completely off and there, typical BM sound.

But then again Immortal uses very Thrash/Punk like settings, very high treble, high bass and moderate to scooped mids, and it sounds black metal without question. As said above its the playing, not necessarily the amp and sounds.

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#28
Okay that makes sense because even with the Peavey 15W Vypyr I just go for the 6505, some slapback, scoop out the mids and either hit the gain on the Amp or with my Boss MD2 stomp box and it sounds like DarkThrone... well.. almost

Maybe an actual 6505/5150 might be a good idea for the future?

Anyhow yeah I agree. The amp isn't as big a deal. Got myself a stagg foot stool today. Hopefully I can get evil together a bit better now.
Last edited by Deermonic at Oct 30, 2012,
#29
Quote by Deermonic
Okay that makes sense because even with the Peavey 15W Vypyr I just go for the 6505, some slapback, scoop out the mids and either hit the gain on the Amp or with my Boss MD2 stomp box and it sounds like DarkThrone... well.. almost

Maybe an actual 6505/5150 might be a good idea for the future?

Anyhow yeah I agree. The amp isn't as big a deal. Got myself a stagg foot stool today. Hopefully I can get evil together a bit better now.



Oh definetly. 6505 and 6505+ are metal machines, they can do it all. Even vintageish metal sound with boost pedal used on crunch channel I heard, though dont quote me on that. Its so popular that it may be even be a bit generic because pretty much every modern metal band and their moms have one/have used one, including (especially?) metalcore/deathcore bands.

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Last edited by MaaZeus at Oct 30, 2012,
#30
I also took off the polyester strap and replaced it with a leather one. The guitar head doesn't tilt anymore. Stays in the same place, tight at the 10 or 11 o'clock position.

I got some Dunlop Gator .96mm, 1.5mm and a Dunlop Sharp 1.35mm. They seem to be doing the job. Will try and find some 1.4 soon too.
#31
Where to strike?

I am noticing I am striking the pick sometimes on the bridge pick-up and sometimes even between the bridge and the bridge pick-up.

Should I be aiming for between the bridge pick-up and neck pick-up or does it matter?

When tremolo picking sometimes my little finger or lower fingers cup around the bridge, sometimes not, sometimes my whole lower arm is moving, sometimes just my wrist. This happens in combination with the above striking question.

Any tips would be welcome.

Oh yeah and one time I found myself going so fast I wasn't letting the pick go over each string much. More like hitting their insides. What's with that?

I have seen some YouTubes over the years on Tremolo but I would like some tips from here please and comments on the above.

Thank you.
#32
More than anything, finger dexterity just comes with practice. I remember maybe a year or so after i first started playing (self taught here as well), i had real trouble playing this chord: x414xx. I could not, for the life of me, get my index and middle fingers to stretch that far apart. Now not only can i play that, i can also play x515xx with no problem at all. Time and patience my friend.
Quote by yellowfrizbee
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#34
I meant my Pick Striking method, not spick. That could get me into trouble.

Any help is appreciated.
#35
Quote by MaaZeus
Oh definetly. 6505 and 6505+ are metal machines, they can do it all. Even vintageish metal sound with boost pedal used on crunch channel I heard, though dont quote me on that.


You can quote me on that, though. Slap an OD pedal in front of the crunch channel and you are good to go for a really good, generic, black metal sound.
Last edited by gorgthemeatpile at Nov 3, 2012,
#36
Well generally speaking, if your forearm positioning is correct and you have the proper technique, you should be picking just in front of the bridge pickup. Obviously it'll move around depending on guitar and depending on where the pinch harmonics and stuff like that are, but for the most part you should have the pick about .5-1.0cm in front of the bridge pickup. Not between the pickup and the bridge, that just sounds retarded.

edit: For tremolo picking, your arm and wrist should be completely loose and not all tensed up. The motion should come mostly from your forearm or wrist, and NOT from your fingers. A lot of people will tell you that anchoring your pinky like that is bad form, but plenty of the world's best players do it so dont worry too much about that. You shouldn't be applying a mad amount of pressure on each individual pick of a string, either. It should be nice and controlled, fluid, so that you can get the faster runs down. This video explains it pretty nicely, also keep a close eye on his forearm and wrist and how they move together:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hhU9gFnPns
Quote by yellowfrizbee
What does a girl have to do to get it in the butt thats all I ever wanted from you. Why, Ace? Why? I clean my asshole every night hoping and wishing and it never happens.
Bitches be Crazy.

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Last edited by Acϵ♠ at Nov 3, 2012,