#1
I thinking about this today. Ive been working on alternate picking exercises for a year now with little to no improvement on speed. But I was thinking...would it be better to approach it by playing metal rhythm guitar? considering there is a lot of tremolo picking and gallops in it. Or do I simply keep going about alternate picking with exercises?

Now I know a lot of you will say its the same thing, but I find that maybe i'll get better approaching this from a more musical standpoint. Considering everything else I learn is by exercises. and alternate picking on the low E string is probably the hardest thing for anyone to do who plays with a raised bridge like on the les pauls.

Would this be a good way to get better at alternate picking? Would love to hear your thoughts
#2
I would much rather spend time learning music personally but the problem is more likely to be that you're not practicing correctly rather than that you're not practicing the right thing or that you're not putting in enough time.

Spend more time looking at your technique and making sure you're doing it right rather than just sitting and running exercises or songs until you're bored or dead.
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#3
Not saying that this is your problem, but it is worth considering. I recently had a big breakthrough in my playing. I feel like it was a direct result of realizing that I had to have a deliberate focus on my playing while I practiced. Ironically, what made me realize it was working on songs in which alternate picking was very helpful. I had to visualize a few steps ahead and know exactly what I was going to do next.

For example, I was working on a song in which there was a very fast transition from the E and A strings at the 2nd fret to the G string at the 6th and 7th frets. This was a big leap for someone of my skill level. I found that as I was playing the run at the 2nd fret I had to FOCUS on getting to the 7th fret on the G string. It really didn't take long before I could pull it off cleanly every time. I started applying that focus to other areas of my playing and, as a result, I feel that my practice time is yielding much better results.

Just something to think about. Maybe it will help. Mojo on your continued practicing.
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#4
Zaphod makes some great points.

Talking from personal experience here.

It takes a lot of discipline (my guitar teacher at the time basically forced me) slow down and focus on technique with/without a metronome (people have different opinions but I use one as it can help me determine whether I'm improving).

I would also recommend picking songs or designing exercises to help you focus on certain skills.

Speed comes with technique and practice.

If you practice consistently and diligently you'll find that you will improve until you reach the next plateau. For me that's about alternate picking triplets in 4/4 at approximately 140 bpm at the moment going through a chromatic scale, 3 notes per string ascending, as far as I wanna go up the fret board (usually finishing 12th fret then descending). I do this and I try not to cheat, making sure I'm using good string muting techniques in addition to ensuring that I play each note cleanly.
#5
Quote by McZaxon
I thinking about this today. Ive been working on alternate picking exercises for a year now with little to no improvement on speed. But I was thinking...would it be better to approach it by playing metal rhythm guitar? considering there is a lot of tremolo picking and gallops in it. Or do I simply keep going about alternate picking with exercises?

Now I know a lot of you will say its the same thing, but I find that maybe i'll get better approaching this from a more musical standpoint. Considering everything else I learn is by exercises. and alternate picking on the low E string is probably the hardest thing for anyone to do who plays with a raised bridge like on the les pauls.

Would this be a good way to get better at alternate picking? Would love to hear your thoughts

Start using it more.

Alternate picking doesn't mean "fast", it's just picking up and down, regardless of tempo. So if you're not using it all the time it's never going to come particularly naturally.

And I know we've said this before but you're not playing a video game, you can't level up to a point when you can automatically do everything that's "below your level"....doesn't work that way. I know your goal is to play fast music, but the simple fact is that isn't an achievable short-term goal. As a long term goal it's fine, but that's the crucial point - long-term. You're wanting to be able to play the guitar really well, but you need to learn to play badly first, then ok, then moderately well and go through all the steps inbetween to get to your destination.

Learning to play the guitar is a progression, learning one thing leads on to another but you need a strong foundation. You can't simply "do" everything you want to, sheer will and desire aren't enough.There's obviously stuff you need to work on before you can do the things you're wanting to do, at the moment you're banging your head against a brick wall when you should be spending time accquiring and learning to use the tools needed to dismantle it systematically.

A guitarist is not judged on the hardest thing they can play, being able to play one virtouso piece doesn't make you a great player if you can't play anything else or hold your own in a jam session. You have to decide what you really want to be - do you actually want to learn to play the guitar, or do you just want to be a performing seal who can bust out a couple of party pieces?
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