#1
Hello everyone

I have a LOT of trouble when playing two notes per strings (in only two strings) runs when starting with a downstroke (strict alternate picking). For example:

. . . . . \/ /\ \/ /\

G ------9--7----------9--7----------9--7----------9--7-----------
D -------------10--7--------10--7---------10--7---------10--7--

Even at low tempos, though I can still play it, it feels weird... a bit hard, and really tiring after a while. At higher tempos it starts to get really sloppy, up to a point where I simply can't pick it. I have NO trouble if I start with an upstroke, though.

Does anybody have any tips or something to help me out here? At first I just tried practicing this picking pattern at slow tempos and such, but I'm really seeing no progress, and it seems that I always start to tense up after a short while when picking this kind of pattern.
Last edited by RicAndrade at Feb 13, 2014,
#2
If you have no trouble starting on an upstroke why not do that all of the time? Although it is very commendable that you're 'evening' out your teqhnique. As for advice, slowing down and concentrating on being relaxed to avoid any unneccessary tension is going to be the reply.
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#3
Quote by RicAndrade
Hello everyone

I have a LOT of trouble when playing two notes per strings (in only two strings) runs when starting with a downstroke (strict alternate picking). For example:

. . . . . \/ /\ \/ /\

G ------9--7----------9--7----------9--7----------9--7-----------
D -------------10--7--------10--7---------10--7---------10--7--

Even at low tempos, though I can still play it, it feels weird... a bit hard, and really tiring after a while. At higher tempos it starts to get really sloppy, up to a point where I simply can't pick it. I have NO trouble if I start with an upstroke, though.

Does anybody have any tips or something to help me out here? At first I just tried practicing this picking pattern at slow tempos and such, but I'm really seeing no progress, and it seems that I always start to tense up after a short while when picking this kind of pattern.


Sounds to me like you've got a bit of a mental block going on with this really. Maybe try telling yourself that this is simple and easy and you can do it before you start practicing.

Other things to try:

The old stand-by of slowing down more, making sure that you're not doing anything glaringly wrong.

Video record yourself if you can, see if you're doing anything obviously wrong and also if you can try posting it here and we can see what you might be doing wrong.

It's going to be hard to tell you what you might want to correct without seeing you play to be honest, other than telling you to slow down, take a very close look at your technique, and be very mindful of what your body is doing there's not much to say.

One last thing I will point out though is that you should try and be aware of what your whole body is doing; playing guitar is a much more holistic activity than some people seem to think so if you're tensing your leg when you know something you think is hard is coming up then it's quite possible this is affecting your playing, even though it's at the other end of your body.
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#4
Quote by Arpeggio X
If you have no trouble starting on an upstroke why not do that all of the time? Although it is very commendable that you're 'evening' out your teqhnique. As for advice, slowing down and concentrating on being relaxed to avoid any unneccessary tension is going to be the reply.


Thanks! Well, the reason I don't want to always start it on an upstroke is because I think that's pretty limiting. Also, the way I see it, if I have trouble with this kind of pick pattern, I'll have trouble with similar picking patterns; if I'm to develop a really good picking hand, I need to get rid of any flaws.

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
One last thing I will point out though is that you should try and be aware of what your whole body is doing; playing guitar is a much more holistic activity than some people seem to think so if you're tensing your leg when you know something you think is hard is coming up then it's quite possible this is affecting your playing, even though it's at the other end of your body.


Thanks for the reply and tips! Hm, hadn't ocurred to me that it could be a mental block, but I think it's quite possible; I often think "damn this is going to be hard, I'll mess up" or stuff like that when going to play some stuff that I think is hard...

Any tips for overcoming mental blocks? I play in a band, and there is one particular solo that I made for a song that I think is waaay too hard, but the first time I played it it was pretty easy. After playing it and recording it, I realized "damn, this is hard", and from that point onwards I started to have trouble playing it... At first I thought I was probably just sloppy and didn't notice the first time I played it, but now I think it might be psychological.

Also, about being aware about the whole body; this is something I'm struggling with. Not only with guitar playing, but with anything, I'll often realize that I'm tensing my shoulder or my leg or whatever. I often find myself tensing my legs and shoulders a lot when playing guitar. Really trying to correct this, but it's hard.
#5
This kind of 2 NPS bugs me too.
It just always feels weird when jumping to another string.
Do you feel like I do!?
#6
Does anybody have any tips or something to help me out here? At first I just tried practicing this picking pattern at slow tempos and such, but I'm really seeing no progress, and it seems that I always start to tense up after a short while when picking this kind of pattern.


I would guess the issue is this - your outside picking is much weaker than your inside picking.

If you cross from low E to A going down-up then that's OUTSIDE picking, and vice versa.

It's very common to prefer string crossings one way or the other. Paul Gilbert massively prefers outside picking, Greg Howe massively prefers inside picking.

It's definitely a good idea to try and keep your ability with both fairly even - in any long picked line you'll probably need to do both. I have 2 exercises that might help you out -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFlX54OoSsA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOsvZdvVndo
#7
Quote by Freepower
I would guess the issue is this - your outside picking is much weaker than your inside picking.


I thought of that as well but the outside picking still occurs when playing it the other way, just in a different place It could be just descending outside picking I guess?
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#9
Thanks for the videos and advice, I'll check them out later today when I pick up the guitar!

I think I do have trouble with outside picking. It actually feels better than inside picking to me, but I just realized like yesterday that when I do it at a high tempo it messes up my rhythm; for example, the famous Paul Gilbert picking lick. I thought I could play it pretty well, but I recorded myself playing it and used a software to slow it down and realized that the notes didn't have an even duration. I was playing some notes faster than they should be in order for my hand to have more time to do the "jump" and pick the higher note, which was slower then the others, making the overall pattern fit in the right time, but with the notes having the wrong length.

I also have trouble with inside picking, though, especially when it's an upstroke. In fact, I'm not a fan of sweep picking, but the few times I use it, usually the downpicking section is fine, but the up-picking I tend to mess up. Especially when transitioning from up-picking to downpicking; in fact, I have a solo from one of my bands songs that has a really fast section with repeating 3 string arpeggios (I swear it's not as boring as it sounds ;P), I play the upstroke parts with only legato instead of using actual upstrokes, because I simply can't do it right.

Why is string changing when picking so hard? ):
#10
Couple of tips for ya. I'll use the Paul Gilbert exercise you mentioned as an example, but it works for a lot of different things.

So, that lick is in sextuplets. Practice playing it in other note groupings as well. For example, eighth note triplets. That will help you at least lock down the timing of the 1st and 4th notes. Play it in 16ths. That is probably the most helpful thing to do. It sounds like your brain is somewhere between processing the chunks of notes based on rhythmic grouping and based on what string they are on. Example - take the last six notes of that lick: E-F#-G-A-B-C. Since sixteenth note triplets can be thought of as 2 groups of 3, then you have a situation where the rhythm grouping is coinciding with the string grouping. So what happens is you end up playing 3 notes really fast on one string, pause, then 3 notes really fast on the next string. Not what you want, obviously! Spending some time playing it in 16ths breaks up that relationship between the rhythmic grouping and the string grouping. Now you are processing it as "E-F#-G-A" "B-C-E-F#", etc. The string cross is now in the middle of a chunk, and the 16th note feel helps carry you through the string cross in time.

I hope that made sense. This kind of thing can be applied to licks in 16ths, by playing them in 8th note triplets, and it works for the same reason.

The other thing I'd recommend is doing some work to re-inforce your rhythmic feel for sextuplets. Play them slow and count "1-ee-and-uh-and-uh" etc.

You still need to work on the pure technique and mechanics of the outside cross, but this sort of work strengthening your timing will go along way towards pulling the technique along for the ride.
Last edited by se012101 at Feb 14, 2014,
#11
Quote by RicAndrade

. . . . . \/ /\ \/ /\

G ------9--7----------9--7----------9--7----------9--7-----------
D -------------10--7--------10--7---------10--7---------10--7--


This is the lick in "The curse of castle dragon (about 1:23 in)" by Paul Gilbert isnt it?

I learned that song a while ago and that lick was complete HELL, it took me forever to nail it. I stopped practicing it and when I came back to it a few months later I could play it, the trick is obviously to keep the picking motion small and another thing that helps me a lot is to accent the first note on the G string (9th fret) by hitting it quite hard.
#12
@se012101

Yeah, I'm doing this kind of stuff to tighten up. Thankfully from practicing yesterday and today I'm already seeing some improvment; I guess I was just missing the correct rhythm through a bad habit, not through lack of technique for it! Now I'm trying to break free of that habit

@tappooh

Yep, I got that from Curse of Castle Dragon. I can play that lick no problem if I start with an upstroke, but it's completely impossible for me to do it when starting with a downstroke, so I modified that lick a bit to focus purely on doing that motion (I also change the notes a bit ocasionally so it doesn't get too boring). But I wasn't really seeing any improvement, which is why I made this thread.

Congrats on nailing Curse! I'm trying to learn it as a way of improving my picking hand. This particular 2 strings lick is hell for me, and also that long picking run at about 1:55 is still beyond my reach :P