#1
Hello,

I want to practice my alternate picking, and I read on a lot of threads that the key of playing fast is "Economy of motion, tensionless, and accuracy".

How to practice my right hand picking to do very small motions ?

Here an article about "economy of motion" :

"Today's lesson is going to be quick and dirty, right here. The lesson is about economy of motion. Now as we all know, this is one of the key elements of fluid, accurate guitar playing. You want to make your hand and finger movements of both hands as small as possible, conserving the energy and using it for speed.

Remember the distance, speed and time relationship we learned about in school!!
Now this lesson is very simple, and I think many of you will find it quite effective once you have spent some time mastering it. The concept is simple, and it applies to the picking hand.

You are going to use the smallest possible movements of the pick to play your downstrokes and upstrokes.
Use the "Single String Speed Triplets" lesson as your musical example, and apply the following right hand technique: Pick the first note with a downstroke. Then, as soon as possible, bring the pick back up against the string to mute it, ready for the upstroke. Then, pick the upstroke and quickly bring the pick back onto the string to mute it ready for the downstroke. Start this slowly and strive for short, even, staccato notes. You might want to think of this as rubbing the string with the tip of the pick.

When you are doing this correctly, you will see how small a movement of the pick you can use to get a note. Remember though, pick hard enough to get good tone!

Once comfortable, grab your metronome and work this up to quicker tempos. Keep in mind though, that you would want to alter the distances of your strokes depending on the musical situation.

That's that! Practice this for a couple of days and see if it helps your speed on single strings. THEN try to apply the same principle to string crossing.
"

I was wondering if it's good to practice it like the article explains.

Please, tell me how to practice it

Sorry for my bad english, I'm french :/

Thank you very much !
"Sans la musique, la vie serait une erreur" Nietzsche
#2
Well a good and simple way i practice is to economy pick all the way up and back down the major scale. If im going up, I start with an upstroke so that after the triad my pick is already in the upward motion going to the next string. And vice versa going back down.
#3
Honestly you should practice string crossing just as much (if not more) than picking on a single string.

The thing with this is you'll be moving the pick back to the string after picking a note as opposed to never moving that far away from the string. I found the easiest way to learn small movements was to just practice picking incredibly slowly, making sure I was completely relaxed (very important) and then just picking a note by moving my wrist with as small a movement as possible.

The more you practice playing with small relaxed movements and the more control you get over your wrist movements, the smaller you'll be able to make these movements. The challenge probably isn't going to be making the small movements, it's going to be doing it without tensing up.
#4
"The thing with this is you'll be moving the pick back to the string after picking a note as opposed to never moving that far away from the string".

-Anon17, so if I understand correctly, it's better to never moving that far away for the string than moving the pick back to the string after picking a note (the thing explained in the article) ? Sorry, I don't understand what you mean !

-If I practice very slowly, for a long time, being relaxed and making the smallest movement as possible, it'll be ingrained in my muscle memory and I'll be able to control it ?

-And why it's better to practice string crossing rather than picking on a single string ?

-I know, I have to practice economy of motion on everything I play/practice but ... it's possible ? I mean, even if I practice very slowly, making smallest movements as possible ... sometimes (for example, with my band, or just for playing or jaming) I have to play "normally", and so I can't pay attention to economy of motion. I just can be relaxed.
Sorry, I'm lost with that thing.

-And last question, it's better to practice it on a single and simple exercise (then it'll be ingrained, and I'll able to apply it to everything I play) or I can practice it on a song I like and want to learn ?
"Sans la musique, la vie serait une erreur" Nietzsche
#5
Quote by Syndromed
-If I practice very slowly, for a long time, being relaxed and making the smallest movement as possible, it'll be ingrained in my muscle memory and I'll be able to control it ?

-I know, I have to practice economy of motion on everything I play/practice but ... it's possible ? I mean, even if I practice very slowly, making smallest movements as possible ... sometimes (for example, with my band, or just for playing or jaming) I have to play "normally", and so I can't pay attention to economy of motion. I just can be relaxed.
Sorry, I'm lost with that thing.

Thing is it's not something that you can practice for X amount of time and suddenly you get it. Spend a decent amount of time practising regularly (even 20 minutes every day is good) and you gradually get better at it over time. When playing just play normally, if you do it well you won't lose anything by playing normally.

Quote by Syndromed
-And why it's better to practice string crossing rather than picking on a single string ?

During normal playing string crossing is the limiting factor when it comes to speed. Achieving decent single-string speed is easy, string crossing is the hard bit.

Quote by Syndromed
-And last question, it's better to practice it on a single and simple exercise (then it'll be ingrained, and I'll able to apply it to everything I play) or I can practice it on a song I like and want to learn ?

If you're working intensely on economy of motion then it might be worth taking something small that you can really concentrate on the mechanics for. That's not to say you shouldn't apply these principles to songs and such but if you're specifically working on this kind of practice then you'll want something simple that you don't have to think about much so you can really concentrate on the principles involved.
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#6
Quote by Syndromed

-Anon17, so if I understand correctly, it's better to never moving that far away for the string than moving the pick back to the string after picking a note (the thing explained in the article) ? Sorry, I don't understand what you mean !


Basically, you just want to minimise the distance the pick moves after going through the string. The reason I'm not sure about the article is because it has you immediately muting the note when often you want a small pick stroke but the note has to ring out.


-If I practice very slowly, for a long time, being relaxed and making the smallest movement as possible, it'll be ingrained in my muscle memory and I'll be able to control it ?


That's pretty much how it works yes. Make sure to practice at faster speeds sometimes (never faster than you can play relaxed though) to play songs and stuff because playing slowly and practicing all the time might make you lose motivation.


-And why it's better to practice string crossing rather than picking on a single string ?


It's easier to pick on a single string, so often the "limiting factor" in your picking speed/technique will be your string crossing. Practice both.


-I know, I have to practice economy of motion on everything I play/practice but ... it's possible ? I mean, even if I practice very slowly, making smallest movements as possible ... sometimes (for example, with my band, or just for playing or jaming) I have to play "normally", and so I can't pay attention to economy of motion. I just can be relaxed.
Sorry, I'm lost with that thing.


If you are playing with your band you'll probably be playing too fast for you to affect your muscle memory, so don't worry about your technique while you play. Just play. But when you practice, you should worry about your technique.


-And last question, it's better to practice it on a single and simple exercise (then it'll be ingrained, and I'll able to apply it to everything I play) or I can practice it on a song I like and want to learn ?


Practicing songs you like (providing you use the same slow efficient practice that you would use on an exercise) is just as good if not better than most exercises. Freepower's exercises in the sticky can be very useful though. Check out the string skipping spider and the all picking permutations exercises, I would recommend practicing both of then (starting on both downstrokes and upstrokes) for about 10 minutes a day if you can, then just practice songs.
#7
I see ! You guys are very very helpful !

Thank you very much for your answers, I'll find a simple exercise (or Freepower's exercises) and practice it for 20-30mn per day (string crossing, very slowly), then I'll practice songs correctly, with good technique.

Thank you once again, and have a good day !
"Sans la musique, la vie serait une erreur" Nietzsche