#1
Hi there,

I've been using ultimate guitar for as long as i can remember, Its how i started to teach myself back in 2002. I went on to get a scholarship for a foundation degree in guitar in 2005. Over the years i've learnt a lot of techniques and would consider myself quite an accomplished player, but there's one thing that i've never got the hang of - fast alternate picking runs. In my hey day, I was a massive ozzy fan - the fastest thing I could just about play was the final lick in the first bark at the moon solo, even then I was really pushed and it wasnt very clean. legato runs aren't a problem, I can throw out some fast ones, they just don't sound as intense as picked ones.

although I don't listen to much of it anymore, I've always had an appreciation for the jason becker/yngwie/etc. fast runs, but have always thought I must be doing something wrong, as I can't get anywhere near them speed-wise.

I sat down the other day to analyse my technique, I quickly learnt a couple of licks from yngwie's black star just to have a look at what i do. I can play them fairly fast, but as soon as I start to speed up, i can get the first few notes fast, but it almost feels like my technique changes and starts to 'choke up'. I'm convinced its the way I hold the pick and position my arm.

Could anyone who can genuinely play these sorts of things give me a few pointers? - i'm thinking of 'locking' my hand in the position where I play fast tremolo things (I can play single string tremolo really fast - that involves my hand and forearm tensing up) and trying to practice whilst 'locked in'? but I'm not sure if that will result in an injury. I know every player is different, but i'm sure shredders share some commonalities.

Incase anyone was going to tell me - I'm 99% certain its not a case of sitting down with a metronome and playing each note slowly. I've been playing a long time, and i've almost pinpointed it down to technique. I used to sit down and practice yngwie runs slowly to a metronome about 7 or 8 years ago for hours/days/weeks/months at a time, but never managed to get it.

any insight would be greatly appreciated.
#2
i can't really genuinely play it

you might be tightening up- it's intuitive (EDIT: I meant counter-intuitive ) but the harder you try the more you tense up which makes it more difficult

it also might be slightly anxiety-based in that you sort of psyche yourself up for the difficult bit, which has a similar end result to what i mentioned above

just in case that sounds like i'm telling you off, i do it too

EDIT: it also could absolutely be technique, as you said. if your technique is not right (or at least not right in a way that might hinder you), then that becomes apparent when you're trying to play very difficult stuff while you might get away with it when playing something easier.
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at Sep 12, 2014,
#3
Quote by mrjojo
Hi there,

I've been using ultimate guitar for as long as i can remember, Its how i started to teach myself back in 2002. I went on to get a scholarship for a foundation degree in guitar in 2005. Over the years i've learnt a lot of techniques and would consider myself quite an accomplished player, but there's one thing that i've never got the hang of - fast alternate picking runs. In my hey day, I was a massive ozzy fan - the fastest thing I could just about play was the final lick in the first bark at the moon solo, even then I was really pushed and it wasnt very clean. legato runs aren't a problem, I can throw out some fast ones, they just don't sound as intense as picked ones.

although I don't listen to much of it anymore, I've always had an appreciation for the jason becker/yngwie/etc. fast runs, but have always thought I must be doing something wrong, as I can't get anywhere near them speed-wise.

I sat down the other day to analyse my technique, I quickly learnt a couple of licks from yngwie's black star just to have a look at what i do. I can play them fairly fast, but as soon as I start to speed up, i can get the first few notes fast, but it almost feels like my technique changes and starts to 'choke up'. I'm convinced its the way I hold the pick and position my arm.

Could anyone who can genuinely play these sorts of things give me a few pointers? - i'm thinking of 'locking' my hand in the position where I play fast tremolo things (I can play single string tremolo really fast - that involves my hand and forearm tensing up) and trying to practice whilst 'locked in'? but I'm not sure if that will result in an injury. I know every player is different, but i'm sure shredders share some commonalities.

Incase anyone was going to tell me - I'm 99% certain its not a case of sitting down with a metronome and playing each note slowly. I've been playing a long time, and i've almost pinpointed it down to technique. I used to sit down and practice yngwie runs slowly to a metronome about 7 or 8 years ago for hours/days/weeks/months at a time, but never managed to get it.

any insight would be greatly appreciated.


One thing that really helped me unlock more speed was changing the way I held the pick. I used to hold it with my index and thumb, with my three other fingers fanning out downwards. I switched that up to a guthrie govan style closed hand grip and it naturally gave me way more speed and less fatigue. That being said, I play fingerstyle almost exclusively now and get my speed from legato, since it's way more efficient for that style. I think it's perfectly natural to not be able to pick as fast as Yngwie - that guy's a monster! Some people just have the hands for it - he was playing like that in his teens.
#4
Quote by mrjojo
Hi there,

I've been using ultimate guitar for as long as i can remember, Its how i started to teach myself back in 2002. I went on to get a scholarship for a foundation degree in guitar in 2005. Over the years i've learnt a lot of techniques and would consider myself quite an accomplished player, but there's one thing that i've never got the hang of - fast alternate picking runs. In my hey day, I was a massive ozzy fan - the fastest thing I could just about play was the final lick in the first bark at the moon solo, even then I was really pushed and it wasnt very clean. legato runs aren't a problem, I can throw out some fast ones, they just don't sound as intense as picked ones.

although I don't listen to much of it anymore, I've always had an appreciation for the jason becker/yngwie/etc. fast runs, but have always thought I must be doing something wrong, as I can't get anywhere near them speed-wise.

I sat down the other day to analyse my technique, I quickly learnt a couple of licks from yngwie's black star just to have a look at what i do. I can play them fairly fast, but as soon as I start to speed up, i can get the first few notes fast, but it almost feels like my technique changes and starts to 'choke up'. I'm convinced its the way I hold the pick and position my arm.

Could anyone who can genuinely play these sorts of things give me a few pointers? - i'm thinking of 'locking' my hand in the position where I play fast tremolo things (I can play single string tremolo really fast - that involves my hand and forearm tensing up) and trying to practice whilst 'locked in'? but I'm not sure if that will result in an injury. I know every player is different, but i'm sure shredders share some commonalities.

Incase anyone was going to tell me - I'm 99% certain its not a case of sitting down with a metronome and playing each note slowly. I've been playing a long time, and i've almost pinpointed it down to technique. I used to sit down and practice yngwie runs slowly to a metronome about 7 or 8 years ago for hours/days/weeks/months at a time, but never managed to get it.

any insight would be greatly appreciated.


Your problem is very simple as soon I saw you post you "choke" when you try to speed up this is common. I also see that you've posted that your forearms, and hand tenses up that's one of the main problems you're not relaxed when practicing or pushing your limits with speed you have to be relaxed! There's no way in hell anyone gets any faster by tensing up when trying to build speed it's all mental dude. If anything you need to learn how to relax your picking hand, and that will solve your problem. Focused, and relaxiation is key man.
Last edited by Black_devils at Sep 13, 2014,
#5
Quote by mrjojo
Hi there,

I've been using ultimate guitar for as long as i can remember, Its how i started to teach myself back in 2002. I went on to get a scholarship for a foundation degree in guitar in 2005. Over the years i've learnt a lot of techniques and would consider myself quite an accomplished player, but there's one thing that i've never got the hang of - fast alternate picking runs. In my hey day, I was a massive ozzy fan - the fastest thing I could just about play was the final lick in the first bark at the moon solo, even then I was really pushed and it wasnt very clean. legato runs aren't a problem, I can throw out some fast ones, they just don't sound as intense as picked ones.

although I don't listen to much of it anymore, I've always had an appreciation for the jason becker/yngwie/etc. fast runs, but have always thought I must be doing something wrong, as I can't get anywhere near them speed-wise.

I sat down the other day to analyse my technique, I quickly learnt a couple of licks from yngwie's black star just to have a look at what i do. I can play them fairly fast, but as soon as I start to speed up, i can get the first few notes fast, but it almost feels like my technique changes and starts to 'choke up'. I'm convinced its the way I hold the pick and position my arm.

Could anyone who can genuinely play these sorts of things give me a few pointers? - i'm thinking of 'locking' my hand in the position where I play fast tremolo things (I can play single string tremolo really fast - that involves my hand and forearm tensing up) and trying to practice whilst 'locked in'? but I'm not sure if that will result in an injury. I know every player is different, but i'm sure shredders share some commonalities.

Incase anyone was going to tell me - I'm 99% certain its not a case of sitting down with a metronome and playing each note slowly. I've been playing a long time, and i've almost pinpointed it down to technique. I used to sit down and practice yngwie runs slowly to a metronome about 7 or 8 years ago for hours/days/weeks/months at a time, but never managed to get it.

any insight would be greatly appreciated.


I am in the same sort of place though not a total Ozzy freak. Maybe a few Rhoads licks but still that fast picking aka Yngwie is still something to be desired some day.

All one need to be able to do it is the tools behind it nothing else. Then believe you can get there.

Once you got that then its of to practise and put the time into it.

The song I am learning is Far beyond the sun and I got the TAB book for that album to learn the basics of how all the details go in that song.

If your lefthand is developed right in order to do it first then picking fast is much more simple and easy to do.

What I did as the basics for playing fast was never something I cared for doing any practise on was start to practise the ex in Speed Mechanics by Troy Stetina on a serious level which is the sort of bible for fast players and I can tell you it works brilliantly with learning Yngwie in combination.

Any guitarist can play what ever they want to play if they believe they can.
#6
Good advise here by others. Agreed that "excess" tension is a speed killer. One thing I use: break those long runs down into short ones. Most people (including myself) can play short bursts a lot faster than longer ones. Then add a note or two at a time.