#1
Hello guys.
No matter what, i can't seem to shred. I can play legato at higher speeds just fine and mostly clean. But when it comes on trying(and failing) to pick every note, it gets sloppy and ears bleed.
Feels like my picking hand fails to keep up with fretting hand. Sometimes i accidentally pick before fretting. Seems to be even more difficult on the G,B and high E strings.
I've been exercising 3 notes-per-string arpeggios(and it's only a damn minor scale!) for some time now, with zero improvement. I've noticed that when i'm going up on arpeggios feels more difficult, and when coming back down i can be faster and cleaner(still not very clean). Also, economy picking feels good, but that's it. I'm alright on moderate speeds but fail utterly when raising the tempo. I own an Ibanez 7 string, low action, it would be a shredding machine in the proper hands.
I LOVE metal. I'm good at riffing, creative, and also good enough phrasing. But metal is about speed and technique. Which i fail at. And i've been playing for 8 1/2 years which is something.
When i see some young kids on youtube shredding that guitar to bits, it just makes me put my guitar on eBay, give it away FAST and never look back, find a new hobby and start over.

What could i possibly exercise to improve my sloppy playing? 3 notes per string didn't work for me.

How do you pick when shredding? Do you use only the tip of the plectrum? Hit hard or softly? Do you use thin/thick strings?
Last edited by lebawss at Nov 27, 2014,
#2
You're going to get a gazillion different suggestions... One thing i would try is thumb muting. Contort you hand and thumb down closer to the strings so the thumb can help mute out the previous string played... The thumb kills vibrating strings faster than the fleshy part of your hand/palm...This might also over time help you start picking a little less wildly during shredding...
#3
Quote by drop1337
mute out the previous string played... The thumb kills vibrating strings faster than the fleshy part of your hand/palm

That's not an issue. I can mute them even without a string dampener. My main problem is i'm that i'm sloppy. The sloppyness comes from my picking hand. Many years of legato, i've kind of developed that muscle memory. Now i have to ''undo'' it. I need to pick ALL the notes. But my picking hand feels tense and stiff and can't synchronize with my fretting hand. Sometimes i skip a note, sometimes i hit the note twice, but never comes clean. It comes out sloppy. I'd record myself and show it to you, but i'm not responsible for any eventual ear damage.
Last edited by lebawss at Nov 27, 2014,
#4
I could write a very long response as to why this is, but there's one very simple answer - You're not good enough. You can't play fast because of the simple fact that you're not good enough. There's no secret to it, you just have to keep practicing.
Legato and alternate picking are very different. Being good at one thing on guitar doesn't mean you'll be good at another.

Quote by lebawss
metal is about speed and technique


This is beyond laughable by the way..
Last edited by vayne92 at Nov 27, 2014,
#5
Just try the thumb thing... So another thing is to play the scale you're having trouble with slowed down a bit, can use a click if you want and pick each down note down/up/down and each upstroke up/down/up... Each down ends on a downpick, each up an upstroke.

Another popular thing is to practice with released pressure on the notes of a scale etc. until you're not actually sounding the notes but almost like you're trying to get natural harmonics.... These are both shredder/sweeper tips i've seen through the years that seem to help the most.

Also constantly going between alternate and economy while practicing scales might not be the best thing...
Last edited by drop1337 at Nov 27, 2014,
#6
You should read these first: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1662610

Also accept that some guys brains just can't be trained to alternate pick like Paul Gilbert. Look at Satriani for example. Even Vai isn't so great at it compared to Yngwie or Batio or Gilbert.

I personally have three recommendations:

1. Abandon using completely linear scales to try to get your AP (Alternate Picking) down. Instead pick small exerpts from the solos of some of your favourite guitarists who are ace Alternate Pickers. Legato tends to be played in a very scalar fashion, so maybe playing actual musical passages will help get you out the rut.

2. Practice your AP along ONE STRING first, Yngwie style. Stetina has some great examples in his Speed Mechanics book. Once you can rip along one strings, you can start to cross onto the neighbouring string.

3. Maybe you're attempting only 3-note-per-string runs? Try pentatonic 8th notes across two strings, 2-notes-per-string. Try the ones in Randy Rhoads live solo from the 'Tribute' album, for ex: string G, frets 5 & 7, pick v ^; followed by string D, frets 5 & 7 again, pick v ^ again. Cycle it. Don't expect to do that at Rhoads or Zakk Wylde speed after 1 week by the way.

Oh, and for Jesus, a bonus:

4. Regarding practicing technique, LITTLE and OFTEN works best. It's better to practice AP six times a day 15 minutes a time than once a day for 90 minutes. That's just how the nervous system works. Also learn to take the odd 3 or 4 days without touching the guitar AT ALL. This WILL help your technique.
#8
Quote by lebawss
Hello guys.
No matter what, i can't seem to shred. I can play legato at higher speeds just fine and mostly clean. But when it comes on trying(and failing) to pick every note, it gets sloppy and ears bleed.
Feels like my picking hand fails to keep up with fretting hand. Sometimes i accidentally pick before fretting. Seems to be even more difficult on the G,B and high E strings.
I've been exercising 3 notes-per-string arpeggios(and it's only a damn minor scale!) for some time now, with zero improvement. I've noticed that when i'm going up on arpeggios feels more difficult, and when coming back down i can be faster and cleaner(still not very clean). Also, economy picking feels good, but that's it. I'm alright on moderate speeds but fail utterly when raising the tempo. I own an Ibanez 7 string, low action, it would be a shredding machine in the proper hands.
I LOVE metal. I'm good at riffing, creative, and also good enough phrasing. But metal is about speed and technique. Which i fail at. And i've been playing for 8 1/2 years which is something.
When i see some young kids on youtube shredding that guitar to bits, it just makes me put my guitar on eBay, give it away FAST and never look back, find a new hobby and start over.

What could i possibly exercise to improve my sloppy playing? 3 notes per string didn't work for me.

How do you pick when shredding? Do you use only the tip of the plectrum? Hit hard or softly? Do you use thin/thick strings?


I had a similar issue ... my fretting hand was way better synchronised than my picking hand, but as I prefer the sound of legato, this didn't impact me for what I wanted to play musically. But it annoyed me!! I could play legato around 180-190 bpm (1/16ths), but picking (economy) at around 150 at best, but sloppy.

My biggest problem was that I'd established a long-held belief that I couldn't achieve excellent picking, and hence whenever I tried, that would kick in to cause tension etc. The brain can be the real villain of the piece, not the hands.

The technique that fixed it for me (though temporarily) was thumb muting, which minimised my movement. However, I discovered as part of this, that there was friction between my arm/wrist/palm area as it rested on the guitar body, which was giving way in very slight "jolts". (I get hot enough when I'm playing for my skin to get very slightly sticky). One day, I just wore a long-sleeve shirt, grabbed the cuff to keep that area of arm/wrist covered, and hey-presto ... things started working magically ... everything slid smoothly.

With that out the way ... the key thing for me then was learning the technique ridiculously slowly, and being aware of exactly where the pick was going, angle of contact, controlled, minimal movement, combined with extreme awareness of timing and tension going on in fretting hand (goal being to not have tension). I did this for 2 weeks, I think ... around 30-40 bpm, 1 note per click. Then gradually sped up to around 80 bpm (1/4 notes). But still mainly very slow bpm's, on purpose.

After 3 weeks, I felt very relaxed, and I went for it. This had also improved my legato. I managed to play around 230 bpm, 1/16ths, picked, and it sounded accurate, and felt easy.

But, the problem with that technique is it's incompatible with normal hand muting (to create that muted sound, chugging etc) which I love, and it just sounded way to regimented to me. And shortly after that I badly injured both hands which meant I couldn;t play at all for about a year (just getting back into it now).

Your worst enemy may be the self-doubt you've developed in shredding. The good news is that's fixable. It's when you've got physical problems that it's hard.

Good luck.
Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Nov 28, 2014,
#9
Hello guys.
No matter what, i can't seem to shred. I can play legato at higher speeds just fine and mostly clean. But when it comes on trying(and failing) to pick every note, it gets sloppy and ears bleed.
Feels like my picking hand fails to keep up with fretting hand. Sometimes i accidentally pick before fretting. Seems to be even more difficult on the G,B and high E strings.
I've been exercising 3 notes-per-string arpeggios(and it's only a damn minor scale!) for some time now, with zero improvement. I've noticed that when i'm going up on arpeggios feels more difficult, and when coming back down i can be faster and cleaner(still not very clean). Also, economy picking feels good, but that's it. I'm alright on moderate speeds but fail utterly when raising the tempo. I own an Ibanez 7 string, low action, it would be a shredding machine in the proper hands.
I LOVE metal. I'm good at riffing, creative, and also good enough phrasing. But metal is about speed and technique. Which i fail at. And i've been playing for 8 1/2 years which is something.
When i see some young kids on youtube shredding that guitar to bits, it just makes me put my guitar on eBay, give it away FAST and never look back, find a new hobby and start over.

What could i possibly exercise to improve my sloppy playing? 3 notes per string didn't work for me.

How do you pick when shredding? Do you use only the tip of the plectrum? Hit hard or softly? Do you use thin/thick strings?

What could you do?

To shred or play fast I did not really do but metal and good rock riffs with improvising the solos where my style for decades. Practise where not really something I did just played.

To reach a higher level I started to practise my old copy of Speed Mechanics (cassette tape version still sounds cool!) by Troy Stetina and a Yngwie tune I always dug for some reason. Cool!

What I found was the combination of Troy and Yngwie + a metronome + the added time to get it into my subconscious mind as a stored habit made my playing go into the faster and fluid shred style by auto pilot when ever I pick up a guitar not needing much for a warm up.

So that is the tools and what I personally do to improve. Pick 1 mm Dunlop blue tortex and 10-46 Ernie ball or Fender Bulit string depending on the 6 string guitars. That is what works for me.

You need to go back to the basics for your goals and Troy's Speed Mechanics is written for 6 strings but you adapt ex and get going of the right way as it covers the directions and has become the bible for shred/faster players to have and impliment.
#10
Here's my advice: take a very very close look at your picking technique. Your pointer and thumb must be 100% rigid while your wrist makes minimal movement. Just enough to movement to cross the string you're on. I just recently corrected my technique after 6 years of wanting to shred but failing. I was doing this wierd scoop motion with my wrist (rather than the strict machine-like up and down motion) and twisting my thumb and pointer fingers in a very inefficient motion with each note played. Now, after all these years of being ccompletely oblivious to this (my left hand got all of the attention) I've finally beem making serious improvements in my speed. I'm up to about 85 bpm at 16th note triplets from being stuck at about 55 bpm for all these years. It only took about 3 months. But you have to play ultra slow with a LOT of focus to beat those bad habits. I recommend the first few exercises off of Paul Gilbert's Intense Rock Sequences for learning how to play 3 note per string sequences with strict alternate picking. Learn economy picking after you get good at alternate picking. Trust me, I used to think I was economy picking, but I really wasn't. Only after I gave alternate picking with good technique a real attempt did I learn the true nature of right hand technique.
#11
Paul Gilbert íntense rock videos are cool but even Paul had gone through legato and leading with an upstroke well developed before making intense rock I!

That is why SM by Troy is the bible as it covers more and all so it it like what should be learned before Intense Rock should be watched and applied.
#12
Work on picking, slow down and make as little movement as possible and make each note perfect. 2 or 4 (even) note per string patterns allow for the same picking pattern (each string starts with a down or "up") with 3nps 5 nps etc (odd), each string pick starts on the opposite as the last. For odd sequences I prefer economy picking or sweeping.
#13
Quote by bloodandsoil
Also accept that some guys brains just can't be trained to alternate pick like Paul Gilbert. Look at Satriani for example. Even Vai isn't so great at it compared to Yngwie or Batio or Gilbert.


[citation needed]

Satriani and Vai can pick incredibly well and fast, they just play legato a lot more because they seem to prefer the sound.

2. Practice your AP along ONE STRING first, Yngwie style. Stetina has some great examples in his Speed Mechanics book. Once you can rip along one strings, you can start to cross onto the neighbouring string.


Practicing on one string is important for syncing your hands and practicing position changes along the neck but string crossing is a much more difficult and useful part of alternate picking.

In addition to all the usual advice (relaxation, economy of motion, slow down etc) you should try practicing hard picking exerts with a lot of string skipping if possible. This forces you to slow down and make sure your technique is good if you want to sound good.
#14
Practicing small sequences is good but you also need to learn some solos.

Work on a few simple scale patterns, then spend most of your time learning a song from a fast player.

Learn the song/solo and get it up to speed. If you can get it up to speed (this will take quite awhile) bingo you are now a fast player AND you can play musically.
#16
Quote by lebawss

When i see some young kids on youtube shredding that guitar to bits, it just makes me put my guitar on eBay, give it away FAST and never look back, find a new hobby and start over.


I know how you feel...just don't quit and remember the goal is to make beatiful music.
Trust me i want to be fast too.

Quote by lebawss

What could i possibly exercise to improve my sloppy playing? 3 notes per string didn't work for me.


There's no exercise to fix sloppy playing...change your perspective, the key is HOW you practice not WHAT!
General tips:
- you can't play faster with right and left hand than alternate picking one single note.
- practice with no mistake, at a speed is really easy, stick at that speed for an entire week
- slow down...slower than you think
- use a stiff pick, the important thing is that your pick does not bend (but when you will be better you'll pick with every pick you want)

my suggestions are:
- be patience
- stick to the same speed for a week, every day 5 minutes straight of that exercise in various sessions, with pauses. If you loose focus, stop. If you make errors, slow down. Resist to the temptation of raising the metronome if it's too easy.
- work without mixing techniques. Don't jump to alternate picking to sweeping to other type of exercises. Try to assign let say, 30 minutes each techniques (4 or 6 different alternate picking exercises) etc..
- if you can take lesson for a good teacher
Last edited by -=Ales=- at Dec 5, 2014,