#1
Hey everyone!

Lately for my daily alternate picking practice, I've been practicing the Intermediate Alternate Picking Etude from Danny Gill's Lick Library DVD: Ultimate Guitar Practice Routines, Alternate Picking.

Ive been practicing the etude in sections so I can get each section up to speed before moving on to the next section.

In this first section, there is a tremolo picking part that requires you to pick sixteenth note triplets at 117bpm. (actual tempo of the piece) but i keep slowing down at around the 110bpm mark. Every now and again I can squeeze out a 113, like today, but then when i try it again, my picking hand slows down. I feel as though my hands are still trying to figure out which muscles need to work together to make this happen almost haha.

Does anyone have an tips on how I can break past this little barrier? Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

P.S. I have always used the start slow, build up speed method, literally everyday I start at like 68bpm to get warmed up, and work all the way to the top speed, then I try slowing back down and building up again in increments before ending my session at my top speed for the day.

This exact part of the etude can be seen at 0:18 of this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHnk07MVJ50
and the first section im practicing ends at 0:34
#2
Two suggestions. Really check your body for tensing up (you know you've got a tricky piece to deal with, and a natural reaction is to tense up) ... mental attitude has an enormous effect here.

Secondly, to possibly help with the above, push yourself into unknown territory (go for 120 bpm, 130bpm), where you will not be able to play accurately. But your mind is working. Don't do it for long (a few minutes), then try normal speed again. Somehow this reduces the tension when you come back down again.

Pure technique-wise, obviously make wrist movement as minimal as possible. Just enough to pass the string in either direction, and no more.

cheers, Jerry
#3
I posted this on another question but I think it could help. I would regard tremolo picking as a separate thing to alternate picking.

You could do it with your wrist but really the best way to look at is as turning a door handle, that's the motion you should be doing rather than side to side.

If you do it right eventually it feels pretty effortless vs using your arm or wrist.

The video below really cleared it up for me.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUsCIktbENM
#4
Quote by McZaxon
Hey everyone!

Lately for my daily alternate picking practice, I've been practicing the Intermediate Alternate Picking Etude from Danny Gill's Lick Library DVD: Ultimate Guitar Practice Routines, Alternate Picking.

Ive been practicing the etude in sections so I can get each section up to speed before moving on to the next section.

In this first section, there is a tremolo picking part that requires you to pick sixteenth note triplets at 117bpm. (actual tempo of the piece) but i keep slowing down at around the 110bpm mark. Every now and again I can squeeze out a 113, like today, but then when i try it again, my picking hand slows down. I feel as though my hands are still trying to figure out which muscles need to work together to make this happen almost haha.

Does anyone have an tips on how I can break past this little barrier? Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

P.S. I have always used the start slow, build up speed method, literally everyday I start at like 68bpm to get warmed up, and work all the way to the top speed, then I try slowing back down and building up again in increments before ending my session at my top speed for the day.

This exact part of the etude can be seen at 0:18 of this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHnk07MVJ50
and the first section im practicing ends at 0:34


How much legato did you practise before learning the etude?

Did that become a natural habit before you started to started to speed up?

Your left and right hand needs to be in sync! Once you are there then you can dive into whatever alternate guitar player you dig!

Going for an alternate picking course like Intense Rock with Paul Gilbert or whatever is great but if it does not cover the basic skills that you must have applied then you will wonder how to get out of the rut as you are going to get stuck like you are now.

What is the solution to it? Learn the right skills in the right order! Make sure that each and everyone of the ex sits as a firm natural habit before moving on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlP_IiD2LBs

The only way and most simple as it works is the Speed Mechanic book/cd by Troy Stetina. In the above video you can see me doing some of the first ex in that book. By sticking to it you can be sure that your alternate picking problems will no longer be a problem as SM covers all.
#5
Quote by jerrykramskoy
Two suggestions. Really check your body for tensing up (you know you've got a tricky piece to deal with, and a natural reaction is to tense up) ... mental attitude has an enormous effect here.

Secondly, to possibly help with the above, push yourself into unknown territory (go for 120 bpm, 130bpm), where you will not be able to play accurately. But your mind is working. Don't do it for long (a few minutes), then try normal speed again. Somehow this reduces the tension when you come back down again.

Pure technique-wise, obviously make wrist movement as minimal as possible. Just enough to pass the string in either direction, and no more.

cheers, Jerry


To add to Jerry's advice, small bursts can do wonders if you use it correctly. It can train your brain to get used to higher tempos and let go of the "this is hard" mental attitude that makes you tense up.

What i often do is that if i go to a tempo where i can play something comfortably, then play it two times at the comfortable tempo, then two times at double tempo (burst). You should not be doing this for too long, as it often causes fatigue pretty quickly, but it helps break that blockade in your head. It allows you to learn to switch gears when needed.
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#6
one thing i do a lot. when i hit my highest speed. let say in you case it's 110bmp. take that speed. and start playing you're passage with whole notes only. this is really slow. pay attention that you're completely relaxed and that you can breath normally. this is really important!!
then do half notes, than quarter notes, and so on... until you come to 16th triplets.
one very cool thing to do is also to play only upstrokes. start at very slow speed and play only upstrokes. Usually down stroke is much more developed than upstroke. so working on your upstroke will definitely allow you to play faster
#7
This whole thread has good advice, but I'd like to recommend that you really need to analyze your picking technique as a whole. The faster you get the tighter, and less movement you need from your picking hand. It also depends where you're picking from if you pick from your wrist make sure that the movements your making or how your pivoting your wrist are all close small movements. Basically make sure your picking movements are at the most minimal.


Sometimes it's just a must when you're trying to gain speed to do this it all has to be small, but precise movements. Oh, and also just like everyone's stated make sure you're not tensing up that could be one of the biggest issues here. I know it can be hard to do this, but it requires you to be focused, and relaxed.