#1
Hey Guys! This is my first post, so I will try not to be a burden. I have been working on my picking technique very diligently for over a year now, and my speed hasn't really improved at all. Over time, I have refined my technique and removed flaws, and i have finally gotten a very efficient and comfortable technique. My predicament is: I have no idea how I should be practicing. I know that it doesn't really matter so much what I play, but I have no clue how the process of increasing tempo goes. Do I slow it way down and practice an easy tempo for an allotted amount of time and go from there? Do i practice in bursts at higher speeds? I have no clue. Any help will be appreciated!

By the way, I am not a shredder who is obsessed with playing fast and only playing fast. Quite the contrary. I play in a classical guitar ensemble as well as a jazz ensemble. I already have a very good understanding of theory, and I can sight read very well. In addition, I have no problem making good music. It seems that the only thing I have left to tackle is my picking technique (even sweeping is pretty easy). It is really taking it's toll on me, because it limits how well I can express myself. It seems like I have wasted a large chunk of my life isolated in my room, and have nothing to show for it. What really confuses me is: my fretting hand technique flew along with little to no direct work. After less than a year of playing, I could do just about anything I wanted with my left hand.

Sorry for the long essay, and thanks in advance for any help you guys give!
#2
Here are my two cents for picking technique.

Hold the pick comfortable. Hold it the same way for picking as you do for strumming.

Make sure your upstrokes are identical in form to your downstrokes. Make sure you can pick a scale with only upstrokes as accurately as you can with only downstrokes.

It is easier to pick quickly one one string than it is to go string to string. Why? Because when you change strings your wrist sometimes anchors itself and causes you to reach for the other string, rather than comfortably adjusting. You dont want to pivot on one string, reaching for the other strings when you alternate pick, you want to pick each string as if it is the only string you have to pick. This takes a lot of coordination and practice.

I found that it is best to practice segments of up 3 notes down 3 notes, then up 6 notes, down 6 notes, then work your way up to up and down 12 notes. Working in more strings as you become comfortable.

That is all for the picking hand. I think the fretting hand has the easy job, its mostly just shape memorization.

Good luck
#3
Thanks for the reply and the advice!

I practice upstrokes and downstrokes separately, and it has seemed to help with control.

When I change strings, I move from the arm, but my picking motion comes from the wrist.

What do you mean when you say three up and three down? Do you mean alternating between the two or just playing three consecutive downstrokes and then switching to upstrokes?

Thanks again!
#5
I meant like play A B C - D C B
3 notes per string would make this lick just barely 2 strings.

Then once you master that, move up.
A B C - D E F - G F E - D C B
THAT lick should cover 3 strings.

Then do the same thing, but now 12 notes up, 12 notes down, alternate picking.
#6
I know you're finding this out first hand, but time takes time. Just from what I'm reading in your OP, you're moving in the right direction. You said you have worked on removing flaws in your technique and feel your picking technique is comfortable and efficient. Actually, that is what's important. So, I want to encourage you in that regard. It sounds like you're on the right track. It's just a matter of what you said, you spend hours in a room honing your skills. If what you say is true, you do, in fact, have something to show for it, just maybe not what you wanted just yet. Keep going, and the speed will come.

As far as how to practice, those methods you mentioned have their merits. Obviously, you want to start slowly and iron out the flaws at a dead man's pace, but doing those bursts can be helpful, just as gradually working your way up (you'll be doing that anyway). I've found some good insight into this topic in the 21-Day Challenge thread stickied at the top of this forum.

One last thing: it's fairly common to feel like your fretting-hand technique grows ahead of your picking technique, or even vice versa depending on your habits. The challenge is to learn to synchronize the two. Which sounds like what you're doing. So keep at it!
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7 String Legion
#8
There are two important part to improving technique: 1. Getting the fundamentals right. 2. Gradually refining it. Make sure that you have the fundamentals right; don't just clock up hours of practice trying to refine what may be a fundamentally flawed technique.

Try filming yourself playing. Then watch back critically and compare your technique to one of the greats. Are you pick movements too big? Is you picking hand too far from the bridge? Are your left hand movements too big? And so on.
#9
One thing that I have a lot of trouble with is: when I play standing up, my picking wrist starts to hurt. From what i have gathered, it just seems to be the angle/position. I feel like there is something fundamentally wrong with my picking technique that is holding me back. I have been working on it extremely diligently for the past 1.5-2 years, and I haven't gotten any better.
#10
When standing do you have your guitar at a comfortable height? I know I can't play with the guitar hanging low like James Hetfield. Might be a contributing factor...
Ibanez UV777 - Carvin TL60 & 727 - Jackson KE3
Splawn QuickRod - Mesa Stiletto & RoadKing - Peavey Ultra+ - Peavey Bandit
Some pedlulz & cabz


7 String Legion
#11
I have it a comfortable height. The problem arises when I try to pick on the lower strings. I have to turn my hand up to continue picking, otherwise i will have nothing rest my wrist on.
#12
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpA1aDOmM74 This guy is gonna help you dude!!!!!!

He's the best at sport of playing guitar. He will build your schedule of practice. He knows how muscles work, he will teach you the stamina workouts, the alternate picking, anything you can just imagine! Took some lessons from him ! DAMN!! Now I'm playing Scarified of Paul Gilbert in just 4 months of practice with him. Find his lessons. Anton Oparin. He builds personal systems for every each student. don't be shy to answer his questions about your body and muscles and stuff. He asks that before you take a lesson from him.
#13
Quote by sunhunchan1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpA1aDOmM74 This guy is gonna help you dude!!!!!!

He's the best at sport of playing guitar. He will build your schedule of practice. He knows how muscles work, he will teach you the stamina workouts, the alternate picking, anything you can just imagine! Took some lessons from him ! DAMN!! Now I'm playing Scarified of Paul Gilbert in just 4 months of practice with him. Find his lessons. Anton Oparin. He builds personal systems for every each student. don't be shy to answer his questions about your body and muscles and stuff. He asks that before you take a lesson from him.


I looked him up. He seems pretty cool. He is just so stinking expensive. $120 per lesson?! He may be good, but that is ridiculously high for someone who is virtually unknown. I might try a couple of lessons with him though. Thanks for the tip!
#14
I worked over a year on making a picking technique computer program and app that uses A.I. to figure out what you are bad at and then has you practice specific exercises to fix your suck. I play over 18 notes per second music and pick 25 NPS on record with slow motion close up video. It also includes over 4 hours of lesson video to help you out on your quest.

-link removed-

I also teach on Jamplay.com and have been around a while. In general though, try to have fun practicing and enjoy the burn.
#15
Quote by allen.vanwert
I worked over a year on making a picking technique computer program and app that uses A.I. to figure out what you are bad at and then has you practice specific exercises to fix your suck. I play over 18 notes per second music and pick 25 NPS on record with slow motion close up video. It also includes over 4 hours of lesson video to help you out on your quest.

-link removed-

I also teach on Jamplay.com and have been around a while. In general though, try to have fun practicing and enjoy the burn.

There is no link to the app, and I don't know what it is called (it's possible I could already have it though). How does it work exactly?
#16
Just an update: I contacted the Anton guy. He was pretty rude, very sketchy, and barely spoke english (not to mention sunhunchan1 is obviously an account he made). I ended up getting Allen's program, and I am VERY impressed. It is just called Ultimate Picking Program for those that see this and are interested in it. It is definitely going to help me improve my technique. Thank you for suggesting that Allen. I will write a review after I have a chance to use it for a while.
#18
TS have you tried subdividing the beats into different groups and placing accents in certain places?

If you chanted "ineffective telemarketing" a few times against a metronome, you'd easily be able to pace yourself so that each word started on a click. If you then experimented a bit with the speed of the words, you'd soon find a way of making each word expand to fit the beat without leaving a gap at the end. This would now be the outline of one beat of 16ths followed by one beat of quintuplets.

If you play the above over four beats, alternating each beat with 16ths and quintuplets, you will find that your picking hand will start the first two beats with a downstroke, and the next two with an upstroke. Accenting the start of each beat will test your dynamics. The new bar will then start with a downstroke again.

This is good for timing and control of your picking hand.
Last edited by mdc at May 22, 2016,
#19
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
Here are my two cents for picking technique.

Hold the pick comfortable. Hold it the same way for picking as you do for strumming.

Make sure your upstrokes are identical in form to your downstrokes. Make sure you can pick a scale with only upstrokes as accurately as you can with only downstrokes.

It is easier to pick quickly one one string than it is to go string to string. Why? Because when you change strings your wrist sometimes anchors itself and causes you to reach for the other string, rather than comfortably adjusting. You dont want to pivot on one string, reaching for the other strings when you alternate pick, you want to pick each string as if it is the only string you have to pick. This takes a lot of coordination and practice.

I found that it is best to practice segments of up 3 notes down 3 notes, then up 6 notes, down 6 notes, then work your way up to up and down 12 notes. Working in more strings as you become comfortable.

That is all for the picking hand. I think the fretting hand has the easy job, its mostly just shape memorization.

Good luck


Thank you very much for your sharing! I want to try it, that's why I'll ask http://smartyessay.com/ to help me with my homework and after that I'll practice these methods!