#1
First off, I'm sorry if this isn't allowed, but the 'need halp?' thread hasn't been posted in for quite a while, so I figured this would get me a little more replies.

Lately, I have been working on getting my right hand to do better what I want it to do. I'm mainly building up stamina and speed with various boring exercises and playing some metal tracks.

I have found out by recording myself over the last week that there's a couple of strange things happening in my right hand:
- my right hand is more focused and doesn't cramp up when I'm actively looking at it while playing
- my right hand is tightend like a 'fist' most of the time, but occasionally I flick out the middle, ring and pinky. This appears to have no effect on my playing whatsoever (John Petrucci tends to do this in solos as well)
- my thumb makes some weird motions occasionally
- I get fatigued easily if I have to play constant notes for long at speeds over 140bpm (16th notes)
- 'bursting' a small group of notes is something I can easily do at way higher speeds

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Now, I've recorded this video here, in which I'm playing the rhythm parts for Dream Theater's 'The Glass Prison'. It's a little challenging, but nothing extraordinarily difficult, in both hands. I was playing this while looking at my right hand for the entire duration of the video. It gets pretty fast at around 1:30 and has a lot of repeating rhythms. For obvious reasons, I have only recorded my right hand, since the left hand is doing nothing interesting at all and the focus of this thread is my right hand.

Please, criticise anything and everything you see that I could do better, based on what you see in the video.



(And excuse the quality. It was recorded with an iPad first an then further butchered by Youtube).

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Thank you very much for replies!!
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#2
You really need to start picking with your wrist more, when you pick faster most of the motion is coming from your thumb and index finger and that's a surefire recipe for cramp. It's not too much of an issue if you do that for slower passages but for higher speeds you really want to be doing the opposite of what you're currently doing - keep your thumb still and let your wrist do the work. Ironically you're ding exactly the right thing at slower speeds, but when it comes to lessening fatigue it's the faster stuff where you'll really get the benefit.
Actually called Mark!

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#3
Really, there's not much wrong aside from what Mark already pointed out. Less thumb, more wrist. That's really the only criticism I have for the video.

As far as what your fingers on your right hand should be doing, anything is fine as long as you're relaxed and not anchoring.

P.S.: Nice playing. Dream Theater is one of my favorite bands and you did a great job with that song.
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Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#4
Thanks for your replies!

I was a little afraid that this would be the case, as I have noticed the weird thumb movement as well (though only when watching the videos back, it doesn't feel weird or anything whilst playing). That said; it seems to happen automatically whenever I'm playing something that is a little faster. I was consciously looking at my right hand throughout the recording of that clip, going for minimal wrist movement, so as to eliminate unnecessary movements. That worked, because the wrist movement is indeed pretty minimal, but it translated into more thumb.

Is there any way I can practice this? Like I said, the thumb automatically 'joins' the movement whenever I play stuff that's faster. On slower stuff, everything is wrist movement only, like mr. Seagull correctly pointed out.

Quote by Junior#1

As far as what your fingers on your right hand should be doing, anything is fine as long as you're relaxed and not anchoring.


Yeah, this has never stopped me in any way, though you can read all sort of stuff of people claiming that the hand should always be in a fist or always be loose. I've found that it doesn't matter, since I'm not anchoring or tensing up the wrist.

Quote by Junior#1

P.S.: Nice playing. Dream Theater is one of my favorite bands and you did a great job with that song.


Apart from the thumb then I've been playing a lot of Dream Theater lately. John Petrucci's parts are great to work on multiple things. I specifically chose The Glass Prison to highlight the right hand, because it's quite demanding on the right hand. It's a fun song to play, though I can't really do the lead parts hehe
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#5
I'm a little biased because I pick similar to the way you do; for slower stuff I pick from the wrist with little movement just using the momentum of the hand to push the pick on the string. At higher speeds starting around 8-10 notes per second I transition to holding my hand motionless and flexing just my thumb and index finger to pick, using that all the way up through 16 notes per second.

Using the thumb and index flexion to pick is called "circular picking" and it is actually a very highly regarded method of high speed picking in the jazz world. That said, in the world of jazz and blues, and most classic rock, a certain "swing" to picking phrasing is desired. In other music the accuracy and precision of the pick timing is critical to the style and continuing to pick from the wrist helps maintain absolute pick timing into the higher speeds.

So what I'm saying is that you are not picking "wrong", but may be using not quite the appropriate picking method for the particular style you are playing. Maybe a difference would show up in more technical speed playing, but for what I heard in the video it sounded good.
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#6
Quote by RDSElite

Apart from the thumb then I've been playing a lot of Dream Theater lately. John Petrucci's parts are great to work on multiple things. I specifically chose The Glass Prison to highlight the right hand, because it's quite demanding on the right hand. It's a fun song to play, though I can't really do the lead parts hehe

Good choice. Another one that you might want to check out is "The Count of Tuscany". What Petrucci plays during the verse is a really good exercise for your right hand.

And it's not surprising that you have trouble on the lead parts, specifically on "The Glass Prison". Just listening to the intro arpeggios at 2:20 is terrifying. What's worse is finding out that Petrucci alternate picks that.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.