Ok so I have a problem with my left arm, (which is my picking arm as I am left-handed). I just went through some of the picking lessons on the site and I've been trying to practice picking using only one stroke to help build speed in my picking hand (so I'd go through a scale or practice a lick using only down strokes, or only up strokes). But everytime I do this, my left arm keeps tensing. I understand that it's always best to play with a relaxed body, so can anyone give me some tips on how I could relax this arm? Thanks in advance.
i used to get that tension in my right arm, just practise and eventually the tension will go away, don't practise continuosly though if it hurts cos i ended up pulling a muscle in my upper arm.
In this case, your best friend would be a metronome. Start out with a SLOW tempo, like 66 beats per minute. Then, play along with every click. Relax, and pay attention to your technique. Try to minimize pick movement....wasted movement will hinder your ability to get faster. Play from the wrist. When you've done this for awhile (and it WILL get boring, but it's a necessary evil), try breaking down the beats. Go for two picks per click. Then 3,4,5,6 until you can't go anymore. If you master that you're doing OK. Then bump the metronome up to say 74 or 76 and do it all over again. Master that, and bump it a few again...you get the picture.
This is not an ovenight process...it will take some time, patience, and dedication. But the payoff is well worth it. You're suffering from the same thing alot of us are (or did). It's called "arm pump." You get excited and you want to wail away thinking the harder you go, the faster you'll go. It's actually just the opposite, and it took me awhile for that to sink in.
When you start slow like that, you're refining your technique and training your hand so that when things get faster it'll be relaxed and ready to tackle the next challenge.
Good luck to you!!
And even when you are practiceing sales still try alt picking, its a good habit to get into
Agreed, Lefty. Another habit to get into when learning alternate picking is to not always start out on a downstroke. Sometimes you get in a soloing situation where it benefits you to start the next run on an upstroke. A VERY hard habit to break, but a technique worth mastering.
^^^ dude your previous post is like the one thing that many guitarists don't get. harder doesn't = faster. i'm so glad that someone else has this since about them. to many a time i see new guitarists hitting the guitar harder and harder thinking they're going faster. thread starter, you will do well to listen to this guy, he's just given you 2 incredibaly useful bits of info. kudos to you
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