#1
i have a bunch of questions

1st question if you practice downpicking does that increase your alternate picking speed like does it double?

my friend just seems to practice stuff with no metronome at all and he is pretty fast and from this thing i have a question

is it possible to be stuck at a certain speed for years even if you have the correct picking technique or will speed always come naturally from playing for a long time?

i have another question but dont know how to word it so i just explain it

i do exercise that i know really really well like the 1234 exercise across all strings and i try to increase the speed on it with a metronome and stuff but playing the same thing over and over again

my question from this is it more effective if i practice new exercises and try to increase speed or is it the same thing if i do same exercise and try to increase the speed?


then i got another question about left hand speed

how do i increase left hand speed? do i just do legato licks such as 1h2h3h4 and if i do these will my right hand sync with my left hand or do you think im better of just doing picking exercises?

more questions

i saw an interview of shawn lane and the guy say he developed his speed picking around 3 years he say that his method was just pushing for speed and that he was sloppy as hell but he tried to clean it up

here is the interview http://youtube.com/watch?v=DhkbSBxPYcU

my question from this
is that a good way of developing speed? just pushing for speed even if you are sloppy as hell?

and another question i got is how the hell do you push for speed without tension?

like when i reach my max speed i cant seem to push from that without using more energy and hand gets really tired isnt that natural just using more force? just when you are training for anythig for example when you are a weak and try to lift something that is heavy you feel is alot of strength you are exerting but then as you get stronger you dont think is that heavy

so my question from this is

is tension really bad? isnt that the same as when you are training a muscle that you need to push it and tired it out?


any advice is appreciated
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#2
I can answer the tension one. It is VERY VERY VERY common for new guitarists (no offense if you arn't one) to think they have to MASH the hell out of the strings to get them to sound. This is incorrect, it takes very minimal force to actually make the strings sound clearly.

To practice using the right amount of pressure I will tell you the technique my guitar teacher showed me.

Take a very simple exercise, fret 1 2 3 4 then 4 3 2 1 on every string then when you do that go to 5 6 7 8 then 8 7 6 5 then after that on all strings 9 10 11 12 then 12 11 10 9.

But when doing these, go AS SLOW AS YOU NEED TO and use ONLY enough force to make the string sound. Then after you are done playing that fret, don't lift you're finger off if you are wanting to get faster you need those fingers to stay as close to fretboard as possible, so let the string push your finger off while you finger the next fret.


I hope that made sense, let me know if it doesn't

*edit* be sure to play that exercise with all fingers
Last edited by Guitarfreak777 at Jun 28, 2008,
#3
Fast downpicking DOES NOT equal fast alternate picking, they are two VERY DIFFERENT techniques, and you'll probably find you are much slower at alternate picking than downpicking.

It is possible to find a speed that you struggle to get faster than.

You should always practise a variety of exercises, different finger patterns etc, so you can play any pattern effectivley.

Legato increases lefy hand speed, yes. But independence in fingers is just as important. Learn to play trills with all four fingers, not just index and middle.

Playing fast as hell while being sloppy IS NOT effective in any way shape or form. Practise neatly and gradually increase speed.

Tension in your wrist IS BAD. You can play faster with a lose wrist. Tensed wrist = slower, slopier playing and less playing time...maybe even tendonitis.
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#4
I Dont think Shawn Lane's method applies for n00b guitarists...hes developed his insane speed over time and not practising it really methodically...its just time..also he admitted he has a freakish nervous system that enabled him to legato like a beast...even though it was a joke...its pretty much true i feel..lol...
So yea u gotta practise with a metronome, slowly increasing tempo only after you play the exercise as cleanly and accurately as possible. Good Luck.
#5
Fast downpicking DOES NOT equal fast alternate picking, they are two VERY DIFFERENT techniques, and you'll probably find you are much slower at alternate picking than downpicking.


actually im faster alternate picking than downpicking

Legato increases lefy hand speed, yes. But independence in fingers is just as important. Learn to play trills with all four fingers, not just index and middle.


i know how to trill with all my fingers just not at the speed i would wish i could trill

that comment made me think about steve vai 10 hour workout he has this trill exercise
that says your supposed to do it as long as you can like 3p1 just repeteadly

2 questions i got now

about this the more you try to trill for a longer period the more you feel your left hand tense and start to burn

in respect to the left hand is this good? bad? or just natural way to train your left hand?

But when doing these, go AS SLOW AS YOU NEED TO and use ONLY enough force to make the string sound. Then after you are done playing that fret, don't lift you're finger off if you are wanting to get faster you need those fingers to stay as close to fretboard as possible, so let the string push your finger off while you finger the next fret.


thanks for advice i always practice that whenever i can
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#6
Quote by stefan1988
actually im faster alternate picking than downpicking


i know how to trill with all my fingers just not at the speed i would wish i could trill

that comment made me think about steve vai 10 hour workout he has this trill exercise
that says your supposed to do it as long as you can like 3p1 just repeteadly

2 questions i got now

about this the more you try to trill for a longer period the more you feel your left hand tense and start to burn

in respect to the left hand is this good? bad? or just natural way to train your left hand?


thanks for advice i always practice that whenever i can



Your hand should never "burn" I've played for about 7 years now and never had that happen to me once. The only thing i've had is a really uncomfortable hand after playin g to long but no burning. So I would say that's bad lol.
#7
Quote by stefan1988
i saw an interview of shawn lane and the guy say he developed his speed picking around 3 years he say that his method was just pushing for speed and that he was sloppy as hell but he tried to clean it up

here is the interview http://youtube.com/watch?v=DhkbSBxPYcU

my question from this
is that a good way of developing speed? just pushing for speed even if you are sloppy as hell?


First of all, just because Shawn Lane outlined a certain method of practice doesn't mean it will work for everyone. I mean let's put it simply...the guy was born with freakish talent as is. He even said that it may not work for everyone.

Anyway, the important thing there was that you must not create mental blocks for yourself by playing something ONLY slowly for a long time without ever attempting faster harder speeds. I find it most effective to practice something slowly for MOST of the time, but definitely give a few tries at a hard tempo where you KNOW that you will mess up and play a bit sloppy. This helps the psychological aspect, but you need to still spend the majority of your time practicing slowly getting perfect (or close to) technique.

Quote by stefan1988

is tension really bad? isnt that the same as when you are training a muscle that you need to push it and tired it out?[/


Unnecessary tension is bad, yes. There is technically "tension" in your muscles as you are making relaxed picking motions, but the main point is to not tighten up your hand/arm/shoulder, or press down excessively on the guitar anywhere, or any other things that cause tension other than the actual muscles making the picking motion.
#8
Unnecessary tension is bad, yes. There is technically "tension" in your muscles as you are making relaxed picking motions, but the main point is to not tighten up your hand/arm/shoulder, or press down excessively on the guitar anywhere, or any other things that cause tension other than the actual muscles making the picking motion.


yeah that's the kind of tension i was talking about. i always try to stay as relaxed as possible but as i get faster i feel i use more effort

i got one more question is about angling the pick i pick parallel most of the time but i find the tone to be really weird if i angle the pick kind like a scraping sound

is it really important to angle the pick for speed? does it help alot or just a little?
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#9
Well I'll put it this way; I can't think of a single 'shred' guitar player who doesn't angle the pick in some way; different people do it to different extents but you can reduce the picking noise a little by turning down the treble on your amp or rolling off some tone on your guitar.
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#10
Quote by stefan1988
yeah that's the kind of tension i was talking about. i always try to stay as relaxed as possible but as i get faster i feel i use more effort


I'm not sure exactly what you mean by 'use more effort.' The only time I really 'use more effort' is when I leave my comfort zone, and that's when I start to tense up just a bit. Otherwise, whether I'm playing a fast solo of sextuplets or a slow riff of simply-placed quarter notes, I feel comfortable. Sure when playing faster my hand is moving faster, and my muscles are technically expending more overall energy within a given period of time, but I still feel just as relaxed. I may have misunderstood you, but my point is that you shouldn't feel the need to be more tense the faster you go. Be as relaxed at high speeds as you are at slow speeds.


is it really important to angle the pick for speed? does it help alot or just a little?

That's something you're going to have to experiment with. I personally can't even get myself to HAVE a pick parallel to the strings unless I somehow managed to bend my thumb backward really far (which I can't do). Like Zaphod said, I've never seen a "shredder" without some extent of pick angling, but nevertheless there are "fast" guitarists who play with quite parallel angles. John McGlaughlin for example.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Jul 1, 2008,
#11
Wouldnt angling your pick make downstrokes and upstrokes uneven ?
or you mean angling toward the headstock or the bridge ?
#12
Quote by @!@
Wouldnt angling your pick make downstrokes and upstrokes uneven ?
or you mean angling toward the headstock or the bridge ?


The latter. So the pick essentially "cuts through" the string from a side angle.
#13
Quote by @!@
Wouldnt angling your pick make downstrokes and upstrokes uneven ?
or you mean angling toward the headstock or the bridge ?


I can't honestly say I've ever noticed it to be honest and I've been angling my pick for years.

This video should explain about the whole pick angling thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpJNUGHxC3M
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#14
I can't honestly say I've ever noticed it to be honest and I've been angling my pick for years.

This video should explain about the whole pick angling thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpJNUGHxC3M


yeah i seen this video before but something that bothers is that scratchy sound in my opinion it sounds like crap but with distortion is not as noticeable and if you play an acoustic then it sounds even worse

and something i have trouble when angling for some reason i cant get a feel of the string and cant pick as fast i get is jsut getting use to the motion?

few more questions
when you strum do you also angle the pick? and what about sweep picking do you angle as well?
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#15
When you practice scales or exercises, practice all up picking, all down picking, up down picking and down up picking. The point of this is to get all your notes at the same volume, which in turn helps you getting your general alt picking faster and stronger.
Then theres economy picking excercises, like down down up, down up down, up down up and up up down. These just help with dexterity, which again in turn helps with your general picking ability in all areas.
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#16
Quote by stefan1988

few more questions
when you strum do you also angle the pick? and what about sweep picking do you angle as well?


For me yes to both of them. It's not as strange as you're making it out to be. It's not like I'm consciously "angling" my pick for all of the scenarios; it's simply the way my hand/arm is positioned at the strings. And that is how it is for many/most guitarists.
#17
Quote by stefan1988
yeah i seen this video before but something that bothers is that scratchy sound in my opinion it sounds like crap but with distortion is not as noticeable and if you play an acoustic then it sounds even worse

and something i have trouble when angling for some reason i cant get a feel of the string and cant pick as fast i get is jsut getting use to the motion?

few more questions
when you strum do you also angle the pick? and what about sweep picking do you angle as well?


I actually don't angle the pick when I sweep or strum slowly but for faster, almost black metal speed, strumming I do angle the pick a little.

As for the feeling of the motion it does take a bit of getting used to but if you persevere it is worth the effort; my picking sped up almost overnight when I finally got used to the feeling of angling the pick.

If you don't like the sound of the pick attack you can try angling your pick the other way which gives a different tone or if you don't like that maybe you should try a more legato based approach to playing? I can't think of any other way to change the tone of your playing without actually changing the tone on the amp.

If anyone else can venture a solution I'd be very interested to hear it myself...
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#18
I actually don't angle the pick when I sweep or strum slowly but for faster, almost black metal speed, strumming I do angle the pick a little.

As for the feeling of the motion it does take a bit of getting used to but if you persevere it is worth the effort; my picking sped up almost overnight when I finally got used to the feeling of angling the pick.

If you don't like the sound of the pick attack you can try angling your pick the other way which gives a different tone or if you don't like that maybe you should try a more legato based approach to playing? I can't think of any other way to change the tone of your playing without actually changing the tone on the amp.

If anyone else can venture a solution I'd be very interested to hear it myself...


thanks a bunch guys for the advice it seems im going to have the angle the pick
the tone is not that bad but i think im very used to the other type so i guess im finding it weird

im just finding it weird angling pick, by reflex i straighten it and the way the thumb is kind of akward im going to practice that way for a while and if i got more questions later on i make another thread

you guys gave me alot of info on alot of stuff that troubled me
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#19
the scraping sound of plectrum is bad. i used to do it... irritated the hell out of me. use about 1mm of your pick, which should be quite thick (anything from .6 to 1mm and beyond) but not a doorstopper. the stylus pick teaches you the same thing. pls buy one... it works.

the angling is good to an extent, but the flatter your pick is to the string the better your sound will be, no matter how fast you picking. and at using 1mm picking surface you have less chance of digging your pick in and stopping playing. you also get to notice your picking length (ie: the distance between each picking stroke) and you start to adjust it. you also start to notice how long your note is dead for at the time of striking the string.

the burning sensation? once that happens put yr hand on a flat surface and fan your fingers out. all burning and pain will stop. also at that point... start to take notice when it happens and how... is your shoulder tensing? elbow? forearm? etc... and you immediately focus on relaxing while maintaining the same picking speed.

if you practice just downstrokes at high speeds then technically your alternate picking will double up... why? cos your hand goes back up to deliver another downstroke. however, the added upstroke gives more resistance and it'll slow you down but constant practice will overcome it... especially using the 1mm approach.
your friend who practices with no metronome and is pretty fast... well, put a metronome on him at his highest speed, say 190 bpm, and suggest he do that, without faltering, for the next 10 or 15 minutes. the metronome helps build your stamina... as well as accuracy... and gets the guitarist to count past four which is a milestone of great achievement to the average musician. vocalists only manage two... or three at most.

"my question from this is it more effective if i practice new exercises and try to increase speed or is it the same thing if i do same exercise and try to increase the speed?"

by all means use the same exercise as well as new ones... a good thing to try is variations of the same exercise while your metronome ticks away. try different finger approaches, things that would challenge you, and your speed will increase dramatically but only as fast as nature allows.

"how do i increase left hand speed? do i just do legato licks such as 1h2h3h4 and if i do these will my right hand sync with my left hand or do you think im better of just doing picking exercises?"

left hand speed... hmmm... metronome... legato... but not just 1h2h3h4... scale patterns would do nicely.... just limiting some of your practicing to legato only would do wonders to technique and speed. try something like richie kotzen with a sweep arpeggio going down but hammers and pulls when coming back up. hammer on from chord to chord, etc... synching the hands up is not a problem... though legato is usually almost always faster than picked. aim for a balance between the two... then you're sorted.

in the beginning we're all sloppy as hell when trying to be fast. your friends would say, "hey, show us what you got" and you pick the biggest mush around and they go wow and you very proud... but you know you sound like crap cos it didnt quite have that steve vai or malmsteen edge to it. hence, do it properly the first time and build stamina. dont overdo it as tendonitis aint perdy. do it at 90 bpm properly, gradually go up in increments of 10, etc. John Petrucci's advice is if you can't get a particular tempo, add twenty bpm to it, kill yourself at that tempo... then go back to the original tempo and you'll get it. Caution: if you play regularly at 90, suddenly jump to 180 to get sextuplets @ 160 bpm... dream on.... you'll damage your arm nicely with that kind of thinking... so be kind to your limbs... you need them.

hope this helps
#20
damm man that was hell of an answer XD

i be sure to check that stylus pick i saw a bunch of things but i thought it was gimmick just like that play in 30 days stuff

i be sure to try the things you said but right now is very late so i try to practice later on and let you know how it go

thanks for advice
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#21
Your problems with speed are 99% likely to be problems with LH-RH coordination. Think about it- you can pick a single held note quickly, and you can play fast legato passages (i.e. hammer-ons and pull-offs). If you can't do one/both of those, then that is the place to work, of course. But assuming you can do both of those things faster than you can pick, the answer is clear- your hangup is in LH-RH coordination.

The (unsatisfying) solution is to play very slowly, with full attention, incorporating speed bursts. It doesn't happen overnight. If it does happen overnight you are likely doing something wrong that will hold you back in the future. It's OK to tense a bit to push past a plateau, but you must immediately try to relax into that tempo.

Remember that a lot of the best guitarists around don't play very fast. Musicianship is more important than virtuosity. There's a lot of stuff for you to play while you are waiting for the speed to come.
#22
Remember that a lot of the best guitarists around don't play very fast. Musicianship is more important than virtuosity. There's a lot of stuff for you to play while you are waiting for the speed to come.



i know but most of the stuff i heard is shred i find ocasionally some songs im able to play and i try to incorporate new techniques whenever i can to make stuff up

The (unsatisfying) solution is to play very slowly, with full attention, incorporating speed bursts


i dont know too much about the speed burts but i try to practice on that maybe i look for a guitar pro exercise

thanks for help
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#23
speed burst exercises you can find on john petrucci's rock discipline dvd... very cool... can either be picked or legato'd
#24
speed burst exercises you can find on john petrucci's rock discipline dvd... very cool... can either be picked or legato'd


can you tell me what number is the exercise? since the video is a whole hour i dont want to go through everything XD

thanks for suggestion
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#25
stefan... cant remember exactly what number but its in the section where he does scale fragments... combining them on two strings and more. in a 2 hr video thats not a helpful answer but yeah... good luck man.

how has your practicing come on by the way? any of the advice working for you?
Last edited by evolucian at Jul 18, 2008,
#26
stefan... cant remember exactly what number but its in the section where he does scale fragments... combining them on two strings and more. in a 2 hr video thats not a helpful answer but yeah... good luck man.

how has your practicing come on by the way? any of the advice working for you?


i dont know man is really tough i been trying to increase speed like madman because everything i want to play is really fast mostly metal and shred and even the classical stuff i like is fast or is just ridiculous to play but im trying to concetrate in others areas since i dont see my speed going any higher like scales im reading musician talk threads learning about music theory and that sort of stuff and stealing lots of licks from songs and trying to incorporate them in my playing another thing i got a mackie onyx for recording and im trying to learn how to compose but im still pretty clueless in alot of this things so basically im reading and asking alot
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash
#27
ah ok... its cool man... just relax and remember... its one day at a time. metal started irritating the hell out of me cos people only wanted fast. my students also only want fast. i'd say its ok but broaden your horizons... take for example richie kotzen... his music is primarily rock with a blues and funk edge... but... the guy plays faster than most can imagine... and not just fast... also complicated stuff that goes over heads very quickly.

he focuses on groove mainly and thats where he stays. he's happier that way. he learns a lot from all music... absorbs what he needs to and carries on with his own thing. his first reh video was only for advanced guitarists, he's a shredder from hell. but you gotta take things slow.

we all have our own pace and must respect it. tendonitis sure isnt pretty and nor is carpal tunnel syndrome. read up on them.

that said, work on your timing and picking but keep a steady pace. these asses that pretend they ripping it up and playing so fast... well... take it with a pinch of salt. speed is only one aspect of guitar and it takes years to get it working for you nicely. groove on the other hand rules the world.

as for songwriting... there are two paths... that being instrumental and the other a song format with vocals.

instrumentals have to tell a story. they can follow the intro/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus outro format. a constant melody line that comes into play will be apparent. that would be for the listener to feel at home while the song takes its different journeys.

the vocal song is the same yet slightly different. your main emphasis is on your chorus. a catchy chorus equals happy listener. a singable chorus is king. a memorable chorus long after they've heard the song? godly!

your verse takes on the form of catching the listeners attention while the chorus makes their heart jump.

if you're writing a death metal track this would mean nothing to you unless you in the melodic line of in flames and dark tranquility for example. if you into the dragonforce thing then the same applies. catchy chorus.... but super fast riffing and immaculate solo's. but, thats the thing that works for them. i hear hammerfall in their music... great band to learn from.

songwriting is not perfected in the first try... it takes a while... as does speed. about 6 months with dedicated practice would result in a loose right hand and softer fretting left hand. richie kotzen also laid out a 6 month tapping routine in a '92 guitar school magazine. think it had nuno bettencourt and reb beach on the cover. all techniques take time to master.... have patience and remember to play... have some fun or you'll go loony and shoot some people.
#28
you'll go loony and shoot some people.


that sounds like fun im just kidding but thanks for the words of advice i almost forgot about this thread im playing everyday and trying to imrpove every aspect i can
my guitar stuff:
ESP JH-600
ValveKing 112
DigiTech Whammy Pedal
Taylor 314CE
Dunlop SW-95 Slash Wah Pedal
Cordoba C7 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Metal muff
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster Ash