#1
ive realized now, that my alternate picking really does suck.
for a rough idea look at the link in my sig, my sweeping has improved a tonne and i am better at muting but when it comes to alternate picking it sucks...as you can see from the video. i can play small exercises rather quick but when i try and play something complicated it becomes mostly legato, and due to not noticing this (never seen a video of me playing before) i just continues playing that way its practically muscle memory now.

does anyone know how i can fix this/improve?

PS. i can bend in tune now

"The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n"

- John Milton, Paradise Lost
#2
well when i was beginning , i alternate picked scales and i started doing it really fast after a while cause I d running plane scales, then i noticed how good i could alternate pick after a while, especially at high speeds which came in handy when i was trying to out play my friends by speed
#3
Play slowly with a metronome properly and tension free. The answer to 99% of technique questions. But yea seriously slow down and relax. If you go to legato thats because your asking you fingers to do things that you havent trained them to do yet. If you played at a bpm that you could play clean alt picking and only increased your speeds once you got really clean and comfortable at the previous speed you wouldnt have this problem.
#4
Before I start, I'm just trying to give some constructive critisism. I'm not trying to be an @*$hole, I'm just trying to point out the problems I see in your playing.

First of all, is quite clear that you are trying to play at speeds that are beyond your current ability. The entire video, not just the alternate picking, was very sloppy (I didn't even recognize No Boundries until you played a slower section). In order to become fast, you must only play at tempos where you can play with perfect technique and all your notes sound as clear as a whistle.

You also went out of time at points during the video. This suggest to me that you were not practicing with a metronome (or were not following it very closely). Always practice with a metronome and be sure to be perfectly in time with it (if you aren't in time, slow down).

Finally, and this bit of information might be most important for you, you need to work on your alternate picking technique (as you probably already figured out). In the video, it seemed like for the most part you were picking from your elbow. This is a no no. First of all, you can't play very accuratly when when you pick from the elbow. Secondly, your arm tenses up when you pick from the elbow. This means you will pick slower, and could eventually lead to and injruy such as tendonidas or carpell tunnel.

Learn to alternate pick from the wrist. Keep your pick strokes as short as possible and keep your arm and hand relaxed. If you start to tense up, slow down.

When learning a new way of picking (as you should be doing), it is best to start right from scratch. Slow the metronome down until it is painfully slow, and play a few exercises consentrating on maintaining perfect technique. When perfect technique becomes second nature, GRADUALLY increase your speed. If you notice your technique is starting to fall apart, once again, slow down.

Like I said, I'm not trying to be an @*$. The purpose of this is not to discourage you, but rather to point you in the right direction to become the speed demon you (hopefully) aspire to be. I really hope you found this to be helpful. I'll leave you with these words of wisdom (I believe these are Troy Setina's words):

"Speed is simply a product of accuracy."
#5
Listen to mccabe24. His instructions are the only way you are going to improve your guitar playing; it will make you a better musician as well.
"It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner." - Frank Zappa

The name's Garrett.

Gear and stuff:
Taylor 310
American Strat w/ Texas Specials
Ibanez JS1000
Vox Wah (true bypass & LED mod)
Dr. Z Maz 18 JR NR
#7
FP being freepower . And I second the recomondation to his lessons. I also recomend heading over to the guitar pro exercises thread. There is more than enough material to keep you busy there for quite some time. You could also find tabs to the exercises in John Petrucci's Rock Discipline, or buy the DVD (I have the DVD and I have to say, it is great!).
#8
Everything mccabe24 said is really good advice. I think you're doing pretty damn well considering that the vid said you were 12 at the time. I think its quite normal for younger players to get fast and a bit sloppy and then later go back and clean up. Shawn Lane even said something about this process in an interview that was linked to here a while ago.

Everything mccabe24 said about technique and slowing down is spot on, so I'll tell you some thoughts I have about reprogramming goals. So everyone's had at least one period in their guitar playing life when they got addicted to racing the metronome, right? You get a lick, and lets say you can play it at 150bpm. You practice, practice, practice and after a week or two, you can play the same lick at 160. You say to yourself, "I used to only be able to play that at 150! Progress!". Then start working towards 170. You're competing with yourself, and it's kind of like an athletic event.

Ok, well now switch to competing with yourself to see how perfectly can you play the lick. Take the same lick, in fact any lick from NB would be great. Slow it right down, and practice it over and over again until you can play the whole thing with no mistakes whatsoever. Every single notes got to be clear, just the right amount of attack, no missed notes, no muffled notes, no legato notes that were supposed to be picked, no unwanted string noise, etc, etc. Play with distortion, clean, and unplugged. The goal is to take that lick, and playing slowly, just totally nail the thing one time.

So now the goal is to slowly increase the speed, right? Wrong! Now you've got to nail it absolutely perfectly twice in a row! And once you get that, three times. So that becomes the self competition. How many times can you play that lick without making a mistake? And after a few weeks, you look back and say "wow, I used to make all these mistakes, now I can play this thing 20 times in a row without a single mistake! Progress!".

Then, and only then, start increasing the speed again. But the rule is, don't even think about adjusting the metronome (and always practice with one, btw!) until you can play the lick perfectly at the new speed.

If you build a foundation for yourself like this, you'll be surprised how fast you can get up to high speeds again.

One note, in everything I talked about above, I kept mentioning one lick. You need to do this for several different licks so that you can work on multiple areas of your playing. Like have a sweeping lick that you work on, an alternate picking lick that crosses a lot of strings, and alternate picking lick that goes up or down the neck on one or two strings, a legato lick.

I'm all typed out. Good luck with your playing!
#9
a simple exercise helped me with my alternate picking.


do this triad


D------3--1------
A----2------2----
E--1----------3--

in this rythim

D-------------down---up
A---------up---------------down
E--down---------------------------up


it helped me.
#10
the intro to sweet child guns n roses helped me out a lot with alt picking and string skipping
#11
thanks alot guys, especial mccabe24 (btw, you weren't being an arsehole - guys on MAB forum were tho ) and se012101. but i have a problem, where can i get a metronome?

"The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n"

- John Milton, Paradise Lost
#13
Quote by metallicafan616
thanks alot guys, especial mccabe24 (btw, you weren't being an arsehole - guys on MAB forum were tho ) and se012101. but i have a problem, where can i get a metronome?


No problem. Some of thouse MAB forum guys can be a little too intense (particularly when it comes to covers of MAB's songs) .
#15
sloppy and you said something about small excersize. instead of repeating them for like 5 times. repeat them for 20 times and see if you can play it perfectly. then when you can move up the metronome.
#16
I can't believe anyone else has mentioned, okay, here goes :

First of all, play a spider exercise with just downstrokes to begin with, double downstroke pick them each, and then repeat it with Upstrokes, you MUST get good at both downstroking and upstroking before you can alternate pick at your best.
#17
ah, well, the best thing you can do now is go for alternate picking's greatest rival, economy picking!
pure economy picking is the best thing you can do for your technique.

simply stated, that would be sweeping when going to the next string, and alternate picking when string skipping.
When in doubt, play pentatonics
#18
Quote by fadetowhite
ah, well, the best thing you can do now is go for alternate picking's greatest rival, economy picking!
pure economy picking is the best thing you can do for your technique.

simply stated, that would be sweeping when going to the next string, and alternate picking when string skipping.


I would recommend not to do this, but learn it after alternate picking, because there are more uses for alternate picking than for econ.
#19
Pull up the Guitar Pro tab of Technical Difficulties - Racer X, set it to 60bpm, and take it from there.
#20
speaking of economy picking when i started playing lead i practised what i thought was alternate picking but it was actually economy picking. should i dump this and work on strict alternate picking instead?
Testament, Kreator, Vio-lence, Exodus

Thrash Metal
#21
Quote by Metallica-EX50
speaking of economy picking when i started playing lead i practised what i thought was alternate picking but it was actually economy picking. should i dump this and work on strict alternate picking instead?


It makes little to no difference; as long as you practice well and with good technique you can get as fast as you could ever want with either.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#22
Quote by Metallica-EX50
speaking of economy picking when i started playing lead i practised what i thought was alternate picking but it was actually economy picking. should i dump this and work on strict alternate picking instead?


If you truly know how to economy pick (the correct way) than it is a much more useful skill than alternate picking. The only reason I learned alternate picking in the first place was so I could work my way up to economy. People may argue against this, but economy picking is what works the best for me and helps me achieve the fastest speed I can attain.
Do NOT look behind you.
#23
right thanks! but what's the correct way?
Testament, Kreator, Vio-lence, Exodus

Thrash Metal
Last edited by Metallica-EX50 at Aug 2, 2008,
#24
a great exercise i found for accuracy is called the caterpillar

start on the 5th fret low E string and put your fingers down to the 6th fret 7th 8th
then without taking your middle,ring,and pinky off the low E string move the pointer to the A string and repeat...if thats confusing just ask.
#25
Quote by vitalpriest
a great exercise i found for accuracy is called the caterpillar

start on the 5th fret low E string and put your fingers down to the 6th fret 7th 8th
then without taking your middle,ring,and pinky off the low E string move the pointer to the A string and repeat...if thats confusing just ask.


The caterpillar? Most people would simply call that chromatic practice.
#26
Quote by fixationdarknes
The caterpillar? Most people would simply call that chromatic practice.

It's just a variation of a spider run. Supposedly, it helps to increase finger independence because you can only have one finger moving at a time.
"It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner." - Frank Zappa

The name's Garrett.

Gear and stuff:
Taylor 310
American Strat w/ Texas Specials
Ibanez JS1000
Vox Wah (true bypass & LED mod)
Dr. Z Maz 18 JR NR
#27
ehh i learned it from some excercise vid and its just stuck with me as the caterpilalr
#29
One person mentioned earlier in here to alternate pick scales, I do that alot now ever since I read this thread and I already have improved greatly.

Also just alternate pick 1, 2, and 3 notes at a time across the strings, if you know what I mean.

e-----------------0-----
B--------------0--------
G-----------0-----------
D--------0--------------
A-----0-----------------
E--0--------------------
D U D U D U
#30
again, slow proper practice breeds results. there's no more thought to it than that. set the metronome for 40bpm. play quarter notes. make sure nothing's sloppy or dirty. minimize movements. repeat until comfortable. now go to 42 bpm. repeat.
#31
There's always the tried and true way of alternate picking the E string, but I think that would get boring after a while, but yeah you can always alternate pick chromatic exercises, that's a pretty good exercise, alternate picking scales is pretty useful also.
#33
Picking from the elbow is really no worse than any other method. Picking soley from the wrist can lead to just as much tension and injury if overdone. It may be the most popular way...but it doesn't mean that it's the "best" or "only" way to go. For the most part the individual needs to find what works for them.
And to be totally honest...part of your picking from the elbow motion seems to be a result of your guitar being a bit too big for you. With it's shape & size, it would actually be fairly hard for you to comfortably pick from the wrist...since it looks like you are reaching for the strings as you play. You might try putting the guitar on your right knee, just to get it more in front of you, rather than up in your armpit.

Anyway...The key for any picking motion, is just to be aware of when you are beginning to tense up....trying "harder" aka more tension does not equal more speed...even though sometimes our bodies trick our minds into thinking so. Whether it's swinging a bat, golf club, throwing a ball or alternate picking...for many people, the bodies inate tendency is to tense up & "try harder" in order to go faster....you just need to be aware of what you are really doing as you do it. Are you really playing "faster" or just "trying harder".

One more thing...practice with a metronome/drum machine & all that....but more importantly, play along with/over backing tracks or your favorite songs. Being more musical beats being more technical any day. Bottom line, is that it's music...not track & field...play along with more than just a clicking noise and remember that...if it sounds good...it is good.



Don
#34
use a metronome set it to a comfortable speed and practice whole notes 2nds 4ths 8ths 16ths etc. (alternate pick of course)