#1
Alright I've been playing around five years. I know how to economy pick and use it for just about everything. I'm pretty proficient at soloing etc. but I use legato most of the time. I mainly just pick one note on the string and do hammers or pull offs. Now, I have serious problems trying to pick the same things at the same speed. It's not that I pick slow, I can play riffs pretty fast. It's just when soloing and switching strings alot. I've practiced increasing my picking speed but nothing seems to work. My picking during solos is sort of at a metallicaish level, but i want to be able to pick at a nevermore/shred level. I was just wondering if anybody had some suggestions of new excercises i could practice to try and increase my speed.
#2
You don't need to increase speed you need to increase accuracy; start slow with a metronome and build up, picking every note of familiar licks.

If you've already done that up to a point then you need to go back and improve your economy of motion in your picking hand. Freepower's video on correct practice is a good place to go: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=nNhhyrnINIU
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#3
Do you alternate pick? If yes then you are only at about half of the level of Metallica considering they use mostly downpicks. They do use alternate from time to time but not as much as just straight downpicking. For example, Hetfield really only uses alternate picking for fast tremolo and stuff that is just too fast for downpicking.

If you don't alternate pick, you should. Economy picking is good but in my opinion, alternate is much more versatile. Practice it and your picking speed and accuracy will go up ten fold.
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.
#4
Ok let me clear this up, I know how to alternate pick. I know how to economy pick. I use both. I'm not a beginner lol. I know to practice slow and i know that it's important to get it accurate slow and speed it up. My thing is I just can't seem to pick any faster. It's like i've gotten at a plateu and i've tried speeding it up but i just can't physically make my picking hand go any faster. Is it just a matter of keep at it?

Edit: I'm not talking about metallica riff's i'm talking about kirk's solos
#5
I actually addressed that in my first post.

You need to go back down the speeds and improve your economy of motion until you can pick using the smallest movements possible, stay at a very slow speed until you can use the smallest movements possible without thinking about it then start speeding up again.
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#6
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I actually addressed that in my first post.

You need to go back down the speeds and improve your economy of motion until you can pick using the smallest movements possible, stay at a very slow speed until you can use the smallest movements possible without thinking about it then start speeding up again.

Ah sorry i misinterpreted it So just take out all non-essential movements?
#7
Quote by madhampster
Ah sorry i misinterpreted it So just take out all non-essential movements?


Yep, that's about it, but also you should make sure that the tone sounds good to you and you're not tense at all.
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#8
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I actually addressed that in my first post.

You need to go back down the speeds and improve your economy of motion until you can pick using the smallest movements possible, stay at a very slow speed until you can use the smallest movements possible without thinking about it then start speeding up again.


+1

Quote by Junior#1
Do you alternate pick? If yes then you are only at about half of the level of Metallica considering they use mostly downpicks. They do use alternate from time to time but not as much as just straight downpicking. For example, Hetfield really only uses alternate picking for fast tremolo and stuff that is just too fast for downpicking.

If you don't alternate pick, you should. Economy picking is good but in my opinion, alternate is much more versatile. Practice it and your picking speed and accuracy will go up ten fold.



How is alternate more versatile? I would think that, if anything, it would be more limited since you are restricting yourself to strictly down-up-down-up movements.
Quote by Roc8995
Thin necks make you play faster because guitars with thin necks sound thin and bad, and you play fast to distract people from the bad tone.
#9
Quote by thefoldarsoldar
How is alternate more versatile? I would think that, if anything, it would be more limited since you are restricting yourself to strictly down-up-down-up movements.


Neither is more versatile and you can get as much speed as would ever need with either as long as you practice well.
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#10
Quote by madhampster
Ok let me clear this up, I know how to alternate pick. I know how to economy pick. I use both. I'm not a beginner lol. I know to practice slow and i know that it's important to get it accurate slow and speed it up. My thing is I just can't seem to pick any faster. It's like i've gotten at a plateu and i've tried speeding it up but i just can't physically make my picking hand go any faster. Is it just a matter of keep at it?

Edit: I'm not talking about metallica riff's i'm talking about kirk's solos


Everything ZB said about economy of motion is right on the money. The other thing is tension. It has a habit of creeping in when you're hitting those higher speeds. Be careful to make sure that you're not starting to transition to elbow picking when your picking at close to your limit. The sneaky thing about this is that sometimes you don't realize you are doing it. A mirror can help. i.e. bust out the mirror, play something at a speed that's fast but comfortable, then push the speed to something you're uncomfortable with and try again. That should help diagnose the problem. Almost guaranteed, you'll see that something changes in your picking technique when you switch to the uncomfortable speed.

The thing that I have found about busting through plateaus is that full frontal assault (ie just trying to play it faster and faster) never works. You just reach the speed that your current level of technique allows and you can't go faster. Here's an example of how I was able to get around a semi-recent picking speed plateau.

There was a run from a song I was trying to play that was based around the "2-up-1-down" pentatonic sequence pattern (for ex, starting on E - EGA-GAB-blah-blah, you know the one). Song speed was extremely fast, and I was having trouble nailing it at full speed. Actually "trouble" is an understatement, I was totally stuck. Since I'd been struggling with it a lot, I'd attached a lot of mental tension to it too, which just added to the physical tension. You know - *thinks to self: "This is f&%$ing serious!" and proceeds to administer crappy sounding version of run at 90% speed with pained expression on face, while of course holding breath*.

After I while, I said to myself "screw it, this isn't working". I stopped working on the run in question directly, and instead worked out a loopable version of it. I used this as my warmup, working it all the way from the 1st-12th positions as one continous super long lick. I'd play it 3-4 times a day, the first time at maybe 40% song speed, the last at maybe 50-55%. I did this for a month, just as my warm up exercise, and never really worried about increasing the speed much except to maybe 60-65% song speed at the end of the month. I basically put the actual run out of my mind. After about a month, I decided to get back on the horse that threw me, and gave the real deal a try. I was surprised and pleased to be able to nail it with ease after a few tries, and at full song speed. And then at 20% above song speed, because I had to try out my new super powers - still no problem!

What this taught me was that if you're really stuck, sometimes you have to go around the problem, rather than continuing to attack it head on.

Anyway, hope this helped/made sense at all. good luck with your shredding!
#11
Quote by madhampster
My picking during solos is sort of at a metallicaish level, but i want to be able to pick at a nevermore/shred level.


Bear in mind that it took most shredders years of consistent practice to reach that level. Literally thousands of hours. You need to give yourself time as well as making solid improvement slowly and consistently.
#12
Quote by Freepower
Bear in mind that it took most shredders years of consistent practice to reach that level. Literally thousands of hours. You need to give yourself time as well as making solid improvement slowly and consistently.


To expand on this slightly: studies have shown that, on average, it takes any given virtuoso between 7000 and 10000 hours of practice to reach their technical prime.
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#14
Quote by Freepower
Well, I'm on about 1700 hours effective practice so that's a example of work in progress.


And your technique already puts most people on here to shame so what does that say?
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#15
Quote by madhampster
I'm pretty proficient at soloing etc. but I use legato most of the time. I mainly just pick one note on the string and do hammers or pull offs. Now, I have serious problems trying to pick the same things at the same speed. It's not that I pick slow, I can play riffs pretty fast. It's just when soloing and switching strings alot. I've practiced increasing my picking speed but nothing seems to work. My picking during solos is sort of at a metallicaish level, but i want to be able to pick at a nevermore/shred level. I was just wondering if anybody had some suggestions of new excercises i could practice to try and increase my speed.


To me it sounds that you have a problem with the picking hand and the synchronization of right and left hand. The solution is to slow down and concentrate on accuracy instead of speed. Practice on clean channel with a harsh tone to develop accuracy and synchronization. And for the love of god, don't start doing exercises, especially the horrible chromatic things, which are worthless to your actual playing. Take songs by your favourite shred artists and start learning them at slow tempos.
#16
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
To expand on this slightly: studies have shown that, on average, it takes any given virtuoso between 7000 and 10000 hours of practice to reach their technical prime.


That's interesting. Are any of those studies online? Could you post a link to where you found them?
#17
Quote by se012101
That's interesting. Are any of those studies online? Could you post a link to where you found them?


I have no idea; it was in a documentary about Vanessa Mae I watched a couple of weeks ago.
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#18
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I have no idea; it was in a documentary about Vanessa Mae I watched a couple of weeks ago.


Thanks anyway! I did some digging, and found this very interesting article from the archives of Fortune magazine. At first it appears to be about finance (duh, being from fortune magazine), but keep reading. This applies to us.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391794/index.htm
#19
Quote by se012101
Thanks anyway! I did some digging, and found this very interesting article from the archives of Fortune magazine. At first it appears to be about finance (duh, being from fortune magazine), but keep reading. This applies to us.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391794/index.htm


That's a great article; very nice find
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#20
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
To expand on this slightly: studies have shown that, on average, it takes any given virtuoso between 7000 and 10000 hours of practice to reach their technical prime.


wow
#21
Quote by alexcp94
wow


Note also: that's focussed practice not just playing.
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#22
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
To expand on this slightly: studies have shown that, on average, it takes any given virtuoso between 7000 and 10000 hours of practice to reach their technical prime.

So it could be 2 years (more or less) to play as a virtuoso? That doesn't sound half bad.

Although, its best to keep practicing even after that amount of time. If I can play 16ths at 200bpm, then I'm good. All I need now is theory, ear training, repertoire building, and more practice. And all that can fit into the practice span of 2 years!(or more, if one wants to get as close to perfect a technique, which the entire definition of practice should mean)
#23
Quote by SilverDark
So it could be 2 years (more or less) to play as a virtuoso? That doesn't sound half bad.


Your math has got to be off. Even praticing 6 hours a day, 300 days a year, an amount which pretty much rules out inconveniences like work or school, that's still only 1800 hours per year. Also, that's totally focused practice time, time also needs to be made for just playing.

So, realistically, if you half that (which is still a very, serious, dedicated practice schedule), you're looking at 900 hours per year. Or about 7.7 years to reach the low-end of virtuoso level.


Quote by SilverDark

Although, its best to keep practicing even after that amount of time. If I can play 16ths at 200bpm, then I'm good. All I need now is theory, ear training, repertoire building, and more practice. And all that can fit into the practice span of 2 years!(or more, if one wants to get as close to perfect a technique, which the entire definition of practice should mean)


Yeah, playing 16ths at 200bpm is just the beginning. There is so much more to it that just getting some simple runs and playing them at that speed. That is one thing that is so impressive about the really great guitar players - they can not only play at that speed, but they can play really difficult sh*t at that speed.
#24
Quote by se012101
Your math has got to be off. Even praticing 6 hours a day, 300 days a year, an amount which pretty much rules out inconveniences like work or school, that's still only 1800 hours per year. Also, that's totally focused practice time, time also needs to be made for just playing.

Oh yes, yes, I forgot all about responsibilities and other stuff... Damn responsibilities... And one really does need to be focused to improve.

Quote by se012101
So, realistically, if you half that (which is still a very, serious, dedicated practice schedule), you're looking at 900 hours per year. Or about 7.7 years to reach the low-end of virtuoso level.

How about if I dedicate 10 hours to reach virtuoso level? Huh?!

Quote by se012101
Yeah, playing 16ths at 200bpm is just the beginning. There is so much more to it that just getting some simple runs and playing them at that speed. That is one thing that is so impressive about the really great guitar players - they can not only play at that speed, but they can play really difficult sh*t at that speed.

Which I would like to do. *gets off computer and starts practice*
#25
Quote by SilverDark
How about if I dedicate 10 hours to reach virtuoso level? Huh?!


Well even if you practice that much every day that's still between 700 and 1000 days, and even then you have to practice well, not just sit and run the same exercises over and over again.
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#26
Quote by madhampster
It's not that I pick slow, I can play riffs pretty fast. It's just when soloing and switching strings alot.


So your main trouble spot is crossing strings? Is that right?
Alt picking along one string is not the big issue, but you start to get a bit tied up when trying to move smoothly & quickly from one string to the next?
That's not so bad really...that's actually where the vast majority of people initially have trouble. I mean if you've got a good grip on the legato end of things and can transition smoothly from one string to the next that way....You can at least go with your strength & work in the Alt Picking as you go along.
As for exercises & stuff...It's been shown a bazillion times before, but this one can really help you improve your transition skills across the strings.

|----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------|   Etc.
|-------------------------------1-2-3----|
|-------------1-2-3-------1-2-3----------|
|-------1-2-3-------1-2-3----------------|
|-1-2-3----------------------------------|

That particular one is always a good one, since it makes you constantly double back as you work your way across the strings. There's a buttload more out there of course...but I've always found this one very helpful in building transitional skills.

Sorry if that's nothing new...but I just thought that I would toss it out there for ya.



Don
#27
I dont know how to practice correctly

i know, slow, correct, without tension, but i dont know what to practice, how much time, etc. lol..., or if i am doing it right, and theres not a lot of good teachers here.
there must be, but not easy to find.