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Author Topic: alternate picking speed problem  (Read 5960 times)

Offline bradictron

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alternate picking speed problem
« on: August 10, 2009, 09:39:10 PM »
I've been playing for about 7 years now and it seems like for at least 2 years my picking speed has been at a standstill. I can't pick faster than 160 bpm 16th notes for more than one measure. I use mostly my wrist to pick, practice at least an hour every day and can't seem to figure out the problem. Any feedback or suggestions? thanks!
 

alternate picking speed problem

Offline prjacobs

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2009, 10:32:40 PM »
Does your pinky touch the guitar when you pick?  If so, you might try picking without any contact with the guitar.  Or reverse my suggestion if your picking hand doesn't touch the guitar:)
Good luck.  And remember, content is much more important than speed....
 

alternate picking speed problem

Offline Titus Pullo

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2009, 01:01:50 PM »
Using whatever the exercise is to measure your speed, do it VERY slowly.

I mean slowly. S L O W L Y. Take your speed down to virtually nothing. No tempo; just observe yourself as you pick the notes.

Listen to your body for any tension as you VERY gradually ratchet up the speed with or without a click.

At whatever point you notice tension (or the exercise breaking down) isolate the tension/breakdown point. Where is the tension emanating from?

If you find it, then you have to break the muscle memory (the point at which you introduce tension) that you've built into your technique and eliminate it by playing the exercises V E R Y slowly. Do you have a teacher?

You can also practice the same exercise at a lower tempo using 16th note triplets to help expand how you conceptualize the pattern.

--
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alternate picking speed problem

Offline prjacobs

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2009, 08:22:47 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by Titus Pullo

Using whatever the exercise is to measure your speed, do it VERY slowly.

I mean slowly. S L O W L Y. Take your speed down to virtually nothing. No tempo; just observe yourself as you pick the notes.

Listen to your body for any tension as you VERY gradually ratchet up the speed with or without a click.

At whatever point you notice tension (or the exercise breaking down) isolate the tension/breakdown point. Where is the tension emanating from?

If you find it, then you have to break the muscle memory (the point at which you introduce tension) that you've built into your technique and eliminate it by playing the exercises V E R Y slowly. Do you have a teacher?

You can also practice the same exercise at a lower tempo using 16th note triplets to help expand how you conceptualize the pattern.






Very good advice.

 You can also think in different phrase lengths.  Even if they're 16ths, you can think of 3 notes, followed by 5. Or 2, 2, and 4.  Or think in 7, 9 note patterns.  Whatever works for you, to keep it interesting. Varying phrase length will keep tension from developing at the typical places. Think in dynamic terms.  Think of those repetitive 16th notes as the most beautiful melody in the history of music and shape them as such:) Practicing technique with musicality,makes difficult passages easier.
 

alternate picking speed problem

Offline Titus Pullo

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2009, 12:48:17 PM »
Also very good advice!

There are a few 'master experts' (who shall go unnamed), and one especially, on the internet who hawk all manner of educational wares touting relaxation and awareness as if these concepts were their brainchild. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's fine for someone to take an existing concept and expound on it, but to imply that you own it is extremely disingenuous. There's usually no performance pedigree with these 'experts' and certainly no shortage of them.

The market for this simple concept grew - I think - from anyone with experience hanging a teacher shingle to make money, and from the shred craze of the 80s and the overuse injuries tedious practice at breakneck speeds will always cause without a solid foundation.  Anyway, I'm not saying these products aren't worthy of anyone's time, I'm simply saying that anyone who received any decent instruction on any instrument should have been taught the concepts of relaxation, muscle memory, awareness, breathing, etc. This isn't something of the recent past; it's been around forever. You can spot them easy enough: metronome settings of 200 plus with 16th notes  (as if 16th notes is the only notation that exists) is the goal rather than the exception.

I learnt these basic concepts when taking drum lessons decades ago. My first teacher wouldn't let me play anything above my pulse rate for what seemed like forever, and even then it was 32nd notes at even slower speeds before dialing up the click. Common sense would seem in short supply these days.

--
"If you subscribe to the Stew-Mac style you have to have a template to blow your nose." - Ken Parker

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"If you subscribe to the Stew-Mac style you have to have a template to blow your nose." - Ken Parker


alternate picking speed problem

Offline Darter

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2009, 01:25:09 AM »
Great thread and good advice.
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alternate picking speed problem

Offline Noodler

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2009, 12:40:52 PM »
I absolutely recommend experimenting with your picks too.  My speed increased dramatically over night once I found the right pick with the right bevel.  

I'm not going to plug my new company yet, but the teaser is that I've developed a new complex bevel for picks that gives you the strong attack of a very sharp pick with the glide of wide blunt pick.  This allows the pick to "float" over the strings while producing increased volume and excellent tone.  

For now, I recommend checking out Red Bear, V-Pick, and Dunlop Jazztone and Primetone picks.  They kind of get you to where my new picks will be.  Some of the guys on the factory tour sampled my pick prototypes and gave me positive feedback (and those prototypes weren't fully developed yet).  So I'm going to try to run with this idea - mainly because I honestly believe I've come up with a better "mouse trap" that will help some guitarists.  I know they've help me immensely.

alternate picking speed problem

Offline kbgeezer99

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2010, 03:27:05 PM »
hey,
and then now that we have all the scales  somewhere (at least on paper), how do you guys practice your right hand picking? is there  anywhere a help how to get from beginner to somewhere....? I do have classical background and my right hand is pretty much a disaster (not to mention one in a while a nail chips off when I get 'under' the lower E or so...)
I have now finally figured out that a medium size Dunlop Jazz III pick gets me as good as it gets...and still its awfully disappointing...h e l p ....
 

alternate picking speed problem

Offline Ron Vermillion

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2010, 01:10:34 PM »
If all else fails - listen to a B.B.King record. Check out his playing speed, and the complexity of his technique. He has made zillions of bucks doing that. Sometimes the technical impossibility we strive for isn't really necessary for anything but us wanting to accomplish it for it's own sake. If you are working on your guitar and practicing regularly you may have found a physical barrier that you are not going to be able to physically break.

Not saying to give up - but just realize that there is a huge world of guitar playing down below 160 bpm that you can play. Can you make the listener laugh or cry when you play? Try some of that under 160 bpm maybe!

Big Ron

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And a Room full of other dusty guitars.
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ronvermillion2176@gmail.com
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alternate picking speed problem

Offline Twanking45

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2010, 04:37:09 PM »
Try two options:

   1) hit the string more lightly.
   2) play some of the notes with hammer-ons and pulloffs.

Hope that helps!      
[:)]

Twank

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« Last Edit: March 17, 2010, 04:37:31 PM by Twanking45 »
>>---> TWANK <---<<

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-Parker Deluxe (1996)

alternate picking speed problem

Offline wkcchampion

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2010, 03:16:59 AM »
Welcome to my world! I suffer of tendinitis from both wrists and fast notes ain't just for me for more than 1 measure!
I tend to simplify things skipping one or two notes if needed ;) Or my wrists say "no no"

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alternate picking speed problem

Offline Nefarius

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2010, 03:58:06 AM »
Ron Vermillion: "...just realize that there is a huge world of guitar playing down below 160 bpm that you can play. Can you make the listener laugh or cry when you play?"

So important and yet so many players don't understand it!
Playing nothing but high speed may increase your impression in technical skill but ever so often ruin your expression as a musician. Happens to the best when they go over the top.

Greetings...
Nef

alternate picking speed problem

Offline larvaboy

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2010, 02:47:44 PM »
You can probably get faster than that with alternative picking, but to be really fast, smooth, and effortless, you probably want to learn legato, sweep picking, and hybrid picking techniques.
 

alternate picking speed problem

Offline Patzag

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2010, 03:25:50 PM »
Passing on advice from a real master:
take any passage with which you have trouble, slow it down and turn it into an exercise.  Play it slow and gradually faster until desired speed is achieved, but play it musically. It's supposed to sound good, not just fast.
I try to remember to do this and often fail but when I do, I make the passage my own and it's no longer a drill or a facsimile of someone else's playing. It's mine and I can do whatever I want with it.

I also agree with the pick thing.

Dugain makes a pick that's really well engineered and sounds great.
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alternate picking speed problem

Offline prjacobs

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alternate picking speed problem
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2010, 04:10:10 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by Patzag

Passing on advice from a real master:
take any passage with which you have trouble, slow it down and turn it into an exercise.  Play it slow and gradually faster until desired speed is achieved, but play it musically. It's supposed to sound good, not just fast.
I try to remember to do this and often fail but when I do, I make the passage my own and it's no longer a drill or a facsimile of someone else's playing. It's mine and I can do whatever I want with it.

I also agree with the pick thing.

Dugain makes a pick that's really well engineered and sounds great.



Good points... It's been my experience.... And I'm talking about almost 40 years as a pro... That it's always best to practice technically difficult passages musically.  It's the only way to develop a relaxed technique.  And when you finally play at whatever speed you'd like to achieve, it must feel like you're under control.  Like you have another gear.  Otherwise, it's not music, it's survival:).  And, it must sound genuine, not like you're just spewing out garbage. To be honest, in general, I don't want to hear a bunch of 16th notes at a high speed unless there's some real musical reason for it.  Unless you're Guthrie Govan....[:)].  But, if your goal is to shred and burn, just keep the tempo slow as you practice. Seven years.... You're just starting out.  April Lawton, a guitarist from the 70s, practiced 8 hours a day for 10 years, without missing a day!  I saw her playing jazz at a Holiday Inn before she turned to metal, and you could hear the results of that kind of commitment. The most important thing it to always have a relaxed attitude about your playing.  If you're tense, you're not in the moment.  You're comparing yourself to other musicians, and that will delay your progress.  Good luck...