Another picking speed thread, but I can't pick fast at all

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Bluefire98, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. blueworm

    blueworm Member

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    Yes .... but it seems to me you're talking more about relaxation vs tension rather than muscle (or tendon) work. I agree about eliminating tension, for sure. But if there's a motion, there has to be something at work, a 'motor' (muscles and/or tendons) - which btw I don't think is a very helpful thing to know wrt this topic because most people (including me) have no idea which muscles are engaged when doing a specific motion.
     
  2. ivers

    ivers Member

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    Sure, there's something. But remember that the original statement was that the OP's wrist seems to do too much in creating motion. Too much doesn't have to mean that no work is required at any time. Either does it mean that wrist motion isn't important for the technique. I illustrated with motions where the wrist muscles aren't active (but wrist moving) to show what can be used in your favor to make the wrist muscles do less. Like when you do a funk strumming kinda thing.

    Julian Lage also explains (in the linked article from my earlier post) much more eloquently than I can what other stuff that «something» might be.

    If you find thinking about which muscles are involved and how is of little help, we're on different planets, but that's cool. I will not try to convince you further as I've clarified as much as I can, and back and forths between people who think very differently trying to convince eachother can be very tedious for forum members.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020 at 10:03 AM
  3. blueworm

    blueworm Member

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    Yes, but frankly I don't know if that's really true. I've watched the video, and though it seems to me something is wrong it's hard to tell exactly what. Saying that the wrist "does too much" seems to me a bit of a stretch, it really hard to tell IMO.

    My opinion is that, maybe, there are some contradictory motions involved, which create a roadblock and tension somewhere. In other words it's not that the wrist "does too much", but that it moves wrongly, which is different. But now I'm no guitar teacher, so what do I know...

    Maybe that's just me ... but the "wrist muscle" thing is confusing. If you ask someone : do that motion (i.e. wrist deviation) but don't use your wrist muscle, I'm sure lots of people would be confused. I know I will be. How many people on this planet know how many muscles they have in their body ? and which one(s) is/are engaged for a specific motion ?
     
  4. TL;DR

    TL;DR Member

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    For this discussion it actually does matter. Just because the OP is talking about straight alternate picking. Wayne has very little forearm movement (it’s there, but he’s very efficient), but at least in the clip you linked, he’s not playing particularly fast, and he’s using a bunch economy techniques, which is a completely different topic.
    Hold your right forearm just above the wrist, put your right pinky on a flat surface (to eliminate rotation) and see how fast you can generate an up/down wrist motion. Then release your forearm and see if your BPM increases. Most everybody will be able to generate more speed the second way. it’s the same as flamenco or funk strumming. Most guys who go fast have forearm rotation or up/down movement.
    the reason I’m going this direction with the OP is that based on the video, I don’t see his wrist/fingers being able to move nearly as fast as he wants without incorporating some more forearm freedom. I could be wrong, if you ask my wife, I usually am :(
     
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  5. ivers

    ivers Member

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    I noticed a boost to my alternate picking after woodshedding flamenco rasqueados and thumb/pulgar stroke for a couple of years.
     
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  6. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    What is thumb/pulgar stroke? is it specific to flamenco?

    To me the interesting question is how to develop more “speed” practicing/studying music. As opposed to tedious anti musical sounding exercises. Maybe great flamenco players get great with exercises but I think having music that requires it is probably a big part of it. Like bouzouki players, the music pretty much demands it so it’d be a natural by product of learning to play the common repertoire.
     
  7. blueworm

    blueworm Member

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    Not particularly fast by some shred 'standards' sure ... but fast (and clean) enough for a lot of players. (for the record the fast runs are 16ths at around 150-160 in that clip, which is plenty fast for most applications)
     
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  8. ivers

    ivers Member

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    I don't know if it's flamenco-specific, but that's the context that inspired me to learn it and where I seem to hear it.



    There's no absolute answer about exercise vs just music IMO. Of course, playing music is the goal, but it depends of the nature of the problem – and with little problems, repertoire makes sense to concentrate on. But if your playing is causing you porblems like pain and injuries, or you just seem stuck at something, an exercise might be of help. Exercises don't need to be anti-musical either.
     
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  9. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks! Very interesting thumb based playing by that guy.
    I’d be interested in any pick or thumb based musical exercises you’d recommend, say for what you think might be constraints on the OPs picking approach as far as you could tell from the video he posted. To me it seems like his wrist is plastered to the top of the guitar which might be limiting but there are probably super pickers who do just that :D
     
  10. Bluefire98

    Bluefire98 Member

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    Thanks everybody. There's a lot of good stuff to think on here. Just to chime in, my "funk" strumming suffers about as much as my picking does. Pretty accurate at medium tempos, but I can't do anything in the realm of fast. Also I may have understated how much I've worked on my speed in the past. I definitely have "given up" a couple times, but that's after seeing zero improvement after practicing with and without a met for at least an hour a day, for a few months. Can't even nudge up 5bpm. I just end up reaching this wall and can't seem to get past it. And I'd be super happy if I could get to 150-160bpm. I'd like to do more of course, but that at least gets me over my hump.
     
  11. ivers

    ivers Member

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    This is perhaps as much a cue as an exercise, but something which helped me with that flamenco motion was to forget about my thumb and focus on the pinky side. I'd kinda throw my pinky out from the guitar body, and that would help the thumb through the string. Sorry if that sounds confusing, but it's difficult to describe. I found a similar motion can be used with picking really fast stuff.

    Other than that, I'd really recommend to try to to the Julian Lage «exercise» described in his article.
     
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  12. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    On the OP's video?! Most certainly not. It feels like mid 90 bpm.
     
  13. Bluefire98

    Bluefire98 Member

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    He's talking about the Wayne Krantz video
     
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  14. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    You mean, aside from the legato I already mentioned, you observed other stuff?

    Al didn't seem to mind him throwing in some two-handed tapping
     
  15. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Merely agreeing
     
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  16. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    But this reminds me...everyone obsesses about their picking hand, yet most of them have a gumpy fingering hand.

    My take with students has been if you can't play it with left hand with just hammering...not legato...no pulling off.
    And make the notes the right duration...well then there's no point yet to worry about the picking.
    In other words one should be able to play their lines with the proverbial hand tight behind their back.
    And then picking, sliding, pulling off become articulation choices.

    I used to have guys that moaned they couldn't do it without mondo gain. Cause accepting that something requires more effort wasn't what they were after but rather a quick back patting...hog wash.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020 at 6:12 PM
  17. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Interesting observations!

    The first time I started working more seriously with hammer-ons - after I sold my Chapman Stick - was when I learned the piece "Etude 3 Hybrid Picking with Legato" from the book Hybrid Picking for Guitar by Assis-Brasil, which I found by way of Brett Garsed's website.

    That piece combines open string notes with fretted ones, so I had to learn how to not prematurely mute an open-string note while playing (hybrid picking, hammer-on, occasional pull-off) the other notes of the music. I often practiced the piece on (unplugged) acoustic guitar. I just didn't like hammer-on with the index finger because of the acoustic harmonic that can come out when that's done on steel-string acoustic. Hammer-ons with other fingers are fine for me because I've got the index finger to prevent the undesired acoustic harmonics. Other than that I experimented with pull-off vs. hammer-on for descending passages and generally preferred the hammered-on tone for this piece. However unlike Holdsworth, I actually do like the "meow" of a pull-off sometimes.
     

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