Developing picking speed and timing - Aaugh!

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by electronpirate, Jul 24, 2006.


  1. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    After being forced into playing alot more solos these days, I see the things I need to work on regarding speedier licks. I like my solos, since I concentrate on tastier, slower ideas and try religiously not to 'take a measure off' by wanking. But now my ideas are starting to throw some high speed runs in there, and while my mind is willing, my fingers are not.

    Observations:

    -My picking technique SUCKS. I try to keep it 'up/down', but my old habits are to 'sweep' down to the next string, which throws my timing off.
    -SPEED. I can't seem to get a nice clean flatpicking sound. Rather than smooth, it sounds like I'm slopping my way through..doesn't sound musical.
    -Left hand - right hand timing (my picking is not sync'd up with finger hitting the string, and vice-versa.)
    -I always fall back into zero wrist action. More of my hand waggling back and forth.
    -Death grip on the pick.


    Any good advice or videos to help with any of this? I realize that probably a few months with a competent teacher would solve things, but due to my schedule, I'm more of a 'do it yourself' kind of guy. I've been playing a long time, so bad habits are very well ingrained, but at this point, I'm ready to throw it all out and start again.

    EP
     
  2. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    I can only comment on what works for me.

    Use a metronome. Start every practice session very very slowly...don't play scales, pick random notes all over the fingerboard and skip strings frequently. Don't increase speed at all until you can do it at slow speed with absolutely no "flams" between left and right hand.

    Getting the left/right hand sync is very very important. Don't even THINK about more speed til you can get that synchronization down.

    Play all the "favorite licks" you have in your bag of tricks at the same slow speed and don't increase it til you have the sync perfect.

    Try diffferent pick sizes shapes and thicknesses. One will speak to you and you'll know you have the right one.

    It's also important where you hold your guitar. Lots of guys go for the low "gunslinger" look. I for one can't come close to playing like that, but again you'll find your spot.

    It's not a big thing, it's a lot of little things and unfortunately there isn't any "quick fix".
     
  3. ivers

    ivers Member

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    If you wanna get rid of the sweeping thing, I recommend you practice a lot of 1 note per string exercises, thereby isolating the string shifting movement, so you can really concentrate on alternating when shifting strings.

    Most can play fast on one string, shifting strings is usually the problem, and should IMO be worked much more in isolation than people seem to do.

    I also recommend you try to construct your picking technique (angle/grip strength/where you hold it) from what gives you the best tone, and try to increase tempo using that *exact* technique. I see so many change their grip, to something that IMO gives less good tone, for faster stuff, but there's no need for doing that, as far as I can see.

    Last but not least, alt picking requires a lot of hard work.
     
  4. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    an exercise that helped my alt picking a lot was the first exercise from michael angelo batios "speed kills" video.

    Basically, it goes:

    G ---------11 -12 -14 -12 -11---
    D -12 -14 --------------------14

    in sixteenth notes over and over, using alternate picking.
     
  5. gennation

    gennation Member

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    Also with the metronome set slow, you have a chance to actually WATCH your hands, the picking, the fretting, and how they are working together.

    Then you speed up and watch again. Are they the same? More than likely not, and that's normal. But, now you can practice slow way you are going to play it fast.

    If you practice slow the way you play slow...your slower playing will get faster BUT your faster player will stay the same...because your technique will be different between the two.

    Hope that makes sense...just pay attention to your hands playing different things and play them the same whether it's slow or fast. You'll have a better chance of speeding up your fast playing.
     
  6. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    And there's nothing more underrated than using silence to make the parts you play more effective.
     
  7. tonezoneonline

    tonezoneonline Member

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    There is some very good advice in this thread.After playing 6 years practicing with a metronome and a couple years without.It's been eye opening to try practicing again with one and seeing how far out of whack I am these days.
    I also developed some bad right hand habits that I'm now trying to correct and again it isn't easy.
    I've also found out about economy picking and after having used alternate picking for years it's very hard to do economy picking.I think it would have beeen good to learn it from the start.What's the consensus on this?
     
  8. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    It's weird for me...sometimes it comes out economy and sometimes it comes out alternate. I haven't figued out why yet but if I think about it, neither works. I use alternate descending across the strings all the time. Different ascending.

    My problem area has always been ascending arpeggios. I can handle descending arpeggios at least at twice the speed of ascending. Anybody have any ideas what to do about that?
     
  9. IndieHead

    IndieHead Member

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    hi,

    i m new to the metronome and i recently bought one. How should I be practising? should I hit certain notes at the 'click'? I m just setting it at a certain speed and playing along with it and hoping my ears can align each notes with the timing or 'beats' of the metronome.

    Please advise.
     
  10. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    The general usage of a metronome is setting it so each beat is a quarter note. So you'd count each beat as "1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4" etc. Add in eighth and sixteenth notes and triplets and what have you, but stay in the beat!

    The way to use it is set it to the fastest speed that you can do an exercise perfectly. Then speed it up about 5 bpm. Practise on that speed until you've mastered that. and so forth.

    Also, a great way to get your rhythm going is to clap along with a metronome. If you're right on the beat, either your clap or the metronome will sound, but not both. If you hear both distinctly, you're off rhythm. This is something I had to learn when using my RC-20XL, tapping in the tempo to a metronome whilst practising, and it took a while to get. Annoying, but indispensable for any musician.
     
  11. mkl13

    mkl13 Silver Supporting Member

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    +1000 to everyones advice of starting slowly with a metronome and building speed slowly. Also practice picking drills regularly and force yourself to alternate pick the drills. Work on being able to do the drills starting with both and upstroke and downstroke evenly before increasing the metronome speed.

    Also in addition to single string picking exercises I found that working on alternate picking through arpeggios really helped me with string crossing etc.

    I have a couple of video lessons that really helped with my alternate pick. Paul Gilberts Intense Rock, John Pettrucci Rock Discipline and a couple of Steve Morse vids. I think they have lots of good suggestions for any style of music. I am not a huge fan of the style of music of Petrucci or Gilbert but the videos had some great ideas that helped me...and still are.
     

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