Good way to build picking speed?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by mike80, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    After watching some videos of Tremonti and Paul Gilbert, I'm trying to get back into shred territory. The thing that is holding me back is my picking. It's slow. My left hand has speed and accuracy, but my right hand just doesn't want to pick fast at all. I broke it about 8 years ago, and ever since then it's been slower than I remember.

    So what is a good way to build up speed? Just keep chugging along and build up the muscles, or is there a better way?
     
  2. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    Metronome. Learn how to player Slayers Angel of Death.

    Play along to some metal that you like. Pauls Get out of My Yard video is pretty badass too.
     
  3. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    Metronome....man, I've never played with one in the 15 years I've been playing. I probably should have bought one years ago though.

    Sounds like a good reason to make a trip to the guitar store tomorrow.
     
  4. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    Metronomes are key to playing fast IMO. Start slow and kick it up one or two BPMs a week and you will be fast AND precise.
     
  5. Bad G.A.S.

    Bad G.A.S. Senior Member

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    I was actually quite surprised to learn that Satch isn't a metronome proponent...If you aren't playing along with a metronome, though, playing along to a drum machine, drummer, backing track, CD etc, will give you the same result, and it's a lot more fun. (!!!)
     
  6. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    Satch isn't really that known for his right hand either. He is more known for his song writing and legato. Most guys that are picking monsters are metronome proponents. No slam on Satch either. He is a monster player!

    Legato is a little easier to play fast to me and a lot of people since it doesn't require synching both hands. Just one. Although I am sure some people may chime in who disagree.
     
  7. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I agree with jazzandmetal on all that. But I wouldn't study Tremonti for good technique. Stick with Gilbert, Yngwie, Vinnie Moore, Petrucci etc.. All these guys have their own approach to doing it.

    But the key is learning which muscles (or tendons?) to use. If you play with a lot of tension or just use bad technique you can work for years making very little progress. Do it right and it comes fast. Very fast, as in a few weeks if someone is beyond a beginner, to start getting a few licks quick and tight.
     
  8. PosterBoy

    PosterBoy Member

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    Damn I must be doing it wrong then, I'm making very little progress (to my eyes and ears) with my left hand fretting
     
  9. Dr Git

    Dr Git Member

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    What would my best approach be since i'm more of a Jeff Beck/Santana/G Moore type player to build my speed? Pete



     
  10. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I think taking lessons from someone that is into what you want to accomplish, is the best. When you can see something done right in front of you, it breaks down all kinds of mental barriers, not to mention the physical ones. Plus they can point out any issues like tension or too much arm movement, muting, control etc..
     
  11. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    I've actually been considering taking lessons again. I took lessons for a couple years when I first started, but that was before I started doing any lead work.

    I used to think he wasn't much of a shredder. There was a fast solo on Creed's first album that I thought was very sloppy and wasn't much impressed by it. After watching some vids of him lately, he's built up some chops.
     
  12. mlavin00

    mlavin00 Member

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    Run chromatic exercises with a metronome/drum machine/drum program. Slowly build up speed. Employ proper picking technique with strict alternate picking. That's how I teach my students speed techniques.
    Mitch
     
  13. ivers

    ivers Member

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    The major hurdle for most is shifting from string to string. Practice that patiently and systematically, and you'll get skills.
     
  14. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    The best advice I can give you is not to take advice from chat forums. ;)
     
  15. ivers

    ivers Member

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    OTOH, not everything is crap. Some stuff just plainly works.
     
  16. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    OTOH, most chat forum playing advice is crap. ;)
     
  17. ivers

    ivers Member

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    Sure, like most playing advice period, I guess...
     
  18. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Yeah but impersonal advice on a chat forum has about as much of a chance of getting good information to the original poster as an inquiry about who makes the best overdrive pedal. All you get are random data points with very little relevance. The original poster would be much better served finding someone who plays in a way they admire and then asking them specifically for advice - preferably in person.
     
  19. ivers

    ivers Member

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    I agree when it comes to complex stuff, but alt picking is so damn simple it's ridiculous. Then again, if people get the right recipe, most will probably get tired of practicing and buy some new gear instead, so in that sense it's almost futile.
     
  20. Scafeets

    Scafeets Silver Supporting Member

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    Some of the best picking advice I ever got came, strangely enough, from my classical guitar teacher (who studied with Segovia) when I was a kid. Knowing I was playing in a rock band when not slaving over Chopin etudes and other Segovia-inspired torture, he recommended the following:
    Do Scales while watching TV: You can't go wrong with scales. Learn them in a variety of positions, and work them into modes. The cool thing about scales and other exercises that turn into muscle memory is that you can practice them while watching TV, talking on the phone, etc. It can exponentially increase your practice time by allowing you to multi-task.
    Play 'em hard & loud: My teacher said to really exaggerate the picking motion, hitting the right hand harder than you would when playing a song. Do that for five minutes of scales/exercises before going for speed.
    Develop a Hybrid Style: A million Chet Atkins fans can't be wrong: Learn to play with a pick and still use your other fingers. This will allow string skipping and a lot of other techniques that will improve your speed and accuracy.
    Beat the Clock: Metronomes will make you fast. Challenge yourself to kick it up a notch every day.
    Slouch: My guitar teacher had a bad back from many, many hours of practicing. He said the greatest thing about electric guitars is that you don't have to be sitting in the proper classical position to make them go. He had me practice my classical stuff on a solid body as well as on my classical guitar because there was so much less wear and tear on the body.
    Don't Plug in: This goes back to the "play hard" advice. Also, it will help keep peace with other family members, roommates, significant others, etc. if you don't distract them from TV, conversation, etc.
    Following his advice, I was a super-fast, super-obnoxious 14-year old with more speed than brains. I've spent the last 40 years trying to figure out what to do with that speed. The best contemporary advice I've gotten so far comes from Frank Gambale, whose instructional videos on sweep-picking gave a new dimension to my playing, and Eric Johnson, who has elevated the whole hybrid pick & fingers thing to a new level.
    Hope this helps.........
     

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