Need Picking Help!!!

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by tonequest, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. tonequest

    tonequest Member

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    Hi,
    I've realized that my picking technique is very poor, and is the biggest thing holding back my playing. I'm getting into jazz/funk..and I have never been able to develop any kind of speed in my playing. I'd like to be able to do quick 16th note jazz lines like Rodney Jones, benson, etc..
    I've noticed that my right forearm (right-handed) always gets very tense and tightens up when I pick....for those of you who are able to pick fast, is your arm completly relaxed?? I'm thinking I may have to re-invent my entire technique that's been embedded in my brian for 14 years....yikes!
     
  2. Fretmaster

    Fretmaster Member

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    Staying relaxed and practicing energy conserving and sympathetic motion techniques are VERY important to both speed up, smooth out and extend the time you can play without becoming fatiqued. It may be little hard to describe in a forum thread but there are many good books out there that will describe these techniques. I played for many years with poor technique before studying classical in college and conservatory studies. When I learned about sympathetic motion and playing in a relaxed position it changed my playing dramatically. Then working on my plextrum technique did the same thing. The best thing about it is as you start to improve your technique and see your playing going places it has not before, it will get you excited to play again in a way you probably haven't in a long time.
     
  3. tonequest

    tonequest Member

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    thanks for the reply! Can you describe what sympathetic motion is a little?
     
  4. esw

    esw Guest

    My two cents: Practice difficult picking patterns with a metronome (if you don't own one, you can download many for free - just do a google search). Start slowly, and keep jacking up the tempo. The key is to do it gradually, though. After a few weeks of consistent practice, you'll find that you can play much faster without tensing up.
     
  5. Dave B

    Dave B Exit... Dual Stage Left Silver Supporting Member

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    Check out the November 1988 Guitar Player article entitled 'Body & Hand Position/ The Foundation Of Technique', written by a faculty member of Berklee. He describes in detail how it all ties together (LH, RH, body, and pick positions), plus there are pictures of some of the Berklee staff demonstrating everything. Very insightful, well thought out, and in-depth article. If you don't have it, I can photocopy it and mail it to you.

    Needless to say, I don't follow my own advice. I had already created my own severely mutated hybrid picking hand technique just from a couple of pictures in GP earlier that decade when I started college. I do occasionally enjoy going back and practicing the techniques mentioned in this article, and realize there would be big dividends if I stuck with it. The tradeoff is I lose the versatility afforded by the techniques in this article, but by using them I can't duplicate certain specific facets that are an inherent part of my guitar playing. To each his own...

    If you get a chance, go in with some guitar playing friends and buy some of the video lessons, or go see some of the guitar wizards when they play at your local clubs. Pretty much no two play alike (unless they come from Fripp's School Of Crafty Guitarists :D ), and you can learn quite alot by watching them.
     
  6. Fretmaster

    Fretmaster Member

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    Sympathetic motion is preached substantially in classical guitar playing. It has to do with keeping your hand relax and letting your finger follow one another naturally so to speak. For example; if you were doing arpeggios and you were leading with your thumb, or “P” as it is designated in finger style playing, then the next string would be struck with the index finger of “I”, then the middle or “M” and then finally the ring finger or “A”. After a while of practicing it becomes very natural and relaxed to simply let your fingers follow one another P-I-M-A, P-I-M-A, etc.. Then you move to P-M-I-A which may feel strange at first but after some practice also starts to feel very natural and relaxed to let your finger sort of follow or fall into play in the order as well. It plays heavily into the big picture of “energy conservation”. Learning to play relaxed using sympathetic motion will allow you to play much longer without becoming fatigued, which will in turn allow you to play much more accurately and smoothly as well. I don’t know if this helped at all. But it’s the best way I could think to put it into words briefly. If you do a look-up on the web for “sympathetic motion” in guitar playing you will find many articles referencing this technique. Good luck.


    Steve
     
  7. zman

    zman Guest

    see if you can find the old "stylus" picks they help speed and acuracy .. they dont make them anymore so you might have to do some searching to find them .
     
  8. Fretmaster

    Fretmaster Member

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    I know everyone has a personal preference but I have found the Dunlop Jazz III to be my all time favorite pick for any style plectrum playing. It's very popular among the speed freaks and are easy to find at most any shop that carries Dunlop products.
     
  9. zman

    zman Guest

    i love the jazz III i love dunlop stubby 3 mm and i love dunlop torex 1.14 ....

    the stylus pick is only for practicing your picking technique not for playing ... anybody ever see them ? i have only one .... its no a reglar pick ...

    its grip is like a reg. pick but the part you pick with is shaped like a pyramid . it is for accuracy and speed devolpment
     
  10. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    I know I have one somewhere. It was tough to get used to.
     
  11. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I used to take lessons from David Oakes and he was taught some by Pepe Romero a flamenco player noted for his speed. Dave said that Pepe said his rapid speed and accuracy was directly proportional to how slow he practiced. He suggested practicing ridiculously slowly and accurately...probably the hardest thing to do when trying to build speed.

    As to relaxation, I recall Paul Gilbert talking about his incredible right hand and likening his technique to the turning of a key in a lock when opening a door; so it was like a very light turning of the hand (in a very light closed/fist) at the wrist with 0 tension. I find it's a good approach for single note and for rapid chordal/funk strumming.

    Regardless of which technique you use, everything should be relaxed, no straining involved. There are exceptions, take note of Steve Morse. He plays incredibly fast and it's all through a really stiff right arm tension. I'd love to have his technique, but I'd not love to have his right arm after all those years of tensing up like that while playing. It works for him though.
     
  12. bluestein

    bluestein Member

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    They are available directly from Dunlop - on their website.
     

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