New Years Goal: Drastically improve picking technique. How long to spend a day?

cantstoplt021

Member
Messages
1,216
One of my big goals for 2017 is to get my picking up to snuff. It's one of the weak points in my playing, namely because I haven't worked at it. Most of the music I've played beforehand didn't require great chops, but now I'm starting to want to play more technical music. I'm wondering what's a good amount of time to spend everyday working at this? Hour? Two hours? I'm going to be working from the book "classical studies for pick style guitar." I find playing these pieces over and over again are much more interesting than doing exercises and they are difficult. String skipping galore.
 

Ejay

Senior Member
Messages
8,014
Use the time you have, or have fun doing it :)

I have made the best progression in my picking by not focussing on picking specifically, but by focussing on:

- play everything in perfect time, this THE key!
- practice at a speed where you can play things in a way that its perfect (you wanna put it on Your record) never practice at a speed where you make mistakes. Trust that speed will come when you do this.
- practice everything not only by picking, but also playing with Your thumb, playing with Your fingers, play only with Your left hand. Reason for this is, when you do it in perfect time, left hand, right hand and the rest of Your body get in sync.
- try to make everything you play feel right and comfortable in your body, in sync with The beat. Little hard to explain...imagine a dancer working to hard for his/her moves...its not gonna look right..in our case..its not gonna sound right.
 

Advisable Owl

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,203
I thought someone had done a very in depth analysis of some of the great's picking styles but I seem to be forgetting it.
 

jujube

Member
Messages
2,642
To avoid injury, your hands must be as relaxed as possible and posture is important. Practice in short sessions with breaks in between sessions.
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
25,205
One of my big goals for 2017 is to get my picking up to snuff. It's one of the weak points in my playing, namely because I haven't worked at it. Most of the music I've played beforehand didn't require great chops, but now I'm starting to want to play more technical music. I'm wondering what's a good amount of time to spend everyday working at this? Hour? Two hours? I'm going to be working from the book "classical studies for pick style guitar." I find playing these pieces over and over again are much more interesting than doing exercises and they are difficult. String skipping galore.
Get the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin
 

gennation

Member
Messages
8,105
Time is not a real issue. Just to it when and how long you can daily and then every few days, the weekends, invest sometime in it. But one big thing...ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS turn the metronome on.. and NEVER do it without.

I did a whole year of this "music new years resolution" (that's what it was to me). What I found was if I sat for long periods I could get up to mind blowing speed (based on my level) but when I first sat down...I played like I first sat down :/

So, I used the short sessions to try and play "solid" and the long sessions to build on it.

I always studied my "fast techinque" and used it to practice slow...I found my hands functioned differently when playing fast than playing slow...so instead of peaking my slow technique, I cleaned up my fast technique.

Watch yourself but watch any great player and you'll see their technique change when playing different speeds...that's the slow and fast techniques.

So...look at your hands playing the same thing fast and slow, and NEVER do it without a metronome on.
 

Blahfingers

Member
Messages
765
One of my big goals for 2017 is to get my picking up to snuff. .
I've been doing this for the past year or two. I spend about an hour each weekday and two or three on weekends.

I found I also really needed to improve my legato technique so my left hand could keep up with the improvements in my picking.

I agree with everyone about using a metronome, not just to improve your timing/rhythm, but also because you can use it to keep a log of progress. There's nothing more rewarding than going back to some exercise and finding you can play it measurably faster (and more accurately), even though you haven't played it for some time (because you've improved your technique generally)
 

Megatron

Member
Messages
1,633
Edge Picking and 2 way pick slanting were the pieces I needed to get my picking where I wanted.
The Tuck Andress article is gold btw.
 

Michael6120

Member
Messages
437
As long as it takes to be satisfied with yourself.

Based on my life experience you get out what you put in. The best guitarists I know have no hidden magic tricks.. just hours practiced. I've never come across a fluke player who was unreal with little practice. I suggest to not put a time frame.. just play as long as possible and keep as influenced as you can! Influence is what keeps most of us going I think..
 

Clifford-D

Member
Messages
17,045
Metronome!!!

I really like Howard Roberts suggestion to use a steady stream of 8th notes with no rest gaps. This makes you have to come up with melodic solutions to fill those gaps, a great exercise in melody,,, which is a great way to make a scale picking exercise way more fun. But the op is already doing that.

However, there is an old thread called

TGP COLLECTIVE SUPER CHOPS thread.

The thread became VERY popular with people putting themselves through the program. Everyone loved the concept of using steady 8th notes, or steady triplets. An excellent way to improve your picking.

I only have my phone and I don't know how to post the thread here in this thread. I can do it on my laptop but right now that's not an option. So if a nice person would post the thread, that would be great and I thank you for doing so.
 
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BenoA

Member
Messages
1,967
@cantstoplt021 You beat me to it. I was to post something about moving my guitar playing a notch in 2017 but your thread came before!

I'm not a super player or technique connaisseur but I'll give you my humble opinion from a basement player/occasional cover band wannabe shredder.

Two words: focus & dedication

My lil' story: I've been trying every year for, let's say, the past 5 to 7 years achieve some goals regarding my guitar technique. At the beginning of each new Year, I would sat down and write some kind of personal program to meet those "technical" goals. I would work on it the first few weeks of the year, then life would catch up, work duties and other stuff would come by and that would bring me to the next year without having spent the time properly. Time flies, I can confirm.

So be prepared to commit and focus on your objective. Did I say focus & dedication?

For me, this year, no such program. I know my weaknesses, I'll try to give 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. No internet, no phone... Only a guitar, metronome and a good sounding amp. Whoa... No internet and no phone for at least 30 minutes! lol

We live in some awesome times. The internet is full of resources. Google is your friend. You can mostly find all the practice/technique material you want to woodshed for the rest of your life.

I really like @sinasl1 Pete's cool 5 Minute Lessons, Lesson #4 on "Alternate Picking". I'll be working on this for the coming weeks. I will spice up my sessions with @JensL pretty cool exercises he posts every once in a while (I already do and one of his lesson on alternate picking is still driving me nut).

As I also like to record stuff and noodle with my guitars and amps, I won't spend much more then 30-45 minutes on my limited guitar time. I love noodling and making noise. So you gotta have fun also. I know I won't be the next Malmsteen or Gilbert. lol

So that should be it for the first few months of 2017. We never know what will then happen (I know I will have one of those year at the office with the crazy projects we are working on) but I want to make it easy and be able to work on my technique at the same time.

Just noticed I wrote a book but that's my 2 Canadian cents for what their worth... :p
 

Clifford-D

Member
Messages
17,045
So, you mentioned the course in the op. Why did you quit?
Maybe the study was just too big. But you could make smaller goals with the course where you always walk away with the prize and don't have to say you quit. For example, don't think of it as a course think of it as one tune at a time. It doesn't matter to get to the next tune, that's for another day. I mean you can rewrite the rules, in fact it's a creative thing to do.
 




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