Speed picking -question for advanced players

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Noah, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. Noah

    Noah Member

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    I noticed something frustrating about my speed picking a few months ago that seems like a bad habit I must have had forever, and can't figure out how to correct it. For starters, I use Jazz III picks and do pick at a slight angle when playing fast most of the time.

    My problem really shows when I'm alternate picking each note very fast across all strings.

    For example- If I'm starting out on the low E string picking a 3 note per string pattern, my pick will be somewhere slightly above the lead pickup on my les paul, but by the time I get to the high E string, my pick will be near the lower/bottom edge of the pickup. The opposite is true when I got from the high E to the low E.

    I was watching a Paul Gilbert video and saw that his pick pretty much stays in the same place as he moves across the strings. It seems more efficient that way.

    I've tried to correct this and pick straight across up and down, but it certainly doesn't feel natural. Does anyone have any advice or experience with doing this? This is just a photo just to show the motion of my pick as it moves across the strings, It's not my hand or guitar.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Shredmonster

    Shredmonster Member

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    It ain't gonna feel natural for some time. Just keep doing it. I tend to go up and down or sometimes in the opposite direction as you - trying to get a little more meet on the lower strings instead of picking so close to the bridge position.

    You will find you will need to make more than just one mechanical correction as you learn to get away from this habit.

    Also there is no exact one way method of picking - whatever works for you. But what you have now is a bad habit build up over years of playing and it will be hard to break. Just takes determination.
     
  3. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    Just a thought, but maybe you're resting your picking hand on the upper part of the bridge. That would cause the rest of your hand to pivot around it. Either that or you're resting your arm on the body of the guitar. Maybe try to be looser with your arm when you play.

    FWIW, Rik Emmett is one of my favorite players on the planet and for the life of me I'll never be able to hold a pick and play like him, either.
     
  4. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    I see your pick being at an angle, it really needs to be parallel to the strings and hold it so just the point is exposed, your really far back on the pick, you want just the point, and not sure what guage pick your using, I use .8s or a metal pick really don't want the pick bending on me, thin picks are better for strumming, but they really slow you down when your soloing and they get dull and soft fast, metal picks keep their point, and don't soften up.

    I would suggest you curl your fingers that your not using to hold the pick, keeps them under control, I anchor my elbow on the guitar, I will have my palm so I can palm mute, but I really don't anchor on the bridge, I used to anchor my pinky on the guitar, but that also slowed me down.
     
  5. Noah

    Noah Member

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    Thanks for the helpful posts, Just to clarify, that's not my hand - just a photo to use an example of the angle my hand moves across the strings when picking. I actually do hold my pick at an angle though. :)
     
  6. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Disagree. :)

    Pick being at an angle is something most people do because of the sound it gets. Once you get used to it, it doesn't impede your ability to pick quickly at all. In fact, I find it to be a benefit. :drink
     
  7. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I agree about having a nice angle.

    That's a nice shot. Looks like it'd be in an ad.
     
  8. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    We are talking about alternate picking, which really needs to be parallel to the strings or you have trouble with the upstroke, I angle the pick as well for pick effects and pinch harmonics, but not when I am alternate picking.
     
  9. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Not so. Angled pick on the upstroke is fine, provided you practice it a little.
     
  10. dhdfoster

    dhdfoster Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree on the angle. It helped me a lot. It sort of "brushes" accross the string with less resistance. Doesn't Paul Gilbert angle his?

    If your speed picking sounds clean and it's not causing you any discomfort, I see no reason to change it. Have you ever seen Pat Matheny's picking hand?
     
  11. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    Really depends on the pick, my Ice pick really needs to be straight, the Jazz III picks can be angled or ever side ways to the string, looks like the OP is using a large pick.
     
  12. j_uc

    j_uc Member

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    I don't qualify as an advanced player but if you need to overhaul your technique you could take a look at the Tuck Andress article about George Benson's picking. I didn't play for ten years and am just starting over, but the stuff I'm working on is not trivial, and I find the Benson principles quite powerful, compared to what I was trying to do a decade ago, based on my teacher's technique, who was a great jazz player. I never have the problem you mention. Comparatively it makes the right hand very free. I'm not very advanced so I only get this good feel some time into my practice sessions, but the progress is interesting. It isn't conventional picking by any stretch, for instance the pick is never parallel to the strings. The angle seems bizarre and asymetrical- it is late here and I'm too lazy to give a specific explanation - but strangely you get exactly the same tone on up and down strokes. Hope this can help in any way.
     
  13. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    I use a Dunlop 207, which is about the thickest, roundest, fattest, widest pick you can get. :AOK
     
  14. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    I'd be interested to read this article. I've never really studied Benson all that much. Do you have a link?
     

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