Alternate picking technique is killing me.

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by pantsaregood, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, I see it now. You are advocating a "strict economy" approach? I can see the logic of it but for me personally this doesn't work out practically because I am able to play the line already using alternate picking and am too lazy to re-learn my muscle memory. :)
     
  2. Simic

    Simic SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, I have the same problem. Riffs like this and many other from metallica/trivium who are heavy downpickers are IMO best played with economy, but 3 string runs and stuf like that, I still use alternate, because thats the way I learned it in the first place. But I'm trying to re-learn anyway :D
     
  3. Spicypickles

    Spicypickles Sweeps & Mops

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    Those should all be downpicked. That's how they are played by the dudes that wrote it. That's how I play them.
     
  4. InCasinoOut

    InCasinoOut syncopAZN

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    YES! This video in particular was a big breakthrough for me in increasing picking hand efficiency, and he explains perfectly why it works the way it does. Troy does amazing work in breaking down minuscule changes to technique that translate into bigger improvements in playing, especially in shredding where disciplined technique is paramount to accurate and clean playing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TnddE2k598
     
  5. HumanFuseBen

    HumanFuseBen SS.org Regular

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    For alternate picking, i'll second what someone else mentioned... Troy Grady's Cracking the Code Youtube series. Its religion.
     
  6. InCasinoOut

    InCasinoOut syncopAZN

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    I've watched quite a bit of season 2 multiple times for the breakdown of specific mechanics, but have just been delving into the more entertaining documentary style of season 1 lately. The information he unlocks is almost like having a magician (illusions, Michael) explain exactly how he pulls off his entire bag of tricks. We get to skip over the entire mystery of why things get so much harder to play cleanly once you start really ramping up the bpm.
     
  7. extendedsolo

    extendedsolo SS.org Regular

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    seems relevant to the discussion in this thread


    [​IMG]
     
  8. mdeeRocks

    mdeeRocks SS.org Regular

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    Playing always slow will teach you how to play slow. Technique changes so much at high speeds that you need to know how it feels to play fast before you can practice it - some people randomly get this from the start, most people struggle with metronome at about 110 bpm then nothing. Practicing at intermediate tempos using slow playing technique will not help when speeding up to blazing ones.

    Very good point on tension though.

    I'd do 2 things.

    Forget about alternate picking for about 3-4 weeks (or longer if you need). Can you play funk? le Freak by Chic, so Daft Punk riffs. Here is a lesson to start you out:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAQOqrj9-zI

    Can you play this while being completely, totally loose, no looking at the neck etc. at about 100 bpm? Keep time. Example in the lesson at 5:57

    If you can't then practice this. Believe me or not it will help you tremendously with alt picking.

    As soon as you feel you are 100% loose, pick your favourite legato lick you can play really well, on one string and try to alt pick it very fast, a good approach to try this is to play it a couple fo bars at moderate tempo then burst it for a couple of times, then get back to moderate tempo, repeat. If it feels tense, uncomfortable etc. get back to funk. If it does feel and sound good even for a second, remember that moment, slow it down and clean it up but use the same technique which felt good at high speeds - the hard part is to find out that feeling, you will know when it happens. Make sure you can play it very quietly and control dynamics then move on to 2 strings and beyond.
    First and foremost it must feel and sound good.
     
  9. Cameron French

    Cameron French SS.org Regular

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    DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY DO THIS!? Maybe I've never spent enough time in Guitar Center.
     
  10. Pyramid Gallery

    Pyramid Gallery ss.org Irregular

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    Ive struggled with speed picking in general for years, and the only
    thing that seems to work for me is doing small bursts of speed.
    No, no, no, im not talking about chopping my breakfast on a
    mirror.
    I have no problems doing 16th notes up to about 180bpm, then
    i fall apart. After warming up for an hour or whatever, i put the
    metronome to 220-260 and do mostly 1/4 & 1/8 notes but i can hit
    the 16ths every now and then. Now all i have to do is connect the dots,
    meaning get a seamless transition between the slow stamina and
    the hyper insanity...
     
  11. Supernaut

    Supernaut SS.org Regular

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    Learn the paul gilbert lick.

    It's literally the fastest way to get comfortable with the REAL stumbling block in alternate picking, which is an upstroke on an descending outside picking run, and visa versa. If the motion feels completely alien to you at first, you know you're on your way.

    Master outside picking and you can alternate pick over multiple strings and not be locked into 3 note per string patterns, ala Al Di Meola, Paul Gilbert etc.
     
  12. MajorTom

    MajorTom Supreme Being

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    Here you go, MajorTom's advanced alternative picking exercise, what you will need and want to do is play it with a metronome, each note is one beat, start slow, and aim to increase your speed by around 10bpm per day, so I would start at a nice round 100bpm, 'D' means down pick, 'U' means up pick '/' means slide, I wrote this years ago, and still use it everyday myself to practice alternative picking, I use it to teach students alternative picking and advanced alternative picking, hell I even use it quite often in my solos, or parts of it in my solos:

    It's in standard tuning

    1E-------------------------------------------------------7-5-4-5-/-12-10-9-10
    2B----------------------------------------------8-7-6-7------------------------
    3G-------------------------------------9-7-6-7--------------------------------
    4D-----------------------------9-7-6-7----------------------------------------
    5A--------------------10-9-8-9--------------------------------------------------
    6E-10-10-12-10--9-10-----------------------------------------------------------
    ----D--U--D--U--D--U-D-U-D-U-D-U-D-U-D-U-D-U-D-U-D-U-D-U-D-U-/---D-U-D

    ©MajorTom/J.Scratch

    Even though I came up with this phrase years ago, I still play it dozens of times every morning as a way to practice alternative picking, and it wasn't actually written as an alternative picking exercise, I wrote the phrase as part of a solo, it just happens to work out as a really good exercise for alternative picking, there is more to it, let me know if you want me to TAB out the rest of it for you.

    I'm actually quite proud of this phrase to be honest, it has served me well over the years, both for gigging and solos, but also for teaching as a teaching tool for both solo writing, improvising, and alternative picking as well as advanced alternative picking. The real trick to getting the full practice potential from this phrase is to practice it to a metronome, with each note representing one beat, and to aim to increase your speed by roughly 10bpm per day, don't get upset if you can't increase your speed by 10bpm per day, the main thing is to be able to play it properly using alternative picking techniques, and then work on speeding up, accuracy and technique is your first priority, speed is secondary and will come naturally once you nail and get your accuracy and technique up to par.

    I can't guarantee that it will make your manhood any bigger or improve your chances with the ladies, I can however assure you that it will seriously help you with your alternative picking technique.
     
  13. Supernaut

    Supernaut SS.org Regular

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    Looks like a good exercise but when switching strings, say the low E to A, does he begin that string with an upstroke? That kind of motion is basically what needs to be drilled for most people when learning alternate picking.

    Normally it's more useful to have an uneven number of notes on the first string of your exercise, then when you change, you're forced into an outside picking motion.

    Example: (Bstring) down - up - down (Estring) Up - down - Up

    Your exercise seems to have even note patterns, which would make it ergonomic to play, which is fantastic for building speed, but won't prepare someone for uneven note patterns.

    Not a criticism of your exercise of course, just pointing out something that's often overlooked.
     
  14. MajorTom

    MajorTom Supreme Being

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    1. The first note on the sixth string is a down stroke/down pick and the last note on the sixth string is played with an up stroke/up pick
    2. The first note on the fifth string is a down stroke/down pick and the last note on the fifth string is played with an up stroke/up pick
    3. The first note on the fourth string is a down stroke/down pick and the last note on the fourth string is played with an up stroke/up pick
    4. The first note on the third string is a down stroke/down pick and the last note on the third string is played with an up stroke/up pick
    5. The first note on the second string is a down stroke/down pick and the last note on the second string is played with an up stroke/up pick
    6. The first note on the first string is a down stroke/down pick and the last note on the first string is played with an up stroke/up pick

    From the section of the solo that I did TAB out the first note on every string is a down stroke/down pick, and last note that is played on each string, are all up strokes/up picks. I have never actually noticed that before, nor thought of it nor looked at it like that before until you had mentioned it in your post. With the rest of what I would consider to be the 'alternative picking section' - what hasn't been TAB'd out, that follows the same picking pattern as well, that's actually pretty interesting and cool to find out, it wasn't something that I was conscious of of or trying to achieve when I wrote the solo, thanks for pointing it out to me.

    I don't know if I would go so far as to call it even patterned though, from the section of the solo that I TAB'd out:


    1. There are six notes played on the sixth string
    2. There are four notes played on the fifth string
    3. There are four notes played on the fourth string
    4. There are four notes played on the third string
    5. There are four notes played on the second string
    6. There are eight notes played on the first string


    I would say that there is an even number of notes played on each string from the section of the solo that I TAB'd out, though once the rest of that section is added the note count changes quite a lot, it doubles it, if not a little over doubles the number of notes, not to mention that there are slides, in both the section that was TAB'd out, and the section that wasn't TAB'd , again this wasn't something that I consciously set out to achieve when I wrote the solo, it wasn't one of my goals.

    Now I'm going to go through a bunch of solos that I've written over the years, and see if they have some of the picking patterns and other patterns and characteristics to them that you have pointed out to me
     
  15. wannabguitarist

    wannabguitarist Contributor

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    I always find the switching between inside and outside on riffs like this surprisingly tough. I can hit all the notes but the sound isn't consistent so the riff just doesn't sound right (I used to play this riff, and others DDU). Maniacal's book and Troy Grady's videos helped a lot.
     
  16. MrWulf

    MrWulf SS.org Regular

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    Talk about alternate picking, where do you anchor your hand to dig in? I tend to rest my hand on the Floyd, and I know MAB like to anchor his hand with his fingers next to the treble of the strings, but what's your preference?
     
  17. redstone

    redstone SS.org Regular

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    Different combinations of movements call for different anchoring. It's rarely a matter of preference but a matter of technique. Some techniques allow to anchor with the full edge of the hand, or just its base, or the base of the thumb. Changing the anchor generally changes the available motions (not always).
     
  18. OmegaSlayer

    OmegaSlayer SS.org Regular

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    What redstone said.
    There isn't a way to anchor.
    Maybe you just won't even found anchoring comfortable.
     
  19. MrWulf

    MrWulf SS.org Regular

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    I mainly alternate pick with my wrist, and I rest my full edge of the hand on the floyd allow me to get pretty fast with it. But the problem is that it is pretty close to the string so I often get scared of palm muting the string easily. So far I've not done it, but still
     
  20. OmegaSlayer

    OmegaSlayer SS.org Regular

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    Actually the more you get scared of muting, the more you will tense and will go on the strings.
    Unless you mute them heavily, what's the fear of muting strings?
     

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