Critique my picking technique please

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Berserker, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. Berserker

    Berserker SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys,

    This is really embarrassing but I don't see any other way to improve. My alternate picking sucks big time, and I've never managed to develop any speed, so I was wondering if you could take a look at my technique and tell me what improvements I can make. I try to stay relaxed and limit my movement but I just don't seem to get faster. This is 75bpm and I'm struggling on the descending runs so it's pretty sloppy.

    I'm committed to putting in the effort but I just want to clear up any major flaws before I spend hours reinforcing the movements.

     
  2. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    i dont know if i am qualified to offer advice, because i'm not a master of alternate picking.

    but when i started wanting to learn faster stuff i had to really start practicing it. i really struggled with similar issues as you. i found it was easier to pick faster first, then clean up the slop later. i noticed as i was getting cleaner my pinky on my picking hand started anchoring itself to either the bridge or the pickup, or sometimes just to the body. it helped keep my hand positioned at steady
     
  3. Ps43203

    Ps43203 SS.org Regular

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    Your technique is not as bad as you think it is, you stay relaxed and try to get rid of any wasted motion. The only thing you have left to do is, do it MILLION times a day. Nothing can replace practice. Also try to learn something new, every day. A tiny lick or scale pattern, etc.. And just practice. I recommend playing things you like/or want to hear. Don't bother playing .... you will never use. Seriously, when doing scales, play them backwards and forwards and skip strings etc.. You WILL get better trust me. One more tip, make sure what you are playing is CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN, don't worry about speed, the speed will come, just make sure you are playing correctly, does not matter if it's at 5 bpm, if that's the best you can do, stay there, and then incrementally move up in speed. You will be fine, if you are committed to the instrument.
     
  4. Ps43203

    Ps43203 SS.org Regular

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    One more tip that I guarantee will help you also, is get some SMALL picks, like dunlop jazz III's, or anything similar. They will feel really weird until you get used to holding them, but they will improve your technique. For me the thicker the better, but thickness doesn't matter, it is the size of the pick that really helps with speed.
     
  5. CapnForsaggio

    CapnForsaggio Cap'n (general)

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    "Stylus Pick" + 3 weeks of drills = FAST.

    These were big in the 80's. I played a medium full sized pick for years. Spent 3 weeks on a stylus pick, and haven't been able to play anything bigger than a "black ice" since then.

    Also, it is unbelievable for developing conservation of motion and sweeping.

    Note: the stylus pick is NOT for playing, it is for PRACTICING. Also, don't buy the one with the DVD, just buy the picks alone.... It's just alternate picking patterns.
     
  6. Berserker

    Berserker SS.org Regular

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    Thanks man!

    Good to know my technique isn't fundamentally awful, guess I need to slow it down even more. I use the John Petrucci Jazz picks at the moment... they're a little bigger than the Jazz III but I prefer the feel.

    Never heard of these before but definitely something I'll check out. Thanks buddy!


    I know I'll never be a shredder, I don't have enough time (or the will) to practice hours a day. I would just like to be able to play moderately fast comfortably, and actually be able to play a reasonably quick solo.

    Time to put the effort in... anyone have some good exercises for speed building? I mainly just do chromatics and major scales at the moment.
     
  7. TruckstopChuckie

    TruckstopChuckie SS.org Regular

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    Isn't the only way of developing speed just to do your exercises on a regular basis (daily)? I guess its also important that you don't get stuck with exercises that uses the same patterns. Your fingers (fretting hand) needs to be challenged with all kind of different motions, and really those that's not symetric. That way you're not only learning your fingers to do movements that keeps you 'locked in', but you're also learning your brain to think outside the box.
     
  8. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    If you can trem pick on an open string, then alternative picking isn't your problem. Synchronizing your left and right hands is what you need to work on. Once you feel tension in your wrist and forearm, simply say in your own head,"relax" and let your body figure out how to accomplish the command. Practice any run slowly a few times so your fingers get accustomed to the shapes, then play it full speed, but pay attention to the notes that were sloppy, then slow down and hit those particular areas until they're clean.
     
  9. CapnForsaggio

    CapnForsaggio Cap'n (general)

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    For me, the stylus pick made massive improvements for 2 reasons:

    1) It forces extreme economy of motion.
    2) It forces you to pick very shallow, which is key to fluid speed.

    I swear, I'm not affiliated with these things, but I am a believer. If your alt picking is good but not great, these will take you there. By force.
     
  10. Spectre 1

    Spectre 1 SS.org Regular

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    Work on your fret hand.
     
  11. InCasinoOut

    InCasinoOut syncopAZN

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    Well yeah, it's good to challenge yourself and broaden your width of what you can do, but you won't be building good, accurate, muscle memory if you don't commit to a few particular patterns before moving onto new ones. As Dudemandbrother mentioned, right and left hand synchronization is the key to building speed, not just playing every permutation of 4-finger left-hand patterns.
     
  12. ncfiala

    ncfiala Silence you bastard

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    One thing I will say is drop the typical 1-2-3-4 chromatic exercises. In my opinion they're pointless. If you're going to practice, you might as well practice something you can use.
     
  13. Rachmaninoff

    Rachmaninoff Amateur porn actor

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    My tips, just reinforcing what the guys said above:
    1. Use small picks, like Jazz III;
    2. Play cool solos, not that 1-2-3-4 miserable exercise;
    3. Practice with discipline, reserve some time every day.
     
  14. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    also, i had to force myself to get way faster with alternate picking because my buddy wanted to cover laid to rest by lamb of god.

    its a pretty decent song to start learning alternate picking to. its got some tricky parts
     
  15. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    I started with the boring chromatics.

    1-2-3-4
    1-3-2-4
    1-4-2-3
    1-2-3-4 2-3-4-5 3-4-5-6

    Etc Etc. first 10 minutes everyday of practice. Pick clean and practice to a click. I had to unlearn years of bad habits to learn to play to a click and I'm no where near done correcting that issue.
     
  16. Zeus1907

    Zeus1907 SS.org Regular

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    I can't see the rest of your picking hand (full hand, to see your wrist movement).
    So that makes it difficult to truly critique your technique, but from what o can see, you're on the right path.
    I don't agree with the stylus pick, do you think your heroes used one to get great technique? The Stylus pick has you develop a 'lighter' tough. I personally pick super hard, almost accenting every note, sounds more powerful.

    Just keep practicing, there no way around it. What really took my speed to the next level was alternate picking arpeggios, and string skipping.

    1. Play with a metronome religiously
    2. Alternate pick every arpeggio and its inversions.

    This alone after a month or so should help.
    Even if you just stick with the Maj and min shapes.
     
  17. Berserker

    Berserker SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for all the input guys, I'll concentrate on slowing down and getting both hands perfectly in sync. Maybe I'll try to use solo sections slowed down as exercises rather than generic patterns. I'll look in to arpeggios too. :yesway:
     
  18. Santuzzo

    Santuzzo SS.org Regular

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    I suggest slowing it way down to a speed at which you can play it perfectly, with good left-right-hand synchronization. No matter how slow this might be, start slow enough for you to be able to play it perfectly and then build up the speed from there.
    Also, work on scales, arpeggios, etc as well, as other have suggested.
     
  19. classicalmetal24

    classicalmetal24 SS.org Regular

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    I would suggest to watch your picking hand also, there seems to be a glitch in your picking hand, if you watch the video closely you'll see what i mean, it kind of falls short on some of the clicks. Maybe I'm just crazy though. Other than that it's pretty solid.

    To re-iterate what others are saying, your picking hand is nice and relaxed which is good. However the problem is with your fretting hand, it's not articulate enough and the transitions between one string and another are not smooth. I have a exercise to correct this but it is hard to explain it in words. maybe I'll do a video.

    Also another good exercise is to not pick and just use your left hand to fret the notes, try to do that in time. Use your right hand to hold the top of the fretboard.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  20. classicalmetal24

    classicalmetal24 SS.org Regular

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    I think you're doing a disservice to yourself by dropping the chromatic exercises. Chromatic scale is the most basic thing you can do on guitar, so it makes sense to use it as a way to begin getting your playing hands in sync.

    You want to start with easy > moderate > advanced, and chromatic is the most basic thing you can do, so IMHO I really think you should stick with it.

    I would also try exercises where you fret one note and just alternate pick in time with the metronome.
     

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