Discrepancy between downpicking and tremolo picking

Aethyrvorous

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So I've been working on tremolo picking and downpicking for a little over a year now, specifically from the wrist. I use the technique where your wrist moves side to side if you were to lay it flat, palm down, otherwise known as flexion and extension. I've managed to break 240 bpm with my trem picking, surprisingly, but my downpicking is still lagging as I can barely play 8ths at 200 bpm for more than a few measures. This confuses me, given that they use very similar movements. Basically I'm looking for info on building downpicking form a technique standpoint, as in more than just "go slow and use a metronome" but any advice is appreciated. Also any good songs to practice downpicking to that aren't from Metallica would be appreciated.
 

Tech Wrath

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I had the same problem until I started playing brutal death/slam and thought it sounded way better and chunkier to down-pick so I down-picked everything and now I feel like I could down-pick pretty much anything :lol:

Anyway, down-picking power chords took more effort especially since I play on pretty thick strings so I think it helped build more muscle/strength/stamina faster.
 

ktulhu

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my downpicking speed is a bit higher than yours by now (after warming up i can play master at speed for example), my trem is lower for what i understand (130bpm, 4 per beat) but i'm exercising since july. my goal is to stay relaxed so i can focus on technique and relaxation from shoulder to wrist, while keeping the thumb and index rigid (explained later), i do that by "cheating" what i feel by playing non stop for 3 minutes an open string, if i don't succeed, i slow down. usually i increase tempo by 1/2 bpms a week, but i play 4 notes per beat. also, i dont use your same technique, instead i have a 30 degree angle between wrist and forearm and i do very small rotations of the wrist (like ringing fast a small bell). i also tend to hold the pick very hard between thumb and index, so now i started to use also medium to help index contrast the strenght of the thumb (it was painful before). hope it helps.
 

BornToLooze

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Just take all the songs you know and don't alternate pick anything unless it's physically impossible to downpick it. And keeping your guitar pretty low helps too. I never learned how to alternate pick until I started getting into stuff like Amon Amarth.
 

Aethyrvorous

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i dont use your same technique, instead i have a 30 degree angle between wrist and forearm and i do very small rotations of the wrist (like ringing fast a small bell). i also tend to hold the pick very hard between thumb and index, so now i started to use also medium to help index contrast the strenght of the thumb (it was painful before). hope it helps.

I have yet to figure out how to use ulnar rotation, which is what I think you described, without removing my hand from the bridge

Just take all the songs you know and don't alternate pick anything unless it's physically impossible to downpick it. And keeping your guitar pretty low helps too. I never learned how to alternate pick until I started getting into stuff like Amon Amarth.

The goal is to downpick at about 260 or 270, 8th notes. I've been trying to consciously downpick rhythm parts of songs, but I have a hard time finding long downpicking riffs that build stamina
 

Maniacal

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270bpm down picking for long periods of time is an insane goal, but amazing if you can do it!
 

takotakumi

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Don't know my exact downpicking speed but I've improved it over the last 2 years after incorporating John Browne's "pinky anchor" technique:



The idea is to use your pinky as a anchor point where your rest of the hand can use as leverage. This puts it to use instead of trying to evade hitting the strings (notice how most people kinda curl up ring and pink fingers when downpicking).

I used to alternate everything but nowadays i downpick whatever I can for the added attack, punch, and overall heavier tone it creates :D
 

BornToLooze

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270bpm down picking for long periods of time is an insane goal, but amazing if you can do it!

Around 260 270 shouldn't be that hard. The tab I have for Master of Puppets is 220 and it's easy to play.
 

Maniacal

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^ kind of.

But to be honest that is pretty sloppy and out of time throughout.

Good attempt though!
 

Drew

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Around 260 270 shouldn't be that hard. The tab I have for Master of Puppets is 220 and it's easy to play.

What, though, 8th notes or 16th? Fort whatever reason mostly when people talk about playing at such-and-such a tempo, they're referring to 16th notes. I haven't really tested myself on this in a while, but I'm *pretty sure* I couldn't alternate pick 16th notes at 220bpm, at least not while playing anything more complex than notes on a single string, and even then I'm not sure - my alternate picking isn't exceptionally fast. I absolutely could play 8th notes at 220, however.

Of course 8th notes downpicked is loosely equivalent to 16th alternate, and downpicking 8ths at 220 is still pretty damned hard (there's a reason Hetfield is considered a monster rhythm player). If you find it "easy," I'd be curious if, at speed, you're actually doing straight downpicking, or if you find yourself unconsciously doing a combination of downpicking and alternate (and if I've learned anything from Troy Grady's "Cracking the Code" its that just because you THINK you're doing something at speed doesn't mean that that's what your hands are actually doing).

Anyway, playing anything actually musical at 16th notes at 270, and doing it accurately and in time, is extremely difficult. Rusty Cooley might be able to pull it off, but I don't think there are too many guys alive who can pull that off.
 

ncfiala

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What, though, 8th notes or 16th? Fort whatever reason mostly when people talk about playing at such-and-such a tempo, they're referring to 16th notes. I haven't really tested myself on this in a while, but I'm *pretty sure* I couldn't alternate pick 16th notes at 220bpm, at least not while playing anything more complex than notes on a single string, and even then I'm not sure - my alternate picking isn't exceptionally fast. I absolutely could play 8th notes at 220, however.

Of course 8th notes downpicked is loosely equivalent to 16th alternate, and downpicking 8ths at 220 is still pretty damned hard (there's a reason Hetfield is considered a monster rhythm player). If you find it "easy," I'd be curious if, at speed, you're actually doing straight downpicking, or if you find yourself unconsciously doing a combination of downpicking and alternate (and if I've learned anything from Troy Grady's "Cracking the Code" its that just because you THINK you're doing something at speed doesn't mean that that's what your hands are actually doing).

Anyway, playing anything actually musical at 16th notes at 270, and doing it accurately and in time, is extremely difficult. Rusty Cooley might be able to pull it off, but I don't think there are too many guys alive who can pull that off.

He means 8th notes, or at least that's what he should mean. I'm going to go ahead and say that downpicking 16ths at even 200 bpm is pretty much impossible.

And no, Rusty Cooley can't pull it off.
 

BornToLooze

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If you find it "easy," I'd be curious if, at speed, you're actually doing straight downpicking, or if you find yourself unconsciously doing a combination of downpicking and alternate (and if I've learned anything from Troy Grady's "Cracking the Code" its that just because you THINK you're doing something at speed doesn't mean that that's what your hands are actually doing).

I'm just downpicking it. I tried alternate picking it and it throws my rhythm off. Other than the slow part in the middle where James' solo is. I can't play that .... to save my life.
 

Aethyrvorous

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What, though, 8th notes or 16th? Fort whatever reason mostly when people talk about playing at such-and-such a tempo, they're referring to 16th notes. I haven't really tested myself on this in a while, but I'm *pretty sure* I couldn't alternate pick 16th notes at 220bpm, at least not while playing anything more complex than notes on a single string, and even then I'm not sure - my alternate picking isn't exceptionally fast. I absolutely could play 8th notes at 220, however.

Of course 8th notes downpicked is loosely equivalent to 16th alternate, and downpicking 8ths at 220 is still pretty damned hard (there's a reason Hetfield is considered a monster rhythm player). If you find it "easy," I'd be curious if, at speed, you're actually doing straight downpicking, or if you find yourself unconsciously doing a combination of downpicking and alternate (and if I've learned anything from Troy Grady's "Cracking the Code" its that just because you THINK you're doing something at speed doesn't mean that that's what your hands are actually doing).

8th notes for dowpicking, 16ths for alt/tremolo picking. I'm not sure if my experience is different from everyone else's but like I said I can play 16ths at around 260 for a few seconds.
 


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