Help with improving picking speed

EvilToaster626

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Hi all, I'm not all too sure whether this is the right place to post this but eh...

I've been recently trying to improve my solo playing and thus by trying to learn some of my favourite solos...so couple of weeks later I'm stuck into learning the solo for the sound of glaciers moving (by a great band called Corelia). I have nailed the whole thing but I have a hit a massive brick wall with the smallest section (which is at 3:57), I believe its 16th note triplets and I have been stuck repeating the same bar with tiny increments on a metronome for weeks and have had no real improvement :wallbash: Just wondering if anyone had any good ideas or tips on how I could more effectively go about trying to improve my picking speed and technique for such phrases....
 

Leveebreaks

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I'd be interested in responses to this too, the sheer amount of info and lessons on youtube all trumpeting different ways of picking can be really overwhelming.
 

EvilToaster626

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the sheer amount of info and lessons on youtube all trumpeting different ways of picking can be really overwhelming.

Exactly! aha I've always been a strict 'you just gotta slow it down and play to a metronome' kinda guy! But I really feel my problem may lie with my technique
 

cromaticas

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There's no way to tell you how you can improve if we don't have an idea of where you are right now technically..maybe record yourself playing it (with video) and we can take a look and tell you how you can improve. Without any information on your playing,all I can say is you need more practice.
Sounds like you can arrange it at 3 notes per string and apply economy picking...but that's only after a rough listen.
 

mindwalker

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For me there's a few things that help me with alternate picking! I'm no master at it and I can't alternate pick too good yet but here's my thoughts

Alternate Picking is a 2 hand job. You must be able to get both hands to work at their best and they must be in synch.

Sometimes your problem might be on lack of synch.. or perhaps your right hand isn't attacking properly. I always like to narrow down the problem to know where to tackle it! To check how's your right hand working, try muting all the strings with the left and work the alternate picking phrase as you would for the entire lick. By muting the strings with the left you can check if you're picking correctly and every note. While you're at it, try starting the alternate picking motion with an upstroke.. you may find it works better for you that way

If your right hand does it properly but you're still not able to do it, then the problem may be on your left hand, or lack of synch. Left hand should be very efficient.. no flying fingers..

It may also happen that you start well but run off time in between... accenting the key notes in the progression may be able to help you out keeping synch.

And as usual practising slowly can help to improve things a ton! And perhaps try to practice with just you and the guitar, no backing track so you can hear what you're really doing! Pay attention that your left hand picks the same way across all strings (for example I realized I can play licks running down the strings better than going up. Because when I run down, I start with my hand close to the high E string and as I go down, I pull my arm up. But going down sometimes I don't push my arm down but just extend and change the angle of the hand, causing me to not pick the last strings correctly..)

Hope it helps :)
 

MarcusProg

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My advice is to practice any and ALL solo techniques on a very clean setting. As you do that, pay a lot of attention to each individual note and focus on making the quality of each note as good as possible (no choked out notes) and make sure they are all the same volume. Also record yourself playing (even if its just a voice memo. This is something I learned by watching classical and flamenco guitar players. After recording yourself, ask yourself the question : "If this were on an album, would *I* buy this?" Being really critical of your own playing helps isolate issues you may be having.
 

EvilToaster626

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wow thanks for all the replies! Cromaticas and Maniacal I'll post a video tonight, I shoulda probably added that I've been playing for 7 years and yes its a 3 note per string phrase. I just can't seem to tackle it at a higher bpm of like 90 :/
 

EvilToaster626

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Also cheers mindwalker, really helpful read

And as usual practising slowly can help to improve things a ton! And perhaps try to practice with just you and the guitar, no backing track so you can hear what you're really doing!
Hope it helps :)

I always play with a metronome :hbang:
 

Drew

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This video helped me tremendously:



My alt picking still isn't great, but it's come a LONG way recently. I've been working on Paul Gilbert's "Technical Difficulties" most nights after work when I'm home, and over the last maybe two weeks I've worked it up from maybe 95bpm up to, last night, fairly clean at 120, and sort of ok at 130, which I'm pretty sure is the tempo he plays it at (16ths at 130 isn't itself so hard, but there are those blistering fast triplet sections, and some pretty big jumps). I've been doing that exactly as you have - start slow and gradually work up. Every once in a while, set the metronome faster than you think you can do it cleanly, try it for a bti, and then drop back down to a tempo a little closer to your limit - that seems to help too by making the slower tempo feel easier. And don't be afraid to slow sections WAY down, even after it's started to come together, to make sure your mechanics are really perfect.

It takes time, but it works. :)
 

Maniacal

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Yeah, the gilbert stuff is good but it doesn't focus on the details. And it is usually the details that severely limit the maximum speed on a guitarists picking.

There are 2 recurring factors that I see with all of my private students:
Dipping into the strings
Big picking movements

Work on ironing out these 2 and I guarantee your picking will get to 180bpm 16ths in a very short time. Getting past 180 and over 200 takes a lot of hard work and discipline, just like drumming speed.
 

Maniacal

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Link didn't work for me.

Okay now it did.

Massive picking movements, and it looks like you are picking from the elbow? Hard to tell from the 1.7 seconds of alternate picking
 

EvilToaster626

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Okay aha sorry it was probably dropbox still uploading...Okay, sorry just thought I shoulda uploaded the bar I was stuck on, I could make another with 4 repetitions of the same phrase
 

Maniacal

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I think you need to have a serious look at your technique for several months. It will continue to limit your speed.
 

UCBmetal

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One thing that has been hugely helpful to me is to approach alternate picking much like a soccer player approaches running. When I was playing, I needed to be able to "sprint" at a very high speed, but not for very long, and also be able to run for a very long period of time, but not very fast. Keep track of your picking speed and push the metronome for various passage lengths (as long as you'd like on the slow end, and even as short as 2-4 notes on the fast end) and if you're like me, you'll find vast improvements in shorter periods of time.
 

cromaticas

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I don't agree with whoever said you have massive picking movements,but the video doesn't show too much. You also don't seem to pick from your elbow like someone else mentioned,looks to me like it's all wrist. From what I saw in that video you just need more practice,I didn't notice any important flaws in your technique...for picking that is. For bending I'd suggest wrapping your thumb over the neck,that will give you a better grip and you will be able to bend easier.
Maybe record yourself playing some scales in every string and we can take a better look at what could be wrong
 

Maniacal

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That is certainly not all wrist. And those movements are big. Not sure how you can argue that, the 3 second + mark
 


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