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> What's Your Speed Limit?, downstroke only and alternate picking
Philippe
post Jan 6 2008, 04:19 PM
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Many metal rhythmic figures are rather simple, but they are played at high-speed using downstrokes only. For instance, the classic "master of puppets" is more than 200bpm. I read an interview of kirk hammet saying that that was getting closed to their limit.

I've never really practice speed downstroke picking, maybe i can go up to 160bpm (with eighth note). Not so fast...

And you, what's your limit? how long did it take for you to get there?

Same question for alternate picking: not a specific pattern, but let say standard major scales positions, 16th notes, alternate picking. My (honest) limit is 115-120 bpm. Difficult to get past it. Following some suggestions on this website, I've been trying to make shorter movements, and also to relax (i realized i start to get tense when i reach my limit). I tried to hold the pick differently, with an angle, but I don't really like the sound with an angle. Anyway, I'm working on it.
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ZakkWylde
post Jan 6 2008, 04:40 PM
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I've never had speed problems with my picking hand since the first songs I attempted to play were Thrash-Metal songs. That's why I kinda practiced picking speed from the beginning. I found no song so far that I couldn't keep up with wether downstroking or alternate picking. My big Problem is that my fingers are not as fast as my picking and that keeps me from top speed.


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drummingguitaris...
post Jan 6 2008, 05:02 PM
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My limit is about the same, maybe a bit faster. Probably 125 BPM 16ths max. I have no problem with my picking hand for speed. Maybe alternate string skipping 16ths with one note on each string would be a problem, but I am pretty versatile. I just have the same problem. My fretting hand cannot keep up with my picking hand. That's why people need to use metronomes, and slow stuff down, and just play it monotonously until it can catch up. Any ideas on loosening up the fretting hand in the meantime though?

I never really practiced speed, because I'm more of a ballad-wailing notes-make you want to cry its so beautiful-blues kind of guy anyway. But some metal songs I would like to start playing though.

This post has been edited by drummingguitarist06: Jan 6 2008, 05:03 PM


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SLASH91
post Jan 7 2008, 03:01 AM
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For downstrokes only, I can play pretty fast ( I can do Master of Puppets all downstrokes)

Alternate picking isn't that great. I can play tremelo picking extremely fast, but I have the exact same problem as Zakk Wylde. I really need to get my left hand up to speed...


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Joey
post Jan 7 2008, 03:13 AM
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yeah im the same as slash as far as downpicking only goes im faster than average (i can play master of puppets perfectly for a few minutes lol) but alternate picking im really just average or a little below. sometimes though i even find my pick isnt keping up with my fingers
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ch00ch00man
post Jan 7 2008, 04:16 AM
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this comes up a lot. i think i heard people talking about speed at least a half dozen times before in various other threads. anyway, this skill, like a lot of other things in life, requires nothing but TIME. anyone promising you a paul gilbert picking technique over night is a damn liar. there are no magic bullets for this. none.

heres the big problem. the way i see it, we don't improve in a continuous way. its more of a step function (for all you math heads out there). we go for long stretches not seeing any improvement what so ever, and then, out of the blue, whamo. except its not out of the blue, its a culmination of all that time woodshedding. unfortunately, this is the most vulnerable time for us. a lot of people get discouraged, and go fishing. when i get in to this kind of funk, i always have to remind myself, keep at it, stay with your routine, progress is being made.

i heard a lot of guitar players i admire say that alternate picking is the hardest technique to master. i believe them. thats why i made it my number one priority. its the only thing i do for two hours a day, every day (since 4/6/07). heres my routine;

- warm up (10 minutes) - mab speed kills 2 warm up routine
- three note per string major/minor scales and modes (30 minutes) - i run all modes through all keys. my most comfortable is 105bpm at 16th sextuplets. very clean, no mistakes.
- pavel's speed picking 1 - 4 and other sequences i devised myself (1 hour) - i can do these in my sleep now. very comfortable with fingering and smooth execution at 140bpm (except for 4, sextuplets at 105)
- whatever new i feel like working on (20 - 30 minutes) - the last two months i dedicated to curls. they are absolutely insidious. they are great, because unlike sequences, they require all string crossing techniques all the time (in/out and out/in). can do these comfortably at 130bpm. once i get them to ~150-160bpm i'll move on. (at this rate i estimate ~4 months).

here are the keys i discovered so far;

- it is absolutely imperative that you use some kind of timing device. my metronome and i are best friends, but others cant stand it, and play to a drum track. whatever, it doesn't mater, timing is everything.
- i heard mab say once, "you cant play fast until you learn to play slow". the first dozen or so times i heard that, it didn't click. one day it finally hit me. its all about muscle memory (thats why it takes time). do something upteen times slow, and the muscles will remember how to do it when you speed up. there are no shortcuts for this. stay within your limits. otherwise you are playing noise.
- relaxed right hand. it might sound counter intuitive, but the faster you play, the more relaxed your right hand has to be. there are countless examples of that. one that i keep coming back to over and over again is our very own kris. check out his pentatonics lessons, and pay close attention to the right hand. very, very fluid. thats cause its relaxed.

i figured at this rate, and given other alternate picking techniques i want to master (chordal picking, string skipping, pentatonics...), i will probably spend the first 3 years doing nothing but alternate picking just to get to where i wanna be (not to say anything about maintenance after). other techniques (legato, sweep, tapping...) will take about the same or less. i don't think i'll be ready to play real music for at least another 5 - 7 years. but hopefully, after a solid foundation, i should be able to play anything i want. at least thats my goal.

boris
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ibanezkiller
post Jan 7 2008, 04:25 AM
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RELAX... you will improve faster, not overnight but give it some time, AND EFFORT!


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Hisham Al-Sanea
post Jan 7 2008, 11:35 PM
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i can do the both and i can see you can do if you practise on the up/down strock the scales for long time, you will succes


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RobM
post Jan 8 2008, 05:33 AM
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QUOTE (Philippe @ Jan 6 2008, 10:19 AM) *
Many metal rhythmic figures are rather simple, but they are played at high-speed using downstrokes only. For instance, the classic "master of puppets" is more than 200bpm. I read an interview of kirk hammet saying that that was getting closed to their limit.

I've never really practice speed downstroke picking, maybe i can go up to 160bpm (with eighth note). Not so fast...

And you, what's your limit? how long did it take for you to get there?

Same question for alternate picking: not a specific pattern, but let say standard major scales positions, 16th notes, alternate picking. My (honest) limit is 115-120 bpm. Difficult to get past it. Following some suggestions on this website, I've been trying to make shorter movements, and also to relax (i realized i start to get tense when i reach my limit). I tried to hold the pick differently, with an angle, but I don't really like the sound with an angle. Anyway, I'm working on it.


I found that the picks I was using were holding me back. I found this out totally by accident. I was out of picks so I bought some new ones, they were Fender medium picks but not nearly the same as the ones I was using. The new ones were more rounded at the tip and were made out of a softer material so they broke in after about two hours of play and stayed good for another 15 or so hours then fall off drastictly to the point I have to throw them away. After that original 15 + hours they start to chip and I noticed that they get caught on the strings etc..


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Tomy Jeon
post Jan 8 2008, 06:37 AM
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QUOTE (RobM @ Jan 8 2008, 05:33 PM) *
I found that the picks I was using were holding me back.


Same here! I used Fender heavies until I bought a Jazz III for fun at my local guitar shop and BOOM! I can play faster (but I'm still slow sad.gif).


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Pavel
post Jan 8 2008, 10:31 AM
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I was never a big fan of fast downstrokes picking and the style of music i like doesn't involve to much of those. I like fast AP riffing smile.gif


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PlayAllDay
post Jan 8 2008, 11:12 AM
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QUOTE (ch00ch00man @ Jan 7 2008, 12:16 PM) *
- whatever new i feel like working on (20 - 30 minutes) - the last two months i dedicated to curls. they are absolutely insidious. they are great, because unlike sequences, they require all string crossing techniques all the time (in/out and out/in). can do these comfortably at 130bpm. once i get them to ~150-160bpm i'll move on. (at this rate i estimate ~4 months).


You make very good points Boris - I am working slowly on speed at the moment laugh.gif and trying not to go fishing too often!
My question for you is - what are curls? They sound great and I want to play them too smile.gif

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