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> Another Speed Topic, Sorry!
SonofDestiny
post Feb 8 2009, 12:56 PM
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Hey guys,

I'm trying to build speed in my picking, but I can't seem to get past that barrier where you reach Muris-speed.

I've recorded a video where I play an Ionian box up and down at my 'barrier'. First I do it legato, secondly I alternate pick it. This is the point where I can't get faster with legato and where I lose cleanness on alternate picking. Can you guys tell me if I'm doing it right? Also, how can I make my picking speed come closer to my legato speed?

All help and criticism is welcome smile.gif Oh and I'm sorry for the light. If you guys need a better video I will record again later today.

Thanks!

This post has been edited by SonofDestiny: Feb 8 2009, 01:02 PM
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coloneldrew
post Feb 8 2009, 01:16 PM
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Sigh, this is me too. Legato = good, AP = bad
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berko
post Feb 8 2009, 01:37 PM
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Hi man!

I watched the video and I must say both your legato and AP is pretty good technique-wise. I mean, you're doing the AP confidently from the wrist, no finger or thumb movement and the notes are ringing decently without noise from other strings. So you have a solid base where you can speed up from.

My advice would be to be confident (with this speed) in all positions (all 7 diatonic scales starting from every (chromatic) note). If you have already achieved this (I'm not sure about it, there was only 1 shape in the vid - as you mentioned), then set the metronome higher and speed up.

Now, you might want to do 2 things simultaneously: 1.) set the metronome up with small increments (1-5 bpm), try 16th notes and 16 note triplets primarily. If you feel you're getting there on the new speed, speed up a little again. Then, set it back to normal again or just a bit above normal. This way you will keep precision and gradually get faster. 2.) Now the second thing you can do along with the 1st one is to turn the metronome up with a huge increment: at least 30 bpm. Try to follow the beat with different rhythm values (16th notes etc). Naturally, you will be very sloppy but don't get intimidated. If you have done a few minutes with this intense beat, you can slow it down again to a bit higher than your barrier. All of a sudden, it will seem sooo easy. You should do this many times. The purpose of this second section is to mentally get used to higher speed. You'll loose precision, but you can maintain that with the 1st option, when increasing speed gradually.

Do this ever day for half an hour and you'll progress in no time. I think a rock solid, confident AP is more useful than no AP and a god-like legato. This doesn't mean that you should finish with your legato because that was damn good in the vid so keep up the good work and practice well ! biggrin.gif

Hope this helped.

This post has been edited by berko: Feb 8 2009, 01:39 PM


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David Wallimann
post Feb 8 2009, 01:46 PM
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I think we all share the same struggle.
The problem is not the right hand but synchronizing both. At least that is my problem.

That's why I think we need to focus on clarity with a detailed attention to synchronization.
Once the right hand and left hand are super synchronized, we can gradually speed up.
I found that playing some alternate picking licks very slow a few hundreds of times (literally) will make your faster attempts sound much much better.

Just keep in mind that synchronizing both hands is the real obstacle, speed will come naturally. It's just like when you walk fast, it's natural once you have a good synchronized movement.


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SonofDestiny
post Feb 8 2009, 01:58 PM
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Thanks a lot guys! Very logic explanations. Will do my best and post my progress smile.gif


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Compound9
post Feb 19 2009, 11:32 AM
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QUOTE (SonofDestiny @ Feb 8 2009, 01:58 PM) *
Thanks a lot guys! Very logic explanations. Will do my best and post my progress smile.gif


just one more thing, can you play that lick faster in AP but its sloppy? or does your right hand cease?

if its sloppy but doesnt cease then its a case of syncronisation and accuracy.

if your right hand ceases then its a case of a mental barrier in speed or poor habbit in your right hand technique.

We all struggle with this mate, dont worry. you need to do as suggested earlier. increase your metronome by small increaments to build accuracy (and also practice at slower speeds too). aswell as that, set your metronome at 10% above your maximum barrier and just bust your gut at this speed to improve speed (you wont hit all the notes, it'll sound a mess, but it tells your brain you want to train speed).

but keep in mind this training will take months and years before you're super fast and super accurate.


QUOTE (berko @ Feb 8 2009, 01:37 PM) *
you're doing the AP confidently from the wrist, no finger or thumb movement


actually, this brings me onto a point that ive not seen discussed before and i struggled with this for ages.

many guitarist will tell you that the motion is in the wrist for picking. although correct, i find this is not strictly true. most teachers will refer to wrist movement to stop beginners from playing from the arm.

when concentrating on your picking, dont think 'i must move the wrist alternatively', but instead think 'i must move the pick alternatively' - and allow the index finger and thumb to make some of the movement too. when playing fast with the right hand you must think 'this alternate movement of the pick must be tiny' - as soon as the pick passes the string reverse the motion.

the motion i try to achieve when i speed pick is both in the index finger and thumb and the wrist 'flows' with it. when i play in front of a mirror it appears that my movement is all from the wrist, but my concentration is focused at the tip of the pick, and the movement is in the index finger, thumb, and wrist.

I remember watching a video of zakk wylde going off on a crazy tangent, speed picking notes all over the shop, it was crazy! but it wasnt he's speed that amazed me though, it was the fact that his right hand was barely moving, especially at the wrist. i think he uses the same thought method as i do, but he's a lot better at it than me.

i hope this helps a little
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berko
post Feb 19 2009, 11:49 AM
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QUOTE (Compound9 @ Feb 19 2009, 11:32 AM) *
when concentrating on your picking, dont think 'i must move the wrist alternatively', but instead think 'i must move the pick alternatively' - and allow the index finger and thumb to make some of the movement too. when playing fast with the right hand you must think 'this alternate movement of the pick must be tiny' - as soon as the pick passes the string reverse the motion.

the motion i try to achieve when i speed pick is both in the index finger and thumb and the wrist 'flows' with it. when i play in front of a mirror it appears that my movement is all from the wrist, but my concentration is focused at the tip of the pick, and the movement is in the index finger, thumb, and wrist.



i hope this helps a little


Interesting stuff here! You're right about the fact that it's not only the wrist that's moving. Muscles in the hands and around the joints like the wrist and the elbow are tied up together in a very complicated way and even this muscle-system is constantly developing. You can't just anchor your wrist and do ALL the work from there, it would be impossible (N.B: it would be physically impossible: many other muscles are moving in the fore arm even if the wrist that's doing constant motion)

I think i understand what you're saying. The wrist-job is not only about anchoring the wrist, doing some picking movements and then adjusting the position of the pick to the strings - then making the speed grow and the precision more thorough. So the picking movement is actually not 100% coming from the wrist, not even like 70%. But yes, it's good for teachers to refer to a specific part of the hand so students can concentrate on that part of the hand instead of ripping the guitar from the elbow with a wrist and a grip as firm as stone.

You should concentrate on the pick, be as relaxed as possible and don't get tensed up in your hands. These are the constant golden guidelines. If the bigger part of the picking motion comes from the wrist, then that means that you're doing the picking from a very coordinated and strong joint of your hand. The elbow is too far away and thus wouldn't allow much precision. Moving the joints of the finger (thumb, index) is not that coordinated either and are much weaker than the wrist. Coordination and strength comes from the wrist, your focus is on the pick, thats all.

This post has been edited by berko: Feb 19 2009, 11:50 AM


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Compound9
post Feb 19 2009, 12:51 PM
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QUOTE (berko @ Feb 19 2009, 11:49 AM) *
Interesting stuff here! You're right about the fact that it's not only the wrist that's moving. Muscles in the hands and around the joints like the wrist and the elbow are tied up together in a very complicated way and even this muscle-system is constantly developing. You can't just anchor your wrist and do ALL the work from there, it would be impossible (N.B: it would be physically impossible: many other muscles are moving in the fore arm even if the wrist that's doing constant motion)

I think i understand what you're saying. The wrist-job is not only about anchoring the wrist, doing some picking movements and then adjusting the position of the pick to the strings - then making the speed grow and the precision more thorough. So the picking movement is actually not 100% coming from the wrist, not even like 70%. But yes, it's good for teachers to refer to a specific part of the hand so students can concentrate on that part of the hand instead of ripping the guitar from the elbow with a wrist and a grip as firm as stone.

You should concentrate on the pick, be as relaxed as possible and don't get tensed up in your hands. These are the constant golden guidelines. If the bigger part of the picking motion comes from the wrist, then that means that you're doing the picking from a very coordinated and strong joint of your hand. The elbow is too far away and thus wouldn't allow much precision. Moving the joints of the finger (thumb, index) is not that coordinated either and are much weaker than the wrist. Coordination and strength comes from the wrist, your focus is on the pick, thats all.


i couldnt agree more. and that is the key, to relax. your muscles in your arm may be firm whilst you play fast but they shouldnt be tensed. you need to be comfortable. also there are other factors to playing fast which some people arent aware of.

pick density: you'll need a firm pick, i use a 1mm. floppy picks loose accuracy at high speeds.

String gauge and tighnest of the strings: this is a similar aspect to the pick. if your strings are floppy then they bend more during your stroke before releasing from the pick, causing you to stroke wider and resulting in you slowing down. it will feel like your fighting the strings. increase the gauge, this will tighten the string, giving you less friction when you pick. do your research on string gauges first because if you just throw some heavy strings on a floating bridge you're gonna bend the bridge.

and a final 'point' for accuracy. make sure the tip of your plectrum is pointed not rounded. although rounded picks feel faster to play with they're not as accurate, especially on solo runs. for fast rythm playing on the lower strings it wont make too much difference. you might find it a little slower with a point but its worth the sacrafice for the accuracy.

just experiment with ALL of these aspects, this will improve your speed aswell.
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Artemus
post Feb 19 2009, 01:49 PM
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QUOTE (Compound9 @ Feb 19 2009, 10:32 AM) *
...when playing fast with the right hand you must think 'this alternate movement of the pick must be tiny' - as soon as the pick passes the string reverse the motion...


Indeed! Great thread and wise words here btw. Just thought I'd add to this by giving an example of the last time I changed my thought process as it were. There are times (not many I don't think) that our progress on the guitar takes a giant leap forward in very little time and I've often found those times to occur when I've changed the way I think when playing. I'll describe the last time that this happened, as I believe it could be relevant.
For a long long time, I knew that it was important to minimise the movement of the picking motion in order to achieve high speeds - it makes perfect sense, but I never really thought about it or truly analysed my playing. I kind of just read this all the time and said to myself "yup, I'm not moving much and I make the effort when I practise to control my hand.. besides I never stray from one string too far". Heh, I laugh now because when it came to do some serious string skipping I was in big trouble and just couldn't get even half the speed that I wanted.
So my movements were actually going right through a string and my wrist was making obvious movements in either direction. This may also have been due to my way of sweeping cleanly - I accentuate the direction of movement (but that's another matter). Anyhow, I was fed up and went right back to basics and somehow the words "minimise movement" made me pick one note over and over and I watched as my right hand picked through the string and stopped just short of the next - that's a lot of movement.. So I relaxed and experimented - how little can I get away with before I stop getting a clean note and I was very surprised with the result. It requires VERY little movement to pick a note/string and my thought process changed.
This is no joke - I achieved a 40 - 50bpm increase without hardly any practise in a matter of an hour, and it was clean and accurate, perhaps even more so than before. Picking felt more controlled, more relaxed and string skipping was merely a matter of adjusting where my hand was.
It was awesome! Often the best practise session is when you don't "play" but you "think"..

This post has been edited by Artemus: Feb 19 2009, 01:52 PM


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Daniel Robinson
post Feb 21 2009, 11:28 AM
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One thing other then whats been mentioned here.


Analyze your AP, and figure out what is actually slowing it down. Is it string transition, or is it inside or outside picking.

When doing a box shape like that your going to be doing all three, outside picking is where you are making a string transition with an upstroke, inside picking is where you are doing a string transition with a downstroke.

I think guitarists struggle with more inside picking then outside, if you watch John Petrucci's Rock Disipline vid, he also struggles with inside picking. Your picking hand feels trapped when the string transition takes place on a downstroke, it requires much less movement and alot more pick accuracy.

Try to analyze what you are having specific difficulty with. If you can find the exact culprit it will be easier to fix the problem.

Daniel


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berko
post Feb 21 2009, 12:09 PM
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QUOTE (Daniel Robinson @ Feb 21 2009, 11:28 AM) *
One thing other then whats been mentioned here.


Analyze your AP, and figure out what is actually slowing it down. Is it string transition, or is it inside or outside picking.

When doing a box shape like that your going to be doing all three, outside picking is where you are making a string transition with an upstroke, inside picking is where you are doing a string transition with a downstroke.

I think guitarists struggle with more inside picking then outside, if you watch John Petrucci's Rock Disipline vid, he also struggles with inside picking. Your picking hand feels trapped when the string transition takes place on a downstroke, it requires much less movement and alot more pick accuracy.

Try to analyze what you are having specific difficulty with. If you can find the exact culprit it will be easier to fix the problem.

Daniel


Very well said, Daniel! "feeling trapped" and thus a bit paralyzed adds a lot to the mental barrier when speedpicking. That's why it's important to emphasize strict AP. When doing 3nps scales fast, it's a common mistake to start every new string with a down stroke although you have finished with a down stroke on the string before. This kind of unconscious economy picking is very common and I suffered from it too.

And actually that's why it's easier to speed pick while descending on the strings. The down stroke (which is a much more natural movement than an up stroke) is basically implying the opposite movement: when descending, we are doing outside picking. And upstroke would be the inside picking part of it, which is more comfortable because a not-that-natural movement is applied to a more "comfortable" and shorter movement: inside picking.


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vampire18
post Feb 21 2009, 12:33 PM
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first of all i must admit both my ap and legato is slower than yours so i dont know how qualified i am to help but i want to try anyways.
someone here talked about leaps and one of my leaps was when i stop putting my fingers on the pick guard. putting your pinky on the pick guard might help you know where you are but i think it slows you down. at least that was the case for me


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 21 2009, 03:11 PM
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As much people said, syncing both hands together and playing without pauses between the notes, and exactly in time will let you go faster and faster. Also you really have to practice a lot if you wanna achieve that kind of precision. It's about persistency not any special "secret" technique that is "just right" for fast playing. Just gotta sit down and practice a lot and it will come eventually, there's else nothing to it IMO.


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Artemus
post Feb 21 2009, 03:21 PM
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Agreed. The answer to most things pertaining to guitar (or any skill) comes down to one thing:

PRACTISE

*sigh*

This post has been edited by Artemus: Feb 21 2009, 03:21 PM


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Outlaw2112
post Feb 21 2009, 03:23 PM
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use guitar pro and make a practice routine... then put your practice routine on speed trainer and play along with it..
next thing you know you will be amazing yourself


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Vasilije Vukmiro...
post Feb 21 2009, 05:25 PM
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You mustn't allow your self to lose control or clean sound, that is the sign that your technique is really becoming bad, you should go to 100% precise/clean playing instead 100% full speed playing. Focus on sound, rhythmical precision, and then things will start happening, and soon we'll see you becoming fast as Muris:)


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Oxac
post Feb 21 2009, 06:10 PM
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I'd like to say something about your picking motion. From what I've seen (may be the lighting) your hand is only moving up and down. But if you instead "roll" or "twist" or "turn" your wrist, that gives a much more powerful motion that is easier to get up to speed. Look at Andy Timmons in close up and you'll probably see what I mean. You can do this with almost any hand position, but it's the motion I prefer and I've tried almost every of them.


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