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> Fast String Changes - Finally Solved?, How I think it works
dairwolf
post Apr 18 2013, 10:19 AM
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Hey everyone!

I´ve been struggling with a certain technical problem for more than a year now, and I think I finally collected all the pieces I need to solve the problem. Since the problem almost made me quit playing the guitar, I thought I might share this with all of you.


My problem was that every time I changed strings with alternate picking, I accidentally hit the next string on the wrong side. So let´s say I am doing an upstroke on the high e string. My pick wouldn´t move up enough then and hit the b string, which is next to the e string, on the inside, which was not intended (the next correct stroke would be a downstroke on the outside of the b string).

Naturally the first thing I tried was to just keep practicing the very movement that I couldn´t get right. So I would sit there, play string changes (outside and inside, one or two note per string patterns etc., you know what I mean) and track the speeds I managed to reach.


However, I very soon realized that I was stuck at a certain tempo (which was 120 BPM, four notes per Beat). I realized if I am already stuck at 120 BPM and can´t get any further no matter how much I practice, there has got to be something wrong with my technique. And I think that I now know what it was.

I have to go into detail here, but if you are having the same problem, you might want to thank me later.

The move I used to get the tip of the pick up so that it can go over the next string was the muscle you´d need to tap on your table. Put your fingers on any surface and move all of them up at once from your wrist and then down again, and you´ll know what move I mean.

I soon realized the following:
You need to get the pick up AND down again for just ONE stroke, so if you play e.g. The high e string and the b string, you´d have to get the pick up when doing the upstroke on the e string, down again to do the downstroke on the b string, up again to get over the e string again etc.

If I wanted to play at fast tempos (200 BPM, fpur notes per beat), that would have meant that in those cases where there are a lot of string changes, I would have had to be able to tap my index finger on the surface FOUR TIMES a beat at 200 BPM! I dare you to try it, and I dare to say that this is physically impossible. (Maybe someday some body builder will focuse on this muscle, but I don´t see the point.)

I actually signed up for Paul Gilbert´s School of rock. There he has a description of his picking technique. When I read his description, it dawned on me.

For fast string changes, you have to combine different techniques for each stroke!

I found that there are basically three techniques for moving the pick up and down:

1. rotating the wrist (moving the root of the thumb away from the guitar strings)
2. the "tapping" move I described earlier and
3. moving up your index finger while holding the pick.

Now again, if you used only ONE of those moves to get the pick up, you won´t be able to reach high speed. I don´t think anyone in the world can move his index finger up and down or rotate the wrist FOUR times per beat at the tempo of 200 BPM.

Of course you have to combine the up and down movement with a side to side movement, but this is rather easy. (I think it´s the same move you´d do when you use a rubber to erase something on a sheet). However, one important thing to notice here is that you are NOT necessarily rotating the wrist, you are only moving it from side to side!

To conclude this, I want to briefly describe how Paul does it and then how I am doing it:

Paul actually has his wrist in a twisted position, so he "leans" the pick forward. When he does upstrokes, the pick is already at the perfect angle to get over the next lower string. So for upstrokes, he is ONLY using the side to side move of the wrist, without rotating it (I think he does it that way, if I am mistaken please tell me).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8638952267/

For the downstrokes, he uses a different technique. He also uses the side to side move of the wrist, but he adds yet another move, which is the "tapping" move. Since his wrist is in a twisted position all the time, the pick would get stuck below the next higher string, like this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8638953587/

So by using the "tapping" move, it becomes like this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8638953607/

To me, having my wrist in a twisted position all the time feels weird, so I am doing it like this:

When I do an upstroke, I move my wrist from one side to the other AND very slightly rotate it, so that the pick will "lean" and get over the next string. For the downstrokes, I use the side to side move and the "tapping" move.

God, this got long! I hope that there´s some people out there who can use this advice. Fell free to tell me what you think!

Best regards,

Tobi
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Todd Simpson
post Apr 22 2013, 03:37 PM
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Todd here smile.gif I appreciate all the time you have taken to explain your issue here. However, sometimes a movie is worth a thousand pictures as a picture is worth a thousand words smile.gif

I think I understand what you are saying, and it sounds like you have solved the issue but just in case, If you could make a short web cam/cell phone video of your picking and upload it to youtube, I"m sure the community here can help you work through it!


Todd


QUOTE (dairwolf @ Apr 18 2013, 05:19 AM) *
Hey everyone!

I´ve been struggling with a certain technical problem for more than a year now, and I think I finally collected all the pieces I need to solve the problem. Since the problem almost made me quit playing the guitar, I thought I might share this with all of you.


My problem was that every time I changed strings with alternate picking, I accidentally hit the next string on the wrong side. So let´s say I am doing an upstroke on the high e string. My pick wouldn´t move up enough then and hit the b string, which is next to the e string, on the inside, which was not intended (the next correct stroke would be a downstroke on the outside of the b string).

Naturally the first thing I tried was to just keep practicing the very movement that I couldn´t get right. So I would sit there, play string changes (outside and inside, one or two note per string patterns etc., you know what I mean) and track the speeds I managed to reach.


However, I very soon realized that I was stuck at a certain tempo (which was 120 BPM, four notes per Beat). I realized if I am already stuck at 120 BPM and can´t get any further no matter how much I practice, there has got to be something wrong with my technique. And I think that I now know what it was.

I have to go into detail here, but if you are having the same problem, you might want to thank me later.

The move I used to get the tip of the pick up so that it can go over the next string was the muscle you´d need to tap on your table. Put your fingers on any surface and move all of them up at once from your wrist and then down again, and you´ll know what move I mean.

I soon realized the following:
You need to get the pick up AND down again for just ONE stroke, so if you play e.g. The high e string and the b string, you´d have to get the pick up when doing the upstroke on the e string, down again to do the downstroke on the b string, up again to get over the e string again etc.

If I wanted to play at fast tempos (200 BPM, fpur notes per beat), that would have meant that in those cases where there are a lot of string changes, I would have had to be able to tap my index finger on the surface FOUR TIMES a beat at 200 BPM! I dare you to try it, and I dare to say that this is physically impossible. (Maybe someday some body builder will focuse on this muscle, but I don´t see the point.)

I actually signed up for Paul Gilbert´s School of rock. There he has a description of his picking technique. When I read his description, it dawned on me.

For fast string changes, you have to combine different techniques for each stroke!

I found that there are basically three techniques for moving the pick up and down:

1. rotating the wrist (moving the root of the thumb away from the guitar strings)
2. the "tapping" move I described earlier and
3. moving up your index finger while holding the pick.

Now again, if you used only ONE of those moves to get the pick up, you won´t be able to reach high speed. I don´t think anyone in the world can move his index finger up and down or rotate the wrist FOUR times per beat at the tempo of 200 BPM.

Of course you have to combine the up and down movement with a side to side movement, but this is rather easy. (I think it´s the same move you´d do when you use a rubber to erase something on a sheet). However, one important thing to notice here is that you are NOT necessarily rotating the wrist, you are only moving it from side to side!

To conclude this, I want to briefly describe how Paul does it and then how I am doing it:

Paul actually has his wrist in a twisted position, so he "leans" the pick forward. When he does upstrokes, the pick is already at the perfect angle to get over the next lower string. So for upstrokes, he is ONLY using the side to side move of the wrist, without rotating it (I think he does it that way, if I am mistaken please tell me).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8638952267/

For the downstrokes, he uses a different technique. He also uses the side to side move of the wrist, but he adds yet another move, which is the "tapping" move. Since his wrist is in a twisted position all the time, the pick would get stuck below the next higher string, like this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8638953587/

So by using the "tapping" move, it becomes like this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8638953607/

To me, having my wrist in a twisted position all the time feels weird, so I am doing it like this:

When I do an upstroke, I move my wrist from one side to the other AND very slightly rotate it, so that the pick will "lean" and get over the next string. For the downstrokes, I use the side to side move and the "tapping" move.

God, this got long! I hope that there´s some people out there who can use this advice. Fell free to tell me what you think!

Best regards,

Tobi



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dark dude
post Apr 22 2013, 04:54 PM
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Cheers for making the effort to type this all up, dairwolf. I find this topic veeeery interesting : D


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Cosmin Lupu
post Apr 23 2013, 08:19 AM
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Hey man, as Todd said - a video could save your life in this situation tongue.gif A lesson that I recommend with all my heart for what you are working on, is this one:

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Picking-Arpeggios/

The goal here is to have a flowing feel while making every note come out clean and in good timing. I think that your picking will benefit a lot from working on this. In the mean time, make up a video for us so we may see what you are exactly doing, ok?


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 25 2013, 01:04 AM
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Cosmin NAILED IT. "The goal here is to have a flowing feel while making every note come out clean and in good timing"

That's everything I'm always on about in one sentence. Nice!

When you change strings, (string traverse) it should sound as if you the string changed but your hand didn't. In other words, there should be no audible gap or studder when trying to play a smooth traverse. Each strike on a string or betwixt strings should have a measured, consistent feel, especially at first. Once you learn to play smoothly, and have control over it, you can create variability in strikes, timing etc, and add dimension to your playing. I"ve come up with an odd saying for this.

"You have to learn to play like a Robot, if you want to shred like a God" and I don't mean playing in a stiff fashion, just a smooth, even, clean, precise, fashion. Almost mechanically, but not studdery or stiff.

smile.gif

Todd





QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Apr 23 2013, 03:19 AM) *
Hey man, as Todd said - a video could save your life in this situation tongue.gif A lesson that I recommend with all my heart for what you are working on, is this one:

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Picking-Arpeggios/

The goal here is to have a flowing feel while making every note come out clean and in good timing. I think that your picking will benefit a lot from working on this. In the mean time, make up a video for us so we may see what you are exactly doing, ok?



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Cosmin Lupu
post Apr 25 2013, 08:38 AM
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It's the same thing with every technique actually - the ultimate goal technique wise, is to make everything sound extremely clean and precise, having exceptional balance and interpretation smile.gif Sounds complicated, doesn't it? If you practice in the right way (that means slow and focused on the things above, without transforming things into an obsession that will totally obliterate the actual goal of self expression) you will eventually get to the point where you will be able to play without worrying so much about how fast you can play. Things will come naturally, as long as you don't allow frustration to settle in. I know it's hard not to, when today's media is swarming with shredders and asian children that can play the hell out of a guitar at 2 years old laugh.gif

What do you want from the guitar? That is the question smile.gif Ask yourself this question whenever you forget where you are and if you ever doubt why you're doing this. If you know what you want, things will be clear. The question which you shouldn't ask yourself is: 'When do I get there?'

Learn to enjoy what you are doing and your journey will reward you with countless little joyful experiences making that 'getting there' so interesting that you will never want to stop your journey smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Apr 25 2013, 01:19 PM
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This is a very interesting topic. I'm still exploring the different possibilities for increasing my outside picking speed and precision. I agree with Todd about adding a video to your explanation, this will clarify the 3 different moves that you are talking about.

I would like to add these exercises which I find VERY useful for Outside and Inside picking training.

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...t=0#entry576899


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Darius Wave
post May 9 2013, 09:12 AM
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There is a little tip that turns that situation to "no problem" status. It basicly about how well You separate notes from different strings with Your left hand. Some thing on guitar need more attention to everything around more than just the single note that is played at the moment. If You play two notes alternately and both are on two different, neighboring strings it would not make a problem if You hit both for a moment ...as long as You mute the other with Your left hand.


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 10 2013, 08:32 AM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ May 9 2013, 08:12 AM) *
There is a little tip that turns that situation to "no problem" status. It basicly about how well You separate notes from different strings with Your left hand. Some thing on guitar need more attention to everything around more than just the single note that is played at the moment. If You play two notes alternately and both are on two different, neighboring strings it would not make a problem if You hit both for a moment ...as long as You mute the other with Your left hand.


True that - because of this, you should be able to always separate notes using your left hand finger muting technique as well.

I think I have an idea about how to illustrate this - vid coming smile.gif



This post has been edited by Cosmin Lupu: May 10 2013, 03:51 PM


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