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> Impossible Technique
Cosmin Lupu
post Jun 6 2014, 09:51 AM
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Some things come easy some don’t… 10 years ago, I was sure that speed was something that could magically appear laugh.gif And when a friend told me it's just a matter of practice, I went all angry on him because I thought he just didn't want to share his awesomeness with me... well, guess what, he actually did tell the truth smile.gif Understand what you are doing, why you are doing it, doing it correctly and patiently and measuring your progress, are the surefooted steps to mastering ANY technique.

Is there something you have been working on for a long time but which still does not want to give in? If so, chances are someone else here has experienced the same thing. Let’s share our experiences and see if we can help each other out wink.gif


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AdamB
post Jun 6 2014, 11:37 AM
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outside picking for me is a massive block, I can inside pick 16th note triplets at 130 quite easily ( except when doing a descending run - my hand starts to lock up when I get to the low A and E strings), but outside picking I can just barely do 110. This really limits what I can do at speed.

I also have a problem with upstrokes in general - I am trying to change my sweeping technique to force me to develop my upstroke and also working on economy picking for the same reason. An example here; if economy picking a descending run, at the point the pick sweeps upwards to the new string, my hand tends to either get the pick jammed on the string, or it overshoots and doesn't make it back to the string in time for the following downpick.

I'm also trying isolating my upstroke and just practicing going up, up, up, up over and over to try and balance my upstroke with my downstroke (which is much faster, at least double the speed).

The first issue (the outside picking) I've been working on for about a year now, with no improvement. I do find I get quite tense, I'm not sure if I need to worry about that at these speeds (different advice I've had says to always stay relaxed, but also that at speed you'll find you can't be completely relaxed so not to worry about it - so I dunno what to think about this).
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SpaseMoonkey
post Jun 6 2014, 11:50 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jun 6 2014, 04:51 AM) *
Some things come easy some don’t… 10 years ago, I was sure that speed was something that could magically appear laugh.gif And when a friend told me it's just a matter of practice, I went all angry on him because I thought he just didn't want to share his awesomeness with me... well, guess what, he actually did tell the truth smile.gif Understand what you are doing, why you are doing it, doing it correctly and patiently and measuring your progress, are the surefooted steps to mastering ANY technique.

Is there something you have been working on for a long time but which still does not want to give in? If so, chances are someone else here has experienced the same thing. Let’s share our experiences and see if we can help each other out wink.gif


That is a ton of truth you speak there Cosmin! I think understanding what we are doing wrong, is the hardest technique.

We can watch others play something, we see what they are doing, but not what they feel as they play. I think we need to feel our own bodies to understand what we need to do as long as we have the basics down. Help! Fast picking, how do I get better? I think a good direction to explain to someone is practice, but what is stopping you? Is the fret hand (Lifting the fingers really high and trying to strangle the fret board as you place them down) or picking (Are you tensing up to where you grip the pick harder? Is your arm tensing to where you feel like you're trying to play with a 2 ton rock?). You need to practice, but strive to play relaxed with accuracy and control.

I'm trying to get my trill up faster. I know you just hammer on/off. But I can feel my fingers want to hit harder than is needed. So I need to get it to where it's feels like a soft feathery like touch and then work up the speed. Rinse and repeat.


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Jim S.
post Jun 6 2014, 12:14 PM
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QUOTE (AdamB @ Jun 6 2014, 06:37 AM) *
outside picking for me is a massive block, I can inside pick 16th note triplets at 130 quite easily ( except when doing a descending run - my hand starts to lock up when I get to the low A and E strings), but outside picking I can just barely do 110. This really limits what I can do at speed.

I also have a problem with upstrokes in general - I am trying to change my sweeping technique to force me to develop my upstroke and also working on economy picking for the same reason. An example here; if economy picking a descending run, at the point the pick sweeps upwards to the new string, my hand tends to either get the pick jammed on the string, or it overshoots and doesn't make it back to the string in time for the following downpick.

I'm also trying isolating my upstroke and just practicing going up, up, up, up over and over to try and balance my upstroke with my downstroke (which is much faster, at least double the speed).

The first issue (the outside picking) I've been working on for about a year now, with no improvement. I do find I get quite tense, I'm not sure if I need to worry about that at these speeds (different advice I've had says to always stay relaxed, but also that at speed you'll find you can't be completely relaxed so not to worry about it - so I dunno what to think about this).


Adam I'm not sure if this will help but I've been working on my picking too and even though my top speed for string skipping 16th note triplets is around 90bpm, I find that a combination of thumb/finger movements with wrist makes the smallest and fluid movements. I can feel a small burn in the meaty part between my thumb and index. I'm fairly certain that is the technique I shall improve. When I use primarily wrist it seems to jump out of place easily.
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AdamB
post Jun 6 2014, 02:42 PM
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QUOTE (Jim S. @ Jun 6 2014, 12:14 PM) *
Adam I'm not sure if this will help but I've been working on my picking too and even though my top speed for string skipping 16th note triplets is around 90bpm, I find that a combination of thumb/finger movements with wrist makes the smallest and fluid movements. I can feel a small burn in the meaty part between my thumb and index. I'm fairly certain that is the technique I shall improve. When I use primarily wrist it seems to jump out of place easily.


Cheers dude, yea I'm currently experimenting with this myself! However I find the results so far to be widely variable - sometimes it seems to improve my accuracy, other times it seems to cause everything to fall apart. I'm not sure if this is just because it needs to develop further or if it's just not reliable enough for me, but I'll continue and see what happens!

I also find that with the economy picking I've just started, I can't add the thumb/finger movement - the sweep part seems to cause my finger/thumb to lock into position and unlocking it to continue picking takes too long. I think this might be fixed with some slow practice, though smile.gif
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jun 6 2014, 04:55 PM
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QUOTE (AdamB @ Jun 6 2014, 10:42 AM) *
Cheers dude, yea I'm currently experimenting with this myself! However I find the results so far to be widely variable - sometimes it seems to improve my accuracy, other times it seems to cause everything to fall apart. I'm not sure if this is just because it needs to develop further or if it's just not reliable enough for me, but I'll continue and see what happens!

I also find that with the economy picking I've just started, I can't add the thumb/finger movement - the sweep part seems to cause my finger/thumb to lock into position and unlocking it to continue picking takes too long. I think this might be fixed with some slow practice, though smile.gif


Everything can be fixed with slow practice so you've already know the answer. However I was wondering what's exactly the problem with economy, is it the the connection between this technique and alternate picking?


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AdamB
post Jun 6 2014, 06:11 PM
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Well, I think I understand the mechanics of it. I have a reasonably developed sweeping technique and a reasonable alternate picking technique, so it's sort of just slamming those two things together.

Having said that, I haven't identified what the actual issue is. Currently when I play economy picking slowly, on the upstroke as I move from a high string to a low string the pick first picks the high string, and then continues moving until it's resting on the next string. As I move my fretting hand into position, the pick then continues upward through the string.

When I speed this up, sometimes it continues through the string as planned, and other times the pick seems to get stuck in that position, resting on the string, and doesn't cut through the string as it should - it seems almost like the pick is dug too deeply into the string and therefore it takes a lot more energy from the picking hand to pull it through the string, and I don't apply enough force and so the pick jams on the string. I'm not entirely sure how to rectify this.

I've thought about either timing it at low speeds so that the pick arrives at the new string at the same moment the left hand frets, though this is very difficult event at very low speeds as my hand simply doesn't want to move smoothly between the two strings that slowly (it tends to wobble in the gap between the two strings). Or, perhaps that I just need to get my pick to be shallower so that it hits the string nearer the tip. Or that I just need to man up and get a stronger forearm!
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Ben Higgins
post Jun 7 2014, 09:35 AM
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QUOTE (AdamB @ Jun 6 2014, 06:11 PM) *
Having said that, I haven't identified what the actual issue is. Currently when I play economy picking slowly, on the upstroke as I move from a high string to a low string the pick first picks the high string, and then continues moving until it's resting on the next string. As I move my fretting hand into position, the pick then continues upward through the string.


Regards economy picking, have you tried 'rolling' your hand inwards as you move back through the lower strings ?

Not sure if I can explain it well enough with just words but... it's like rotating your whole hand and rolling it in the direction in which you are next going to move. If I was going to do a descending economy picking run that swept through 2 adjacent strings with an upstroke I would roll my hand inwards to help give it momentum. Keeping the hand parallel and relying on only thumb and finger flexion just doesn't work as well for me. Thumb and finger flexion works better whilst ascending from low to high but I think that's because you've got gravity on your side. Moving our hand / arm downwards requires less effort than bringing it upwards.

It might work, might not. But I would suggest to look at the angle of your hand. Whilst ascending to higher strings, having a hand point slightly outwards (knuckles leaning outwards rather than inwards) seems to aid the downward motion of the hand.

Whilst descending from high to low, the opposite seems true. Rolling your hand inwards so that your thumb is coming into contact with the lower strings and your pinky knuckle is further out than your index knuckle, that seems to aid rolling over the strings with economy picking and / or sweeping.

See what you think smile.gif

Btw, this lesson talks about this principle in regards to alternate picking, not economy, but the visual references will help. I think the spoken video part shows it.

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Altern...ing-MyApproach/

Alternatively, watch footage of Frank Gambale.. he is always rolling his hand in the direction he wants to travel and he's the undisputed master of economy picking.

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Jun 7 2014, 09:38 AM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jun 7 2014, 08:22 PM
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QUOTE (SpaseMoonkey @ Jun 6 2014, 10:50 AM) *
That is a ton of truth you speak there Cosmin! I think understanding what we are doing wrong, is the hardest technique.

We can watch others play something, we see what they are doing, but not what they feel as they play. I think we need to feel our own bodies to understand what we need to do as long as we have the basics down. Help! Fast picking, how do I get better? I think a good direction to explain to someone is practice, but what is stopping you? Is the fret hand (Lifting the fingers really high and trying to strangle the fret board as you place them down) or picking (Are you tensing up to where you grip the pick harder? Is your arm tensing to where you feel like you're trying to play with a 2 ton rock?). You need to practice, but strive to play relaxed with accuracy and control.

I'm trying to get my trill up faster. I know you just hammer on/off. But I can feel my fingers want to hit harder than is needed. So I need to get it to where it's feels like a soft feathery like touch and then work up the speed. Rinse and repeat.


This is one of the reasons why FOCUS is a word that appears a lot in our suggestions. Focusing is a term that encompasses attention to everything while performing slowly:

- your body
- your instrument
- your body's reactions while playing
- your mind

It's not always easy, but we should make a good habit out of focus smile.gif Have any of you guys tried to really observe all of the above mentioned things while practicing?


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Jim S.
post Jun 8 2014, 01:40 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jun 7 2014, 03:22 PM) *
This is one of the reasons why FOCUS is a word that appears a lot in our suggestions. Focusing is a term that encompasses attention to everything while performing slowly:

- your body
- your instrument
- your body's reactions while playing
- your mind

It's not always easy, but we should make a good habit out of focus smile.gif Have any of you guys tried to really observe all of the above mentioned things while practicing?


Yes definately. I've been working on Diego's melodic shred arpeggios lesson and have been able to learn most of it fairly well as it's a lot of straight 16th notes. Now he gets to the climax of his solo and rips into 2 16th note triplet runs. The first is easy to hear as the pattern makes sense to the rhythm but the second one really stumped me. I slowed it way down and was able to get through it but it never felt right.

He plays 2 notes on top string and ends the first half on the second string. He starts the first note of the second set of triplets on the second string and plays the last 2 notes back on first string.

I had to really break it down and play them as 1/8 note triplets making sure each of the first notes land with the click. I still couldn't get it. I could sing it but couldn't play it at the same time so I slowed it down to 45bpm with the 1/8 note feel AND started with an upstroke which lined up the second set of triplets on a downstroke.

I sang the line, swayed my head with every beat, tapped my foot with click and began playing. I got to 150bpm playing 1/8 note feel which is 75bpm in the 16th note feel. I practice 1 hour a day on this lesson and have been making quite progress. Here is a video @ 95bpm. It is pretty sloppy and I wasn't ready to shoot a video but I wanted to see myself. In this video I'm not able to use the things I practiced above because it's too fast.

This post has been edited by Jim S.: Jun 8 2014, 01:44 AM
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Cosmin Lupu
post Jun 8 2014, 08:26 AM
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Hey man! Breaking it down to the last thing possible and at the slowest speed AND singing it is a very elaborate and thorough approach biggrin.gif The most important things I noticed:

- indeed, it's a bit fast at this point and you need to stick to a comfy speed in order to develop hand synch and then when you are confident, raise the speed gradually
- when sweeping downwards, you are picking each note separately - try to use the same motion as when you sweep upwards - this will save you A LOT of effort.

Good going man! You are a good example for anyone looking on how to break down and learn a phrase!


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Jim S.
post Jun 8 2014, 06:09 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jun 8 2014, 03:26 AM) *
Hey man! Breaking it down to the last thing possible and at the slowest speed AND singing it is a very elaborate and thorough approach biggrin.gif The most important things I noticed:

- indeed, it's a bit fast at this point and you need to stick to a comfy speed in order to develop hand synch and then when you are confident, raise the speed gradually
- when sweeping downwards, you are picking each note separately - try to use the same motion as when you sweep upwards - this will save you A LOT of effort.

Good going man! You are a good example for anyone looking on how to break down and learn a phrase!


Big thanks for paying attention to the video. I never noticed until you said something. This morning I hit 185bpm 1/8 note feel. I'm getting closer but one thing I realize is at that tempo it's harder to concentrate on nailing the first note in the sequence. Also I've noticed that when my picking hand tenses all timing is lost at that speed. I have the ability to see it tense and partially relax it. I'd like to make a video of just this lick because it really pushes me to dig deep and try my hardest.
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Cosmin Lupu
post Jun 9 2014, 07:31 AM
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QUOTE (Jim S. @ Jun 8 2014, 05:09 PM) *
Big thanks for paying attention to the video. I never noticed until you said something. This morning I hit 185bpm 1/8 note feel. I'm getting closer but one thing I realize is at that tempo it's harder to concentrate on nailing the first note in the sequence. Also I've noticed that when my picking hand tenses all timing is lost at that speed. I have the ability to see it tense and partially relax it. I'd like to make a video of just this lick because it really pushes me to dig deep and try my hardest.


Perfect approach bro! Isolate the lick and work on it separately - you can send me a video to see if that downstroke motion is ok now biggrin.gif

Let's see some sweeping action!


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Jim S.
post Jun 9 2014, 10:01 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jun 9 2014, 02:31 AM) *
Perfect approach bro! Isolate the lick and work on it separately - you can send me a video to see if that downstroke motion is ok now biggrin.gif

Let's see some sweeping action!


So I learned the lick but it still didn't seem right so I took another look at the PDF. Turns out it's slightly more complicated than I thought and had to start the metronome over again this morning at 35bpm. It took me a good half hour to get the sequence and started increasing speed. Here's a pic of the lick. Once I get this down ill work on my shweeps. Downward sweeps have always screwed me up. Timing goes bananas.
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Cosmin Lupu
post Jun 11 2014, 08:00 AM
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Hey man smile.gif So the actual issue came from the fact that you didn't sort the lick out corresponding to the original one. Well, now that you know it, take the time to practice it slow and for the down sweep - think of ONE motion not more smile.gif It's important to understand the right hand mechanics for this technique first of all - if you can make a little video with this lick only, at a slow speed, I can tell you what's what wink.gif Deal?


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