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> Alternate Picking - String Skipping Thing, Tips + video examples
Darius Wave
post Feb 18 2016, 09:53 AM
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Hey there Rammkin! I started to respond via message but your suggestion to put it on the forum sounds wise and maybe some other guys would like to review the topic. That's why I include the video here as well (the one you sent me):



Your problem is a kind of problem for all of us - string skipping always demands some extra effort. There are several ways to solve it but none of them can be verified from the very first attempts. We all are kind of limited with our string skipping speed comparing to one string picking. That's natural and hand motion does change for the skipping moment but....

1. Licks are usually combined from a few notes per string pattern's so within those we have like 1 string skipping per 4 notes. Having insane speed just playing between two different string 1 to 1 note like in the video is naturally harder because it requires wider pick movement. But there is a trick to make it at least a little easier - actually the thing you mention in the video (1:50 in the video) is not necessary true. When learning how to play arpeggios (like with Sweep picking), we practice note separation. We don't want to make sweeping sound like chord strumming - we need each note to sound separetly, even if we play 1 note per string. We can use similar concept for string skipping in alternate picking.
...You can imagine that 2 strings are just a one, ultra heavy gauge string and YOU CAN PLAY THE AT THE SAME TIME. You can separate them by pressing/releasing particular left hand finger at the proper moment.

Video example (sorry for the lack of precision - had no warm up yet)



As you can see for a very short moment of string skipping I make my pick movement wider and...I do not care if I randomly hit both string at the same time...because my left hand is at the same time...pressing proper note on proper string, and muting the other one.


2. When I was a kid I belived that players like Bettencourt and Gilbert pick EVERY note in their alternate picking runs, The trick was the kind of tone they use (very sharp and percussive and that created confusion....at least back then (the days with no internet). For example...He-man (woman hater) intro riff sounds like the fast run is all played with the pick....while in fact it's more a kind of country pattern with picking only on the very first note on each string (the rest is legato). Now Gilbert dos lot of picking but still you can very often capture when he replaces one or 2 notes with legato, right before skipping to another string. I use a lot of this a s well.

Video example 2. (I hit only 1st note on the E6 string, then have a lot of time to skip to A5 and play rest of the notes with picking)




3. Whe you really have to pick each note and skip to other strings.
You have to make a wider movement and chnage pick angle for while (more "straight" wrist). Souns simple right? Yep - that's all what happens but it really needs a good practice to get it done and then a lot of practice to keep those skills fresh. Life has proved a lot to times that each of us need different amount of time to reach particular level. No hard rules for this and unfortunately no magical advice that could help.

But...

There is one huge thing being forgotten in many cases. NOTES DON'T HAVE TO BE EVEN (equally powerfull). Playing instrument is not like launhcing midi machine that plays 16th notes in 300 bpm tempo...all with velocity 127 smile.gif. What makes music different from Pegasus game soundtracks...is dynamics...and in our case THE ACCENTS.

So...we split the notes form our licks for those strong and important, and those that "fill the gaps". Just like with drums - bass drum and snare for the strong parts of the bar (lick in our case) and rest of the notes as a....hi-hat. What does it mean in practice? It's all about strength management. We focus a lot of strength for a very short moment and then we relax (play softer) to give our hand a rest. This way in a long distance our right hand won't "overheat" while we can still keep impression that things are being played quite hard.

Video example 3:


4. Now the best part!
When we combine:
- advanced left hand muting = no worries if we hit neighbour string
- split for accents and softer notes

...and we add another "make it easier" trick...we get a pack of tiny things that actually make the string skipping easier. This little trick is a circle picking motion between two strings. Changing pick angle and using "in and out" index+thumb motion, we simply shorten the distance between strings and we don't have to widen wrist motion that much, to reach another string. See the video. Take a close look on what's happening with the wrist (doesn't move that much) and what happens with the right hand index and thumb fingers.

Video example 4:




Of course this is the way I've figure out things for myself. I will never argue on other solutions, since if you're very stubborn you can master many different (weird ones as well) ways to make things work.

I hope this was at least a little helpfull to some of You smile.gif Enjoy Your time at GMC

This post has been edited by Darius Wave: Feb 18 2016, 09:54 AM


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Rammikin
post Feb 18 2016, 06:10 PM
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Thanks Dr. Alternate smile.gif. That's helpful. I'll focus on muting the string strike that I don't want instead of trying to skip over it, and using the other techniques you mention. But I can't quite see in the video how you're doing the mute. My biggest problem seems to be going from an upstroke on the high E string to a downstroke on the B string. When playing sixteenth notes at 140bpm I get an unwanted upstroke strike of the open B before I have a chance to fret the note and play that fretted note on the B string with the following downstroke. So I hear an unwanted open B string note.


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Darius Wave
post Feb 18 2016, 09:06 PM
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No matter what you play, if you use distortion, your left hand ALWAYS have a lot more work to mute unwanted strings than just pressing the note smile.gif It's worth to work out some good habits. I use a tip of random left hand finger to softly touch B string while playing on the E string. If I play on B string, I do the same but I also use my left index finger to softly touch the E1 string...sort of "flat baree" finger shape, that touches anything below the string you play at the moment smile.gif


BTW. On the video example 1 it's clearly visible what happens with my left hand fingers while separating A and B notes. Fingers are being released but the keep contact with the strings

This post has been edited by Darius Wave: Feb 18 2016, 09:08 PM


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