Frustrated with trying to gain speed

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by 357mag, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. 357mag

    357mag Senior Stratmaster

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    For several years now I have been trying to teach myself speed picking. Simply gaining picking speed. I love the Malmsteen Neo-classical style licks. But it's extremely difficult to do. There are problems. One problem is getting the pick to go through the string smoothly at a high rate of speed. The pick tends to get stuck or caught on the string when you are at the upstroke. Never a problem with the downstroke but the upstroke the pick gets caught.

    And then it seems to me that you have to pick really lightly too. If you are gripping the pick too tightly tension starts to develop in the hand and your dead in the water. It's hard to pick really lightly all the time.

    If any of you have any experience with speed picking please post your comments. I would upload a file but it keeps saying extension not allowed. What kind of extension does my sound file have to be in?
     
  2. Handsome McClane

    Handsome McClane Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm a blazer but most of my speed is in my fretting hand. I'll bet sometimes I only pick every 3 or 4 notes, maybe even less frequent than that. Rest are hammer ons and pull offs and stuff. I have known people who can do the speed picking really fast. They rotated the tip of the pick in a tiny circle somehow.
     
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  3. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    I can do both. Funny, I have been playing a breakneck speed and in every way I can think of after watching a video the other night. :D

    Interestingly, the stuff I write and play I mostly do not do any technical solos but I still work on technique.
     
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  4. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    @357mag

    I would give you advice but I am somewhat heretical and therefore controversial. My preference is that people leave those things to my ex wives.
     
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  5. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

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    I suggest getting a lesson from a teacher of the type of music you want to play. I've experienced the problem you describe and have been mostly successful in getting better by reading about pick angle and technique, but I'm not even in same hemisphere as the shredders. Get an expert to help get you going.
     
  6. 357mag

    357mag Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm in a small area. Teachers are hard to find.
     
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  7. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    It's not a particularly hard skill to attain. Study and just work work work and it gets there.
     
  8. cranky

    cranky Senior Stratmaster

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    If you haven't yet, try ruminating on some of the speed, hand sync, alternate picking and pick/escape angle videos from folks like "Uncle" Ben Eller, Steve Stein and Troy Grady.

    Grady's stuff is generally way to technical for me, but he's still given me some things to focus on about how I hold my pick and how I "escape" going up and down.

    Paul Gilbert also has some content specifically about the upstroke. My upstroke is terribly labored and slow, so I've had to spend some time on that.

    While I'm not where I want to be, my speed has gotten better merely from drills and practice. Just having the discipline and focus to do some drills for 5-10 minutes here and there.
     
  9. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    We have to somehow keep this thread secret.

    Oh, you accidentally put it in one of the sub fora that no one reads. That should do it.
     
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  10. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Fuzz Meister General

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  11. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    Yingwie shows you how to play all the basics in this video.

    Play along as he plays them in slow motion, then work on your speed.

    Note how few notes are actually picked, and you will see where much of his speed comes from...

    He uses such a thick pick:

     
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  12. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    If you like Shapes, then John 5 shows you how to pay some crazy fast stuff too, again with picking instructions

     
  13. 357mag

    357mag Senior Stratmaster

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    I've watched Troy Grady's videos and I've downloaded many of Ben Eller's also. But watching is one thing but being able to physically pull it off is another. In the end that's what I need to be able to do...to pull it off. I'm already using a thick Jazz III pick so I'm okay there. It's just hard to get the pick to glide so smoothly through the strings on both strokes.

    I contacted Chris Brooks and if I post my film of my picking hand on YouTube he said he would look at it and offer some advice.
     
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  14. Whitster

    Whitster Strat-Talk Member

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    Just because somebody can perform high speed picking does not mean they actually know what they are doing let alone teach it

    This is especially true of speed movements in sport (and speed picking is effectively A sport for the purpose of motor learning and performance ) - A great example are the complex faster than conscious thought movements in the clean or the jerk

    I've seen countless athletes who can perform VERY well but couldn't break down what their body is doing in these movements , let alone teach others effectively the finer points

    Fortunately the body self tunes and adjusts while learning and over time many athletes/guitarists adapt and develop.efficient technique .. but its much more likely GIVEN proper coaching

    Some athletes/guitarists need more than others

    Regardless its silly to ignore what we know about the mechanics of picking - what.we know works and doesn't work based on analysis of guitarists who DID figure it out (not consciously but their BODY 'figured it out' )

    Troy Grady - uniquely ime - understands motor learning and performance AND has done the legwork to analyze it in slow motion - the techniques that various guitarists use

    So I'd go to Grady to get the evidence/science based analysis .

    The principles - unsurprisingly are the same that hold true in Jiu Jitsu, weightlifting , and picking

    Because all are based in physics biology etc

    He has it figured out.

    When I was learning proper technique in the clean and jerk and the snatch - I relied on my coach (coach of several Olympic and national level athletes as well as Roman and Medveyev's research )

    When it came to picking I went to Grady

    Its SUCH a great advantage to stand on the shoulders of giants

    I'd go to Grady's site and videos
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
  15. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    The pick should not be perpendicular to the strings but at approximately 45 degree angle so it slices through the strings and never gets stuck.

    The pick should also be thick enough so the string doesnt bend it when you play...1mm and up is a good start.

    Speed=economy of motion*tension.Basically means that you dont really try to go faster....if you try to do that you usually tense your hand and cant also control the travel of your picking hand....thats is why your hand usually freezes or gets stuck which in turn gets you frustrated.

    Economy of motion means that you should do only the bare minimum of movements to play a note.The less the hand travels the faster you ll be able to pick....that also helps with the tension cause if you do small precise movements your hand doesnt get that tense resulting is a faster more relaxed playing.

    Speed is a by-product of accuracy.Play a tune you are familiar with but instead of trying to play it faster try to play it at the same speed but using only half of the strength and motion you were using before,like you are not even trying.If you practice like that your accuracy ll go up and ultimately your speed....if you try to fight with a metronome uping the bpms you might be able to achieve some results but you ll find out that your hand ll get tensed and freeze at the most random moments......think no wasted motion,efficiency,lack of tension and the speed ll come.
     
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  16. henderman

    henderman Dr. Stratster

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    more proof the angle of the dangle matters.

    understanding of what is going on and practicing it is the way to mad skillz.
     
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  17. Handsome McClane

    Handsome McClane Senior Stratmaster

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  18. s5tuart

    s5tuart Perfecting time travel since 2525

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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
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  19. Agtronic

    Agtronic Senior Stratmaster

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    I went through a speed picking phase in my twenties. What really helped was loosening my grip on the picking hand.

    Picking closer to the bridge helps when you are learning because the string tension is tighter there and your pick will deflect the string less. It may not be the sound you're going for, but it's a good way to practice the picking technique.

    For me starting slowly and gradually picking up speed was key. If you try to go too quickly right away, it's frustrating and you're not really learning. Though for some people going all out right at the beginning is their way of getting through it. The guy I linked below seems to suggest to just go for it.

    Not sure if you've come across this guy, but he's a hell of a picker and he likes to make nice videos that go in depth on the subject. https://www.youtube.com/user/troygrady



    Just an example of his picking style:

     
  20. Slacker G

    Slacker G Strat-O-Master

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    Never play notes as fast as you can. If you are in a band playing clubs for money just remember this: The faster you play the less money every note is worth. Songs per set = dollars per song. Right? Gigging musicians need to think things through.
     
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