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I need some advice on picking technique...badly!

Discussion in 'Musicians Corner' started by SpiritCrusherX, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. SpiritCrusherX

    SpiritCrusherX ManBearPig

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    I only realized recently how lacking my picking is. I've been stagnant for quite some time now, and I don't feel as if I'll ever be able to progress as a guitar player until I get my picking down. Not only does this affect my leads, but it's also affecting my rhythm playing. Sometimes I can't even play simple 16th note rhythms without my pick actually missing the string completely. I noticed that the way I pick is kind of odd, and I don't know if there's really a right or wrong way, but I noticed that Michael Romeo picks kinda weird too, and he's outta control. So maybe it's best to do what you feel comfortable with and you'll eventually get it, but what I'm doing doesn't seem to be helping. But I don't want to have to completely revamp the way I play guitar.

    Can anyone recommend any exercises that will help my picking? Or does anyone have any kind of advice for me? I've heard that most people pick and let the motion come from their wrist (which I've found difficult to get into), and I've heard that others really use their upper arm to get into it. Right now, I think the motion mostly comes from my fingers (index and thumb, with maybe a LITTLE help from the wrist), and I am reasonably accurate, but I find myself doing things that don't come out as smooth and clean as they can. I'm mainly concerned with my leads, but my rhythm playing is suffering as well. Sometimes I find that the muscle in my hand in between my thumb and index finger tightens up really fast, and I want to fix this problem. I have difficulty relaxing myself, and I feel like sometimes I'm forcing myself.

    I know that's a lot of info, but if anyone can help me, I will owe you forever.
     
  2. soulshred

    soulshred Member

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    I am not a shred master or anything but ı am ok especially with alternate picking.one thing ı think is one of the most important aspect of picking is devoloping an effective muting technique because playing clean is the most important thing in my opinion.So yo might wanna concantrate on that.Paganinis 5th caprice helps alot for devoping a good right hand. its a "right hand killer" piece but its not hard if you play it slow and increase speed as you get faster .I highly recommend practicing it with a metronome.yes 5th caprice reaaly helps in my opinion.ı dont know if ı ve been helpfull .
     
  3. Yngvai X

    Yngvai X Dark Emperor

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    Paul Gilbert licks man. Best thing for picking. Especially the stuff on his Intense Rock 1 video. also make sure that when you're practicing picking at slower tempos, cut down the movement of your pick stroke. In other words, sometimes when you're picking slowly you tend to make a broader stroke than you'd want to while playing fast, so the key is, when practicing to try to make as small of a stroke as you can, so that right after you make that downstroke you're already turning around to make the upstroke. This will help make your right hand really tight, both for leads and rhythm.
     
  4. SpiritCrusherX

    SpiritCrusherX ManBearPig

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    Thanks a million guys, I'll look into this stuff.
     
  5. the_satanic_rabbit

    the_satanic_rabbit Return of Ganon

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    Agreed that Gilbert licks are great.

    But hey...it sounds from your first post that you already know what your weaknesses are. This is a good thing. Don't worry too much about how Romeo picks or how you pick...whatever. Do what you feel is comfortable and just keep practicing. You say that sometimes you have a hard time relaxing and feel like you are forcing it. So...like Yngvai said...at slower tempos...really focus on your picking hand and keep it relaxed. This will help you play more fluid and smooth. Then you just have to work it up to speed. Picking exercises are very boring but you have to do em. Just like situps or anything else. I'm gonna go work on some gilbert licks right now! :)
     
  6. SpiritCrusherX

    SpiritCrusherX ManBearPig

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    Excellent, thanks. That's what I thought too, maybe I shouldn't worry about trying to pick "properly" and just do what I feel is natural and eventually it'll come to me. Thanks man.
     
  7. Yngvai X

    Yngvai X Dark Emperor

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    Yes and no. There are certain things that ARE "proper" that you *should* work towards doing. Basic good technique skills. This would be stuff like keeping your hand relaxed, efficient use of pick strokes, etc. See, you might "naturally" tense up a lot when you try to pick or you might "naturally" use a picking motion that is not efficient. This isnt so much because its the way you're necessiarly the most comfortable doing it...Ive found that whenever I've caught myself tensing or using poor technique its the result of not paying enough attention to things like relaxation...and especially trying to jump too fast into playing something you can't. The best thing you can do is start slow and be aware of your technique. Its this simple awareness that allows your body to flow and move naturally relaxed.

    But aside from all that, things like how you hold the pick, if you're picking from your wrist or forearm, if you're anchoring your fingers/wrist or not to the body of the guitar, this is all personal prefference stuff.
     
  8. OfSinsAndShred

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    Use the WRIST. Watch any great alt-picker doing some staccato, picked run... they're using the wrist. I used finger motion before and everything, and it took a while to get used to the wrist, but it was the best habit-breaking decision I ever made. The motion will be a lot more uniform and consistent from the wrist, which is what you want - every stoke will be the same, and you'll have a ton more control. Start out with easy stuff and work your way up, man. Good luck.
     
  9. Yngvai X

    Yngvai X Dark Emperor

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    And two of the fastest pickers Ive ever seen use their forearm (Rusty Cooley and Stephan Forte). So as you can see it really doesnt matter :p
     
  10. rockmanxpr

    rockmanxpr High Speed Samurai

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    I can attest to the Paul Gilbert vids! the first examples he uses is part of my warm up exercise, and of coarse get a Metronome! Hey YngwieX, I also use Max's exercise guide that he wrote up and had me playing for a month since he was staying with me during November
     
  11. the_satanic_rabbit

    the_satanic_rabbit Return of Ganon

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    That's what I meant by not worrying about it too much. I was referring to how you're holding the pick, wrist vs fingers, etc. Hey if you want to pick like Marty Friedman, go for it. He's not well known for having good picking technique though. :)
     
  12. SpiritCrusherX

    SpiritCrusherX ManBearPig

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    Hmm, So OfSinsAndShred says I should use the wrist more but Yngvai says it doesn't really make a difference...I don't know what to do. The way I see it, if I practice some licks, I will NATURALLY discover what is better as I try to perfect the exercises. We'll just have to see what my hand does.

    I have an old issue of Guitar One with a lesson from Paul Gilbert so I'm gonna start working on those licks. Would you suggest that I practice the whole lick as I try to develop speed and accuracy or just take a small part of it?

    Here's parts of some licks from that lesson:
    e|-7-5-------5--------------15-12-13-15-13-12-etc.--
    B|-----8-5-6---8-5----and----------------------------
    G|----------------------------------------------------
    D|----------------------------------------------------
    A|----------------------------------------------------
    E|----------------------------------------------------

    I can see why licks like these would be useful because they're real "finger scramblers" as Guitar One put it, and they seem to really help coordinate both hands.
     
  13. DoktorShred

    DoktorShred Member

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    How the hell do people pick with finger motion...it defeats me entirely my fingers must be so weak lol.

    Anyway i used to pick from the elbow but that was really messy so i've re-worked my technique as follows:
    -Wrist does nearly all the work
    -Using thumb and index finger to keep pick at right angles to the string
    -Elbow/forearm movement only to move the hand across the strings

    Its working quite well so far, im making progress with it
     
  14. SyXified

    SyXified Member

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    The whole fingers vs wrist vs forearm debate has been floating around for so long and no one can ever really come up with a solid answer. I mean, you have Jason Becker who is all wrist, Yngwie who is all fingers and Rusty who is all forearm. I used to really support fingers but I've come to realize that whatever works for you should be your main way of picking, but the best thing you can do is learn ALL of them and use where appropriate. For example, forearm style implies economy picking, a lot of draging over strings, simply because you cannot pull of some of the tight alternate picking moves when you have to move your whole forearm. A lot of those Gilbert licks require wrist movement. Also, if you delve into sweep picking with picking out the turn arounds, only finger style will get that motion accurate enough to work, check out MJR on Smoke and Mirrors, wrist on the sweep part but a quick finger movement on the turnarounds. So basically, do what you want, just make sure it's clean. Then when you are trying somthing that isn't cleaning up for you, give another technique a try. Usually which one you should use makes a good deal of logical sense.
     
  15. OfSinsAndShred

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    That's more of an accurate way of saying what I was getting at. But most of the picking motion comes from the wrist, so I exaggerated that a tad I guess.
     
  16. SpiritCrusherX

    SpiritCrusherX ManBearPig

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    Hey guys, good news! I took the wrist advocates' advice and the others that suggested the Gilbert licks, and I can already see progress. Although I haven't fully adjusted to using the wrist yet, I can already tell it's influencing my picking because I tried to play some of my own licks and they came out cleaner than ever before. Hopefully it won't be long until I'm really comfortable with how I play.

    Thanks a fuckin million, this is why Symphony X fans rule. \m/
     
  17. Zax666

    Zax666 The Prince Of Ice. Almost

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    It's hard to find ANYTHING about SymX that doesn't rule... I wish more people would realize that. :D
     
  18. shredmaster

    shredmaster Member

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    Yes, we rule!
     
  19. BalanceofPower

    BalanceofPower My god,it's full of stars

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    I have some advice that may come in handy. http://www.styluspick.com/ check this site out and order one of them I swear you will see a difference in your playing within a matter of days if you use this pick when practicing runs for 2 hours a day. When you are picking try to use as little movement as possible, you will waste less energy and your picking will be more accurate. When descending to the next string use your thumb to mute the string you were just on this is gonna take some time but once you get it it'll be a life saver. Also always keep your hand parallel to the string you are playing on. In other words move your arm down when you are going to down to the next string and move your arm up when you are picking the next string up. Again this will take practice and patience but it's the best thing you can do. Hope that helps.
     
  20. SpiritCrusherX

    SpiritCrusherX ManBearPig

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    Thanks man, any advice is greatly appreciated.
     

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