Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Picking woes...

  1. #1

    Default Picking woes...

    Something that should be so easy...

    So, I've been really plugging away lately at learning and practicing - I've got my 6th string pents, and 6th string root scale under my fingers, I've also been practicing on a very basic "The sky is crying" type of thing.

    So, any how, I've never really attempted to play fast before now, and I'm struggling with it. I'm not talking about shredding or anything, just like 8 note pentatonic phrases. The problem is while my fretting hand has no problem finding the notes, they sound 'choppy' for lack of better word. There's a lack of fluidity.

    I spent the majority of today looking over YouTube videos on picking techniques - figuring that I had too much of the pick exposed or my hand was in the wrong position, nothing really seemed to click in my mind. I even tried rotating my picking hand a bit forward (towards the nut), trying to use more of the edge of the pick as opposed to the flat surface, all to no avail.

    Any ideas or suggestions or sites I could look at?

    I watched some SRV videos and he seemed to use a lot of exposed pick, but he was a monster and probably did many things that others shouldn't or can't emulate.
    "If God didn't want us to eat animals He wouldn't have made them taste like meat."

    Paddy O' Furniture, Irish Philosopher.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2,925
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I have two quick suggestions. One is technique, and on is equipment.

    Practice strict alternate picking. Very effect if you use the full major scale, which has both 2 and 3 notes per string. This keeps you from developing the habit that the lower pitched note is always (say) a downstroke.

    Try a heavier gauged pick. I got a sample of a V-pick (hugely thick) but the ease of picking fast is great. I personally have a habit of using "Pick Muteing" so the hard material causes undesirable noises for me. But I love the feel of them. As a result I have switched to a heavy gauge regular pick.

    OOH. A third suggestion!

    metronome. As almost every instructor suggests, start at a very slow pace and concentrate on being precise with the timing. Them increase the speed by no more than 5bpm / session
    Honey, I'm spending money on guitars or women, ... your choice.

    If you take Satan for a ride, pretty soon he'll want to drive.


    Favorite Course - Blues Alchemy
    Working On - Fretboard Epiphanies & Jump Blues

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    4,018
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Geddy View Post
    Something that should be so easy...

    So, I've been really plugging away lately at learning and practicing - I've got my 6th string pents, and 6th string root scale under my fingers, I've also been practicing on a very basic "The sky is crying" type of thing.

    So, any how, I've never really attempted to play fast before now, and I'm struggling with it. I'm not talking about shredding or anything, just like 8 note pentatonic phrases. The problem is while my fretting hand has no problem finding the notes, they sound 'choppy' for lack of better word. There's a lack of fluidity.

    I spent the majority of today looking over YouTube videos on picking techniques - figuring that I had too much of the pick exposed or my hand was in the wrong position, nothing really seemed to click in my mind. I even tried rotating my picking hand a bit forward (towards the nut), trying to use more of the edge of the pick as opposed to the flat surface, all to no avail.

    Any ideas or suggestions or sites I could look at?

    I watched some SRV videos and he seemed to use a lot of exposed pick, but he was a monster and probably did many things that others shouldn't or can't emulate.
    Good advice from rj here's my fave picking lesson from Paul Gilbert ...metronome is your friend too



    Sloooow then speed will come


    H
    Worked On: BGSG Course BlogWorking On: 50 R&B Bass Grooves YMK Blog

    Groove long and prosper Tune in to Funk Friday

  4. #4

    Default

    Hi Geddy,


    When it comes down to it you can try a million different
    exercises but they won't help. It sounds like you're having
    coordination problem-your hands are not in sync with each other.

    Pick one exercise, any exercise and play it SLOWLY!!!

    That's it, there's no magical exercise, or the "one" exercise
    that's going to fix it. Be aware of what your hands are doing
    at all times.......listen.


    Angelo

  5. #5

    Default Yep...

    Thanks for the suggestions, dudes!

    That Paul Gilbert guy and I have a lot in common!... He also has hands and fingers...that's where the similarities end however.

    One thing though, I noticed that he angles the pick forward like I was explaining in my original post that I was experimenting with.

    I think I'm in sync finger wise, I think I'm digging into the string a bit too much...I think lol.

    Oh well, I'll keep trying different things an see what I can come up with.

    Thanks for the help
    "If God didn't want us to eat animals He wouldn't have made them taste like meat."

    Paddy O' Furniture, Irish Philosopher.

  6. #6

    Default

    no it's definitely a problem with your hands being out of sync.


    Your hand left hand is leaving the fretboard before

    you pick the note with your right.


    Again the key is slow........speed is a product of accuracy!!!!!!


    Angelo
    Last edited by arjr77; 10-20-2010 at 03:15 AM.

  7. #7

    Default

    a lot of good tips here! I'll agree very much that you have to start slow and be able to play in time at slow speeds before trying to increase speed.

    I'll add that it is critical to understand that the lighter your touch the faster you can play so also work on lightening your touch. Brad Carton did a handshake example during a private lesson where we shook left hands and he had me use different strength grips, gauging them from 1-10, 1 being the lightest and 10 being the strongest. Also note that reducing movement is also critical!

    So lighter touch + reduced movement = better speed capability

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks Red.
    Just visiting TrueFire.com? Why not join us?


    http://truefire.com/ignite/?code=murrayatuptowngaller

  9. #9

    Default

    Geddy-I would add to rjbasque, Red's and others' advice: set dedicated practice time daily (or as frequently as you can) for right hand ( assuming you're right handed) or picking hand exercises. I've learned over the years that we typically neglect our picking hand technique for the fretting hand technique. As a few have mentioned, they have to be synchronized and equally adept.

    There is a little test to assess which hand is holding you back--but I can't quite recall the test I'll bet anything that some of our fellow cats out there know what I'm trying to recall and will share it with you. In all likelihood, it will identify your picking hand as the laggard. Hence, the daily emphasis on right hand exercises-played as slowly at first as required to play cleanly and evenly-using a metronome.

    By all means continue your fretting hand exercises, as well.

    Good luck to you. A bit of concerted, dedicated, enlightened focus in your practice regimen will pay great dividends to you in a matter of a month or so. Give it an honest effort and you'll see what I'm saying.

    Dave
    "Life's too short to play with dead strings"

  10. #10

    Default Thanks!

    I spent a good portion of the day working on my right (picking) hand.

    Not knowing any better, I held my pick with the point sticking straight out - like an extension of my fingers. Not only did this make for sloppy play, it prevented me from muting strings when needed.

    Now I've learned to hold the point at a 90 degree angle, and that has helped a ton. The thing that worries me a bit is learning another wrong way of doing it - never getting a smooth feel, or trying a bunch of different ways and never finding the correct way.

    I'll give the metronome idea a try while I practice my scales and keep an eye out for other methods and suggestions.

    Thanks again
    "If God didn't want us to eat animals He wouldn't have made them taste like meat."

    Paddy O' Furniture, Irish Philosopher.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    12,347
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    First off....you could always try using yur fingers and ditching the pick. Many players hardly use a pick and get plenty of speed and a wonderful tone.

    I would agree with every bit of advice given so far. I would emphasize a few.
    1) Your pick. When I was first learning I thought the thinnest picks would help you play the fastest but after many years I don't think that's true. After moving on to harder and harder picks I now use V-picks exclusively. They have zero give and are like greased lightening for me. Plus, when you use a light pick you have to take a bigger bite with your pick to get a louder sound where as with a stiff pick you can have a lighter touch and get a louder volume. As per the handshake example Red mentioned .... lighter touch means faster release and picking speed.

    2)If one hand is moving faster than the other you are not keeping time correctly. Use a metronome (there are very cheap electronic ones available) and practice with it. Set it for as fast as you can play, keeping both hands synched up. Keep it there for a week then move it up a bit. Do this each week for a month or two my guess is your left will keep up. Angelo speaks wisely, everything on the guitar needs to be perfected at a slower tempo before you move on....chord, leads, a new song etc. Play it slowly and correctly before you increase speed.

    3) I have never found the way I hold the pick to be something I focused on. I use my thumb and forefinger with the point of the pick inline with my index finger. If you drew a straight line down the middle of the last joint of my index finger it would end at the pointy part of the pick. I probably leave 1/4" to 3/8" of pick exposed but again I have never really thought much about this and others can jump in with their technique.

    Good luck and take your time. Think of what songs you want to learn to play and work up to their speeds. Unless your intending to shred or play speed metal there is no need to be superfast better to chose the right notes in a tuneful manner
    Too soon we grow old, too late we grow wise

    "I once played notes so fast that light emanated from the strings whereupon, I saw God.... who then told me to relax and start playing music."

    "You know, once you've had that guitar up so loud on the stage, where you can lean back and volume will stop you from falling backward, that's a hard drug to kick." David Gilmour

    Truefire Science Officer (dabgonit....where's my blue shirt!)

  12. #12

    Default Update!

    Just a quick update;

    I've been contemplating trying Vpicks for awhile now, and this thread pushed me over the top. I bought the starter pack and a couple of the premium picks...and by premium I mean the ridiculously thick ones - The Psycho I think it's called

    When I combined these picks with your guys' advice about syncing up my right and left hands, it made all the difference! Sometimes my left hand still tries to run away from the right, but I find that only takes a moment to correct it. And the thickness of the pick makes playing smoothly a bit easier since less movement is required to reach the next string.

    Anyhow, all is well!

    Thanks again for the help!
    "If God didn't want us to eat animals He wouldn't have made them taste like meat."

    Paddy O' Furniture, Irish Philosopher.

  13. #13

    Default

    > Sometimes my left hand still tries to run away from the right

    Another sign you're going too fast too soon.

    Use a metronome and find the speed that you can do it at with NO ERRORS at all. Now go about 20 BPM slower than that and write that speed down.

    Do it at that speed for a few DAYS with ZERO mistakes for like 10-15 minutes - you can do two or three exercises that are closely related for that amount of time if one is too boring. Fight the feeling that you're wasting your time playing this slowly. Get into it. Pay attention to small details - especially to whether your rhythm is right on. Forget about playing fast right now. It's actually as difficult (probably more) to play well at the very slow speeds as it is in the fast speeds. Mistakes stick out a lot more.

    After a few days if you are totally comfortable and can pretty much do it in your sleep, bump the speed A LITTLE (like 4 or 5 bpm).

    Repeat.

    It's counter intuitive, but the extended work you did at the super slow speeds over weeks, where you are able to pay attention to small details, is what's going to give you the faster speeds with little frustration later on.

    If you jump right to the fast, it's too quick for the brain to notice all the miniscule glitches and correct them. At fast speeds you're going on instinct.
    Last edited by peterk2; 01-01-2011 at 01:38 AM.

  14. #14

    Default

    Very nice post peterk2!
    *FAVORITE COURSE*



    *WORKING ON*



    A lack of effort will give you a lack of results. (PebberBrown)

    MY GEAR:
    Epiphone 2007 Les Paul Standard
    Ibanez AEF30E Acoustic/Electric
    Fender 2008 MIM Stratocaster
    Epiphone Studio 10s 19watt
    Line 6 Spider ll 30watt
    Yamaha CG172SF
    Digitech RP300A


  15. #15

    Red face Peterk2

    I am currently working on a sweep picking lick and I have never really been able to do sweep picking, but what you are saying is right in line with the way I have been told to work towards accomplishing this. I was told that it could take at least two week of practice before the speed builds up enough to make it start to sound like sweep picking. Good things do often take some time.
    Studying in Jeff Beasley's Sherpa Class, Shred Warehouse! Alumni of Steve Lasner's Bar Room Blues Workshop! Proverbs 17:22 says "A cheerful heart is good medicine..." So I must be overdosing.Eph. 4:31,32 I need to remember this every day.

  16. #16

    Default

    Hold your pick at a slight angle.

    Get a metronome and practice with it consistently.

    Keep the perspective, you are just STARTING this process...I think too many people get frustrated when trying to improve speed because they want a quick fix. Make this a ongoing focus for 2011 and you will have more success!
    Rock on!!!!

    DaveK

    The best things to do to improve your playing....

    1) Start and stop on the 1,3 and 5's
    2) Learn as many good beginnings and good endings as you can!
    3) Practice!

  17. #17

    Default Yep...

    Thanks again for help!


    I'm getting better and better at this and, like I mentioned before, I know exactly what to do to fix it it if I start getting choppy again. As was mentioned here, I have begun to angle my giant Vpick and it has helped a lot with my speed.

    All of this picking practice has helped with my precision, I'm not hitting the wrong strings as much and my muffling skills with both hands is getting better.
    "If God didn't want us to eat animals He wouldn't have made them taste like meat."

    Paddy O' Furniture, Irish Philosopher.

  18. #18

    Default

    I have terrible advice, but it's what worked for me. I played as fast as I could, as often as I could. My right hand was ahead of my left for a while, but I refused to give up. I had to be a shredder... So, I kept at it. Eventually, the hands synced up.

    At that point (~my 16th birthday), I had no patience for methods, metronomes or anything else. I just wanted to burn. So, relentless practice at high speed eventually worked out. I must have sounded horrible to my parents back then...

    I'd probably tell you to work with a metronome now, and move it up slowly, but there is some merit in the just let 'er rip approach...

    YMMV.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •