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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2012, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Scotland, UK
Posts: 61
FAO Fast alternate pickers


I've recently been trying to improve my speed when alternate picking as I feel that speed is where Im lagging with my playing. I have always alternate picked and I have no problems with doing it, the problem is getting some decent kind of speed up.

Two weeks ago I decided to religiously stick to a picking routine with my metronome and I decided to start with various sextuplet exercises with the metronome set at 60bpm so it was slow enough to feel if there was any muscle tension and make my movements as minimal as possible.
I work shifts and I have been doing a minimum of 1 hour a day on constant picking exercises such as scales,fragments and single string exercises mostly based on petrucci and gilbert exercises.
A lot of the exercises I'm doing im repeating for a minute and moving straight to the next with no rest.
On week 1 I stayed at 60bpm, week 2 I moved to 65bpm and today (week 3) I moved to 70bpm.
Today I felt that I couldnt keep the exercises constant and had to keep shaking the tension out my forearm,(I was hoping a week at 65bpm would set me up for 70bpm with no issues)
I could do it but I fatigued before a minute for most of the exercises.

My routine used to consist of upping the bpm slightly every few minutes and playing in short bursts (sextuplets upto about 90bpm but not continuous) but Im now trying to stay at a certain speed for a week as explained.

Do you think its a good idea to stay at 1 speed for 7 days before upping the bpm, Im thinking it will stop me from cranking up the bpm and getting sloppy.

Is it normal to have slight tension in the picking forearm as I feel my forearm gets slightly pumped or should I slow down the bpm again and relax more??

I am now standing doing these exercises as I was getting tension in my picking shoulder which I couldnt shake off unless I rested the guitar on my left leg, I am also unplugged doing these exercises, is that ok?

Sorry for the long post but i wanted to explain it clearly lol
nick01 is offline  
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2012, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: TN
Posts: 589
Re: FAO Fast alternate pickers

Best advice I can give is this, take it slow and stay comfortable.If youtense up and continue playing that way you could hurt yourself.you could try some stretching and loosening exercises prior to practicing so you start out comfortable.
plus as much as a lot of players want to be insanely fast asap, remember you gotta
learn to walk before you can run.so just take your time with it.
Just my $.02
Boombatty is offline  
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Miami. FL
Posts: 15
Re: FAO Fast alternate pickers

I prefer to practice an exercise for several minutes, feel comfortable, bump it up 2bpm, get comfy, back it up one, up 2, etc. Once I get bored (after a few bumps) I change to something else. Maybe come back later that session but slower than I finished at. The next day I start over but maybe 1-2bpms faster than I started the day before. Def. don't just play at your top speed from last session, I became really sloppy and had to go way back.
sukittrebek is offline  
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 08:58 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 2,604
Reviews: 10
Re: FAO Fast alternate pickers

be very careful man - you are describing the onset of a RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury), which can be serious and lingering and hard to recover from. As per Boombatty's post, make sure you are doing the proper stretching exercies prior and if starts to hurt then stop... simple stretching exercises here: http://www.guitarlessons365.com/esse...or-guitarists/
doriangrey is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 02:51 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 205
Re: FAO Fast alternate pickers

I feel ye dude ,.I went through a time when my hand and fingers would go so numb they wouldnt work ,.this was a real nusance for several years then it just went away ,.guess I was lucky ,..

so dont stress too much,. dorians streches are a real good thing , and keep it up ,.
hope it gets better mate
cheers T
Tommy Deluciano is offline  
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-14-2012, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 2,349
Reviews: 11
Re: FAO Fast alternate pickers

Make sure you stretch..... But as far as your method, I've had a lot of personal progress that way, I preach that method as much as I can
Bryancap77 is offline  
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-14-2012, 07:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Melbourne, FL 32940
Posts: 3,348
Re: FAO Fast alternate pickers

Play 10s and use a pick around 1mm thinck.
I can't shred with 9s very well or floppy picks.
sebastian is offline  
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Scotland, UK
Posts: 61
Re: FAO Fast alternate pickers

Thanks for all the replys.

I'm still trying to put in as much time to this as I can, thats me into week 4 now and Ive been doing this for a minimum of 1 hour per day, Ive managed 3 hours today so far.
I find that I still need to start at 60bpm and I then up the bpm a couple of clicks every 15 minutes or so till I feel comfortable. However when the bpm reaches 70 to mid 70's my sextuplets are in short bursts and not continuous, I can "sometimes" keep the stamina for a few minutes about 66-68 bpm however I wasnt sure if thats much improvement in 4 weeks or am I expecting to much??
I was kind of hoping to play continuous sextuplets at 66-68 by now without going through the whole 60-62-64 bpm etc

Thanks again
nick01 is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 10:53 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 18
Re: FAO Fast alternate pickers

keep you right hand as relaxed as possible and work on licks in 5 min sets.
i also find picking close to the bridge helps check the video for a quick demo

chris9 is offline  
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 01:44 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: cali
Posts: 12
Re: FAO Fast alternate pickers

you have a good method...just don't overdo it to the point of injury....have you considered those stubby jazz pics?try them...they provide a short but smooth attack not saying that will build speed but it's less strenous than a lofty and heavier pic for practice...
euphoria420 is offline  
post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 03:03 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Blighty
Posts: 60
Reviews: 6
Re: FAO Fast alternate pickers

I would agree with everything here, but add that it may take a long time to increase your speed and also it may come all of a sudden (learning curve/plateau etc). Don't forget that resting is also good as muscles and tendons rebuild. You would run a marathon everyday without hurting yourself!
Also remember that speed isn't everything, yes its great to have a good technique but making music should be the end result and sometimes enough technique to make your musical statement is all the technique you need
stratcat69 is offline  

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