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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-22-2011, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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Seeking alternate picking advice

Hey guys,

I decided to post a video of myself trying to exercise some alternate picking. The goal of the video is to really show my problems and maybe take the word from more experienced players (you) to maybe point me in the right direction

Any thoughts much appreciated!! Thanks for taking the time to read and watch!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOrolgJUR70
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-23-2011, 01:58 AM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by mindwalker View Post
Hey guys,

I decided to post a video of myself trying to exercise some alternate picking. The goal of the video is to really show my problems and maybe take the word from more experienced players (you) to maybe point me in the right direction

Any thoughts much appreciated!! Thanks for taking the time to read and watch!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOrolgJUR70
I don't know dude, nobody gave me advise on alternate picking. I pretty much just listened to my old McLaughlin and Di Meola tapes until I got close to what they sounded like. However, even with guys like McLaughlin, Di Meola, Malmsteen, et.al, not every note is picked, and there's a certain degree of economy picking involved. I suggest trying to emulate players who specialize in this type of picking technique, and more than likely, they are older veterans from the 70's and 80's. Nowadays, a vast majority of Rock AND Fusion players use more legato than alternate picking, which is why guys like McLaughlin, Di Meola and John (Dr Hotlicks) Taylor have more of the "machine-gun" effect than hardcore legato players...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGT8SKLD1U4

Last edited by TheTranslator; 09-23-2011 at 02:35 AM.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-23-2011, 02:54 AM
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-23-2011, 04:19 PM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

This is probably personal preference, but I really don't find the first exercise you demonstrated helpful. To me, chromatic scales are good for building left hand strength, but not so good for alternate picking. I've found that diatonic scales in three note per string patterns are much more helpful. In addition to being great for alternate picking, this also helps in learning/memorizing scales. Plus, you're practicing in key, so it's easier on the ears.

Here's a excerpt from a Paul Gilbert instructional video from the '80s where he demonstrates what I'm taking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4mICKaTHL0
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-23-2011, 05:24 PM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

The Gilbert video is great, well worth buying for speed tips and lots of other info. Big thing to watch is how little his right hand moves when he's really laying into it. That's very key for playing fast, small precise movements and staying close to the string.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-23-2011, 10:27 PM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

I see a few things going on that could make playing fast difficult for you.
The right hand is not the hardest part of playing fast. If you can pick one note fast up and down steadily, you can do it.
First off if you are using 9s for strings, that will slow you down, they bounce out of the way when picking fast. Try using a pick in the 1.0 range plus or minus a bit won't hurt. The real problem for most people is over picking, picking faster than the left hand is moving. Another big don't I've seen a lot of is left hand positioning problems, I think this is your issue. I see your thumb on top of the neck almost all of the time. Try putting the flat pad of your thumb behind your first finger when playing leads or licks. The thumb should move up and down towards the floor and ceiling as you first finger changes strings, staying right behind it on the neck pointing up. Also, bend your wrist and bring your hand away from yourself putting more of your hand on the other side of the fretboard. This will allow your fingers to come almost straight at the fretboard. I see you pulling your pinky far away from the fretboard when you are not using it, that is not good for speed. You want to keep your fingers close to the strings when they are waiting for the next note, don't straighten them out like that, keep them clawed and ready for action. Well that is enough for now, see if any of my tips help and feel free to ask questions if this is not clear enough. Most of all, have fun!
Sebastian
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 12:01 AM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

First off, I'll +100 any reference to a Paul Gilbert instructional DVD. His vids have really helped me break some barriers down. Now, one thing I saw in the first few minutes of your clip was a lot of thumb and index finger movement from your picking hand. It sticks out to me because my teacher used to really bust me on that. It's not effective when going for "economy of motion", which is a big part of picking fast, accurate lines. Pick from the wrist, and try to minimize that thumb and index finger movement. I had to sit, and watch my picking hand as I played to try and de-program that movement. I'm no expert by any means, but I did see that, and recognized it immediately as something that I had to overcome to move on to bigger, ( and faster ) things. Just my .02....
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 09:08 AM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

Mindwalker.. kudos to you for being brave enough to post a video and ask for critique!

I think that the chromatic exercises are great for not only working out picking motion without having to worry about scale position or staying in key.. I also think they are EXTREMELY valuable for getting both your hands in synch with each other.. if you're hands don't synch up, its no good from the start.
I'd also suggest keeping the metronome speeds slower.. making sure you warm up thoroughly first and then start with the metronome during your picking practice.. the key is that whatever you do, be as consistent as possible.. always do things the same whenever possible.. this avoids sending mixed messages to the muscle.. ex: how you finger a particular pattern or whether you start a particular thing on an up or down stroke.. consistentcy is key.. you want to build muscle recall so that these things become second nature.. a reaction.. so you're not thinking about it.. it just happens.. and that will be the result of slow.. RELAXED.. consistent practice.
Stay relaxed.. whenever you find yourself tensing up.. relax.. if you can't or you're becoming mentally fatigued or frustrated.. take a break.. being loose and fluid is also key to becoming speedy.
I also have a personal rule when trying to reach a certain speed with any given thing.. I will not allow myself to move to a faster setting/bpm unless I can play the passage 4 times clean and in time at the bpm setting I'm working at.. when I can pull it off clean 4 times.. then I will allow myself to move to the next faster setting.
If there's any other help I could offer.. please don't hesitate to post.. mail or pm me.
Hope some of this advice helps.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

wow guys! thanks a lot!! lots of good info here! Really watching that Paul Gilbert video... his right hand is so clean and his picking comes from the wrist... I notice that many times when I try to go from slow to quickly fast my right hand tenses up and I'm in fact not picking from the wrist anymore but from the arm..

having the left hand fingers closer to the board.... another thing to keep in mind

going to also try other pick sizes... maybe that will make a little difference!

hopefully in the next couple of months I will be on my way to a better technique
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by mindwalker View Post
wow guys! thanks a lot!! lots of good info here! Really watching that Paul Gilbert video... his right hand is so clean and his picking comes from the wrist... I notice that many times when I try to go from slow to quickly fast my right hand tenses up and I'm in fact not picking from the wrist anymore but from the arm..

having the left hand fingers closer to the board.... another thing to keep in mind

going to also try other pick sizes... maybe that will make a little difference!

hopefully in the next couple of months I will be on my way to a better technique
Thicker gauge picks are more common for alternate picking speed. I currently use Dunlop 1.5. I've tried Pickboy rainbow 1.5, but the small shape hampered my rhythm playing. The Paul Gilbert vid was impressive; I might try to learn from it myself. However, I suggest doing the exercises clean like you were doing, but with minimal to no effects, or on an acoustic, as in the Al Di Meola vid. If you can't sound super-fast on the clean channel ala Pat Methany, or on acoustic like Di Meola, McLaughlin or Bireli Lagrene, high-gain shredding means nothing.

BTW, are you playing an Ibanez RG920QM?!? If so, does it have pretty low action with minimal buzz?!? Sorry to go off topic, but I'm thinking of ordering one tomorrow

Last edited by TheTranslator; 09-26-2011 at 07:05 PM.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 12:37 AM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

From what i saw, your thumb and first finger are messing up your picking. try your best to make sure it's only your wrist that's doing the picking work, not your fingers.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

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Originally Posted by 6fingers View Post
DING DING!!!
and watch some PG vids on youtube..he is the alt picking machine!
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2011, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

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Originally Posted by TheTranslator View Post
BTW, are you playing an Ibanez RG920QM?!? If so, does it have pretty low action with minimal buzz?!? Sorry to go off topic, but I'm thinking of ordering one tomorrow
Hey man! It's not an RG920QM, it's an RG3120 from 2003 (?).. got it second hand!

I think pretty much any Ibanez can have low action with minimum buzz. This RG3120 I set it up myself with about 1.7mm-1.8mm on low E and 1.3-1.4 mm on High E. Lower than that and it starts to get buzz and the sustain degrades

I didn't really gauge the distance precisely but on the high E it must definitely be less than 1.5 cause my Jazz III scratches the string if placed in between with the fret wire. The low E is higher but not much more..
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

There are exceptions to the heavy guage pick thing.. Paul Gilbert has been using .60mm orange Dunlop Tortex regulars for the past several years and says he prefers the tone of the thinner pick.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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Re: Seeking alternate picking advice

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Originally Posted by mindwalker View Post
Hey man! It's not an RG920QM, it's an RG3120 from 2003 (?).. got it second hand!

I think pretty much any Ibanez can have low action with minimum buzz. This RG3120 I set it up myself with about 1.7mm-1.8mm on low E and 1.3-1.4 mm on High E. Lower than that and it starts to get buzz and the sustain degrades
Wow, it seems that a lot of Ibanez models recycle themselves as different versions. The flamed top/veneer on your RG3120 Prestige, as well as the offset dot inlays, are identical to the RG920 Premium I ordered yesterday.

I agree, most Ibanez can be set with low action - with a few exceptions.

The EGEN8 has very high action, and unacceptable buzz occurs when lowered. I think I'll chose to get used to the high action instead of trading it in, since it does have a fairly good sound. Anyway, good luck with the alternate picking

Last edited by TheTranslator; 09-28-2011 at 11:19 AM.
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