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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

Has anyone had any problems with their picking hand/arm as far as positioning is concerned while alternate picking ?

I typically have my hand rested on the bridge (same position as for palm muting, but i move my hand forward slightly if want to have muted sounds vs clean sounds), and for a lot of the things that I play, it works fine.
However, when i play scales across more then 3 strings, my timing goes completely wrong, since it 'feels' like my pick got stuck on a previous string, or I completely miss the string i'm trying to hit, hence totally throwing off my right/left hand sync.

I have plenty of time to practice etc, I just want to make sure i practice right, not learn wrong techniques (hence wasting time having to unlearn them and then relearning again).

String changing between 2 strings is pretty flawless as well. I don't want to get stuck only being able to play fast alternate picking on 1 or 2 strings and not being able to run up and down the strings (i don't like to be limited).

Let me know if you need more info and I'll gladly provide it.
 

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My picking technique looks like a mix between Al DiMeola's and Andy Timmon's.

Try practicing scales to a metronome, slowly, so that you build up muscle memory. In fact, I haven't done this lately, and I can feel my muscles tensing up when I play. I need to start practicing chops again!

Anyways, I've found that rest your wrist on the bridge like you say is great, but have the movement come from your THUMB. Yngwie also does something similar to this. I have the movement come from my thumb/index finger, and a slight bit from my wrist, and that's it. I barely move, meaning that my wrist is always palm muting to some degree, keeping everything nice and tidy. My problem is that I've been studying jazz lately, and you can't play jazz licks like this; there should be no palm muting. So like I said before, my picking chops are in a rut. Kinda sucks.

I suggest picking up Petrucci's "Rock Discipline" and locking yourself in a room with nothing but a metronome, porn, and beef jerky for a couple weeks. You'll emerge with a highly developed right arm!:D
Smitty
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
haha, I might just do that smitty.
Thanks everyone for the advise, I'll keep on practicing and try to work out the kinks.
 

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I don't think there is one 'right' way to pick, otherwise every shredder would pick exactly the same. You need to work out how you pick the best, be it with the wrist, with the thumb or with more of the arm and with what hand position. For example Paul Gilbert is fairly unusual in that he picks with a 'floating' hand - (i.e. unanchored) and entirely from the wrist, but then you have guys like Petrucci who rest their pinky below the strings and use a bit of elbow as well as wrist. Totally different approaches, but both had successful results.

To work out what works for you, just play one note on one string and pick as fast as you possibly can, then take this exact movement, slow it right down and stick with it. Use the same motion for crossing strings, but do it slow, then over time you will be able to build on it until you reach your absolute maximum - the same speed you could pick that single note. That's the key - having the same motion for playing slow as you do fast, it doesn't really matter what that motion is as long as it works for you.
 

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Another related topic is the pick angle, which also has a dramatic impact on tone. I've seen many guitarists hold the pick at a 45º angle pointed towards the floor, but I have never been able to play that way... I've always been comfortable with the exact opposite, 45º pointed towards the ceiling.

Recently, for the first time, I experimented by forcing myself to point the pick towards the floor and realized it was working out better for sweep picking and pinched harmonics.

Anyone else notice these differences?
 

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i do a combination, angled slightly down if im starting with a downpick, to slightly upwards once im changing strings alternate picking
 

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I think that the pick angle just comes with your chosen position. Trying to change it is just trying to change what you naturally do.
Smitty
 
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