Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:13 pm Post subject: Picking Help!!
OK here is the deal, whe I try and speed something up or when I try and play fast I use the flick of the thumb technique where it's just your thumb and index finger doing the work and not only does it sound sloppy but it looks horrible and it's like I'm not in control of it, Michael Angelo says you are never going to get fast that way so I need to drastically change the way I pick but I don't know what to do, I looked in the mirror and tryed to change it but when I play something nice and slow everything is fine and dandy but when I speed up my flick of the thumb technique kicks in and I hate it!! someone please help me!!
Greg _________________ Guthrie Govan
Matthias IA Eklundh
All you need to do by the sounds of things is forget about playing fast, concentrate on playing everything clean and precise with good picking hand position. Then gradually build things up to speed over time. There is no other way im afraid.
Once you get the hang of things you'll feel more relaxed playing faster. Speed is a bi-product of accuracy.
Listen man, this dude is the number one wanker supreme.
First off, burn all his recordings & videos.
When you're done ....then we'll begin.
The problem with Mr. Angelo's technique is that it's limited to 'heavier' less rhythmical-syncopated lines. He relies on the body (pick-guard area) to mount his fingers as an anchor. This is great for 'chugging' on some chords, sweeping up and down, 'ripping' on one string or even shredding scalar lines across the fretboard but that's about it man! (Boring)
There have been many picking techniques and styles created by great players. The number of things you can do with a pick in combination with your fingers is endless. If you want to be able to 'pull-off' chops like the great guitar monsters that exist then investigate all avenues and take the direction your hands need.
Remember that not all hands are created equal! Have you ever seen Holdsworth or Vai’s paws!!!
(Have mercy lord on those less endowed!) Well, size and flexibility can also affect your picking hand.
Many hours of playing/practise are involved if you want to be fast, articulate, clean and musical.
A few simple exercises won’t do the ‘trick’.
Do you play drums or bass? I recommend that every guitar player learn to smash a few grooves.
If you can’t afford the ‘coin’ or can’t deal with the volume then buy a rubber practise pad, a stick control method book and some sticks. You will be blown away by the improvement of your picking hands overall performance and feel.
If you have access to a bass, learn to slap.
These are a few things you can do that aren’t associated with guitar strings. Which is good, since the hours of listening /picking and repetition involved in developing a serious right hand can drive you mental. So mix it up!
Sorry dude, although you are very lucky to be studying in this day and age there is no magic method!
If you’re serious…
What lies ahead of you should be fun…
Research all the heavy pickers and pluckers. The Internet should allow you access to all their tunes, transcriptions, lessons and live performances. Listening to these guys is as important as ‘lifting’ their chops. Don’t forget, you are what you eat! So make some compilation discs and start listening to great guitar players of all styles. I would recommend listening to piano, bass, drummers and horn players too.
A list of some guitar players to check out:
Steve Morse, Carl Verheyen, Brett Garsed, Kevin Eubanks, Lorne Lofsky, Greg Howe, Allan Holdsworth, Jason Becker, Joe Pass, Marty Friedman, Frank Gambale, Robin Ford, Paul Gilbert, Stanley Jordan, Chet Atkins, Tony MacAlpine, Danny Gatton, Steve Vai, Wayne Krantz, Shawn Lane, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Lee, Yngwie Malmsteen, Pat Metheny, Jeff Beck, Dimebag Darrell, Al DiMeola, Wes Montgomery, Scott Henderson, John McLaughlin, Lenny Breau, Eric Johnson, and Mark Knopfler.
I’m sure there are many more players that deserve mentioning but these are some of the ones I found useful in developing my moogoo-guy-pan hand.
Now this might seem like an overwhelming task. Eh? Man! It takes time.
It should take the average person (I.Q.= 70-120) 5-10 years to develop total picking control. (With proper guidance) So begin today!
It’s very important to keep in mind …practise does not make perfect. Perfect practise makes perfect.
Picking other peoples licks/chops is not useful unless you apply it to the ‘Grand Scale System. (Major Modes & Arpeggios) >>(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, consider taking a few lessons from your local guitar guru.) Don’t forget to acquire some jam tracks because practising without any rhythm or chordal structure can be damaging in the early stages of guitar-hood. Ultimately, you should be able to hear the changes in your head… but until that happens… stick to jam tracks. (Metronomes can become irritating but yet an excellent tool.)
It’s not that important to learn all the licks these players pump out. Your goal should be to discover how their techniques are applied to the harmonic content. (scales/modes and arpeggios) Try using a number system 1-7 for naming scale degrees if you’re not that quick with the letter names. Which should be easy to do if you’ve mapped out the entire fret board using the grand scale.
Learning licks note for note can be stressful for some folks. You don’t have to! It’s actually better to borrow the ideas and recreate your own compositions and lines. *Don’t forget to play these ideas over as many keys as possible. Attempting transpositions of new information to all twelve keys on a daily basis might cause permanent mental damage. So instead, apply these techniques to the tunes you’re already familiar with. This is always a good approach.
Obviously you should mix up your picking routine. Try playing all your chops at 3 speeds. (i.e: 80-100-120 bpm) Change the starting point of the first note in relation to the beat. Explore different note groupings per beat. (i.e: 1 =quarter, 2=eighth, 3=Triplet, 4 =sixteenth >>>5,6,7,8,9) ***Practise all combinations.
If you ‘get-off’ on odd meters and phrasing then look for a book on South Indian drumming and study the syllabus. The South Indian approach to percussion is far more advanced then the conventional western system. It will teach you how to vocalize your musical lines resulting in greater rhythmic skills.
(Maintaining a productive technique-building routine is important so don’t focus all your time in one area. Keep expanding and re-hashing.)
The players listed above offer a variety of picking techniques; Alternate, Hybrid, Economy, Sweeping, Raking, Thumb & Finger Plucking, Slapping, Circular, Flat, Locked Wrist, Anchored, Floating, Back Bowed, Front Angled etc.
If you really want to develop ‘chops from hell’ you’ll want to absorb (listen, learn and play) all of these styles/techniques on your guitar.
I do not really favour any particular guitar player since they all have so much to offer.
Learn and borrow their ideas to develop the style you hear in your head or just enjoy the ride and let the styles mould you!
I think I’ve typed waaaaaay too much so I’ll chill now.
I hope some of this information is useful…
Good luck and be patient!
Last edited by DonGa on Tue Nov 30, 2004 6:58 am; edited 5 times in total
Greg, it sounds like you are most interested in diagnosing the "mechanical" aspects of picking. I have a couple of suggestions that have helped me get more precision and speed (though I still have a long way to go):
1) Have a look at Guthrie's discussion in the alternate picking chapter of Creative Guitar 2. He has some good points about what techniques work best for most players, but also points out that there are a lot of great players who are exceptions to the rules
2) I may get flamed for this, but... you might want to buy Frank Gambale's "Chopbuilder" DVD. It is basically an hour of picking exercises that has a lot of theory tossed in (all the shapes for the major, melodic minor and harmonic minor modes). The idea is that you sit and watch this thing 2-3 times per week and play along at tempo. A lot of the exercises are challenging and you're guaranteed to improve your picking finesse. I view this as one component of a practice regime: it's entirely mechanical (no "feel"), but having these moves available in your fingers can open up a lot of avenues for expression. Oh yeah, the techniques in the DVD are timeless, but not so for the 80's fashion (think orange boots, big hair and leather) or the busty woman who play air guitar and do a silly intro to each "Round" of exercises. Ignore that stuff and focus on the lessons.
Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:53 pm Post subject: Picking
I have been reading thru and tho this is very interesting, I think the subject of matter here was not covered in depth. The initial subject was what to do when you have bad playing habits that get in the way of your improvement? This is not about developing good picking technique from scratch, it´s about fixing something wrong. I have gone thru that (In fact it´s an ongoing thing) and it´s the most difficult thing I´ve ever done in the guitar after almost 12 years of playing.
I used to play from my elbow. I would lock my wrist and move my elbow when trying to play fast. I know, sounds stupid, but it developed on its own. When I eventually got better, I started trying to play faster runs, which would lead me to tense up my hand extremely, even to the point where my fingers hurt. I understood that could not be right. I then started paying attention to my favorite players. Also, I wanted to achieve a position that looked good and felt good. To me, the best right hand position is that of Paul Gilbert. I started looking at the way he did things and really started playing all exercises slow, paying extremely close attention at playing from my wrist (you have no idea how tough and depressing that is). At times I would feel like I had no idea about playing guitar and it was soooo frustrating... But with PATIENCE and a tight method, I can say after 1 whole year I play 95% of what I do from the wrist and not tensing anymore. It was tough, but well worth it.
I recommend watching PG´s first two videos and really paying attention at what he´s saying. It´s amazing. All of it is right there.
Thanks _________________ "Living comes much easier once we accept we´re dying"
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