developing downpicking speed, how to?


GuitarPsy
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GuitarPsy
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10/11/2011 11:26 am
let me start out with saying I'm not really into asking help, since most of the time it can be fixed with lot's of effort, time and the will not to give up

and here comes the but; I've been trying to train my downpicking speed for the last months and I don't seem to get anywhere. My wrist locks up after about five to ten seconds of playing faster downpicking riffs like Master of Puppets, my shoulder is tensing up and my steady rhythm is nowhere to be found, even if I start off right.

I've been trying to train my downpicking motion to be smaller, so it's more efficient and faster, but that makes it even worse.

my question is obvious I guess, how to train a steady tension-free downpicking technique? does it just involve playing with a metronome and increasing the speed as you go as long as it feels comfortable? or is it also about how you hold your pick? how you turn your wrist? how to position your arm?

and now for the funny reason I got so frustrated; look at this girl (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2IRyXzDOsA&feature=feedlik), I mean she's seriously shoving my dignity up my *censored* and she's 19 years old with 5 years of playing :p that makes you think, doesn't it ;)

thanks in advance for anyone who can give me advice on how to get my dignity back :D
= good music is good drinking =
# 1
SunKing1
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SunKing1
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10/14/2011 12:05 am
Hi, I have just a couple of words for you: alternate picking...

If you watch this girl's video closely (yeah, she rocks big time) you'll see that on the really fast passages she's doing it.

Other than that, while you progress with your downpicking technique I'd suggest that you try something easier than Metallica trash songs. I don't know how long you've been playing but I know for sure Hammett wasn't born playin´ MOP :P
Patience...

I may also recommend that you do some muscle stretching before and after playing. It will help you avoid extra tension and prevent damages on your health.
# 2
GuitarPsy
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GuitarPsy
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10/14/2011 10:53 am
Hi, thanks for your reply :)

I've been playing for 8 years and although I wouldn't call myself a good guitar player I can play some songs and with all those songs I use alternative picking, until I realized the big difference in sound when using downpicking, hence the will to learn to play like that

I haven't thought about stretching though, sounds logical to me actually :p thnx for the tip!
= good music is good drinking =
# 3
James.Erickson
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James.Erickson
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10/28/2011 11:38 pm
The first impression I get of you my friend is that you for the most part KNOW what to do, but get frustrated in the seeming lack of progress in the actual execution of it. You know that tension is bad. You know you need to play to a metronome, you know that you need to have a smaller picking motion, but there are a lot of things that still elude you in the working out of those things. This is the exact reason that even I as a guitar teacher myself have a guitar teacher, because there is always a hidden dimension of things we do not know that through road blocks in front of practically doing what we do know. Even Beethoven (musical genius extraodinaire) had a music teacher and a piano teacher for a good portion of his career! So if you need it, do not feel "cheapened" by getting a teacher, it will only add wisdom to you (and results). By the look of the girl playing in the video (doing awesome, very rare find a female rocking out like that!) she probably has or had a teacher, which would explain the prodigious progress in a relatively small amount of time. I know you said that you are not into asking for help, which shows that you are a "can do" kind of person, which is good, but last time I checked, no one knows everything and it is more often that which we don't know what hinders our progress.

Sorry for the block-o-text, but just focus on attempting to apply one of the musical principles at a time such as: remaining tension free, or timing, etc. You can alternate practicing the different aspects of your playing, but you must focus on one at a time in order to see progress.

www.jamesericksonmusic.com
# 4
GuitarPsy
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GuitarPsy
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10/30/2011 9:56 am
Mr. Erickson have we met? :p your description was spot on and clearly described too as if you've known me for years! (or unless you did a thorough psychological study!)
I realized it wasn't only with downpicking, but picking/strumming overall and of course my frustrating nature isn't really helping in that aspect. I've discussed this with a guitar teacher I've know for some time now and we've agreed to start evaluating all the basics first, starting by my picking technique and progressing from there.

thanks for putting that mirror in front of me and pointing out where the real problems lies!

maybe, just maybe, I'll someday understand how someone as Tosin Abasi can play as if it's as effortless as brushing your teeth! if you're unfamiliar with Tosin Abasi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZf655y29MQ&feature=fvwrel enjoy ;)
= good music is good drinking =
# 5
Ryan Tunis
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Ryan Tunis
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11/03/2011 10:51 pm
If you want to increase your downstroke. Practice your upstrokes and shorten your range of motion.

You can only pick as fast as you can recoil. If your hand is slower at getting back to the position you need to be in to perform the downstroke, you will only be able to downstroke so fast. I would suggest practice ONLY upstrokes for a while when practicing. In time you willl notice your downstrokes to become quicker.

To decrease your range of motion, watch your picking hand and see how far your pick goes past the string after you hit it. Practice minimizing that distance and your downstrokes will get faster.

Hope this helps.
# 6
gdengelbrecht
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gdengelbrecht
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03/23/2012 8:38 pm
Originally Posted by: GuitarPsylet me start out with saying I'm not really into asking help, since most of the time it can be fixed with lot's of effort, time and the will not to give up

and here comes the but; I've been trying to train my downpicking speed for the last months and I don't seem to get anywhere. My wrist locks up after about five to ten seconds of playing faster downpicking riffs like Master of Puppets, my shoulder is tensing up and my steady rhythm is nowhere to be found, even if I start off right.

I've been trying to train my downpicking motion to be smaller, so it's more efficient and faster, but that makes it even worse.

my question is obvious I guess, how to train a steady tension-free downpicking technique? does it just involve playing with a metronome and increasing the speed as you go as long as it feels comfortable? or is it also about how you hold your pick? how you turn your wrist? how to position your arm?

and now for the funny reason I got so frustrated; look at this girl (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2IRyXzDOsA&feature=feedlik), I mean she's seriously shoving my dignity up my *censored* and she's 19 years old with 5 years of playing :p that makes you think, doesn't it ;)

thanks in advance for anyone who can give me advice on how to get my dignity back :D

I know your frustration and it also took me many many years to play Master of Puppets up to speed.

One thing that helped me was doing the same song but with upstrokes. This builds speed and endurance.

I also did some speed bursts at faster speeds but did fewer bars to get the feeling of the speed by it self.
# 7
David Bereuther
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David Bereuther
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03/24/2012 11:37 pm
Also, of course, you can do all the "normal" things like slowing it down, then build up, always watch for less tension and smaller movements, be patient and keep on working. You can do it! ;)
# 8
Jahan Honma
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Jahan Honma
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04/18/2012 9:12 am
I think the most FUN way to go about it would be to play a song whose tempo is right at your highest speed of down picking and play that whole song for a while then find a song that's just a little bit faster and practice that one until you can do it.

But that said, alternate is REALLY the way to go in my opinion.
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# 9
Douglas Showalter
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Douglas Showalter
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04/24/2012 10:03 pm
Originally Posted by: GuitarPsy does it just involve playing with a metronome and increasing the speed as you go as long as it feels comfortable? or is it also about how you hold your pick? how you turn your wrist? how to position your arm?


Metronome use it the best thing to help with this. Start with a tempo you are comfortable with, and move up slowly in tempo in your routine until you hit your wall. Even if it's only in small increments of tempo, those little bits are really helping. Once you start to feel that discomfort stop practicing and come back the next day and see how you have progressed. It's very much a weightlifter type of approach.
Douglas Showalter
# 10

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