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Thread: Questions on EricV's picking article

  1. #1
    Registered User The Pecker's Avatar
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    Questions on EricV's picking article

    After a few months of absence from this website, I returned to solve a problem that I have with my right hand. For just over two months, I've been trying to get past sixtuplets at 95 BPM. Currently, I am anchoring with my right hand palm just above the low E string, while anchoring with my pinky finger below the high E. In Eric's article "Mailbag: Picking ..." (I cant remember the exact name), he talks about changing one's right hand technique to increase speed and accuracy. He said that he was anchoring his right hand palm, but couldn't get past sixtuplets at 90 BPM. After reading his article, I've been experimenting with different picking techniques. Eric said that to see how fast a certain method is working, pick a single string as fast as possible. With my current technique, I can pick sixtuplets at about 110 fluently, but only switch strings and so forth at about 95. I've tried pure floating, but I can't even pick a single string worth crap. I tried floating, but then anchoring with my pinky finger, and I could pick a single string around 115 fluently. In his article, Eric said that when he found his new technique, he could pick a single string REALLY fast. I've tried four different techniques, and nothing I have found has made a real increase in speed on just a single string. I've been playing about six years, but only started to actually take it seriously about a year ago. I use a metronome whenever I practice, and I've never been stuck at the same speed for more than a few weeks. Its been almost three months, and I can't get past 95 BPM sixtuplets! Very frustrating!

    Overall, my questions are:

    Has anybody else had to change their right hand technique after years of playing with a certain one, and how did you change?

    Does anybody have some insight that they could give me on what techniques I should give a try, or how I could possibly slightly modify mine to work?

  2. #2
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    Hey there!

    I feel you man, been there myself, but I was stuck on 16-notes at 112bpm lol!

    Yes, I changed my right hand technique from a very, very, very inefficient one to the one I'm now using. I always anchor with my pinky, and most often the third and fourth finger as well, and I pick mainly from the wrist. This is kinda useless information for you cause you need to find your own motion but you asked so xD

    The problem with chaning your techniqe is that you need some time to get comfortable with the new one before you can actually jugde if it's better or worse than your old one. I really don't know what to say to you I'm afraid. Just keep the motion as small as possible, avoid pain and keep working on it. It will get better, it's just a matter of time.

    Cheers and good luck.
    Why do today what you can leave for tomorrow? Hidden Content

  3. #3
    Registered User The Pecker's Avatar
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    Its actually not useless to know that you anchor with your pinky and ring finger. I was actually wondering that myself since I started anchoring with my pinky and ring finger when I was floating my hand, and I was wondering if anybody else does that just out of curiosity.

    Total, I've probably played floating-hand anchoring with pinky (a new technique to me) around 5-6 hours. How long of practicing did it take you to realize that your new technique was better than your old one? After slowing down with your new technique, how long did it take you to be as fast as your old one accurately?

  4. #4
    Ya-Yo-Gak Heyjoe87's Avatar
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    I was going to post a simular question "I angle my pick slightly downward when I pick and upward when I upstroke but can only go so fast." Eric V is a pimp he'll probably explain it best. !@#$...I wish Tom Hess would go in these forums too. He knows everything when it comes from little things to big things in technique.
    Last edited by Heyjoe87; 07-23-2008 at 06:30 AM.

  5. #5
    Registered User The Pecker's Avatar
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    Does anybody know what Yngwie's picking technique is like? I've studied it, and I think that he is floating his wrist, but anchoring with his pinky and ring finger. It seems like thats working out for him pretty good. Anyone know the details on his right hand technique?

  6. #6
    Inhumanly Fast Shred God
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Pecker
    Does anybody know what Yngwie's picking technique is like? I've studied it, and I think that he is floating his wrist, but anchoring with his pinky and ring finger. It seems like thats working out for him pretty good. Anyone know the details on his right hand technique?
    Yngwie's right hand pretty much rests on the bridge and the picking motion comes from the wrist and the fingers. Watch closely to his instructional stuff, it's pretty easy to see. With picking technique, you should be thinking about how your playing sounds and the things you want to play. The rest is just practice. For example, if you want to play country music, you need to change from normal picking to hybrid picking pretty quickly and let strings ring out as much as possible so a logical answer would be to use a close-handed picking hand. And in metal music, you often need to dampen all of the notes, except the ones you are playing, so open picking hand helps to mute all the strings.

    To the question about to float or not to float: If it makes you sound better, makes the things you play easier to execute and doesn't tense you up, then go for it. If it doesn't, think of something else. You can play anything with any hand position and pick angle and pick etcetcetc. It's just down to practice and listening what your playing sounds like.

  7. #7
    itzfast
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    Changed Picking Technique

    I changed my picking technique back in 2006 and it wasn't as daunting a task as I thought it would be. I changed from the anchored approach to floating. A lot of people change their picking technique because they think doing so will enable them to achieve their goals faster. As if that was going to get you from playing 16th notes at 140 BPM"s to 200 BPM's overnight. My experience was that when I finally got comfortable with the floating technique my speed neither increased or decreased. I then realized that the brutal truth was I needed to be more disciplined and practice more. My advice is that you find approach you're comfortable with and stick with it. Don't jump around and go back to playing the anchored way and then back to the floating technique as that will impede your progress. What is important is that you are comfortable with the approach and it shouldn't take long to figure that out, maybe a week if that. If you're not comfortable with the new way, then do go back to your former way of picking whether it be anchored or floating approach.

    My opinion is that a lot of what works for people has much to do with their wrist size. I notice many guys who have short and large wrist like Danny Gatton, tend to do well with the anchored approach where as guys with small wrists and long arms like Paul Gilbert take to the floating approach very easily when they try it. Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by itzfast View Post
    My experience was that when I finally got comfortable with the floating technique my speed neither increased or decreased. I then realized that the brutal truth was I needed to be more disciplined and practice more.
    I think that's generally true, and it's the bottom line for most players/students.

    Ie the most important thing is serious practice. And by "serious" I mean not only putting in the time (at least a couple of hours picking practice every day), but also thinking carefully about how you are picking, watching & listening all the time for mistakes, and working out how to correct the mistakes effectively.

    Over the past year I had a couple of students who wanted to learn fast alternate picking, and the mistake they both made was unintentionally playing some of the notes by legato. They were doing that simply because they didn't have time to make some of the pick strokes. And the reason they didn't have time was simply because their basic alternate picking ability was not sufficiently developed ... ie not necessarily their fast alternate picking, but just the basic ability to consistently and efficiently pick intricate licks/phrase with alternating pick strokes at slow to average speeds.

    In most cases the students did not realise they were making that legato mistake, until it was pointed out.

    The way to fix that problem is to work hard on basic alternate picking in your general playing. Ie not just when practicing fast shred style licks, but to practice strict alternate picking with all sorts of licks/lines/phrases in your general playing. And also practice that way with scales and arpeggios too, ie alternate picking at slow to normal speeds without any thoughts about shred.

    Once you get quite skilled with the basic alternate picking process, then it's easier to apply that to fast shred licks. But trying to go straight to super-fast alt-picked shred licks before having the basic skill & dexterity with alternate picking in your general playing, is I think almost impossible.

    Ian.

  9. #9
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Ian, great answer. I notice the same thing (the "Legato-mistake") a lot when I teach, I think I even wrote about that in an article or post here. The key is to relax the left hand, and keep a light touch. I remember how frustrating was when I started out and got som ebasic pickign working, and when I showed my teacher at the time, he said "OK, play that run again, and leave out the pick", and it sounded just like legato, because my left hand was much too tense.
    And yes, very disciplined practice is another key, the essential one. Working with the metronome, permutating exercises, working on different aspects, using both clean and distorted sound (unless you dont wanna use the latter) to check for both good tone and unwanted noise, maybe even recording yourself on video to watch and listen closely...

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