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Thread: from chromatic speed exercises to real scales at full speed

  1. #1
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    from chromatic speed exercises to real scales at full speed

    Hello everybody,

    i've been practising pretty hard the last half year to nail alternate picking at high speeds.
    Thing is : when doing chromatic exercises, i've already reached a point where i'm pretty happy with the speed i'm able to obtain - and it sounds pretty awesome too.
    But ! i know that chromatic scales aren't really scales and chromatic speed runs aren't really solo's. I've been working hard on alternate picked pentatonic scales and minor scales throughout all positions possible on a 24 fretted ibanez, but i never seem to reach the speed i can obtain when doing chromatic scales.
    Any ideas on breaking through this deadlock ???

    Would be extremely appreciated !!!!
    cheers
    -b
    BE

  2. #2
    Registered User Obivion's Avatar
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    Start slow and work up fast with a metronome- You won't have much benefit having got the chromatic scale up to speed because once you get to higher speeds with licks, it is down to muscle memory. Your brain has to remember all the scale patterns, or licks, not just how to play fast.
    No one sings the blues quite like Yngwie!

  3. #3
    He's dark. He's a man. Darkman's Avatar
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    If you mean 4 nps chromatics, then logically they are easier to play fast when compared to 3nps scales.

  4. #4
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    Just keep practising bro, it will all be better.

    I can share a little excersice I came up with (I'm NOT saying I invented it :P).

    Do 3nps scales, or chromatic 3nps. But when working with the metronome, count 16-notes, not triplets. Works great for me.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Sperzel; 08-10-2008 at 02:01 AM. Reason: Spelling error
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  5. #5
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    Thanks a lot guys
    Interesting perspectives
    cheers!
    -b

  6. #6
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    Well you won't like this, but .... I don't really think fast chromatic exercises are enough of a challenge. It's just too easy, and it's not really preparing you for playing real licks (OK, I know, nothing is really "easy" on guitar, but ....).

    Im sure there are different opinions on this, of course. For example - I know Troy Stetina's Speed Mechanics has quite a few chromatic exercises to start with, and I think that's generally a very good and thorough book to work from (I've used it myself in the distant past). But in contrast, Paul Gilbert's DVD begins immediately with 3nps licks (as scale sequences), & he advances from there without any chromatic exercises at all (the Batio DVD doesn't use any chromatic exercises either).

    Anyway, point is - the Paul Gilbert DVD gets my vote as easily the best source of tuition for anyone who want's to learn fast alternate picking. So my advice is to get that DVD, and make it the basis of regular daily picking exercises.

    2 cents & YMMV, of course .

    Ian.


  7. #7
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    Ian,

    Are you talking about the "Get out of my Yard" DVD (Paul Gilbert) ?

    cheers
    -b

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakke
    Ian,

    Are you talking about the "Get out of my Yard" DVD (Paul Gilbert) ?

    cheers
    -b
    Hi Brakke - No ... I'm talking about "Intense Rock Complete" ... that's a single DVD re-cut from the first two early video tapes that Paul made.

    Intense Rock is a real classic amongst tutorial DVD's. It's choc-o-block full of all Paul's main fast picking exercises and licks. If youre not familiar with it, but if you like Paul Gilbert & if you're learning fast picking, then it Id give it the highest possible recommendation. Truly great DVD in every respect, and very well taught by Paul.

    I do have get "Get Out of my Yard", & it's quite interesting ... but that DVD is not really about fast picking.

    Ian.
    Last edited by Crossroads; 08-11-2008 at 07:31 AM.

  9. #9
    Bedroom metalurgist LaughingSkull's Avatar
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    I advise againts practicing non musical excercises. What is the use of chromatic scale? Very limited. If you go for 'easy' scales, the at least try diminished, very 'patterned' scale, easy to play fast and have at least some use.
    Otherwise practice what you need, and be patient! Don't look for progress every day (week).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaughingSkull
    I advise againts practicing non musical excercises. What is the use of chromatic scale? Very limited. If you go for 'easy' scales, the at least try diminished, very 'patterned' scale, easy to play fast and have at least some use.
    Otherwise practice what you need, and be patient! Don't look for progress every day (week).
    Yeah, I completely agree. If guys want to learn to pick anywhere near the speed of Paul Gilbert (or insert other famous name), then they must understand that it usually takes several years of quite intense regular practice. You could achieve almost any other single aspect of guitar playing more easily in a fraction of time ... but fast picking takes real dedication & "stick-ability".

    Ian.


  11. #11
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    Well,
    That's exactly it : i'm 32 and i've been playing for 16 years now and all i did up til 2007 was blues, rock and legato style speed soloing, which all came pretty natural, when you start at an early enough age and have good ears (and good fingers indeed). So i decided around Xmas i wanted to learn something i couldn't play before and turned to alternate fast picking, which at first seemed impossible and now i'm getting the hang of it.
    I guess i'll be persistent and keep on doing my daily routines (1 hour of string skipping alternate picking - real scales and musical phrases) at low to medium speeds and maybe we'll talk to eachother again in 2012 :-)
    Thanks a lot for all the ideas, practical as well as philosophical.
    cheers
    -b

  12. #12
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    Damn, picking topics just keep on coming don't they? It's pretty weird that most people get the other aspects of guitar playing down when they really comit to it. But so many people have a problem with picking.

    I guess there are just so many more ways to practise picking wrong than other stuff. I wonder if people in the future will establish the best way to pick for everyone? Electric guitar is still a young instrument after all.
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  13. #13
    He's dark. He's a man. Darkman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakke
    Well,
    That's exactly it : i'm 32 and i've been playing for 16 years now and all i did up til 2007 was blues, rock and legato style speed soloing, which all came pretty natural, when you start at an early enough age and have good ears (and good fingers indeed). So i decided around Xmas i wanted to learn something i couldn't play before and turned to alternate fast picking, which at first seemed impossible and now i'm getting the hang of it.
    I guess i'll be persistent and keep on doing my daily routines (1 hour of string skipping alternate picking - real scales and musical phrases) at low to medium speeds and maybe we'll talk to eachother again in 2012 :-)
    Thanks a lot for all the ideas, practical as well as philosophical.
    cheers
    -b
    I have the same background, though I'm 36 now. Blues rock guitarists tend to end up using legato type licks for speed. But they get stuck in that rut. Learning 3nps and alternate picking is almost like learning to play another instrument.
    I'm taking things very slow but improving gradually. I just decided one day that I didn't want to quit playing, and wanted to improve instead.
    By 2020 I'll be shredding like Yngwie!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakke
    Hello everybody,

    i've been practising pretty hard the last half year to nail alternate picking at high speeds.
    Thing is : when doing chromatic exercises, i've already reached a point where i'm pretty happy with the speed i'm able to obtain - and it sounds pretty awesome too.
    But ! i know that chromatic scales aren't really scales and chromatic speed runs aren't really solo's. I've been working hard on alternate picked pentatonic scales and minor scales throughout all positions possible on a 24 fretted ibanez, but i never seem to reach the speed i can obtain when doing chromatic scales.
    Any ideas on breaking through this deadlock ???

    Would be extremely appreciated !!!!
    cheers
    -b
    BE


    Im pretty sure i know exactly what ur talking about. Ive been through this myself.

    analyze your playing.

    when practicing 4nps chromatic exercises, you probably start off with a downstroke and so you will always endup picking each string starting with a downstroke (or upstroke if u started with one.)
    your problem lies there. In 3nps patterns you have to alternate up and down as your cross strings. you need to get that upstroke under control.

    best way, practice exercises with alot of "inside" picking.
    practice your chromatic and 3nps exercises starting with an upstroke.
    practice licks you already know starting with the opposite stroke than you normally do and get them to speed.
    itll take some time to get used to it, but thats all you have to do to get your alternate picking under control.

    hope this helps

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaughingSkull
    I advise againts practicing non musical excercises. What is the use of chromatic scale? Very limited. If you go for 'easy' scales, the at least try diminished, very 'patterned' scale, easy to play fast and have at least some use.
    Otherwise practice what you need, and be patient! Don't look for progress every day (week).
    not true. understanding and figuring our how to use the chromatic scale can take your playing to new levels. particularly in jazz, blues, rock, folk, whatever.. it makes everything sound tastier. you just need to learn how to use it.

    by itself, its boring but when combined with other scales, its pretty sexy.

    as for practicing, the chromatic scale is great for building finger independance and accuracy.

    shouldnt disregard it so easily.

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