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Thread: The association between speed picking and tremelo picking

  1. #1
    He's dark. He's a man. Darkman's Avatar
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    The association between speed picking and tremelo picking

    The benefits of attempting to play beyond your speed limit have been mentioned a few times already. The old rule about slow and clean, then gradually speed up, is recognised as valuable practice. But now and then it's beneficial to just go for it.

    Well this got me thinking a little bit. I re-watched Batios video just now. Specifically the part where he says that your tremelo picking speed will be your lightening fast alternate picking speed. And he mentioned it's vital to adopt your tremelo picking position when playing slow as well as fast. In other words, take your top speed tremelo picking, and use that as your template.

    I'm beginning to wonder if this really is the key to all fast alternate picking. Although tremelo picking is fairly aggressive, it requires a light touch because too much contact with the string will slow you down and "catch" on the string. The right hand actually needs to be quite relaxed, or it tires too quickly.

    So could it be wiser to use your tremelo picking, then gradually slow that down to iron out the sloppy notes and noise, and what you end up with is clean and fast? I'm not suggesting using this approach alone with no slow and clean practice, but I'm suggesting maybe it should be a much bigger part of practice when speed is the main goal.

    If you look at Batios extremely fast picking, it's so similar to tremelo picking. The speed he plays at is a very common tremelo picking speed, to my mind anyway. It looks like he attained speed using opposite way most recommend. He played as fast as he damn well could, and then worked on making sense of all the notes by gradually slowing it down and cleaning it up.

    Anyway my conclusion being that maybe tremelo picking (and not slow&clean) is the hidden key in the quest for speed.

  2. #2
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    This worked on my violin - I have 3 guitars with no strings. Put violin bow rosin really thick all over the edges of a nickel and pick with it on top of the strings diagnally and sideways like a bow. I liked diagnally. It seems really cool but I only played with it a little on a violin. I dont know why I never thought of trying that on guitar. I was flicking the wrist like rotation and it is easier to balance than plucking from the sides of the strings. That might be cool. Rosin is about $3 or you can use hard pine sap off of a tree, frankinsence, honey?....? I make rosin - melt pine sap and strain it and put it in the fridge.

  3. #3
    He's dark. He's a man. Darkman's Avatar
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    I did use a violin bow on a Les Paul back in the day. It sounded great, but you definately don't want rosin all over your strings. It gets to be a sticky business

    Anyone with views on tremelo picking/speed using conventional methods?

  4. #4
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    as i understand it tremolo picking is alternate picking. you should still start slow and work your way up. this is for multiple reasons, the main 2 i can think of is that one, you'll be more clean in what you're doing.

    but secondly and most importantly imo, is that that way you are building up your muscle ability to be bale to play at any rate, this means you'll be able to play triplets, and any tempo from slow to fast, which is good for say playing 8ths at any tempo but also for playing any kind of rhythmic dynamics within a given bpm.

    going straight to fast, seems impressive, but you are limiting yourself. you are doing what your body can already do. not really effective. it will also likely be sloppy, although harder to tell due to the high rate of speed you're playing, it will still be kind of sloppy in all likelihood.

    i think it's a bad idea to just go as fast asyou possibly can. no matter what technique you are using. it's always better to work your way up. because usually what you are doing when you just go as fast as you can is you are using some kind of shortcut on technique which allows you to go faster. this, appart from sloppiness factor, is ok for achieving that burst of speed in that single scenario, or in the few where it is applicable, but you're missing out on alot, and would essentially be creating a big hole where you can play at slower speeds, then can't play at all, then you can all of a sudden play again at higher speeds. which means you're missing out on being able to add swing and many other rhythmic things, and also you won't bea able to ramp up the spead fluidly.

    i advise against using shorcuts in order to achieve speed.

    going all out and then working backwards to clean it up is a strange way to go about it. you'd be training with mistakes and then trying to remove them as you go backwards, which is weird. what you want to do is have no mistakes and increase the speed at which you can play without making mistakes.

    that's how i see it. but anything goes really, however you want to do it, you can do it.

    but if you skip to superspeed i'm pretty sure you'll eventually come to notice that hole in your speed, and you'll want to fix it, and that means starting slow and going faster, and then you'll probably notice that your original way of playing quickly is also flawed in that it is missing accuracy and also cannot be easily linked with your slower technique in a fluid way which again will be limiting in your versatility. so then you'll be unlearning what you have learned and needing to get rid of bad habits.

    that's how i've come to see it anyways.

  5. #5
    Actually happens to alot of people who "jump" in speed- they find out that their technique for playing slow becomes different to when they play fast.

    You should be using one technique for all speeds, and like fingerpikingood said, start slowly with the correct technique and speed it up. There are no shortcuts, just hard work and dedication!
    My guitar tuition website: Hidden Content

  6. #6
    He's dark. He's a man. Darkman's Avatar
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    Perhaps the best point to come from Batio on this is to adopt the tremelo picking position for all fast and slow playing, because when you do need to play fast, that's the position that is proven to work for you already. And as has been said here, it's best to only use one position for all speeds.

    Just my 2 cents.

    ps-the irony is though, that if you study Batio in the video you can see him change position a little for the faster stuff. So there you go

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