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Thread: Difficult Picking Exercises

  1. #1
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Difficult Picking Exercises

    Since re-learning to pick with the right hand un-anchored, I have been working on some exercises that are difficult (at least for me!). Since working on the stuff that is difficult is the best way to improve, these are the exercises I have chosen to improve my picking.
    The take place mostly on the G and B strings, as usual they are based on mathematical sequences. They are written with Strict AP starting with a down stroke, but shout be practiced startng with an upstroke as well. The string crossing changes from outside to inside if you change the starting stroke. I'll start with the pentatonic based one which is the only one that uses the D string. I consider this a syncronization exercise, because it is difficult to get either of these up to speed until you can solve some basic synchronization problems.
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    Last edited by szulc; 09-28-2002 at 05:19 PM.
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    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Synch #2

    This set is kind of like practicing snare drum rudiments.
    These are all written as 16th notes (even though the third one should be a sextuplet) I did this on purpose to make the timing the same through out. The first two are just synch exercises across the G and B string and then only on the G string, simple, but tough to play fast with out slop! The idea here is to execute these slowly until you are playing them perfectly then slowly increase your tempo until the slop occurs, then back off till it is perfect again, then write your Metronome setting in your diary.
    Some days will be faster than others, but overall your speed will improve.
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    Last edited by szulc; 09-28-2002 at 05:20 PM.
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  3. #3
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Pivot String Crossing

    This one is a pivot exercise with string crossing. This could be modified to have the pivot on the B string instead ( Same fingering, just reverse stings). Looks pretty simple on paper!
    No so easy to execute cleanly. Try this starting with an up stroke too!.
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  4. #4
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    ascending chromatic triplets

    A strange thing I have noticed is picking exercises with fewer (one or two) fingers seem to be harder that the one that use three or more. Here is one that uses all four, in ascending chromatic triplets.
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  5. #5
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Descending chromatic triplets

    Descending chromatic triplets
    A little tougher than the previous one.
    My goal here is to get my cross picking (close to) as fast as my single string picking.
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  6. #6
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Inside Sextuplets

    This one is fun and a bit easier than the others. The index finger starts every series of chromatic sexuplets with the fingering moving around it, the net effect is descending each motive chromatically. As written it is good for inside picking, start with an up stroke to work on outside picking.
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    Last edited by szulc; 09-28-2002 at 07:58 PM.
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  7. #7
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Chromatic septuplets ascending

    Chromatic septuplets ascending each motive chromatically. As written it is good for inside picking, start with an up stroke to work on outside picking. My emphasis on Chromaticism is to take the brain out of the fingering equation and make it easier to concentrate on the picking.
    The rhythm of the septuplet my be difficult for some but play these evenly in time and accent the first note of each group, before long you will have the feel for the septuplet.
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  8. #8
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Hi James,

    awesome, really ! Those exercises are really cool and focus on many of the problem-spots about picking.
    Especially the thing about the increased difficulty when having only one or two notes per string ( like i.e. with pentatonic patterns )... that is something that took me a while.
    It was tougher for me to play a descending 2NPS-pentatonic scale than it was to play a descending 3NPS-minor scale even at higher tempos.
    Very nice
    Eric

  9. #9
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Shrinking Head

    Any time I start feeling cocky about my playing, all I need to do is un-anchor my left hand, use a Dunlop Jazz III and practice these exercises. In mere seconds I feel like a beginner with my fingers in concrete. I really need to get some more 2mm Dunlops (the small ones). Oh by the way I am practicing these on my scalloped neck Kramer, which forces my left hand to relax and use less muscle (The Jamey Andreas thing). I am also using that guitar to work on my slow vibratto, that really works out the ends of your fingers and your forearm. I played the above examples until my right hand went numb! ( Carpal Nerve).

    Thanks Eric for your Kind comments since you are the king of picking exercises on this site, I feel humbled.
    Last edited by szulc; 09-28-2002 at 08:12 PM.
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  10. #10
    Central Scrutinizer
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    Thumbs up Nice Job!

    Good Work James!
    Glad I ain't the only one feels like a beginner when it comes to the floating thing. I haven't yet tried it with muting (that I think will be a challange unto itself).
    Anyway here's a little ditty dealing with angles. Not only is picking only one note per string a tad difficult, I find (at least for me) that the left hand moving at an angle is also kind of unnatural. So I find this one a good warm up for the mind as well as both hands.
    You can of course vary it by rearranging the order of fingers.
    I look at this as 1234 pattern so you could try 1324 or anyother combination at make tons of variations.
    I use this mostly as a warmup cause I admit things that don't sound musical tend to bore me after a while and this one don't sound any to musical. But who knows if you can actually make music out of Go For It.

    BTW: These should be practiced Down/Up as well as with a Up/Down.
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    "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is usually the correct one." William of Occam

  11. #11
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Hey there...

    ery neat exercises. Bash, the one you posted reminds me of both the "Tumeni Notes"-thing ( after all, Steve often uses the "1 Note per string alternate picking" ) and Steve Vai´s angular exercises
    Eric

  12. #12
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Resisting Temptation......

    I was resisting the temptation to post these earlier today but since Bash has opened up this can of worms......
    By the way I play the one Bash posted as well...
    These are meant to be played in position.
    Use AP starting with an up stroke as well as down stroke.
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    Last edited by szulc; 09-28-2002 at 11:38 PM.
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  13. #13
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Ang 2

    Here is the other one.
    I found several different types of picks today and have been trying these with all of them, the clear winners in order are the TECH Pick (aluminium with holes at the top), then the Small Dunlop Purple tolex Jazz Pick, An ancient Ivory Pick I got form my grandfather 25 years ago. I think the Aluminium pick wins because it wears away as you pick and thus has the feeling of being 'softer', even though it is completely inflexable.
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  14. #14
    Central Scrutinizer
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    Ouch!
    Ok I'mma gonna go check these out so ya might not here back from me for another 25 yrs or so.

    Sure those weren't snakes in that can
    "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is usually the correct one." William of Occam

  15. #15
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Finger/ Brain Twister

    More madness.....
    This time with quintuplets ( think 6 -1 or 4 +1 or just play evenly with the first not of each group accented.)
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