Using a pick, tips for speed.

Discussion in 'Music, Theory, Tab and Such' started by Flying Z, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Flying Z

    Flying Z Squier-Meister

    Jun 1, 2019
    Mobile AL, USA
    I noticed i was having a sloppy hand placement, not keeping a good position which it's causing me to miss my string in some situations especially at faster speeds, im learning on rocksmith. I think im doing very well and my wife thinks so also, she leans on me to advance, But as im trying too switch learning with my amp playing cleaner is important.

    I know there are a couple other men also in there early 40s learning; here on ST so just trying to help by sharing different difficulties.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
    JurnyWannaBe, Best1989 and duzie like this.
  2. strat_strummer

    strat_strummer Squier-holic

    Nov 24, 2018
    Grouse hunting
    I always keep my little finger planted on the middle pickup. Alternate picking, hammer-ons and pull-offs, and even hybrid picking will increase speed. For hours every night while watching tv I do the spider thing up and down the neck practicing what I mentioned above. It doesn't take much time to build speed.
    Flying Z likes this.
  3. wildelectric

    wildelectric Squier-Nut

    Sep 23, 2016
    Western Illinois
    I was having the same issue starting out.

    For the hell of it I started picking closer to the bridge. Everything about picking became much easier after that.

    Flying Z likes this.
  4. LarsN

    LarsN Squier-Meister

    May 13, 2019
    Austin, TX
    My guitar instructor suggests: "Every time you sit down to play, you owe it to yourself to do two runs of all the natural notes on the top three frets, clean up and down."

    (so play from open E to G on the first string third fret and back skipping the Sharps)

    I've since graduated to playing the A Minor pentatonic scale from the 6th string G (3rd fret) to the first string D (10th fret)
    Playing that twice clean every time I sit down to play. Although I also still play the Natural notes from E to G on the top three strings every time as well. It's a good warm up.

    He specifically said twice clean once a day, I've taken to twice clean every time I sit down to play.
    VealCutlet, Flying Z and Bassman96 like this.
  5. LarsN

    LarsN Squier-Meister

    May 13, 2019
    Austin, TX
    Clean meaning.... don't make mistakes. Go as fast as you can, while hitting every note correctly.
    JurnyWannaBe and Flying Z like this.
  6. LarsN

    LarsN Squier-Meister

    May 13, 2019
    Austin, TX
    This is the other thing I've been practicing.

    Flying Z likes this.
  7. wonkenstein

    wonkenstein Squier-holic

    Feb 3, 2017
    Some of you have guitar instructors.... take their advice on the basics, which scales and modes to use to start building your picking and hand coordination skills up. It works and over time keeps getting better. My biggest weaknesses in this area are diminished and whole tone minor scales where you've got to spread your fingers for wider intervals and sweep across the fingerboard - there is just no cheating but it will improve.
  8. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    In principle I whole heartedly agree, but have to add this personal caveat...

    I had a superb teacher. Lenny Frank was his name. His teaching went way beyond things like Mel Bay books. Every note was his own,
    Lenny was a gifted and successful pre-rock pop and jazz artist who had played with the likes of Benny Goodman. His teaching methods were designed to help a student develop equally his ability to play appropriate 'chops' for all the pre-rock forms, and that included helping them develop speed and accuracy though practical exercises based on modes, cadences and chord changes up and down the board.

    And here's that personal caveat: NO amount of practice made me fast.
    Accurate, yes. With some acuity to go beyond the particulars expected in the early rock era. but speed no. It was simply outside of my physical capability.

    How do I explain this? Simple. There is the familiar bell curve that covers all human capabilities and how they are distributed among he human family. We see it among learners of every art and science. Thinking. Running. Manual coordination. We see it even among surgeons holding a scalpel (although we try not to see it in that case.) Among kids on the basketball court. And yes, among guitarists.

    I was, simply put, quick in mind, but slow in body.
    Yes, Lenny's exercises helped. A little. But "fast" I never was able to become. No, not even close.

    Did the hinder me? Perhaps. But I saw it as so and looked for compensating abilities based on my strengths -- developing a style that highlighted my strengths and avoided this (and other) comparative weaknesses.

    Such affected my repetoir. Such affected my turn toward originality -- a strength that I could use to hide my weaknesses.

    If one wants to sound like so-and-so and he is fast well then... But if one simply takes ones own gifts and builds their musical life around them then the need for speed can be minimized.

    Now, getting older, this is for me even more the case. It is what it is.

    Do what you can, yes. But be what you are. Work within it. Know your gifts and especially develop them.

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  9. wonkenstein

    wonkenstein Squier-holic

    Feb 3, 2017
    @duceditor Don I couldn't agree more. I know about Lenny Frank, too.... you're not the only veteran player who sings his praises! Sheer speed comes from the muscle memory of endless repetition but as you say not all of us (myself included) are gifted to respond that way. Over the years I've gotten fast - er, but this is purely subjective. Passing tones and phrases where it's called for, sure. But fast? Not in this bucket I walk around in! I'll never ever come close to the speed and articulation of the likes of say, Johnny Smith, Brad Paisley, Jason Becker - shredders come in many flavors for me. What these three players share (for me anyway) is articulation, tone and the ability to use dynamics and speed to express a melody unique to the way only they could play it.

    Another thing you say also rings true, "Do what you can. But be what you are. Work within it. Know your gifts and especially develop them."
    This speaks directly to finding your own voice on your instrument.

    When you think of it this way, what makes every singer different? In the most basic sense as humans we are stuck with the speaking/singing voice we entered the world with. But all the really great singers (some had gorgeous voices, some gravel voices, some not so pretty and some not much of a voice at all) learned to use the voice they had within them. They expressed the lyrics through the melody in their own way.

    You can't tell me Joe Cocker had a great voice. But man, that guy sure knew how to work his way around a tune and make me believe it. Ella Fitzgerald? Her voice was such a miracle that the greats just wrote songs specifically for her.

    If we're going to play for a long time we must find our voice and learn to use it.

    And once again, thanks for your posts!
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    duceditor likes this.
  10. Tconroy

    Tconroy Squier-Nut

    Sep 11, 2015
    kansas city mo
    record yourself NOW and then in a month after sticking with the program and see what has developed in time. You may be surprised.
  11. VealCutlet

    VealCutlet Squier-holic

    Aug 9, 2011
    Brookyn, NYC
    This is a great practice to add to my routine. Thanks!
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice