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View Full Version : Floating picking hand - EricV?



Kindred
10-22-2002, 11:46 PM
I have been reading with interest the articles on alternate picking, and just had a couple of questions about the floating hand thing.

I was unhappy with the right hand technique I was using a few weeks back, so basically modelled it on what I thought Paul Gilbert was doing (well it works for him). It seems I had it pretty much right but I didn't realise that he didn't actually rest his palm on the strings/bridge at all as I thought he did. So anyway, i'm going to continue with a floating picking hand but just wondered about muting mainly.

Presumably a lot of left hand muting is needed - using the tips of the fretting fingers to overshoot and touch the lower string to the one you're playing I would guess is the best way? I had never really done this before, as previous methods have relied on resting my palm on the strings, so it hasn't been needed before. It's taking a little practice (well I only started with the floating yesterday) but I can see how it would work. I did used to get frustrated with my palm making noises on the strings after all....

Also, my arm gets tired pretty quick (say 30-45 mins) at the moment - this is probably normal seeing as I just started with this though? Having my hand resting on nothing is a bit tough for now. :mad:

Anyway, i'm just working on 16ths (PG licks) starting at 40bpm and am hoping to work my way up slowly - any advice would be great. If you could help at all it would be much appreciated. :D

EricV
10-23-2002, 09:56 PM
Hi there, Kindred...

OOPS, didnīt see your posting initially, sorry for the late reply...


I was unhappy with the right hand technique I was using a few weeks back, so basically modelled it on what I thought Paul Gilbert was doing (well it works for him). It seems I had it pretty much right but I didn't realise that he didn't actually rest his palm on the strings/bridge at all as I thought he did. So anyway, i'm going to continue with a floating picking hand but just wondered about muting mainly.
Just to point this out once more, itīs up to yourself to decide what works best for you.
But the floating hand-thingy is worth a try. And it took me a while to figure it out. I didnīt notice it when I watched the "Intense Rock" video, but I saw it during one of his workshops...


Presumably a lot of left hand muting is needed - using the tips of the fretting fingers to overshoot and touch the lower string to the one you're playing I would guess is the best way? I had never really done this before, as previous methods have relied on resting my palm on the strings, so it hasn't been needed before. It's taking a little practice (well I only started with the floating yesterday) but I can see how it would work. I did used to get frustrated with my palm making noises on the strings after all....

Some people donīt even really notice that their palm causes noise, but thatīs another story.
Well, yes, you can use the other fingers of the left hand to mute adjacent strings, I do that mainly when sweeping.
I try to relax both hands as much as possible when picking, and minimize the picking motion, so that helps to avoid noises too. That way, I donīt have adjacent strings ringing because of sloppy left hand-movements, and I donīt hit other strings accidentially with my right hand ( that was a big problem for me, and it went away after I got used to floating the r.h. )




Also, my arm gets tired pretty quick (say 30-45 mins) at the moment - this is probably normal seeing as I just started with this though? Having my hand resting on nothing is a bit tough for now

That is definitely normal. You will get used to it after a while. 30-45 mins ainīt bad, really ! Just always stretch and warm up, and stop once it feels really tired or even hurts !!! After a while, your durability will increase.

Anyway, i'm just working on 16ths (PG licks) starting at 40bpm and am hoping to work my way up slowly - any advice would be great. If you could help at all it would be much appreciated.
Sure... well, first of all, do the "extreme picking" thing I described in my most recent article. Pick one note as fast as possible, picking from the wrist, and see whether your current way of picking allows you to speed up at all.
Always make sure that it sounds good, that your exercises are accurate and not sloppy. If they are, slow down and speed up again, aiming for more accuracy.
Try to relax the left hand ( not much strength needed here, weīre not hammering on / pulling off ), and try to minimize the right hand.

When using something like the PG-Lick, never forget to take short breaks, during which you should relax, stretch and put the guitar down.
See, if you work on one lick for TOO LONG, your accuracy suffers and you might play worse instead of better.
I always was amazed how much just those few PG-exercises helped me to improve, and I did something like this:

Played it for 1 min
Took a 1 minute break
Played it for 2 minutes
Took a 1 minute break
Played it for 3 minutes
Took a 3 minute break
That usually worked.
Also, try to stay relaxed altogether when working with a metronome. Try to stay in time, and donīt tighten up.
I usually start new things at about 60 bpm ( actually, it depends on what kind of note values I am gonna play... 16ths, sixtuplets etc. ).
I try to memorize the notes, and play the thing REALLY SLOW. Then, I speed up a bit, by like 4 bpm, and try again. If I can play it a few times in a row, and it sounds good ( accurate ), I speed up again.
I also try to stop before it gets too boring. Try to stop for the day when youīre still satisfied. Donīt stop after attemptimg something without being able to play it.
Letīs say, you can play the PG-lick in sixtuplets at 70 bpm. You feel itīs close to yer limit. Now, if youīre running out of exercise time, or if your attention span gets low, stop for the day.
Donīt try to push it even more... I always thought it was kinda depressing if I tried to increase the tempo even more without being able to.
Itīs more motivating if you set yourself a goal and reach it before ending the days practise-session.
Hope this helps
Lemme know if you have further questions !
Warm regards
Eric

Kindred
10-23-2002, 11:47 PM
That really was a great help Eric.

I've been working on it all day and made quite a lot of progress in terms of stability and economy of motion (this was the main problem at first...kinda all over the place! Lots to work on though...). Your much appreciated post confirmed a few things for me & gave me a few ideas and in a few years I might even have this down. ;)

So I don't have any more questions for the moment, thanks, just a lot of practice is needed now I think. :)

Excellent articles anyway and thanks again!

EricV
10-23-2002, 11:48 PM
Youīre welcome.
Glad you like the articles, and I am glad I was able to help
Warm regards
Eric