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Thread: Need help with fast downstrokes

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Upper Darby, PA

    Need help with fast downstrokes

    Well I could play somewhat fast alternate picking 140-150 bpm 16th notes. But when it comes to fast downstrokes for rhythms and stuff used in Metal, my speed is decent. Like in DT riffs for example, the rhythm parts meant to be played with downstrokes are to fast for me, I can play them alternate picked but I wanna learn the proper way. When I go to fast with my down strokes, my hand stiffens up and mess up. Are there any exercises or ways to improve this? Also is the way pick important, like I see James hetfield palm mute and pick with thumn and index but his other fingers are wide open, when I palm mute though I close mine up a little like a fist as I find it easier to mute the strings. I've tried this hetfield technique and I feel somewhat more comfortable and faster, I dunno. Any input on this is greatly appreciated, thanks.

  2. #2
    MetalHead \m/
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Just come up with exercises that will help you. I usually practice the part from master of puppets the whole

    Type of thing, you don't really have to play that, i usually find something that i think sounds good and just keep playing that over and over with a metronome. As for technique, keep relaxed, what ever hand postion/holding...pick..postion you feel most confertable wit go that route.
    "Just Shred It"
    - DimeBag Darrel (1966 - 2004) RIP

  3. #3
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    I generally don't play this all downstrokes stuff much. But when I do want to do it I usually find it's mostly a stamina issue and when you haven't done it for a while that stamina has been lost! - the tension in the right arm comes, I believe, as you run out of steam.

    Usually a week or two of working on it steadily bringing the tempo up, as it gets comfortable, should do it. Ultimately you want be able to play that riff at 120% to be comfortable at the correct speed.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    John Petrucci alternate picks a lot.. I've seen videos where I'd expect him to downward stroke but he alternate picks. DT's cover of Master Of Puppets for example - in the video he alternate picked the main riff and intro.

  5. #5
    Ibreathe Follower Kinoble's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    hey guitar soul,

    You'll have to make sure your wrist is very relaxed-sounds wierd, but too much tension can make you play behind the beat, lose track of time, and increase the risk of tendonitis, so thats quite important!

    ill second bigbadbills suggestion of MOP riff for practising this 'aquired' technique-its not easy.

    Hope this helps bud,

    Last edited by Kinoble; 06-29-2006 at 09:46 AM.

  6. #6
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Practice The Master of Puppets riff is perfect. Set the metronome to a speed where you can play it for 5 minutes straight. Tomorrow bump it up 5 bpm. Keep doing this until you "hit the wall" and start going up slower in bpm. After a few weeks you'll be a monster If possible, do it twice per day, maybe one session in the morning and one at night.

    You'll notice a big increase in control after a couple days.

    FWIW, I also do this with upstrokes for playing blues-style double stops. If I'm going to play a bunch of SRV licks at a gig, I prepare for a couple weeks in this manner.
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