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I would say that I am an extremely good guitarist and have been playing for many years. I have always been into really technical music, and have always spent a lot of time on my technique... sweeping, alternate picking, economy picking... etc... I have always focused on lead stuff, and I am big into neo classical metal.
Recently, I am just getting into post thrash and metalcore and such... and after trying to learn several riffs... like Two Weeks by All That Remains... I realize I cannot even play it up to speed. I have always thought of downpicking as something that you cannot really develop... but I think I may be wrong. I am a really weak guy, but that has never held me back in my legato and other leads techniques that require muscle... i supposed because thats what I put all my time into. Now that I start playing down picking riffs... I fail... the second riff in master of puppets, I cannot keep up with.... unless I alternate pick all of it which most people would find next to impossible.
Am I correct in my conclusion that i cannot keep up with these downpicking riffs because of muscles I have not used. Which muscles are these and what excursuses can I do to improve them?
In my second year of playing I'd play along to 2-3 metal/rock albums after school everyday, master of puppets was often one of them, my downpicking got to the point where i could play through MOP (the song) 2 or 3 times consecutively with no fatigue. now, years later I no longer play metal and got fatigue by the 1st chorus last time i tried to play it.
I have a pretty slight build and I'm not particularly strong so its definitely not your initial "strength", I think having a hugely muscled arm would be more of a hindrance than anything...
so of course, like most things, its all down to practice, you've got to build up the "downpicking muscle(s)" by, you guessed it, downpicking
I totally agree with Borge.
If you haven't spent time practicing down-picking, you're not gonna be good at it. It's a motion that your muscles are not used to.
The lovely thing with this tehcnique is that you CAN actually sit in front of the telly and practice it, just choppin away with your right arm. Naturally, you also need to play real songs as well. But trust me, a week or two with "training" and you will see results. And you'll just get more speed and endurance as you continue. Soon you'll put Hetfield to shame
And hey, why not practice constant up-stokes as well? It will only benefit you.
Why do today what you can leave for tomorrow?
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