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Thread: Picking hand goes up and down at higher speed

  1. #1
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    Picking hand goes up and down at higher speed

    I'm seriously working on my technique, using books by Stetina and The Principles. Now I'm really looking at what I'm doing when I play. Yesterday I noticed that when I play fast my picking hand goed up and down a LOT! (And by that I mean away from and towards the guitar.) With EVERY pick!
    When I play very fast (well... as fast as I can...) and suddenly stop, I see the pick ends up way above the strings, instead of between them! Reall weird. You would expect that the faster you go, the closer your hand would stay to the string, automatically, but somehow, in my case, the opposite happens.

    Does this happen to others too, or do I have weird arms...?

    This is of course a BAD things because I'm losing valuable time here! So I started to focus on it and noticed that if I really pay attention on keeping the motion down to the strings and NOT let my hand go up and down it feels a lot better. I'm not going really faster (a little maybe, and it doens't take so much effort) but I somehow feel there is room for improvement. Which is nice, of course! And it doens't look and feel so frantic (can't think of another word...)

    It also seems it happens because at higher speeds I'm moving more form the wrist or even just the fingers. When I move from the elbow or a bit from the wrist it doens't happen (but then I can't pplay that fast...)

    I guess the only way to get rid of this bad habit is to practice picking real slow... It never happens when I play slow. It only happens when I try to play as fast as possible. I just never noticed it. Seems I have to learn it all over again...

    Maybe someone has a tip or trick which will help me to get rid ot this bad habit? As I said, practicing slow might help, but I already do that a lot and apparently it didn't help. The big difference of course is I've noticed it and KNOW it now, so I can focus on it. But any extra tips would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    Hi!!

    There is one thing that i can suggest, tought to me by tha great todd "monsterpicker" duane.

    exercise: pick the string downward and immediately stop the string from the other direction with the pick.
    then do the same with an upward pick and stop it from above. always pick hard.
    done this right, after a short while you should have good control over the string with the pick never moving to far away.

    keep doing that slow until you are comfortable with the movement - then accelerate.

    when you are up to your highest possible picking speed don't shred straight sixteenth notes, rather play small bits like 4 sixteenth notes in a row as fast as you can, then sixtuplets, then mix them.


    hope i could explain it properly and could help..

  3. #3
    Registered User Shaman_Santana's Avatar
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    From phantom
    exercise: pick the string downward and immediately stop the string from the other direction with the pick.
    By 'stop the string', do u mean mute it so you stop it from sounding with the upstroke? Thanks!
    "The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart.
    The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace."

  4. #4
    Experimentalist Koala's Avatar
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    What you do is you downstroke and then rest the pick on the string with an upstroke. Then you complete the upstroke plucking the string and then rest the pick on the string with a downstroke. Hope this makes sense.

  5. #5
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    yep, that's what i mean. thanks.

  6. #6
    Registered User superlocrian's Avatar
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    I read an article here at IBreathe where the author said that most people tend to pick lighter the more they speed up. I don't know how hard you pick, but it is good practice to pick with good, hard even strokes. A lot can be said about tensing up. I find that if I start playing too fast that I switch from picking from the wrist to picking from the elbow, which for me is a sign that I need to loosen up. I hope this helps.

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