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  • Picking TechniqueDateSun Aug 29, 2010 6:19 pm
    Forum post by GuitarC. Topic: Picking Technique

    Hey Pebber,

    Thanks for your response. In response to you asking me "clarify which one?" in your video "PB on playing FAST" you describe the Sarod technique saying you like to keep your thumb loose. Do you simply mean a loose or non-rigid thumb in that the exposed thumb joint itself is not locked out but flexed? I see that your thumb stays flexed while playing & it appers that all your pick movement when starting to play the G scale comes strictly from the shaking of your wrist.

  • how to improve my picking?DateSun Aug 29, 2010 12:14 pm
    Forum post by GuitarC. Topic: how to improve my picking?

    I agree with you walleyedave that fast guitar without any melody is not appealing when being sold as impressive lol. Practice is another animal and it does not matter then if playing is not musical. We have probably all heard lots of guitarists play fast but out of key in the context of a song. It always get the same feeling I get when I hear nails scraping hard on a chalk board. As guitarists we sometimes spend so much time trying to attain faster and faster picking speeds but music is not a speed or racing sport in which the fastest win, music is an art form. Playing fast and picking fast are just tools that we can use to express ourselves. Speed or picking every note is guitarist's tool like phrasing, vibrato, muting, sliding, legato and bending are tools. It's funny how one of the biggest traps we sometimes fall into as guitarists is devoting so much time trying to improve our speed. We also admire, respect, listen to and sometimes try to find guitarists that we feel have attained what we think are admirable technical abilities. The same can be said for drums and bass and a few other instruments. However, can you imagine how strange it would be to dedicate yourself to hours of practice trying to get faster on trumpet or tuba or trying to paint oil paintings faster and faster? Yes, I know there are probably fast painters and fast trumpet and tuba players but they are not as common as we see with the popularity of fast guitar playing. All it takes is a search on youtube and anyone can realize this. Add to this the fact that most guitarists don't even play scales or know how to let alone care about picking speed and to add insult to injury a smaller percentage of music listeners are actually guitarists! It becomes very apparent that an incredibly small percentage of the population could care less about a guitarist's picking technique! Most liteners are either clueless as to what picking every note means or they could care less even if they knew. These people I am talking about love music! When I think about the mainstream music lover who doesn't play an instrument that likes music like Dave Mathews, Martina McBride, Pink, Colbie Callet, Jason Mraz or 3 Doors Down it only gets worse. Our obsession with trying to increase our picking speed is probably about as common to the average person as a baseball pitcher who is obsessed making sure they have one of the fastest fastballs out there and spends hours a day concentrating his practice on kinetic video study, drills and techniques to increase his throwing speed. Sure, there are pitchers that have a goal to be one of the fastest pitchers, but there are many great pitchers who work on being well rounded or concentrate a little time on their off speed pitch or curve ball. Most average fans watching in the stands or on Tv are watching a baseball game to see their team win just like music lovers watch and listen to artists playing songs they like. With all that being said I am very guilty of liking many fast guitarists and always looking to improve left and right hand speed in my playing LOL. I need to remind myself why I play the guitar in the first place! Thinking these analogies helps me keep my musical goals in perspective. If you want a real wake up call ask a non-guitarist friend, family member, neighbor or stranger what their thoughts are about a guitarist picking every note as fast as possible means to them, LOL. If your main goal is to aspire to be the fastest picker you possibly can become, what I have said here is just babble.

    There were many guitarists who blew me away with their picking speed when I first began to appreciate fast picking in rock guitar. One of the first that left a huge impression was Gary Moore when I saw him back in the mid 80's. Then I found Akira Takasaki and RonniLe Tekro. After that Yngwie came out and then Vinnie Moore, Paul Gilbert and Tony Macalpine. I remember hearing the solo to Tony's "Empire In The Sky" and it really caught my attention. I thought it had so much feeling and felt the song took me on a journey like I think good music does. During the solo, I heard an extension of the song's story as if words were being spoken by Tony's phrasing and note and speed choices. Tony used very fast passages in the solos to help tell a story and every time I hear that song it reminds me of why I love playing guitar and listening to music. I think the song itself is very powerful and the title is a perfect fit. As I listen to the song I feel it portrays a sense of overcoming, accomplishment or winning. I think the outro solo is great too. I listened to it a lot after the 9/11 attacks and it always gives me a sense of encouragement and honor for being an American. If you have never heard "Empire In The Sky" or want to hear it again here it is:

  • Picking TechniqueDateSun Aug 29, 2010 6:15 am

    Hey Pebber,

    I saw a few of your videos on youtube. It is so nice to see a teacher
    willing to share their techniques, thoughts etc.

    I noticed in a few of your videos you talk about faster passages being
    played with a thumb/index finger movement and then show that technique while
    playing slower. You described it as an artist drawing which I understand.
    I could not help but notice that it appears that as you increase the speed
    of your playing your thumb becomes stable and your pick movement no longer involves finger movement. Is that correct?

    To me it makes sense that only the fingers or the wrist/elbow could produce fast precise picking at any given time and not a combination of the fingers and wrist/elbow since they do not allow for movement on a similar plane because they
    allow movement on almost perpendicular planes in the picking positions shown.
    The fingers moving the pick could be assisted by the shoulder (since they can produce same plane movement) to aid in picking but that would defeat the purpose of using fine motor skills to pick and would be like trying to draw with your shoulder aiding your fingers. The increased lever length results in less control at the point of contact and therefore a sloppy & inaccurate drawing.

    When playing several different passages I can understand how some can be played using different techniques. Can you clarify what technique you use for extremely fast & accurate note sequences?



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