“Chunking” in 4s causing headaches!

So before I was sidetracked with health issues I was really focussing my practice on straight 3NPS exercises. Experimenting with different methods of picking for optimal tonality, precision, ease of execution and consistency.

That said, is there any reason why I find it so much easier to chunk the notes in 32nd note triplets versus straight 16th notes?

I find this in a lot of my playing. I can hit “warp speed” in sextuplets or triplet patterns. But taking the same pattern, same notes, same everything but trying to actively lump them in 4s and my picking hand becomes SO tense.

I can’t take video now as I’m out of commission with health issues but I figured now would be a good time to study any material that might help that as far as rhythm and timing goes.

Sorry to hear of your issues, but bravo for keeoing your head in the game!

I have the opposite problem - 16ths are solid and 16th triplets are less so. Therefore I have been thinking on why this might be. I think that due to the nature of triplets falling across the beat, I think you can get away with not being as completely accurate with all the notes, especially the faster you go. With straight 16ths, more of the notes are on the beat and the quantized feel is what a lot of peoples hearing gravitates toward. So in your situation with triplets you might be letting your picking go at it freely (and more efficiently) because you are getting away with some if the notes floating about a bit. Where as straight 16ths, you might be adding more tension to control notes and keep them all in time, because you wre noticing them a lot more

More simply put,
Slower tempos/bigger subdivisons = bigger gaps between note strikes/more room for error.

Faster tempos/smaller subdivisions = smaller gaps between notes/ more noted crammed in

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I had this type of issue (could do sextuplets but not 16ths eventhough same ‘notes per second’). What I ended up doing is firing up the metronome and just hitting one muted note at speed, then ‘going for it’ with the sextuplet pattern I was used too (but bpm was set for 16ths)…it didn’t take long to iron out - thankfully.


This happens when you are used to almost exclusively working with one or the other. The neglected one just needs a few metronome practice sets, i find it hard to keep up with it all.

3nps is easier to play as a triplet, due to the fact that it’s 3 notes. Each pattern is a downbeat.

Are you trying to play 3nps up the scale in 16th notes or just on a string?

Meaning, on the A string, 5 7 8, D string 5 7 8 G string 5 7 in 16th notes, or A string 5 7 8 5, 7 8 5 7, 8 all on the A string?

If it’s the former, practice this way. Metronome on a comfortable tempo, 110-140. Play A string 5 7 8, D string 5 7. Repeat that until you can no longer stand the D minor scale.

Then play A string 5 7 8 D string 5, 7 8 G string 5 7, 9 (the commas are the down beats).

If it’s single string, simple exercises like 7 8 7 5, 7 8 7 5, 8 10 8 7, 8 10 8 7
or the Yngwie runs on a single string 10 13 12 10, 8 12 10 8, 7 10 8 7, 8 12 10 8.

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The question is - technique used. Because for me it’s easier to count in multiples of 3 if I play economy, while it’s easier to use even numbers when I go all alternate. Obviously, I have that ‘downbeat = downstroke’ issue.

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