Little lesson on dynamics from Anton Oparin :-0

Is anybody here able to play that string skipping exercise and the 5 note on 3 strings with different accents exercise at those speeds?
I have tried and tried and tried… don’t even come close.
The guy is just phenomenal!!!


It’s tough, since I’ve worked on trying to mimic his technique before I took a crack at it. Here’s wha to got after about 30 minutes

I feel like maybe I could get there with enough time? The fact that he reduces speed with longer skips makes it feel doable.

Edit: I’m curious how far you were able to get with this kind of riff. It could be interesting to try practicing over a longer period of time and see what kind of progress is made.

Taking a step back from practicing his CPE Bach piece and coming back to it periodically has given good results and I think eventually I’ll get there if I keep at it.

Something like that (bit better though) is what I am stuck at. To get it at his level seems impossible, for me at least.

That other exercise in the vid, where he is doing the 5 note over 3 strings putting different accents, is also crazy tough!

And, these exercises are al about dynamics. So at that string skipping thing you have to increase and decrease the pick attack.
That is why you should not put that many distortion on your amp because it will compress the sound and reduces the dynamic range.
You should use a clean or light crunch sound.

Maybe I’ll incorporate some of this into my practice regimen just to see what happens. I’ve been interested in his string skipping technique for a while, although the styles I play are mostly so heavy that the dynamics get lost in the mix - I’ve been listening to Blues Saraceno a lot lately and am interested in working on dynamics and vibrato more intentionally.

I’ve been starting to wonder if being left handed while playing right handed guitar has handicapped that sort of playing for me, but my right hand isn’t terrible, just not what my left hand is. Anton’s legato playing in that is quite good and crisp/dynamic as well, he does true, clean pull-offs not unlike Rick Graham. You often see very slurry legato from other players where the notes are fast but run together.

One thing I’m pretty sure of is that his wrist dance involves a combination forearm/wrist picking motion. I’ve been thinking of each motion in each direction as distinct in a sense, as they will all move the wrist vs forearm to a different degree and forearm twist changes the pickslant as well, so practicing each pick stroke in one note per string picking as their own movement and thinking of it as a sequence of them more than just “alternate picking” feels like the right conceptual way to go. Maybe one day I’ll be able to get lessons from him in the US and get more insight.

Yeah this so called “Wrist Dance” is something I still don’t know exactly what he means by that.
But, like you, I think it is a motion of the forearm and a very loose wrist together.

He is just capable of playing anything with picking.
He is not restricted by just up or downstroke escapes, he can do big string skipping motions, play muted, loud, soft, very fast, legato etc…

His left-hand capabilities are also at the highest level.

In this one video in which he shows some problems famous players have he says something important:
“Am I more talented? No! Do I practice more? No! I just know exactly how muscle movements work”
That realy is the key in my opinion.

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I agree - I think it’s much more fine grained too, than just “crosspicking with wrist and forearm” when we get into one note per string picking. Playing downstroke on the E string to an upstroke on the high E string is a discrete movement that needs practice. Same for the reverse. Same for each pair of strings.

Based on feedback from his students, they imply something similar about the level of detail.

Then there are details of posture, how the wrist sits on the guitar and also how you sit relative to it, how your shoulder moves, how you hold the pick. I think the only chance of finding these things without direct input from someone who knows them is close observation of all of his movements including posture, shoulder etc., observing what footage of students exists, by more extensive trial and error, and some understanding of anatomy.

Then if that doesn’t work maybe I can buy some lessons from him when things settle down, glad to see he’s still posting on the Russian language channel since I haven’t seen anything much since the big picking technique video controversy.

wonder if the “wrist dance” is something to do with slightly altering the angle of approach so as to utilise different muscle groups alternately rather than just fatiguing one group continuously

Can’t agree more!
I once tried to contact him for just the picking lesson bu he dos not sell those seperate packages anymore. You can only but the full course.

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Quick listen and attempt; only tried the first few chords:

I wonder if he does this with inside picking as well?


Solid attempt and better than I could muster. I’ve been interested in the AO material as well, but I’m just curious, In your personal opinion what do you think you could change to get it closer to his level outside of just more time practicing? I mean I know this site has provided us with the information to get us all above average speed in a shorter amount of time. But is it also just possible his fingers (muscles neurons etc…) just fire a little faster or get a little more wiggly/relaxed or something?

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Thanks! For me personally, I just need more playing time; right now I’m at about 30 minutes to an hour every other day or so, split between guitar and bass. I feel like sometimes I spend most of that time just getting reacquainted with my picking (which I could minimize if I just play more frequently). That would probably make my left hand a bit better, which I feel is what’s holding me back at the moment in this clip.

I’m hoping getting the magnet (as well as other members on the forum) will get me playing more; if anything, it should bring more activity to the site, which is what’s keeping me playing guitar most days!

I think it’s just finding the right combination of movement to get the results you want. If I had to guess for myself, I think I’m doing a combination of forearm rotation, wrist, and fingers. I would guess it’s a similar combination for him as well (what you describe as “wiggly / relaxed” could be a small amount of finger movement).

Good attempt!
I am at about your level but then I am stuck.
It seems i just can’t improve from there…
Not one time a clean run, even when playing just the first chord. Drives me nuts!

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I still believe that is the case.
But he also had a pretty unique start, with his father being a pro sports trainer and learning him everything about muscle movements on a very deep level.
His whole practice routine is based on this.

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I’m not saying you’re wrong or right but I’m interested in opening a conversation about his fathers sports training experience. Let me preface this by saying I am still interested in spending money on Anton’s material when the opportunity opens up. But every time I hear that his father was a Olympic athlete trainer, I’m not entirely sure how that helps a young kid excel at guitar the way he did. Outside of setting up good habits, practice routines, and all that stuff, what could his father have taught him about all the tiny muscles involved in playing guitar that could make this much of an impact? I tend to go back to the Law of Specificity here; we can really only get better at physically playing the guitar by playing the guitar (not counting music theory, ear training, just pure technique). Was his father a guitar player or musician as well? Wolfgang Van Halen’s father was Eddie Van Halen but you don’t see Wolfgang significantly better at guitar technique than Eddie. Something like that would make more sense to me where the parent or role model had that specific skill and passes it on. Anyone can read and understand how muscles work on a very deep level. It’s not very complicated. My girlfriend is a physical therapist and she understands the human body on a very deep level but I don’t think that would transfer to a child excelling at guitar anymore than someone else. Again, I come in peace and respect of the Anton camp, I am simply just looking to make discussion about this.

I don’t think I’ve seen him do this type of string skipping with inside picking but I had a similar thought, I have a feeling it would be slower, more awkward. It seems possible, but necessarily more error prone.

I think he specifically talks about mental strategies for relaxation and consistency on top of the physical optimization. Someone at that level of sports medicine training, if that’s the case - I don’t have much info about his father - would have access to sports psychologists etc. and I think it can be very difficult to train yourself to stay very relaxed and in the zone the whole time. It may well be worth studying sports psychology separately and see if it helps with playing/performing, I imagine it might.


After messing around a bit there is a motion that works for the larger jumps incorporating a little bit of a scoop motion with the whole arm, almost like I’m reaching down with shoulder and elbow and forearm and wrist movement together like if I were ladling something out, then for the faster shorter distances it’s just wrist and forearm. Haven’t practiced it enough to make it smooth, but if there are two distinct motions it also helps with the dynamics.

Reduced the gain this time as well.


I think helps for sure if you have knowledge of the way muscles behave under certain circumstances and know how to realy relax.
He says so himself: " I am not more talented or do not practice more then for instance Guthrie Goven, probably even less."
“I just have a deep level of understanding how muscle movements work.”

If his father trained him at a very young age, constantly correcting his movements, together with hand, arm position etc… to get the best possible results regarding to relaxation and effectiveness of muscle movements, this (in my opinion) for sure would be a big advantage someone who doe not have this info and training.
He started at the age of 6 and at 8 he already played these crazy alternate picking things.
So he did not practice for 10 years or so.

Anyways, he is just on another level regarding to alternate picking.

Also, having someone constantly observe your practice to remind you of things - even without Olympic training, is invaluable. It’s very tough to be consistently mindful while practicing, and having a teacher do this for you day in and day out will heavily optimize your practices.


But they would need to have experience in the thing you’re practicing. That’s like saying it would be okay for a professional cyclist to supervise a UFC fighters training. I’m exaggerating here, but I’ve heard about his father so many times that I’ve started to take it with a bigger grain of salt because it could really not be as significant as many think. We would need more information on his father to draw better conclusions. And again I will reiterate, I’m not trying to argue. Just playing devils advocate to hopefully learn more and again much respect and jealousy of AO! Take my money brotha!

I don’t agree.
If someone knows for instance from a scientific/physics viewpoint exactly how you have to place/move your hand/arm/wrist to get the most relaxed and efficient movements possible, that person does not have to know anything about the guitar or music in general.