Anybody else get annoyed ay people discussing ‘picking speed’ without clarifying what the particular string change scenario is? I love my jazz guitar forums but I have to admit sometimes it drives me a little crazy to see dozens and dozens of posts of people essentially talking about what TG calls “motion mechanics” and thinking if they just make little incremental discoveries about subtleties of how the pick moves back and forth on the same string that it will translate into not only being able to play fast lines, but then improvise fast lines, that cross strings.
But I guess now that I think about it I was right there for years, and I think TG talks about this in one of the early vids. “I’ll try more elbow! I’ll try more wrist! Maybe I’ll alternate everything! I’ll economy pick everything now!” and there are so many essential details being overlooked there it’s no wonder everybody hits these incredible low walls with this stuff. I’m so glad I was wiling to drink the kool aid and now have such better tools for solving pick speed related problems.
Excerpt from my post in one of those discussions:
Playing tremolo on a single pitch, single string
Playing on a single pitch, single string, in strict time
Playing on a single pitch, single string, and able to coordinate accents and dynamics
Playing different pitches on a single string, in strict time, able to sync up both hands perfectly
Playing passages that require string changes. As far as I know, if we are picking every note, there are only four scenarios that we’ll encounter:
5.1. Changing to a thinner string after a downstroke
5.2. Changing to a thinner string after an upstroke
5.3. Changing to a thicker string after a downstroke
5.4. Changing to a thicker string after an upstroke
Different picking styles and techniques present different solutions to 5.1-5.4
The greater variety of string changing scenarios within the passage, the more difficult it is.
- Being able to do any of item 5 in strict time with total control over accent and dynamics.
As far as I know, this particular discussion has really only focused on item 1. Each of #1 through #6 presents different problems and then requires different solutions. If you’re interested in picking every note I do think it makes sense to tackle #1 before the rest, but you may find what works well for #1 becomes problematic for #2, what works for #2 doesn’t for #3, etc. Similarly when you get to #5 you may find, as many do, that something that works great for one or two of those sub-items doesn’t work at all for the rest.