My picking progress thread

#1

I always feel that my wrist angle is wrong or should be straighter when I play, although I’m not sure if there is a right way or wrong way. Here is a video, ignore the background noise. It’s just really to show my wrist angle. Should I try to correct it? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel there is something wrong but I dont’ know how to fix it.

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#2

Is it giving you results that you like? I often use a significantly flexed wrist, particularly for doing dwps with a forearm rotation mechanic, and there are lots of people like Nuno Bettencourt and Marty Friedman who do the same. But there are also people like Andy Wood who appear to have virtually no flex in their wrist, but get incredible results with a mechanic with little or no forearm rotation.

I think rather than think in strict terms of “correct” and “incorrect”, it might be more appropriate to think about what motion mechanic you’re striving for, and understanding that flexed wrist is generally helpful with forearm-rotation mechanics, but less helpful (maybe an impediment?) in non-forearm-rotation mechanics.

In your shoes, I would just experiment to figure out what approach lets me pick a single note on a single string the fastest, and use that as the basis for my picking, whatever angle my wrist happens to have when I pick that way.

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#3

If I had to guess, what feels “off” to you is stringhopping. We discussed this earlier and it’s very apparent in this clip. As @frylock points out, there are few categorically “wrong” things when it comes to hand positions. There is nothing specifically detrimental in what I am seeing here as far as your orientation and guitar contact. But the repeated bouncing movement on each pickstroke: that’s one of the few things that has almost exclusively negative consequences when you’re trying to learn straight-line speed. Unlearning this is your number one goal.

Have you tried the rest stroke technique yet? Keep your setup exactly the same as you have it here and try and hit the next higher string on the downstroke. Your setup looks Gilbert / Wood like, and your hand structure looks particularly Gilbert-like. So let’s say you give it a shot using wrist movement, as those guys do, and not forearm movement. Can you do it, and does it stop the bouncing?

More generally, code community: we need a teaching method we can use to take someone with a hopping problem and flatten out that movement. The rest stroke method seems tailored to dwps but I’m willing to believe it can work for more neutral or uwps setups as we’re seeing here. @aliendough please give this a shot and see how you make out. Upload a clip when you have one and we’ll take a look.

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#4

Besides what Troy mentioned (aka, a lot of effort and swinging back and forth for two notes. It looks like cross-picking but without any string change to speak of), it seems like your upstrokes are louder than the downstrokes.

The rest stroke idea sounds interesting. @Troy am I right in thinking that you suggested this so that OP is mapping out more of a straight motion forwards and backwards over the string with a visual target, rather than the current extraneous trajectory?

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#5

Yes, see the other @aliendough thread for the a lengthier description:

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#6

The rest stroke method works for the UWPS as well. It worked for me but I didn’t know at the time i was doing it. I just thought if I plant the base of my thumb on the lower strings or body than that would clear up the clunky movement I was making and it did. After hearing about the rest stroke and seeing it I took a look at my upward pick slanting and sure enough I was hitting the side of the lower string with the upstroke. So it has merit in both directions for sure, but still feel like forearm rotation is better suited for DWPS just because the forearm is already pronated to the most extent possible me thinks with UWPS.

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#7

Thanks again everyone. I will try and get another video posted sometime this week.

Best wishes.

#8

Regarding rest strokes & fast picking, I have noticed that my hand likes to do a rest stroke on both the up and downstroke whenever possible – i.e. when there are enough notes on a single string, and when there are enough strings around the one you are playing :slight_smile:

Its seems to me that this double rest stroke leaves very little room for hopping movements on a single string, so maybe you can give it a shot? However I would also wait for the opinion of other codecrakers.

This double rest stroke thingy works for me, but I can also see how it may give bad habits for string switching.

#9

Well, here’s the other video I promised. I"m using UWPS because I find my playing less string hoppy when I use UWPS. Having studied this video myself I can see that my ascending picking technique still looks a little string hoppy.

I will post a video of me playing the same run with DWPS, but I just can’t get it to an acceptable level at the minute as it’s quite sloppy and I feel that, when I’m using DWPS, I’m kind of fighting against myself even more so than UWPS.

I think what’s interesting here is that I go out of time when I change from the low E to high A string - I always have problems in this area for some reason and I don’t know why!

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#10

I’m the opposite man. I’m bad at UWPS. Practice in DWPS only for a while. You’ll get better.

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#11

I’m gonna give this lick another shot tonight with pure DWPS.

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#12

Heres another DWPS lick, I kind of floated out of time towards the end:

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#13

Good work on this! The uwps clip is a big improvement. You are correct that the hopping in this clip is either gone, or at least greatly reduced. Are you intentionally rest stroking in uwps here, or is it just the anchoring setup that is promoting the smoother movement?

Either way, this is now a movement that can be sped up. You can use uwps phrases like this that switch strings. And you can also use single-string phrases, like the Yngwie six-note pattern, or DiMeola / Moore sixes (three notes repeated in place, asc or desc). If you’re doing single string practice, don’t worry about the fact that the Yngwie phrase is a dwps phrase when you start on a downstroke, because you’re not switching strings with it. You’re just using it as a device for speed practice. You can of course also use it starting on an upstroke, in which case it becomes a uwps string-switching phrase.

Either way is fine. In fact I’d try all of the above — diversity of practice material, within the same physical hand setup, is good because it gives you multiple ways to recognize and cement the feel of that setup.

Also, don’t get too hung up on metronome usage. Shut if off and just go for speed and fluidity, at whatever speed that happens for you. Whatever helps you learn the feel of this new setup is good in the long run. If you shut off the click and just try to do this new movement as fast as you can, how fast does it go currently?

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#14

Also good work here. The ascending side of this looks great. The descending side is still hoppy. Can you see the lifting movement you’re doing with the upstroke/pulloffs? That’s wrist extension, like revving a motorcycle hand grip. That’s a remnant of your previous technique creeping back in. If you want to keep practicing this dwps form, try not to ‘lift’ the upstrokes. If your form is correct, the picking motion itself will clear the strings, so there is no need to boost it with the lift. If it helps, instead of an “upstroke”, think “left stroke” in your mind. That will help your hand move sideways instead of hopping.

Otherwise, keep up the good work here. You’re going to be a whole new player in a month or so.

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I'm desperate for guidance
#15

Hello @Troy!

Thanks for your analysis and response - your comments are very encouraging for me to read.

With regards to my first clip - I’m not consciously using rest strokes, I think it’s the anchoring movement and the fact that I am very comfortable with UWPS that is making things smoother. I’m concentrating on mostly UWPS for the time being, but with some DWPS thrown in as well. It was actually when you said that my grip was very Paul Gilbert like that it made me think “well, PG is an UWPS, so I should try to work on that for a while”.

With regards to the second clip - yes I see that descending lifting type movement now. I’d never thought of using a “left stroke” as you put it to move over the string, that’s something very interesting that I’ve never heard before. I don’t have my guitar with me right now, but I’m going to have to try this out tomorrow.

Once again thank you. I will post another video in a lot of weeks so my progressed can be assessed by the experts on the forum.

Best wishes.

#16

I edited the thread title as I plan to keep this thread as a diary of sorts of my progress.

Here is my attempt at a two way pick slanting lick. After watching the footage I feel the first attempt was smooth and less string hoppy. Well, I’ll leave it to the experts to decide:

#17

I agree that this looks less string hoppy, but my short suggestion is to follow advice similar to in @Hanky_Pooh 's thread: spend more of your time working on ramping up the speed of simpler (in the 2WPS case, 2 string) licks, to ensure that you’re not spending a lot of time training movements on 6-string exercises that may turn out to have a low “speed ceiling”. Work on speeding up simpler licks to figure out what the “high ceiling” movement should look and feel like.

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#18

To me this looks more or less like your old motion. We can debate how hoppy it is or isn’t, but that’s an academic question because if it’s hoppy at all, even slightly, then you’ll tire out and won’t be able to speed it up. In general, slow speed attempts like this clip aren’t very valuable as a teaching aid for you because at this tempo, you could probably do this with any picking movement, even all downstrokes.

Your main goal is still to get fast, fluid, straight-line movement happening in a one-way pickslanting scenario. Even on a single string, with a single-position repeating phrase - threes, yngwie six-note pattern, etc.

How fast can you get the uwps movement to happen? Even on a single string, single position, repeating phrase? No metronome, just moving your hand back and forth as fast as possible. That’s the clip I want to see.

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#19

Yeah, what he said. :wink:

#20

@Troy @Frylock

Here you go guys:

With best wishes.

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