Teemu is one of my favourite modern metal players. Great great news! Really looking forward to it.
I won’t have the time to watch until Wednesday, will the link still be up on Youtube by then?
Hey yes I think it will stay up on YouTube. It’s possible we may want to remove and edit / re-upload but either way we definitely plan to have a recording available to watch later.
Teemu is in the studio and we’re just finishing setting up, will be going live shortly!
Great workshop as always! Really glad Troy picked my question about pickslanting practice, I really wanted to learn Teemu’s method.
Thank you guys for the incredible work you’re doing!
I’ll have to catch up on this one asap! I just managed to connect at the end to listen to the ending solo, incredible how he could play like that all by himself in front of a camera - with no backing track - and knowing he only had one shot!
PS: for the longest time I was convinced that our @hamsterman was Teemu
I love that he mentioned that a too small picking motion makes string changes hard as this is something I recently noticed in my playing. When you have motion mechanic that achieves no distance from the string you can pickslant as much as you want without ever really escaping. This made ascending runs in dwps and descending runs in uwps especially hard as there the escape and the string change happen in opposing directions (in dwps you escape after the upstroke but when the lick is ascending the string change is happening towards the floor). Also small picking motions don’t have that nice attack you get from big motions with edge picking so I have to practice picking big, in contrast to every youtube tutorial on this subject
You’re close. I am Teemu’s pet hamster.
Great broadcast! I did have to adjust the settings on VLC player to make it appear a little brighter as the original broadcast was, in my opinion, too dark.
Just a question - how does Teemu get his lead tone? Is that considered scooped or midboosted? It sound quite tight.
Thanks! Agreed — we actually just uploaded an edited version…higher quality video + a bit brighter That’s on YouTube now; we’ll get it on our site soon too:
He’s playing our Hellcat and we didn’t change the settings at all. It’s just a solid high gain lead tone, with no bass issues and no treble fizz, and everybody sounds good through it.
Sounded amazing, really nice high gain lead tone. Teemu’s phrasing and technique helped a great deal too.
That must be a tiny picking motion he’s talking about because, if I remember correctly, the strings are only three eigths of an inch apart. So if somebody’s picking motion isn’t making it from one string to the next, then sure, it’s too small, but that’s a tiny motion.
Both Dannyjoe Carter and MAB use very small picking motions and both have a strong attack and great speed and accuracy. Yngwie’s picking motion is quite small as well and I’d say he is the godfather of modern neoclassical shred. A lot of imitators have come along since Yngwie but none of them have had nearly the career he has had. None of them as solo artists have had the influence he has had, none have sold sold the number of albums he has sold or even come close to drawing the size of the crowds that have come to see Yngwie’s concerts over the last 25 years. The point is, having a relatively small picking motion won’t hold you back from becoming successful.
Yes, I guess it’s not really too important how big the picking motion is while staying on one string, just that you have the capability to make it bigger when you need to switch. E.g. when you move into a really deviated wrist position due to wrist string tracking, the extra deviation that is required to switch strings might just be too much. And I think maintaining a larger motion at least for medium speed things might be a good habit as you will notice the problem while staying on the string instead of only at the string change. It’s kind of a catch the error as soon as possible strategy to make debugging a bit easier . But I’m just trying out stuff at the moment so really not certain about anything and as you mentioned MAB and Rusty show us that small motions can work
My impression is we’re talking about people who are still learning, and have been told to “use small motions”, and their sound and playing suffers as they attempt small at all costs. We see this occasionally in “Technique Critique” clips that get posted here. They have no level or dynamics, especially when playing acoustic, where the playing is super quiet and you can’t hear them. And the tone is mostly pick scratch and not much else because the pick is really just barely moving past the string each time. This level of “small motions” is artificially small and not what great players tend to do.
Yngwie is a good example. He knows how to hit the strings with authority, and his motions aren’t always super tiny. You can watch that Alcatrazz 1984 performance, those are not super tiny motions. There is a finger element there, and fingers just don’t make big motions. But within that, you can see and hear the clarity. Batio’s motions aren’t super tiny either unless he’s playing very fast. When he’s just tooling around at slower speeds, his motions look relaxed and normal like everyone else’s.
The key here is to not go nuts with this. Making a natural, smooth motion with good attack and tone is the best way to go. If the motions get smaller as you speed up, that only makes sense. Trying to force them to be smaller than you would otherwise make them, only seems to produce poor results. At least in the clips we have seen here so far.
Hey Troy, nice post. I was referring to how the size of the picking motion affects being able to make string changes but the points you made about artificially small movements resulting in extremely quiet playing that has no dynamics are a valid concern as well.
So, when people do economy picking, which as far as I know makes it necessary to use pretty small pick strokes, do you tend to notice a lack of dynamics and attack when people use that technique? If not, how do they still get a full sound when economy picking, especially when using a clean tone?
I can’t really say one way or another if small motions make certain kinds of playing more difficult. I do know that we have heard reports to this effect right here on the forum, and of course Teemu mentioned it again yesterday. He has a lot of in-person teaching experience, and if he says he has seen this with students, I would tend to believe him.
In general I have seen clips that forum members have found online of players who do the small finger motions thing, where I didn’t think the multi-string playing was clean. But I can’t say if that’s because of the motion size specifically, or just ignorance on the part of the player as to how string changes work. Lots and lots of experienced players seem not to be able to hear when they are not really playing accurately. Hell I can’t hear every so often. So I will cut everyone some slack on this — you get used to what you sound like, and it’s hard to be objective.
Re: economy picking, a lot of those players go for the “smooth” vibe intentionally. It’s not motion size, sweeping needs to cover the entire distance between two strings. That’s not a small movement. It’s just a choice of attack/tone. Gypsy guitar has elements of economy where you mix alternate and sweep, and it’s super attacky. Frank Gambale also gets some good snap on the strings.
In general I think motion size is simply not a thing we need to worry about. This comes from a past era when “small” was the catch-all solution to everything because knowledge was limited. Doing motions smoothly and correctly is what matters most, and most people will get the best results by going for graceful motions (at whatever size), and adapting those motions to the playing situation.
I also think there is a misconception about picking size at all, which I also believed for a long time. Not a certain small size makes the speed but rather vice versa. Because of the velocity of the wrist, arm or whatever motion a player uses, the points where the pick stops to go into the opposite direction will be closer to the played string – maybe! The more force or muscle activity is used the bigger the pickstrokes can be while playing fast and this works to a certain extent (maybe 180 bpm?!)
Slowly I’m getting the idea in the last months that the advice of making small pickstrokes has another good reason than the literal meaning of “small strokes lead to fast picking”. Maybe the advice helped some players to force them to turn back with the pick after one pickstroke more quickly and with power, which leads to acceleration. I don’t know if I can express exactly what I mean, but the equation would be this: advice of small pickstrokes -> move the pick faster to achieve that goal -> speed -> smaller pickstrokes as a result
Others may take that advice too literal and start with small pickstrokes which are weak and if any speed is reached then at the price of sound (high costs!)
But like Ozzy sings: “I don’t know”
Everything you’ve written here is, I think, spot on! Small is the result of fast. That advice helped some people because they used more power and switched more quickly and small was, again, the result. And… some people take it too literally to mean small equals fast. And those are the cases where we see the issues: string switching challenges, volume/tone issues, arm tension, and so on.