View Full Version : Picking Runs
08-08-2000, 01:50 PM
I'm a pretty good guitarist... I've been playing for a good 2 1/2 to 3 years now and I've almost got my legato style perfect. I can play fast runs without picking every note. Now I'm beginning to work on picking all the notes in the runs. I'm finding this extremely difficult. I was talking to the lead guitarist in the band I play in and he said that picking is definately the hardest part of playing fast and sounding good. I think he's right. So basically, my question is, does anyone have any suggestions regarding exercises to improve picking or techniques to improve picking speed and clarity? All help appreciated.
08-08-2000, 08:38 PM
First of all, it depends on what music you want to play. If you want to play like satriani, or allan holdsworth, dont worry about the picking.
However, if you're like me and you want to be able to pick fast runs, theres no trick, just get a metronome, and practice. A metronome is incredibly useful, doesn't have to be a very fancy one, I got a seiko for about 20 bucks before tax. Key is to develop good technique at low speeds, very low, and once you are playing every note completely clean, and you're playing well enough that you'd show it to others, then and only then do you speed it up. A lot of people play hard passages and make minor mistakes and say "well that's ok, its tough to play." It's much better to play it slow and right, because if you're playing right, then you'll get better and better at it and be able to play it faster. If you're playing wrong, you'll always be hampered by whatever it is that's screwing you up, and the longer you play something with a mistake, the harder it is to unlearn.
Hmm, what else. Oh yeah, if you're practicing picking, NEVER practice with distortion. That's about the best way to develop technical flaws without noticing it, distortion hides mistakes, and that's bad for practicing. Also, you might try angling the pick, as opposed to having it totally parallel to the strings, it helps for some people, I know Eric Johnson does it.
Again, never play something faster than you can play it perfectly. I know people who play fast and it doesn't sound terrible, but it doesn't sound too professional because they're playing a bit sloppy, and its very hard to fix that because it's usually drilled into your fingers with lots of wrong practice.
I can't believe how right you are.
I've always done the exact thing.
I found that if your good using clean channels you sound like a master with distortion.
08-08-2000, 11:31 PM
another question... are there any specific exercises that i should know about to help improve faster, or is it just a matter of practicing a lot to get fast and accurate? thanks for the help you guys.
08-09-2000, 12:22 AM
Well, one that I think improves accuracy and coordination is the 1234 excercise and different inversions thereof. Of course practicing scale and mode fingerings is good. Try and learn the diminished and whole tone scales, most guitarrists ignore those. Learning these symetrical scales is good because the fingerings are more awkward than normal scales so it will improve your fingering more than practicing modes of the major scale. Also, try learning the modes of the melodic minor, most guitarrists (including myself) tend to forget about practicing those too. The seventh mode of the melodic minor is the most important (aside from the normal melodic minor scale.)
Another thing, try getting used to alternate picking arpeggios as well as scales. A lot of guitarrists can blaze on their scales, but when it comes to alternate picking arpeggios, they have trouble because theres more string switching going on. You should be able to do both. That's a problem i have, i still pick my scales faster than my arpeggios.
Also, a piece of advice from a guitarrist I don't very much like (yngwie malmsteen) is that it's often better to use pieces of music as excercises than purely technical excercises. I learned the fifth caprice by paganini, and I'll admit that however much you may dislike his music (in my case, a lot) the advice is good. The fifth caprice turned out to be a whole bundle of excercises all wrapped up in one. Granted it didn't improvise my pickign speed much because the left hand stuff is so complicated I can't play it as fast as I can pick scales. Still, it's great for string skipping, sweep picking, arpeggios, and it sounds sorta nice too.
The key thing is just to play a lot, and to play clean (i.e. no choppy, botched notes). If you're doing that, then you're going to improve.
08-09-2000, 01:11 PM
Are there places online that I can find all these scales? I've heard of them, but I have no idea how to play them or even what they sound like. Thanks again.
11-24-2000, 01:11 PM
The best site I've found for chords and scales is this:
11-25-2000, 08:44 AM
Luigi is absolutley right...
I myself prefer to play with records than just playing scales and i think that i when i learned the stairway to heaven solo, for the example, i learned to run on the minor pentatonic scale, better that i could learn playing it up and down whole day long...
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