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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    I would actually agree with both approaches. In Greece the bouzouki players practice speed like that, with phrases and melodies, they learn specific phrases and play them awfully fast, then connect the phrases. Flamenco players often do that too. I've tried it and it did work for me!
    this is how we do any fast playing... chunking is essential. You have modules you can make work fast and you chain them together, usually with a downstrokes if you are using a pick. There’s no mystery here, it’s a very teachable thing BTW. (the real challenge IMO is making that type of speed playing sound musical.)

    bop improvisation is no different btw; that’s the point of all those added note scales and everything

    But i think the other way is important too, practicing scales, arpeggios, etc., and slowly building up speed over time. I know a few shred players that built their technique this way (Gus G that plays with Ozzy for example, that was what he did basically, he spent years with metronome and diary, and would do that again whenever his chops would need work). This approach helped me with consistency, actually knowing where i am speed wise, and moving forward.
    I don’t know how anyone would have the patience to do that. But good luck to them (and you)! Being able to measure progress is important, I would simply counsel against expecting linear improvement. And a blockage in progress might require a qualitative change in approach.

    Some of these players are like athletes of the guitar; that’s one path. I can’t comment on that really, it doesn’t interest me; like a sports attitude to music.

    I have never been able to play really fast at any style , so it's either my hands don't have it, or my practice method.. But i've never really worked on it that much either, because i 've always felt the language is what is holding me back and not the technique.

    The one style that i find incredible is flamenco. At one trip to Spain, in a village, there was this little kid across our hostel. He would sit on the sidewalk in front of his house and practice playing alzapua (the thumb technique) all day. But .. literally all day.. maybe 10 hours at a time.. Maybe he's the next Vicente Amigo by now!! So i understood how they do it...

    I think Steve Vai has it down. Find a technique that works for your hands, then... practice for 10000 hours,.. there's no substitute..!
    Sure, to be very literal though, If it takes 10,000 hours you might need or change some things about your technique

    to give an idea of relearned my right hand technique a couple of times so I have an idea of how long it takes. I would say you are looking at a few hundred hours, not thousands. Just to give an idea.

    I can play fast enough for my purposes, which is that I play bop, gypsy jazz etc. But I’m not trying to outshred anyone on Instagram lol... that’s a young persons game for sure.

    If you are not a young person with nothing to do all day apart from practicing your thumb technique, I might point out the power in specific targeted practice, interleaved practice routines and above all a clear idea of where the sticking points are. A little attention to detail and mindfulness for 15 minutes a day beats the crap out of hours of mindless repetition of stuff that doesn’t work.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-04-2021 at 09:41 AM.

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  3. #52

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    I used to be a rock hammerer/slurrer (Clapton etc). Picked up a technique almost instantly and could play all the impressive rock solos at a young age, as well as "improvise" ok in those styles.
    When that became boring, I worked on alternate picking (MacLaughlin Dimeola etc) and found that took a coupla years to get close to the speeds those guys were at (but not quite the accuracy ...).

    Then that got boring and I decided to transcribe me some Parker. Well, all those years developing what I thought was my "technique" was pathetically inadequate, as well as a huge impediment to my reinventing my technique in order to phrase bop lines convincingly. Fast forward many years, my current technique still covers hammering/slurring as well as alternate picking, but in a totally different context. Switching between "mini" techniques in order to phrase the way you wish to for non guitaristic lines requires a totally separate over arching technique that allows you to switch easily between slurs, alternate, sweep and cross picking large string jumps in every possible combination (as per Jake's 5.1 to 5.4 above) - all in one phrase.

    Doing the above while truly improvising demanding lines requires an advanced technique where the right hand can express any idea the mind can conceive (and then the left hand can finger). A limited technique will only allow a limited range of ideas (Clapton, Dimeola etc). As I always say, it only takes years to master a limited technique, but many decades to master a technique that will express the bop based language created by horn and piano players. For those instruments, it is relatively easy, for example, to play one note then another note a 10th lower just as rapidly as playing 2 adjacent notes, as part of a much longer line. Not so easy on guitar! (especailly downstroke to upstroke).

    Flight of the Bumble Bee at 600 bpm is not even half as impressive as Koko at 300 bpm...

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Troys presentation style aside he did open many players eyes to some crucial problems with regards to picking.

    The old school advice of just practice with a metronome and increase speed and all will take care of it self is flawed.

    String hopping issues may prevent you from playing fast and in order to play really fast you need to be aware of your pickslant at the point of switching strings. There are techniques like cross picking, where such considerations aren't a thing. But while you can actually cross pick at a pretty fast tempo (I think Troy calls it something else than cross picking these days, but don't follow him no more as he is just mostly rehashing)

    This is crosspicking as demonstrated by Carl Miner .. You hold the pick almost flat but change the angle of it every time you pick be it an upstroke or down stroke


    But there is no way in hell you can take that technique and just make if faster with a metronome. It has an upper limit. You're not going to reach schredder speeds playing like that. To play those speeds you need to play some sort of pickslanting based technique. I had a subscription to Troys Masters of Mechanics for a few months and saw all the Carl Miner material. He is one hell of a cross picker, but even he when he needs to run really fast runs will change to pick slanting techniques as the interview with him showed.

    Troy making it common knowled that your pick needs a certain angle when changing strings or risk getting buried and trapped was a really big contribution


    The string hopping is unique to playing stringed instruments with a pick and our little personal challenge.

    But we're not the only ones with such challenges .. Drummers can't always just to right hand left hand right left right left. They need to be aware of stickings or risk finding themselves in a position, where it's physically impossible to continue due to being tangled up
    One thing I like about Troy is that his ideas are in constant revision.

    For me my slow move away from rest stroke picking into more alternate picking (or whatever the **** it is I do
    now.) has been based on understanding what he calls upward escape picking which can be used to expand rest stroke picking styles.

    rest stroke/Gypsy picking is relatively easy to learn IMO because the hand movements are very simple if (big if) you can keep yourself right hand in the right position: straight line for a downstroke wrist rotation for the upstrokes (upstrokes are never made as an isolated motion.)

    If you make the downstroke right, which is to say into the guitar, and buried into the next string, the rest follows quite naturally, with the upstroke sort of bouncing off the downstrokes.

    Conversely there are strict limits on what you can do with this pure approach. (However you have so much fun blazing arpeggios and scales up the neck it may be a while before you notice haha.)

    Just knowing to introduce some wrist movement in and out create a more compound movement is immensely helpful, and might allow me to be a more versatile player on selmer/macaferri

    I tend to practice things like upward crosspicking rolls which are very awkward with rest stroke picking.

    The other day I actually did an upsweep lol.

    Again bop lines have quite a few descending arps in them with consecutive single notes on a string.... try to do this with dwps rest stroke picking and it just falls apart after a certain tempo. Stochelo etc just don’t play figures like this AFAIK. I know some very good gypsy pickers who just wouldn’t play something like 26-2 that way.

    As a result a lot of GJ players will switch to a completely different right hand technique on archtop to play modern jazz stuff... I used to do this, but now I don’t think I need to. Which is great, because hopefully it will make my playing more ‘joined up.’
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-04-2021 at 10:14 AM.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    has been based on understanding what he calls upward escape picking which can be used to expand rest stroke picking styles.
    Yeah and he has started renaming Cross Picking into two way escape picking or similar ..

    I don't get what he is going into these days as the way I see it, it's already covered by his original material.

    You've got your gypsy jazz picking .. which is downwards pickslanting based. When he had Joscho on his conclusion was that he was basically more or less identical to Yngwie Malmsteen.

    Then you got the upwards pickslanters like McLaughin .. It's just that the upwards pickslanters usually don't go full on rest stroke when playing, but you could.

    The two approaches are complete mirrors. Only thing that changes is whether it is the upstroke or the downstroke that get's you in trouble when you're about to string hop.

    Finally you got players like Gilbert and Vai that change slant mid phrase in order to string hop. Grady's text book example is the cross road diminished lick, but I remember him showing a bit more advanced examples from Paul Gilbert.


    But you tend to hold you pick with between the pads of you thumb and index finger (like Benson, right?). I kinda locks you into downwards pickslanting doesn't it. Holding the pick like that gives you more leverage. Less wrist movement gives you more pickmovement, right ..

    But you also loose a bit of control over the bit and use the rest stroke to know where it is.

    And that means that is you decide to change your pickslant .. first off all you have to make quite the movement bringing the back of your hand from facing the floor to facing the ceiling .. but you also loose your rest stroke and suddenly you (or rather I) feel that orientation and control goes out the window .. I feel like I'm string to stab the strings with a fork.

    But sure going into that state to temporarily do an upsweep is fine .. I dunno ?


    The Vai pickslant switching crossroads diminished link .. that you've probably seen a zillion times
    <a href="https://youtu.be/KgUcG0aw72U" target="_blank">



    But when I look at the more known gypsy pickers like Joscho, Birelly and Stochelo they hold the pick like Vai, Malmsteen or Gilbert ... Is your way common or very you?

  6. #55

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    "I have never been able to play really fast at any style , so it's either my hands don't have it, or my practice method.. But i've never really worked on it that much either, because i 've always felt the language is what is holding me back and not the technique."
    Alter

    Hi, A,
    And your music has not suffered. . . nor your artistry. I find these conversations interesting in the aspect that some musicians are obsessed with speed and I wonder what is the reason and how does it relate to artistic accomplishment? Everyone can achieve good speed with practice. However, uncommon speed is genetic. I started playing guitar the same time as another boy in the neighborhood in the 60's and we both put in the same amount of time a day practicing. However, from the beginning, his speed was uncommon and after a year, he could play perfect, clean passages with unbelievable speed. And, contrary to what one might think, his hands were fat and small. No matter how hard I tried, I could never duplicate his speed. However, why did it matter?
    When I listened to the video by Van Halen, I wondered: what's the point? And, how long could a sober audience listen to that cacophony? Well, his popularity and wealth answer that question. And, why was it that the young Jose Feliciano's introduction to the world on the Ed Sullivan show was the "Flight of the Bumblebee"-- a frenetic, unmusical technical forte rather than the beautiful music he made then and later in his life? My Russian friend says it best when he gets angry . . . ., The Masses are Asses . . . Marinero . . . when are you ever going to learn?

    Play live . . . Marinero


    https://youtu.be/N92r5rAInUw

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Yeah and he has started renaming Cross Picking into two way escape picking or similar ..

    I don't get what he is going into these days as the way I see it, it's already covered by his original material.

    You've got your gypsy jazz picking .. which is downwards pickslanting based. When he had Joscho on his conclusion was that he was basically more or less identical to Yngwie Malmsteen.

    Then you got the upwards pickslanters like McLaughin .. It's just that the upwards pickslanters usually don't go full on rest stroke when playing, but you could.

    The two approaches are complete mirrors. Only thing that changes is whether it is the upstroke or the downstroke that get's you in trouble when you're about to string hop.

    Finally you got players like Gilbert and Vai that change slant mid phrase in order to string hop. Grady's text book example is the cross road diminished lick, but I remember him showing a bit more advanced examples from Paul Gilbert.
    I think he's had to modify some of his ideas from looking at bluegrass and jazz players etc rather than just metal shredders ... upward escape is a similar idea to DWPS, but in the latter it's the angle to the pick that gets it out of the plane of the string... In UPX, it's the motion of the hand that does it...

    But you tend to hold you pick with between the pads of you thumb and index finger (like Benson, right?).
    I've switched back to using only trad grip since lockdown. I was mostly playing acoustic guitar... acoustic wasn't working for me in that position.

    I kinda locks you into downwards pickslanting doesn't it. Holding the pick like that gives you more leverage. Less wrist movement gives you more pickmovement, right ..But you also loose a bit of control over the bit and use the rest stroke to know where it is.
    Not sure about that. I think actually the shape of the pick allows you a bit more flexibility as it's edge on,.. hard to explain... certainly I found I was a more flexible picker in the underhand grip. Until I started working more on gaining flexibility in the overhand grip using some of Troy's ideas...

    And that means that is you decide to change your pickslant .. first off all you have to make quite the movement bringing the back of your hand from facing the floor to facing the ceiling .. but you also loose your rest stroke and suddenly you (or rather I) feel that orientation and control goes out the window .. I feel like I'm string to stab the strings with a fork.

    But sure going into that state to temporarily do an upsweep is fine .. I dunno ?
    It takes a lot of getting used to. I could never get used to the off centre resistance of the strings, tended to rotate the pick. So I always had to stabilise it with my middle finger.

    Now I am able to enjoy h*br*d picking...

    The Vai pickslant switching crossroads diminished link .. that you've probably seen a zillion times
    <a href="https://youtu.be/KgUcG0aw72U" target="_blank">



    But when I look at the more known gypsy pickers like Joscho, Birelly and Stochelo they hold the pick like Vai, Malmsteen or Gilbert ... Is your way common or very you?
    So I appreciate the confusion; I cultivated two separate picking techniques for the past five years. Trad GJ grip for the GJ stuff, Benson grip for anything on electric. (Actually the grip aside, not that different.) I drifted into the Benson thing because I didn't like the tone I was getting from the gypsy style.

    Might seem utterly batshit, but I know at least one other player who does exactly that, and several GJ players who switch right hand technique when playing other styles.

    Was a bit annoying after a while. If I hadn't had to do gypsy jazz gigs I might have gone over to Benson... but now I've gone the other way. If you check all of my most recent videos I am always using the trad grip. For some reason, tonally I don't mind it now.

    I've effectively learned to pick three or four times. So I actually think I have quite a good knowledge of this, lol.

    Anyway check out my instagram for recent examples of my actual playing playing @christianmguitar, I shred it up a bit more there.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-04-2021 at 08:56 PM.

  8. #57

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    I really shouldn’t read these speed threads
    i just get down about it ....

    the fact that people can alt pick stuff like Donna Lee , is totally amazing to me

    I’m well jell as I believe you young
    people might say

    carry on chaps , you go on ahead ,
    leave me here , don’t worry about me ,
    I’ll be ok .... go , go ,
    Johnny B Goode tonight

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I think he's had to modify some of his ideas from looking at bluegrass and jazz players etc rather than just metal shredders ... upward escape is a similar idea to DWPS, but in the latter it's the angle to the pick that gets it out of the plane of the string... In UPX, it's the motion of the hand that does it...
    Maybe .. We can always discuss whether he is rehashing or whether he is starting to go more in detail with picking.

    When you say angle vs. motion .. I hear that your saying that instead of relying strictly on deviation based picking you add some extension based picking to it?


    Stuff like the shredders do (fx the vai diminished lick) is entirely deviation based and any change in pickslant is produced by rotating your forearm (pronatition/supination). (This is what I suspect you describe when you talk about angle of the pic)

    While the crosspicking of the bluegrass crowd like Carl Miner the clearing of the strings and shifts in pick slant is caused by extention/flextion. I haven't dived too much in to his new vides, but seems like he is elaborating with adding names the UPX/DPX terms to to what he formerly just called cross picking. I actually asked him in the comments a while back if that was what he was doing and got a very vague answer ... He is just diving deeper into cross picking is my impression anyways


    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I've switched back to using only trad grip since lockdown. I was mostly playing acoustic guitar... acoustic wasn't working for me in that position.
    Haha .. OK .. My bad ... I hadn't noticed .. I was just going from memory. The Christian Miller I have a mental picture of is this guy




    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I cultivated two separate picking techniques for the past five years. Trad GJ grip for the GJ stuff, Benson grip for anything on electric. (Actually the grip aside, not that different.) I drifted into the Benson thing because I didn't like the tone I was getting from the gypsy style.

    Might seem utterly batshit, but I know at least one other player who does exactly that, and several GJ players who switch right hand technique when playing other styles.

    Was a bit annoying after a while. If I hadn't had to do gypsy jazz gigs I might have gone over to Benson... but now I've gone the other way. If you check all of my most recent videos I am always using the trad grip. For some reason, tonally I don't mind it now.

    I've effectively learned to pick three or four times. So I actually think I have quite a good knowledge of this, lol.
    I can't see why it is batshit. You have several tools in you tool box and use the appropriate one. I've only learned picking twice.

    Troy's hit the big time some 5-6 years ago, which was around the time I was getting heavily back into guitar after not playing, so I spent quite a lot of time looking into his stuff. Quite the eye opener. I've been an UWPS player for my entire life, tho never realized that this is what I was.

    I still am still that, but I'm do a good bit of DWPS these days. I use traditional grip for both, so the difference isn't huge. I took me 6 months to become fully comfortable as a DWPS player.

    The reason for my switch was purely tonal .. DWPS allows you to whack the strings with a lot more force than UWPS and that sound is one that absolutely was missing in my playing. But without thinking about it I still tend to go for UWPS if I want a more soft bloomy sound. I could just pick less forceful in DWPS I guess, but you know .. your hands have a mind of their own.



    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Anyway check out my instagram for recent examples of my actual playing playing @christianmguitar, I shred it up a bit more there.
    Will do
    Last edited by Lobomov; 01-04-2021 at 10:16 PM.

  10. #59

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    Working with a 'nome really slow was good for me. I had a classical teacher who emphasized minimizing the time the note change takes as a way to increase accuracy and speed. Trying to make each note ring as long as possible before the next note.

    When you're playing fast you're changing notes rapidly, so hone in on speeding up the transition. A slow tick will show you what I mean. It's a good way to work on the coordination that Christian's talking about.

    That alone won't get you to the promised land, but it's a great place to start. Then you start dividing the slow beat further and further. And then you speed up the beat from time to time. And keep working on challenging heads.

    I still warm up like that sometimes. For one thing, I can't stand listening to a 'nome at 200BPM. I'd rather hear 50 or 100 and subdivide.

    Some very fast players have trouble with medium tempo playing. It can be hard to slow that shake 5 or 10 BPM.

  11. #60

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    ..
    Last edited by Alter; 01-05-2021 at 04:04 PM.

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    Working with a 'nome really slow was good for me. I had a classical teacher who emphasized minimizing the time the note change takes as a way to increase accuracy and speed. Trying to make each note ring as long as possible before the next note.

    When you're playing fast you're changing notes rapidly, so hone in on speeding up the transition. A slow tick will show you what I mean. It's a good way to work on the coordination that Christian's talking about.
    Yeah I don't want to say that playing slow is never a good idea; and actually if you are doing what you say, in effect all playing becomes fast playing because you have to develop really good synch between the two hands and rapidity of motion to play a good legato (musical term, not guitar term) at any speed. In fact I would say speed is often a by product of being able to do this.

    Kurt Rosenwinkel made a very similar point.

    That alone won't get you to the promised land, but it's a great place to start. Then you start dividing the slow beat further and further. And then you speed up the beat from time to time. And keep working on challenging heads.

    I still warm up like that sometimes. For one thing, I can't stand listening to a 'nome at 200BPM. I'd rather hear 50 or 100 and subdivide.

    Some very fast players have trouble with medium tempo playing. It can be hard to slow that shake 5 or 10 BPM.
    That's all true.... I think the thing to bear in mind is that mechanically you are doing different things at different tempos.

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Maybe .. We can always discuss whether he is rehashing or whether he is starting to go more in detail with picking.

    When you say angle vs. motion .. I hear that your saying that instead of relying strictly on deviation based picking you add some extension based picking to it?


    Stuff like the shredders do (fx the vai diminished lick) is entirely deviation based and any change in pickslant is produced by rotating your forearm (pronatition/supination). (This is what I suspect you describe when you talk about angle of the pic)

    While the crosspicking of the bluegrass crowd like Carl Miner the clearing of the strings and shifts in pick slant is caused by extention/flextion. I haven't dived too much in to his new vides, but seems like he is elaborating with adding names the UPX/DPX terms to to what he formerly just called cross picking. I actually asked him in the comments a while back if that was what he was doing and got a very vague answer ... He is just diving deeper into cross picking is my impression anyways
    I had a brief conversation with Troy in the comments of one of his videos... he was very keen to differentiate between UPX and DWPS. As I understand it DWPS is UPX but UPX is not necessarily DWPS...

    A gypsy jazz picker would probably use only two of those movements... Elbow for the downstroke, Wrist Supination for the upstroke (with maybe wrist pronation for down realistically.) When I rest stroke pick I use little or no wrist deviation. Mostly rotation actually - you can see this in my insta videos quite clearly I think.

    Yngwie or Eric johnson would use more wrist deviation due to the limitations of having to mute the strings... some supination most likely too... I find this movement very awkward as I am effectively relearning electric/distorted guitar. Basically when I used to play more electric I had a totally different technique. So for electric players, the wrist rotation would be a secondary movement, maybe?

    So even though the picking directions and the string crossing strategies etc are very similar (a GJ picker could play all Eric's licks on acoustic, and Eric could play GJ licks) the mechanics are different.

    Wrist Extension/Flexion allows the GJ picker to 'dip' in and out of the string plane without string hopping. It's the secret ingredient that makes cross picking work I guess. Also finger movement.You can also see Frank Gambale doing this moment while sweeping; FG does need to break his sweep picking rules rules in order to connect sweep sequences together. How he does this is quite interesting.

    Troy doesn't cover this, but Benson picking throws all of this out of whack. Due to the wrist being pronated at right angles, wrist flexion/extension becomes the main movement along with some wrist supination/pronation. Tuck Andress covered this in some depth in his famous article on picking.

    I can't see why it is batshit. You have several tools in you tool box and use the appropriate one. I've only learned picking twice.

    Troy's hit the big time some 5-6 years ago, which was around the time I was getting heavily back into guitar after not playing, so I spent quite a lot of time looking into his stuff. Quite the eye opener. I've been an UWPS player for my entire life, tho never realized that this is what I was.

    I still am still that, but I'm do a good bit of DWPS these days. I use traditional grip for both, so the difference isn't huge. I took me 6 months to become fully comfortable as a DWPS player.

    The reason for my switch was purely tonal .. DWPS allows you to whack the strings with a lot more force than UWPS and that sound is one that absolutely was missing in my playing. But without thinking about it I still tend to go for UWPS if I want a more soft bloomy sound. I could just pick less forceful in DWPS I guess, but you know .. your hands have a mind of their own.
    6 months sounds about right. I too used to be UWPS (I think???) before I learned to gypsy pick. It allowed me to play as fast, but it had no acoustic projection.

    I think DWPS with primarily wrist movement generally makes me want heavier strings all the time; problem is my left hand disagrees haha.

  14. #63

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    2 years since my last post in this thread and I've done some very deep dives into picking, and Troy's material, during the past year. (And the whole 'double escape' thing, which I finally made some significant progress on, after being stumped by it for a long time.

    I don't think 'appeal to authority' is a way to make an argument (nor win friends and influence people) but since I've written such a long post below I thought it would be useful to share some clips I already have online of me actually doing stuff that requires picking technique.
    There's the Tony Rice bit I just linked above
    Bebop uptempo USX line example
    Recent sweep+USX line example, all picked
    whiskey before breakfast, mostly two way slanting
    The Grid arranged on guitar, for all USX
    hyper speed sweep stuff
    Other non-shreddy stuff on there as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by MatsP
    After years of struggling with my picking, I've come to the (rather logical) conclusion that the most important thing is to minimize the motions as much as possible
    This is really far less important than people make it out to be. In a nutshell:
    - a larger movement can still be very fast, though there's obviously such a thing as too large
    - there's also such a thing as too small
    - even close up vid of people like Tuttle, the pick moves around more than you might expect

    "Small movements" is one of many things that makes sense on the surface, but there are plenty of ways to disprove it.


    Quote Originally Posted by MatsP
    Use a very slight rotation of the wrist. Think of it as ”rubbing” the string, that close feeling.
    There are so many effective ways to pick in terms of which joints and muscles are in play. Even a casual observation of a handful of elite level pickers, you see tons of different stuff going on in terms of wrist, arm, rotating, deviating, extending, etc.



    Quote Originally Posted by MatsP
    Move the hand as smoothly as possible. That entails keeping the hand very close or on the strings (albeit with a rather light pressure).
    The whole problem with changing strings is the issue of getting in and out of the plane of the strings. Ideally, we don't want to create an additional movement (string hopping) to get to a new string, we want the pickstroke itself to bring us to the new string. So simply keeping the hand close to the strings or on the strings doesn't address the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    I think no matter what picking (or playing) style one follows, a key for developing speed is building an effortless technique, one that uses the hand motion and weight to create the momentum, and doing so needs minimal energy from the hand.
    This is true for both hands. You need to start slow, with as little pressure and energy in both hands, and then work up your tempos with a metronome diary. Number one concern should be quality of motion and sound.
    As Christian and others have stated, there have been some good discoveries about the flaws in this approach re: the metronome.

    I wanted to add more specifically that I believe when someone is first learning the instrument that I do think the 'start slow and speed up' approach is invaluable - everything is foreign, where are the strings, where are the frets, what note comes after the next note, etc, it's all quite a lot at first, and doing things slowly gives the student the opportunity to separate right from wrong as they learn to pick out the notes. And I still apply this principle when I'm learning new music, things that are not familiar to me.

    BUT - at a certain point of development and tempo, the issue is not "knowing what to do" but the issue is having movements that will work at the "tempos beyond." And there are certain problems that only become apparent at faster tempos. String hopping is a big one for sure. At slower speeds, string hopping is not a big limiting factor. It's just not that hard for human hands to do a bunch of extra movements to switch the pick to a new string at a tempo of something like 8th notes at 80 BPM.

    My personal experience? I did the 'start slow, work up with the metronome, log tempos' thing on and off for probably 10 years and I never saw increases in my abilities beyond statistically insignificant blips. Then I learned about pick slanting and escape paths, and when utilizing that stuff correctly there are things that are possible and easy for at 150% of the tempos that I struggled with the 'old way'

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    One key insight that Troy Grady had that I think it perhaps the most important takeaway from his ideas is that a player’s high speed picking form, stance etc may differ radically from their medium and slow form and that this high speed form is often acquired intuitively.

    This is why so much conventional guitar pedagogy is so unhelpful here, and fast players themselves can’t help because they don’t actually understand what they are doing any better than the audience.
    ...
    Playing fast is not simply a matter of making the slow thing faster. It’s a different regime of physical activity.
    Just quoting this for, "yes, that."


    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Oh god there’s no shutting me up about this haha.

    I just wanted to add that what you want from a technique varies. what is your technique ‘for’?
    Yes, talking about 'technique' is a bit like a half-sentence. It ideally should be "technique to be able to play X."

    The conventions of different genres really do ask different things of our bodies on the instrument. A lot of the shred metal stuff is patterns that are composed specifically to work well with the player's technique...not saying it's easy, as some of the tempos of that stuff (or rather "notes per second") are well beyond what we consider uptempo bebop, but the physical skills required are different.



    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov

    String hopping issues may prevent you from playing fast and in order to play really fast you need to be aware of your pickslant at the point of switching strings. There are techniques like cross picking, where such considerations aren't a thing. But while you can actually cross pick at a pretty fast tempo (I think Troy calls it something else than cross picking these days, but don't follow him no more as he is just mostly rehashing)

    This is crosspicking as demonstrated by Carl Miner .. You hold the pick almost flat but change the angle of it every time you pick be it an upstroke or down stroke
    This is a bit of a misrepresentation of slanting and crosspicking, but ballpark. It just should be clear that double escape strokes are NOT necessarily changing a pickslant after every note.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    But there is no way in hell you can take that technique and just make if faster with a metronome. It has an upper limit. You're not going to reach schredder speeds playing like that. To play those speeds you need to play some sort of pickslanting based technique.
    This is incorrect only in that we don't really know enough to draw that conclusion. Here we have some "one-note-per-string" alternate picking from Troy at around 16ths at 190: https://www.soundslice.com/slices/7bwcc/

    As Troy's been "leading the way" with all of this intensely detailed analysis of the double escape technique, and experimenting on himself, I see the stuff he plays in demonstration vids it's certainly 'up there' in terms of tempos.

    The high level double escape thing is most common in bluegrass guitar playing, where might hear stuff in the 8ths/300-350 range but 400 not so much. So the 'speed cap' thing may be in part just because that genre doesn't really have a use for the hyper shred tempo territory.

    Now, do I think slanting techniques like 1 way escape and 2 way slanting are easier to play faster? For me, yeah, but like many people, I've been doing them much much longer than double escape. And the mechanics involved are a lot simpler to learn.

    But I'm not going to be surprised if in a few years, after the Magnet is circulating and everybody is trtying to one-up everything, that you'll see more folks getting the double escape thing happening at bonkers tempos.

    Does any of this matter? maybe not. But as a community, guitarists are trying to figure out how the hell to play the instrument, and I think we've all spent a long time being led astray with picking stuff; I think very, very, very few people have had a real intimate knowledge of how picking really works. Mainly because most people who know anything about picking are guitar players and they probably want to spend the bulk of their time actually playing music and practicing for gigs, not making scientific discoveries about anatomy and motor learning. (Thanks Troy!)



    Quote Originally Posted by Alter

    I have never been able to play really fast at any style , so it's either my hands don't have it, or my practice method.. But i've never really worked on it that much either, because i 've always felt the language is what is holding me back and not the technique.
    You should have LED with this! I mean no offense, but students and other players look to threads like this for guidance and what to do and what not to do. I believe one of your first posts in this thread had the phrase "a key to developing speed is..." but here you're giving the disclaimer that developing speed isn't something you have much experience with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    Find a technique that works for your hands, then... practice for 10000 hours,.. there's no substitute..!
    The problem with picking is I think for a lot of people the first part is much more difficult than the second part!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero

    Hi, A,
    And your music has not suffered. . . nor your artistry. I find these conversations interesting in the aspect that some musicians are obsessed with speed and I wonder what is the reason and how does it relate to artistic accomplishment? Everyone can achieve good speed with practice. However, uncommon speed is genetic. I started playing guitar the same time as another boy in the neighborhood in the 60's and we both put in the same amount of time a day practicing. However, from the beginning, his speed was uncommon and after a year, he could play perfect, clean passages with unbelievable speed. And, contrary to what one might think, his hands were fat and small. No matter how hard I tried, I could never duplicate his speed. However, why did it matter?
    When I listened to the video by Van Halen, I wondered: what's the point? And, how long could a sober audience listen to that cacophony? Well, his popularity and wealth answer that question. And, why was it that the young Jose Feliciano's introduction to the world on the Ed Sullivan show was the "Flight of the Bumblebee"-- a frenetic, unmusical technical forte rather than the beautiful music he made then and later in his life? My Russian friend says it best when he gets angry . . . ., The Masses are Asses . . . Marinero . . . when are you ever going to learn?

    Play live . . . Marinero


    https://youtu.be/N92r5rAInUw

    Marinero, I've been in various guitar forums online for probably 15 years now, and pretty much any time there is a discussion of technique related to speed, someone makes this exact point.

    There are a lot of elements in music making. Yes, speedy playing can be used just to be flashy or impressive, yet the ability to play things at the correct tempo is part of being a musician. We could extend the same 'why bother' argument to any other aspect of development.
    For example:
    - What's the point of learning a whole bunch of chord voicings? You can play just a few shapes and make the tunes sound great.
    - What's the point of learning how to read music? Get your ears good enough and you can just learn everything by ear
    - What's the point of doing ear training? Memorize some licks and learn how to sight read, and you can get through the dinner gig totally fine
    - What's the point of learning new ways to play over an altered dominant? If you've got a few diminished runs you'll probably be set, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Maybe .. We can always discuss whether he is rehashing or whether he is starting to go more in detail with picking.

    When you say angle vs. motion .. I hear that your saying that instead of relying strictly on deviation based picking you add some extension based picking to it?
    (image)
    Stuff like the shredders do (fx the vai diminished lick) is entirely deviation based and any change in pickslant is produced by rotating your forearm (pronatition/supination). (This is what I suspect you describe when you talk about angle of the pic)
    There are a lot of combinations of movements that can get categorically the same result of say, a downward pick slanted-escaped upstroke. You can produce a pickstroke from fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow, shoulder...i guess a bunch of other whacky ways too, and similarly there are muscles/joints that can get the pick out of the plane of the strings. So pickslanting itself doesn't prescribe a specific combination of muscle groups and joint movements.

    Also, since forearm extension is such a different movement than wrist extension, it's good for us to clarify which joints we're talking about to avoid confusion - apologies if you did specify in an earlier post and I missed it.


    I haven't dived too much in to his new vides, but seems like he is elaborating with adding names the UPX/DPX terms to to what he formerly just called cross picking. I actually asked him in the comments a while back if that was what he was doing and got a very vague answer ... He is just diving deeper into cross picking is my impression anyways
    The distinctions are useful - but tricky.
    We can have an escape path that does not necessarily correspond to a pickslant. For example, you can have a downward pickslant or neutral slant, slightly turned forearm in the set up, and pick through the string via wrist extension - depending on the arm position before the stroke even happens, the wrist-extension-downstroke can actually escape the plane of the strings, even though we normally think that downslanting equals escaped upstrokes only.

    So escape path and escape orientation is different than slanting.

    It was smart to stop using the term "crosspicking" because crosspicking is a technique in bluegrass music that involves note choices, but when we talk about "double escape" we're referring to a physical way of striking the string, regardless of what notes we're playing in what order. For example, we can stay on one string and do 'double escape' pick strokes, but that's not crosspicking.

    Well, this has been a fun 4AM excursion..let's see if I can get some rest...

    Edit: oh, wanted to add, regarding the 'can't mute strings while floating' thing:

  15. #64

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    Oh, hadn’t joined the dots: you’re Jake Estner? You have great chops!

    100% what you said BTW

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Yngwie or Eric johnson would use more wrist deviation due to the limitations of having to mute the strings... some supination most likely too... I find this movement very awkward as I am effectively relearning electric/distorted guitar. Basically when I used to play more electric I had a totally different technique. So for electric players, the wrist rotation would be a secondary movement, maybe?

    So even though the picking directions and the string crossing strategies etc are very similar (a GJ picker could play all Eric's licks on acoustic, and Eric could play GJ licks) the mechanics are different.

    Wrist Extension/Flexion allows the GJ picker to 'dip' in and out of the string plane without string hopping. It's the secret ingredient that makes cross picking work I guess. Also finger movement.You can also see Frank Gambale doing this moment while sweeping; FG does need to break his sweep picking rules rules in order to connect sweep sequences together. How he does this is quite interesting.
    The necesity to mute or the necesity to be loud with lots of projection? Wrist rotation carries more force .. Wrist deviation is a faster movement as you don't need as much energy? (Edit: or maybe it isn't?)

    You really need that pointy widdle stick, eh?


    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I think DWPS with primarily wrist movement generally makes me want heavier strings all the time; problem is my left hand disagrees haha.
    As I said in another thread there was a Jim Campilongo clinic a while back, where he was asked why he played with 9s on his tele (a top loader, so even more flappy than the normal string thru versions). And his answer was simply that too many guitar players in the industry struggled with left hand injuries and he wanted none of that. Playing thru a hot Princeton his tone didn't really suffer, but his right hand missed the bounce and would love heavier strings.

    I dunno .. I've been struggling with pain in my left wrist since I turned 40 and that has pushed me to lighter gauges, the days of playing 13s are long gone, so for me it was comforting to hear that I'm not the only one.


    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Troy doesn't cover this, but Benson picking throws all of this out of whack. Due to the wrist being pronated at right angles, wrist flexion/extension becomes the main movement along with some wrist supination/pronation. Tuck Andress covered this in some depth in his famous article on picking.
    Never looked into it .. But that is the point .. good to know .. Thanks
    Last edited by Lobomov; 01-05-2021 at 08:00 AM.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    The necesity to mute or the necesity to be loud with lots of projection? Wrist rotation carries more force .. Wrist deviation is a faster movement as you don't need as much energy?

    You really need that pointy widdle stick, eh?
    Well, you can just play hard and heavy on electric as well of course.

    I like Gary Moore for just brute force

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Well, you can just play hard and heavy on electric as well of course.

    I like Gary Moore for just brute force

    Sure you can .. If not, I wouldn't have changed from UWPS to DWPS for tonal reasons


    Plenty of shredders are "heavy handed" despite playing into hot amps with lots of compression


    Just a bit of fun with my inner stereo types to get a response from you (or to challenge you or whatever .. You know)

  19. #68

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    ..
    Last edited by Alter; 01-05-2021 at 04:05 PM.

  20. #69

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    "Marinero, I've been in various guitar forums online for probably 15 years now, and pretty much any time there is a discussion of technique related to speed, someone makes this exact point.

    There are a lot of elements in music making. Yes, speedy playing can be used just to be flashy or impressive, yet the ability to play things at the correct tempo is part of being a musician. We could extend the same 'why bother' argument to any other aspect of development.
    For example:
    - What's the point of learning a whole bunch of chord voicings? You can play just a few shapes and make the tunes sound great.
    - What's the point of learning how to read music? Get your ears good enough and you can just learn everything by ear
    - What's the point of doing ear training? Memorize some licks and learn how to sight read, and you can get through the dinner gig totally fine
    - What's the point of learning new ways to play over an altered dominant? If you've got a few diminished runs you'll probably be set, right?" JakeAcci

    Hi, J,
    Let it suffice to say that the above statement is a classic non-sequitur.

    Play live . . . Marinero

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    Last time i checked this was a forum where people exchange opinions about stuff, not a lesson. These are just my opinions on the matter after playing and teaching professionally for more than 20 years, feel free to disagree with them. I 'm not exactly a slow player either..
    I'm not saying you shouldn't share your experience and opinions, I'm saying that the disclaimer is useful to lead with, so the reader knows you're speaking more so hypothetically/theoretically. Even though this isn't a lesson, I think there's still some responsibility that comes with our communications here.

    Just want to be clear that there's a world of difference between "don't participate in this discussion" and "that clarification is important to the reader." I'm saying the second thing, not the first.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    "Marinero, I've been in various guitar forums online for probably 15 years now, and pretty much any time there is a discussion of technique related to speed, someone makes this exact point.

    There are a lot of elements in music making. Yes, speedy playing can be used just to be flashy or impressive, yet the ability to play things at the correct tempo is part of being a musician. We could extend the same 'why bother' argument to any other aspect of development.
    For example:
    - What's the point of learning a whole bunch of chord voicings? You can play just a few shapes and make the tunes sound great.
    - What's the point of learning how to read music? Get your ears good enough and you can just learn everything by ear
    - What's the point of doing ear training? Memorize some licks and learn how to sight read, and you can get through the dinner gig totally fine
    - What's the point of learning new ways to play over an altered dominant? If you've got a few diminished runs you'll probably be set, right?" JakeAcci

    Hi, J,
    Let it suffice to say that the above statement is a classic non-sequitur.

    Play live . . . Marinero
    It's not. The point is that there's a discussion about improving an element of musicianship/playing, and folks are often quick to point out some sort of artistic morality about this element. Any element in isolation can seem trivial and not worth the attention, but speed gets, um, no pun intended, "picked on" because of the associations we have with it.

    A lot of jazz music requires finding some good solutions for the picking hand if we want to play it on the guitar at even a moderate tempo. There's so much stuff that's not at all 'fast'' for trumpet, sax, piano, etc, that could get labeled as "shredding" or "flashy" if played on the guitar.

    I feel like I could go on and on about this, but the point is...it's just an element of musicianship. It's not the most important and it's not the least important. It can be used for good or evil, just like anything else. Nobody wants to hear a whole concert of 32nd notes, but just the same as nobody wants to, for example, hear a whole concert with everything played as triad arpeggios...but that doesn't mean that working on triad arpeggios is silly or pointless. It's a piece of the puzzle. If somebody has it 'solved' good enough for their own musical needs, that's great...a lot of guitarists don't, or they have to resign to a low bar because they don't know solutions are possible.

  23. #72

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    Re muting, ok you can play floating and not have TOO much issues with noise on electric, but muting is also a technique in itself. I use it quite a lot when playing rock stuff, as I'm sure most guitarists. So pushing a strictly floating RH technique is not gonna work for most and I would never teach it unless you want to be limited to just classical jazz or GJ.

    EVH sure used it for tremolo, but 99% his wrist is on the bridge. Where it should be

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    It's not. The point is that there's a discussion about improving an element of musicianship/playing, and folks are often quick to point out some sort of artistic morality about this element. Any element in isolation can seem trivial and not worth the attention, but speed gets, um, no pun intended, "picked on" because of the associations we have with it.

    A lot of jazz music requires finding some good solutions for the picking hand if we want to play it on the guitar at even a moderate tempo. There's so much stuff that's not at all 'fast'' for trumpet, sax, piano, etc, that could get labeled as "shredding" or "flashy" if played on the guitar.

    I feel like I could go on and on about this, but the point is...it's just an element of musicianship. It's not the most important and it's not the least important. It can be used for good or evil, just like anything else. Nobody wants to hear a whole concert of 32nd notes, but just the same as nobody wants to, for example, hear a whole concert with everything played as triad arpeggios...but that doesn't mean that working on triad arpeggios is silly or pointless. It's a piece of the puzzle. If somebody has it 'solved' good enough for their own musical needs, that's great...a lot of guitarists don't, or they have to resign to a low bar because they don't know solutions are possible.
    Hi, J,
    Chord voicings, reading music, and ear training are fundamentals of learning/playing music. Supersonic speed is not. Ergo, the non sequitur. A Jazz or Classical musician of the highest caliber can exist and play all the repertoire without pyrotechnics. It's a personal thing and has nothing to do with quality music . . . it's pure Barnum and Bailey.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Classical musician of the highest caliber can exist and play all the repertoire without pyrotechnics.
    Are you claiming that there are classical performers that are viewed musicians of the highest caliber that for example refuse to play Paganini cause they can't do speed and yet they're still viewed as equals to say Itzhak Perlman, Hillery Hahn, David Oistrakh or Anne-Sophie Mutter?

    And when you say all the repertoire what exactly do you mean. Surely it includes the Charlie Parker stuff like antropology .. or is that not not fast playing but more a medium tempo stroll?


  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, J,
    Chord voicings, reading music, and ear training are fundamentals of learning/playing music. Supersonic speed is not. Ergo, the non sequitur. A Jazz or Classical musician of the highest caliber can exist and play all the repertoire without pyrotechnics. It's a personal thing and has nothing to do with quality music . . . it's pure Barnum and Bailey.
    Play live . . . Marinero
    I believe your argument falls apart very quickly when you try to define "supersonic" speed or 'pyrotechnics.'

    Discussions of pick technique are usually discussions of how to do something faster. The practical issue that students and teachers generally have to address is how do we get from a being able to play something at a tempo of X to a tempo of >X. That's not pyrotechnics. Speed is more than an element or aspect...it's a variable. It's a measurable variable that exists in literally all music, except I suppose for a song that consists of one note only played once, with no repetitions.

    Being able to play a melodic line at the correct tempo is absolutely a fundamental of learning/playing music. It's in the exact same category of these other topics we're both referencing. Without abilities and awareness of "speed," in the broad sense, we're putting an arbitrary amount of time in between each note..

    Sometimes the correct/desired tempo is faster than what we're capable of. ERGO...practice and problem solving, just like we would apply for any other element of building our musicianship.

    Even if you have a specific tangible marking of what is "too fast," the measurement would be very subjective...You mention jazz and classical...how much of this music is 'high velocity', difficult to play on the guitar, especially with a plectrum...a whole hell of a lot of it. Coltrane, Benson, Martino, Stitt, Bird, Lee Morgan, Metheny, Wes, Rosenwinkel, McCoy Tyner...playing any of that stuff on guitar, at their tempos, takes an amount of facility that does not come naturally to most players. If it has for you, that's awesome and congrats, but you're definitely in the minority. Even players we think of as a bit more subdued, Bill Evans, Grant Green, Jim Hall, Wayne Shorter, there's still plenty of vocabulary from those folks that is challenging on the guitar. In the classical world...it's probably harder to look for examples of famous pieces that don't have speed-related changes than pieces that do.

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Are you claiming that there are classical performers that are viewed musicians of the highest caliber that for example refuse to play Paganini cause they can't do speed and yet they're still viewed as equals to say Itzhak Perlman, Hillery Hahn, David Oistrakh or Anne-Sophie Mutter?

    And when you say all the repertoire what exactly do you mean. Surely it includes the Charlie Parker stuff like antropology .. or is that not not fast playing but more a medium tempo stroll?

    Hi, L,
    Paragraph 1: All great violinists should be able to play Paganini(good example!) however, some choose not to for personal reasons of taste/repertoire.
    Paragraph 2: Yes. A great Jazzer should be able to play CP favorites. I think CP for an intermediate/advanced sax player is very accessible due to the nature/morphology of the instrument. However, not so much for Jazz guitarists(speed potential for CP licks) since the instrument and technique are so different. Much more difficult. Good points.

    Play live . . . Marinero

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Re muting, ok you can play floating and not have TOO much issues with noise on electric, but muting is also a technique in itself. I use it quite a lot when playing rock stuff, as I'm sure most guitarists. So pushing a strictly floating RH technique is not gonna work for most and I would never teach it unless you want to be limited to just classical jazz or GJ.
    Eh? Who does that?

    Anyway one of the handy things about what Troy calls DWPS is it works for electric and acoustic; just modify your hand position accordingly and use different movements; but you are still using downward rest strokes.

    I suppose some (dogmatic) teachers universally advocate floating wrist. I’m glad I never listened to any teachers on the subject of pick technique... it was clear that wasn’t going to work for rock guitar. I played with muted technique for years, only changing when I needed to.

  29. #78

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    I think Marinero can’t play Charlie Parker head so therefore it’s OK for jazz guitarists not to? ;-)

    (I honestly don’t care either way, I just think it’s funny; play what you like.)

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Oh, hadn’t joined the dots: you’re Jake Estner? You have great chops!

    100% what you said BTW
    Thank you! Yeah I think you and I have messaged across a few different mediums now, though I've been on here pretty infrequently the past few years.

  31. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Re muting, ok you can play floating and not have TOO much issues with noise on electric, but muting is also a technique in itself. I use it quite a lot when playing rock stuff, as I'm sure most guitarists. So pushing a strictly floating RH technique is not gonna work for most and I would never teach it unless you want to be limited to just classical jazz or GJ.

    EVH sure used it for tremolo, but 99% his wrist is on the bridge. Where it should be
    But one has to learn a muting technique regardless of float vs not float.

    If I'm basically forced to teach one hand position for picking, I don't teach the floating thing only because I'm less personally familiar with it, I can more easily explain/help/problem solve students with grips that are similar to mine. But I've seen enough people play great with that orientation that I don't have real reason to believe it can't work as a default - I think most people, like me, just have fewer tools for ironing out the kinks when it comes to instructing another player.

    It's a bit like...is it less common (on electric, to be more specific) because it doesn't work as well, on average, or is it less common because the ways of executing it are less well known and less conducive to general guess work? Shrug.

  32. #81

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    I think picking mostly comes from the wrist, and the arm is only used for warp speed runs of short duration. Pinching forefinger and thumb strikes me as less efficient, but I believe it's used by Wakenius. The 'gypsy' players seem to have worked out economy picking for cross-string picking. Alternate strokes when picking inside strings is the least effective for speed because the pick needs to double back on itself. Having an abundance of twitch muscles gives some players an edge. You'd think minimal movement and anchoring would add mph and needed support, but look at Pat Martino where neither seems apparent. It's worth remembering though the arm is always supported at some point, either at the elbow, the wrist, or fingers.

    The use of a metronome is very important in my view—at least for jazz. For uptempo tunes, lines (phrases) need to be played consistently sometimes for several bars. Lines will have both paths of least resistance that tempt faster execution, and challenging fingerings that pull back execution. The tempo is therefore set by the more challenging fragment of a line. A metronome will highlight these points, and can help overcome the speed bumps, by practicing incremental increases in repetition. It's amazing how much faster you can play than you thought possible.

    I've always been struck by the inefficiency of the guitar. A tiny slither of plastic needs to strike a thin metal wire with such precision to sound a note. A piano, by contrast, does this for you with mechanical precision. I've come round to thinking some of the most effective picking workarounds are found in developing hammer-ons and pull-offs. Sylvain Luc, Pat Metheny, and Joe Pass seemed to have arrived at the same conclusion.

  33. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I think Marinero can’t play Charlie Parker head so therefore it’s OK for jazz guitarists not to? ;-)

    (I honestly don’t care either way, I just think it’s funny; play what you like.)
    Hi, C,
    Charlie Parker head? Translation?
    Play live . . . Marinero

  34. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, C,
    Charlie Parker head? Translation?
    Play live . . . Marinero
    Do you know what a Charlie Parker head is?

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez
    I think picking mostly comes from the wrist, and the arm is only used for warp speed runs of short duration. Pinching forefinger and thumb strikes me as less efficient, but I believe it's used by Wakenius. The 'gypsy' players seem to have worked out economy picking for cross-string picking. Alternate strokes when picking inside strings is the least effective for speed because the pick needs to double back on itself. Having an abundance of twitch muscles gives some players an edge. You'd think minimal movement and anchoring would add mph and needed support, but look at Pat Martino where neither seems apparent. It's worth remembering though the arm is always supported at some point, either at the elbow, the wrist, or fingers.

    The use of a metronome is very important in my view—at least for jazz. For uptempo tunes, lines (phrases) need to be played consistently sometimes for several bars. Lines will have both paths of least resistance that tempt faster execution, and challenging fingerings that pull back execution. The tempo is therefore set by the more challenging fragment of a line. A metronome will highlight these points, and can help overcome the speed bumps, by practicing incremental increases in repetition. It's amazing how much faster you can play than you thought possible.

    I've always been struck by the inefficiency of the guitar. A tiny slither of plastic needs to strike a thin metal wire with such precision to sound a note. A piano, by contrast, does this for you with mechanical precision. I've come round to thinking some of the most effective picking workarounds are found in developing hammer-ons and pull-offs. Sylvain Luc, Pat Metheny, and Joe Pass seemed to have arrived at the same conclusion.
    This post is a bit of a generalisation. People do things in all kinds of ways...

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Do you know what a Charlie Parker head is?
    Is this 20 Questions? I haven't played that game since childhood. O.K. No. What's a Charlie Parker head? And, if it refers to the "theme" we called it melody or top . . . never used the term "head" in Chitown. And, if it is melody/top, how would you know if I could or could not play a CP "head"? Clairvoyant?

    Play live . . . Marinero

  37. #86

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    "Head"... been using that term since the 70s. Probably been around a lot longer than that, not old enough to have used it before then though. Such a common term in jazz, as common as the term "melody".

    I've tried to develop some speed, mainly to be able to play bebop. Never got fast enough to play Charlie Parker heads up to tempo. They still sound real good at slower tempos.

  38. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Is this 20 Questions? I haven't played that game since childhood. O.K. No. What's a Charlie Parker head? And, if it refers to the "theme" we called it melody or top . . . never used the term "head" in Chitown. And, if it is melody/top, how would you know if I could or could not play a CP "head"? Clairvoyant?

    Play live . . . Marinero
    Oh Ok, well I wasn’t sure if you were confused by my bad grammar or unfamiliar with the term.

    Head is a term in common use in jazz circles, usually referring to what you might call a bop contrefact, line etc.

    Of course I have no idea, but I’m guessing from your posts here bop lines probably aren’t your thing so much? As I say I don’t really have much invested either way.

    In would say; In my experience playing a repertoire of CP heads is generally considered a rite of passage for any serious jazz musician, guitarist or otherwise. That is if you call yourself specifically a jazz player and didn’t play any I think it would be considered a bit ... odd? (maybe not if you were a trad player.) not everyone knows tons of them, but all players know at least a few. They tend to get called at most straightahead pickup gigs.

    They all pose challenges for the picking hand. As technical etudes and warm ups I don’t think there’s anything better, precisely because they are so unguitaristic.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-05-2021 at 05:51 PM.

  39. #88

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    ""Head"... been using that term since the 70s. Probably been around a lot longer than that," Fep


    Hi, F,
    Never heard the term in Chicago during the 60's/70's . . . doesn't mean that it wasn't used elsewhere. And, I never shook my head, winked, or picked my nose. At most, a glance-- but even that was not really necessary. The term we used was "top" and it was never used playing . . . only in rehearsal. I wouldn't bet my mustache but I wouldn't be surprised if its popularity came from the academic teaching of Jazz that needed terms for everything and gained popularity in the 70's and beyond. And . . .I promise . . . I'll never use it again.

    Play live . .. . Marinero

  40. #89

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    The term is used by jazz musicians according to George Benson:

    Personal Speed Picking Breakthrough - Letting Wrist &quot;Shake&quot;-fc9edd37-9bd1-4151-a9ec-3d0aee0dfa9f-jpeg

  41. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    ""Head"... been using that term since the 70s. Probably been around a lot longer than that," Fep


    Hi, F,
    Never heard the term in Chicago during the 60's/70's . . . doesn't mean that it wasn't used elsewhere. And, I never shook my head, winked, or picked my nose. At most, a glance-- but even that was not really necessary. The term we used was "top" and it was never used playing . . . only in rehearsal. I wouldn't bet my mustache but I wouldn't be surprised if its popularity came from the academic teaching of Jazz that needed terms for everything and gained popularity in the 70's and beyond. And . . .I promise . . . I'll never use it again.

    Play live . .. . Marinero
    Head, melody, top, whatever you name it, bebop heads are not easy to play well on the guitar. It takes work and attention to technique, and generally the difficulty is being able to execute at the desired tempo. The dreaded 5 letter word again, "speed."

    So I'm confused as to...do you think playing that stuff on guitar is 'pyrotechnics' yet not on the sax? Are 8th notes at bebop tempos "supersonic"? Is that kind of vocabulary not part of the basic jazz repertoire? Is it easy to play that stuff without any attention to "speed" and pick technique?



    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    I believe your argument falls apart very quickly when you try to define "supersonic" speed or 'pyrotechnics.'

    Discussions of pick technique are usually discussions of how to do something faster. The practical issue that students and teachers generally have to address is how do we get from a being able to play something at a tempo of X to a tempo of >X. That's not pyrotechnics. Speed is more than an element or aspect...it's a variable. It's a measurable variable that exists in literally all music, except I suppose for a song that consists of one note only played once, with no repetitions.

    Being able to play a melodic line at the correct tempo is absolutely a fundamental of learning/playing music. It's in the exact same category of these other topics we're both referencing. Without abilities and awareness of "speed," in the broad sense, we're putting an arbitrary amount of time in between each note..

    Sometimes the correct/desired tempo is faster than what we're capable of. ERGO...practice and problem solving, just like we would apply for any other element of building our musicianship.

    Even if you have a specific tangible marking of what is "too fast," the measurement would be very subjective...You mention jazz and classical...how much of this music is 'high velocity', difficult to play on the guitar, especially with a plectrum...a whole hell of a lot of it. Coltrane, Benson, Martino, Stitt, Bird, Lee Morgan, Metheny, Wes, Rosenwinkel, McCoy Tyner...playing any of that stuff on guitar, at their tempos, takes an amount of facility that does not come naturally to most players. If it has for you, that's awesome and congrats, but you're definitely in the minority. Even players we think of as a bit more subdued, Bill Evans, Grant Green, Jim Hall, Wayne Shorter, there's still plenty of vocabulary from those folks that is challenging on the guitar. In the classical world...it's probably harder to look for examples of famous pieces that don't have speed-related changes than pieces that do.

  42. #91

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    The thing is to become so comfortable with speed that it becomes just another arrow in the quiver of expression. Can't be the only thing you do. Who wants that?

    I get that lots of folks view it as folly, but it's not in the hands of an artist.

    And how can someone say that speed is not a requirement of the classical repertoire? I saw Horowitz in his last performance at Carnegie Hall. He burned. He was a rock star. At 83 years old. That's even older than Mick (I think)

    Myself, I'm currently working on Inner Urge because I like the head and the changes. And I like the challenge. How you gonna make sense of the last 8 bars without being able to burn? Been doing serious 'nome work on that. I'm learning things that can be put to use in other ways and other tempos.

    BTW: the jazz melody has been called the head for as long as I can remember. Started hearing it in the late sixties on the west coast. In Canada even.

  43. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Eh? Who does that?

    Anyway one of the handy things about what Troy calls DWPS is it works for electric and acoustic; just modify your hand position accordingly and use different movements; but you are still using downward rest strokes.

    I suppose some (dogmatic) teachers universally advocate floating wrist. I’m glad I never listened to any teachers on the subject of pick technique... it was clear that wasn’t going to work for rock guitar. I played with muted technique for years, only changing when I needed to.
    Some GJ folks I knew around in NY.

  44. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Is this 20 Questions? I haven't played that game since childhood. O.K. No. What's a Charlie Parker head? And, if it refers to the "theme" we called it melody or top . . . never used the term "head" in Chitown. And, if it is melody/top, how would you know if I could or could not play a CP "head"? Clairvoyant?

    Play live . . . Marinero
    You don't need to be clairvoyant to figure that out.

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    But one has to learn a muting technique regardless of float vs not float.

    If I'm basically forced to teach one hand position for picking, I don't teach the floating thing only because I'm less personally familiar with it, I can more easily explain/help/problem solve students with grips that are similar to mine. But I've seen enough people play great with that orientation that I don't have real reason to believe it can't work as a default - I think most people, like me, just have fewer tools for ironing out the kinks when it comes to instructing another player.

    It's a bit like...is it less common (on electric, to be more specific) because it doesn't work as well, on average, or is it less common because the ways of executing it are less well known and less conducive to general guess work? Shrug.
    It's less common on electric because once people discovered the sonic pallet of the electric guitar it was a no brainer. R.H. muting, palm on the bridge is the most useful thing, so no need for floating unless you strumming full chords of course.

  46. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    The term is used by jazz musicians according to George Benson:

    Personal Speed Picking Breakthrough - Letting Wrist &quot;Shake&quot;-fc9edd37-9bd1-4151-a9ec-3d0aee0dfa9f-jpeg

    O.K. G,
    I'll play. Are these Benson's words or Goldsher's? Did Benson talk like that when describing other musicians? Was it Goldsher's terminology to describe the process("head," "trading fours") in such an academic way to explain the process to neophytes to music? Or was it Benson? It sounds, to me, like a writer writing about musicians in a glamorized/informative way so the general public could relate to the information and be engaged. I could be wrong. However, I played steady for a few pennies short of ten years in clubs, on the road, in small combos and big bands in the late 60's to late 70's. I never heard a player say during a performance "Let's trade 4's" or "Play the head" before a tune. When a player soloed during a performance, he set the length that the next soloist usually followed unless the other guy ran out of ideas and played less time. I, also, never knew anyone who called other musicians "cats." Not that I have anything against felines but we used a person's name when referring to each other or . . . others ,not in our circle, who were playing around town. . . "Hey, PJ's playing at Big Mike's on Wells." Maybe they talked like that in the 40's/50'/early 60's . . . but I wasn't playing for pay then. And, I will promise you on Gideon's Bible with one hand placed in reverence on its faux leather bound cover . . . I NEVER USED THE WORD "CAT" to describe anything other than a 4 legged feline or a woman with a bad attitude. What a difference a day makes!
    Play live . . . Parker heads, Trading 4's, Cat-Man-Do . . . God, I hate that talk . . . Just play . . . Marinero

    P.S. And, for the record, during the Hippie Years, I never used the word "Man" or "Dude" when referring to another person . . . "Hey, Man . . .Hey, Dude . . . that's cool." I guess I've missed a lot of life. M


  47. #96
    In my experience with older players,when they are tired of people soloing the band leader taps his head and means play the melody or go back to the top. They use hand signals for keys,too. one up is G, two fingers down is b flat, go the bridge is curved movement. Circle motion is turnaround. Makes it easy in noisy places!

  48. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    O.K. G,
    I'll play. Are these Benson's words or Goldsher's? Did Benson talk like that when describing other musicians? Was it Goldsher's terminology to describe the process("head," "trading fours") in such an academic way to explain the process to neophytes to music? Or was it Benson? It sounds, to me, like a writer writing about musicians in a glamorized/informative way so the general public could relate to the information and be engaged. I could be wrong. However, I played steady for a few pennies short of ten years in clubs, on the road, in small combos and big bands in the late 60's to late 70's. I never heard a player say during a performance "Let's trade 4's" or "Play the head" before a tune. When a player soloed during a performance, he set the length that the next soloist usually followed unless the other guy ran out of ideas and played less time. I, also, never knew anyone who called other musicians "cats." Not that I have anything against felines but we used a person's name when referring to each other or . . . others ,not in our circle, who were playing around town. . . "Hey, PJ's playing at Big Mike's on Wells." Maybe they talked like that in the 40's/50'/early 60's . . . but I wasn't playing for pay then. And, I will promise you on Gideon's Bible with one hand placed in reverence on its faux leather bound cover . . . I NEVER USED THE WORD "CAT" to describe anything other than a 4 legged feline or a woman with a bad attitude. What a difference a day makes!
    Play live . . . Parker heads, Trading 4's, Cat-Man-Do . . . God, I hate that talk . . . Just play . . . Marinero

    P.S. And, for the record, during the Hippie Years, I never used the word "Man" or "Dude" when referring to another person . . . "Hey, Man . . .Hey, Dude . . . that's cool." I guess I've missed a lot of life. M

    Yea, but have you heard the word 'SQUARE' ?

  49. #98

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    I think "cats" is a very dated term, maybe the 60s or earlier. I'm guessing "head" is dated also as it was passed down from the old guys, Joe Pass used the term.

    I've heard Benson use the term "cats"

  50. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I'm guessing "head" is dated
    Totally dated. Unfortunately the jazz scene in NYC didn't get the memo though. Or in Shanghai for that matter.

  51. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Are these Benson's words or Goldsher's?
    Benson’s.

    I could be wrong.
    You are.