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crusthead
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:22 am
Posts: 440
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:21 am 
 

I can manage picking using just down strokes, but Im having some difficulty getting the up+down technique. I move the pick in a "C" shape back and forth trying to hit the string. It somewhat works, but it is slower than using only down strokes. Is there a better way to do it?

Any advice/suggestions would be appreciated.

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The_Beast_in_Black
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:34 am
Posts: 7741
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:04 am 
 

The only answer is practice. You should try to keep the pick as parallel to the string as possible, and use only the very tip.
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RageW
Marisa's Harlot

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:44 am
Posts: 839
Location: Colombia
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:17 am 
 

You can also tremolo while slightly moving the pick clockwise on your hand. If you do it good and fast enough you get some little harmonics that sound pretty neat!

Until then, you should try to do alternate picking really slow, try to grab the pick softly, and don't move your whole arm; just your wrist.
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The_Beast_in_Black
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:34 am
Posts: 7741
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:25 am 
 

RageW wrote:
You can also tremolo while slightly moving the pick clockwise on your hand. If you do it good and fast enough you get some little harmonics that sound pretty neat!

Until then, you should try to do alternate picking really slow, try to grab the pick softly, and don't move your whole arm; just your wrist.


Actually, you should be using your elbow a fair bit.
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thejestersgate
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:52 am
Posts: 230
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:41 am 
 

Here's what I did and it worked great. I simply practiced scales using economy picking for about two years every morning. Then I could tremolo pick effortlessly. It will come so natural you won't waste your time "practicing" tremolo picking because you'll be leaning music at the same time.

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LotF
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:39 pm
Posts: 463
Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:58 am 
 

Try playing up picking.

Remember, tremolo works when you utilize less of the pick. The farther up the pick is, the better. You want the smallest amount of pick touching it, but just enough to pluck it.
Also, if you can do it perpendicular to the string thats best. Most do it on an angle though, which can make it harder.

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thewitchfinder
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:07 am
Posts: 209
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:05 pm 
 

Learn to play all Dick Dale songs.

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mattp
Veteran

Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:57 pm
Posts: 2910
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:24 pm 
 

The_Beast_in_Black wrote:
RageW wrote:
You can also tremolo while slightly moving the pick clockwise on your hand. If you do it good and fast enough you get some little harmonics that sound pretty neat!

Until then, you should try to do alternate picking really slow, try to grab the pick softly, and don't move your whole arm; just your wrist.


Actually, you should be using your elbow a fair bit.


Absolutely incorrect. Using your elbow is a great way to develop tendonitis and completely ruin your ability to play music.
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thewitchfinder
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:07 am
Posts: 209
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:26 am 
 

mattp wrote:
The_Beast_in_Black wrote:
RageW wrote:
You can also tremolo while slightly moving the pick clockwise on your hand. If you do it good and fast enough you get some little harmonics that sound pretty neat!

Until then, you should try to do alternate picking really slow, try to grab the pick softly, and don't move your whole arm; just your wrist.


Actually, you should be using your elbow a fair bit.


Absolutely incorrect. Using your elbow is a great way to develop tendonitis and completely ruin your ability to play music.


Very true. I use my wrist/hand. Never tense your muscles or your arm either - injuries could could follow. If it helps you any, hold your pinky on your picking hand on the guitar as an anchor. Practice with a metronome too.
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Alocer7138r
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:55 pm
Posts: 169
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:18 pm 
 

the problem i have with tremolo picking* is not the speed is the fact is so many notes like 00000000000000000000000000000000000000111111110000000000000000333333333333333333300000000000000444444444444400000000000000055555555555555555555555555


how on earth are you suppose to get the timing down for that and count while playing it?

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RageW
Marisa's Harlot

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:44 am
Posts: 839
Location: Colombia
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:23 pm 
 

You gotta automatize your picking hand's movement, that way you just need to count when doing tremolo, you gotta move it without thinking!
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grotesqueartistry
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:52 pm
Posts: 19
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:00 pm 
 

RageW wrote:
You gotta automatize your picking hand's movement, that way you just need to count when doing tremolo, you gotta move it without thinking!


generally speaking, tremolo picking is almost always in 16th notes. In 4/4 time that would be 4 notes per beat.

SO what you should do is set a metronome to like 100 bpm. Between each beat play 4 notes. You can count just the beats as 1, 2, 3, 4, or count all the 16ths as "1 e and uh"

I dont really know about your knowledge on rhythm and what not but what I am trying to say is count with a metronome and make sure its even

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crusthead
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:22 am
Posts: 440
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:54 am 
 

Thanks for all the replies people!

Anyway, Ive started playing using only my wrist, as it allows me to pick faster and for a longer time. While playing, my elbow tenses up automatically, so I need to make a conscious effort to easen it up.

Another problem area for me is, maintaining the picking speed when I change strings while picking. The tempo fluctuates quite bit when I move from E to A and then back to E. Because for a split second, my attention gets diverted to my fretting hand as I need to change positions.

Anybody knows how I can tackle this?

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thejestersgate
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:52 am
Posts: 230
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 10:49 am 
 

Alocer7138r wrote:
the problem i have with tremolo picking* is not the speed is the fact is so many notes like 00000000000000000000000000000000000000111111110000000000000000333333333333333333300000000000000444444444444400000000000000055555555555555555555555555


how on earth are you suppose to get the timing down for that and count while playing it?


Overtime you will just get a natural feel for dividing up the notes.

Try practicing this one.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------9999----
----------3333-------------------3333-----------------------7777---------
----1111------44444444--1111------44444444--5555---------------

------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------
-------------10,10,10,10---------------------------
-------7777--------------------7777------------------
-5555--------------------5555--------------------

Start very slow around 100 bpm and work your way up. I can't get it to tab out perfect, but you can figure it out since it's all single notes.

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Grimmenfrost
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 4:40 pm
Posts: 335
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 4:51 pm 
 

My advice to you is to not change your technique, but to change what you use to pick. It would make sense to say that using a thinner pick would make it a lot easier to move through the strings faster. I suggest Dunlop .5 picks, if you don't use a thin pick already.

If you don't want to change the plectrums you play with (for some odd reason) I suggest an exercise I used that surprisingly helped me out a lot with tremolo picking. I picked any two chord my fingers found on the neck and played them twelve times each, before switching up to the next chord. This trained me to execute tremolo picking better, while learning to switch to chords faster.

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mattp
Veteran

Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:57 pm
Posts: 2910
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:05 pm 
 

Grimmenfrost wrote:
My advice to you is to not change your technique, but to change what you use to pick. It would make sense to say that using a thinner pick would make it a lot easier to move through the strings faster. I suggest Dunlop .5 picks, if you don't use a thin pick already.


Are you crazy? That's an acoustic guitar pick. For metal, the best pick is the Dunlop Jazz III. My personal favorite is the 1.38mm variety. A thicker, stiffer pick will give you more attack, more note clarity, and a tighter tone.
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Alocer7138r
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:55 pm
Posts: 169
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:34 pm 
 

ya i can't use thin picks at all and I just use fender heavys

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grotesqueartistry
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:52 pm
Posts: 19
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:39 pm 
 

mattp wrote:
Grimmenfrost wrote:
My advice to you is to not change your technique, but to change what you use to pick. It would make sense to say that using a thinner pick would make it a lot easier to move through the strings faster. I suggest Dunlop .5 picks, if you don't use a thin pick already.


Are you crazy? That's an acoustic guitar pick. For metal, the best pick is the Dunlop Jazz III. My personal favorite is the 1.38mm variety. A thicker, stiffer pick will give you more attack, more note clarity, and a tighter tone.


I love the jazz 3s. Absolutely amazing. Its thick but not too heavy so that the pick does all the work. It really gives you great control over the sound you are trying to get

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Grimmenfrost
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 4:40 pm
Posts: 335
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:33 pm 
 

mattp wrote:
Grimmenfrost wrote:
My advice to you is to not change your technique, but to change what you use to pick. It would make sense to say that using a thinner pick would make it a lot easier to move through the strings faster. I suggest Dunlop .5 picks, if you don't use a thin pick already.


Are you crazy? That's an acoustic guitar pick. For metal, the best pick is the Dunlop Jazz III. My personal favorite is the 1.38mm variety. A thicker, stiffer pick will give you more attack, more note clarity, and a tighter tone.


This post isn't about the best picks to use when playing guitar, it's about helping to tremolo pick. I suggested the .5's because it's easier to strum chords with while tremolo picking, rather than using a thick and heavy pick which makes it sound like shit as well as making it harder to strum fast.

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Reaper_of_Souls
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:35 pm
Posts: 67
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:41 am 
 

unless you choke a thin pick, you wont be able to have any control when picking at faster speeds

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PvtNinjer
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:45 am
Posts: 2485
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:37 am 
 

Agreed, I used to use tortex picks, but when I wanted to improve my tremolo speed I found it helped immensely when I switched to the thicker pick.

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mattp
Veteran

Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:57 pm
Posts: 2910
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:05 pm 
 

Grimmenfrost wrote:
This post isn't about the best picks to use when playing guitar, it's about helping to tremolo pick. I suggested the .5's because it's easier to strum chords with while tremolo picking, rather than using a thick and heavy pick which makes it sound like shit as well as making it harder to strum fast.

Reading comprehension: You need it.

A thin pick responds differently to strings than a thicker, stiffer pick. The thinner pick will have more give, and therefore won't respond as fast to picked notes. This is good for strumming chords, especially on an acoustic guitar, because the pick won't "catch" on each individual string, allowing a more smooth transition across the strings.

However its bad for anything requiring precision and unless you're a fan of sloppy shitty playing, a thin pick won't work. The thicker the pick, the less it gives to the string, and otherwise the tighter the pick response will be. This gives you a tighter, more "instantaneous" sound, which is vital when you are playing fast. Additionally, you get the feedback of "did I hit that string" quicker, which again allows you to play faster.

If you or anyone else could show how a thinner pick would help with tremolo picking I'd like to hear it. However my experience as well as the "theory" of guitar playing show that a thicker pick is preferable for faster playing.

By a thicker pick, I mean between 1.0 and 1.5mm

It also helps to have a sharp point to the pick. If its rounded then you won't have as much precision. Which is another reason why I love Jazz IIIs.
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thejestersgate
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:52 am
Posts: 230
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:32 pm 
 

I agree with Matt. Thicker picks are better. You will find this out in time. Upon learning it is easier to use a thinner pick. I used to use a .5 to practice gallops and tremolo picking, however upon attaining the skill to play at higher speeds I noticed the thinner pick begins to loose its value very quickly giving you a horrible muddy sound. A good pick to start out with is the dunlop toltex 6.0 it's a thin pick but very ridgid. Once you get comfortable move up to 7.3, that is what I use. It's thick enough for me and more ridgid than alot of the other picks out there. Play lots of Boltthrower. Use your wrist, not your elbow. And you should be there shortly with dedicated practice.

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unclevladistav
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:33 pm
Posts: 1317
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:11 pm 
 

I'm decent at tremolo picking, but I don't have much endurance (hand gets tired fairly quickly)...any advice on building endurance, besides practice? Any songs that are easy, but good for practicing this? I'm currently practicing Summoning's Marching Homewards, any others?

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Hyper_Beam
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:13 am
Posts: 34
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:58 am 
 

mattp wrote:
Are you crazy? That's an acoustic guitar pick. For metal, the best pick is the Dunlop Jazz III.

LOL! As right as you are, you sound like an idiot.
I have a Jazz I. I've never seen a II in my life; do they exist?? :D
Personally, I use a stubby 1mm. Just as good as the Jazz III, but it feels nicer and more proffessional in the fingers.

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Hyper_Beam
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:13 am
Posts: 34
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:13 am 
 

TO CLEAR UP THE THICK/THIN DEBATE.

If you prefer to use the parallel method (where the pick is parallel to the string) then a thicker pick is better. A thinner pick will flex too much and be more difficult to get a good tone. Don't get me wrong; it's possible. Just not worth it, really.

If you prefer to use the perpendicular/angled method (string and pick are right angled, or at any other angle), then a thicker pick is still better, but a thinner pick is okay, because it won't flex as much between strokes.

I prefer the second version. Using the second version, the pick comes off the string easier. Sometimes, when using the parralel method, the pick gets caught on the string and you pull it towards/away from you, but no sound comes out cos your pick is pressed against the string.

Using a thinner pick is altogether less tiring than using a thicker pick. If you're trying to do a cover of a Velvet Cacoon song off "Genevieve", then a thinner pick will be easier to use for the marathon ahead of you.

I used to use the thinnest pick I could find, and then I clipped the end with scissors so I got a point. But then I realised that thicker picks give you more control and a better tone, and I never looked back.

After that, I used one of those matte-finish dunlop picks, where the design comes off really quickly. I used a nail clip to clip to sides off the tip, so it ended up looking like a bullet-point permanent marker.

Just recently, I purchased one of those expensive little Stubby dunlop picks. This is by far the best for tremolo picking, and there's a very good reason for that. It tapers inwards on both the y-axis AND the x-axis, and is the only pick I've seen that has that feature. This makes it better for both the parallel method and the perpendicular method.

Hope I helped!

Caleb.

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mattp
Veteran

Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:57 pm
Posts: 2910
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:11 pm 
 

Hyper_Beam wrote:
mattp wrote:
Are you crazy? That's an acoustic guitar pick. For metal, the best pick is the Dunlop Jazz III.

LOL! As right as you are, you sound like an idiot.
I have a Jazz I. I've never seen a II in my life; do they exist?? :D
Personally, I use a stubby 1mm. Just as good as the Jazz III, but it feels nicer and more proffessional in the fingers.


They actually do make Jazz IIs. They're decent, I actually like them a lot for less technical work.

Caleb -- Thanks for the insight! I've never heard of nor seen the perpendicular picking technique before. I'll give it a shot after I unload my guitars.
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Hyper_Beam
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:13 am
Posts: 34
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:56 am 
 

mattp wrote:
Hyper_Beam wrote:
mattp wrote:
Are you crazy? That's an acoustic guitar pick. For metal, the best pick is the Dunlop Jazz III.

LOL! As right as you are, you sound like an idiot.
I have a Jazz I. I've never seen a II in my life; do they exist?? :D
Personally, I use a stubby 1mm. Just as good as the Jazz III, but it feels nicer and more proffessional in the fingers.


They actually do make Jazz IIs. They're decent, I actually like them a lot for less technical work.

Caleb -- Thanks for the insight! I've never heard of nor seen the perpendicular picking technique before. I'll give it a shot after I unload my guitars.


A complete 90 degree angle can be awkward when performing, I usually use a 45 degree angle. However, the 90 degree angle will be easier to get a steady tremolo with. So as long as your not trying to "perform", then 90 degree is good. Especially if recording or auditioning. Up to you, really.

It's also important to get as comfortable as possible when tremolo picking in any way. Using the 90 degree method will put a strain on the base knuckle of your thumb, so slide the pick around until your fingers are comfortable.

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