MD’s Mailbox 12/28/08

The email for the week of Dec. 28, 2008:

I have been practicing alternate picking for a month now and could play really well at a slow pace but easily lose control when trying to increase speed. How do I go about solving this problem?

My Response:

You have got a pretty common problem.  The easiest way to fix this is to make sure you can hit every note at a slow speed.  Only once you have thoroughly mastered a lick/exercise at a slow speed should you move to a higher tempo.  I do have a couple of suggstions to ease the process.
First of all, take a look at how you hold the pick and how you are picking the string.  Make sure you are doing it the most economical way possible. For a few things to look at, read my article on how to hold a pick. You want to make sure your pickstroke it perfect now, so you don’t have to learn it all over later.
Secondly, I suggest you play a couple of different types of alternate picking exercises and see what part of the picking process is limiting you.  Take a look at this lesson on alternate picking if you haven’t already.  Go to the part of the lesson where I discuss inside the string picking and outside the string picking.  Do both exercises and see which is more difficult (make sure you start with a downstroke on both). For most people, inside the string picking is much more difficult.  Practice the one you have trouble with a little more.  Most licks have a little of both kinds of alternate picking so if one or the other is weaker for you, you have to strengthen it.
My last tip is to relax, literally.  Tension in the arm is usually a by-product of going faster than you should.  Always make sure the muscles in your arm and shoulder are relaxed. If they’re not, slow down and relax your arm.  You’ll be more accurate later, if you have learned not to play with tension.
Thats it for now.  If you have any questions later, drop me another email.

One Response

  1. Thanks a lot for your help ..

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