Exercises for improving pick hand technique??

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Thread: Exercises for improving pick hand technique??

  1. #1

    Join Date: Sep 2008
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    Exercises for improving pick hand technique??

    Alright, so admittedly I'm not the most gifted of players, and now that A. school is ending, and B. I've been bringing a guitar to work to practice on lunch instead of playing video games, I want to get better.

    A problem I've noticed is that my picking arm basically tenses up, to the point where I feel it in my bicep over time. This to me means I'm picking from the elbow and not the wrist, as I should be doing, right?

    So the question is, are there some good exercises that can help me pick better from the wrist, as well as minimize movement?
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  2. #2

    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    I've always maintained that just some of the basic chromatic 1-2-3-4 exercises up and down the neck are really good for both the left hand as well as the right hand picking technique.

    I would start off really slow, and just concentrate on moving your right hand with minimal effort, just up-down-up-down, and so forth.

    Another one that has helped me in the past is to start with something like the Locrian mode on the 5th fret of the low E string, and basically play the all the way up the neck, but using economy (i.e. down-down going from the 8th fret on the E to the next note, the 5th fret on the A. This will really help to start minimizing the movement, and get your wrist more involved.

  3. #3

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    Honestly, Chris got me started practicing trem picking on a single string at increasing tempos to help tighten up my (atrocious) picking technique, and while it's still pretty bad it has helped.
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  4. #4

    Join Date: Sep 2008
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    Good advice guys, thanks! Another option would be to have someone break my arm so I have to wear a cast! That way I'd have to pick from the wrist.

    Hmm, there's a product idea: a cast made for guitarists that imobilizes the picking arm for practicing.

  5. #5

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    Yeah pick from the wrist always. I got into the same shitty habit of picking from the elbow, but I've changed it to wrist and I've gotten a lot faster just because of that. Endurance is also much less of an issue.

    What I found helped was forcing yourself to play the licks/riffs you always noodle with using your wrist, after that your mind kind of just assumes you should play everything else like that.

  6. #6

    Join Date: Apr 2009
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    What I used to do to help my right hand was bust out my metronome and do rhythms while increasing in speed. I used to do downpicking, alternate, and throw in some gallops and different patterns of 4s,5s etc. I also move up and down strings when I got somewhat comfortable. Usually I'd go up in speed until it gets a bit hairy, then move it back down for a minute and then set it a good 10/15 bpm faster and try that. The trick is to stop if you notice your technique is wrong or you're tensing up and bring the tempo back down and focus on staying comfortable and relaxed. If you can do that for a few minutes it'll really start to get tiring but I noticed it helped my tightness for rhythms and my endurance.
    I should really go through that routine a few times again because I haven't done it in a while.
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  7. #7

    Join Date: Sep 2009
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    Is fantastic - actually doing the exercises regularly has done wonders for making my picking more consistent and predictable and tension free.

  8. #8

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    I cannot recommend John Petrucci's "Rock Discipline" enough for picking technique.....Also, Paul Gilbert. While they are virtuosos, they have a way of explaining tricks of the trade better than anyone. Lastly, it takes real work to break your current habits. I learned a ton from those guys and i FORCED myself to rethink my approach to picking. It increased my playing abilities exponentially.

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