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metal picking techniques

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by TooFunkToDrunk, Apr 1, 2002.


  1. Hey guys. I'm taking a plunge from what I usually play, which is hard rock, funk and jazz, and auditioning for a local band called Allfather, which play black war metal. They're pretty sweet, and have a couple releases out on the Realm of Darkness label.... check 'em out if you're into that kind of thing. Anyways, I'm hoping that you guys might be able to suggest some picking techniques that allow me to play hella fast without tiring out or feeling sore afterwords... of course I'll do the gradually build up speed exercise-like stuff, so I'm more interested in wrist/arm movement, how to hold the pick, etc.

    Any help appreciated.
     
  2. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Upstrokes as well as down strokes are a must. For some people its easyer if they wear their strap a littlw lower, useing their arm as a sort of "jackhamer" to move the pick up and down. Just make sure your upstrokes sound as loud as your down strokes. A thinner pick may sound a little more frail, but because of its being thin, it will make your picking hella faster. Good examples of the jackhammer: Mark hoppus, Shavo, Newsted. Another thin pick user was that guy from motorhead. cant remember his name....
     
  3. I played metal for years with a pick. The straight up and down "jackhammer" method played hell with my right thumb after a while (lots of sixteenth notes with double-bass drumming will take it's toll). I adjusted my picking style to ease the pressure on the thumb. I found it easier (if I can describe it properly) to have my right arm bent at the elbow, so the forearm is somewhat aligned with the strings, and pick laterally, instead of up and down. Probably not the right method, but it felt better. I could play a lot faster this way as well. Don't know if that helps or not.

    The best solution I found in the long run was to quit playing metal altogether.
     
  4. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    First of all, it's a myth that you NEED a pick to play that fast. It takes a bit of practice, but you CAN work up enough speed and clarity to play fingerstyle metal. There's nothing wrong with using a pick, of course, but there are alternatives if you want to explore them.

    I use both forearm and wrist in the picking motion, depending on what kind of line it is. Still, use whatever is most comfortable for you. I prefer very heavy-gauge picks (Dunlop Jazz III's) because I find they give a bigger tone.

    As for how to hold the pick, don't take advice from guitar players, because the picking technique is NOT necessarily the same! I use two methods - if I'm playing softly, I hold it with index finger and thumb with the rest of the fingers relaxed. To dig in more, hold your other fingers a bit more tightly - kind of like a roll of coins.

    Also, if you're playing very fast stuff, it is VERY IMPORTANT to stretch your hands and do warmups before shows or even before practices - it's very easy to injure yourself in this genre, and I'm not taking about the mosh pit.

    Hope some of this was useful! :cool:
     
  5. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Metal isn't necessary always that fast. I usually play fingerstyle, and I only use a pick at specific songs, or when I have to pick fast. But when I have to play extremely fast, I get back to playing without pick, but as if I were playing with pick, using all four fingers (xcept thumb), all fingers in a line, downstrokes and upstrokes. But DON'T YOU EVER do this! :D this sounds bad and is only needed at special occassions.
     
  6. Zirc

    Zirc

    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I usually lick the side of my pick hand (so it slides easy like against the bass) when I'm playing really fast. But for slow stuff like 16th notes, I just use fingers.

    BTW Thrash_Jazz, I'd like to hear someone play NOFX - Falling in Love with their fingers. Can't be done.
     
  7. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I haven't heard that one so I can't say for sure... Which album is it from? Still, have you heard Cannibal Corpse, Death, Cryptopsy, Dimmu Borgir etc... those bands are about as fast as you can get, and all of those bassists use fingers only.

    I don't want to start a big argument here, but IMHO you can play just as fast with your fingers as with a pick. I used to think it was impossible, too - it just takes practice. IMHO.
     
  8. spacefabric

    spacefabric

    Apr 2, 2002
    Hello all... this is my first post.

    thrash_jazz is right... You can play just as fast with your fingers (maybe faster if you use 3 or 4 finger techniques).

    Check out this video of Death... The bassist (Steve DiGogio?) is using finger technique and they get preety speedy...


    May take some time to download...

    http://sylfest.hiof.no/~jensrkar/death/video/LackOfComprehension.mpg
     
  9. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Hey, if you dont think you can play fast metal without a pick, watch steve harris play "Run to the hills"(? cant remember if thats it or not, then he says "Run for your lives" or something like that) Live. i thought he was useing a pick he was going so fast. but the technice he has to play fast is just awesome.
     
  10. awsome, the video is from loud on much...thats the only time that they play any good music at all.
     
  11. I was just checking out <a href="http://carolkaye.com/">Carol Kaye's website</a>. She talks about using a pick several times in her playing tips. She says the way she does it you can get plenty fast and not get tired. You might want to check it out.
     
  12. It's the last track on So Long and Thanks for all the Shoes...

    I certainly can't do it fingerstyle, but it's definitely possible.

    --jeff
     
  13. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Thanks... I am into NOFX but only have heard about half of their albums. Is that album as crazy as "Liberal Animation"? There's a lot of fast **** on there too, but it can be done fingerstyle!
     
  14. Oye... Liberal Animation is rough, I have trouble listening to that one :)

    So Long is NOTHING like it... its sort of their most ska-ey album, I quite like it.

    --jeff
     
  15. The only picking technique I know is that tricky one where you try and hit one of the strings with the pick.

    Sorry I couldn't help you. ;)
     
  16. spacefabric

    spacefabric

    Apr 2, 2002