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Picking hand stamina?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by GabrielB, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. GabrielB


    Jul 2, 2017
    Does anyone know any great exercises to develop stamina when picking fast tempos for long periods of time?
    Take "Myage" by Descendents as an example (keep in mind that this was recorded in all downstrokes!):

  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Not exercise-specific-
    When I did gig, watching the NFL on Sunday, NHL on other free nights (5+ Hours) with bass in-hand & employing strict alternation, string skipping, etc...helped me. Yeah, I said it.
  3. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Lighten your attack and just play, play, play. It ain't so much about strength as it is about coordination and endurance. Play til the cows come home and you're in a trance.
    Nashrakh and David Jayne like this.
  4. GabrielB


    Jul 2, 2017
    Great advice!
  5. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Even with perfect technique and perfect equipment, tunes like that would be a real endurance test for anybody. But apart from just sheer practice, you might want to consider other factors that could be causing you to expend more energy than necessary and tire faster. Some possibilities might include: (1) the height and angle at which you hold the bass will affect your wrist position -- if your wrist is cocked in an unnatural position, it will tire faster; (2) other aspects of your technique, such as whether all of the motion is in the wrist; (3) the kind of pick you're using -- maybe try something heavier, or lighter, or just a different material. Adjusting any of these things won't solve the problem, but they might help enough to matter.
    Russell L likes this.
  6. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany

    Also try to reduce the surface area of the pick hitting the string, which means using only the very tip of the pick instead of digging in (I'm guilty of that but speed is not a concern with the music I play...). This may be obvious, however. It makes your pick motion more efficient, and with less distance to travel it should also give you a speed boost.
  7. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    A trick I learned from Julie Slick is to use one of the rounded corners, rather than the point, of a teardrop-shaped pick. It seems counter-intuitive, but doing this improved my pickstyle playing almost immediately.
    Nashrakh likes this.
  8. GabrielB


    Jul 2, 2017
    I asked JFK (DFA1979) how he got his technique down and he did show me how he holds it. It's mostly just the very tip of the pick.
    All good advice. Thanks!
    Lobster11 likes this.
  9. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    "Different strokes for different folks" -- literally! :laugh:
  10. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    You are using muscles to play. We all forget that sometimes, but like building any muscle, start for short periods of time and work your way up. You wouldn't suggest that the best way to train for a marathon is to start with running 26 miles.
  11. jaymelewis


    Jan 6, 2010
    Fillmore, CA
    Kick it in front of Netflix for an hour each day, and just drill your picking at a moderate pace. Same as hitting the treadmill - do that for 5 days/week for 2 months and you'll have increased stamina and speed.

    I always watch TV with a bass in my hands. Thank you science!
  12. Probably not a popular answer, but there are some things in life you just brute force. My attack is typically very heavy (I can chew through a tortex .73mm pick in a single session, it's very annoying) and I'm usually either playing fast, playing chords, or both. It used to really kill my thumb gripping muscle after a relatively short while, but after a long time of just forcing myself to not give up on the jam and ruin it for the other guys I've just got the endurance to go hard for hours it seems.

    *Edit: For clarification, I don't fit into the camp of those suggesting to lighten your attack or only use the tip of the pick. I'm usually playing hard rock type stuff, but even in other styles I typically dig in pretty hard.
  13. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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