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Picking speed?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by oni5000, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. oni5000


    Nov 25, 2003
    I've noticed that a lot of you use a pick to play faster songs.

    What are some techniques and exercises you use to build speed/consistency while picking very fast? Right now I find it easier to fingerpick fast than pick fast, but I really prefer the pick tone for the type of music I play.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Get a metronome and play along using alternate-picked eights, sixteenths, and thirty seconds. Try to make the upstrokes sound exactly like the downstrokes.

    Make sure you line up the notes with the downbeats the metronome is counting out - accent the downbeats at first then see if you can do it without the accents.
  3. Picks make a big difference, too....(duh!).

    I can't count how many picks I tore up on my stainless steel roundwounds during my 70's punk days before I found a pick that could hold up and still let me play lickedty-split fast.

    None of the tortoise shell jobs lasted more than a song, if even that. The thin synthetics in pastel colors didn't cut it either. If they didn't break, the roundwounds ground the points off of them in a song or two.

    The best I ever found were were brass-colored/gold-colored Hercos. I can't remember the mm thickness. But Chris Squire was known for using them.

    If you ever get a chance, listen to a bass-led instrumental from the 70's called "Loose Goose" by Dust. Kenny Aaronson played that with a pick and it's about the fastest, trickiest, bass lick I've ever heard with a pick on a Fender P.
  4. Jeff2287


    May 4, 2002
    To play fast with a pick I assume that you are talking about trem-picking (if that isn't the proper term then forgive me. Everyone here uses that term). That's basically picking up and down strokes very quickly i.e. John Petrucci. To do this effectively, here are some tips:

    -Rest the bottom of your hand on the bridge or someplace else convenient. Don't mute the strings.

    -Only hold the pick with your thumb and index finger. The reason for this is efficiency. If you use any other finger combinations than that then you'll have to use your entire fore-arm for the picking motion whereas you'll mostly use your wrist if you hold the pick with only your thumb and index finger.

    -Pick at a distance from the bridge so you can keep the bottom of your picking hand rested on the bridge while not picking too close to it.

    With all of this in mind, just play alternating up- and down-strokes until you can do it steadily. Once you're steady then you can start developing your speed. Go for steadiness first, not speed. Only speed up once you can pick steadily at low speeds. I hope this all helps. :)
  5. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    The Herco pics are also what I used to use. They are medium, and I think they are .81 mm in thickness, but not sure. I never broke one.
  6. bogart


    Dec 11, 2003
    big bear, ca
    I've been using these for 5 plus years. I've broken two. Period.
  7. Dunlop Match Piks .88mm, never broke one either.
  8. Krogolas


    Dec 15, 2003
    Could it be that it is easier to play bass fast with fingers? At least it´s easier for me. You can´t minimize your hand movement as much as in guitar, small motion is easier to play fast with. Isn´t it.
  9. I started off with a pick, so that's what I have gotten used to. I cannot finger half as fast as I can pick (sixteenth notes at 190ish bpm).
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