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Thread: Picking faster?

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    While we're waiting for the vid, here's a good one study, Bush, Joliff, Skehan, McCoury, Hoffman. Lots of differences in technique, esp. Sam, nobody can pick like him.

    I think it's important to read old threads about practice regimens in general, as well as reading specifically about pick hold, anchoring, wrist motion (forearm rolling vs breaking at the wrist) etc. Especially working on lots of different chord runs, single note lines, chord melody etc. There's also threads about lowering action to sacrifice tone for speed, which I don't think is a great tradeoff.

    Also i think armrests and pickguards can help, I don't have a pickguard installed yet but swear by the Hill Country McClung's

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTJJdlswFPE

    (One of htese days when i get a consistent work schedule i'm going to sign up for Pete's lessons)
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  3. #27
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    While I'm digging up all my technique, is no plant better than a heel plant?
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

  4. #28
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    I've seen that video, it's great. I've considered Sam's picking, but gave up trying to imitate it. I had a pickguard, but took it off cuz I preferred to put my pinky on the top instead of the pickguard, and it also made my instrument louder. And now a piece of the pickguard is missing and there's no eyeroll emoji to punctuate this with
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

  5. #29
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Plant or no: really you could spend the next 24 hours reading old threads about this, three's some tremendous pickers who plant, here's Nick Dumas

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1v7zafUqO8

    Back 5 years ago, he was just some guy advertising mandolin and fiddle lessons on Seattle craigslist, so i emailed and he didn't want ot teach fiddle, just mandolin. Now look at him! Amazing!
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  6. #30
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Trying no type of anchoring at all is like trying to write without touching the table at all. Most of us need some kind of reference to keep up with where we are. It's not a hard fixed anchor, just resting and brushing there so you know where you are.
    Drew
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  7. #31
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Ok, what angle would be best for a picking hand critique video? I've been thinking a view from the fretboard side looking down the FB at my hand?
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

  8. #32
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    These are all guitar vids (there might have been one for mandolin) but good angle/info https://www.youtube.com/user/troygrady
    The Keepers: Kentucky km900, looking for next one
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  9. #33

    Default Re: Picking faster?

    As others have noted, its going to be all about the right hand, especially if you have fiddle experience and knowledge of what to do with the left hand. For my money the best way to improve right hand speed, tone and volume is to do a right hand picking warm up that only utilizes right hand.

    I would set the metronome at 100 or so. If that seems too slow, well speed it up. Since you are shooting for 120 you could start there and slow it down if that is too fast.
    Start with 1/4 notes played in each click, do that for a couple minutes, 1 measure per string then move down to the next string and back up. Take inventory of your posture and hand. Your left hand should not be used AT ALL. Just focus on your right hand looking for tension, posture, etc.
    then move to 1/8 notes same deal, 1 measure per string.
    then alternate 1/8 notes so G gets 1 down stroke and D gets the up for a measure. Then go down to D and A. then A and E and back up.
    Sometimes here I will do cross picking
    Then move to triplets
    Then move to 1/16 notes.

    If you can do this easily at 100 move it up to 105 and see how it goes. I guarantee you in a week you will see results if you do this for 10 minutes + per day.

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  11. #34

    Default Re: Picking faster?

    One leap forward that I had was when I did left hand hammer ons with a metronome and realised how poor my timing was when moving from one string to another.
    Thatís a five minute exercise with no right hand.

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  13. #35
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Ok, here's the video, I used the offending piece of music as the example
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AH8...w?usp=drivesdk
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

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  15. #36
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Quote Originally Posted by gtani7 View Post
    While we're waiting for the vid, here's a good one study, Bush, Joliff, Skehan, McCoury, Hoffman. Lots of differences in technique, esp. Sam, nobody can pick like him.
    I'm curious is you ever watch mandolin players in other styles - like Italian players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Egerton View Post
    Trying no type of anchoring at all is like trying to write without touching the table at all. Most of us need some kind of reference to keep up with where we are. It's not a hard fixed anchor, just resting and brushing there so you know where you are.
    I use the top of the instrument on my bowlback and flat-top mandolins and when playing archtop mandolins I use the pickguard as a place to lightly touch in order to get the hand in place to pick. It's not planted nor resting, it's just a bare touch that gives a sense of spacing.

    This is what I learned too from my guitar teachers, using the pickguard as a reference for the picking hand. The old method books I studied from do not plant nor rest hands.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Notice that there is no pinky plant and hand is free to move.

    Yes many folks that are great players plant some part of their hand, but I have not seen the players from Italy nor folks like Apollon use a planted hand.



    I know this video has been posted but I'm using it an an example of a really GOOD right hand. Notice Apollon's picking hand is not anchored nor planted but completely free moving.



    Another great, Jethro Burns, barely touches the string behind the bridge, but he too can use a free hand and even when it looks like he is planting on the strings behind the bridge, you can see his wrist moves across the strings, so he is just barely touching there for reference.

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  17. #37
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    Ok, here's the video, I used the offending piece of music as the example
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AH8...w?usp=drivesdk
    Any feedback about my technique in this video?
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

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  19. #38
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    Any feedback about my technique in this video?
    Please consider that I come from a different style but do know and have heard your style mandolin playing for decades. I can even play a little like that! But I'm an really Italian-style based player that also plays classical, jazz, Klezmer, and a little choro.

    You sound good!...but I think planting the 4th finger is limiting the motion of your hand. Now, this works for Scruggs and other related style 5 string banjo styles, the lute, and a number of famous and excellent mandolinists.

    But those folks play mandolin well in spite of their technique, not because of it.

    Back to you:

    How's your tremolo? can you play it fast, clean, and with soft or loud dynamics?

    You will definitely get contradictory responses to mine!

    Thanks for being open to constructive criticism.

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  21. #39
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Everything that David said,you can't go wrong,,looking at your video,your picking nice and clean,,but that pinky is holding you back..when it is,mounted,you don't have a true pivoting hand and wrist,the pivoting center is disrupted by the pinky,making almost two opposing forces,,,,curl in the pinky,off the rest,keep your hand pretty much where it is,just lightly behind the bridge,and your hand and wrist now have a free pivot point,,instead of "picking" each note you'll flow through them smoothly,,

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  23. #40
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Ok, thanks for the feedback, I've been experimenting with hand positioning since I started this thread, and it seems to me like I actually have better mobility with my hand with the pinky than the heel, but my general speed and accuracy is similar. I also pick far enough towards the fretboard that I'm accidentally palm muting a lot. My current thought is that it's probably not an either or, I'll practice both techniques to keep in my toolbox. Cuz like I said, my hand seems more mobile when pinky planting, so it's useful for things like crosspicking. David, my tremolo is not super good, cuz I started playing mandolin earlier this year, and since I mostly like picking fiddle tunes (bluegrass and Irish) I haven't specifically practiced tremolo. Also check this video

    For a longer look at my technique. I still feel like planting my palm (or even slightly brushing it) makes my wrist feel stiffer, but I'm gonna keep practicing it. Thanks for the help
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

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  25. #41
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    David, my tremolo is not super good, cuz I started playing mandolin earlier this year, and since I mostly like picking fiddle tunes (bluegrass and Irish) I haven't specifically practiced tremolo.
    Actually, when you are strumming, your hand is loose and free - can you also pick with your right hand that unanchored? There's no need to change your hand from strumming to picking lines by planting.

    You're doing fine for a less-than-one-year player.

  26. #42
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    No, I can't pick unanchored (ok, I can but not with any accuracy or speed) I've always had to anchor. There's one instrument I can play melody on with anchor (Besides fiddle) and it's clawhammer on banjo. But I can't convert that to a pick
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

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  28. #43
    Registered User Bad Monkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    Ok, thanks for all the advice, I'll work on all of that. The only reason for the 120-140 jump in precise numbers is that I learned it from a site that has backing tracks, and those are the two with none between. And unfortunately I currently don't have a metronome. I'll keep working on it
    you're posting on a computer or a smartphone, you've got a metronome.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=onli...hrome&ie=UTF-8

    there are a whole bunch of free aps for android and iphones as well.
    grab a tuner ap while you're at it, you never know when it'll come in handy.

  29. #44

    Default Re: Picking faster?

    This is basically how I pick -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awFeDMNiKX4 except on mandolin. Strumming using a floating position with the wrist slightly cocked and touching down with the heel of the palm for crosspicking/tremelo/single line stuff. Pretty quickly you switch between the two unconsciously.

    That picky is getting in your way IMO. I'm not sure what you mean by "better mobility" with the pinky down but I would give it a little more time. Baron says most of my thoughts here -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-LurFm53dI

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  31. #45
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Ok, what I meant by better mobility is with the pinky I can easily reach the G string when playing mostly on the E, with the palm I have to stretch or move my plant to get there. Also, when planting my heel, my arm tends to lift up off the lower bout (where you install an armrest) and my picking gets very tense. Anyone experience that? I'll check out the videos later, internet here is dodgy. (Which is part of the reason I don't usually use Google metronome, the other reason is I usually can't hear it)
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

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  33. #46

    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    Ok, what I meant by better mobility is with the pinky I can easily reach the G string when playing mostly on the E, with the palm I have to stretch or move my plant to get there. Also, when planting my heel, my arm tends to lift up off the lower bout (where you install an armrest) and my picking gets very tense. Anyone experience that? I'll check out the videos later, internet here is dodgy. (Which is part of the reason I don't usually use Google metronome, the other reason is I usually can't hear it)
    When brushing lightly with the palm, you do have to slide your hand up and down along the bridge (arm movement from the elbow) when crossing strings. It looks to me like you do this when pinky planting, which is causing you to feel more mobile. Not to be pedantic but don't "plant" your heel, allow it to move along the bridge to reference which string you are on.

    Mike Marshall has an exercise to practice string crossings:

    G -> D, G -> A, G -> E,
    D -> A, D -> E, D -> G,
    A -> E, A -> D, A -> G,
    E -> A, E -> D, E -> G

    All while preserving the down/up picking pattern. You come at every string combination in both directions. I still warm up with this regularly.

  34. #47

    Default Re: Picking faster?

    How are people measuring this? Does 140 = 140 quarter notes and thus 280 eighth notes played per minute?

    I ask because discussions of speed in BPM seem to be all over the map regarding what each click on the metronome actually means. For example, I have an article where Steve Kaufman recommends picking fiddle tunes at 250 beats per minute, but then I also read a Guitar World article that measured a player's speed according to how many BPM a player could set the metronome at and still play four sixteenth notes per click. Applying the Guitar World standard to Kaufman's standard, that would mean a player should pick 1000 notes per minute playing a fiddle tune. I highly doubt that's ever happened. Haha.

  35. #48
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    This is four eighth notes per click. Easy way to figure it out, go turn your metronome on and set it to 140, then play along. If you can keep up, were probably talking about playing twice as fast (that's how I figured it out, I didn't know. I've regularly played at 250, but half as many notes per beat)
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

  36. #49
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    If you work on your tremolo turn your pick at more of an angle, it will give less resistance and glide easier across the strings. It will also be quieter, when learning tremolo you tend to pick harder than you need to and this helps. You can also turn your pick a little for the hot tunes.

    I don't plant, but my fingers touch the guard or top if no guard. They move with my wrists and help control pick depth and accuracy for me. They touch very lightly and don't slow me down, I play dances, and for a group of hot dancers in a square the tempo gets to be very fast.
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  38. #50
    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Picking faster?

    Watch your video closely. When you switch from strumming to picking, you can see the muscles in your hand tense up, and that costs you speed. Try practicing with a metronome on a phone or the computer and stay loose. I'm not sure where I get to, somewhere around 130 or so, haven't really tried to get above there, but to hit that, I have to stay loose. For me, bluechip picks help because they don't slide around on me, so my grip can stay loose.
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