I want to play a song that is too hard for me

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I've been playing about 5 years or so, and the song I'm trying to play right now happens to be 'Fire and Ice' by Malmsteen. It's way above my station. I'm thinking strategically, how do I go about it?

Just keep bashing at it at lower and lower speeds? 

Find some intermediate songs? If so, how? (not for this one , but just generally for songs which are too hard, how can one reliably find songs with similar techniques but less difficulty?)


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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 78
    I would stick at it. Play the more challenging parts slowly, but accurately, and speed up gradually over time. Also, spend more time on the parts that are hardest to play. It may take some time to play it all, so do it over an extended period of time and incorporate it as part of a varied learning/practice routine. Yngwie has spent years of dedicated effort to play at an advanced level, so it's not easy to replicate his playing.
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  • mike_lmike_l Frets: 5663
    Bite sized chunks and a little and often will get you there.
    Learn 3-4 bars at a time, and start with the hardest part (they'll take the longest to perfect), get the fingering and picking right at a slow speed (even down to 40BPM). The slowly build up the speed. You will hit plateaus, slow bit a it, say 5 BPM then next day try again at the faster speed. Do NOT let the speed be predominant, that will lead to sloppy playing.
    Remember to start and finish your practise with something you can play to speed, this starts and finishes you on a high. 

    Ringleader of the Cambridge cartel, pedal champ and king of the dirt boxes (down to 21) 

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  • Sometimes you can arrange simpler versions, depending what the song is, that's a good way to still play the song like the original but its more achievable.

    If you really do want to play it exactly like the original though its all muscle memory, repetition and getting the tempo.
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  • vizviz Frets: 4357
    edited August 10
    Malmsteen is really surprisingly easy to play, either note-for-note, or using certain shortcuts and approximations - once you've got the style under your fingers. So just take it slowly, get the easy verse bits, then tackle the solos, focusing on the repetitive shapes. I wouldn't worry about accurate right hand to start with, because you can legato it in parts, it's just as good. 
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  • bigjonbigjon Frets: 573
    For "Waves" by Guthrie Govan which is at 96 beats per minute I set the metronome on its lowest setting of 40bpm but made the clicks quavers so I was practising at 20bpm. Then I sped up the metronome by one notch 4 times per week for a month, so 42 44 46, 48 50 52 54, 56 58 60 63, 66 69 72 76. The next notch is 80 BPM which is double the starting speed, so I put the metronome back down to 40 with the clicks as crotchets this time. The final push for the last 16 BPM I spread over a whole month 84 88 92 96, I made it with the exception of 2 separate bars where the playing is impossibly fast, 80bpm was about my limit for those.
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  • ElxElx Frets: 385
    I've been playing about 5 years or so, and the song I'm trying to play right now happens to be 'Fire and Ice' by Malmsteen. It's way above my station. I'm thinking strategically, how do I go about it?

    Just keep bashing at it at lower and lower speeds? 

    Find some intermediate songs? If so, how? (not for this one , but just generally for songs which are too hard, how can one reliably find songs with similar techniques but less difficulty?)


    One of the more difficult songs by Yngwie, and one of my favourites. The main solo is very challenging...Good luck, I still can't do it, and I have been trying for some time :)
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  • vizviz Frets: 4357
    Elx said:
    I've been playing about 5 years or so, and the song I'm trying to play right now happens to be 'Fire and Ice' by Malmsteen. It's way above my station. I'm thinking strategically, how do I go about it?

    Just keep bashing at it at lower and lower speeds? 

    Find some intermediate songs? If so, how? (not for this one , but just generally for songs which are too hard, how can one reliably find songs with similar techniques but less difficulty?)


    One of the more difficult songs by Yngwie, and one of my favourites. The main solo is very challenging...Good luck, I still can't do it, and I have been trying for some time :)
    I love the solo on dragonfly from that album. It's so dragonfly-ish. 
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  • BarneyBarney Frets: 299
    Off you are really keen on learning it i would just fire away..just do sections slow first and gradually pick up speed....so much you will learn from it 
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1491
    edited September 28

    Get a handle on Yngwie's picking technique by watching Troy Grady's Cracking the Code videos on YouTube. Yngwie's approach is very consistent. Maybe try Chris Brooks, too. He does "The Yng Way" method and is a great player, but I don't think he quite nails the Yng sound like some of the Japanese dudes.

    Despite my great admiration for @BigJon, Troy will tell you: playing slower and building up won't always get you where you wanna be. You need to identify the problems and work on them in great detail. Chunks of 3-4 bars as suggested by @mike_l could well be too much. You might need to focus on one string change for a bit to get it down. That might be half a beat that you need to loop, not even half a bar.

    Get the best transcriptions you can get hold of. There are some really crappy "official" Yngwie tabs about.

    Learn what you want to learn. Keeps you motivated.  If it's this song, learn this song. Learn the chord changes so you can busk a version you can sing along to. Learn the vocal melodies on the guitar.

    Oh, and check @RedRabbit's thread on his playing getting slower. There was great technique discussion in there.

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  • MayneheadMaynehead Frets: 1027
    Having just listened to the song, there is no way on earth I'd even contemplate trying to learn that!  =)
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  • DLM said:

    Despite my great admiration for @BigJon, Troy will tell you: playing slower and building up won't always get you where you wanna be. You need to identify the problems and work on them in great detail.


    Very true, but If you are not familiar with the technique, I would advise training very slow at first to build your mechanical ability from the ground up, I just don't think your metronome should decide when to change gears.


    Concerning Yngwie's song, I had never heard it, so I gave it a listen, and it seems to me that you can really reduce the time it would take to learn it by playing a few exercises that are at the core of the solo sections., Here they are:

    - Yngwie's classic: choose a diatonic 3 note shape on a string (like 13, 15, 17 for instance). and play it in this fashion: 17, 13, 15, 17, 15, 13 and repeat. He does a lot of that.

    - Descending Vertical scale run: choose a string ( I think Yngwie does it a lot on the high E string). and run it down diatonically in this manner: 3 notes straight down, then slide your index to the next lower note, and from that position play 3 notes straight down again, then slide again and repeat.

    - Diatonic Swept arpeggio crisscross: Choose a key, (maybe the one Fire and Ice is written in ?) and play the Minor and Major arpeggios of the key, starting on the high E string and going down and up the arp, then sliding to either the next arpeggio* (If you're not familiar with which arp goes where in the key), or the one starting 2 notes higher, and then going back to the one you  skipped (that's the "crisscross" part. I recommend doing this with both 3 string and 5 string shapes.

    * The one that starts on the next higher or lower note, keeping in mind what key you're in :)

    If you incorporate those into your training routine, it will make it way easier to play the actual solo, the way I would learn it is by playing it slow and as a whole, (the solo) to complement the exercises I mentioned before that you did in isolation.

    I think of it like a sculpture or a painting, focusing on a specific part allows you to refine the detail, but taking a step back and looking at the work as a whole ensures that everything is in the right place and that the whole thing looks harmonious. It's the best way to do it in my opinion.

    Good luck and good training.

    Max

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  • vizviz Frets: 4357
    DLM said:

    Despite my great admiration for @BigJon, Troy will tell you: playing slower and building up won't always get you where you wanna be. You need to identify the problems and work on them in great detail.


    Very true, but If you are not familiar with the technique, I would advise training very slow at first to build your mechanical ability from the ground up, I just don't think your metronome should decide when to change gears.


    Concerning Yngwie's song, I had never heard it, so I gave it a listen, and it seems to me that you can really reduce the time it would take to learn it by playing a few exercises that are at the core of the solo sections., Here they are:

    - Yngwie's classic: choose a diatonic 3 note shape on a string (like 13, 15, 17 for instance). and play it in this fashion: 17, 13, 15, 17, 15, 13 and repeat. He does a lot of that.

    - Descending Vertical scale run: choose a string ( I think Yngwie does it a lot on the high E string). and run it down diatonically in this manner: 3 notes straight down, then slide your index to the next lower note, and from that position play 3 notes straight down again, then slide again and repeat.

    - Diatonic Swept arpeggio crisscross: Choose a key, (maybe the one Fire and Ice is written in ?) and play the Minor and Major arpeggios of the key, starting on the high E string and going down and up the arp, then sliding to either the next arpeggio* (If you're not familiar with which arp goes where in the key), or the one starting 2 notes higher, and then going back to the one you  skipped (that's the "crisscross" part. I recommend doing this with both 3 string and 5 string shapes.

    * The one that starts on the next higher or lower note, keeping in mind what key you're in :)

    If you incorporate those into your training routine, it will make it way easier to play the actual solo, the way I would learn it is by playing it slow and as a whole, (the solo) to complement the exercises I mentioned before that you did in isolation.

    I think of it like a sculpture or a painting, focusing on a specific part allows you to refine the detail, but taking a step back and looking at the work as a whole ensures that everything is in the right place and that the whole thing looks harmonious. It's the best way to do it in my opinion.

    Good luck and good training.

    Max

    This is a great answer and furthermore, once you've mastered these 3 rudiments, plus maybe the 4th one of throwing the guitar round the back of your neck, you'll basically be able to play any of Yngwie's solos. 
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  • ElxElx Frets: 385
    viz said:
    DLM said:

    Despite my great admiration for @BigJon, Troy will tell you: playing slower and building up won't always get you where you wanna be. You need to identify the problems and work on them in great detail.


    Very true, but If you are not familiar with the technique, I would advise training very slow at first to build your mechanical ability from the ground up, I just don't think your metronome should decide when to change gears.


    Concerning Yngwie's song, I had never heard it, so I gave it a listen, and it seems to me that you can really reduce the time it would take to learn it by playing a few exercises that are at the core of the solo sections., Here they are:

    - Yngwie's classic: choose a diatonic 3 note shape on a string (like 13, 15, 17 for instance). and play it in this fashion: 17, 13, 15, 17, 15, 13 and repeat. He does a lot of that.

    - Descending Vertical scale run: choose a string ( I think Yngwie does it a lot on the high E string). and run it down diatonically in this manner: 3 notes straight down, then slide your index to the next lower note, and from that position play 3 notes straight down again, then slide again and repeat.

    - Diatonic Swept arpeggio crisscross: Choose a key, (maybe the one Fire and Ice is written in ?) and play the Minor and Major arpeggios of the key, starting on the high E string and going down and up the arp, then sliding to either the next arpeggio* (If you're not familiar with which arp goes where in the key), or the one starting 2 notes higher, and then going back to the one you  skipped (that's the "crisscross" part. I recommend doing this with both 3 string and 5 string shapes.

    * The one that starts on the next higher or lower note, keeping in mind what key you're in :)

    If you incorporate those into your training routine, it will make it way easier to play the actual solo, the way I would learn it is by playing it slow and as a whole, (the solo) to complement the exercises I mentioned before that you did in isolation.

    I think of it like a sculpture or a painting, focusing on a specific part allows you to refine the detail, but taking a step back and looking at the work as a whole ensures that everything is in the right place and that the whole thing looks harmonious. It's the best way to do it in my opinion.

    Good luck and good training.

    Max

    This is a great answer and furthermore, once you've mastered these 3 rudiments, plus maybe the 4th one of throwing the guitar round the back of your neck, you'll basically be able to play any of Yngwie's solos. 
    No he will not, and you know it :)
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  • ElxElx Frets: 385
    It's like saying learn one pentatonic shape and 2 simple blues licks and you will be able to play any of Clapton's solos :)
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  • aord43aord43 Frets: 260
    Elx said:
    It's like saying learn one pentatonic shape and 2 simple blues licks and you will be able to play any of Clapton's solos :)
    Hey please don't shatter my illusions!
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6040
    viz said:
    DLM said:

    Despite my great admiration for @BigJon, Troy will tell you: playing slower and building up won't always get you where you wanna be. You need to identify the problems and work on them in great detail.


    Very true, but If you are not familiar with the technique, I would advise training very slow at first to build your mechanical ability from the ground up, I just don't think your metronome should decide when to change gears.


    Concerning Yngwie's song, I had never heard it, so I gave it a listen, and it seems to me that you can really reduce the time it would take to learn it by playing a few exercises that are at the core of the solo sections., Here they are:

    - Yngwie's classic: choose a diatonic 3 note shape on a string (like 13, 15, 17 for instance). and play it in this fashion: 17, 13, 15, 17, 15, 13 and repeat. He does a lot of that.

    - Descending Vertical scale run: choose a string ( I think Yngwie does it a lot on the high E string). and run it down diatonically in this manner: 3 notes straight down, then slide your index to the next lower note, and from that position play 3 notes straight down again, then slide again and repeat.

    - Diatonic Swept arpeggio crisscross: Choose a key, (maybe the one Fire and Ice is written in ?) and play the Minor and Major arpeggios of the key, starting on the high E string and going down and up the arp, then sliding to either the next arpeggio* (If you're not familiar with which arp goes where in the key), or the one starting 2 notes higher, and then going back to the one you  skipped (that's the "crisscross" part. I recommend doing this with both 3 string and 5 string shapes.

    * The one that starts on the next higher or lower note, keeping in mind what key you're in :)

    If you incorporate those into your training routine, it will make it way easier to play the actual solo, the way I would learn it is by playing it slow and as a whole, (the solo) to complement the exercises I mentioned before that you did in isolation.

    I think of it like a sculpture or a painting, focusing on a specific part allows you to refine the detail, but taking a step back and looking at the work as a whole ensures that everything is in the right place and that the whole thing looks harmonious. It's the best way to do it in my opinion.

    Good luck and good training.

    Max

    This is a great answer and furthermore, once you've mastered these 3 rudiments, plus maybe the 4th one of throwing the guitar round the back of your neck, you'll basically be able to play any of Yngwie's solos. 

    Have we missed poodle perms, owning Ferraris and the ability to shout abuse at the stage crew whilst simultaneously playing neo- classical solos? He is quite an angry man, I suspect it's caused by the tightness of his leather trousers. 

    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1491
    DLM said:

    Despite my great admiration for @BigJon, Troy will tell you: playing slower and building up won't always get you where you wanna be. You need to identify the problems and work on them in great detail.

    Very true, but If you are not familiar with the technique, I would advise training very slow at first to build your mechanical ability from the ground up, I just don't think your metronome should decide when to change gears.

    @AxeInsight When learning anything new, one is going to have to start super slow to avoid "baking in" mistakes. Dave Kilminster would say: Start much slower than you think you need to start. *Much* slower.

    But the metronome doesn't decide when to change gears. You use the metronome to help yourself move up through the gears.

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  • cruxiformcruxiform Frets: 1401
    edited October 4
    Funnily enough, I'm currently learning Hiroshima Mon Amour from when he was in Alcatrazz. I use Riffstation as I can save a slowed down version of the song as a .wav to my computer to play along to. I'm currently at 1/2 speed and can nail it every time so just about at the point to speed it up a little. I started at 1/4 speed and learnt it by ear which I prefer.

    Anyway the thing I wanted to mention is Yngwie's vibrato. When you slow down one of his solos you realise he does it a lot more than you hear at normal speed and it's a wide vibrato too. The scalloped neck helps with that I guess.
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1491
    Plus the light strings and being tuned down to Eb, usually! :sunglasses:
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  • vizviz Frets: 4357
    Elx said:
    viz said:
    DLM said:

    Despite my great admiration for @BigJon, Troy will tell you: playing slower and building up won't always get you where you wanna be. You need to identify the problems and work on them in great detail.


    Very true, but If you are not familiar with the technique, I would advise training very slow at first to build your mechanical ability from the ground up, I just don't think your metronome should decide when to change gears.


    Concerning Yngwie's song, I had never heard it, so I gave it a listen, and it seems to me that you can really reduce the time it would take to learn it by playing a few exercises that are at the core of the solo sections., Here they are:

    - Yngwie's classic: choose a diatonic 3 note shape on a string (like 13, 15, 17 for instance). and play it in this fashion: 17, 13, 15, 17, 15, 13 and repeat. He does a lot of that.

    - Descending Vertical scale run: choose a string ( I think Yngwie does it a lot on the high E string). and run it down diatonically in this manner: 3 notes straight down, then slide your index to the next lower note, and from that position play 3 notes straight down again, then slide again and repeat.

    - Diatonic Swept arpeggio crisscross: Choose a key, (maybe the one Fire and Ice is written in ?) and play the Minor and Major arpeggios of the key, starting on the high E string and going down and up the arp, then sliding to either the next arpeggio* (If you're not familiar with which arp goes where in the key), or the one starting 2 notes higher, and then going back to the one you  skipped (that's the "crisscross" part. I recommend doing this with both 3 string and 5 string shapes.

    * The one that starts on the next higher or lower note, keeping in mind what key you're in :)

    If you incorporate those into your training routine, it will make it way easier to play the actual solo, the way I would learn it is by playing it slow and as a whole, (the solo) to complement the exercises I mentioned before that you did in isolation.

    I think of it like a sculpture or a painting, focusing on a specific part allows you to refine the detail, but taking a step back and looking at the work as a whole ensures that everything is in the right place and that the whole thing looks harmonious. It's the best way to do it in my opinion.

    Good luck and good training.

    Max

    This is a great answer and furthermore, once you've mastered these 3 rudiments, plus maybe the 4th one of throwing the guitar round the back of your neck, you'll basically be able to play any of Yngwie's solos. 
    No he will not, and you know it :)
    Ha ha, ok, well, he'll be able to play at least 3 lines in every of Yngwie's solos, that much is certain!
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  • AxeInsightAxeInsight Frets: 18
    DLM said:
    DLM said:

    Despite my great admiration for @BigJon, Troy will tell you: playing slower and building up won't always get you where you wanna be. You need to identify the problems and work on them in great detail.

    Very true, but If you are not familiar with the technique, I would advise training very slow at first to build your mechanical ability from the ground up, I just don't think your metronome should decide when to change gears.

    @AxeInsight When learning anything new, one is going to have to start super slow to avoid "baking in" mistakes. Dave Kilminster would say: Start much slower than you think you need to start. *Much* slower.

    But the metronome doesn't decide when to change gears. You use the metronome to help yourself move up through the gears.

    @DLM I understand, maybe I didn't express myself correctly, what I'm reffering to is that I often see people saying stuff like: "I increase the metronome by 5 bpm every week", which seems strange to me because the learning curve is not steady and linear (at least it isn't for me) so I don't believe it fits your learning curve well enough to change the metronome speed like clockwork.

    I see this curve more like gears on a car, once you imprinted the mechanics in your muscle memory, you should push until you reach a plateau, and from there work at progressive speeds to overcome it.

    I see what you're saying though.
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1491
    @AxeInsight Yeah, I've seen people say that, too. Not a realistic approach physiologically. Maybe I'll have to do a YouTube video in place of typing screens of TL;DNR text. :scream: I don't know of a video with the stuff I've seen in copyrighted materials explained all in one place, and I'm not about to post a pile of scans.
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  • RedRabbitRedRabbit Frets: 161
    DLM said:
    I don't know of a video with the stuff I've seen in copyrighted materials explained all in one place, and I'm not about to post a pile of scans.
    This is an interest point actually (or it is too me at least).

    After many years of trying to improve my alternate picking without making any real progress I've been looking at it much more closely recently and I do believe I'm now making progress.  The thing is though I've had to take ideas from 3 or 4 different sources to really make any headway.

    Just of the top of my head I've looked at

    Pick slanting - thanks to Troy Grady (I've actually paid for the Pick Slanting Primer pack which I'm working through albeit slowly - definitely worth the $55 if, like me, you need more explicit explanations than a lot of his youtube videos give)

    Chunking/Synchronisation - mainly thanks to Troy Grady but Claus Levin deserves a mention as well as it's one of his videos that got me to really link the two together

    Burst playing - thanks to @DLM for this one as he was kind enough to send me a copy of a Shaun Baxter article that discussed this amongst a couple of other ideas.

    Effective metronome use - I think this possible goes back to a Guthrie Govan book I've got but the Shaun Baxter article added a bit more to it.


    Now any one of these in isolation has never really yielded results for me yet applying all the above ideas to my practice routine over the last month or so has resulted in noticeable improvement.

    It'd be great to see someone produce something with a real, in depth explanation of all of the above (as well as any ideas I've missed/haven't come across yet).  I guess some people will be able to piece it all together themselves or maybe some just don't come across the same hurdles as I have but certainly for me there's been quite a bit more to it than practice slowly and gradually increase the speed.
     
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1491
    @RedRabbit Everyone has different needs, I think. I've just watched Ben Eller's latest FAQU video, and he too agreed that there are so many folks getting great results with widely diverse techniques that you need to find something that kinda works and work on and with that. A lot. That said, there are certain "schools" that work, and Troy Grady does a great job of teaching several of those and explaining how they all work. One can, like Paul Gilbert, move between schools (he changed from edge-picking with the back of the pick to using the front), but there are plenty of great players using the approach he left behind (Benson/Friedman).
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  • RedRabbitRedRabbit Frets: 161
    Oh definitely.  I didn't mean suggest that I'd stumbled across the "one true method".

    My point, if I had one, was that a lot of the material out there seems geared towards focusing one one aspect of the technique. The most popular seems to be the start slow and speed up with various repeating patterns and this has never really worked for me. You really need to go digging to find different approaches (or be fortunate enough that some kind soul points you towards it).  I don't know if its that some have greater aptitude for it and therefore need less direction but it seems that, from the number of times the subject comes up, there's something lacking in the standard advice. 

    That said, Troy Grady's pick slant primer has a lot of information and, getting back to the OP, the Yngwie parts are a great starting point (and I'm not even a huge fan).  Even if you don't pay for the course there a lot of hints in the free videos on YouTube.
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  • AxeInsightAxeInsight Frets: 18
    RedRabbit said:

    It'd be great to see someone produce something with a real, in depth explanation of all of the above (as well as any ideas I've missed/haven't come across yet).  I guess some people will be able to piece it all together themselves or maybe some just don't come across the same hurdles as I have but certainly for me there's been quite a bit more to it than practice slowly and gradually increase the speed.
     
    @RedRabbit ;This is indeed a very wide subject, ironically, the concepts you implemented in your playing (with the exception of the metronome one, are part of the online course I made (as far as I can tell).

    But maybe I could research it and make a course on Alternate picking only that would push it even further and cover all the angles, do you think people would buy it ?
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  • bingefellerbingefeller Frets: 5110
    DLM said:
    @RedRabbit Everyone has different needs, I think. I've just watched Ben Eller's latest FAQU video, and he too agreed that there are so many folks getting great results with widely diverse techniques that you need to find something that kinda works and work on and with that. A lot. That said, there are certain "schools" that work, and Troy Grady does a great job of teaching several of those and explaining how they all work. One can, like Paul Gilbert, move between schools (he changed from edge-picking with the back of the pick to using the front), but there are plenty of great players using the approach he left behind (Benson/Friedman).


    Paul Gilbert isn't an edge picker - he's a primary upward pick slanter.  Marty Friedman isn't an edge picker either, he's a primary downward pickslanter.


    @RedRabbit - I would strongly advise sticking to one way pick slanting for starting out.  I did try to learn two way pick slanting, but found it very difficult and my movements ended up very string hoppy and this was slowing me down.  I'm a natural upward pick slanter, so I'm sticking with that and using pull offs when changing strings on certain phrases. 

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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1491

    @bingefeller

    I meant this:

    DLM said:

    Oooh @Bingefeller, I didn't realise you were a Benson-style picker!

    Dan mentions many other players who use this grip.

    I thought Grady had coined the term "edge picking" for that? I.E. Leading-edge picking (Gilbert now) and trailing-edge picking? Going by which edge of the pick first hits the string?
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  • bingefellerbingefeller Frets: 5110
    DLM said:

    @bingefeller

    I meant this:

    DLM said:

    Oooh @Bingefeller, I didn't realise you were a Benson-style picker!

    Dan mentions many other players who use this grip.

    I thought Grady had coined the term "edge picking" for that? I.E. Leading-edge picking (Gilbert now) and trailing-edge picking? Going by which edge of the pick first hits the string?
    Yes Gilbert used trailing edge picking on the first Racer X album, but it then started to hurt his thumb so he changed to regular style picking.  

    Leading edge, to the best of my understanding from Troy’s teachings, would be when someone holds their pick like Benson but the top part of the pick you are seeing in that picture is the part that would hit the strings first on a downstroke.  I can’t think of any player who plays like this.  

    Troy describes regular edge picking as the angle that guys like Gilbert, Moore put on the pick to get a better tone.  Paul talks about putting an angle on the pick on the Get Out Of My Yard DVD lesson segment.  
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  • RedRabbitRedRabbit Frets: 161

    @RedRabbit - I would strongly advise sticking to one way pick slanting for starting out.  I did try to learn two way pick slanting, but found it very difficult and my movements ended up very string hoppy and this was slowing me down.  I'm a natural upward pick slanter, so I'm sticking with that and using pull offs when changing strings on certain phrases. 

    Yeah, I'm focussing on downward pick slanting until I've made some significant progress. It's more or less my natural picking position (I think I've mentioned elsewhere that I tend to flatten the pick and then move towards an upwards slant as I move down (in pitch) through the strings).  I'm also working on sweep picking as its something I've just never looked at before and have noticed a natural tendency to change the pick slant depending on the direction I'm sweeping in so I'll probably look into two way pick slanting at some point but definitely not until I'm really happy with downward pick slanting. 

    I keep thinking of doing an update post to show exactly what I'm working on and what progress I'm making but i) it'd be a long post and needs the tab to explain things properly - neither is a problem but I need to find the time ii) while it isn't all Troy Grady stuff, a lot of it is I'm not hugely keen on putting up anything which I've got from his paid content.

    The second point is what's really stopping me posting anything in great detail which is why I've recommended the OP search out Troy's stuff on YouTube.
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