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  1. #1

    I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    For a few years now I've been trying to acquire a fast picking technique. I love the Malmsteen style and all the guys on YouTube which have acquired that same picking style. But I've noticed that most of the time when I play a downstroke, I end up too far away from the string so I have to make too much motion to get back to pick the following upstroke.

    This is really hard to change.

    I'm holding my pick correctly and I'm using a small pick that feels very comfortable and it's on the thick side like it's supposed to be for speed picking.

    If anyone has any tips on how to prevent my right hand from traveling a mile when it only has to go a few millimeters, I'd like to hear them.

  2. #2

    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    I think what I will concentrate on is only using my thumb and forefinger. The way I see it that is the only way to keep the motions extremely small without going too far. Picking from the wrist simply will not work.

  3. #3

    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    That's the only way I can pick extremely fast with any control at all. The only thing that's really moving is the thumb joint, it's got to be the dominant flex point. I don't know anyone else personally that uses this technique but it works for me. The pick is only moving 7-8mm per stroke though and transitions to a full sweep pick are a little tough once you get used to such a small window for pick movement.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundermtn View Post
    That's the only way I can pick extremely fast with any control at all. The only thing that's really moving is the thumb joint, it's got to be the dominant flex point. I don't know anyone else personally that uses this technique but it works for me. The pick is only moving 7-8mm per stroke though and transitions to a full sweep pick are a little tough once you get used to such a small window for pick movement.
    That's exactly what I have been doing for 30-years as well. I got the idea from some 80's pick gimmick that actually taught this - it was a black plastic pick with a cone point, and the instructions recommended practicing by drawing tiny circles with a pen on paper . But hey, it worked!
    2007 CR8
    2000 Elegant
    1953 J50

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Dave P's Avatar
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    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    It's called the Stylus pick. It forces you to keep the pick at a consistent depth. I used one a lot in the 80's to help develop my alternate picking technique. I also remember reading an old Al Dimeola interview where he stressed using economy in the picking motion. Not flailing the picking hand around wildly, but using a tight, controlled motion. So if you pick a downstroke, immediately pick the upstroke. It requires a lot of practice and concentration. Watch some of the Troy Grady videos on YouTube, he goes into great depth of speed picking, with pick slanting, pick tilting, etc. I personally improved my picking chops by watching and implementing Troys ideas.
    Les Paul Forum Founder


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  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member Pellman73's Avatar
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    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    I think this guy could use the Stylus pick


  7. #7
    Les Paul Froum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    Check out V-Picks... I prefer the Screamer (2.75mm) but some of the even fatter ones (like the 4.1mm Diamond) give you much tighter control. I got addicted to them a few years back and now its all I use.
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    I'll have to check out the Vpicks. They look cool! I started using the Jim Dunlop Primetones a couple of years ago and they have helped me a bit. They also have the raised lettering for grip and precise edges that help with attack and angle.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Froum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    They are way cool... you can thank me later (if you can stop picking long enough to formulate the verbiage)...
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    They are way cool... you can thank me later (if you can stop picking long enough to formulate the verbiage)...
    I do not "formulate verbiage" but instead "create verbal baggage".

  11. #11
    Les Paul Froum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    Quote Originally Posted by renderit View Post
    I do not "formulate verbiage" but instead "create verbal baggage".
    And you do it well...
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member Karldoog's Avatar
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    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    Stylus picks are awesome. They can help you. And learn to pick from your elbow, not your wrist and NEVER flex your thumb more than a mm or two. You pick should be like a phonograph needle--straight up and down, only front-edge canted slightly downward so you're not flatpicking. Move your hand down the bridge so that your pick is always above the string you're picking. Sloppy pickers use too much wrist which changes the angle of your pick and forces the brain into "high RAM" where it has to re-calculate the resistance on every other pickstroke. That makes you sloppy and slow.

  13. #13

    Re: I'm still using too much motion when I make a downstroke

    I agree with checking out the Troy Grady "Cracking the Code" YouTube stuff. Some time they get tedious but I have implemented some of his ideas and seen immediate positive results. I have also found the Blue Chip Jazz 50 pick helps with my velocity and they definitely wear better than any other pick I have used since 1970.

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