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Jothmom 2004-03-20 15:20

Fast picking - how can i get speed
This evening i viewed the "Arch Enemy - Ravenous" tab. And because im playing guitar not soooo long i am a bit overtaxed playing it.

Do you now some exercise or tricks how i can get mor picking speed?

seraphym 2004-03-20 15:40

There are no tricks to fast picking. Its just practice, practice... and when you thought that was enough, its more practice. I can pick very fast using alternating, i still need to work on my all downpicking speed. Basically just practice.

When you are don't just shoot for the super speed either. its better to pick a little slower but very accurately, and over time step up the speed. It defenitely takes a lot of pratice to get fast. Just keep at it. Also if your coordination is good enough you can even work on your left hand fretting speed at the same time. That's what i've been working on lately. As for exercises, i'm a little to lazy to post any. There are tons of them out there though.

Jothmom 2004-03-20 15:45

thank you, with me its the opposite, in only downpicking im better than in upstroke/downstroke i think.. Well ill try.. But when i hear the song i think that my hands are too fucking slow cause it is against all physics :D

seraphym 2004-03-20 15:52

Yea I get that sometimes. I hear a song and I'm like, "No way in hell my fingers can do that!"

I thought that about a ton of songs. And then someday you have the necessary skills and dexterity to play it, and you'll surprise yourself. i'm trying to learn the rest of the riffs to Pantera, Psycho Holiday. Its not an overly hard song. But this part is pretty fast and i just got done learning the notes. Now to step up the speed.

9/8 |-----|-----|--------------------------------------|| |-----|-----|--------------------------------------|| |-----|-----|----------------------------------7---|| |--%--|--%--|-6-4--------------6-4-------------7---|| |-----|-----|-----6-5-4-5----------6-5-4-5---------|| |-----|-----|-------------7-4--------------7-4-----|| s s s s s s s e. s s s s s s s s e E { 6 } { 6 }

Hope it looks ok.

Jothmom 2004-03-20 17:32

and how is it with tremolo picking, is there something different from normal picking? i think no, isnt?

johnmansley 2004-03-20 18:43

Tremelo picking is just very fast alternate picking.

A good exercise I still practise is given below. It can be used to increase your picking speed and at the same time improve your left hand dexterity. Use alternate picking throughout and play the pattern on all of the other strings as well. Start slowly and only increase the speed when you can play it without a mistake.

|-0-1-2-3-1-2-3-4-2-3-4-5-3-4-5-6---etc up to about the 15th fret-|

With practise, you will find that you will be able to play this increasingly faster. Try it with palm muting and also using just downstrokes. You'll be playing at a high speed in 6 months if you practise this for at least 10 minutes a day.

Just so that you get an even work out try it going back towards your headstock too:


To increase you left hand accuracy and dexterity even further try playing an exercise like this over all strings. Change your hand position (move your index finger up to the new position) at the places marked *:

|---------------------------------------------| (If jumping up 7 frets is too
|---------------------------------------------| difficult at first, try a 4 fret
|---------------------------------------------| difference to begin with)

Play that with increasing speed (as before) and you'll be very fast and very accurate. Now, when your fast and accurate enough, you'll be able to attempt the next example. Move your hand position up for the 5,6,7,8 parts and then back again for the 1,2,3,4 parts.

|-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 ---------------------------------------------------|



That is one of the best practise routines for speed, accuracy and dexterity and when you get fast you should be able to play it in about 5 seconds (that's around 19 notes per second). But build your speed up using the other examples first.

Hope that helps!

SpiritCrusher 2004-03-20 19:32

Yeah, that's really a good one. I use similar patterns and it helps a lot. Also, you might want to vary the order of the fingers (left hand) :

ex :

Just try every possibilities.

And what's useful and much harder to do is to skip strings while playing (as opposed to straight-forward fast picking).
Look at the Severed Savior's "One by One" intro (I posted the tab on this site), it'll give you an idea.

Also, some good bands to check out if you want to practice fast picking without sounding boring (you can finds tabs for them easily):
-old Death
-Morbid Angel
-old Cannibal Corpse

Quo Vadis has got some insane fast picking. So do most of today's metal bands.

andras 2004-03-20 19:40

when i was getting my picking speed up i mainly concentrated on learning SLAYER songs and i still warm up with their riffs. play slow but accurately and then work up to speed.

another thing, try to keep your hands and wrists relaxed and loose, dont force it, cause if youre tense in your hands thats really gonna hold your speed back.

BLS 2004-03-21 01:34

Learn some Cryptopsy for trem picking. As for ravenous, just practice like hell. That song pissed me off so much when i first decided to learn it, but after i broke it down and played all the parts slow i was able to speed it up and still have accuracy.

Undying_Hatred 2004-03-21 07:12

when i was first learning sweeps and shit this always helped


you just have to practice, and dont just use your index and middle fingers like i did. Now im having to go back and use my ring finger and my pinkie so use diffrent combinations with your fingers

Jothmom 2004-03-21 09:56

thank you i will try this out this evening :) wahoo something to do after homework :vampire:

< hours later >

oh i tried this and it was fun, and much easier i thought.. my left hand is better than i thought but picking has to become better :angry:

fritz 2004-03-22 10:26

This would be a good sticky thread since it's a commonly asked question, more advanced players could post all their tricks and exercises.

freek666 2004-03-22 13:40

i use a metronome, and the chromatic scale to build my speed. i generally use alternate fingers, and i play the scale in reverse alot too because it's harder for me to descend with my fingers for some reason



i gradually turn the meronome up as i play when i can comfortably play at a certain pace.

Mordor 2004-03-22 13:55

Practice is the key here, i find playing scales all across the fretboard slowly and then fast real helps improve picking speed. Also playing a lot of cof, darkthrone, iron maiden etc. Oh yea, i just remembered, when i first started playin all i ever did was crack out Angel of death by slayer and try to keep playing it for half an hour. After a while your speed increases shit loads. But your hands go completely dead at the end :D

rapeandruin 2004-03-22 23:47

way I built up speed was playing Cradle of Filth - Cthulhu Dawn opening riff which is all tremelo picking and for palm mute speed increasing the intro to Raining Blood by slayer the... 000-000-000-000... part after the little intro and before the main singing. but other than that just practice.

Machines_Of_Hate 2004-03-29 08:34

Try some Metallica
I found a way that incresed the accurecy of my freting hand while speed picking, metallicas master of puppets is the key. The Major run down just after main solo. it is a good work out for all 4 of your freting fingers and helps increase speed with your strumming, its best tryed with other chromatic scales to increse your speed so u can nail the fret board fluently ;)

ShredIsNotDead 2004-03-29 09:45

I own an instructional video by michael angelo who is the number one shredder of all time. The whole video is basically about speed. Go to if you want to order it.

Some of the tips he gives are dont take your fingers too far off the string when you pull it off so u have less distance to put it back on, keep all your fingers close to the strings at all times. Use very thick picks, no flexibility at all. Flexibility creates wasted pick movement. DOnt make any unneccessary movements with your picking hands, just enuf to pick the note.

Here are two of the excersizes. Start slow and eventually you will be able to blaze. Repeat it over and over again if you hadnt already figured that out.
Excersize 1 Excersize 2
------------------------ | --------------12-14-15-15-14-12--------
If these were helpful and you want more just say so and i will post some

BozoNightmare 2004-04-01 22:50

For accurate picking use your wrist mainly and maybe your thumb a bit. Using your arm is only good for inaccurate tremolo picking. A good exercise is alternate picking an even number of notes on one string, then hitting a power chord up a string.

e.g. Metallica One, count 1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 to the beat and use your wrist, not your arm.

. . . . . .

Start slow, practice to a metronome, using different numbers of notes per beat. Try alternating strings at each beat or two. I just got my 3 notes/beat speed up by playing a riff towards the end in Dimmu Borgir - Behind The Curtains Of Night, and Cradle Of Filth - Carrion.
I had to train my brain to think fast enough to count every note as "1 2 3" etc. Some songs like Cannibal Corpse - Sentenced To Burn (after the squealy riff), I have to count 123123 etc but play 2 notes per count.

You have to push yourself not just physically, but mentally to get accurate speed. Increase the speed of your metronome. If you just want to tremolo pick one string at insane speeds, that's just stupid. I can hit about 17 to 18 notes per second; if you want to go faster, then I suggest woofing down a shitload of caffeine. (Also, I tend to play faster at night.)

If you want accuarcy you need to spend some serious time exercising your brain and hands; i.e. the "muscle memory": it is alot faster than your brain memory, but it takes alot longer to train. So don't just play the same easy songs over and over, challenge yourself with songs like off Cryptopsy - Whisper Supremacy (always try to play 4 notes with your wrist, not 3 with your arm, when alternating between strings, and start off slow). Maybe that's not a good example, as I figure their stuff out myself and there are no good tabs.

Sepultura Arise is a good song to learn as it has fast bursts in it. The live version leaves me for dead! Also get your down-picking up to speed with Master Of Puppets, and then move onto some of The Haunted off their original album.

You can do exercises and shit, but for me, I'd rather learn the inefficient way - learn many many songs. has some exercises, including legato, sweeping, alternate picking. You don't need to use alternate picking for speed, legato can be faster. Be warned, those exercises are fucking difficult to play (even at a moderate speed) as you need to equally develop all your fingers; get some meat on that pinky etc

H.M.J. 2004-04-16 03:10

Awesome techinque
This exercise improves both speed and accuracy. Plus it is also a great work out for your fingers if you reapet it a couple of times youll feel the burn (especialy if your a begginer). you use the number of the fret as what number finger your gonna use if you dont know what im talking about,

Ex. 1=index


In time youll see an amazing in provement u can do this all over the fret board not just on the first four frets.remember use the fingers stated by the fret (only if your doing them on the first four we dont have finger # 12 and stuff just use sane pattern) even if you are tempted to use the index or any other finger in the 3rd fret in the 3rd fret dont. same goes for the fourth fret use the pinky only. you should also repeat it backwards.this exercise will be hard at first but IN TIME itll become easier and see improvement in your speed and accuracy. wish i knew this exercise since the beginning.

Hope u guys like it and that its useful


P.S. although they appear like a waste of money those grip master things really do work.

H.M.J. 2004-04-16 03:14

P.S again
Use alternate picking for the exercise which is the fancy way to say up and down strokes. dont get stuck with just down strokes itl make your playing sound kinda slopier. plus its a good habit to alteranate pick.

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