#1

Scalpel health check

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:02 pm
by Cliff • 344 Posts

Hey guys,

I've been practicing scalpel for a month now, and thought I'd post some vids to show my progress. I'd appreciate any advice/feedback you can give.

Overall, things I'm happy with:
I feel like I can move across strings better than I could with my previous technique. Still not well enough, however. Last couple of weeks I've been focussing on this in particular, hence the change of strings on every beat in vid 1, and the note per string in vid 3.
Being able to play 5 notes per beat - never tried this before. 7 is coming along, but not solid as yet.
Things I'm not happy with
Lack of control of dynamics and tone. This was an issue with my previous technique too, so it's just a problem I have to solve whichever way.
A certain lack of fluidity. I suspect this is down to me still getting a hang of the scalpel style.
Bad left/right-hand synchronisation.
Too slow!

Anyway, these three vids comprise my nightly right-hand practice routine (apologies that they're so long). I don't have too much free time, so they're a bit curtailed. I started out at 40bpm, and have been increasing by 5bpm per week, so these are at 55bpm (too fast?). The first is me play first 1, then 2, etc then 8 notes per beat, changing string every beat. It goes a bit awry at 7 notes per beat. Not sure if this is the rhythm or the speed. Sounds like the last note in each group of seven sometimes gets lost:



The second one is just 8 notes per beat. With my normal practice, I'd spend about 50% longer on this than shown here:



The third is one note per string, starting with 2 notes per beat and working up to 5. I normally practice up to 6, but it just wasn't coming together today. For 2 through 4, I'm playing first downstrokes then up. For 5, I can't play in one direction that fast, so I switch to alternate picking:



I recently realized that probably the best way to think of string changes was to keep the picking going at a constant speed and to use the forearm to switch strings without breaking stride with the picking itself. That's what I'm trying to do here. Please let me know what you think.

And here's a vid of my outside picking pentatonic lick (actually from Troy Stetina's Speed Mechanics For Lead Guitar). It was problems with playing this that led me to investigate this site and the scalpel picking style. I like to think this is better than I could do before, though maybe not quite as fast yet:



This demonstrates another problem I've noticed with my playing, which is poor synchronisation between left and right hands. I've found this varies depending on the picking technique I use, so I suspect some are more in time than others.

Finally, here's another Stetina exercise. It's not perfect, and there's a noise control issue to be addressed, but I'm happy with the progress:



Please let me know if you think I'm on the right track :).

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#2

RE: Scalpel health check

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:55 am
by deltadiscos • 310 Posts
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#3

RE: Scalpel health check

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:45 am
by Cliff • 344 Posts

Thanks for checking it out :).

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#4

RE: Scalpel health check

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:25 am
by uderoche (deleted)
avatar

You have the right idea here with the scalpel picking. However, it looks a bit tense. After watching these videos my advice would be to scalpel pick on each open string 10 minutes per day. This would be 1hr total. Do this for some time. You will see more improvement with it if you do that.


-Ursin

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#5

RE: Scalpel health check

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:09 pm
by Cliff • 344 Posts

Thanks for taking a look and for the advice.
Yes, tension is a problem with all of my playing :(.

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#6

RE: Scalpel health check

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:34 pm
by uderoche (deleted)
avatar

I've noticed tension in a lot of people's playing. I have a student who is getting better, but his alternate picking is still very tense. I can only say that practicing more and getting more comfortable playing is the only solution. Oddly enough, the cure to most musical problems is more practice. More time behind the wheel.


-Ursin

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#7

RE: Scalpel health check

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:47 pm
by Cliff • 344 Posts

I've been practicing pretty intensely (by my standards at least, not by the standards of most members here) for more than two years now. If anything, I think my tension might have worsened :).

I have about 2 hrs a night to practice. For the few weeks, I've been spending an hour on picking, then another hour on left-hand exercises in front of the TV.

With this constraint, would you suggest I focus exclusively on scalpel, or should I be using some of my time with sarod also?

And thanks!

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#8

RE: Scalpel health check

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:10 am
by uderoche (deleted)
avatar

If you have 2hrs and you are going to devote 1hr to left hand and 1hr to right hand, I would stick to working on my scalpel and alternate picking. Once you get that down better, you can start trying to tackle sarod.


-Ursin

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#9

RE: Scalpel health check

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:30 pm
by Cliff • 344 Posts

Thanks Ursin - you're advice is very much appreciated. Sorry to be dense, but when you say 'scalpel and alternate picking', do you been alternate picking with the scalpel technique, or alternate picking in terms of a more traditional back-and-forth wrist motion.

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#10

RE: Scalpel health check

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:04 pm
by uderoche (deleted)
avatar

Quote: Cliff wrote in post #9
Thanks Ursin - you're advice is very much appreciated. Sorry to be dense, but when you say 'scalpel and alternate picking', do you been alternate picking with the scalpel technique, or alternate picking in terms of a more traditional back-and-forth wrist motion.


Both. Separate and then try together.


-Ursin

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