#1

Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:42 pm
by Tom (deleted)
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So, in a childish rage, I threw my pick off the balcony. The guitar was close to following. I took 2 days off from playing and thought it'd work miracles. Things had gone well up till then. I picked up the guitar, and instead of back to square 1, I was at -1. I have a good sense of rhythm. I played some piano. I've beat up drums. I've done singing. All by ear, but all decent. With the guitar, I keep fucking up on the E and A strings. It sounds like somebody walking with a cain instead of walking. I've got serious issues getting an angle on the pick. For whatever reason, my fingers aren't made that waythat I can angle it. Flatpicking is the most natural. Either way, today sounded like total shit. I am questioning why I bother. Some say "angle the pick 30 degrees", but then in my case, it rests on the side of the nail and that's not steady at all. I don't get it. Flatpicking is pretty much what works on those strings. The rest is an uncomfortable mess. I was hoping to feel progress today, and now it's back to the same old shit with the pick and the angle, and seeing all these videos that say "angle the pick". Well, I wish I could! It's really keeping a leash on me. There, I've expressed my frustrations. Now I'm going to te bar. :-)

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#2

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:06 pm
by uderoche (deleted)
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This is a very good video on how to hold and angle the pick. One of the better ones on the net.


YouTube www.youtube.com/ursinderoche
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#3

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:13 pm
by Tom (deleted)
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I know it. But I can't twist the pick like that because it gets very unstable between my finger. So, I can "bluegrass"-pick tunes like Holy Wars, Reign in Blood (Raining Blood), and what not ... but I can't put the pick in the position good old Paul Gilbert prefers. So, what to do ... keep flatpicking shit or just stop it altogether, saying that I'm not anatomically equipped o deal with the licks and shreds meant for his, I easily get the 30 degree angle on the lighter strings, and I could get it on the heavier by moving my hand up, but that affects the muting, as I'd move my hand up to the point where I'd have to mute with my knuckles. And that's not possible.

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#4

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:54 pm
by Cliff • 344 Posts

Hey Tom,

Sorry to hear you're feeling so frustrated. I'm sure most of us here feel like that from time to time. For me, I feel like that just about any time I take the trouble to listen to what I'm doing :).

Don't forget, though, as you get better your standards get higher and so you become harder please. I bet the Tom of a year ago would be pretty happy with what you're playing now.

At any rate, I had a look back at the vid you posted of your new ESP, and it looked to me like you already were playing with the pick at an angle? And it sure didn't sound bad.

I suspect keeping the palm anchored and rotating the wrist to switch strings is not the best way. Here's a vid of Jeff Loomis which has some good close-ups of his picking hand, showing how fluidly he moves across the strings while still damping. (You have to use the left hand to damp the strings higher in pitch than what you're playing of course.)



I particularly like this one because he looks a bit like one of the bad guys out of the original Die Hard movie. Also, awesome guest solo by Tony McAlpine.

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#5

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:28 pm
by NicholasJacquet (deleted)
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Saying one is anatomically unequiped to do something on guitar is the ultimate form of cop-out...There weere times during my early days of sarod (ie 8 months ago) that I was depressed as shit with how things were going (also how big and akward my music man feels compared to my tiny ass hands) Whenever thoughts like "oh man, if I only had long spatula fingers like van halen, I'd be as good as paul gilbert by now" poped up, I had to learn to ignore them. And find a way to make it work...Its like I had multiple personalities...the part of me that eventually starts to think "man this shit is impossible" after days fall off the calender, days turn to weeks, and eventually months and I still struggle with doing something....And the other part of me that is the manager (also the dreamer) that responds by barking louder and grabing a bigger stick to beat the weakling part of me untill get this.........YOU FIND A WAY TO MAKE WHAT YOU WANT HAPPEN! Trust me, if there is something that you want with the guitar more than anything else in the world, you will figure out a way to make it happen. Unless you are Jason Becker or an amputee, there is no excuse for not making what ypu want happen. You simply must be willing to sacrifice parts and portions of said parts of yourself if you want it to happen. If that winds up being a pound of flesh like in the merchant of venice; then so be it.

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#6

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:02 pm
by deltadiscos • 310 Posts

Nick you have great way of making your post offensive once again..


You think you practice enough.......YOU DON'T!............PRACTICE MORE! Darryn U.K
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#7

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:50 pm
by NicholasJacquet (deleted)
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tell me what part of my post you find offensive...I'd bet if you asked someone like paul gilbert "how much must I love this instrument and be willing to give of myself to it in order to get as good as you?" I bet the merchant of vence would analogy would not be that far off...What the heck is it about this instrument that people dont get?!?! I'll tell you...its that we do NOT possess some natural god-given right to be able to play as good as PAul Gilbert. (just because some-thing is intrinsically a good does not instantaneously entitle us to it) The ability to play that well must be purchased in blood, sweat, and tears.


Last edited Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:54 pm | Scroll up

#8

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:44 am
by Tom (deleted)
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I understand your point, Nick. However, my objective isn't to play like Paul Gilbert. I play simply because I need some kind of artistic outlet, so consider it soulfood. My goals are modest, and the requirements as well. I want playing to feel comfortable, and I would be fine with playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and naturally progressing easy to intermediate to advanced for whatever time it takes. That's a natural progression. But I am not okay dedicating 10 years to a pick pissing me off, because that's not very therapeutical for the soul, which is essentially why I play. The answer is easy, though ... I'm taking a few days off from the guitar. Then, I will pick it up and put the pick and my hands wherever it feels natural and they seem to gravitate towards. If I am able to make it comfortable, I'll be happy.

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#9

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:51 am
by Tom (deleted)
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Quote: Cliff wrote in post #4
Hey Tom,

Sorry to hear you're feeling so frustrated. I'm sure most of us here feel like that from time to time. For me, I feel like that just about any time I take the trouble to listen to what I'm doing :).

Don't forget, though, as you get better your standards get higher and so you become harder please. I bet the Tom of a year ago would be pretty happy with what you're playing now.

At any rate, I had a look back at the vid you posted of your new ESP, and it looked to me like you already were playing with the pick at an angle? And it sure didn't sound bad.

I suspect keeping the palm anchored and rotating the wrist to switch strings is not the best way. Here's a vid of Jeff Loomis which has some good close-ups of his picking hand, showing how fluidly he moves across the strings while still damping. (You have to use the left hand to damp the strings higher in pitch than what you're playing of course.)



I particularly like this one because he looks a bit like one of the bad guys out of the original Die Hard movie. Also, awesome guest solo by Tony McAlpine.


I am going to try get that hand out there. I am able to get a 5-10 degree angle on the pick. What's left from there to reach 30 would be to move the arm and hand. I am going to try this. I also experience problems when I switch chairs, like go from the sofa to the computer to play something. I'll play good on the sofa and then back to troubles on the chair with snagging and not getting a proper "lift-off" when starting some tune, i.e. I'll snag or produce a sound, whether it be the muting or the chugging, that I didn't expect. I could understand if I were struggling over licks and it was actual missing notes here and there, but I'm just perplexed how I can get such inconsistent results with powerchords and chugging. All things point to it having something to do with positioning, so I'm taking a few days off to get a proper reboot and then I'll see what my body wants to do naturally with the pick and the guitar.

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#10

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:22 am
by Tom (deleted)
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I just now ordered a shoulderstrap. I think I can hold the pick in hand like I do today, and instead of creating an angle at the price of much discomfort in my fingers, I should be able to create the angle with the hand by adjusting the strap. It'll mean playing standing up, but when I think about, sitting down and playing in the sofa, I tend to favor pointing the guitar up at an 11 o clock angle or something like that. When I sit at the "ergonomical" computerchair, that's not as easy to do, which could be part in things giving me more grief going from here to there.

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#11

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:38 pm
by Tom (deleted)
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Next weekend, I am also going back to practicing picking with the guitar laying in my lap. For whatever reason, everything feels right and relaxed and easy like that. If I expose myself enough to playing in that position, I think chances are good my arms and hands will "signal" how they want to be when I get in a different, more normal position. Could be something I'm not thinking about like shoulders, elbows, or what not. I'm grateful I've got at least that one position with the guitar in my lap where I can experience how it's supposed to feel when playing.

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#12

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:29 am
by Tom (deleted)
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Good news. I couldn't contain myself. I put the guitar in my lap and tried picking. A number of observations:

- this is significantly much more comfortable and controlled for my picking hand, causing no tensions and doesn't feel like I have to work against the instrument, rather I work with it

- when I increase the BPM for open string picking, I default to using the scalpel motion with the fingers to drive the pick, rather than using my wrist, because it feels more natural and comfortable. Again, natural and comfortable is what I strive for so I like it.

- I kept much in mind what Cliff said, and analyzed my hand when I got on the thicker strings; indeed the way it ends up there is that it limits its range of motion. It becomes like I sit and alternate pick only on the "left side", if that makes sense. The hand gets kind of cupped inwards and upwards by the way I keep it fixed, so I never alternate from the left to right by crossing the center on lower EA-strings, I just sit and go left and right on the left-side on the center (the center being my forearm/wrist, I guess.) When I strike a string harder and unmuted, I will drive it from the left to the right by lifting my hand, enabling that full range of motion, creating sort of a Sarod:ish strike across a powerchord.

- I worked up to 4/4 (or whatever it's called: 16ths) on 180 BPM and played the open lighter strings; I felt increasing it further would reach a point where it's a struggle and may cause tension in the wrist, but the 12 notes per second were fairly comfortable.

TODO:

- work out a new way to mute the thick E and A.
- play with the guitar in my lap a shitload so it spills over on playing sitting and standing

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#13

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:04 am
by Scottulus • 222 Posts

Sounds like positive progress! keep it up, man! Don't get too frustrated, I know it's easy!

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#14

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:26 am
by Cliff • 344 Posts

Very cool.

Take what I said with a big pinch of salt. I've just been advised by someone else to try anchoring my wrist :).

Maybe the takeaway is just that it takes time to figure out what works right and to not be afraid to move things around to find a better way forward.

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#15

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:45 pm
by Tom (deleted)
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I think anchoring is fine, but it's in my case how I kept the arm when it was anchored. The position played without discomfort on the GBE-strings, so when I looked at it with the guitar in my lap facing me, I found where the arm is fine for those strings, it's causing discomfort on the EA-strings. What's happening is the wrist gets "hyperextended" (a medical term in reality, but used descriptively here only) to the left to reach those strings when I don't adjust the position of the arm. Playing like that, not using the full motion of the wrist, I'd rotate the hand inwards a bit, probably to make playing easier, and cup it slightly upwards. I've sometimes considered a George Benson / Marty Friedman hand where you keep the pick tilted the other way because it felt much more relaxed in that position.

As long as playing is comfortable and not frustrating beyond the difficulties nailing a lick or two, I'd say things are on a good track! :-)


Last edited Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:46 pm | Scroll up

#16

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:47 pm
by Cliff • 344 Posts

I tried the Benson style of picking a couple of years ago (mostly motivated by Santana, who is one of my favourites). I found though, just as Paul Gilbert says in the video above, my thumb really started to hurt after a couple of weeks. Maybe it'd be different now with a lighter grip. That said, other downsides for me where that I couldn't find a hand position with this approach where I could mute (sounds like you might have cracked this one!) and I couldn't get decent pinched harmonics.

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#17

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:18 am
by Tom (deleted)
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I am inclined to think that this weird default-hand of mine comes from decades of computing. It cups the way it does over the mouse, I noticed today. If I instead move my second finger to the left mouse button, it lays flat against the desk.

Here's how I would mute it if playing with the pick tilted like that, using the fat of the hand:

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#18

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:36 pm
by FRaKh • 320 Posts

YOu are not alone man.....

BLOOD, SWEAT, TEARS, PHYSICAL/EMOTIONAL DAMAGE, FUCKING RETARDS STEALING YOUR SHIT, HOMELESS, STARVING.......You have to go through all that before you can stand up and say I get it.....and do something about it and practice HARDER.

Its not easy at all. My family NEVER fucking understood why I spent 10 hours a day practicing. Or just sitting listening to the same 5 min of Shakti just to hear the intensity of the fluid techniques. Never got it..at all. I had to fight to practice and then recover from disappointment because I had to stop playing for a day or two to do some BS.

Do the best you can and fight for what you want. You want to play like Yngwie....the practice your ass off. Your in VERY GOOD HANDS here!


“A World Without String Is Chaos”

Rudolf Smuntz
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#19

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:25 am
by Tom (deleted)
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Thanks guys. I've got a decent fast and relaxed picking hand with wrist-movement and small motions, but I've got the problem that I am unfamiliar with the strings and their resistance, along with my new arm-positioning/wrist-angle. To accelerate the natural evolution, I'm since yesterday trying to work up maximum speed and relaxation in the picking hand. Then, I start on the first fret, and down the strings I play 1-2-3-4, and move up one fret, 32 notes per fret. I lasted only to the 7th fret yesterday, but I'd rather get one million alternate picking strokes in over the course of a few months this way than let it be the by-product of playing shit for 10 years. I could've done it the other way and sat back relaxed if I were 10 years old again, but I'm not waiting for that to happen. It's not a speed-building exercise as much as building a knowledge base about each string and fret, and I'll clean up the technique as I go, although I expect the brain to sort of steer me in little steps on the right path automatically as long as I'm not satisfied with the sound.

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#20

RE: Frustration

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:10 pm
by JoelMedina • 72 Posts

That clip of Jeff Loomis is downright frightening! I love that guy's playing.

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