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Interesting notes per string idea
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 3:13 pm    Post subject: Interesting notes per string idea Reply with quote

Just an interesting little bit I've been toying with lately after a lesson I took. This is mainly for you alternate pickers.

For me, the easiest passages to pick are the ones that involve an even number of notes per string, with the string change coming on a downbeat. That way I can almost get the same motion that I use for 'tremolo picking' and for some reason always starting on a downstroke makes the whole thing a lot faster but I'm still staying within the rhythmic "rules" of alternate picking. With an even number of notes per string, like 2 or 4, I can play things literally almost 50% faster than 3 notes per string, or anything where I have to start on a new string with an upstroke. Of course, lefty's gotta be along for the ride, but lefty has always been much more manageable than righty. Anybody else noticed a similar thing in their own playing?

I've lamented this fact of my playing and worked to correct the imbalance, but in the meantime I was given the tip to try to work out fingerings that accommodate this picking anomaly.

Always having been a position-player, this has kind of blown my mind. If you're interested, a few things to try:

1. Most types of pentatonic scales can be arranged on the guitar for 2 notes per string.

2. Seventh chord arpeggios can be arranged for two notes per string pretty easily...it's fun to see what you can get with things like maj7b5,#5, m6, dimmaj7...some interesting fingerings that can be really easy to play as long as you're willing to send lefty jumping through some hoops

3. Triads sometimes work with 2NPS, it's hard to extend them past an octave or so and they involve string skipping and in some cases a jump of more than a fourth on a single string

4. I've been messing with both 2NPS and 4NPS fingerings for 7 note scales like the maj scale, modes, melodic minor, etc. 2nps results in actually going to the lower frets on the thinner strings and covering a smaller range of pitches, while 4NPS can make fingerings that are 3+ octaves. For the 4NPS fingerings I've been trying to use my index finger for the first two notes on every string. So far I haven't had much luck in getting the 4NPS quick because of the awkward left hand movement. 2NPS scales are interesting , especially for short bits starting on the D or G strings

5. 6 note scales with 2nps work well.

6. Where I've found this stuff most helpful is in an up-tempo scenario on something where the coltrane-type tetrachord stuff will sound good. These four note digital patterns can sit well with this type of picking, especially 1235/do re mi so, and a similar thing that I like the sound of in this context is some combo of 3579 arpeggio...easy to finger with 2NPS

7. I've done a little experimenting with simply taking a phrase and trying to rearrange the fingering to accommodate this picking style..it works...sometimes...

So, just something I've been screwing with lately...
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Last edited by JakeJew on Fri May 14, 2010 3:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing. Here's a very basic mostly-pentatonic pattern that could involve a lot of string crossing with the pick:

Code:


E  :8-5-----5----------------------|----------------|
B  :----8-5---8-5---8-5-----5------|----------------|
G  :--------------7-----7-5---7-5--|----------------|
D  :------------------------------9|7---------------|
A  :-------------------------------|----------------|
E  :-------------------------------|----------------|


Here are the exact same notes but never having to start on a new string with an upstroke. Think of the left hand as shifting position every quarter note:

Code:
E  :8-5------------------------------|----------------|
B  :----8-5-10-8-----8-5-------------|----------------|
G  :-------------9-7-----7-5-9-7-----|----------------|
D  :-----------------------------10-9|7---------------|
A  :---------------------------------|----------------|
E  :---------------------------------|----------------|



yeah not the most important thing in the world, but just a little bit I thought was kind of interesting...seeing the fretboard and the right/left coordination in a new way...
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peckerwood



Joined: 09 Dec 2008
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Location: vancouver, WA

PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice observations, but what are you doing to remedy your fear of upstroke-leading string patterns (3nps)? you might benefit from simply getting your right hand in fighting form...


when i warm up my right hand, i start out doing 16ths at 160 on my high E and work it up to 200 over a period of about 10 minutes or so, giving time to rest and whatever. then i start string skipping, starting in 8 notes/string, 6 nps, 4, 3, and two.

for actually targeting the difficult "upstroke-leading" thing you have an issue with, isolate! do a simple pattern like this:

-----------1--------
----1-2-4----------


and focus on the last note. make sure the downstroke (3rd note) carries down and PAST the higher string so you're ready to do that upstroke. obvious part aside, start working on that sequence in quick bursts, like a grace-note passage or something. the motion of the "down,up,down,up" should feel like a flutter and something that can easily be replicated over and over again.

good luck, and this post as in no means designed to say "go back to the drawing board" but i love the freedoms of a tuned-up right hand, and hopefully you will too.
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Jeffrey_Burr



Joined: 04 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jake, a teacher of mine had a similar train of thought, but the situation he was avoiding was a little narrower, he didn't like: downstroke followed by upstroke on a lower string. This was Warren Nunes. As you say, this kind of thing sets up some hoops for lefty. At the time I wasn't into disrupting the stuff I already had so I didn't go all the way with it. Not sure what I was afraid of, I guess I thought I would break something. He did get my right wrist up and into a nice way.

I do think an honest look is warranted. Is it less work to re-arrange your whole left hand bag, or break a few very specific moves down for righty? Lefty has the harder gig but cleaning righty up can make a difference all out of proportion with the investment. Recently I'm not practicing much but upstroke just by itself has been my focus recently. It's just plain harder to do.
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
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Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses guys

One clarification - I'm not at all intending on changing my entire vocabulary to fit this picking scheme. Basically, for me these are just some licks, mainly extra stuff to get me by at fast tempos. I guess in my post I spent a while explaining the concept but I didn't include what I personally am or am not using it for.

I am definitely working on having more conventional, well, rounded right handed technique as part of my practice routine, I always have.

Basically I think I've realized that the picking technique I use to get the most speed (mostly elbow motion) results in the least amount of accuracy and versatility, and the motion I use to get the most articulation, accuracy, and versatility (wrist motion and some fingers) has a very low speed cap.

So I have to work to either clean up the elbow stuff or speed up the wrist.

The elbow is mostly what's in play for these 2/4nps runs, while I mostly go from the wrist for everything else, sometime's it's a combo of the two.

I have the intention of taking some time this year to really work on technique, which is something I haven't done in years.

Finding some passages with 2nps or 4nps is a bit of a quick fix while I got the other stuff up, and just provides me with some extra licks I can play at very fast tempos. But honestly even if I get my alternate picking really solid, fast, and versatile, I'd be surprised if 1/3nps stuff will ever be as fast as the 2/4nps.

Another issue is that I've had to take long stretches of time off from guitar because of hand issues, so I think that may contribute to some imbalances. There were times when I was working on technique a lot and making some real progress but then had to put the guitar down for quite a while and have had to sort of start over again, in a sense.

Edit: Also, PP, thanks for the exercise suggestion. I've been toying with similar things lately. Thought it wasn't the topic of the post, any other suggestions are appreciated.
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chrisj



Joined: 03 Jan 2009
Posts: 22
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Changing the scale patterns you play and are are used to can lead to interesting phrasing. We all start off by learning the same basic five generic patterns, and there is nothing wrong with them, but by learning different patterns, you can come up with some unconventional ideas. I wrote an entire lesson on this subject that includes 2np3, 3np3, 4nps, open-string hybrid scale patterns, etc.. You can find it here:

http://chrisjuergensen.com/Breaking%20the%20Major%20Scale%20Paradigm.htm
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JakeJew



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peckerwood wrote:
nice observations, but what are you doing to remedy your fear of upstroke-leading string patterns (3nps)? you might benefit from simply getting your right hand in fighting form...


when i warm up my right hand, i start out doing 16ths at 160 on my high E and work it up to 200 over a period of about 10 minutes or so, giving time to rest and whatever. then i start string skipping, starting in 8 notes/string, 6 nps, 4, 3, and two.

for actually targeting the difficult "upstroke-leading" thing you have an issue with, isolate! do a simple pattern like this:

-----------1--------
----1-2-4----------


and focus on the last note. make sure the downstroke (3rd note) carries down and PAST the higher string so you're ready to do that upstroke. obvious part aside, start working on that sequence in quick bursts, like a grace-note passage or something. the motion of the "down,up,down,up" should feel like a flutter and something that can easily be replicated over and over again.

good luck, and this post as in no means designed to say "go back to the drawing board" but i love the freedoms of a tuned-up right hand, and hopefully you will too.


peckerwood, coming back to this I've found your exercise very helpful and eye opening, so thanks again. I've been messing with a LOT of technique stuff lately, as a temporary focus. It seems that very few people are getting down and dirty and talking real specific like you are here. I've been playing guitar for probably fourteen years and the old "practice scales, start slow and gradually build up speed" can only take you so far, right? I need more details with this stuff. Or simply to have more time in the day to practice.

After a downstroke, trying to get the pick to move to the next string and get ready for the upstroke is truly the challenge, and I've been experimenting with what motion I need to do to make this economical. Going to a lower string is much more movement than going to a higher string. I think I'm making some progress though, if could take this elbow/tremolo movement into a wider variety of picking scenarios, I could play anything!
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peckerwood



Joined: 09 Dec 2008
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Location: vancouver, WA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

awesome, i'm glad that helped! one good book i know that tackles alot of this stuff is called "speed mechanics for lead guitar" by troy stetina. it's obviously a shred-oriented book so depending on your personal tastes you may find it less useful than i did, but it's definitely one of those books that grow with you. i would like to find a book that just deals with right hand issues by itself, maybe something by paul gilbert. he's got an amazing right hand Shocked
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Jens



Joined: 20 Feb 2007
Posts: 416
Location: The Hague, The Netherlands

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea about RH movement when changing strings is indeed food for thought Smile Thanks!

I'm not sure if you find this interesting but here are a few Steve Morse etudes I have been using a lot:

http://www.stevemorse.info/tab/personal.jpg
[url]
http://www.stevemorse.info/tab/performance2.jpg[/url]

The last one is an exercise in open or drop 2 triads which Pat Metheny also uses in this warm up session (around 3.33):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcETmST9BoY

Jens
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jazzerchick



Joined: 31 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something I have wondered about--

You know how some people are very right -handed and some are more
even between the R and L hand- ambidexterous. I wonder if being very right handed allows some players to develop that really great R hand technique, with a great amount of practice, of course, but a slight
advantage?
I also know a left -handed player with outrageous L hand chops. Jackie King.
He plays L handed.

Any thoughts?
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Tung



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using 4 note-per-string really open up a lot of possibilities for me, your picking scheme is one of them. With 4 note, you can also easily play all picked or legato if you feel like it, with the advantage being you have more notes on one string so changing string is reduced. I had a lot of success with this on chromatic bebop scalar lines, but it does take more work with the left hand because of more stretching.
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Jens



Joined: 20 Feb 2007
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Location: The Hague, The Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jazzerchick wrote:
Something I have wondered about--

You know how some people are very right -handed and some are more
even between the R and L hand- ambidexterous. I wonder if being very right handed allows some players to develop that really great R hand technique, with a great amount of practice, of course, but a slight
advantage?
I also know a left -handed player with outrageous L hand chops. Jackie King.
He plays L handed.

Any thoughts?


I never thought about it like that. But I guess a lot of fast picking is also right/left coordination so maybe it's better to be a bit of both?
Tremolo picking, which would be good right hand and less demanding left hand, has very little use in jazz (until now anyway, who knows what might come Smile )

Jens
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jazzerchick



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a thought I had.

lgiro, I haven't done that yet either.
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PaulD



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is sort of along the same topic...I abandoned the pick for the last 2 months (since going to Martin Taylor's online guitar academy) and have been concentrating on fingerstyle exclusively. Yesterday when I used a pick for the first time in a long time, my accuracy was incredible (well...for me, at least). It's as if I knew the distances between the strings much better. Maybe I was just having a good day, but maybe playing with the fingers ingrained the string relationships in my right hand. Anyone else ever experience this?

Paul
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Tung



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulD wrote:
Maybe I was just having a good day, but maybe playing with the fingers ingrained the string relationships in my right hand. Anyone else ever experience this?

Paul

I do notice that my picking seems to be more relaxed after playing fingerstyle for awhile.
The direct sensation of playing with finger to string is more immediate, more direct than using a pick. Wes have said that this is why he prefers playing with his thumb, for that more intimate response with the strings and note production.
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