Practice Log for Saturday, 16 Jun 2018

I try out some alternate picking June 16, 2018 music
Topic Start Time End Time Notes
warm-up 00:06 00:14 MAB
scales 00:15 02:54 picking

More scales…

Okay, so on Monday morning, I’m leaving for the airport to go back to China, so I started practicing late to try and get used to the time change early. I don’t think it’s working, but maybe I don’t have the right sleeping environment for it. I figured I’d give it a try though. WebMD recommended it, after all!

I tried the usual MAB warm-up, and I was disappointed to find my picking seemed above par today. So, I devoted most of my time to picking. I watched Troy Grady’s 30-minute YouTube video about two-way pick slanting, which MAB is apparently good at, and I am clearly missing something about it.

My preferred pattern for picking everything has pretty much always been economy picking: basically, any time you need to cross a string (up or down), just sweep through it. This works in theory, but I’m not sure it’s actually the most efficient for the sorts of things I tend to play. MAB doesn’t use this technique: he uses strict alternate picking.

I never really practiced alternate picking because I thought it felt sort of awkward, but I think it might be the best way to develop speed on the instrument. So today, I gave it a go.

Picking motion

I can’t quite be sure how Mr Batio actually picks. It’s clear he’s an efficient and effective alternate picker, but seeing how he achieves that is made difficult by his speed.

Looking near the end of the above video, I can see… just about nothing. He is either flexing his wrist or using his forearm efficiently for his picking motion. Hopefully, it’s that simple, that he would use one motion for one action, rather than a combination of several motions.

Based on what I practiced today, using wrist flexion is less prone to fatigue, but it’s also a less familiar motion because I’ve always used my forearm for picking. I’ve always been a little concerned that using other motions could cause damage to my wrists, too, so I need to do more research on this to make sure that I’m not hurting myself.

It’s been a long day, but there’s always tomorrow for practice. I’ll have to look into this picking technique. I’ve always kind of wanted to be able to shred, but I’ve only ever really practiced my legato playing. It might take some time, but I feel I should be able to get up to speed in a few weeks’ time.

Randy Josleyn teacher-linguist-guitarist wannabe