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Title: Right and Left Hand Technique - IV
Level: Beginner
Style: Techniq
Instructor: Tim Fullerton


PART IV -- Right hand  position 

    This series is the approach that I use to teach pick-style 
technique to all of my students. For best results, take these 
articles to an educated and experienced teacher who is stylistically 
broad based and who knows this approach, so that (s)he may coach you.

                        **Disclaimer**
                        
    This approach is to attain the maximum possible cleanliness and 
articulateness in ones tone. Also, it will give, ultimately, the 
greatest speed with the least health risk. I am careful never to say 
that it is the CORRECT way to play. There is no such thing, and many 
people do great things with really sloppy technique. Wherever 
possible, though, I will indicate the exact benefits of each 
technique.

    If you are left handed, please excuse my right-handed bias, and 
reverse all of the relevant direction and hand indications.


F) Overall position

    If you have set up the guitar position as in lesson I, your right 
forearm should be making an angle of about 160 degrees with the strings.
That is as it should be. Furthermore, one could even position one's 
forearm so that it is parallel to those strings, extending from them. 
The thing to avoid is having the guitar low, with your right forearm 
perpendicular to the strings. 


    This enables one to the pick set up as follows.

G) The Pick

    Only a very small portion of the pick should extend -- a millimeter 
or less. The flat of the pick should be parallel to the strings, and the 
pick itself should be perpendicular to the guitar. 

    One common mistake...people usually try to adjust this by angling 
differently at their wrist. That is unnecessary. The wrist should stay
straight. All pick adjustments can be made by placing it at a different 
point on the fingertip.

BENEFITS:

    This reduces pick noise. Many people are inclined to have the pick 
angled because it produces less friction, and seems faster. The 
problem, though, is that any angle increases the noise produced as 
the pick scrapes across the string. If one does play fast with this 
angle, the scraping noise buries the actual tones.

EXCEPTIONS:

    Sometimes the noise sounds cool. For example, the beginning of 
_Hoardes of Locusts_ by Satriani, or an accented blues articulation...

H) Alternate Picking

    Alternate picking is the alternation of downstrokes with upstrokes.
Use it! 

    Do that exercise presented in previous lessons like this: 
    
    d = Downstroke, u = upstroke
    
    Ascending:
    
   d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u  
E|-----------------------------------------1-2-3-4--|
B|---------------------------------1-2-3-4----------|
G|-------------------------1-2-3-4------------------|
D|-----------------1-2-3-4--------------------------|
A|---------1-2-3-4----------------------------------|
E|-1-2-3-4------------------------------------------|...etc

    Descending:
    
   d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u
E|-5-4-3-2-----------------------------------------|
B|---------5-4-3-2---------------------------------|
G|-----------------5-4-3-2-------------------------|
D|-------------------------5-4-3-2-----------------|
A|---------------------------------5-4-3-2---------|
E|-----------------------------------------5-4-3-2-|

    Be very careful descending.  People who are uncomfortable with 
alternate picking generally reverse their picking pattern to:

   d u d u u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u etc...
E|-5-4-3-2-----------------------------------------|
B|---------5-4-3-2---------------------------------|
G|-----------------5-4-3-2-------------------------|
D|-------------------------5-4-3-2-----------------|
A|---------------------------------5-4-3-2---------|
E|-----------------------------------------5-4-3-2-|

because an upstroke to a lower string requires traveling less distance.
Avoid this! 


BENEFITS:

    The most obvious -- one has the potential for playing twice as fast 
with alternate picking than one does with just downstrokes. 

    The reason to be rigorous about the pattern is to produce a 
more musical pattern of accents. A downstroke naturally produces a 
little heavier accent than an upstroke. You CAN modify this 
deliberately, so that your upstrokes are heavier, but this is not what 
will come out naturally. 

    Now, there is a pretty predictable pattern of accents in the 
rhythms of just about everything you will play. Take something in 
4/4 time. The BEATS 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 in any measure will take the accents
HARD - SOFT - MEDIUM - SOFT respectively. That would be efficiently 
executed with Down - up - down - up. 

    Imagine subdividing that measure into eighth notes.... 

             1      &       2       &       3       &       4       & 
is accented HARD  SOFT   MEDIUM   SOFT    HARD    SOFT   MEDIUM   SOFT
and picked  down    up    down     up     down     up     down     up

sixteenth notes?...

 1      a       &       a       2       a       &       a
HARD  SOFT   MEDIUM   SOFT    HARD    SOFT   MEDIUM   SOFT
down    up    down     up     down     up     down     up

triplets?

 1      &     a    2    &    a
HARD   SOFT  SOFT MED  SOFT SOFT
down    up   down  up  down  up     or...
down    up   down down  up  down 



EXCEPTIONS:

    Since downstrokes and upstrokes sound different, sometimes one 
will want that sound. Fifties Rock, for example, is most 
convincingly executed with downstrokes only.

    In some Rock and Fusion styles, "economy" or "sweep" picking is 
appropriate. This is where one always downstrokes to a higher string, 
or upstrokes to a lower string. It is easier to develop speed this
way. Unfortunately, the accents flatten out, and the passage just 
sounds fast and picked. Time permitting, I will go into sweep picking
in greater detail in other lessons.


Class Assignment:  

    Do the pseudo-chromatic exercise from Lesson II with the following 
criteria:

A) Guitar Position (see part I)

B)1. Left Hand Thumb Position and range of motion (midline [G 
     string] to edge... see lesson II)
     
  2. Left Hand Thumb Pressure (NONE! PERIOD! again, see lesson II)
     
        
C) Left hand wrist. (straight as a ruler, palm away from the neck...
                     again, lesson II)

D) Left hand wrist. (parallel to the underside of the neck... lesson III)

E) Finger placement. (close to the neck... lesson III)

F) Overall position of right forearm.

G) The pick, angled for the least noise

H) Alternate Pick

RELAX RELAX RELAX 

 more to come...
    
copyright 1993 by Tim Fullerton.  Used by permission.
==============================================================================
FUTURE LESSONS
--------------
No  Name                           Style               Level         Instructor
 16 Major Triad - Part 2           Theory                I    Roger Brotherhood
 17 Good Right and Left Hand Techn Technique             I        Tim Fullerton
 18 The Modes part II              Theory                I           David Good
 19 Good Right and Left hand Techn Technique             I        Tim Fullerton
==============================================================================

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