Series Introduction And Picking Primer (Guitar Lesson)

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Allen Van Wert

Series Introduction And Picking Primer

Allen kicks off his technique series with a primer lesson on right hand picking.

Taught by Allen Van Wert in Speed And Technique seriesLength: 30:52Difficulty: 1.5 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions

Member Comments about this Lesson

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michael.nationjrmichael.nationjr replied on January 28th, 2017

Love the idea. I done it for 2 hours. Left hand by it self as well then combined them both together after I was done. To see if I could tell of some improvement in piece of music from joe stump and I am really happy with it. Thank you. I make sure to practice this everyday for hour.

rogerfunkrogerfunk replied on May 21st, 2016

hey Allen when your holding the pick how far does your point stick out I have mine just out a little bit and I don't know if I'm just scraping the string or picking it .When I slow down I don't seem to have as much control over the picking.The pick seems to get caught on the string the slower go. do you have any advice

grburgessgrburgess replied on May 9th, 2015

second time for me to watch this important video.

atmprodigyatmprodigy replied on March 20th, 2015

Suggestion: Instead of practicing so close to the bridge for less string movement, just place a finger on the 12th fret. Then move up to the 11th, 10th etc. until you are acclimated to picking with less string tension. I had the same problem with the bridge obstructing my technique.

ericskomarericskomar replied on November 9th, 2014

Very informative lesson for me, a decades-long player and instructor. Question: I'm a lefty but when I first started at age 10 my teacher insisted I learn to play righty because will be more convenient and beneficial in the long run. Over the years one of my biggest obstacles was picking speed and recently realized it might be because my right hand/arm is not dominant. Do you know any lefties that also hit this speed wall? Or am I imagining the whole thing and simply need to practice speed picking more?

sham609sham609 replied on August 3rd, 2014

Very insightful lesson Allen! My question is regarding the effect of string gauge on picking technique. I recently went from heavier gauge to lighter gauge strings on my Les Paul, and noticed that my pick attack is more precise on the heavier gauge strings. I assume this is related to the amplitude of oscillation being less on heavier gauge strings. Any thoughts?

dpepe79dpepe79 replied on June 13th, 2014

This was one of the most interesting technique and tip videos I have seen on the site. Never really analyzed how far I was moving past the string with my pick. Also notice you keep your fingers tucked in.l Great video

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on June 25th, 2014

Thank you!

vaporlockvaporlock replied on May 12th, 2014

how come your series says mainly taught on acoustic and all it has is electric?

tjtroopertjtrooper replied on January 19th, 2014

Thank you so much for this series. I'm still pretty new to playing, and I can't believe how fast these exercises help you improve.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on June 25th, 2014

HAHA. Awesome! I am glad it helps

anandavaughananandavaughan replied on October 6th, 2013

Heya - As a long time guitarist, and jazz guy - educator as well - I'm glad to see your very practical cross - genre speed techniques. Speed has not been my main focus, and I'm ready to step it up there. This is like doing some good reps at the gym, and I appreciate your clear approach. Did you mention to students that you're tuned down 1/2 step? I might have missed that mention, but would be helpful for folks with less experienced ears.

franco6969franco6969 replied on January 7th, 2014

Scene 3; The devil is in details....

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on November 22nd, 2013

If I was detuned here I am sorry for not mentioning it. I usually go out to get filmed doing song stuff and the guitars get tuned to the song and I forget when giving technique lesson stuff after.

buzzeddbuzzedd replied on September 22nd, 2013

Hey Allen, I took the exact same pick "journey". Std medium picks to stubby"s and got a stylus for practice and now the V picks. I hate to jump on the bandwagon as everyone else but the V picks are the most comfortable, smooth and most important is they stick in your fingers. I use the dimension jr. Indeed, the stylus will "fish hook" and stop you dead if you dig to deep. It's a great tool.

crucifixcrucifix replied on February 17th, 2013

Hi, Allen, thanks for posting these videos man, you did great. But can all of these lessons be done also on Acoustic guitar? Or does it just go for electric?

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on November 22nd, 2013


smeliassmelias replied on August 29th, 2012

Hi Allen, What type of settings are you using for tone on the guitar? Are you using any effects? Thanks

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on September 3rd, 2012

no FX.. whatever amp they had there direct I think it was a mesa of some sort. Sounds like in the intro they added some delay or reverb to the signal.

smeliassmelias replied on August 28th, 2012

Hi Allan, Thanks for the lesson and details on picking. I noticed your using a floating bridge on your guitar. Is your bridge "locked" normally when your playing the lessons? I'm having a problem with my hand / wrist hitting my floating bridge on my jackson which distorts the notes slightly when playing.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on September 3rd, 2012

Not locked. I just try to be careful to not hit it.

paj777paj777 replied on August 28th, 2012

Thanks Allen! This increased my speed and control greatly within minutes of performing these practices.

nedlnedl replied on July 7th, 2012

I am glad that there is something like this series. Thanks.

wannabeguitaristwannabeguitarist replied on June 4th, 2012

where can we get those pics? does he have a website?

verciapoanceverciapoance replied on April 26th, 2012

ALLEN! That is very true that you should practice the fast motion rather than just slow stuff down! You should say that more often cause it's really vital for the mind. Just slowing a piece down and going slow is the cause of speed walls, it's been established by an engineer that studied piano technique because the difference of the motion is so big. It's understandable but it isn't the intuitive way of learning to do the exact same motion, since as you say, the body usually adapts the motion to the most natural motion(which is different when playing something slow than when playing something quickly). There's a lengthy "proof" in the free book (online) Fundamentals of Piano Practice.(This is not an advert tho, the book is free and constantly updated cause he loves the subject.)

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on April 30th, 2012


verciapoanceverciapoance replied on April 26th, 2012

BUT DOESN'T IT MAKE THE TONE DIFFERENT? Wont there be a muting sound that will be learned like "a bad habit" that disrupts the tone. Sure efficient motion is important, but I feel uncomfortable about this bad habit that might mute my string a few milliseconds because I have learned the feeling of muting the string right after I play it.(With the pick ofcourse.)

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on April 30th, 2012

It shouldn't be a problem because you can open up the picking a little if it causes an issue later on.

nickonicko replied on February 9th, 2012

Please tell me, ( i did not really get from video ) will this exercise improve my strumming speed too, or just picking single string speed?

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on April 30th, 2012

It should help strumming speed some too.

dtmartindtmartin replied on January 15th, 2012

Thanks a lot for this lesson. I have been playing the guitar for a long time, mostly self taught. I have always had problems with picking consistently when the licks are fast. I always used my wrist to pick. It may sound funny, but it never occurred to me to use my whole arm. Since I have been practicing these exercises, I am much more consistent and am getting faster.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on April 30th, 2012

awesome!!! Keep at it

glen.buxtonglen.buxton replied on January 15th, 2012

that was definietly over 20 notes a sec

thesnowdogthesnowdog replied on December 20th, 2011

I was just fooling around in front of the TV and was mightily impressed with my tremolo picking. I love it when I 'magically' improve. ;-)

janthemanjantheman replied on November 4th, 2011

so what do we do if we play with our thumb?

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on November 22nd, 2013

same thing

goobstergoobster replied on September 30th, 2011

Love the way you analyze technique to get the best bang for the buck. I am sure it will enable me to reach my goals faster.

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied on September 16th, 2011

Yeah Stylus pick! I used those when I was 13 and it made a big difference. I've bought more over the past few years and recommended them to students, they're great.

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied on September 16th, 2011

also this lesson is amazing.

prs-ronprs-ron replied on September 16th, 2011

wow i can feel it in my thumb and wrist. good job

shredersonsshredersons replied on September 14th, 2011

Love this guy...great refresher lesson on picking technique. Everyone can get something from this. I know this is a series and I really hope he touches on economy picking because there is NO good info and technique info. on the method. I know Allen is a fan of the economy picking and he would be a great instructor on the topic and will be able to provide excellent practice licks. The people on Jamplay can really benefit from the efficiency of the picking style. please do us all a favor and do a lesson on economy picking.

AaronMillerAaronMiller replied on September 14th, 2011

There is already a lesson ready where he covers the absolute basics of economy. I know he talked about getting more in depth with it further down the line.

shredersonsshredersons replied on September 14th, 2011

Is it posted yet? Or is it in the works?

AaronMillerAaronMiller replied on September 14th, 2011

It has been taped already but not live at this time.

stratmusicstratmusic replied on September 14th, 2011

Fantastic!! This series is going to be excellent!

tangohuntertangohunter replied on September 14th, 2011

I am actually aroused.

jj90jj90 replied on September 14th, 2011

If there is someone on Jamplay that can help me achieve the goals I want it is you Allen! Your song lessons were exactly I needed to give myself a massive challegenge and although I still can't play it, it helped me alot getting better! Really liked the way you introduced this topic, because as you say speed isn't a substitute for music, but it sure is useful! Really in depth study that already opened some new doors for me already! Thanks a lot man!

melodiusthunkmelodiusthunk replied on September 14th, 2011

Allan, you D` man! Physics is music!

fredz483fredz483 replied on September 14th, 2011

This is awesome.... ... awesome

kettukettu replied on September 14th, 2011

This is exactly what I've been looking for. I've been trying to play Turkish March as Allen showed it in the other lesson but my picking and hand synchronization are not up to the task yet when I try speed it up. I hope this series will improve both.

joel13joel13 replied on September 13th, 2011

will we be doing left hand excersices as well?

AaronMillerAaronMiller replied on September 14th, 2011

Yes there are some massive left hand workouts coming up.

peinutzpeinutz replied on September 13th, 2011

awsome :)

thesnowdogthesnowdog replied on September 13th, 2011

Great stuff Allen! I'm looking forward to the rest of this series. looks interesting too -- I'd never heard of it.

Speed And Technique

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Allen "Robot" Van Wert teaches his approach to developing technique necessary for fast playing.

Lesson 1

Series Introduction And Picking Primer

Allen kicks off his technique series with a primer lesson on right hand picking.

Length: 30:52 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Rudimentary Drills

Allen shows you the 24 rudiments crucial to developing finger dexterity.

Length: 7:22 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Lesson 3

Left Hand Endurance Building

Allen shows an amazing muscle building exercise that really works out the left hand!

Length: 9:32 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Fundamental Picking Exercise

This lesson covers an exercise that works on all the major picking techniques.

Length: 11:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Synchronize And Stretch

Allen shows you a great exercise set that helps with synchronizing your hands as well as stretching your left hand.

Length: 8:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

The System

Allen Van Wert explains his system of programming, reinforcing, and forgetting primary functions of guitar playing. This system is a long term practice routine that will take some time to fully implement...

Length: 50:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Interval Exercises

This is the next step after you have learned Allen's "system". If you follow Allen's teachings you are sure to have a deep understanding of intervals and scales.

Length: 21:29 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Triad Arpeggio Exercises

First, Allen gives a pop quiz for you to check your own ability to visualize the fretboard. Then he gives exercises for programming your triad arpeggios.

Length: 21:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Seventh Arpeggio Exercises

Allen Van Wert shows you how to apply his systematic practice approach to 7th arpeggios. If you are just discovering this series make sure to start at the beginning or some things may not make sense.

Length: 8:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Fretboard Advancement

Allen briefly explains how he refers to modes in the context of this lesson and then shows you how to grow your knowledge of the fretboard.

Length: 15:35 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Rut Busting Exercises

Get out of that rut with these exercises from Allen Van Wert!

Length: 10:44 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Basic Tapping

Allen returns to his speed and technique lesson series with a look at the basics of tapping. This lesson will act as a primer for more advanced tapping concepts and eventual speed increases as well!

Length: 30:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Using Tapping to Extend Your Range

Allen is back with the next installment in his look at tapping. In this lesson Allen discusses and demonstrates how you can use tapping to easily extend your range while playing.

Length: 11:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Single String Tapping

Allen is back with more tapping goodness! This time around, he discusses single string tapping.

Length: 10:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Multi-String Tapping

By this time you should have a pretty strong grasp of tapping basics and be proficient at tapping on one string. In lesson 15 of his Speed and Technique series, Allen starts working you up to tapping...

Length: 14:46 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Tapped Octave Minor Pentatonic

In this lesson Allen demonstrates an octave displaced, tapped, minor pentatonic scale. This can be useful for solo work and getting around chord changes!

Length: 10:28 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Emulating Keyboards

Allen is back with a comprehensive look what what many people call "Touch Tapping." Allen likes to describe this as emulating a keyboard on the guitar.

Length: 32:41 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Combining Tapping Techniques

Now that you should have most of the tapping techniques under your fingers, it's time to put them all together. In this lesson Allen provides you with a piece of music that encompasses all of the techniques...

Length: 11:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

String Skipping Exercises

To wrap up his current film session and look at the speed and technique series, Allen provides a lesson based around exercises to build your string skipping technique.

Length: 29:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Allen Van Wert View Full Biography Allen Van Wert got the nickname "ROBOT" from his unusual guitar tapping techniques that often sound like a video game more than a guitar. He has studied and played a wide variety of genres. His experimental and eclectic amalgamation of music combining shred guitar, crazy tapping techniques, and electronically infused composition contrasted by a highly emotional soft melodic side, make his debut album a really fun and interesting listen for just about anyone.

Allen has recorded guitar for the famed video game soundtrack composer Jesper Kyd (Composer of Hitman, Splinter Cell and many other big title games) as well as composing and recording for movie trailers and TV commercials. He has also been producing, recording and co-writing for local artists in his small home/project studio.

His three books on guitar technique, ear training and songwriting have helped many students over the past couple of years. Allen has also played in various cover bands in many genres since the age of 16 and has played to over 5000 on a few occasions. He was a featured guest musician on the album "West Coast Shred Fest".

In his spare time, Allen programs video games for fun. Wooo!

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