35 year “string hopper” in need of advice

Hey gang. Been playing for 35 yrs, and was always under the impression I simply could not alternate pick fast. I’m quite decent at playing fast using legato, pull offs, some economy picking, but have always been frustrated by the major whole in my game- fast, accurate picking. I’ve paid for/tried literally every type of “speed picking lesson” out there with little success. I was resigned to the fate the I was “different” and had some physical thing preventing progress. Troy’s methodologies and lessons quickly showed me my issue pretty quick- I’ve been string hopping the whole time and that’s been my issue. I went through the primer, and my most comfortable tremolo style is the “Aldrich forearm wrist blend with USX”. The problem is incorporating this into my playing. I can tremolo quickly, but slowing it down to make it functional feels like learning to walk all over again. I keep falling back to a 35 year bad habit of string hoping. Any advice as to how to “relearn” and slow down the tremolo and repurpose as an efficient alternate picking technique. Any recommendations on exercises? It’s really frustrating!!!

Thanks in advance,


Hey, just so I understand this properly, you can do the forearm and wrist tremolo but when you slow it down to play licks etc, you revert to string hopping?
Can you slow the motion down on one string? Is it going wrong on string changes?

What I found helpful when slowing it down was using the rest stroke. So with forearm and wrist usx you can use the rest stroke on downstrokes. So if on the b string, your downstrokes rest on the e string. Don’t need plow into it, it’s just a sort of guide as to what direction the pick needs to go and I wouldn’t always be hitting the adjacent string either, it’s just a sort of guide. If the pick is going a bit vertical on the downstrokes it could be string hopping.

It might be best if you post a video here or in the technique critique section. I’d suggest filming your tremolo and also the licks etc where you are slowing the motion down so we can see where the problem is

Thanks for the reply, I’ll post some clips. In the meantime, Troy and others mentioned it’s easier to slow down a proper tremolo technique and clean it up later. I’ve settled on the technique, am looking for ways to slow it down and transform it from tremolo to actual “lick playing”


Lessons learned by me:

1. playing something you already know with your left let’s your right hand do what it already knows also.

What I mean is: Do not try to apply your new right hand motion to licks youve been playing for years. I noticed a strong tendency to use motions you used when you first learned that specific lick. The motions you need to play a lick are not stored separately in different storages in your brain but as a whole. learn some new licks and make sure to use your “new technique”.

2. If you can’t slow it down, don’t

If you have a consistent tremolo technique going, try to play something easy with your left hand in sync until it clicks. If you have something, build up from there. The more different things you can play with your new technique, the more it bleeds into your other playing.

Still you might have to relearn your “old licks” with your new technqiue, but it will become
easier the more you do it.



Yeah it’s good to find a motion that works, which you have done with your tremolo, now it’s a case of being able to slow it down and sync the two hands.
Sometimes things go wrong when slowing it down and it can be hard to spot. So a vid of both the tremolo motion and your licks and slower things you are tying to apply it to so we can see what it causing the problem.

Great feedback, thanks gang. It’s so frustrating to have a left hand that is probably 3 times faster than my right. Slowing everything down is a painful process. I’ve wasted years trying to figure out ways to speed up my picking hand. Troy’s videos and lessons are the only thing out there that highlight “string hopping” specifically. Glad I found this site and forum


Hi @Mcgaffer12 , in this video I gave some notes about what I’ve used to get good picking hand and arm relaxation. It has been extremely useful for me as a starting point, even if it’s not the actual picking motion I’ve progressed to since then.

If you need to make changes, like I did, then having a good awareness of what’s happening might be very useful. Cheers and best wishes! z

If you practice the mechanics you will be able to make changes to your playing. It takes a while to break the old habits but keep practicing and one day you’ll notice it happening. Have faith.