Beginner Tremolo - Forearm Rotation

Hey guys, working on my forearm rotation and wanted to post a vid of where I’m at. Last time I posted it turns out I wasn’t using rotation at all lol, so I want to see if I got it this time.

Any feedback at all is welcome! Advice, corrections/tweaks, things that worked for you that might work for me too, etc.

To me it feels pretty good, but not nearly as fluid and relaxed as my table-tapping motion. I’m doing my best to stay relaxed and keep the motions big and loose, but after watching the vid I certainly still look pretty stiff. From what I understand, the more forearm wiggle, the better. Or that is to say, a jiggly forearm is indicative of a relaxed one.

There are two “tricks” that have helped me get this motion even going at all in the first place: The first is to anchor the side of my hand, and almost “slap” the guitar with my palm. Almost like swinging a door on it’s hinges (I find this method is especially helpful when palm muting when wrist flexion also comes into play). The second, was to center the pick over the inside knuckle of my thumb, and use this spot as a point of focus to push through the strings on a swivel, as if I am swinging it around the axis of the ulna like you would swing a sling over your head.

If you have any tips like those to help me loosen up, add speed, or just improve my technique in general, I’d love to hear them!

The lighting and angle makes it challenging to tell for sure, but I think I see your ‘wiggle zone’ activating like we’d expect with the rotational mechanic.

Maybe another thing you could try is more of an EVH setup where you hold the pick between the thumb and middle finger? I hope I’m not conflating things but I am pretty sure I’ve read/heard the following on here regarding forearm stuff:

  • It’s often got some wrist blended with the mechanic
  • The EVH approach is more ‘purely’ rotational

If that’s true, my thinking is that even if you don’t end up using it, the EVH version could help you get familiar with the joint movement in general since it’s isolating it more. Sort of like if a player had an elbow mechanic with some wrist in it and they wanted to get more of a pure wrist movement…a thing they could try is doing JUST an elbow movement so they can identify exactly what that feels like. Plenty of people on here, you and myself included, often can’t feel what’s happening and what we think we’re doing isn’t what we’re really doing. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I think the blended nature involved with many of these movements is part of the challenge. Some of them have strict implications in terms of what escape they allow, and if we can’t quite feel them it could sabotage what we’re going for.

And as I finish typing this I realize this could all fall into the category of overthinking it lol! Bottom line, does your motion feel easy? Can you play phrases using it that gel with the escape you’re going for (I assume USX)? One way to test with USX is to try playing some melodies with a tremolo, or even something that’s just double picked. It keeps the left hand more simple but also makes sure that the motion your using doesn’t change when you involve the fretting hand. Because that can happen too!

I can definitely see rotation in there but as @joebegly mentions, honestly I don’t think one mechanic in isolation is superior in any real way, and that it really is a composite of motions with one being maybe more dominant, or easily visible. What’s important is that, 1) can you play most of what you want to play using whatever motions you are using? 2) is comfortable for you to do?

If yes to both, I wouldn’t really be too concerned with it unless you are really trying to play something that really requires that movement.

It feels easy, but when i try to get it to the speeds I want (210+ bpm) is when it feels hard. When i do the motion in the air, I can get it going at 230+ bpm and still be completely relaxed, but that doesn’t translate to the guitar yet. Which leads me to believe either more muscles are engaged than just the forearm ones, or the muscles I’m using on the guitar are different ones than in the air

It’s certainly comfortable and allows me to play most of what I want to. The issue is at those high end speeds, 220 bpm 16ths or so, it doesn’t feel nearly as relaxed as when i do the table tapping motion and I can’t hold it for more than half a bar to a bar