BurningAXE's downpicking/tremolo quest


Hey guys,

Since I don’t want to spam (any more :smiley: ) in the Downpicking thread I will post my videos in this dedicated one. You can see my previous posts and videos there.

So, as I promised I will keep you updated on my quest for fast downpicking and tremolo! After a about a week of experimenting with the wrist extension/deviation approach I decided to give it up in favour of the forearm rotation. It’s just not working for me - it feels inconvenient and I’m much slower with it. The only difference is that now I do forearm rotation without the extreme wrist bend. I find that it’s working this way too and it’s more ergonomic.
I made a video comparing both approaches. First is wrist downpicking/tremolo at slow speed and at faster (close to my limit) speed. Then I do the same with the forearm approach:

And here is the same video at slow speed:

Note: I know that the forearm is also moving in the wrist approach but it’s a “parasitic” motion. The main drive comes from the wrist. In the forearm approach I drive the motion with the forearm and you can see that the wrist and forearm are more or less moving together.

Fast Downstrokes for Thrash Rhythms

In general, I would be cautious about assuming that a blended movement, where you see several joints moving at once, is somehow more legitimately one of its ingredients than another.

Sure, if you you have a thing moving around aggressively at the end of your forearm, it might cause some kind of movement of the arm itself. But what you’re demonstrating here appears to go beyond that, because we can look at players who are more strictly wrist-oriented, like Steve morse, Albert Lee, and Andy Wood, and see much less forearm movement.

Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with this! If it feels natural / comfortable to use blended movements, I would resist the urge to force one movement or the other.


If I try to use only the wrist without moving the forearm it feels even more uncomfortable and I’m a lot slower so I didn’t head much in that direction. Anyway, I’m back in the forearm camp now :slight_smile:
(I guess you could say my forearm rotation is out of the closet :rofl: )

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We accept all types around here!


Quick update: when I started this thread I was able to do downpicking for 4 bars @ 200bmp using forearm rotation. For I month I have been able to do it consistently @ 212:

I can go higher but my metronome’s limited to 212 (First world guitarist problems: anyone knows of an online/Mac metronome that has accents, uses keyboard shortcuts to change the tempo and goes higher than 212!?) I can switch to doing 16th notes but as my target tempo is 220 (because of MOP :wink: ) which is not much higher I decided to focus on my next challenge - combining downpicking with chords. I tend to tense after hitting the chord which impairs the whole riff.

Anyway, looks like I’ve found A (as opposed to THE) motion that works for me.


Here’s a metronome that goes up to 440 BPM. Ignore the fact that the website’s for flutes though :smiley: .


Ok, long time - no update. One year has passed by (whoa…) and meanwhile I switched several times between doing downpicking/tremolo with:

  1. heavily flexed wrist and forearm rotation
  2. more straight wrist and flextension

In the previous posts I was in favour of the first approach mainly because I was a lot faster with it. However, it was hard to gain control with it and it also required switching between straight and flexed wrist when hitting chords for example which is slow and awkward. So I decided to really give the second approach a try. This is the approach most Fast & Famous :grin: metal players use - including CtC favourite Teemu. Currently I can do downpicking @ 200 for 48 bars (because of a riff in Blitzkrieg, if you wonder :wink: ) - I guess that means I have reached some milestones in terms of speed and endurance. It requires a lot of maintenance to keep that level but I hope this will decrease with time.

These days I’ve been wondering about something that I hope to get some feedback on. Besides the main flextension movement when I push myself to reach the higher speeds I start to use a little elbow movement. Generally I have no problem with that if it works. However, that movement is a little stronger and pushes the string to the frets which creates a little buzz when you listen acoustically. A video is worth a million words so here is how the motion looks from the Magnet:
Video 1

And here it is from above:
Video 2

I start off fast and then slow down a little to minimize the string push (and respectively buzz).

I have tried to do the motion only with flextension and no elbow that I’m very slow that way and not sure I can build the same speed. So, what do you think? Should that buzz concern me?

Thanks to anybody willing to go deep into my playing problems and provide some useful feedback!

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Hey, thanks for sharing an update! Could you try editing that post with different video links? These embeds don’t seem to be showing correctly. YouTube is usually easiest / best for this kind of thing.


I thought the problem is on my end. Is it OK now?


Yep links are working fine now, thanks! Just note that you’ll have to use something like YouTube if you want direct video embeds to show.

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