Can a tremolo technique get faster with time?

Hey, so I’ve been trying to see how fast I can get my wrist DSX tremolo to go and I’ve gotten around 200-205 bpm 16ths which is mind you really good and I’m happy about that, but it got me curious since I’ve always heard that a proper technique goes fast from the get-go which makes sense. I was wondering if a tremolo technique gets faster with time or if a player needs to look for another technique to reach “hyper speeds” of say 220+ 16ths. I know for a fact that my down picking has not started at the 195 that I can currently play at so I was wondering if that would be the same case for a tremolo technique. What are your personal experiences?

This is bit of a loaded question because it assumes you’re doing it perfectly correctly. But as we have often seen in Technique Critique, most people are not doing their chosen technique totally correctly. They fire up muscles that are not involved, move joints that aren’t involved, use a range of motion that is not ideal, and so on.

“Another technique” is also a loaded term. Define “another”. Some wrist motions are slower than others, so simply choosing to move the wrist along a different axis can sometimes produce much higher speeds, even though the technique doesn’t feel like learning a completely different motion. And this can often be done just by modifying the pick grip and allowing the arm to rest wherever it rests.

This is why we created the table tap tests, to help weed out confounding variables and get a sense of what the actual joint motion potential looks like. Have you taken those? Because those will give you a much better idea of whether you’re actually moving at or near your potential, or whether you are still far away.



Seems like I’m not that far from my current limit as a player. Its hard to tell honestly since the speeds of 210-220 bpm are basically indistinguishable from one another. I slow-mo recorded myself trying to hit those 220 bpm speeds using my Di Meola-stype wrist motion and I can hit 220 on a few notes but its not comfortable and basically unsustainable. I also noticed that my elbow starts activating at those speeds. I guess the next step would be to start a technique critique?

Those are solid numbers, so there’s nothing wrong with your joints and your results are broadly within a range we would consider “normal”. But they’re also just a general approximation. There are motions I can do where I’m actually faster than the tapping tests, probably due to specific differences in form while holding a guitar that allow certain efficient types of motion to work best.

These tests are most applicable for players who are stuck at abnormally low numbers and have grown up thinking they’re “not fast players” or variations on this very common theme. Unless someone is injured, big discrepancies like this are usually due to technique.

If you haven’t yet watched the latest wrist motion update, the “tapping speed” lesson unites the table tapping tests with our latest knowledge of efficient wrist motion, and includes a demonstration of some of these “faster than table tapping” speeds that I was able to unlock.

In short, the “Di Meola” motion is a good wrist motion from an efficiency perspective but possibly not the best one that’s available. I’d check out that lesson, and then make a TC after you’ve had a chance to experiment with the form we discuss.

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