Cannot rotate in alternate picking

Hey guys (hopefully I attached video below correctly)

I’m 12 years into playing guitar but have definitely reached a plateau due to being especially reliant on forearm/elbow and not having much wrist/rotation mechanics at my disposal. I am trying to get my wrist rotation speed past the 120/130 level but it disappears automatically once I pass that speed. I recently watched Troy’s video about practicing a technique at 150+ bpm so that you know if it’s sustainable, so here’s a brief summary of what the transition looks like when I bring it up to the high speeds. The downward slant is maintained at slow speeds but becomes quite flat once I speed up.

Does it look good to everybody slow?

Anything I might be missing here?

Let me know if the video is sufficient and if there’s any feedback and more things I can try. Thanks everybody!

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Definitely, testing away from the guitar is a great starting point for knowing your physical limits. However…

I wouldn’t recommend trying to do a deviation (side to side) motion on a table. It’s tricky to do this in a way that is comfortable. And if you get it wrong, it’s easy to think that wrist motion is uncomfortable or that you’re not good at it.

Instead, I recommend starting with wrist motions that utilize a turned arm, which creates a wrist motion that is more similar to everyday motions that most of us are already good at. I think the EVH-style motion test, which uses a pen scribbling form, is the easiest wrist motion test to perform, so this is the one we start with in the Primer:

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Hi, and thanks for posting!

When you’re working on picking motions, you shouldn’t be concerned with the “slant” of the pick because you’ll get confused about what type of motion you are trying to create. Your clip is a great example of this. At the beginning you’re using a forearm-wrist technique, like Doug Aldrich. At the end when you speed up, you are using an elbow technique, more similar to Rusty Cooley or Vinnie Moore. The “slant” is not what is changing — it’s the joint motion itself.

Both types of joint motion are effective, and are used by great players. One is not better than the other. So we usually recommend choosing whichever one is the fastest and smoothest, because that gets you closer to your goal in the least amount of time. In your case, the elbow motion is the one you switch to when you go faster. From what I can see, it looks pretty good, unless you tell me it feels like you have a lower speed limit than you would like, or has tension.

Keep in mind also that Elbow motion usually creates what we call “DSX motion”, which is a type of picking motion where downstrokes go up in the air:

If your motion is DSX, this means you have to play phrases where the last pickstroke on every string is a downstroke. This is the opposite of the phrase you are playing in your clip. The motion you are using at the beginning of the clip, the Aldrich style motion, is USX. So your phrase is correct for that. But it may not be correct when you speed up, because again, you are chaning the motion to a joint that usually creates DSX motion.

Again, this not bad or good. It’s just the way elbow technique works. There is one variation of elbow technique which is still USX, and it is silmilar to what Zakk Wylde sometimes uses. However it is less common. In order to determine which version you are using, you would have to point the camera down the strings and film in slow motion. Here are some instructions for doing that if you want to get a better look:

Looks good so far and thanks for stopping by!

Thanks so much for the fast reply Troy!

That is all great info, I will keep all of that in mind. I’ve been told by just about every teacher I’ve had in the last few years that I have a lot of tension and they recommend I change my pick grip to the Pad to Side, instead of the Pad to Pad that I used for my entire guitar career. I attach in the second video what my pad to pad looks like, as well as the alternate angle you asked for for the pad to side grip.

It’s funny you see a DSX motion because I have always been used to leading with upstrokes, until the past year I’ve worked a lot on downstrokes, but I would say I’m still somewhat more up-dominant and as more effective at the pad to pad grip. My goal is of course to eliminate tension and continue to progress in speed/accuracy, etc. but everybody recognizes you as the authority on the subject, I should have come here sooner! Let me know what you think looks good and bad and I’ll continue to adjust accordingly.

PS would love to get the Magnet / primer bundle from the kickstarter, I really think a magnet would help my technique a lot but I wasn’t able to click on the option, did I miss the boat on that?