Different Motions as Tempo Increases

Hi All,

When working down through tempos from my “top speed,” I found I went through a couple of different motions while picking 16th notes. Has anyone else found this about their playing? I am wondering what is the best approach as I work on hand sync at various tempos. Feedback greatly appreciated.
From 220 BPM to 138 BPM, I use wrist-forearm blend
Around 136 BPM/132 BPM to 124 BPM, I use strict elbow motion
From 122 BPM and slower, I can use any motion (wrist, forearm, elbow)

Should I try to make it all the same motion regardless of tempo, as in, learn to use wrist-forearm motion where I have to currently use elbow motion (124-136 BPM) or practice good hand sync and use current motions?

I’m not qualified to comment, but wouldn’t it make sense to use your fastest motion at every speed, unless there is a problem with it?

That’s a good point, surely using your fastest motion at lower speeds would result in a greater feeling of fluency when playing at those speeds?

Unless your wrist-forearm is actually pure forearm which you typically only see players use for long very fast single string lines :slight_smile:

It probably just comes down to personal preference, you tend to see wrist DBX players switch to either wrist or elbow DSX for their highest speeds. Also, my previous example of wrist-forearm USX players switching to pure forearm for fast single string stuff (Modern Yngwie) and I’ve also seen Cesario Filho use finger motion USX for most things he plays but using a blend of fingers and wrist-forearm for single string stuff (Classic Yngwie).

Maybe more of a best tool for the job kind of approach? :grin:

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Sure, that makes sense. I wonder if that gap from lack of coordination will disappear as I diligently practice hand sync or if motion should be an explicit focus. I don’t know

Ok, sounds like I shouldn’t get too caught up in what motion if it’s clean and in time

I’m not qualified but this seems like a case where you would drop the metronome speed one click at a time and see what happens at the border of your usual elbow range.

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Yes, I did this the other day to find these ranges. At the border, there an ability to use wrist-forearm but I lack coordination. It’s very twitchy but light and not strenuous. I guess I’ll work on shrinking this gap by working on my coordination at the motion borders.

This doesn’t necessarily answer the question of what’s “optimal”, but Eddie Van Halen got good results mixing a variety of techniques to suit different passages.

Just the other day, I was watching his solo spot from Donington 1984, and it was interesting to see him changing away from his thumb/middle pick grip in some places, and even occasionally having his index finger “fly away” from the usual resting position it has in his “default” thumb/middle grip. Also struck me the way you can see his forearm and upper arm tense up a bit in certain tremolo-picked passages (not to be confused with the famous “forearm rotation” tremolo picking he also does). Not that it was surprising to see per se, but that it flies in the face of the dogmatic insistence of parts of the guitar community to “avoid any tension at all costs”.

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Good point! If it works, it works. I know Troy has pointed out changes in famous players’ motions like Zakk Wylde (last IG post I saw he was using the flexed wrist motion), Paul Gilbert, Eddie, as you mentioned, and others I cannot recollect.