Downpicking at 300 BPM+

Hey guys,

Broke my high E string so I’ve switched to downpicking until I break my low E lol. Here is some footage of my practice sessions from yesterday (Day 1). Also I have managed to capture a cool moment where this Shawn Lane/Michael Romeo tapping lick I was practicing jumped up in speed on the third repetition. It’s interesting to see moments where things click on video.

As far as technique goes, I believe the motion comes from the wrist… The movements looks very, very small. I’m shooting for 4 groups of 16th notes at 300-340 BPM. One day…

240 BPM Warmup

300 BPM - Take 1 with Bonus Tremolo

300 BPM - Take 2 (Best Take)

Up Close at 300 BPM

Shawn Lane/Michael Romeo Tapping Lick


Day #2 - Narration of Practice

Just recorded this. I’ve seen a slight improvement with a surprise at the end. Couldn’t believe it worked.


Do you mean 8th notes, not 16ths? I can’t imagine downstrokes only is possible at that speed!!!

Yeah, good catch, I meant 8ths. I find the double time helps with the mental processing of the chunks.

This is an interesting mechanic. It doesn’t really look like a downstroke, it’s more like a tapped hammer stroke with the right hand, like the way piano hammers hit the string. I can see why this can be repeated so quickly: the pick doesn’t seem to actually move through the string, so you eliminate the “reset” movement to prep for the next downstroke.

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Yeah, the movement is so slight and from that I see what you mean. I’m surprised how despite the tiny nature of the mechanic it’s still able to produce a loud attack/note even at high speeds. I’m not really sure what’s going on here tbh, besides the wrist movement.

Very interesting motion. I’d be afraid doing this on my chrome boy, correct me if I’m wrong but it looks like there’s a lot of contact between the pick and the guitar, like it’s slapping the body of the guitar in some way.

Also, the tremolo picking motion looks very different, and when you slow it down, it has more like a 6s feel on 150 bpm rather than 8s. (which is still much faster than anything I can do with tremolo picking).

Have you made any progress and achieved your goal with the groups?

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I actually haven’t practiced at this tempo since I posted the video. I was originally going to make seven days of video practice logs but the lack of interest prompted me to ditch it.

I can’t really remember but I don’t think there is any contact between the pick and the guitar body. The motion is so flat because you basically have to cross the string with a wrist motion and then also use the wrist to perform a controlled circular movement over the string to reset the pick. It’s like a controlled string hop in a way, except it’s desirable in order to perform the technique correctly. The technical basis of downpicking is still alternate picking and I look at it is a subcategory of alternate picking.

The tremolo picking is definitely sixes. I’m absolutely not even anywhere near 300 BPM 16th notes here. I think this is around 225 or so for 16th note equivalents.

I think doing a live-streamed practice session of this might be interesting. I really like @Pepepicks66 idea for this stuff. I think the only downside is there are probably very few people on here who would be willing to do that.


If I was you, I’d do it for my own benefit, entertaining others is a bonus. I’d definitely watch your streams and I’d be happy if I had only 1-2 viewers on my stream.

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Thanks man. Where are you located by the way? I’m in Manhattan. The time zone thing is also an issue, since I think we have plenty of Europeans here. I also am wondering about the potential audio quality issues.

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I’m located in Budapest, Hungary. I’m not really worried about time zones anymore, since covid kicked in, days and nights are not really distinguishable for me (sad but true).

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Lmao. Honestly dude since this whole fucking thing started I have no concept of what day it is during the week. Every day is a Sunday.


I feel the same way… Every day is a Sunday. And I’ve never liked Sundays, I always had the feeling that it’s almost Monday… :neutral_face:


Dude! That’s some crazy downpicking right there!
As @LuckyMojo said, you’ve got an interesting downpicking mechanic - it’s practically pure wrist extension. I’ve tried to mimic it and got good results at around 200 BPM, but I feel really tense doing it, the tension being the most prominent in my biceps muscle.
I was just wondering whether you feel that type of tension.
Also, out of sheer curiosity, have you ever tried finding a tempo where you can maintain this technique for prolonged periods of time (30 seconds / 1 minute)?

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Thank you! At any of these speeds there’s really zero excess tension because that’s a prerequisite for being able to play at them. You have to be able to relax all of your muscles immediately and continuously from the first note.

The best analogy I can give is it it’s like a machine gun turret in a video game. You keep firing the gun but you have to keep cooling down with another button as you do it to prevent overheating. That’s what tension control is for me on the guitar. Visualization is important, too.

I don’t think my technique changes whether it’s 100 BPM eighth notes or 300. So to answer your question in a roundabout way I think I’d need to test a few metronome speeds to see what is the fastest 30s-1min stretch I can maintain. The motion is this pseudo-knocking motion which is likely the extension to which you’re referring, which is also part of that circular motion to reset the pick. I believe it’s ulnar wrist deviation to clear the string, then a combo of radial deviation and extension to go back to square one. I don’t think my bicep is engaged here. It’s been a while, I’ll have to do another video.

The interesting thing is I have zero movement outside the wrist, or so it seems. This is now how my entire technique looks in general; even for string tracking my elbow almost never moves, and the picking motion for downstrokes/upstrokes is identical to Paul Gilbert, Anton, etc.

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Wow that sounds great, I’m kinda jealous:)

Would be great to see if you get the chance to film a gilbert style application!


Thanks @tommo! I’ll have to put something together in the future since my playing is so vastly different from every clip I’ve posted on here. Currently phoneposting right now because of computer issues, so it’s a bit harder for me to check the forum and engage.

Also I have not forgotten about the DM you sent me… As I was recording that Gilbert lesson for you a few weeks back, Anton messaged me about a technical insight that caused me to rethink what I was going to send you, and now I have a better way to explain it. So just sit tight, it’s gonna be a long video though just a heads up!


Hey no worries it’s kind of you to do it in the first place :slight_smile:

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