Dumb Elbow question

Here we are from the land of elbow with a question, maybe someone has some insights.

I’ve never really had troubles with ascending sweeping stuff, but
This excerpt from the FG Speed Picking Book For Guitar Has been kicking my butt since forever.

This is how it says to play it, and i can do it, but it feels a bit awkward and sounds messy. lol After decades of practice hahaha Not sure why, but is there a chance that this kind of movement is just not going to work with elbow +sweep?

   u  u   d     u   u   d     u  u   d     u   u    d


Thanks in advance, guys.

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hmmm this one too… Should be dead easy, but… alas. lol Anything like like this actually doesn’t work too well it seems. I am starting to think that Elbow = no worky on sweep/economy licks like that? I’ll spend some more time on it and see if i am just being dense again lol

   U     U    D   U


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This is more a heavy economy picking thumb index kinda thing. Unless you are doing U,U,D,D,U,U, D,D 2 notes each string which you could probably get away with elbow since you won’t break the plane of the strings. But here you have to break the plane, go around it, when you outside pick.

well if you slant the other way you could actually be outside the strings but it would be opposite the way yngwie slants to be able to tackle this situation.

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These are exactly the kinda of licks that forced me to go strictly gypsy style picking. It just gets old trying to switch up different picking mechanics, and learning all these different ones for situations like these that you bring up. But that doesn’t mean gypsy style is super easy, its actual hella hard. :smiley: I will just say this you won’t want to know how they would do it.

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I think this guy is the opposite and Cesario is the Yngwie slant. Its this awkward back tilt. It’s awkward for me, but some people genetically pick like this so whats wierd for some is normal for others.

So what I mean is if you back tilt you can not have to worry about breaking the plane as the tilt will help compensate so you might can get away with elbow using this method. once you go back downstroke through the string your pick will be at an angle enough to clear the string to do another upstroke.

i am doing it right now and i have often contemplated doing this when doing descending musical passages. its like the mirror opposite of the yngwie ascended phrasing, just to blaze through the descending phrasing faster and smoother. havent tried because i got to invested into gypsy picking, and honestly i think its the best way imo. but its my opinion. and honestly last night every time i start watching yamandu or flamenco players i want to just give up on the pick altogether, but that doesnt mean i see it from andres segovias point of view i honestly will never listen to his stuff since he doesnt believe in picks. which i find absurd because gypsy picking is a very old tradition probably goes back to lute and mandolin days which would be around same kind of time, just two different cultures one not more proper than the other.

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Okay, very excellent points here - thanks so much for posting! I am going to mess with a few things, pick angle/slant and thumb/index finger movement and see what happens. heck, I might even make a video.

Darn elbows!

yeah its hard to break away from elbow into wrist. man it took me years to get my wrist going. i am still about 15-20 bpm slower with wrist than my index/thumb finger or elbow, and i only got that to about 110 bpm sextuplets. these days though speed doesnt really thrill me much any more. i get more thrills in those really sexy licks that just sound so tasty.

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I think upward strokes, or descending lines againt gravity are hard to do smoothly unless you’re anchored well. I find the same with sweep picking, unless I’ve got a good leverage point or anchor then the moves against gravity are always akward.

Elbow is a big lever and is got little control vs wrist or thumb, so it’s very easy to get caught in the strings in my experience


Well, I tried two things tonight during practice;

  1. I changed the slant depending on the direction. Since I normally have a pretty subtle slant, I exaggerated the upward slant on the upstroke sweeps. Seems to help. I got the idea from watching Troy’s Frank Gambale Interviews (They are awesome, and man is Frank ever in control…) You know where he states that he’s “turning with the curves” or something like that.

  2. I tried using some thumb motion on the picking hand- well, it’s what I “think” is thumb, but the video footage I took seems to look awfully “wrist deviation-y” so I will have to muck with it a bit.

The combination of these two things haven’t yielded an instant transformation, but it did clean up a bit, and I was able to get it faster and smoother. Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I will see where it goes!

lol I haven’t given up on one day learning to DBX - but for now, I gotta spend some time sharpening what I can actually do…


Idk if this will help at all, but it’s the thing thats helped me the most along with anchoring to the bridge and body. I think you’re already going in this direction. My picking has changed a lot over past 5 years, and this exessive pick angle on the upstrokes has made things a lot smoother on the upstrokes. Rather than twisting the forarm as much to change pick slant, you just bend the thumb to change the pick angle.

One you get used to it, it works better than using a pickslant for me anyway…

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And looking at you playing here you’re already doing that bent thumb technique. Awesome playing! One of Those Jams jam - YouTube

Those lines where you’re using a lot of elbow can be played with forarm rotation. It’ll take a lot of the momentum out the hand making it easier to control. Do you have any sweep examples?


Hey, thanks for checking this out, and thanks for the ideas. Here’s a video I made tonight with some stuff that’s (more) successful than others;

Decent, usually works out okay.



Same with this one, not too bad although all of these work out a lot better with some flow and not as a repeating ostinato type thing.

U D U    U


This one can be hit or miss; works great if i pull off the first note buying me time to turn my wrist and get a bit of an exaggeration “upwards pickslant” for that upstroke. If I try to pick every note, uh - oh…

   D U   U U


And this one here seems to be of epic difficulty, but it is starting to get a bit better.

  U  U D U


Uggh, I am always a bit nervous about sharing a video. lol be gentle, I have seen the hate for elbow people hahaha I guess I could get microscopic about what the pick is doing with a slo-mo close up shot, but I’ll start with this… (In this video I tried to keep it as close to how I just naturally do things, basically before the cool advice in this thread.)


Have you tried anchoring on the body? Like Jason Becker. Can be one finger or two. I find doing this gives a lot of leeway with some control. You can still use the full elbow movement you got trained and it should let you do the descending runs with more confidence as you’re kind of stabilizing yourself.


You can see him use the pinky and ring on the body combined with the elbow movement n wrist. He’s doing just dsx picking in that short run as far as I can tell. If you’re not comfortable anchoring with the palm then this could be a way to get the picking under control. It’s almost what MAB does with his fingers as an anchor. It should give upstrokes a bit more solid control?

I think like bradejensen pointed out these licks are all non repeating, there is an akward jump to start them again, are they meant to repeat?

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So both those licks are awkward for a couple of reasons, and I’m not sure those are the best ones to practice descending sweeps. The first one becomes really hard to accent because that down stroke on the 4th fret e strings wants to turn the lick around and you start hearing and playing it as if that is the first note of the lick and the rest at the beginning were just pickup notes for the very first play through. That down stroke want to heavily accent that note and your ear is going to hear it as the natural first down beat.

The second lick isn’t great either because it ends on an upstroke on a lower string, and if you were to keep that picking pattern it would require you to start the lick again on an up stroke on a higher string. It’s not very efficient and awkward picking for a repeating lick. If you repeated the lick but started on a down stroke on the second time through, it flips the lick permanently to a down stroke sweep, which is not exactly the point of those. Plus there’s absolutely no reason to pick that phrase like that.

I would honestly practice upward sweeps with arpeggios that are more conducive to them, or economy licks that are more sensible.


Hey guys! Thanks for the feedback;

I don’t really anchor so much, but I do use my RH pinky as a sort of “reference”. Not sure if you can see it in the video, but I am certain it developed over time to manage my string depth. When I ascend, or do any “regular” picking alternate on a single string etc the pick has a pretty neutral slant. It feels like this gets me into a bit of trouble/feels a bit awkward when descending certain things.

No not intended to repeat, really they are small parts of a larger lick or two that have been giving me some grief. In some cases I can alternate pick them if i start ummm “inside” the strings and start on an upstroke. It kind of defies the “sweep” system of Frank, but it works. I might just be being stubborn, and forcing myself to play stuff out of the book exactly as written when in reality, it just might not be in the cards for me without a slight tweak.

Example 11, from Frank’s “Speed Picking For Guitar” book. Which I can play, I am just hoping to kind of clean it up, get a bit more rhythmic control over it, etc etc. The ascending portion of this is no problem, but it’s the descending bits that sometimes have a “snag” or a “tangle”.


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Here, here’s a better phrase to practice this that is in the same spirit. This allows an easy repeat, and you can use your pentatonic shapes with it too and you get an odd note grouping, always fun.

The pasted tab is a little hard to decipher, I’m not sure it formatted well in a forum post.


Is this sextuplets, triplets, 8ths, 16ths, what speed? Could you soundslice it.

Straight 16ths my man as per Frank’s notation, I’m at about around 140bpm or so comfortably as that, although I messed with it a bit and 160 was pretty doable. It seems to kind of lend itself to triplets, though - that might just be me, but it feels like most sweep stuff has a kind of rhythmic tendancy akin to however many notes per string.

When I get home today, I will post a better image of that lick lol sorry, guys.

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Here, I think it is supposed to be this:

Another good one like this that is a little more spicy is the ending lick to the intro phrase of Yngwie’s deja vu.

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Thats a doozy right there, trying to trick me with its gypsy ascent that is all over the place then the descent is the nightmare for all my techniques except thumb index economy.