Fellow CTC forum members, please have a look at my picking technique

Greetings fellow CTC forum members,

I’ve been watching Troy’s videos for quite some time and finally got around to joining the site during Covid.

I’ve been playing guitar for around 30 years and like many here, have not been able to reach the speeds I’d like. My goal has always been to be able to play like my favorite players, Warren DeMartini, George Lynch, Randy Rhoads, Uli Jon Roth, Gary Moore, Eddie Van Halen, etc… I’d love to be able to raise the speed limit even higher and include Yngwie and Paul Gilbert.

I’ve gone through the various tests in the Picking Primer and after posting a few pics on here of my pick grip (which was formerly at an awkward angle) and spending some time correcting it, I’ve now spent some time working on tremolo picking.

I hope my videos are sufficient to critique my technique. I’ve included one at speed and then at slo mo.

I’m curious to hear what you think of the mechanics of my picking and look forward to getting feedback.

Normal speed:


Thanks in advance for having a look. I appreciate it.

Definitely elbow motion, looking like you’re traveling a good amount past the string after you hit it; an easy way to increase some speed would be to minimize that distance.

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Thanks for having a look. I’ll work on minimizing my pick travel.

I guess my next question would be what is a good exercise to work on my picking using elbow motion.

I’ve always used wrist motion, which explains why I haven’t been getting faster.

Elbow motion for sure. Something I’d recommend is adjusting your grip/wrist posture. Your form looks a little ‘flexed’ like we see in the gypsy players. It’s also bent towards your ulna. Most elbow players have a straighter wrist or even a slight extension and radial tilt that Troy calls the hockey stick :slight_smile: check out the elbow section in the Primer. Vinnie Moore, Rusty Cooley and Brendan Small are good examples of a more normal elbow setup. EDIT: there’s a new interview up of Bill Hall. He’s another awesome elbow player (though we found out he’s actually good at lots of other mechanics too!!!). There are great angles of his elbow playing in the interview.

Main point is, this is a good start. It’s above string hopping speed. A slightly different grip/posture could help it feel more natural. Also, keep in mind this is a DSX setup, so you’ll have to change strings after a downstroke when you convert this into licks.

Thanks for having a look. I had to look up where my ulna is, but I see what you’re saying.

I was watching a Brendan Small CTC video last night so I’m familiar with the “hockey stick” analogy.

I think it took me so long to land on elbow picking because I wanted to be a wrist player, as in this short Paul Gilbert clip.

I’m going to work towards achieving the most efficient wrist motion I can, but is it possible for someone to develop efficient picking from the wrist if they are naturally an elbow player.

I think so! What’s more important though, and Troy touches on this in the Bill Hall interview, is that it’s so important to take what we’re naturally ‘best’ at, and get it working as efficiently as possible so we have a starting point. Most people just don’t know what fast and smooth picking feels like. What’s cool is, unless we have a physical disability, most of us also have a natural potential to get our pick moving as fast as our heroes, with very little effort! We just need to find out what that is. Once we get that in place, we always build on top of it.

Did you take the table tapping tests yet? If so, was elbow your most comfortable and fastest? If it was, cool, keep refining it. If not…try a tremolo with whatever you were fastest at.

I know I’ve heard it cautioned a lot that we should avoid the thinking of “I want to do this motion”. Instead, we need to find out what we’re already good at.

All very good points. I’m going to re-visit the table tapping tests and see where I land this time.

While I have a desire to be a fast as hell wrist player I have no plans to fly in the face of reason and try to force a wrist motion when the elbow motion is obviously more efficient for me.

Thanks again for taking the time. This forum really stands out as a community with the collective goal of helping one another.



Sorry @gittertech, somehow I missed this at the time! Luckily it looks like you got some great tips already from some of our usual suspects :wink:

To summarize, your form looks almost “gipsy”, so from a still image one would guess that we’ll see an upstroke escape motion. However the motion is clearly elbow/DSX as others have pointed out! So there’s kind of a mismatch as @joebegly points out.

So yeah, try what he said :smiley:

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I appreciate you taking the time to have a look at my clips.

I’ve been watching a bunch of Bill Hall videos on his youtube channel as well as the interview on here and working on straightening my wrist a la Bill, Vinnie Moore, and others mentioned on this site.