Guitar picking help

I know it doesn’t look like it. But Ive been playing guitar for 20 years. Never could get past 100 bpms. no matter what I tried. But I feel like Ive gone back in time 10 years trying to re learn the motions of picking. Theres a huge misunderstanding to me when it comes to practicing slow and pushing your self. so Maybe someone could shed some light on this subject.
here’s a video of my playing. click the settings button in bottom right change the timing to slow it down if you need to. I personally think im using too much wasted motion, maybe my pick isn’t angled enough, But Ill let you decide.

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Welcome @Jeflock85 and thanks for posting!

What you are playing here doesn’t look that bad actually! Is this a Meshuggah-style rhythm? I noticed you are playing it as


But I saw somewhere a tutorial from Meshuggah’s guitarist where he showed it as DUD - U (i.e. fully alternate). I tried both and personally find the alternate version much less tiring.

More generally, what happens when you try to tremolo pick as fast as you can on a single string? Say the D or G string for simplicity. That is usually a good first step for us to analyse someone’s starting point.

Let me also attach some advice on filming - you did a pretty good job here already but this may help making things even clearer:

@tommo hey man. I can tremolo pick a single string about 180 bpms For couple of mins. But as soon as I go back to gallop or down picking it’s like my hand is a stumbling gazelle.
Last night for 30 mins I did nothing but single string picking. I felt really good about it.
My question is how long do you practice doing that single string picking exercise?
I feel like it’s programming your brain to learn this mechanics of the hand movement.
Only been doing this one day so we shall see.
Also is there a left hand exercise to get speed as well.
While I’m doing 16th notes on the G, my left hand can only do 8th notes.

Thanks, Jeff

Hey Jeff,

Not looking too bad at all. I’m new to CtC so I’m sure some of the other heads around here can chime in with a more critical eye. I have been playing for quite a few years and it looks like you have a very similar grip / motion to me. I am starting to break out of this though and I found it really helpful to watch Pickslanting Primer / Forearm Motion / Chapter 2 a few times to help get the basic anchor and grip down.

It felt very strange at first but it seems to be helping. It might help you.
Keep up the good work.


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Does your max speed depend on whether or not you palm mute? I mean for both doing gallops, and just tremolo picking. I see that your wrist’s natural position here is somewhat deviated and your arm approach is shallow, and I’m curious if your hand angle changes when you play without palm muting, and what effect that may have.

@lime hey man when I do the Troy gradys start will speed video method, my hand looks exactly the same as his. Doing the upward picking slant my hands can only play tremolo.
Got any tips to help this?

Hey @Jeflock85! Well 180 bpm 16th notes for 2 minutes straight is pretty amazing! You clearly don’t have a speed or endurance problem, so my guess would be that you just haven’t found the right motions for some of these things you are trying to play.

So do I understand correctly that your current objective is to play fast gallops and downpicking? Would be good to have a look at some short videos that show the problems you encounter while doing these - and also the tremolo issue on the G and D strings.

I am not good at gallops or downpicking but @Troy has done some experimentation with this recently and got good results. Maybe you’ll find some useful insights in an IG post he made a while ago about this, as well as the free excerpt form the Brendon Small interview. Here they are :slight_smile:

@tommo the tremolo Is the only correct picking motion I can do. Everything else I plateau at around 101 100 16Th notes.
I never use this tremolo motions in my writting because it doesn’t call for it. It’s mostly down picking and chugging. So THATS the motion that I’m fighting lol. I’ll watch these videos thanks!!

A “tremolo” isn’t a picking motion, it’s a type of musical line. If you can pick at a fast speed with any motion, you can play synchronized lines with that motion. There’s no reason for the picking hand to suddenly slow down just because you introduce fretting hand synchronization. i.e. There’s no need to change what the picking hand is doing.

The downpicking stuff is a different motion, which makes a circle in the air to avoid hitting the string on the upstroke. There are several different ways to do this - you can check the Brendon Small video for more on that. But learning to do it requires experimentation to find what feels “easy”, not massive repetition with a metronome and suffering through discomfort.

Hey @Troy Troy. So I’ve tried the start with speed video. With USX the progress is very good. Definitely getting that feedback from my body. HOWEVER switching to DSX my hand is doing this bouncing motion even at an downward angle so the pick can escape. Have you been familiar with this feeling? My body had no feedback because it’s a new motion