Help me get started!


Hey all! New subscriber here and have really enjoyed chwcking out some of the content and discussions going on :blush:

I’ve always been interested in playing fast… in my teen years i spent many hours watching and shedding rock discipline, speed kills and intense rock 1 and 2. I could never really get over the difficulties though. Up until recently i have focused my efforts elsewhere but now with all the new info available I’m ready to give it another crack :sunglasses:

I’m starting with ye old faithful Yngwie 6 note pattern on one string. I wanna get this blistering before moving to string switching. I perform the excercise at 95bpm and then at 80bpm. Some questions I have;

Is my technique okay? I’m definately a primary down pickslanter

What do i do about left hand fatigue? Even after playing for a short amount of time my left hand gets tired. At the moment i have just been playing the excercise with rests, as in I play 6 notes in the space of the first beat, and then just the first of the 6 at the start of the second beat, giving me the remainder of that beat to rest, before playing 6 notes starting on the 3rd beat etc… it’s particularly the last 3 notes that wear my hand out I think, there is evidence out there that would suggest that I should shed the pattern with hammeron/pulloff technique aswell maybe. What do you guys think?

Thanks for your help!

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Disclaimer: I’m not the best at analysis of picking videos, but I’ll give it a go.
There are a few notes where the left and right hands are not entirely in sync, but its a good start. Are you able to tremolo pick fast with this mechanic? If you can, then great! Is it my dodgy eyes or did you use a slightly more downward pickslant on the slower tempo where it seems a little more together?- maybe its worth experimenting with how much slant works best- to ensure that you are clearing the strings on the upstrokes.

Regarding the left hand, it is definitly worth working on the stamina and timing. However, I find that when picking, my left hand operates differently - its a lot softer with no attempt to do pull-offs. I imagine that this helps with stamina as no energy in the left hand is wasted. If I try to pick with the left hand doing pull offs, it sounds a bit strange too where the ‘pluck’ aspect of the pull off is audible as well as the picked note - a bit like double picked

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@PickingApprentice Thanks for your response! Yeah I realise a few notes weren’t totally perfect yet but I heard Martin Miller say that you should practice just out of your true max speed and force the cleanliness to come that way, rather than the old school ‘start slow and bring the metronome up not by bit’ approach that we’ve all been shedding for so long I’m not actually sure if I could tremolo with this technique… probably something I should check out… something I have seen suggested to others since posting this is to watch the Introduction to Picking Motion video Troy posted in December and try a tremolo with a couple different picking mechanics to see which works best. I’ll be sure to do this next time I grab the guitar! I will keep looking for answers regarding the stamina thing :sunglasses: thanks man!

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Here is some of my progress. Here I start at 105bmp and move down to 100.

I’ve been stuck at around 95-100 for almost 2 weeks so I’m trying to push through the wall :blush:

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Looks to me like you are holding a lot of excess tension in the left hand by keeping finger 1 clamped down like a capo - try lifting all fingers off except when playing a note. It can only help when it comes to changing strings later.

Actually I wrote this out after watching just the first vid and this already seems better by the second vid - you’re still leaving finger 1 down but it doesn’t look quite as tense.

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Thanks @Prlgmnr!! I will pay attention to this for sure


Shedding away at 110bpm waiting for cleanliness to come :blush:

split this topic #9

A post was split to a new topic: Issues with forum responsiveness?


Some great discussion going on here!! Thanks guys. Im wondering something though… @hanky_pooh at what tempo of this starting excercise did you guys begin moving this pattern 1) up and down the neck and/or 2) across the strings?


Hi @beanobender, the progress looks good, the burst method is good and worked for me. Have you tried moving the pattern onto a different string? It can really help habitualise the picking mechanic.


So I’m still a little stuck at 110bpm but there is probably a reason for that… I got up to about 120bpm but then discovered that I wasn’t really dwps anympre and that it was more flat!!.I really want to get into more of the yngwie and eric stuff so i slowed back down to 95 bpm and made sure to have a more aggressive dwps. I’ve worked back up to 110 and progress has slowed once again haha

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Not sure if that’s really the case, but it seems to me that the motion changes after some bars. The first bars look good to me, then there seems to come tension and arm movement.
If that’s the case it’s probably too early to push yourself too much with the metronome and (probably) difficult exercises. Practicing ‘wrong’ motions just keep the ‘rights’ to enter muscle memory.
Maybe you need some more time playing around with some easy stuff and focus just on the picking.
That doesn’t mean stopping those exercises, just keep room for the motion to develop, when the motion is second nature, metronome is great to speed it up and get accurate timing, before that it can be just frustrating.

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One thing I’ll throw out there is that there are places here where your elbow is joining in a fair bit. While @Troy makes reasonable points about movement mechanics being largely “agnostic” with respect to pickslant, I think elbow flexion/extension is more frequently observed in people who are doing UWPS. I don’t know if maybe experimenting with different anchor points for your forearm against the guitar body and your hand against the bridge might help you keep your motion in more of a “DWPS” plane rather than flattening out on you. Adding a bit of flex to your wrist posture might also help in that experimenting, but I’m hesitant to push you very hard in that direction since it’s partway to overhauling to a more forearm-rotation-based mechanic, which would be against the ethos of working with what feels most comfortable to you already.


I’m probably guilty of having said things like this in years past. However I now see pickslanting techniques as movements, and that’s why we’ve been breaking them down in things like the live broadcast and teaching them that way. Meaning, for any physical mechanic you want to use, whether it’s wrist, arm, or whatever, depending on the way you are holding the instrument and the pickslant you are looking for, there is really only one way you can move to create that pickslant - more or less. e.g. You want to do uwps wrist with a specific type of forearm contact on the body? Here is the movement, learn it. Not doing the movement is not doing the pickslant.

I would go further, and I think I said this in the live broadcast we did. I’m not entirely sure there is such a thing as dwps elbow. There is a movement I’ve used for years which I’ve called elbow dwps, but I honestly don’t see how it can be that. The elbow does not move in an upstroke-escape type of plane with respect to the strings. A pure elbow movement might be only a uwps movement, unless some other type of movement like wrist or forearm is introduced. Again, grip doesn’t matter - the pick can look slanted all it wants. Unless it’s actually moving that way it’s not really doing anything.

I know we have “elbow appearing” players like Zakk Wylde but is he really escaping on upstrokes with an arm-only movement? Or is there something else going on, like fingers or forearm?

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I’m glad you guys have picked up on some of this stuff because it has been on my mind but sort of as stuff that I’ve felt hasn’t been of great concern. There is definately aome elbow creeping in, and I think it’s because I don’t really know how to use the forearm rotation picking mechanic… it’s all wrist based uo and down type stuff, I can’t combine it with the forearm movement. I can do it very slow yes, but as soon as i move up to even a moderate speed it disappears and it’s back to just wrist movement. Then as the speed increases again, the elbows becomes involved I think to COMPENSATE for the forearm rotation not being there… I’m unsure what steps to take now :grimacing:


Also regarding the elbow dwps thing, i think that.maybe it’s to do with the trajectory of my actual pickstroke and no so much about the angle of the pickslant… maybe I am DWPS but the trajectory is still just up and down parallel to the strings? :thinking:


Hi! Sorry for not seeing these posts earlier.

Everything looks fine here. First things first, have you watched the intro to picking motion, and attempted all the movements?

That’s the first step. Not that I think any of the clips you’ve posted looks wrong, per se. You just want to make sure you’re starting with whichever motion is working best for you right now. Do that by trying them all - including dwps and uwps movements. For simplicty you don’t even need synchronized fretted notes, just an index finger will do, and see which one is smoothest / fastest. And I do mean fastest, as in, give it your all and see what happens. Synchronization, cleanliness, etc. do not matter for this test, since you’re only playing one note anyway.

When you demo these movements, are you escaping where you’re supposed to escape? If not, then that’s not really the movement. It’s not enough to move the pick back and forth - it must actually be moving along a path that escapes at one end. As we’ve been discussing, if you’re using elbow, then it’s probably going to be a uwps path so just make sure that downstrokes are indeed escaping. If you choose a wrist movement, then you will create the diagonal pathway manually for dwps and uwps movements. In other words, the wrist can move 360 degrees so you will choose the diagonal by actually attempting picking along the appropriate escape - this will involve different blends of wrist movements.

Forearm is trickier, there are some hints in the broadcast. Give them a shot and don’t worry if you can’t do any of them just yet.

None of these movements is better or worse than the other, which is why you’re demoing them all. No particular pickslant is better or worse than another. Whichever movement works best, that’s the one you should look at a little further.

Since you already have a base of skill here, I would take whichever movement you think is working best and try a simple two-string pattern - something like this for dwps:

…or this for uwps:

Reason being, you want to make sure the escape is actually happening and you are able to get from one string to another without hitting anything.

So to recap, do the demo, determine which movement is working best using your max speed. Film and post a clip of that. And if you do, I’d like to see total max speed, not max cleanliness or max usable speed. If you attempt a two-string pattern, happy to take a look at that as well.

And finally, I would highly recommend not spending your all your time practicing exercises. Are there are musical phrases you’re interested in playing? Maybe ones you have written? Something that uses whichever technique you’ve decided to work on, and is not simply a repeating finger pattern. It doesn’t have to be something fast. It just needs to be something that makes use of the technique. This will get your mind thinking in musical terms which is important.

You can spend decades practicing exercises and I’ve seen many players among our viewers who have. Not a knock on them if that’s what they enjoy doing. But if you do that, you will end up with very little real-world soloing, songwriting, and improv type chops to show for it.

Good start here and good luck!

New to the site, want to master Alt Picking

Hi @Troy no stress about replying, Cracking the code seems like it is really taking off so I understand your busy schedule! :smile:

I have watched the introduction to picking motion before and to be honest I just picked DWPS wrist deviation because that it what felt closest to what I’ve been using for the last 10 years. I didn’t compare max tremolo speeds or anything like that. Anyway today I rewatched the introduction to picking motion video 3 times and gave them all a good crack… my results were 16th notes on a single string at these tempos

UWPS Wrist Deviation: 180bpm
DWPS Wrist Deviation: 185bpm
UWPS Elbow: 185bpm: 185bpm
DWPS Elbow:190bpm: 190bpm
DWPS Forearm rotation:170bpm

So I think I’ve decided to go with DWPS wrist deviation because it feels the most natural… DWPS elbow is faster but not as comfortable to execute, it’s also a bit more misunderstood than the wrist based mechanics so I’ll feel less in the dark about moving forward using those :smile: UWPS wrist deviation feels good to so they should work well together when i have a go at 2WPS…

Here is my DWPS wrist deviation tremolo

and here is the ping pong sixes lick

I will say that the forearm rotation movement does have it’s charm!! It’s like something that WANTS to be developed and sorta feels like it COULD be avery fluid technique with some time spend with it…

And on the topic of musicality, I’m another one of these guys who plays more classic rock and blues and has been able to ‘survive’ as a player without being able to shred, despite loving a lot of metal and shred guitar when I was growing up. There are definitely things I would love to use picking chops for, things I’ve loved the sound of growing up but never had the chops to play… And I have been trying to put them use, but for the most part a lot of it has been put aside until I see some more progress with the exercises. When i can do Yngwie sixes across all strings, I will feel much more ready to start applying the techniques to my playing more :slight_smile:

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This looks good! Nice work here. Do ever you try this at max picking speed? That’s worth doing, sloppy or not. It can reveal things in your technique that you might want to work on, which wouldn’t be apparent at ‘safe’ speeds.

Sorry, I meant to mention this: This isn’t just a creative issue - there is a learning component to this. By hammering away on the same pattern all the time, you’re not really feeding your motor system any variety. The more slightly-different variations of things you can feed your motor system, the better it gets overall - kind of like talking to Siri for an hour so it gets better at your voice. Sort of!

Based on how solid of a handle you have on the basic strictly chunked repeating unit type patters already, I think the time is definitely here for you to move on to more interesting lines with a wider and more diverse mix of mechanical ingredients. It can still be all downward pickslanting if you like. But lines where you’ve got mixed numbers of notes per string, string direction changes, string skips, and so on. Any of that will help you generalize these skills faster.


I have but never thought there was much meritt to it. I often practice sort of in the way martin miller suggests which is to push yourself kinda ‘just passt’ your limits, not necessarily at my max tremolo speed though.

That said, here is the ping pong sixes at 110 bpm

I feel like it just loses clarity purely because the string change throws the hand synchronisation off, I’m not sure if I could think of any other issues here, but if there are any hopefully someone here can spot them!

here is where they feel comfortable at now, at 95BPM (I will go on to practice them at 100 or 105 BPM now)

Ahh okay this makes sense, what confused me to start was that this completely goes against the step-by-step approach that most guitar methods will expect for you to follow, I was originally going to just go through the volcano seminar and take each challenge as they come, mastering each one before moving on. There are other things I have that I want to work of but haven’t practiced untill I have felt that I had the Yngwie sixes on one string down at least. things like I have here!!

So here is ‘sweeping exercise’ at 120bpm

and here is where I’m at with the single string stuff

Finally got to 120bpm with this which is actually my target! I won’t need to play faster than this in any situation (Yngwie’s solo on fire and ice is played over a track at 120bpm and is a big benchmark for me). that said I’d love to get to 130bpm or higher just to make 120bpm feel as easy and natural as possible so I will stick at this!

the only thing I’m a little worried about with practicing the single string thing is that I will start to neglect the pickslant like I was before. I was doing the clockface thing that @Troy has talked about before… :thinking: but I guess continuing to practice things like the ping pong sixes will help to keep me clear of that :grinning: