Hi to all, two obstacles to improving my playing

I’m glad to be a member of what seems to a great place to exchange ideas guitar-related. My name is Paul, I’ve been playing for a few years now - self-taught, although I do often refer to Justin Guitar which is excellent. He recommends this site.
I have a 6 string mahogany Martin which I love, also a Epiphone SG electric with a 100w Boss Katana.
I have recently realised that there are 2 big obstacles to making further progress with my playing. The first is that I’ve only ever used a pick for strumming, & I really want to be able to use pick more effectively. Secondly, I want to ‘know my way around the fretboard’ so that I can solo. There are SO many YouTube videos promising instant results & I know that only hard work and good technique will be the answer. As a basic member, where do I start on this site? There is such a wealth of information that I don’t know where to start! All help, advice, tips etc. will be taken on board - and thanks for taking the time to read this, cheers. Paul.


Hi, and welcome to this forum! I’m still a fairly new member myself, but I’ve been watching Troy’s videos for years prior to joining the forum a few months ago.
I’d suggest starting with Cracking the Code series, since it’s easily digestible and more of a TV show format than a series of lessons, and I urge you to not get bored by the initial lack of information. When you go through those videos, move on to the actual lesson content, such as:

(not necessarily in that order)

After having watched that and experimenting with your picking technique, I think you’ll be able to see what approach works for you and search other content that may be best suited for your needs. Don’t disregard the artists that play a style of music you’re not particulary interested in straight away, though. For example, the video about Joscho Stefan’s gypsy jazz tremolo technique helped me with tremolo picking chords for black metal, so it just goes to show you that you never know where helpful info may be found.

Also, I’d recommend a bit thicker pick for picking, especially when it comes to the more advanced stuff. Thin picks are good for strumming on an acoustic and slow leads, but not much else imo.

Hello Guitardude,
Thanks for the advice/links. Very helpful & much appreciated. I realise of course that the only surefire way to improve is through hard work & regular practice - like most things in life!

Thanks again mate


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You’re welcome!
Of course, practising as much as possible is the most beneficial thing, but also keep in mind that your practice regime should consist of material focusing on the weakest aspects of your picking. Over time, you’ll see that other aspects of your playing which you didn’t practice as much will improve as well.
However, if practicing stuff that’s hard for you is demotivating, you can try the opposite approach: first find what works for you with fairly low effort and feels natural, then build from that in order to gain confidence and be more motivated as you continue (I got this advice from Troy himself).

In short, work smarter, not harder (although practicing harder helps).



Welcome Paul, thanks for joining and glad you found us! We’re big fans of Justin’s site as well, lots of great material there.

We don’t have a ton of specific material on fretboard navigation, though it is a topic we’re interested in and may explore further, see for example:

As for picking, we’ll definitely be able to help you out there!

Our free stuff is kind of scattered across the site but as mentioned the original Cracking the Code Series (12 episodes) is a fun place to start (though not so much hands-on tutorial). Those other videos linked above are great for more lesson-type stuff; we have more on our YouTube channel.

As far as lessons on the site, our most current tutorial material is in the Pickslanting Primer. This is our main course on picking fundamentals, which we’re continuing to add to:

There are a handful of free Primer chapters (you’ll find some on YouTube), but most of it you need either the paid membership, or you can buy it as a standalone download. We generally recommend trying the membership as it’s a lower upfront cost and also gets you access to everything else on the site (interviews / seminars).

Besides that, I’d say the forum is our best free resource and a great place to start as well! If you browse around, and use the search function to look up any particular things you have questions about, I think you’ll find a lot of useful discussions here.