How to speed up picking on single string?

Sorry if I missed a thread on this, I can’t seem to find one.

I’m curious if there is a general consensus on the best way to improve picking speed. Not string switching, just pure picking speed on a single string.

I can do 6’s at 120bpm and is right at my limit. I’m pretty good at other aspects, patterns, string switching, etc, but not satisfied with overall speed.


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Hey @Tahoebrian5, what happens when you try to push the speed beyond 120?

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That’s already pretty fast - it’s 12 notes per second…comfortably into shred territory. I’m about there now, working on hand sync. Have you started on switching strings yet? If not - now is a good time to start getting your favorite ‘chunks’ down. Otherwise @tommo asks a good question - what happens when you push past it?


I can’t push past it. My right hand simply won’t move any faster. I really haven’t tried very hard to gain more speed yet so wondering if just going at it a bit every day will help.

Chunks and string switching is pretty good. I can do some of them almost as fast.

One interesting thing I’ve noted… my basic movement is wrist flexion. I’ve tried forearm rotation and it fills awkward. Ive been working at it though and I notice I can do rhythmic flurry’s of 3 or 4 hits really fast but I can’t do them continuously. I’m wondering if working those flurries into more hits or closer together will eventually work up to continuous tremolo picking.

This helped me in the past and I still do it to warm up: do you ever just downpick? Put on a metronome and alternate between downpicking the quarter note beat, and some eighth notes. After that feels manageable, you can throw in some 16th notes alternate picked to see how clean they sound.

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If you haven’t checked out our latest Primer update yet, I’d give that a shot for sure, since this issue of speed is basically the focus of the whole thing. For reference, you can find that right here:

The short answer is that you really have to make sure you’re doing the motions correctly, and that all sources of inefficiency have been weeded out. And not only that, but you may be faster with some motions rather than others. I would take the speed tests and record the numbers. Are they different than your speed with an actual guitar? Which tests are faster for you?

If you do that, we’d be interested in the feedback.


Okay this was actually super helpful. I didn’t actually do the motion tests but I can certainly notice I’m quite a bit faster using elbow motion. After about an hour I can actually play some chunks using elbow now. This has been one of the most instantly helpful concepts I’ve ever come across. I’ll try to do some bpm comparisons and post them up asap.

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