Introduction to this forum

My name is Peter van Suijlekom and I’m from the Netherlands. I’m a player since I’m 16, that is almost 40 years. (I’m 55). During the '80ties I was heavily impressed by players that showed their uncommon ways of playing like Edward van Halen and Ygnwie Malmsteen. Also I played others styles like blue and Jazz. My taste of music is broad from classical music to Jazz to metal, world music Ambient. When its about guitar playing I consider myself a shredder. Mainly metal like music Progressive metal and neo classical. I have had lessons from different teachers. Nowadays I play mainly at home and record some stuff from time to time. Its a hobby I really enjoy. There are periods I play a lot and other periods hardly.

CtC bought my attention since its so thorough and well structured. There are many guitar methods on line these days (wish we had this in the 1980 ties!). But CtC has something special I never saw on the internet. Digging deep into ones technique and change it into a better one is always something I’m looking for. I’m interested in alternate picking but also sweep picking and especially improving alternate picking. I learned many bad habits so I have to unlearn many things. I started with the ‘Pickslanting Primer’. And it helps me a lot. It will keep me busy the coming months.

Atm I’m working on the Eric Johnson Chunks with the pentatonic scale. I have to say this is much harder for me then I expected. For long time I didn’t make use of the pentatonic scale often. Mainly Diatonic scales and arpeggio’s.But the approach from Eric Johnson is very interesting. But I’m struggling with that. With simple 2 notes a string pattern. Probably because my alternate picking isn’t very smooth. At one strong tremolo playing is not a problem. Its with changing the strings. Sweep picking isn’t a real problem for me.

I’m very happy with CtC material. You guys did and still do a great job!



Hi and welcome to the forum!

If you are struggling with 2nps licks, I’d try starting the lick with an upstroke and see how it goes.


Thank you. Yeah, usually I do that too. I will experiment with it.

Could you upload a video with your fastest tremolo motion on a single note, single string?

1 Like

How can I upload a vid?

You should upload it on YouTube and set the visibility to “unlisted” so no one can see it without the link.

Then simply paste the link here.

1 Like

You should change it to “unlisted” from “private”

1 Like

Is this the fastest tremolo you can do? Can you push a bit faster for at least two bars?

Yes its the fastest. But to be honest for me its not about being the fastest. I’m a player for almost 40 years and I’m only seeking to improve technique. Not seeking to be the fastest player ever. Speed is for me just one of the tools to make music when its has a place in a piece of music.

Is this speed something sustainable for you?

Can you play the cascading sixes using the same motion?

This sounds like you’re digging very hard into the string at first, then you seem to pull out a bit and go faster.

Have you tried doing the same trem, but focusing on hitting the string with the least amount of your pick as you can? I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re consistently faster if you focus on improving that, also might feel easier to play in general.

1 Like

That makes sense. Standard procedure around here though is just have someone play as fast as possible because if someone with your experience does their fastest tremolo, it will also most likely be an efficient motion. You need to identify what that feels like and use it as a reference point for everything else.

The biggest thing with all of Troy’s research is identifying what motions you can do fast (enough to play the patterns you’re interested in) and understanding what the implications of those motions are.

We see on here a lot that people can go really fast with and elbow based motion. If so, they need to be aware that by itself, the elbow is only capable of escaping strings after down strokes.

Conversely, if someone has a really good forearm rotation (think EVH style tremolo) or Gypsy Jazz style, they’ll be really well suited to play things that change strings after an upstroke.

So someone with a fast elbow motion, or a fast wrist motion that’s like Al Di Meola’s would not be well suited to play Eric Johnson or Yngwie style licks. Those guys have a motion that naturally changes strings after upstrokes. If you were in this situation, you could get by with some of their patterns by starting on an upstroke instead, but things they do that are idiomatic (namely their ascending economy) would feel pretty unnatural to a player with a motion that naturally switches strings after a down stroke.


Thank you for this helpful feedback. I’m just started exploring CTC methods and will see what it brings. Alternate picking is one of the issues I’m working at. Actually sometimes I use the thumb method (Thummy thing). Small motions with my thumb and index finger as Joe Stump also mentions in an interview with Troy. I noticed I use it in short bursting frases. Sweep picking is something that goes very naturally for me, especially arpeggio’s. Large ones or small. As I stated I neglected the use of pentatonic scales often with I shouldn’t. The chunks Troy talks about in the EJ method is very hard for me to do at that speed as Troy plays them. But they are very interesting. Its a challenge for me and that is what I like. Experimenting a lot with many different picks. Used Jazz III for decades including the John Petrucci picks. Now I’m using JD prime tone 3mm. I discovered the point gives a smooth round sound I really like. The Jazz 3 gives me not enough roundness.

Welcome @Petervs and thanks everyone for making my job easier :slight_smile:

I think that tremolo is not at all a bad starting point — that speed is totally usable for a lot of cool licks and solos :slight_smile:

As a next step, I’d recommend you take the various speed tests in the following section:

Make a note of all the tempos you reach in the various tests, then we can compare with the tremolo speed you can do on the guitar and we’ll have an indication of what to try next. Enjoy!


Welcome to the forum!

You’ve gotten some great advice above so keep us updated as to how you get on with that.

I went through the entire primer from start to finish at least twice. I’m not sure everyone would do it that way as everyone is at different levels etc. But having done this I’ve learnt so much and I’d say it’s very much worth doing. Like those speed tests, you could hit on another motion that feels fast and comfortable that you might not have tried before!

Anyway, keep us updated with your progress or any difficulties you are experiencing.


Very cool! Do you notice you are better at ascending vs descending? For years I struggled with ascending and after finding Troy’s platform I understood why. The angle of my pick and the natural trajectory I was making just weren’t conducive to it. Descending, no problem, and that’s for the same reason. I was doing “DSX” (Downstroke Escape) so since all the upstrokes were naturally trapped and my pick was slanted a bit upward it was just a great pairing. And that’s sort of the point of everything with this: there is an “easy” path and being aware of the motions you’re making helps you exploit them. Things that feel difficult are probably going to continue feeling difficult if you keep approaching them the same way. For instance:

It’s quite possible you’re a DSX player and the EJ phrases don’t work with that. A great test would be to just play a lick like this one:

|.--------------15-12-15-12-.| etc

Try it starting on a down stroke and just keep repeating and push the speed as best you can (even if it gets a little sloppy). Then, do the same thing but start on an upstroke. If you notice one version being particularly tiring, it’s a good indication that you’d need a different motion mechanic than whatever you’re using.

But I’d probably take @tommo’s advice first and try those “sans guitar” speed tests. If you’re new to the terminology, just keep in mind that USX means the motion can easily change strings after up strokes and DSX is the opposite. So when Troy mentions certain joint movements having those tendencies it should give you insight into what you’ll be able to play with them.

Anyway, welcome to the forum and good luck on your journey. You’ve come to the right place if you’re serious about improving your picking technique!


For some reason I cannot push it to a faster tempo. Its rather frustrating to be honest. Still not figured out what the main issue is. To be continued.

1 Like

If you have time, film it both ways and we can take a look. Finding out things like that can be really helpful for figuring out what’s holding you back.


Thank you. Yes I was planning that indeed.

1 Like