I've been working on this lick for years and still not down yet

I’ve been working on an ascending scale sequence on the B string like the kind of stuff Malmsteen plays. The problem is the picking hand. I have tried many different ways of picking. I can play the lick slow and it sounds great, but to play it fast requires a different kind of picking.

I’ve tried doing tremolo picking on a single open string, and then trying to use that same motion to play this lick but I don’t know. The sound is a little rough and it sounds kinda tense because I’m using my forearm to tremolo pick and my wrist is a little more tense when I do that I and noticed that if you have tension anywhere that tension gets into your sound and your guitar does not sound very good.

I’ve tried using my thumb and forefinger too but have not had complete success with that either.

Another problem is the string acts as resistance to the pick and sometimes the pick does not go through the string but rather it gets hung up on the string because the string will not let the pick pass through it.

Just some problems.

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Could you post a video?

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Agree with @Ibanez_RG, this is one of these situations where a video would be worth millions of words :slight_smile:

If you have been working on this for many years with no improvement, chances are that we need to find something that needs to be drastically changed. A video will give us a chance to find out what that is :slight_smile:

Instructions for best results:

I cannot post a video. I have improved on the lick I know that but I have trouble with consistency. Sometimes I can play it fast and other times it falls apart kinda.

At times it is hard to get a thick pick through the string. There is always string resistance.

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No problem! Do you have a way to film video for your own records? If you could capture both a “good” and a “bad” attempt, it may give you some useful info.

Do you guys ever have a problem getting the pick through the string? Do you occasionally get the pick stuck? I recently have tried to only let the tip of my pick show so I am trying to play with just the tip of the pick to try and minimize resistance.

That’s good, and use edge picking!

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That can defo help with smoothness.

@357mag are you saying that you are consciously trying to use the minimum amount of pick possible? Because that’s not how correct technique feels like (and especially not on single-string or single escape licks). Picking depth usually adjusts itself automatically depending on dynamics, speed etc.

Additionally, plenty players have a lot of pick showing, so there’s no need to forcefully choke up on the pick (unless that feels great to you). Here’s an example from Troy, look how much of the pick you can see, and notice how he is using a good amount of “pick on the string” even at fast tempos:

This lesson might help in choosing the right pick for your playing style:

Yes I have seen Troy pick and he does let a lot of pick show when he plays, but it seems with me it just adds to the resistance problem. I think in order to pick fast one has to minimize resistance so you don’t get stuck on the string on the upstroke.

If you’re getting stuck on upstrokes and not downstrokes - have you tried playing with all upstrokes until you find an angle of attack that feels smooth on upstrokes, then go back to playing with both up and down strokes?

It’s worked for me with that particular problem. I ran into it most with crosspicking but I’ve seen Paul Gilbert recommend it as a general exercise. I didn’t really get the point of the exercise until using it to solve my pick feeling “stuck” when doing upstrokes while crosspicking, but for me, even isolated from the rest of the picking motion, just focusing on upstrokes as a warm up and going back into alternate picking seems to “prime” the motion and it feels like everything is smoother.

It doesn’t though. If there’s a resistance problem it’s because the angle of the pick doesn’t match the motion being used.