My metal picking technique

I’ve always had problems breaking through the strings when playing the guitar, so a friend told me to try this death metal riff as a test. So far, my thumb knuckle seems to jut in and out when I play, and I can’t seem to find any other way to play without getting stuck on the strings.

Here are two views of my right hand. Hopefully you can shed some light on what I’m doing wrong. I’m trying to edge pick, but it doesn’t seem to be helping that much. EDIT: I should mention that the main issue is the feeling of a lot of friction when I try to go through all the strings. I know it’s not an issue with the guitar because my friend was able to play this riff on it, and he through the strings like butter, with near-faultless accuracy.

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Sounds good to me

Haha thanks, but it feels pretty terrible - lots of friction, and you can hear a lot of inconsistency with the amount of strings being hit.

I see.
What about tremolo on lowest (thickest) strings? Can you do it effortlessly?

Not at all! It’s even feels resistant when I elbow pick, although a little less so

Here’s a vid of me trying to tremolo. It’s not completely unsuccessful, but it’s much easier just to strum an octave. There’s even a friction on the high e string.

I believe there’re some approaches that could help, but it’s hard to explain in words without video and I’m still at my job…
I hope forum members would suggest some ideas.

Take your time, I’ve been trying to pick comfortably for a decade now, another few hours/days won’t hurt

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For people who can do this successfully: Does it feel like strumming? I have no real issues with strumming and if that it a reference point it’d be helpful

Couple of question just to clear something.

You said you tried edge picking. It’s hard to see pick in these videos but I have some feeling that you don’t use it much though you use large ‘leaning angle’ as I see.

Do you always play without distortion? It’s not a good idea. Basically if you practicing distorted riffs you must play them with a distortion. I know they say ‘You must practice with clean tone even if you’re a metal band guitaris!’… yeah, and then relearn, because you can’t do palm muting properly, your left hand muting sucks, your fingers lifting are actually pull-offs, and your pick’s making wonderful noise of foam plastic scraping asphalt. I know it for sure, I’d been playing acoustic for years, and I’m still struggling with all that high-gain stuff…
Most metal/rock people start with a hell of a gain, and then when their playing technique improves they decrease the gain.
It also will allow you to pick string with less force, which is what you need.

What’s a leaning angle?

I did try it distorted before, I just sent it through clean so you could hear that I wasn’t hitting all the strings correctly. Had the same problem

kinda like this


Oh I see, didn’t even know I was leaning! I think this only happens occasionally. Is it desirable?

It’s kinda tough to tell from the video what your ‘escape’ technique is for getting above string level. Do you know if you are escaping on the Upstroke or Downstroke?

I’m a bit unsure what you mean here, sorry. I’m not really trying to get above string level because there are no strings to avoid.

For me there’re basically two main approaches to beat stings resistance.

First: you change your grip in such manner that a pick can bent up and down a little. So when you do a downstroke you push a string and string pushes your pick. Pick ‘bents’ and then slip off. If you do this correctly your pick woud tend to stop at next string (rest stroke). I call this “Troy’s picking” ))

Second: use movement more or less perpendicular to strings. It reqiures edge picking btw. To get the idea try to pick in opposite direction. Here’s my wonderful CG…

You can use fingers or wrist, it doesn’t matter. What matters is to keep hand relaxed like totally relaxed. Once you get the idea you can combine this movement and your usual movement.

I’ll try to shoot a video when I get home the day after tomorrow.

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Interesting! I always thought the pick should bend a bit when hitting the strings, but a few other board members and even Troy himself said that it didn’t really make a difference (but I know what you mean, I have seen the pick bend in Troy’s hand before)

For some it doesn’t matter, for others it does. People are different and even when we try to do the same thing we may struggle because of different problems. For me it was that stone solid grip I had. I spent a year trying to do the simplest picking which almost everyone could do (‘classical’ Troy’s approach) and it didn’t work. Then one evening of experimenting with ‘bendy’ grip and - boom - I got it.
On the other hand many people can’t do fast one string elbow tremolo which I do unconsiously and I don’t understand how somebody can’t do it…
People are different.

Since you are struggling with string resistance I suspect that your grip is as solid as mine. And strings don’t like it. So you whether let your pick ‘play’ or choose more tricky trajectory.
There’s also good old ‘use the very tip of a pick’ approach btw but it doesn’t work well with sick chuggy metal riffs

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Experimenting with it again and yes, I would say that it’s working well for me. I’m also holding the pick at the tip of my thumb so it’s easier to edge pick. I’m still getting used to edge picking. I notice that Martin Miller, Andy Wood, Mike Stern, Olli Soikkeli and Joscho Stephan all have that bend you speak of. Kinda wish I just trusted my instincts now, but watching all these players back, it’s reassuring to know that a lot, perhaps even most, pros do it a bit, probably subconsciously

Sorry, I couldn’t tell from your video, I thought you were trying to skip over a string, but apparently you weren’t.