I’m holding the pick correctly. I’m using not just my wrist back and forth but I’m also using forearm rotation. And I’m still not smooth going through the string on both the downstroke and upstroke. I cannot figure out why the upstroke sounds rough!
Even when I play just an open string kind of like tremolo picking it does not sound right. It is unsmooth. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.
Can you take a picture? There are lots of different ways to hold a pick, and depending on your technique, you might be holding it “correctly” but in a way incompatible with your playing technique.
Can you post an up-close video of you alternate picking with the roughness you’re speaking of, ideally with different speeds and angles? My first inclination is that you’re holding the pick pointed neutral or “back” too much, making the upstrokes snag more.
I think we need a closer video to get an idea of what the pick is doing but… I would spend a bit of time tremolo picking and experimenting with different grips, angles and wrist and elbow motions to see if you can find one that feels ‘good’. You should know when you find it because it will just work and feel comfortable.
I’ve been playing for 30 odd years and I’ve recently been analysing my picking motions and experimenting with different things to see if I can find some improvements. For me anything that isn’t wrist outside picking reverts my picking abilities to that of a baby. It’s really bad, I can sweep both ways and swipe it seems, but if I try to use my elbow or forearm rotation or change the grip or just try alternate inside picking I’m completely useless.
This is how it’s always been and I remember all those years ago trying similar things, although I didn’t understand the motions and joints in use, but when I found the thing that worked it just clicked.
Some things take time to develop like escape motions and sweeping but finding the motion that you can tremolo pick with is the first step and the biggest one really.
Like @SlyVai said, don’t even worry about the fretting hand when it comes to this. Just hit a single note, open string or fretted doesn’t matter, and work on your picking hand (one thing I would vary is which string, as that will likely affect your technique to some degree).
To be honest, it looks like your fretting hand has some issues as well, mainly you seem to be shifting your fingers too much between notes (instead of keeping your fingers more or less “floating” above the fret you just played). It would help if you work on these two things separately for now.
Here’s a link to some pictures of what I mean by “pick point”:
I’m going to disagree with the crowd here and say forget your picking hand for now, or rather trying to play fast with it, and work on your fretting hand and synchronization. It needs work, and is more important than just the speed of your picking hand in the grand scheme of things.
Why? Well you can be an awesome player with a great fretting hand and a so so picking hand, there’s lots of cool things you can do with just the fretting hand alone, but the opposite is never true - a good picking hand and a bad fretting hand always sounds bad.
tension, coordination, and hand position is likely causing the excess reflex. I would honestly try spending some of your practice time working on left hand only legato and hand sync. I wouldn’t even worry about speed right now.
You can get this. So one exercise you could try is to legato (hammer on and pull off ) the lick. Start slow and get that happening. Also I would suggest don’t loop the lick at first. Just play the lick once (e.g. below) and stop. Until you get it. Then introduce the picking.
Have you tried simply temolo picking as fast as you can on one string? Without the fretting hand, pick a string, say g for example as it’s right in the middle. Can you play at about 150bpm 16th notes?
The tempo you are playing at in the video isn’t fast enough to tell if it’s a motion that can work fast.
Yes. I had all sorts of problems until I went through it from start to finish.
Starting with speed is very important to know whether the motion is correct or not. Approximately 150bpm is fast enough that you won’t be string hopping etc.
I think to have a better understanding of what you need to do, you should take the time to go through it all.