My video where I try to play the Gilbert lick

Hi all,
here my video where I try to play the Gilbert lick (I guess it is named that way…) with my natural UWPS (that should be fine with this lick…) but I sound very sloppy and not in time. I am not sure it is because of my picking or my left hand not synchronized with the picking hand…
Here is the video:

What do you think?
I would really appreciate your help and support!


Thanks for posting Mau!

I see two completely different picking motions in this clip, and the first one (the one-string tremolo) seems quite efficient and fast! However, when you begin the Gilbert pattern you switch to a new picking trajectory that looks more wavy, (and perhaps less efficient?)

One possibility is for you to try and use the tremolo picking setup for the Gilbert lick, without worrying too much about perfect hand sync or about being precise when changing strings. Let us know how that goes :slight_smile:


Thank you Tommo! In any case the sound is sloppy so there is no reason for not giving it a try! I will let you know…
Regarding my my picking slanting, should I keep the UWPS or should I try to work also on DWPS? I think that when I try to be faster the tension increases and I tend to gravitate into UWPS while when I play at lower speed I can use without problem also the DWPS…
Another point is also the left hand that I think is not fully in synchronization with picking hand…

For the moment, I would suggest not to worry about DWPS/UWPS, but just try to use the motion you showed at the start of the video and see if you can use it to play some simple (but fast :slight_smile: ) musical phrases. Just to keep things simple and get your foot in the door of speedy playing!

As far as I can tell your tremolo picking is a downstroke escape motion, so it should work well across different strings when the last note on each string is a downstroke. We can test this straight away: instead of the PG lick, which has the “lone note” complication, why not try this sequence (or anything you like that only changes strings after downstrokes)

E-------5-6-8-5-6-8-------------        ------
B-5-6-8-------------5-6-8- then repeat: 5-6-8-etc.
  D U D U etc.

Indeed the hand sync is a separate challenge from the problem of changing strings. One thing that seemed to help people around here is to do some artificially strong accents on the first note (or each note that lands on the beat). For example, in the exercise above you could accent the first note in each group of 6.

For starters, it may be useful to focus on syncing only that note, allowing the ones in between to be a bit sloppy.

Again let us know how these things feel when you had a chance to try :slight_smile:

Today I will try and let you know, should I post another video?

Sure! Whenever you feel ready :+1:

I did as you suggested Tommo!
Here is the result, still sloppy and quite slow…

Is it what you meant?

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one simple trick with the Gilbert stuff is to pick as close to the bridge as is possible - it’ll sound like gash until u mess with ur eq/ compression and pick angle. Picking closer to the bridge will do two things:

  1. Better note continuity - because the strings move less and thus the initial note stoppage is much smaller in time.

  2. It’s much harder to dig the pick in deep - so string drag is a lot less.

Watch many Gilbert vids to see where he picks - it’s usually on or around the middle pickup for the fast stuff.

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Thank you Shabtronic, I will give it a try!

Hey Mau,

In this second clip it seems you are still using the more curved motion of your Gilbert lick of the first video (let’s call it Motion 2). For example, you may notice that your forearm is twisting and the pick is tracing a curved trajectory.

In contrast, in your fast tremolo picking of the first video (call it Motion 1) there is no visible arm twisiting and the picking path is more linear.

Do you feel the difference between the two? If so, you can try to play the last lick we discussed with Motion 1. Do not worry about accuracy / sync, you can even forget the fretting and play open strings if you want.

Edit: the objective I have in mind here is to experience the feeling of moving smoothly from string to string while picking fast.

Also, you can experiment without the metronome or set it to a speed where Motion 2 becomes impossible.

Let me know if that makes sense :slight_smile:

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Thank you Tommo, I feel the difference in the sense that with tremolo picking it is more stable, but this is because I am picking one single string, as soon as I start changing strings I have to move my hand to reach the next string and this perturbs my single string stability, so I have to find again the equilibrium…
It is really complicated to analyse all the mechanical elements that contribute to create speed and accuracy in our playing, Troy identified many things but you have to feel the flow and have clear the objective you want to reach…
I think a good analogy would be with ski, also in ski the posture and the movements can really make the difference in performance acquiring speed and control, but when you are skiing and you are approaching a curve you have to think where you want change trajectory to be more efficient and the movement is a consequence of it… the more efficient you become the more you reinforce the movement that made you efficient… but you are not thinking to the movements, you are thinking to be efficient and fast… I think the same applies to music and guitar… you have to think at what you want to play and try to do it at your best…
Unfortunately not all of us has the sensibility to feel what can makes you more efficient in your playing as not all of us has the sensibility to be more efficient in skiing…
Maybe I am not good to play fast… as I cannot sing Celin Dion songs (and I don’t care at all about that…)
Or do you think that anybody can play fast?

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It’s a difficult question in general, but based on your tremolo example you definitely have the ability to pick fast :+1: - it is now a matter of finding useful musical applications for this motion :slight_smile:

I think I see what you mean, another idea I can propose is this: try to make your tremolo picking motion bigger - roughly as big as twice the distance between strings (but try to keep it linear). If I am seeing things correctly what should happen is the following (suppose you tremolo on the B string):

  • upstrokes should get stuck (rest stroke) on the G string. Do not worry about it! When I do this I just let it happen and see the G string as a “friend” who is helping me to stop the pick & change its direction.
  • downstrokes should fly past the high E string

So in this scenario there would be no need to adjust anything - the picking motion itself has taken you past the high E, which you can now play with an upstroke! Try to resist the urge to reposition your arm as you start picking on the E, as both strings should be available to you with the same hand/arm position.

PS: I am terrible at skiing - I think I should refund my parents for the lessons they bought me as a kid :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile:

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Thank you Tommo, this is very motivating! :grin: :grin:

Wow this is very cool idea, never thought about it!.. I will try ASAP and let you know! :star_struck: :star_struck:

Never give up! If you can walk you can ski without any issue! :rofl:
Ciao and thanks!


@maio996, just an aside comment about using the metronome and referencing your first video - when you were doing your tremolo - you seemed to be playing 8 notes per click with accents on the click and then played the paul gilbert lick in triplets. Of course that isn’t wrong, but you might want try doing the tremolo at the same speed and feel as the lick you intend to play. I found it very useful when trying to ‘start with fast’ and making sure that you are using the mechanic that is fastest and smoothest for you…

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Your picking motion is similar to mine and many other elbow pickers. For what ever reason, we all seem to naturally be downstroke escape (or upward pick slanters). This plays perfectly with the Gilbert exercise. As others have said, your sync is off between your hands, that can be cleaned up with single string lines. The cross picking, try playing with the strings deadend. Just mute and use your right hand only. Start with triplet d u d, u stop. Just tri pa let uh. tri pa let uh. Using your elbow motion, you should be able to get that going really fast. Another way that I practice this lick, is to get a moving start. I start on the d string, 10 9 7 9 10, then 7 on the g string, then back down repeat. It seems to help.

Good point PickingApprentice!
I admit I have some issue counting at high speed… I think this is also part of the equation, be aware of what is going on on and being able to control it!

Thank you Shredhead7,
yes I definitively need to work more on left hand as well… great idea of working on mutes string, this help to hear better what is going on in my picking hand…
In reality it seems my right hand is more or less doing the job… maybe the issue is more on left hand… but I can play legato lines faster than picking… so I cannot justify it…
It really complicated to analyse alla these factors…
I think that for guitar nobody before Troy has ever analyzed the mechanics in detail, and all the schools, even the most famous like Berklee or MI and similar one in Europe (I studied in Paris for 2 years and I got a BA hons in UK), keep teaching always the same stuff… and the result is: either you find the way by yourself or you keep sucking at speed!!
I hope CTC could really help to solve the issue…

The good news is that you actually can pick very fast, if you’re going for speed. The greats, as we are finding out, play patterns that are comfortable for them, whether it’s incorporating a pull off or a hammer on, or two notes on one string, three on the next, etc. Build speed, which you already have in your right hand, is tying the left and right hand together. Rather than the Gilbert lick, practice more fundamentals. Play the John Petrucci exercises of chromatic 4 notes in a row on one string, 16 notes, accenting the down beat, then change strings, same fingering, same position. Ex: 12 13 14 15, 12 13 14 15 next string. It’s boring, but focus on right hand left hand. Then move to the Yngwie 6 note lick: 15 12 14 15 14 12. Getting your playing together on one string, then moving that to the next, will help. If your hands are together, you will sound faster, even at a slower speed.

Its easier said than done! for example I can tremolo 16th with accents easily, but I find it so much harder to do the same thing accenting 6 notes! Aaaarreghh!!!