I have consulted doctors. I have developed some arthritis in the wrist: erosion of cartilage at the base of the thumb. There may also be some repetitive stress soft-tissue injury going. The docs can’t tell me because they can’t analyze my picking motion.
My default grip is a loose trigger, with the Big Stubby pick held over side of the last index finger joint. I’ll rest the hand on the strings if I need to palm mute, but over the past several years tended to let the hand float freely over the strings. Just where, between neck and bridge, depends on the sound I’m going for. My pick angle and hardness of grip also depends on the desired effect. The amount of supination varies with the guitar: I play jazz boxes, flat tops, 335s, strats, LPs and Ibanezes. I also play a Dingwall 5-string bass, often with a pick, and some effects require a tight grip and a hard hit. I’ve experimented with all three escape directions but haven’t settled on one. I’m fascinated by both the Morse and Batio double-escape methods. Morse’s seems more flexible; Batio seems (and I may be wrong about this) limited to three-note-per-string passages. Both Morse and Batio use hand positions quite alien to me. I don’t think palm muting is possible with either.
I suspect one problem is using too much radial deviation, causing pain in upstrokes. Another may be too much emphasis on wrist movement. I’ve never been able to figure out how to apply Paul Gilbert’s turn-of-the-key movement. I’ve also always avoided using the elbow much because (1) I thought it was “wrong” and (2) I’ve been afraid that short, fast, repetitive motions in my elbow would cause injury. Maybe I need to bring more elbow and forearm in to relieve the wrist strain. I’ve worked with Roy Buchanan/Steve Vai thumb-and-index movement, but can’t get that movement to cover more than two strings and I can’t get my elbow or wrist to cover more territory while doing the thumb/index thing.
In any event, I need to modify my motion(s) in a way that (1) reduces stress, pain, and injury; (2) lets me perform with the different forms of attack my style(s) call for (which range from SRV “snap” to mutola, to Clapton/Carlton finesse; to bluegrass), (3) lets me play fast passages of 1-4 notes per string smoothly as well as arpeggios; and (4) lets me do this without pre-planning passages. My usual role is to be invited to sit in to make everyone and the ensemble as a whole sound better, and that requires improvisation. (Gambale’s economy picking seems to require too much pre-planning. But I haven’t practiced it much.)
So, that’s where things stand. Suggestions would be much appreciated.