Yes wrist players often find there is some elbow when they speed up. Andy Wood talks about this in our first interview with him. You can do wrist only, you can do elbow-wrist, and you can elbow only. Whatever works, I wouldn’t worry about it unless there is a problem.
A few videos back with the two-string sixes thing, I notice that you’re not really playing along with the click at various points, and by the end, after the slow motion bit, you’re no longer picking three notes on the top string. You’re just doing a downstroke, followed by an upstroke that may or may not be picking a note, I can’t tell. You can see this if you put the YT player itself into slow motion.
This may not be true for everyone, but I really don’t like metronomes for learning an unfamiliar motion. I find it super distracting. What you’re trying to do is recognize, by feel, that you are making the intended motions. And you don’t know yet what that feels like because you’ve never done it. Or you’ve never done it consistently. This is how moments like the end of that clip happen. Presumably, if you could tell you were doing that, you wouldn’t do it. Same here. I’d always choose to play correctly if I could!
So if trying to meet an external tangential requirement, like listening to and matching a specific tempo, distracts from trying to really feel the motions, then I’d rather set that aside for a moment. Also, keep in mind that the speeds I may choose to play at are determined by the results, not the other way around. So if I think, ok, let’s slow down gradually until it feels and sounds cleaner, or let’s go faster until it feels or sounds sloppy, I don’t even know what those tempos would even be before I try. Again, take this with a grain of salt, this is just my approach.
Just to be clear, I think being synchronized and even at whatever tempo you choose is super helpful, even if you don’t know numerically what that tempo is. Imagining your motions as a chunk, with a specific pickstroke at the beginning, can help lock the hands. You can choose a different pickstroke as the landmark. You can even start the phrase on those other notes to make sure they’re not going missing or dropping out. That could be a useful approach for the sixes issue, for example.
Even for something like tremolo, I find that I do those in chunks anyway, where the first note is actually a little louder or bigger than the others. This helps me go fast. If I just think “downstroke” [ignore middle notes ] “downstroke” [ignore middle notes ], etc. I feel like it’s easier to hear that and to know if I’m really going any faster, or just playing alongside (but not with) an external click source. Meaning, a tremolo just sounds like a blur of sound. Giving the landmark a little accent helps me differentiate. Brendon Small talks about this in our latest interview as well, and shows the accents, even for tremolo playing.
Just some thoughts. Again, take this with a grain of salt because we haven’t tested the metronome stuff in any kind of formal way to find out who is really being helped by it, and what they are doing to be helped by it. I don’t think it’s a given that what I’m doing is the best approach, nor do I think it’s a given that a metronome is some kind of mandatory thing. Everything bears testing, if we can.