Questions on learning core motion

I’m hoping you can clarify some confusion I have regarding repetitive practice vs finding the right motion mechanic (s). I believe it’s clear that your focus is finding the right motion mechanic vs endless hours of repetitive practice in order to start to develop picking mastery.

Some on the forum have taken this to mean, that you feel exercises are pointless unless the motion mechanic is in place first. Is this correct? I’ve always understood from your materials (volcano, ps primer), that we should utilize musical, diatonic examples, as opposed to mindless chromatics. But not that repetition itself was unproductive.

Also, I need some guidance regarding hand synchronization. I manage decent tremolo picking speeds with my right hand, and my left hand has a good amount of facility, however i’m still struggling to get consistent speed when working with both hands on single string exercises.

I get the chunking concept, and I’ve been applying it, but it just feels as though my left hand fingering, (esp. middle and ring) are constantly stumbling around, either too fast/too late to the party. What should i be focusing on here? Is there any way I can address this, and start getting my hands to work together better?

In Episode 3 of CTC, you allude to a 4n descending pattern that you practiced that helped “speed up” the LH. Was this earlier in your development, prior to the “pop tarts moment”. Any help would be appreciated here, as I just want to be sure I’m focusing my time in the right place.


Not sure what you mean by exercises, but finger patterns that aren’t part of a cool lick are kind of boring to me. But they may not be boring to you. I think everyone should play what they like to play. If it excites you, then you’ll be amped up to do it. That’s all that matters.

Yes, your motion should be working. If you can’t pick smoothly at least on a single note then you can’t play anything, so I don’t see how you can skip that step. But I’m not saying you have to be a master with the world’s greatest-sounding tremolo that you can do non-stop for minutes at a time. You just have to have a motion that’s not speed-limited and tensiony, so that you can use it to play stuff and start to get both hands working together.

For the rest of what you’re asking, what does your technique look like now? Do you know which motion type you’re using, and which joint you’re using to generate that motion? A quick read through of the most recent Primer stuff we’ve added might be helpful as a big picture type overview. Lots of cool examples here. We’ve tried to make this as easy to follow as possible:

If you want to link to a few YouTube clips of what your motion looks like we’d be happy to take a look. A single note on a single string is always a good baseline example. Then a two-hands example where you’re trying to do a simple synchronization challenge, like the Yngwie six-note example. That should reveal whatever the hand synchronization issue is you’re referring to.

Here are some general tips of filming your playing if you want to go that route:

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Thanks, understood
I’m a dwps, using wrist solely

Maybe if you could shed some light on
The finer points of LH/ RH synchronization

I really appreciate your time thx 4 the help

I don’t know that there are any “fine points”. Are you sure you have a hand synchronization problem? What actually happens when you try to play a synchronized line, does it drift or does the first finger always line up correctly with the first pickstroke? Because those aren’t the same problem.

This is why I’m suggesting you post a clip. Otherwise we’re speaking in very vague terms that may or may not have anything to do with what you’re actually experiencing.

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Ok, I’ll upload some vids later today.,

Here are some clips, the 6nps pattern, single string and moving across the strings.

I appreciate the help.


Synchronization seems generally fine to me.

Is this your top picking speed though? What does a maxed out tremolo on an open string (no left hand) look like? Would love to see since I have a feeling your holding back your speed for the sake of synchronization. I have been guilty of that a lot as well. It’s natural to not want to sound sloppy.

The problem with the speed your playing at in the videos is that your not really chunking at this point. Your actually actively playing each note individually. Or at least i seem that way. For chunking to work you need to try out the licks at higher speed and feel the notes as units of six (or whatever amount of notes in the chunk) with an accent on the first note.

It’s just like saying a word. If you do it at normal (fast) speed, the word is a chunk and you don’t think about the individual letters. All the letters come of although you just think “one word”. But saying the word slowly makes you have ti think of every individual letter, and that can sometimes even get harder to do.


I feel like, progression wise, I’m 1 step ahead of where you are at. I felt exactly the same way and I’m now starting to notice changes in my playing. I think of the good technique as more of muscle work out. There are muscles in your hands/arms that you aren’t using when you are picking one way vs another. So I’m concentrating on upward escape motion for yngwie style licks. (I’m normally a double escape arc type string bouncer). I’m now training the muscles in my arm to use the up escape. And muscle training takes time. I’m seeing speed and consistency changes more than the technique right now but enough to notice my practice is working. I also struggle with hand sync very badly. And I’m seeing that improve the more I play, probably because I’m not thinking as much about my picking hand too. You do need to find some licks to practice that don’t feel like work. I’m currently using randy Rhodes warm ups I found in google. I idolize that man so I’ll play anything he played. Keep checking through forum and you’ll pick up on little bits that’ll keep you going. It’s a slow process. And I feel it’s working

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@Troy and I recently had a discussion about the danger of equating guitar practice with gym training.

To get a fast picking motion going, we don’t think any muscular training is really necessary. It’s more about figuring out what movements you need to make. When you hit upon something that works, it should work instantly. Ok, maybe a bit sloppy, but you should get some decent speed straight away (let’s say even just tremoloing on a single note) - something like 150bpm 16th notes or so.

So we’d recommend not to try and “push through the burn” if if you feel like you are hitting a speed bump much earlier than that speed - rather look for different motions your hand / arm can make to get a faster picking motion going. Trying different pick grips can also help to add variety and stumble upon something “new” that works.

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@tommo I think of it more as muscle memory training than muscle gym guy. My arm still naturally wants to default to lazy sloppy picking.

Right. If there’s a “training” aspect to this, we think it’s probably more neuro-muscular than strictly muscular. Meaning, it’s probably not that your muscles need to be physically stronger or better at processing oxygen for endurance. The ability to do a picking motion for longer periods of time while still maintaining smoothness probably has more to do — we think — with the motor system sending the right signals to only the muscles that are involved, and sending them in a consistent way where the pattern is uniform and smooth.

So although it may still require some type of training to make this stuff work, we don’t really think it’s the kind of thing were you’re trying to create physical exhaustion to spur hypertrophy, or increase aerobic capacity, and so on. We don’t think it’s athletic in that way.

Any advice on the clips? I wanted to demonstrate my basic picking mechanic…

Let me if you can tell enough from what’s here or if I should try a different approach.


Hey @NCASO true sorry! We were digressing a bit from your technique critique thread.

I think @qwertygitarr hit the nail on the head! This all sounds good, and it looks like you have a good upstroke escape going on, but it would be interesting to see how things look when you speed it up a little. As usual something around 150bpm 16th notes or equivalent would give you definite proof that you are not atringhopping!

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Here is some “tremoloing” @ around 150-160

If I a tried to play a 16 sequence at that speed 8t usually falls apart around 125-130

Cool you are definitely not hopping :slight_smile:

The next step would be to combine this with some of the patterns you were playing before, at this higher speed.

I am not 100% sure looking from this angle, but I’d guess you are still doing USX motion so it should all work!

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Thanks tommo, my dilemma is marrying the hands at the higher speeds. About 130 is my max and then my fingers don’t keep up