So I’ve had a bit of a revelation that
i) My right hand alternate picking was slow.
I didn’t realise it was a real limitation in my playing until I noticed that I struggled to do tremolo picking 16th notes above 175bpm, which from reading a bit here should be effortless.
ii) This is because my wrist movement is entirely based on ulnar and radial deviation and this is a slow movement on its own.
To get faster I have to add some pronation and supination movements and combine the two together. I can feel that it will give an enormous boost but I have to work on relearning my technique.
How would you go about it ? My current technique gives me good control of muting and of switching slanting and sweeping so I will have to rebuild it all up with the right movement.
For now I’m focusing on trying to get the movement right and controlled on single string tremolo.
I’m wondering if I should stop playing anything else altogether while I do this so I don’t interfere with learning the new movement ?
I don’t know if it would help you, but it helped me with new technique (DWPS).
I tried to do movements that are very very different from my natural playing. Basically I changed my grip and put my hand in such position that it was hard for me to use my old movements. Though it was quite exxagerated position, after couple of weeks I returned to more natural position and I still had that ‘new’ movement.
Thanks for the reply, it’s not slow per se but I still feel it’s too slow to be reaching the speed limit of a basic movement.
If I do some funk 32nd mutes chord strumming I naturally use some pronation and supination and it feels more natural and less effortful.
And going through videos don’t think any of the fast pickers including @Troy use deviation only so there is something to it.
I disagree that wrist deviation is slower than other movements. I don’t find that to be the case, and Troy has mentioned several times that all of the individual motions (except elbow) are approximately equal in speed potential. My deviation mechanic is both faster and cleaner than my blended deviation/rotation mechanic. Both of those are faster and cleaner than my rotation-only mechanic. All of them feel pretty clean and easy up to about 170-180 bpm. None of them go faster than that effortlessly.
I also disagree that there are no fast deviation-only players. I remember Troy pointing out several of them, but I can’t remember who they are. Maybe @Troy or someone else can fill in the gaps in my memory.
But 175 bpm 16ths is pretty fast, as @shabtronic says. So maybe you’re actually looking for hyperspeeds. If so, it’s unlikely that rotation will get you there, at least based on reading other people’s progress reports. The only mechanic that I’ve read about being faster than the rest is the elbow-based ‘spasm’ mechanic often discussed here. I don’t use it (it requires a lot of tension in the arm, and I need my form to be as relaxed as possible), but it might be something you want to explore in the search box if hyperpicking is what you’re after.
All that said, I did at one point teach myself pure rotation, and came up with a method to teach it to myself. I described it here. Let me know if you want any more detail. I will say that at first it felt more effortless than deviation, but eventually I refined the deviation approach until it was just as effortless, and I prefer the tone and clarity I get from deviation to either rotation or the blended approach.
My guess is that you would want to start out with a pure rotation mechanic until it’s stabilized and doesn’t randomly revert back to wrist. Once that stops happening, the motion isolation is permanent (at least it was for me), and you can start dialing in appropriate amounts of rotation and deviation until you optimize it.
Our best advice has always been to try every motion you can, and use whatever works. I know we tend to present things in this compartmentalized way that this is movement A, and this is movement B, but you should really just take these as very general helpful hints to follow in simply finding something — anything — that feels smooth and works. In the real world, things are often a mish mash and after a certain point, it’s sort of academic to try and work out exactly which movements are happening. Simply being aware of what the big joints are, how they work, and very generally when you’re engaging them, can eliminate a lot of the confusion about why your technique feels different from day to day.
I wouldn’t worry about which motions are faster. They’re all fast enough to easily get into the mid to high 100s tempo wise, and that’s where most music happens.
And also, keep in mind that “deviation” and “wrist motion” aren’t always the same thing. John McLaughlin is a textbook example of what a wrist player looks like, and here he is going well over 200bpm with only wrist motion:
But the motion he’s using here is a blend of deviation and flexion/extension. If you use an EVH-style pick grip and play these same lines with only wrist motion, you’ll be using even more flexion/extension than John. But you’ll still be a wrist player.
So don’t be afraid to try all these grips and see if some of these motions are easier for you:
I’d point out that your faster motion is a single-escape / aka “pickslanting” motion, but the slower notes in this clip are double escape, and it’s not clear if that’s the efficient kind of double escape motion that can also go fast, or the stringhoppy kind that tops out. Great players like Andy Wood exhibit the same tendency, where their slower form is double escape and possibly not even the efficient kind:
…while his faster form simplifies and becomes more obviously single-escape:
This doesn’t matter in Andy’s case because if you run through these clips “warp1”, “warp2”, and so on, you can see that he transitions smoothly and subconsciously to the straighter-line motion when speeding up. And if you ask him to play phrases that would actually require some other combination of motions beyond single escape, then he has ways of doing that too which aren’t always easy to describe in simple terms. If you watch clips like this one in slow motion, for example, you’ll see all sorts of combinations, as some of his motions appear single-escape, and some appear double:
So he gets it done, one way or another! Where this becomes problematic is when we see clips of players who haven’t learned the single-escape motion at all, and don’t make the transition. These are the players who complain of a speed limit, and nine times out of ten, when we look at their playing, what we see is the double escape motion that never transitions.
So you’ve passed that hurdle and again this looks fine. If you feel like some aspect of smoothness or speed is still missing, and you’d like to experiment with other motions, I’d recommend extending the fingers and in your grip and allowing them to graze the guitar body. If you try to execute the exact same motion you’re doing here, you may find that this alteration subconcsiously triggers more forearm activation, and feels a little different. If you want to try and do this consciously, you can deliberately give some of these a try:
Otherwise, I’d move right along to playing longer, single-escape musical phrases that utilize the motion you’re using here because it seems to be working as intended. I wouldn’t worry at all about hitting super high upper limit speeds because you’ve already passed the glass ceiling (i.e. the transition from stringhopping) that stops most people.
Thanks a lot @Troy this is really helpful !
Yes I did notice while filming that I switch technique for the faster stuff. I was definitely a string hopper at some point in the past and I think one way or another had already learned DWPS before finding “Cracking the code” but wasn’t conscious of it and therefore not able to use it consistently to my advantage.
Also, your video on using more supination and trying different movements was really useful - I noticed that switching to a trigger grip instantly gave me more speed and feels more controlled and less effort than my fingertip grip that you can see in the video.
So that’s a great result !!
I will try extendind my fingers as well.