Should I abandon wrist motion and go for elbow?

Hello, everyone!

It’s my first post on the forum, and if it’s not too rude of me to immediately start with a request for help, I’d appreciate some feedback from you regarding my right hand technique.

Specifically, with a feeling of tension, or fighting a physical limit, whenever I have to play something moderately fast. I don’t want to jump to conclusions and just assume it’s a string hopping issue, but is it? That’s what it looks like to me, especially towards the end, when I play a sequence of notes on the bottom E.

Besides that, I don’t seem to be able to tremolo pick with any wrist motion to save my life. With elbow I kind of do, but then changing strings becomes the problem. Don’t know what issue would be easier to solve. Learning how to move with more fluidity with the wrist, or learning how to control elbow motions for good tone and precision…

All help is appreciated :slight_smile:

I am not qualified to review your video, but I can say that you should not expect instant improvement, and you should not abandon wrist and suddenly switch to elbow, but use both and find your way to what best works for you. Hopefully somebody else here will give you a good analysis!

If I remember correctly, you can’t do USX motion (pick escaping above the plane of the strings on the upstroke) with using only the elbow, you need wrist deviation (or forearm rotation) for it.

I agree with both of you. It, it will take time for sure, and I wouldn’t exclude all wrist movement. I’m just wondering if I should start using elbow, basically just for faster runs, given that it is my fastest movement on a single string (although it’s sloppy and feels clumsy). I’m trying to find out if insisting with wrist deviation for faster playing is actually going against what I suppose could be my natural predispositions (elbow).

Hi Pedro — thanks for posting. In general this clip sounds great and is perfectly played. So if you’re trying to show us something that’s not working, you’re doing a bad job! :slight_smile:

Kidding aside, I assume you’re referring to is your alternate picking motion. This clip is mostly economy so there’s not much to see here. If you get a moment, try this again and just play a single note on a single string at a couple different speeds - slow, medium, and fast. That will give us a much better idea of what’s going on with your alternate picking motion.

Your form looks nice, but it’s tough to tell if you have limitation with alt-picking from this clip.

If you absolutely have hit a brick wall with speed, then I do think its a good idea to explore the different mechanics… but not necessarily abandon your wrist movement. In the end, you could vary well benefit from a compound movement that uses both wrist and elbow. Spend some time trying all the mechanics… you’d be surprised what little things you can add to your arsenal.

Hey guys!

Sorry for not replying earlier. My phone was very uncooperative, so I had to find another solution for filming. Hopefully, this new clip will will be more useful :slight_smile:

So, after watching the new clip, I got the impression that the faster I try to pick, the more I tend to have a V shape pick trajectory, which I’ve learned is very inefficient. The tremolo example seems more fluid, but feels very different and cumbersome if I try to switch strings.

Thanks for posting the update. Correct, you’re still stringhopping the USX wrist motion, but the elbow motion looks good. IT is DSX and it is efficient. Regarding switching strings, you can check out some of Bill Hall’s awesome posts right here on the forum to see how this looks when you use it as your core picking motion. It definitely does work and can be done smoothly and gracefully. To start with, try to choose phrases where the final note on each string is a downstroke. That will fit best with your elbow technique.

Another thing you can try is to do wrist motion with the exact same form as your elbow technique. DSX wrist motion is very similar to DSX elbow motion because they create the same type of pickstroke / motion path, so try that instead of USX.

The more of these you get, and learn to use for musical purposes, the easier it becomes to learn new ones. You have some good options here already - keep experimenting!

Thank you so much for such a detailed reply, Troy. It means a lot to me! And I will follow your suggestions! :smiley: