Switching from wrist to elbow, am I really doing this right?

Hi there, greetings from Italy,

I’ve been playing guitar on and off for 30 years and I’ve never been able to get passed 110 bpm 16ths (and that’s on a single string) using a wrist motion in a De-Meolaish fashion. Always started licks and scales on a downstroke no matter what.

I came across CTC through the amazing Uncle Ben Eller, saw the CTC series and by the end I had decided I was a DWPS wrist. Then I went through the primer a couple of times, and one month later I’ve realized I’m quite the opposite, an Elbow DSX although I’m pretty sure there are some helper motions there.

I’m trying to build up my speed and apparently I’m slowly succeeding - I’ve started some chunking to get thing improving especially on the left hand which is having a very bad time keeping up - but would be glad to have any input from the forum as to there being something wrong with the basic right hand movement. I don’t want to bring any more bad habits onwards.

I seem to have more issues ascending rather than descending; descending I click back a little and the dsx takes care of everything whereas ascending if I don’t consciously increase my supination, and maybe edge pick a little harder on the wound strings, my pick either gets stuck or flies above the next string.

Sometimes this happens since my motion is not very precise and too much of the pick hits the stings, not only the tip, thereby slowing me down… or stopping me altogether.

Lastly, the beginning of my lines is usually a problem, 9 time out of 10 either the amount of edge, strength, pick height, etc. is off, so they sound terrible and it usually takes me at least a half a bar of music to get things synced up. Anyone have any tips on how to practice this ?

Thanks in advance for any input, its greatly appreciated!

Front View

Front Tremolo


Scales slow-mo

Scales with forearm

Reverting to old habits

Not sure if you want to keep developing your wrist motion as well, but based on your videos, your hand isn’t really anchored to the guitar at all (either at the palm or a finger). If you were to anchor I’m sure you’d feel better with the motion and have an increase in speed once you get accustomed to it.


I agree with @Pepepicks66. You’ll get better depth control with some type of anchor. If you pronate just a little it may give you some light contact with the bass strings and also help with that depth control.

Have you watched the Bill Hall interview yet? He’s an awesome elbow player (though he’s good at lots of other things too, it turns out :slight_smile: ). You may get some good ideas from taking a look at his contact points/grip etc.

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thanks for the input guys, its greatly appreciated!
When i looked at the primer and saw the great vinnie moore, I tried grazing the guitar body with the pinky but it felt really awkward; my hand felt overly loose. Next I tried palm, dave grier style but this caused me to push on the strings and my hand would kind of stick, making string changes harder.
I’ll thoroughly check out the bill hall interview, I’ve seen some of his posts on the forum and he has great elbow technique in the vinnie moore style. Thanks again for the input, I’ll post updates after a bit of practicing😉

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Hey @edoardos74!

Based on your clips, I’d recommend to develop your elbow “front tremolo” further. That’s by far the most promising picking motion among your examples shown here.

You probably already know this, but elbow motion is usually DSX (downstroke escape). This means you can get started with some licks that exclusively change strings after a downstroke. You can probably find loads of example by just searching “DSX” on our forum search bar.

Let me know how it goes and if anything is not clear feel free to ask! :slight_smile: :+1:

Hi @tommo , thanks for your input! I’m definitely going for elbow dsx and progressing daily! I’ll check out the forum for some more licks!
As suggested by @Pepepicks66 and @joebegly I’m trying to stop my arm from hovering, and picking some kind of anchoring; I checked out the Bill Hall interview (btw, wow!) and tried the pinky anchor, then fanning out my index, ring and pinky, Vinnie Moore style, but neither Worked as I felt excess softness and tension respectively.
On the other hand, anchoring the base of my thumb definitely feels better up to the A string, the Low E I currently can’t anchor and I revert to hover-mode.
My DSX seems to work like a breeze when descending, whereas ascending I’m working on making the last downstroke longer and progressively supinating slightly (I kind of pronate when descending) to get the pick over the higher string while maintaining a shallow escape! I hope to get to some 3nps patterns with a helper and some Vinnie Moore pivoting licks soon😉
Thanks again to all for the input!