(The?) Solution for the problem of inside and alternate picking in general

@Troy @tommo @Brendan @Adam
Hello everyone,

In short:
Try not to flex the wrist, regardless of alternate picking type (inside or outside picking). Instead try wrist extension.

As you probably know most of us pickers have an issue with alternate picking, inside picking in particular or at least I have struggled with it for long. In detail while continuously inside picking a pair of remote or even adjacent strings we are able either to pick cleanly but slowly or fast but sloppy (unintended „hit“ the wrong string(s)). That happens because of „string hopping“. String hopping in turn occurs because of wrist flexion while rotating the forearm. Wrist flexion works only for outside picking!

Now, what if wrist flexion is desgarded completely and the wrist is kept extended at a constant angle while rotating the wrist? E.g.
A very small angle a for the strings e and B,
A bit larger angle b for the strings e and G,
… e and E.
You get the idea.

Works for me. I‘m curious to know if it does work for you too. :smiley:

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This is exactly what I’m working on / trying to deal with

Hey @fli13 ! I think it all depends on what motions the player is using.

In your case, if you have a way to film a few short examples demonstrating these approaches it would be very interesting! :ok_hand:

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Yes please some footage would be great to see, maybe regular speed and slo mo?

The solution depends on the joints used to pick, grip and form. So there won’t be a one size fits all. As @tommo suggested, best to post a video to get the answers specific to how you are picking :grin:

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Apologies if I’m misunderstanding, as I am famously dense. If you do any type of alternate picking motion, and the wrist flexes at one point in that motion, it has to extend at some other point to get back to where it was. There’s no way to only do flexion or only do extension, since the motion would never repeat.

Also, not all picking motions involve rotating the forearm. For example, Albert Lee and Steve Morse do not use forearm rotation in their techniques, despite being very good at all kinds of inside / outside picking combinations.

There could certainly be a kernel of something in what you’re noticing that applies to certain technqiues at certain times though. As others have noted, video is the way!

I guess you are right, there are many ways to overcome this problem, not just one. Depending on motion type, grip, posture…
I try not to flex at all, keeping the wrist fixed at a certain/steady angle. For adjacent strings almost no angle and for the e and E strings the maximum angle.
Sorry, it‘s my first Video upload ever: Inside picking string skipping with wrist extended - YouTube

At these speeds, many guitar players use techniques that won’t work at fast playing speeds, of 16th notes at 120-130 bpm or higher. Troy has many videos about “stringhopping” detailing why technique at this speed may not necessarily translate to the faster speeds. It sounds like you’re playing 8th notes at 115ish bpm, so even if you double the speed of your current video, many guitar players would still be able to play that passage with inefficient technique that still wouldn’t translate to fast speeds. Would you be able to play inside picked string skips at 16th notes at 140 bpm, even if it’s sloppy, with it still being equally easy?


Here’s an example, playing a lick that has one-note-per-string inside picking and inside string skipping-- I don’t really play these sort of ideas, as you can probably hear, but I managed a clean repitition on the last one, and it felt very fast and smooth. I feel that I could clean it up easily, despite it being sloppy today. In my experience and from what many others have said, a movement that feels easy at slow speeds probably can’t be played very quickly, but a sloppy movement at high speed can be cleaned up.

My personal technique for three-note-per-string playing, which uses similar technique to this, is to take a standard pick grip (the flat pad of my thumb and the side of my index finger), placing my wrist close to flat on the bridge (maybe turning my palm towards the ceiling a little bit so that my forearm can wiggle around if it wants to), and focusing on making a movement that feels smooth, fast, and (most importantly) easy. With this hand position, I can easily do tremolo picking that escapes the plane of the string on both downstrokes and upstrokes. I try to accent the note on the thinner string, which I think helps me mentally make sure the pick flicks out of the plane of the strings, so that it doesn’t smack into the string I’m skipping.

This may be outside of the scope of this thread, but for anyone else following along, I only alternate pick and can do mixed escapes, but unlike most mixed escape players when I do tremolo or single escape licks I default to upstroke escapes. Even when I do pure downstroke escape ideas, like 3nps-6nps-6nps-6nps, I (think I) play them with upstroke escape motion and use a helper motion to escape on the otherwise-trapped downstroke, which I might also swipe. Besides (I believe) Albert Lee, are there any other players with similar mechanics to mine?