Tremolo Picking Question

I think normally I play with an Upstroke Escape but this is much harder when tremolo picking. Usually to get clean fast trem picking, I need to pronate the wrist and have a downward escape. Is this normal?

Probably normal depending on the main mechanic you’re using. When you normally play and have your upstroke escape, what are you using? Wrist, forearm or blend, etc?

I could see if you start using your elbow when you play a fast tremolo that the escape path and pronation you describe happen by default. It’s not a bad thing. Just something you’d need to be aware of if you plan on switching string while trem picking.

Elbow mption + upward pickslanting is a usual combination for fast tremolo. That’s what I do too.

You can definitely play in this way.

I have been pretty staunch about never playing metal like this but I’ve come around on it.

The only major downside I’ve found is that doing extremely fast bursts of sextuplets or sixteenth notes between large 5 or 6 string chords like you might hear in black metal is more difficult, because then you have to keep changing your orientation which to me seems illogical.

As always I’m sure there is someone somewhere doing it this way, so your mileage may vary. I would also add that forcibly engaging unnecessary muscles or tensing up your arm to get the elbow motion going is supremely stupid, because then you are actually programming your cerebellum to tense up your arm every time you play, but that’s another topic that we’ve done to death on here so I’ll leave it at that.

For your benefit here is an added video of the playing form I think is ideal for tremolo picking. It’s just my opinion but if you’re aiming for this level of flexibility and control, it makes sense to imitate someone else rather than re-inventing the wheel.

edit for clarity: Ive never seen someone play like the video below by using their elbow DSX mechanic alone


This looks like wrist…supinated closer to EVH or Steve Morse. The playing is awesome. If I could do that I would never stop playing.


Yeah I agree, I don’t think it’s elbow, I might have phrased it wrong. What I mean to say was that I don’t think a pure elbow mechanic would allow you to play the way Obsidian C does, who uses his some sort of blended forearm wrist thing

Wow that guy is freaken awesome. Correct me if I am wrong, but he is using supinated form with an upstroke escape correct? I still like to confirm the labels, so I always ask because it helps me identify

I’m still going through the Primer, so I am not 100% positive. It looks to be supinated upstroke escape in order to play as fast as he is with the pedal notes and big chords. Probably a forearm blend of some sort.

Holy smokes, that guy is an absolute savage!!!

Yah i realy wonder how he gets it that fast, smooth and clean. Im jealous lol

He probably just started really slow and practiced with a metronome, increasing 4 - 8 bmp at a time.

lmao!!! seriously though i dont think EVH could do whats done in that video

I wish all black metal bands released intrumental versions, Inlove them way more… not fan of of the growls 100% of the time.


Everybody likes different things, so I surely don’t think anyone who likes black metal should change their mind…but I could not agree more with wishing we could just have instrumental versions.

I was in a ‘hard rock’ band for years that became more and more hardcore as the years went on. I guess I was like the frog in the slowly boiling pot of water and one day I was like “OMG I just can’t take the screams anymore!!!” lol! It just got to be too much for me.

We’d drive a couple hours to gigs…the guys in my band would blare hardcore and black metal through the van stereo the whole ride. We’d get to the venue and sit through 3 or 4 bands who played before us. Some were excellent, some were not, but they almost always screamed the entire time. Then we’d play our set. By this point we were like 60% scream, 40% singing. Then we’d drive home and they’d blare the screaming stuff the whole ride again. I’d had enough hahaha.

Again, not saying anything’s wrong with it. Just wanted to give @PickingApprentice a shout out for speaking my mind. I still love the instrumental parts of all that heavy stuff. Definitely respect the skill of the vocalists, because that is truly a talent what they do. Just not my thing.

1 Like

Definitely identify with the band situation and the % issue. Like anything, if there is a small bit, chances are I’ll like it if its done well - sometimes its the only way to take things up a notch. But a whole album? Ouch.
I remember getting into Black metal as an early teen - I was so hardcore aboutbit for about 2 weeks and then I couldn’t do it anymore, but to this day I still like hearing the instrumental side and the precision playing - way beyond my capabilities

1 Like

Yep. And while I don’t drift us too far from the topic (which I have a bad habit of doing), the guy in that video a few posts above that we’re all drooling over is freaking awesome. I’d love to get a magnet on his guitar and see what’s going on.

1 Like

I laughed really hard reading this! I love meshuggah, but recently i started skipping to a new track every time the vocals come in.:grin:

1 Like

Definitely agree, but it’s probably just really good accuracy and dead on wrist action.

This looks like wrist motion primarily with a similar set up to Steve Morse.

In terms of fast metal stuff, a lot of players in the genre seem to be primarily UPX with a decent amount of supination.

Having said that, the fastest players I’ve seen in person (specifically for tremolo work at 200bpm+) have been DSX and either wrist or elbow.

I personally find 8th note down-picking and tremolo easier with DSX despite naturally being a USX player.

I would recommend practising both and following the setup Troy outlines in the pick slanting primer.

The part around 2:12 seems like the elbow gets involved significantly to me. You can see the elbow move in and out. So maybe he adds in his elbow for that really hard/fast chugging stuff?