Unsure of Where to Begin


Hey All,

I’ve been playing guitar for about 15 years, but I never really practiced anything technical or worked on my form until about a year ago. I started to get into jazz and realized that I’d need to get serious about my technique to make any strides in that genre. I started taking private lessons to learn the theory, and I just signed up here at the recommendation of my brother.

Anyways, I’ve watched the intro videos about the different picking techniques, and I think my current picking style is supinated with wrist and some forearm; however, I’m a little unsure of how good my form is currently, as well as what I should do next.

I recorded two videos: the first is me playing the six note pattern at the beginning of the Yngwie lesson, and the second is the five note pattern from the beginning of the Eric Johnson lesson. Both are pretty much my top speed at which I can consistently hit the notes correctly; however, I find the six note pattern to be more challenging than the five note pattern, and I feel my forearm tense up and tire on the six note pattern.

Six note:

Five note:

I’m not a very fast player yet, and increasing my speed with precision is a big goal for me now. I just don’t really know where to go from here. Does my current form need tweaking to maximize the movement pattern? How should I go about trying other picking forms, and how long should I spend trying others out to determine whether or not they work for me? I’ve done a little tinkering with them, but none of the others feel very smooth to me initially. Maybe I’m just not spending enough time trying them out?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks all.



Hello! I think you are sounding good so far…your hands are in sync and your tone sound nice too. What helped me gain speed was getting my tremelo picking on one note faster. I played very much like you are playing now…I was in sync, but I just couldn’t get the lines faster because my pick speed was lacking. Are you able to play a faster tremelo picking on one note or is it about the same speed that you are playing here? What helped me get my picking faster was trying a totally different motion and hand position than I was using and that really sped up my being able to pick one note faster. Once I got that one note going up to a speed that felt faster and smooth…the rest came much easier. Maybe try a bunch of different positions and see what feels the smoothest. I wouldn’t worry about the mechanic you are using, just try and get the pick moving and see which mechanic allows you to do it. I think you can get to where you want to be, you have a nice tone and are in sync. Good luck and post your progress if you would like, I would enjoy seeing how you progress!

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This is interesting because, I don’t know if you’ve seen Michael Angelo’s Speed Kills instructional video or not, but this is what he calls “PPS” - Potential Picking Speed." He says words to the effect of You’re never gonna get faster than when you’re banging away on one note. Look at wha you’re doing when you pick this way. This is how you pick fastest. What some players do is they tremolo pick one way and then when they go to play other things fast, they completely change the way they pick.

I think it was 1992, maybe 1993 when I saw this and it really was important. I hadn’t seen any other instructional videos where a guitarist would go into concepts such as this. Here was somebody not just showing licks but talking about what to do to become a fast guitarist.

So yes, I agree this is good advice to get your tremolo picking down first, If you cant do that fast you can’t pick anything fast.

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Thanks for the feedback! I actually re-watched the Introduction to Picking Motion video and revisited the UWPS wrist motion a bit… and it actually feels more comfortable to me. Tremolo picking especially doesn’t really add any forearm tension, and I feel like my endurance is much better picking with this motion.

Here are a couple videos of me just tremolo picking a single note, one at normal speed, and one in slo-mo:

It’s a little sloppy, but it feels really comfortable. I’m gonna see what I can do with this for a bit, and hopefully I’ll see some progress!

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Yeah that looks fine. I would go with @Bill_hall’s advice of getting the tremolo up as fast as you can. Just watch for any excess elbow tension with that setup, it’s possible to get RSI injuries from setups where you’re purposely tensing up to get a movement going.

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