What is going on here


My first post here!

I’ve been playing many years and always struggled with my picking. Mostly tensing up.
I thought I’d upload two short videos. There should be a slow version in the end, don’t know if i managed…
I was just wondering what mechanics I’m using. Not my best playing (of course) but it’s something. I should have warmed up more.
So, what am I doing and what can I improve. Can post more clips if needed.

1 Like

Sounds great! Perfect sync and smooth, even picking. To me it looks like wrist at slower speeds and elbow when you speed up. Can you feel that transition?

Is there any specific thing or lick that makes you tense up? The second clip is what we call a “Two way pick slanting” lick and normally requires either changing slants to get over the string OR swiping. I can’t detect any changes in slants so I must assume that you use at least one swipe per repetition. I can’t hear any noise or unwanted string noice though so to me this isn’t a problem but instead a great achievement in my mind. I’m one of the fanboys of swiping as long as it’s done with great care. :slight_smile:

But swiping (or fear of swiping) can also be one thing that can tense up the picking hand. It sure did for me.


I’m gonna second @qwertygitarr. There’s nothing wrong with your technique in the slightest. It sounds good and even, I would just keep practicing and let the speed and tone further develop as a consequence of your current routine.

1 Like

I noticed you started picking using your wrist but quickly switched to elbow when you had to play fast. JUST CURIOUS: What happens if you try to play fast with your wrist instead of your elbow? I ask because all other things being equal, you get more control with wrist than elbow. Besides that. I think you’re well on your way to being able to shred!! Keep the videos you just made because when you look back at them a year from now, I’m betting you’ll be smiling because of how much better you’ve gotten since then :slight_smile:


wait what? says who? I feel like Vinnie Moore would beg to differ.


All other things being equal, picking from the wrist allows someone more control than picking from the elbow. Says who? Says me and a whole lot of other people. You might have trouble getting ahold of legends like Al Dimeola, John McLaughlin, or Yngwie Malmsteen to find out if I’m being honest. So, ask around here, ask John Taylor (the man Troy chose to be the subject of “The Science Of Speed”) if you feel the need for confirmation. I don’t know what you think would be in it for me to lie. There are no ulterior motives here; what would they even be?

You’re the same guy who replied to me in the recent thread where a guy asked Troy if he’d met any shred guitar legends who hadn’t put in at least 8 hours a day of practice at some point in their careers and wanted to argue with me there. I chose not to. You’ll find the same thing this time. Like I said, ask John Taylor if you want some confirmation. But just out of curiosity, Is following me around here being contrary just for the sake of it your hobby?

This thread is for the purpose of helping David but you didn’t offer him any help, did you? So what exactly are you trying to accomplish in this thread?


Hey David,

Sounding great! The tension thing is something that I think we all deal with at some point. I’d like to help but need a little more information first:

  • Where do you feel the excess tension? Is it just in your picking arm or is in your whole body?
  • Do you always feel an excess of tension?
  • To what degree do you feel that it holds you back?
  • Do you feel this tension when the fretting hand isn’t involved? (tremolo?)

No need to change picking mechanics (wrist vs. arm, etc.) the arm thing works just fine for lots of players out there. Lets figure out this tension thing.




First of all, thanks for the replies!
I recorded the clips after breakfast and hadn’t warmed up at all. There were sooo much elbow in those clips. I was sort of forcing my playing.
Regarding tension: when I’m playing sixteen notes triplets in 120bpm on one string I feel tension coming after one bar, sort of. Quicker if I’m playing 3nps stuff. Maybe it’s just a matter of time? The tension will go away, or not…
I just recorded a new clip. I wearing headphones so not to disturb my girlfriend. I’m playing to a backing track in 120 bpm. This clip feels a lot smoother.


Seems to me that OP is doing pretty well already, and doesn’t need to hear the same unjustified received wisdom that I think we try to avoid. The elbow thing is interesting and kinda cool, but I don’t think there’s any reason to believe it’s somehow detrimental, and I already gave a counterexample of an elbow picker with a lot of control. :slight_smile: