Wrist or elbow?


First of all, sorry if I write something badly :sweat_smile:

When I practise at a slow tempo I use my wrist but when I start to raise the speed it gets blocked and I end playing with my elbow.

I have read a post where @Troy says that he starts playing at a medium/fast speed to know the “natural” form to play a lick or whatever and then he slow it down and practise it in that way (that is what I undertood).

So the question is, do I have to practise slow with the “natural” movement or do I have to train my wrist?

Thank you

I will try to purchase a premium account soon :grinning:


Using elbow for high speed playing is common! Not everyone is comfortable with elbow, but those players who are, it is one of the faster picking movements people can make.

It is also ok to have multiple picking systems. Look at Eddie Van Halen - he has one technique for tremolo, one technique for riffing, etc.

If your wrist system is more comfortable for medium speed playing that’s fine. Just work on it within that range. And if your elbow takes over at high speed, there is probably still a range, from slow-fast to fast-fast. You can also try slowing the elbow movement down to where it overlaps with your fastest wrist speed. As long as you have overlap, then you can play at all tempos.


Hi @Guitarnerd15.

A couple of months ago, I posted a thread about different picking “modes” I recognized in my playing, and the advantages and disadvantages I noticed in each mode. All of these picking movements were based on some form of wrist movement. About a month later to start training an elbow mechanic also, based on some observations I had made concerning Shawn Lane’s playing.

In less than a month of practicing the elbow mechanic, it’s already faster than wrist based movements I had been using, though I don’t feel that I have as much freedom or as much dynamic range with the elbow.

See the following:

I think both are valuable and it would benefit you to learn both, though I would suggest focusing on developing one mechanic for a while before moving on.



Thank you so much for your answers.

I have the same sensations about elbow playing as you Tom! I can play super-fast thing in a single string using it but it feels like I can’t control it when I have to move across the strings using it.

I am definitely going to train my elbow and try to gain speed with my wrist. The problem is that I can’t do fast stuff with my wrist. I supose that I have to practise more and more haha.

Again, thanks for your answers. :grinning:

1 Like