I'm trying to learn to tremolo pick well... i can't even tremolo pick when i'm not holding down any string, let alone when i'm holding down a fret.

In other words, I simply can not pick fast, regardless of whether or not i'm holding down a string, and that's not normal.

People i know have told me things like "picking fast feels natural for me, i don't need to practice or anything, i just sit down and start tremolo picking".... this infuriates me, because it makes me feel like i have some sort of a disability or something.

when it comes to tremolo picking, i either pick too slow, or i tense my hand up, like i hold the pick way too tight, and flex the muscles in my hand, and stuff like that... and then it starts to hurt.

I play a Les Paul, i've been thinking that maybe the way the bridge of a les paul is designed is preventing me from tremolo picking well... i know zakk wylde can do it...

also, another thing, when i play my guitar on its back on my lap, with the strings facing upwards, and i try tremolo picking like that, it feels a lot more natural, and i can do it better (but still not perfect).

tl;dr: trying to learn to tremolo pick fast on a les paul, regardless of whether or not i hold down a string. nothing i do to try and help myself seems to work. Don't give me things like "PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT" because i do practice, and it does not seem to make it easier.
Epiphone: Les paul Custom SB
Line Six Spider III 15
70$ wal-mart brand acoustic

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Last edited by tsoyguitar at Jul 24, 2009,
I use my elbow to tremolo pick and just keep my hand in the same position. I can't get any speed otherwise.
While I have a LP and can do it fine so its not the guitar. Honestly it sounds like you just need to relax and not tense up. Keep a slightly firm grip on the pick and try to use your wrist. Hope that helps.
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Read the sticky, threadstarter. Speed comes from accuracy and relaxation, and they take time to develop - solid picking takes more time than anything else. How much time have you put in, really? Keep practicing and if you do it properly, you'll get very very good at picking. That's how it works.

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I use my elbow to tremolo pick and just keep my hand in the same position. I can't get any speed otherwise.

Not good... it'll cause you problems.
Also bear in mind that palying fast does not always equate to tremolo picking, I can't stress that enough.

Tremolo picking is a specific technique where the aim is to pick the same note multiple times in succession to create a blurred effect. If you're wanting to play different, individual notes then tremolo picking has absolutely nothing to do with it.
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you could try having the guitar higher on the strap and reach further forward then bend your arm round - this will give a similar angle to having the guitar flat on your lap and may help - it's actually how i do it on my SG
k dude, relax ur hand as much as possible. DO NOT USE YOUR ELBOW. that sucks if u do it too long, very bad habit. use your wrist with as little energy as possible, only move your wrist enough to hit the string and dont over pick, angle your pick slighlty so that its almost like your picking sideways, if that makes sense. the main key is to stay relaxed with your arm, if u tense up youll feel the effects. well i hope that was helpful, good luck to u man
I had that same problem, but someone told me to take my guitar-pick with me wherever i go and tremolo pick on everything ... really silly i know, tremolo picking on the side of a chair, but it worked.I have great speed now... i can do "battery" without to much trouble.
well.i didnt read any other replies. so illreply straight to your post.

when i first wanted to learn tremelo picking i was about 10/11. it was hard to learn for me. The pick kept just hitting the string and stopping and not following through with the pluck. i just kept working at it.

a tip: angle your pick at an angle to the strings so the pick doesn't hit the strings flat. have it so that the pick "rolls" over the string as you move the pick through. like your cutting the strings with the pick.
A thin pick might help you out. Try like a 0.6 or 0.5. They don't get hung up as much on the string.
Get the greatest picks ever, Dunlop Tortex.
You want the purple ones, 1.92 mm or something. They're the thickest Tortex.

Then hold it at an angle so it cuts through the strings not pluck them, eliminating chances of getting hung up on the string of course, you'll still get hung up on all the booze you get from birds who will love your playing
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I use my elbow to tremolo pick and just keep my hand in the same position. I can't get any speed otherwise.

Its not really a good way to do it. If you use your elbow and upper arm muscles to provide you with the speed it your alot more tense, and this will be reflected in your playing.

Tremolo picking, like freepower said, comes from accuracy and relaxation. Make sure your relaxed first, that has always helped me.

When I first started to strum fast, I was learning The Offspring, million miles away and the kids arent alright. The verses are down-picked, and palm muted at some speed, and I used to alternate pick. But once i started relaxing, i found it alot easier to down pick the notes faster.
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practise down stroking fast and build up ur speed, this also kills two birds with one stone, once uve got a fast down stroke, then start letting urself hit the string on ur way up to hit ti down again lol
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