Alright so. . . I DONT enjoy beating a dead horse or anything, and I'm sure this ones not new to a lot of you. But I couldn't find any truly relevant forum posts to look through that pertained to my interests. SO, I'm gonna post this and hope you guys are willing to help me out.
I've been playing a while, (5 years) and have a general interest in music at large, acoustic, blues, jazz, classical, world, psychedelic, classic rock, andmy favorites are death metal and black metal.Oh and i love classic thrash (screw these revival kids).
So, i can tremolo pick fairly well, I've been developing a stronger and stronger sense of rhythm and learning to be more aware of the actual movements both my pick and fretting hands are making. I'm also taking measure to make my wrist more fluent and (as generic and stoopid as it sounds) faster. So, if you didn't gather. . . Most my tremolo picking comes from the arm, or elbow for the most part. I was wondering, not just if advice could be given to me, but also if anyone could give insight, as to how they tremolo pick, what they did to achieve their capabilities and also, if you have any reference as to who else may either use their wrist or elbow. OR if this conflict of which to use, or not use. Even matters . . . SO. . . fire away, I'm gonna go practice.
Most people will say to use your wrist. The reason for this is that it gives you more control. When you use your arm, it creates a bigger motion, putting more space between your pick and the string with each stroke. This is why you strum chords with your arm rather than your wrist. When you pick with your wrist, it creates a smaller, more precise motion and puts less space between your pick and string, and that's why people will tell you to tremolo pick with your wrist. It uses less energy, will ultimately let you pick faster, and gives you more control. I still can't tremolo pick with my wrist, and I always end up using my arm, and it's something I've been working on for a while. It just takes practice, like everything else.
Picking from the wrist is more preferred in general because the motion becomes more fluid and less stressful then it is when picking from the entire arm. It's good to use your arm for transitions between strings. Playing a lick that involves picking on all the strings would be very difficult if you don't move your arm because the angle of the would change drastically. Still, the main picking motion comes from the wrist, and angling the pick is better because it allows it to cut through the strings faster.
I hadn't given it any thought, but I just picked up my mandolin and almost all the motion I use for tremolo comes from the elbow. The wrist is pretty rigid.
Doc Watson spoke of playing from the elbow when really "digging in" for very fast alternate sections (which is what tremolo is, actually).
I've watched numbers of mandolin, balilaika, and other tremolo-heavy players and they all seem to use pretty much the same technique.
Whatever works...