#1
Hello,

I have been having some problems with my picking hand.
I'm using too much tension when I try to play fast. Even though sometimes I'm being able to play fast very cleanly, the tension is tiring my picking hand really fast and it's also causing some pain (especially in my shoulder).

So how can I avoid this? How can I learn to play with less tension at high speeds?

Thanks
#2
Feel comfortable while playing, and don't let your arm get tense by picking by using your elow or the whole arm. That usually result in pain and strain damage if you don't take a break.
What I do is to avoid using my elbow as much as I can, and rather use the wrist and fingers. Picking fast isn't worth it if you end up with hurting yourself.
#3
Practice speed bursts to a metronome. Start at quavers at 66bpm, one bar followed by a bar of semiquavers. Then increase the speed incrementally until tired. Repeat the process about three times per day at different times, and you should see good results such as an increase in fluidity, stamina and speed.
#4
Quote by JB95
Feel comfortable while playing, and don't let your arm get tense by picking by using your elow or the whole arm. That usually result in pain and strain damage if you don't take a break.
What I do is to avoid using my elbow as much as I can, and rather use the wrist and fingers. Picking fast isn't worth it if you end up with hurting yourself.



I almost NEVER use my elbow or whole arm to pick. I use wrist and sometimes fingers. But even when I'm using my wrist the muscles in my arm are being contracted.
#5
Try to pick as fast as you can for a set period of time (probably 1 or 2 minutes), and make sure you play every note cleanly. This should help you build up more strength and stamina, hence adding to your speed and how long you can play at that speed. Hope this helps.
#6
Practice picking slow and relaxed! Everything in your playing should be relaxed. Take the Meteronome and set it at 30 BPM and strike a note relaxed, accurate, and cleanly every beat. Boring? yes. Helpful? 100% yes! This will help technique and you to become relaxed as you play. Maybe sweep or practice alternative picking or one of your weaker techniques to improve two things at once. The key is being relaxed.

Good luck!

Quote by 14xjake
Try to pick as fast as you can for a set period of time (probably 1 or 2 minutes), and make sure you play every note cleanly. This should help you build up more strength and stamina, hence adding to your speed and how long you can play at that speed. Hope this helps.


No!... Just no. What makes you think if you are having tension issue that adding more will make it better? This will promise you tenditionis down the road. You should never Strain or have Tension while playing, It should be relaxed 100%. Bursts of speed are okay but never bursts with tension. I can never emphasize enough the importance of relaxed practice!

And speed is the by-product of accurate, clean practice. Speed should NEVER be a goal! If you practice sweeping or alternative picking slowly and cleanly, you gain speed.
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Last edited by Xter at Dec 14, 2011,
#7
Sounds like a matter of tension in your arm. Are you holding your pick super tight? You mentioned using your wrist/fingers for picking fast, but if you're holding onto your pick like a vicegrip, it will cause you're entire arm to contract. Do you stretch before playing? Some minor forearm/finger stretchs prior to playing can do wonders. As previously stated, try doing some strength building exercises to build up your arm muscles. you can do other basic arm exercises away from the guitar to help remedy the issue too.
#8
Play slowly with a metronome, making sure sure your arm is completely relaxed and without tension. Gradually increase the tempo while focusing on using the same picking motion. If you notice any tension starting to occur, slow back down again. Don't try to increase speed too quickly. Oh and be sure to use your wrist not your elbow.
#9
First, fix any posture problems.
Second, take things at no tempo and eliminate all tension.
Then a really low tempo.

Slowly bump it up, maintaining relaxation throughout.

Don't practice with your tense technique, it's totally useless.
#10
What Freepower said.

Also, try to pick lightly. You can still pick loudly/accent just fine, but trying to pick really lightly shows you how relaxed you can be and will eventually become the norm to the point that you can pick really fast for hours without getting at all tired. But to do this, you have to start slow.

Another thing to point out is that you may be holding the pick too tightly, which can cause fatigue and also affect the looseness of your wrist (making it tense).
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#11
Quote by Xter

No!... Just no. What makes you think if you are having tension issue that adding more will make it better? This will promise you tenditionis down the road. You should never Strain or have Tension while playing, It should be relaxed 100%. Bursts of speed are okay but never bursts with tension. I can never emphasize enough the importance of relaxed practice!

And speed is the by-product of accurate, clean practice. Speed should NEVER be a goal! If you practice sweeping or alternative picking slowly and cleanly, you gain speed.


I didn't mean that he should have more tension. What i was trying to say was to practice bursts at a speed that is comfortable for you and to be relaxed while doing it.