I was in class yesterday and I was observing the dfiferent types of motions that are made with the wrist while you're picking. My question is, Is the speed of your picking hand simply limited to how fast you're able to move your wrist? I understand that using the economy of motion makes the movement less wasteful and more efficient while picking but you can only pick as fast as you can move your wrist correct? The other factor that I took into consideration is the resistance of the string as your pick follows through.

So what do you guys think? Everyone has their own picking motions that they're more comfortable with but regardless is it just a matter of how fast you can move your wrist? My speed to a metronome without holding a pick is around the same speed as when I am holding a pick so does this mean that the speed of my wrist is the main problem thats stopping my picking hand from progressing any further? Also if this is the case then doesen't one simplly need to learn how to master the motions in their wrist muscles to the point where excess tension doesn't take over your picking hand?
Quote by dannydawiz
does this mean that the speed of my wrist is the main problem thats stopping my picking hand from progressing any further? Also if this is the case then doesen't one simplly need to learn how to master the motions in their wrist muscles to the point where excess tension doesn't take over your picking hand?

No and Yes.

Obviously the speed of your wrist is a factor, but what's probably more important is that you're making the most efficient movements. The human wrist can move pretty fast when it wants to.

You definitely need to master the motions of your wrist muscles to the point where tension doesn't take over. You need to train yourself to stay accurate, focused and relaxed. This is probably more important as you have more control over it.
Also when you move from the wrist are you rotating like turn a key in the lock or crooking the hand up and down like throwing out a fishing line. ?
But this goes up to 11
Well, throwing out a fishing line would be more of a mix between rotation and oscillation (which is sort of how I pick actually) while turning a key would be more like pure rotation. At least the way I do it. Watch Freepower's video here to understand a bit more about picking motions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkeyHyIgqvY

Anyway, yes, there is of course a limit to how fast our wrists can move, but it's a lot faster than you'd think. Try not to think about physical limits and instead worry about being as relaxed and simple as possible. To move your pick across the string and back again is actually a very short distance, and most of us use way too much motion and energy =p
We could pick without using our wrists, too. You could keep your wrist still and move your entire forearm. I don't think that's the norm, though. Haha.
Quote by chainsawguitar
No and Yes.

Obviously the speed of your wrist is a factor, but what's probably more important is that you're making the most efficient movements. The human wrist can move pretty fast when it wants to.

You definitely need to master the motions of your wrist muscles to the point where tension doesn't take over. You need to train yourself to stay accurate, focused and relaxed. This is probably more important as you have more control over it.

If efficient movements are all thats needed then why is it that since the stone age my picking hand fails to increase in speed? I've read so many articles stating to use the economy of motion and I do. I always make sure that the pick doesn't go any farther than it needs to while playing.
I've been told so many times that I just need to practice more and more but this just ends in more frustration as I fail to see any results from countless hours of practice to a metronome. There is something about the mechanics of my picking technique thats holding me back and I just don't know what it is. Some people are lucky to have started off using the correct picking position and motions while practicing but Im simply not one of them. All im left with now is frustration and confusion on picking motions...

Also for the person that asked, I don't pick as if im turning a doorknob or like im throwing a fishing line. I don't pick up or down or left and right. Its comparable to a left and right motion but it mixes with up and down as well. I lay the fleshy side of my wrist found near my thumb on the strings, slightly angle my wrist to the left so its like im learning my hand on a hard surface, my pick is tilted slightly backwards and I pick in a diagonal type fashion. Northeast for an upstroke and southwest for a downstroke.
You say some have started with the correct technique, then go back and rebuild yours I have twice. also a video of your picking would help..
All so just moving the fingers with little wrist movement may help.
But this goes up to 11
In using economy of motion, you still need to make sure that you're not using excessive tension to minimize your motion. There has to be some small amount of a "follow-through," so that you reach a point of relaxation before tensing again.

Watch flamenco players strum - the motion is a rotation of the entire forearm. Apply the same principles to picking, but in smaller motions. Best of Luck!
If efficient movements are all thats needed then why is it that since the stone age my picking hand fails to increase in speed?

Basically, you're not practising enough, and/or not practising correctly, there's nothing wrong with you. "Picking Speed" is a pretty difficult thing to work on, especially if you're talking about alternate picked lead licks, because it demands perfect right and left hand synch - it's the most technically demanding technique imho.

How much practice are you doing? What are you doing when you practice?
I don't pick up or down or left and right. Its comparable to a left and right motion but it mixes with up and down as well. I lay the fleshy side of my wrist found near my thumb on the strings, slightly angle my wrist to the left so its like im learning my hand on a hard surface, my pick is tilted slightly backwards and I pick in a diagonal type fashion. Northeast for an upstroke and southwest for a downstroke.

All that description is meaningless unless you also describe what your directions are relative to. Presumably not the magnetic poles.