Hi everybody,

I'm new in town, so I hereby offer to get in a round of e-beers.

Refreshed? Let's get to it.

I've recently taken up the guitar, and I love it. I've been trying to improve my speed by improving my technique, and I am getting faster, but something has been bugging me. In spite of being obviously better, I'm finding it harder to get faster than 50bpm, and a few of the riffs I would like to do, need me to be able to do sixteenth notes considerably faster than this.

One limitation I noticed is that when I pick a string, my pick is parallel to the string and perpendicular to the the body. I've seen a few online tutorials that advise changing the angle of the pick, but very few mention which angle, as there are three (the engineer in me speaks). After making an assumption as to which angle, I find that I can pick much faster on an individual string, but it tends to slightly slide over the strings, and thus some notes on some strings during scales are almost silent when I am trying to play faster.

Is this a case of almost learning all over again with a new pick angle, with which I have no problems? I just want to know whether this is the case before I do it.

BTW, have another beer. And smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Last edited by LimeyDevil at Jan 23, 2014,
Honestly, when it comes to picking, you just need to experiment to find what's comfortable, there's no right or wrong (unless it causes pain) hell, look at Marty Friedman's picking style. However, the sliding part seems a lil ****ed, but you probably just need to put more pick into your attack, if you know what I mean. Just barely rubbing the string with your pick doesn't work.
It depends on what you're playing. Best thing to do is learn to fingerpick and flamenco, as this will help you identify with a natural sound. It will also help distinguish which way to hold a pick, based on what style you are playing
@Velcro Man - Thanks for that. After a bit more experimentation, I think an angle does work for me, just not as heavy as 45deg. I think tone is somewhat improved by a slight angle, but too much doesn't work as well. A little angle has improved my speed already when I got used to it - I moved from 50bpm clean up and down in Am pentatonic to 55bpm, and from 45bpm to 60bpm in Em pentatonic, all picked. Thanks for the advice.

@Facecut - Thanks; you're right about the tension; the minute I changed the pick angle, after a few minutes I'm getting fatigue in my shoulder from the new arm position, so that's just needs to catch up. Good spot.

@AllJudasPriest - I love the sound of fingerpicking, and the new angle I've been trying is a lot softer than the twang of the old. Thanks for the advice.

Last edited by LimeyDevil at Jan 23, 2014,
Well, you shouldn't really feel fatigue in your shoulder, you might be tensing up a lot, it's best to loosen up and play a loose and relaxed as possible, it might slow you down til you get the hang of it, but it's the most ergonomic way to play.