I need help on picking technique. I've been playing guitar for 7 years, all self-taught, but I'm running into problems as I try to play faster and technical material.
I've been doing a closed fist style of picking with my fingers curled, but I and my bandmates have noticed my index finger while holding the pick slips into a curled position, making my pick control sloppy. When trying to play fast gallops, I try to use my wrist. But I can't play as fast as I want and I run out of stamina as my shoulder and wrists get sore. I also play guitar tense and it's hard for me to relax playing.
One of my friends recommended I make an L shape with my index finger, meeting the thumb, while holding the 3 remaining fingers out in a straight line. I'm trying it, but it feels strange, and I'm trying to get the right picking style where I can play Master of Puppets or Cryptopsy no problem with no fatigue. Though I know I need to start slow.
Last edited by derekguitar88 at Jan 10, 2014,
While not everyone agrees, I've always believed that ultimately, comfort is always more important than whatever standardised technique worked for the person before. I usually close my fist Loosely with my index at a bent 75 degrees, my thumb cut diagonally straight across and the pick in between straight, which in application lends it a 45degree angle best for speed picking, with my fist bunched loose and my wrist as free as I can make it, obviously this tightens up with speed. (my fingers are like, double jointed so this may not work for everyone, but play how you feel most comfortable is the message)

The main point I wanna make though, is that tension in your wrist and shoulder especially are really bad, tension stores up in muscles and over time can lead to serious injuries that will totally impact your guitar playing, There are many muscles involved in playing the guitar, be sure not to limit them too much, allow your muscles to move as freely and as naturally as possible, you'll find that the muscles in your forearm play a very big part in wrist control, fighting that to isolate the movement to just your wrist is a car crash waiting to happen.
Start again, play as loosely and slowly as possible, and over time tighten up your movement, which really should happen naturally.

If you're feeling too tense, stop for five minutes, shake and rub it all off, make a drink, and start again. I believe stretching is extremely important for your muscles and joints in general (little lifestyle tip, always stretch before and after bed) don't stretch to the point where you strain yourself, but certainly it's very important to stretch and warm up gently before a continuous period of playing.

The body moves better in circular motion, a juddering up/down, back/forth movement is never great for your muscles and joints, so try to keep your in as much of a circular motion as possible, which will eventually refine and tighten as you work on your speed. This approach is very important to learn if you want to be able to downpick at speed for the 7-odd minutes that MOP requires.

Finally, you might be better off posting this in the guitar technique forum.
Last edited by Merciless Tengo at Jan 10, 2014,
i don't think there's a problem with curling your index a bit more, you need your grip on the pick to be stable so you can chug with power. doing the fist with your other three fingers may be causing unnecessary tension though.
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