#1
To all you technique pros out there could you tell me how you increased your tremolo picking speed?

I've been playing for 4 years and a half and it seems like I still just cannot increase my picking hand speed for the life of me.

I'm getting discouraged because even when I practice slow I just do not get faster. I do not know what it is but it's been this way for the past 3years.

I always try to make small, relaxed, efficient movements but it just seems like fast playing is impossible.
#2
Fast tremolo picking and fast alternate are two different beasts, which did you mean to increase?
2013 Ibanez Jem 7vwh
Lakewood Sungha Jung Signature
Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster
LTD Deluxe MH-1000NT
MIA Fender Strat VG + MiJ Mustang
Martin D1 +Tayor 210e
Kremona Rondo TL Classical
Gretsch G5120
#4
For alternate focus on using your wrist and keeping the thumb relaxed and arm still. Also try smaller, stiffer picks. Obviously start slower then speed up. Checkout pebbler brown on YouTube, he has really good videos on picking and taught buckethead.
2013 Ibanez Jem 7vwh
Lakewood Sungha Jung Signature
Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster
LTD Deluxe MH-1000NT
MIA Fender Strat VG + MiJ Mustang
Martin D1 +Tayor 210e
Kremona Rondo TL Classical
Gretsch G5120
#5
Tremolo picking doesn't just mean fast. You can trem pick slowly. It just means playing all the 8ths/16ths/32nds for the duration of a given note.

If you have a melody that's all whole notes, you tremolo pick anytime you play 8ths or 16ths continuously for that entire whole note.

The stiff armed "technique" you hear referred to as tremolo picking isn't a technique. It's a complete lack of technique, and it's basically what you do if you're simply not able to play at the speed required. You have virtually no control at that point, much less are able to play with the rhythmic consistency demanded of high tempo music.

Work on your alternate picking with a metronome, every day, and you'll see improvement with time.
Last edited by cdgraves at Mar 6, 2014,
#6
maybe you're not using enough "rotational" picking movement (https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=555820), i find that i need to use that much more if i'm going to relax while picking quickly.

being deliberate with your upstrokes and downstrokes is helpful too. try to imagine tremolo picking (or any picking in general) not as a constant exertion, but one tiny exertion after another, per note.
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#8
Basically I would say it comes down to relaxation and consistent practice.

I could trem pick at about 140, needed to get to about 215 to do a particular cover, so I started working on my picking a little bit slower while working on tone and relaxation.

When I was happy with my sound and relaxation, I took a bunch of metal tunes I enjoyed and used amazing slow downer to bring them to MY relaxed tempo.

Then I practised them around an hour a day for about 9 months slowly bringing them all to tempo. Success!

Before :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Rs4Pzct6s

After:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddPCX-WeYjE
#9
Do you have adequate tension on your strings? I've found that it's difficult to tremelo pick accurately if there is not enough tension. Easily fixed by gauging up on your strings. Next, a thicker pick helps as well. I use 1mm picks, but some use even thicker. You don't want much flex in your picks, as that will throw your timing off.


And on to the technique -- DO NOT GIVE UP!!! It's not the hardest technique in guitar by a long shot, but it's not easy either. It took me at least 5 years to hone my trem picking to what it is today. Keep focusing on using the smallest motions possible, using ONLY your wrist. Angle the pick a little so it slides over the strings slightly rather than "grabbing" them -- you don't want that.

What helped me most was to choke up on the pick so that there's barely anything sticking out, and focus on BARELY hitting the string with each stroke. Practice backing off so much that you're actually NOT hitting the string, then dig in just enough to barely hit the string. That's the "zone" you want to be in for tremelo picking -- just barely making contact with the string, and moving your pick the shortest distance possible.