When playing solos should your picking hand stay in the same position no matter what strings you are picking or should your hand move down to pick the top strings and back upwards to pick the bottom strings?
You should move your hand from string to string. The goal is that the relationship between your thumb/index should stay the same relative to the string you are picking. That means you only have learn the picking mechanics once, rather than once for each string (not to mention playing with your wrist at a awkward angle for some strings). Also, moving your hand is how you get from string to string quickly enough (otherwise it would take you longer to cross strings than to when you are playing on what string - not good for getting your timing smooth). Note there are some exceptions to the rule, when briefly playing a higher or lower string for one or two notes before returning to the string you are on.
How long have you been playing?

It should be a pretty natural movement; not something you have to think about too much. Generally, I would say that my forearm is anchored, while my wrist pivots from string to string.

So it definitely moves, it's just not an abrupt up and down movement. That would take too much time.

I would try and keep your wrist/forearm more or less at one spot, while pivoting your hand to reach different strings.
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Quote by robertwilliam9
I would try and keep your wrist/forearm more or less at one spot, while pivoting your hand to reach different strings.

Not really a good idea; your wrist should aim to be at as close an angle to neutral as possible at all times. There's also concerns with having to become physically used to a slightly different picking motion on all the strings, then there's the problem that not everyone has enough reach to be able to get to all the strings just by pivoting at the wrist; I know I can do it but only just on my 7 string, if I were to play an 8 string it would be impossible to reach all the strings without moving my arm.

The general idea is that your wrist does the actual movement of picking and your arm keeps the wrist in a good position to reach whatever string you're picking on. For fast string crossing that's a little tricky sometimes (say with the classic Paul Gilbert lick) so you just use the wrist for the whole thing but the general principle works very well.

Quote by robertwilliam9
It should be a pretty natural movement; not something you have to think about too much.

I disagree with this a lot as well, there's nothing wrong with analyzing what you're doing and making sure you're doing it right. I know personally I've had to work a lot on my picking over the years and even now I'm still working on it actively when I have time to do so. If I hadn't done so I would doubtlessly be a much worse player than I am now, not to mention that if I'd known what I was aiming for to begin with I don't doubt that my playing now would be better than it is.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Apr 3, 2014,
ideally and most commonly youd move your wrist along with the strings but not move your forearm too much. But, then theres circle picking and any other similar picking styles. In circle picking your wrist gets minimal movement and the picking is focused on the thumb and index finger muscles. In this style, it is ideal to leave the hand as neutral as possible. Not many people do this style, check Takayoshi Ohmura.

the point is that there are many different picking styles with their own ideal hand positioning. such to the point that everyone has their own style which is correct to them. But indeed, the most common thing to do among guitarists is to move the wrist along with the strings, like Paul Gilbert, Jeff Loomis, Satch, Vai, or any famous guitarist you can think of.
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