#1
Ive been playing guitar for almost a year. I have a hard time playing tremolo based songs like Niles. I use my elbow which I know is bad. It burns and hurts after a little. I cant get through a song. Everyone says use your wrist but its just not fast? will it take time? Should i just sit there and focus on my wrist and the speed will catch up? its really putting a halt to my progression. Thanks!
#2
Hi, I have actually been working on this lately.

You could do it with your wrist but really the best way to look at is as turning a door handle, that's the motion you should be doing rather than side to side.

If you do it right eventually it feels pretty effortless vs using your arm or wrist.

The video below really cleared it up for me.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUsCIktbENM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUsCIktbENM
#3
+1 to that video.

I always thought I moved my wrist side-to-side, but after watching that video, I realize that I do that rotational thing he describes. That is indeed the way to get fast without hurting your arm/joints.

Also, the key to tremelo picking is to make your motions SMALL. That way, you don't need to be as fast to actually play fast.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#4
Quote by slyrez
Everyone says use your wrist but its just not fast? will it take time? Should i just sit there and focus on my wrist and the speed will catch up?


Honestly, as someone who went through exactly this problem, suck up and learn to play with your wrist.

It will suck at first, you will be playing worse and it will feel way less comfortable and natural. However, if you stick at practicing picking with your wrist (search these forums for more in depth advice on how to pick with your wrist) you will have a much, much easier time playing any kind of picking in the future. It is also much easier to have small motions and relaxation when using your wrist compared to your elbow for the vast majority of people.

Side to side motion is called translation and supposedly maxes out at about 195bpm 16ths (there was a pati and tuck article on alternate picking which is where I'm getting this number from). "Turning the door handle" is rotational picking, and the up and down motion is oscillation (this one can be very confusing without seeing a fair few videos about it).

Most people pick with a combination of these motions, even if they don't realise it. A lot of players tend to end up oscillating after practicing picking a lot since it appears to be the most efficient motion.

Freepower has some very helpful posts explaining this in better detail, but honestly until you are very good at picking with your wrist I'd just forget about the specific motions and focus on your general picking technique (use the wrist, small motions, relaxation, don't deathgrip the pick etc).

EDIT: https://www.tuckandpatti.com/pick-finger_tech.html

This is the article. If you are interested in the theory behind picking technique or just really want to get good at picking I'd recommend reading it.
Last edited by Anon17 at Aug 26, 2014,
#5
Quote by slyrez
Ive been playing guitar for almost a year. I have a hard time playing tremolo based songs like Niles. I use my elbow which I know is bad. It burns and hurts after a little. I cant get through a song. Everyone says use your wrist but its just not fast? will it take time? Should i just sit there and focus on my wrist and the speed will catch up? its really putting a halt to my progression. Thanks!


I know what you're going through and yep, you just have to switched to a more relaxed wrist motion. This will make your picking feel and sound a lot better, but it will take more time to develop - because it's real speed and not just a way of faking it.

For me personally I just spent about a year working on the rhythm parts of progressively harder tunes, learning them by ear and using Best Practice or Amazing Slow Downer for the more challenging ones.

As a spot of encouragement, this was before I started working on tremolo -

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

(about 33s in)

and this was after about a year of approx an hour a day on picking -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddPCX-WeYjE

(about 20s in)

Do what you already know you have to - start slow, stay relaxed, keep it clean and tight and put in the practice time.