Hai, just thought it would be a smart idea to ask someone more experienced about this, so any responses are welcome

Basically, metal is a large part of my playing, and I have a thing for palm-muted riffs (but more than straight 000000000, don't worry). I've been playing for over three years, of which nearly two on electric, so I'm hardly a veteran, but I like to think my skills and technique are decent enough at this point (been doing fine even playing fairly complex material, such as some of the less terrifying Dream Theater or Periphery songs) - not sure if my thinking is correct but I'm generally happy with how I've been doing so far and my technique overall.

But still, after longer periods of playing mostly palm-muted riffs (especially the thrashy "machine gun" kind), I start to feel quite a lot of tension in my right arm/forearm, even slight pain if I continue playing. I try my best not to tense my hand a lot while playing, as I'm aware that's generally good/practical technique, but well, I do need to dig in quite a bit to get that heavy, chugging sound. Also, I try not to dive in into super-intense riffing right away and I usually try to warm up first, but it also happens if I'm well warmed-up already.

Main question: is it a normal thing and just a matter of practice and building up endurance/muscle strength, or am I most likely doing something wrong? Just wondering if I shouldn't worry and just keep practicing regularly, or if there's something I should correct, as quite obviously I'd rather avoid any health issues.

Thanks in advance
One question: Are you picking from the wrist, or are you using forearm movement?

The former will not only give you greater control, it wont tire you out as much. Using yor whole forearm to control movement is inefficient and usually hard to control accuracy. That said, I'd be lying if I said metal rhythm isn't tiring. A slight burn is normal; you are using muscles, after all. But when it reaches "pain", you're probably doing something wrong. Also, two years of playing (depending on how much you've played) isnt likely enough time to build the stamina for some styles of metal.
Definitely picking from the wrist mostly (my right arm is pretty much stationary while playing, besides movement between strings of course), although I can feel the energy of pretty much the entire right arm going into the palm muted picking, if that makes any sense. Also, this is pretty much the only technique which causes this kind of tension in my arm, as well as regular, very fast picking for longer periods of that, but that I guess is completely normal.

Yeah, I mean there's a slight pain only if I really go way overkill, as in I feel it's really tense and still keep going. It's not a pain that's sharp or "alerting" in any way, just feels like way too much tension and tiredness.

That's also what I thought I definitely don't expect to be able to play at 200 BPM for 2 hours straight yet (I like varying tempo anyway, which helps a lot), but was just wondering if I'm going in the wrong direction, or just a matter of plenty more time and practice.
Use that elbow too. Fingers, wrist, and elbow can all be used together. Loosened for slower rhythm, locked more for the really fast machine gun rhythm. Remember to do up/down picking, and experiment with different pick types. Now I only use dunlop ultex jazz picks, but the standard tortex ones in yellow were my standard for about 10 years and they are good for rhythm metal (Mustaine always uses them for example). Softer picks will reduce fatigue
It's just that you have to keep practising and you'll get there man! The going overkill thing is probably just your tensing up to try and play fast. :P
I would just say make sure you aren't tensing up, play at a speed you can maintain comfortably. As odd as it sounds a good thing to do is go for consistency and endurance, speed will come with time and stay relaxed to avoid any tendon injuries and stuff.

It just takes time and practice but you'll benefit much more from not rushing because you'll be cleaner and won't hurt yourself. Although you seem to be patient enough and not rushing into things.
Last edited by DanAloidia at Jun 27, 2015,