I made a thumb pick out of one of my Jazz IIIs. I finally have a pick that feels like it does when I'm holding it normally but frees up my first finger. (Unlike most thumb picks that feel like you're playing with a ruler strapped to your thumb)

I took some classical guitar lessons a few years ago until my instructor had to stop. Now that I have the full use of all my fingers I'd lime to apply some of that.


The hand position for picking/muting is a lot different than the classical hand position. In the classical hand position you have your hand far enough away from the guitar so that you have enough space to use your first knuckle as the main driver for your fingers. When playing in a position that facilitates picking/muting your hand is much closer to the guitar so your fingers are more curved. There isn't enough space to only use your first knuckle. You also have to use your second as well. The motion becomes more of a curve than an extension of the fingers.


My question is

Do you think this is detrimental for developing a monstrous arpeggio/tremolo technique? Because classical guys have spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to do things.

I'm not really that worried, just kinda curious. I'll push ahead anyway but I'd like to do things the best way possible.

I'll probs be running these exercises along with the usual etude stuff

Last edited by Duaneclapdrix at Dec 26, 2015,
Arpeggios, it's mostly fine. Tremolo however would be difficult to make sound good. Unless you adjusted your approach. Your hand can't be too far away because that would cause your thumb pick to be pointing in the wrong direction (unless you modified it so that the point of the pick was closer to the tip of your thumb), but you could at least angle your hand in a better direction.

Most people tend to play with their arms coming at the strings at about a 45 degree angle. You could either tilt up the neck, angle your wrist downward, or bring your arm down vertically to meet the strings, so that your fingers are more perpendicular to the strings. That should help you with Tremolo.

Alternatively you could choose a different technique. Like I said you shouldn't have too much trouble playing arpeggios with a slanted angle but regardless there's still sweeping and legato, and combining that with just one or two fingers can be pretty neat.

But for tremolo if you didn't want to change position, it is possible to actually alt pick. Down on the lower string, up down up on the higher. If you're doing 5's just throw in a fingerpluck before the up down up. And you can actually tremolo the bottom strings like this if you wanted to
For classical-type tremolo you will probably need your thumb and another finger together. Obviously that's useless if you're trying to maintain a tremolo in the upper voice only, but the electric guitar has more sustain than nylon strings, so you may be able to use a slower technique for similar effect. You can also try to work your chicken pickin up to classical speed, but there is definitely a difference between striking with the nail and plucking with the fingertip.

As far as arps go, I think left hand technique makes a bigger difference than right, if only because you have more options to consider. If you don't know them already, the Villa-Lobos Douze Etudes include some arpeggio based pieces that translate pretty easily to non-classical RH technique.
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 26, 2015,
Thanks Eddie. I was kind if wondering if the muting hand position would be mechanically detrimental to speeding up or something. Good to know you think it'll be alright. Reading about classical technique can get reminiscent of an anatomy course haha so thought I'd put the question out there to people who know their stuff.

I'm also going to have to change the shape of my nails a bit because of the different angle.

I'm not sure what you mean by needing my thumb and another finger together? I was wondering more about not being able to use a more classical stroke (first knuckle, finger extends forward) and having to use a more curved second knuckle+first knuckle pull motion compromise.

That's interesting about arps. The left hand seems a lot easer to me than the right. All you have to do is move the fretting hand into position whereas the picking hand has to coordinate all the fingers.