I have some problems with speed. And when I say I am slow I play at the speed of a fucking 81 year old women with arthritis. How can I build the speed in my wrist to be able to pick fast. for example what techniques to build speed. Also what kind of pick should I use to put this into practice. I would love to be able to play the holy wars solo or some shred shit, so any and all help you can provide is greatly appreciated. Should I pick with my arm, just anything you can give about building speed.
This belongs in the Guitar Techniques forum. But I can provide you with some pointers or perhaps inspiration. Learn from the best mate.

Also in the second vid about 2 mins he briefly talks about the fretting hand development.

Third video is just witchcraft.

Fourth video he provides a philosophical approach.

Good luck.

Check the legato vid in my sig as well. It's been there for ages. Hopefully it still works.

Essentially, in all fast playing you need to stay relaxed and it shouldn't feel any harder than when you play it very slowly. Reason being that the muscle memory has been built up.

Legato wise, utilise Bruce Lee's one inch punch philosophy. Channel as much energy, speed and power as possible in to a small arc of movement. So just keep your fingers poised just a few millimetres away from the fretboard at all times.

Also check out Paul Gilbert alternate picking, and Frank Gambale who has very good technique.
^ This.

Also - think slow. Got some 8ths at 240 bpm? Think of them as 16ths at 120 bpm. Much more relaxing....
It's all about relaxation and efficiency of motion. Shake your hand out and let it hang by your side, absolutely limp. That's the feeling you should be aiming for when you're playing. Minimize movements, press down on the frets with as little force as needed, focus on a light touch and feel and keep your hands and body as relaxed as possible. Practice whatever you're working on at tempos so painfully slow that it's impossible to mess up. So slow that you can play it absolutely perfectly and really focus on the way your hands feel and then slowly increase the tempo. Speed is a byproduct of accuracy.

Whether to use wrist or arm for picking? Well, both have to move. Just going by my own playing (maybe not the most insanely fast player ever, but still pretty fast.) - If I break it down there seems to be more arm movement when changing strings and wrist movement for the actual picking. There's a certain speed threshold when tremolo picking or galloping where I tend to naturally switch to a slightly stiffer wrist and use more arm movement instead, but I don't think that's a good thing. It wears out the arm quickly and causes tension and inaccurate picking.

For example, in Iced Earth's Wolf


For the simpler galloping from 0:44 to 1:00


I use my wrist for the picking and arm for the little bit of string changing. Feels relaxed and easy. I could do that all day.

But then at the 1:00 mark it changes to a more complicated pattern that feels a little faster (might be a slight tempo change, but I think it's just that there are more gallops and string switching)


I can do it, but my picking wants to switch to the stiffer wrist and using more arm movement style picking. If I allow that to happen, by the 30 second mark (that section is 37 second long) my arm starts tensing up and I start missing notes. If I force myself to relax and use more wrist movements it doesn't wear me out, but it requires a lot of concentration because that's right at the edge of the speed where I can handle that much string changing right next to fast gallops. I'm also not sure if maybe on every other gallop they might actually be hitting it twice instead of three times, which would make it way easier to play, but it's less fun that way so whatever

Basically, both will move, but the wrist moves more on the picking action and the arm moves more on the string changes. From my own experience, though I'm sure it's not just me, if you hit a speed where you start tensing up, feeling muscle fatigue, using more arm movement than needed, and of course, missing notes, that's generally the speed limit for the moment. Don't try to push past it - at that point it's time to slow down a little and focus on relaxation and proper technique. This applies to both left hand and right hand technique.

Edit: the light touch applies more the fretting hand than the picking hand. You should still try to stay relaxed and loose, but you should also be in control of how hard you're picking. Sometimes you'll want a heavier pick attack and sometimes you'll want a softer pick attack, but you should be in control of it.

And try to focus on one thing at a time when practicing. Of course try to do as well as you can, but it's hard to focus on your pick wrist movements, muscle tension, pick attack, minimizing finger movements, etc. all at the same time. One thing at a time until it becomes second nature.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at May 13, 2016,
Golden wins the thread.

Have you ver seen a baby learn to walk? Of course you have.

What about running? Of course not. nobody ever learns to run.

Learn how to walk perfectly and running takes care of itself. Playing fast is just playing slow faster.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp