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shredfan
UG Member
Join date: Apr 2005
111 IQ
#1
A question for all you speed demons:

How do you go about building picking speed from the wrist? This is something that I really want to do, but is causing me trouble. I'm fairly sure that my problem is not a lack of practice, but a fundamental flaw in my picking mechanic, which means I can't go above a certain speed.

How exactly should the wrist move when alternate picking? Any close up pictures/videos/advice on this VERY much appreciated.

I can pick fast from the elbow, but it all seems like too much effort. I want to develop a picking technique which both looks and feels effortless and which I could use all day. (Think Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane)
Originally posted by raygreendaystud
your a fag, listen to real music like green day, you moron
IROBOTInferno
acid freak
Join date: Oct 2005
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#3
when you go sfor speed you never go from the wrist the joint bends wrong, bend at your elbow.it's the fast way.
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Archaon
Minister of Sin
Join date: Jun 2005
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#4
for tremolo picking or long shred runs i use the arm, but for short ones i use my wrist.
Scorzerci
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#5
i always pick from my wrist but i cant exactly play very fast. is picking from my wrist bad for my wrist and does it slow me down?
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wil
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Join date: Feb 2004
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#6
i pick from the wrist, i try move my arm as little as possible, it only needs a mintue movement, watch some footage of Malmsteen and he looks effortless, it only punks that thrash their arms all over the place- there should be no tension in your arm whatsoever, if you put in the hours and learn to pick from the wrist, youll be in control of every note you play, rather than tensing your arm and tremelo picking at a fast, but completely random, speed.
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shredfan
UG Member
Join date: Apr 2005
111 IQ
#7
Ok, thanks to Wil for the most relevant comment so far.

But could someone please tell me HOW they manage to get great speed from using just the wrist, mechanics wise?

If anyone gives me some useful technical advice that helps my picking technique, I'll send them some tracks from Hands Without Shadows (MAB). (or something else if you prefer)
Originally posted by raygreendaystud
your a fag, listen to real music like green day, you moron
Righteous
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#8
I dunno if this is helpful at all, but just be as relaxed as is possible and start out slow trying to make the least amount of motion of the pick using your wrist.
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ukdudeinuk
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Join date: Jan 2004
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#9
Well, just like picking with the arm, the more you do it, the more you train your muscles and the faster you can go. If you train yourself to do it effortlessly*read-no tension*, youll be able to play all day. I guess, mechanics wise, you can move your wrist as fast or faster than your elbow, in theory, and it seems you would have greater control, which would mean smaller movements, and in turn more notes played. Also, what Wil said about the controlled speed is correct. Hope that helped.
Erich yeung
UG's China Man
Join date: Dec 2003
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#10
well theres many picking variations as everyones diffeerent. But usually its either arm, wrist or thumb. Cooley uses arm, steve vai uses his wrist, and michael angelo batio uses his thumb. Those are just examples. I personally use wrist but it should be your preference. I mean lots of people will tell you arm is wrong but look at cooley, i think its should be of your own better judgment. And dont be lazy try all three, just cause you suck at one doesnt mean that you wont like it, you really gotta play around.

Ok so the basic mechanics for speed picking is this. (this is for speed btw no dynamics or anything of mention) You should try to hit the string with the smallest amount of the actually pick possible. (so the very very tip of it) And you should after every pick you want to go in opposite direction, Correct? So you want to make the distance of the next attack smaller so you have less area to travel to hit the string again. So after each pick try to keep the pick closer to the string rather than going really far up or down. Sry about the coherence in what im writing, its hard to explain. I hope this helps though and good luck with your picking.
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Last edited by Erich yeung at Nov 13, 2005,
shredfan
UG Member
Join date: Apr 2005
111 IQ
#11
Thanks for those tips. I understand about economy of motion and all that, but the main problem is that I can't seem to move my wrist anything like as fast as I can move my arm, even though in theory it should be able to move faster. I'm not sure if theres something wrong in the way I'm moving it, or if I just need to carry on with what I'm doing and hope for the best.

A few people might also be interested to hear what Rusty Cooley has to say about his picking technique.

Quote by Rusty Cooley
It's a little miss leading when you watch me pick because when I'm picking real fast it look like I'm using my elbow but I'm still using my wrist too it's just that the wrist movements have become so small it's hard to detect.


If people want me to email them stuff, they'll need to pm me their addresses.
Originally posted by raygreendaystud
your a fag, listen to real music like green day, you moron
Last edited by shredfan at Nov 13, 2005,
Erich yeung
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#12
^yeah but hes using arm and writst right? See you really have to play around and see what suits you better i mean he mixed it up and hes got great technique so i guess you should play around. I mean if no matter how hard you try you cant pick fast with wrist then stick to arm, and train your arm to relax and have no tension, to each his own, man i cant help you and i think only you can, so keep trying and making an effort.
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ukdudeinuk
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#13
Well, youre used to using your arm. Youve developed the muscles and fast twitch fibers in your arm directly associated with how you currently pick. The muscles and fast twitch fibers associated with picking from the wrist arent as developed in your case. The more you work at it, the faster you will become, just like what happened with your picking from the arm. I would imagine picking from the wrist would expend less energy, but Zakk Wylde picks from the arm, and he plays for long periods of time, then again he has those massive arms. Anyway, since both have been proven methods of picking, go with whichever you feel more comfortable with.
beckergod
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#14
wow for all those who pick from the arm, you guys should stop and re learn, you can really **** up your arm that way its not good for the muscle and over time itll cause stress to your arm, i learned to pick from the wrist, when well trained the wrist is a much better way to go.
Originally posted by ICBMoscow
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wil
..but Teles are better
Join date: Feb 2004
208 IQ
#15
The way i learned to pick fast is to lay back on my bed, against the wall holding the guitar upwards with my picking arms elbow positioned on the bed, that way it is stationary, and i trained myself, with hour after hour of chromatics to only move my wrist. I dont know if that makes sense, id draw you a picture if i had the means. This is probably not the best way to do it but it sure as hell helped, the arm is static, but theres no tension in it, like a balance.
Also, if youre practising with a metronome, start off extremely slow- we all know this, but just because its on slow, dont think that because the speed is managable you can be sloppy and move the pick far away from the strings for the next repetition- Basically dont think because its an easy speed that you can be sloppy until the speed gets a bit harder, you need to refine your technique, the pick should only move millimetres away from the string after the initial downstroke in preparation for the upstroke, it needs to be watertight.

Hope that helps.
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Freepower
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#16
The misinformation or complete lack of any attempt at research in this thread is incredible.

There are all kinds of different muscles, use them for the right jobs - dont strum with your thumb muscles, dont pick minutely using your shoulder.

Its good you use your arm, because most people ignore it completely, and thus lose a lot of mobility and power. Same for your shoudler - these are muscles for making big movements, so use em for it. If you're string skipping, use these muscles to move your wrist so it isn't doing all the work. Anyway, the minute muscles in your wrist are delicate and need to be approached correctly. Look at shawn, his arm and elbow are not just sitting there, but rather help his wrist out. His wrist is where the action is, but the FOUNDATION is the arm and shoulder. To this end, i encourage everyone to at least experiment with these motions.

Shredfan, you probably move your wrist up and down, right? You begin to become tense and rely on your arm at around 12ish nps using this motion. This is TRANSLATORY motion, moving in the plane (it's not really a plane, but anyway) of the strings. It's quite even and its good for many things, but superfast playing is not one of them. Lay your wrist down palm down on the table, keep it there, and draw arcs with a pen, that's translatory motion.

Rotary motion is just what it sounds. Lift your arm, hold the pen, pretend your turning a doorknob - if you were holding a pen, youd make straight lines, where the imaginary circle of your motion cuts the line of the table. This motion is a fair bit faster and more easily controlled, but string skipping, and the evenness of the notes is affected.

Third kind of motion - "Oscilliatory". As you've probably guessed, this is the big one. This is what seperates Effortless Shawn Lane Complexity from Fareri and his Amazing Fast Tension. This is hard to describe, but imagine rapping a door with your knuckles. Thats the motion. Your downstrokes become "in" strokes, your ups "out". Great. Now we're bouncing off the pickups and scratching the strings. Well, that's where your thumb comes in.

http://www.guitarplayer.com.br/materia/94/imagens/shawn/shawn1.jpg
http://www.tarsun.net/images/bio_vigierpromo.jpg

^ the former shows a good hand position to start with, the latter shows best how to hold the pick for this technique - use the pads of your thumb and finger and hold the pick there.

I gtg now, but i hope i helped. I'll post more later if you have questions.
Scorzerci
UG Addict
Join date: Aug 2005
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#17
^ do you think you could try explaining the oscilliatory picking more in depth because i dont get it at all.
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shredfan
UG Member
Join date: Apr 2005
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#18
Quote by Freepower

Third kind of motion - "Oscilliatory". As you've probably guessed, this is the big one. This is what seperates Effortless Shawn Lane Complexity from Fareri and his Amazing Fast Tension. This is hard to describe, but imagine rapping a door with your knuckles. Thats the motion. Your downstrokes become "in" strokes, your ups "out". Great. Now we're bouncing off the pickups and scratching the strings. Well, that's where your thumb comes in.


Cheers Freepower, this is the sort of technical stuff that I want. This oscillation picking business sounds promising, but how do you turn what is essentially an up and down movement into something that will allow you to alternate pick from side to side?
Originally posted by raygreendaystud
your a fag, listen to real music like green day, you moron
Gabuydachk
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2005
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#19
here's the best advice I can give:
don't pick like you write (you know with a pen or pencil)
that's what a lot of my friends do and it kills their speed

'tis life
Freepower
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#20
Quote by shredfan
Cheers Freepower, this is the sort of technical stuff that I want. This oscillation picking business sounds promising, but how do you turn what is essentially an up and down movement into something that will allow you to alternate pick from side to side?


Check out the 2nd shawn pick. His hand may be above the strings, as opposed to parallel to the strings and near the bridge, and it's pointing almost vertically down - now, lock your thumb back as far as it'll go. Lock it, not necessarily tense, but bend it back. Bring your PAD of your index finger to touch the pad of your thumb. To do the actual motion, think of it as "in" and "out" strokes.

Hold your hand above the strings a la shawn pic 2, and your pick will (almost) naturally catch the string as it goes it. Ditto for out.

This is the best picking method i've ever come across, i've been using it a few days, and i can really feel the potential. I've tried everything from pure elbow, pure tranlatory and pure rotationary - elbow's fast but makes complexity a bitch. Translatory's even, but you can't go very fast before you start to tense up a little. Rotationary's decent, but really a bit of a middle ground that doesnt really work that great, imo.

Oscilliatory, on the other hand, makes strings skipping a comparitive ease - i dont really know how to say except that it feels natural, i even managed some SL style "snap" picking after a while. And i've never felt completely secure unanchored till i tried it. And to boot, fine movements are easier for me too.

I love it. Hope you guys do too. And seriously, if you dont "get" it, (i didnt at first) TRY it, and pay REALLY CLOSE attention to what i said. Knocking a door. Get the motion, copy the pose, and try it, exaggerate the motion, and then condition it small.
apocalypse13
<3 Nile and Marty
Join date: Jun 2005
686 IQ
#21
I like to trem pick using a combination of my wrist and thumb, more thumb though. When I do it, I barely move my wrist, In a kind of circular motion. I move my thumb at pretty high speeds, in a flex type of motion. Flex, then un-flex. I can pick a lot faster with my elbow, but that's no good and I don't want to risk screwing up my arm. If you use a combination of all three, with a lot of control over the different muscles, you can get fierce speeds effortlessly. And the less, effort, the better. Hope this helps.


Freepower--
Do you mean with the third motion you mentioned that you use a combination of index and thumb to pick extremely fast, without using much wrist? If so, that's what I use.
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Last edited by apocalypse13 at Nov 14, 2005,
ukdudeinuk
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#23
Dude Free, is there any way you can get better pictures of whats going on with that, or maybe an instructional type video you can make? Im really confused, Im going to try it, but Im not expecting to understand.
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#24
^ i'll make a quick instructional vid if im ever around a camera sometime soon. But seriously, just practice the motion, copy the pics i posted, you'll see it soon enough. Seeing as you said you'd try it, tell me if it became more obvious after trying.
ukdudeinuk
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#25
No it didnt actually. Ill go look at the pictures again and see if maybe I was doing something wrong, but it made me feel retarded lol. But the way u described it, my brain kept telling me my wrist is supposed to be perpendicular to the strings, but that doesnt seem like what hes doing in the pictures...so yeah.

Edit:WAIT A MINUTE I read everything wrong, I was thinking his hand position in the second picture was correct. Wow, that helps, but I still dont completely get it.
Last edited by ukdudeinuk at Nov 15, 2005,
Freepower
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#26
^ the second IS correct, its just the way shawn ended up - he's using combinations of the 3 motions (obviously, you think you can play with just one? HA! That'd be too easy! ) and his wrist is ALMOST perpendicular to the strings. Its his thumb that brings the pick back into an angle that creates the attack of the movement, and he's angling upwards slightly, which helps me too, so give it a go.

Really, give it a go and it gets easier to "get".
ukdudeinuk
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#27
Ok. That makes more sense. The door knocking motion I dont get, unless you were completely perpendicular. I have my guitar in hand, I will try it though. The 3 motions, is that the three you were talking about in your original post?

Edit:Ok, I think Im starting to get it. Are downstrokes going towards the pickup, or pulling the string away? And I do get now what you were talking about with the thumb creating the angle of attack.

Edit2:Ok, I think Ive got it, but I want to see some kind of video or something so I dont practice it wrong. Muscle memory of the wrong motions is a very bad thing.
Last edited by ukdudeinuk at Nov 15, 2005,
Freepower
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#28
^ downstrokes go towards the pickup, and yes, i meant the threee motions from earlier - with shoulder and elbow, but of course.

Picking fast and complex is always harder and more complex than it seems. The trick is to give your right the ability to do anything, so you can concentrate on note choice, etc. Shawn almost never thought about his picking - he COULD, but he preferred to save his "RAM" for other things.
ukdudeinuk
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#29
Yeah. I dont ever think about my picking anyway, unless Im working on my sweeping, which sucks alot, or if I screw up, I think crap, I screwed up. But while Im playing, I dont think much at all, I have trouble doing it. Man, that means I have it backwards. The way I was doing it, my downstrokes were pulling the string away from the pickup. I can see how I would have to angle my hand, but that feels incredibly awkward. So as long as Im doing the knocking motion, I just have to turn my hand so my downstrokes push the string towards the pickups. The idea of using your shoulder and elbow is weird, in that Ive played so long without doing that, that I will hit the wrong string when I try that. Im going to get this down though, I can already tell how much easier it is, even though I suck at it.

Haha, the idea of ram is a good one. Ive never thought of it like that, but it makes sense. It also makes alot of things clearer in my mind, such as why actually memorizing the notes of the fretboard and the 12 major keys and stuff like that cold helps you to play better. I knew this already, but the idea of thinking about that stuff using "ram" is very helpful. Dude thanks for helping me with that unintentionally!!!
Last edited by ukdudeinuk at Nov 15, 2005,
shredfan
UG Member
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#30
http://www.tuckandpatti.com/pick-finger_tech.html

Okay, after reading this I am now more confused than before. Tuck seems to be advising you to rotate your wrist 90 degrees for oscillation picking. But if you did this, how the hell would you be able to reach the strings to pick them?
Originally posted by raygreendaystud
your a fag, listen to real music like green day, you moron
torturer6067
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#31
what i did was i improvized over chords and played for hours improvizing over diferent chords, i got fast and i mean very fast then i realized that my technique isnt anything special and started to work on my tech,start slow than speed it up, but i never focused on how my right arm is moving when i pick or which part of the arm is moving. but if i look at my technique i dont use my whrist at all, but thats because of the style i hold my pick
Freepower
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#32
Quote by shredfan
http://www.tuckandpatti.com/pick-finger_tech.html

Okay, after reading this I am now more confused than before. Tuck seems to be advising you to rotate your wrist 90 degrees for oscillation picking. But if you did this, how the hell would you be able to reach the strings to pick them?


Lol, no, he's explaining the MOTION -

you rotate your wrist 90 degrees from the previous example so you have your pinky side on the table and then he explains the door knocking motion.

I found that thing confusing so i figured id explain it myself - basically, its a way of demonstrating the motion, but its a really bad way. I was going to get pics and a short video today on my gfs digital camera but it ran out of battery, so im afraid it'll have to wait. But trust me, me and him and saying the same thing, just his example is a little confusing in its detail.
apocalypse13
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#33
^Yeah Freepower, a video would help a LOT. I can pick up on vids really quick. But right now:
Me =
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Erc
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#34
Yes...video now!! This uh...way of picking intrigues me...but I don't understand and already tried dicking around with it and...meh...nothing.
shenanigans
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#35
This site seems really cool for studying picking techniques.....just read what it has to offer.

http://www.troygrady.com/code.php
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ukdudeinuk
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#36
Man that sucks Free! Anyway, since I cant be sure Im doing it right, Ill wait paitiently for a video.
beaker
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#38
i think way too many of you are taking this way too seriously! as frank zappa sais, shut up n play yer guitar! seriously tho, alot of you are trying to shortcut ways to picking perfection, if most of you put more effort into actually playing your guitars rather than writing about theory's behind secret picking techniques, you would all be playing alot better! you lot are too obsessed with technique
Jujiman
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#39
Most really, really good players(which I am not one of by the way)play from the wrist and elbow.

I have watched Zakk Wylde many times and he moves both of them, but it seems like he picks from the elbow a little more.

Try getting his BLS DVD Broozed, Broken, and Boozed live from Detroit. Its badass.

Jujiman
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#40
Quote by beaker
i think way too many of you are taking this way too seriously! as frank zappa sais, shut up n play yer guitar! seriously tho, alot of you are trying to shortcut ways to picking perfection, if most of you put more effort into actually playing your guitars rather than writing about theory's behind secret picking techniques, you would all be playing alot better! you lot are too obsessed with technique


Shred is based on technique, and you can't shred without technique. Picking is an especially important technique, so shut up
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