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Join date: Jun 2005
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My teacher went to an Al Dimeola clinic a while back, and he claims that Al told them that he actually picks with his elbow, and not his wrists. This seems kind of strange, as in the videos I've seen, he looks like a strict wrist picker, has anyone seen anything his instructional material about picking that could tell me if he picks from his wrist or elbow?

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personally, i like to pick with my thumb and index
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All wrist here...

I would assume Meola picks with his wrist, it always looks that way.
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That doesn't work when playing like Dimiola on acoustic...
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I can play fine with wrist on electric at any speed I want to go, but when I use wrist on acoustic, I have trouble changing strings, but no trouble when I'm using elbow. The only problem with using my elbow is control. Maybe it would be better to just buy an ovation like Dimeola, as they are WAY easier to play than the acoustic i'm using.
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DiMeola rotates his forearm from the elbow, he doesn't use it as a lever.
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I don't get entirely what you mean, do you mean all the motion comes from his elbow entirely?
Do you mean like his elbow is constantly going up and down, or he rotates his forearm from the elbow?

Personally I use mainly my wrist but I tend use the thumb and index finger when I'm going slower.
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Last edited by Matt_Malmsteen at Apr 21, 2006,
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I went to a guitar teacher and he told me picking with the wrist was bad.... slows you down supposedly. I mix between using my wrist and elbow now.
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No way. Ive got Di Meola's Instuctional Vid and he specifically says you should never pick with your elbow, it should be a small but effective wrist action.

one of the reasons is the wrist allows greater control, it also is less of a movement to have to make so your hand wont tire out so easily. He actually says that hes never ever seen any proffessional player pick with a large elbow action, so I suppose that shows its not a great technique to use.

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I think I remember a quote from Al, something like, 'elbow picking usually sounds as bad as it looks'.

Its probably true. You can use exclusively your elbow for very fast picking, but 'most' people that do that play with an incredible amount of tension and can't pick anything harder than simple one string patterns accurately, for any length of time. Also, loads of elbow pickers can only play things at two speeds - hyperfast and slow, with no in between. I used to elbow pick, but since I changed, my playing has improved infinitely. Unless you can already pick 'almost' as well as pro-shredders and with no tension whatsoever, then I'd advise all arm pickers to take one step backwards in order to take three forwards.

A certain amount of elbow movement to support that of the wrist is OK (and often unnavoidable seeing as your wrist is connected to the arm), but I can't think of any shredders who exclusively pick from their elbow. And theres a reason for that.
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