#1
Hey guys, i have a huge problem. I can't tremolo pick. at all. my fast is probably around 6-7 notes per second. not being clean. i read and heard from numerous guitar teachers that tremolo picking cleanly as a way of finding out how fast you can go in strict alternate picking. so my quesiton is this. How do i improve tremolo picking? i want it to go faster so my picking can go faster.
#2
It's a mixture between how you hold the pick and the muscles in your hand. Close all the fingers in your hand and hold the pick so your downstroke is a 45* towards the bridge. This helped me, hopefully it will help you to
#3
You have to start slow, and slooooooooooooooooowly work your way up, faster and faster. You get faster eventually.
#4
well i didnt know what that was when i first did them , i just moved my elbow really fast up and down when i first learned to play , i say its all in the elbow and holding the pick hard enough so it dosnt slip out
#5
Quote by Dendar
You have to start slow, and slooooooooooooooooowly work your way up, faster and faster. You get faster eventually.


Yep. Work your alternative picking and slowly pick up the speed.
#6
Check the pick you're using first. Is it under 1 mm? That might be your problem. Check your strings. Are they beat up and heavy as ****? The opposite? That might be your problem. Passed that, it's all practice.
We've drained full confession booths, polluted drinking wells with our repentances, and then stood grinning with our arms around the shoulder of a rotting child.



If you resist change, you will be here forever.
Last edited by NorfIrIon at Jun 29, 2008,
#7
im doing all of that, but for some reason, it always end up "bouncing off the strings" and my hand looks "jumpy" even when slow.
#8
A tip: Do not move your pick any further than the distance needed to cross the string. Once it passes the string, that's all the motion you need to make for that given stroke. When picking fast, your pick will virtually never leave the string and will be more like rubbing/scratching it back and forth. And use the tip of your pick.
#9
Quote by shtiming
i read and heard from numerous guitar teachers that tremolo picking cleanly as a way of finding out how fast you can go in strict alternate picking.


That's a false simplification. In most alternate picking you'll also be crossing strings.
If all you do it try and tremolo pick as fast as you can, you can actually wind up with
WORSE technique for general alternate picking.

I really dislike this tremelo picking garbage as a development method for alternate
picking. I think it leads a lot of people down a bad path. I think you'll actually be
better off practicing string crossing and string to string movement first. You'll end
up with a much better foundation.
#10
Quote by edg
That's a false simplification. In most alternate picking you'll also be crossing strings.
If all you do it try and tremolo pick as fast as you can, you can actually wind up with
WORSE technique for general alternate picking.

I really dislike this tremelo picking garbage as a development method for alternate
picking. I think it leads a lot of people down a bad path. I think you'll actually be
better off practicing string crossing and string to string movement first. You'll end
up with a much better foundation.


I believe a mixture of both is good. Until I actually stopped and consciously practiced my tremolo picking I have been better at 3nps and string-changing licks. Still feels like I am sometimes, so I regret not practicing my tremolo picking earlier =/
#11
Quote by fixationdarknes
I believe a mixture of both is good. Until I actually stopped and consciously practiced my tremolo picking I have been better at 3nps and string-changing licks. Still feels like I am sometimes, so I regret not practicing my tremolo picking earlier =/


It's more of a question of emphasis. A beginner will think if they can only tremolo
pick, they'll have a smooth glide path to faster alternate picking of all kinds. So,
ALL they'll do is try tremolo picking fast. Do both if you want, but I think you'll
end up in a much better place if you work on cross string picking mechanics and
forget about tremolo picking, than vice-versa. When cross string picking is fluid,
it's easier to integrate tremolo vs going the other way.
#12
Quote by edg
When cross string picking is fluid,
it's easier to integrate tremolo vs going the other way.


Tooshay. But for the matter of having the most minute efficient picking motion possible, I'd say it's good to analyze tremolo picking technique as well. No string-crossing to think about which will mean more emphasis on the actual picking motion (ideally).
#13
For tremolo picking feel free move your elbow and ****, you're not trying to play each note in time, just really fast.

HOWEVER

If you want to learn alternate picking, you do NOT want to move anything but your wrist as you will have zero control when using half your arm to move the pick.

And your timing will suck.
#15
Quote by shtiming
I want to tremolo pick in time with accents on every downbeat.


Then do alternate picking, or "controlled" tremolo picking (alternate picking in time, with a little arm/elbow movement).

It works best if all the notes are on the same strings.
#16
Quote by beadhangingOne
For tremolo picking feel free move your elbow and ****, you're not trying to play each note in time, just really fast.

HOWEVER

If you want to learn alternate picking, you do NOT want to move anything but your wrist as you will have zero control when using half your arm to move the pick.

And your timing will suck.


*waits for edg to destroy this guy*

I also agree with him that trem picking is a rather useless skill. I mean I like it when it's used tastefully in a song (Superheroes by Racer X, for example), but being good at it is not going to help any other skills that much.
#17
Quote by which ones pink
*waits for edg to destroy this guy*

I also agree with him that trem picking is a rather useless skill. I mean I like it when it's used tastefully in a song (Superheroes by Racer X, for example), but being good at it is not going to help any other skills that much.


Besides the few F note trems, there are other tremelo spots in Superheroes?
#19
It helped me to stop flicking my wrist and drive the pick using a motion
like i am hammering in a nail and i anchor one of my finger. I also graze
the string instead of a traditional attack. you dont have to hit it very hard.
I think its worth practicing. It can be hard to incorporate in to songs that are not
just ballz to the wallz.

Alternate picking is the way to go in my opinion. It just gives a different
feeling. I dont do much alternate picking myself..but..I have came up with
riffs and they didnt sound quite right. Alternate picking saved a few of them.
I like the sound of the *in your face* all downstrokes...but sometimes you
need the finesse of Alternate picking because its just smoother. Its hard to
get..but also hard to stop once u get it..
I bet Charlie Brown's teacher's name was Mrs.Hammett
#20
Quote by which ones pink
*waits for edg to destroy this guy*

I also agree with him that trem picking is a rather useless skill. I mean I like it when it's used tastefully in a song (Superheroes by Racer X, for example), but being good at it is not going to help any other skills that much.


Errr... did I say something that was wrong?
#21
Quote by beadhangingOne
Errr... did I say something that was wrong?


I was talking about edg because he knows a crapload about technique, and one of his biggest peeves is everybody saying "only use the wrist always". Anytime you keep a joint or muscle from moving freely, you severely limit yourself. Even if all of your picking motion is coming from the wrist (or even the fingers), your whole arm reacts to the pressure of the string against the pick, and if it is not free to do so, you will cause tension.

Edg still knows a lot more about this than I do, and he'll probably come in here and correct me on some point but the point I was trying to make was that there is never a time to use poor technique.

PinkEdit: I did kind of come across as a douche in that first post. Sorry about that. And hey, we both have SupremeACL in our sigs
#22
Quote by which ones pink
I was talking about edg because he knows a crapload about technique, and one of his biggest peeves is everybody saying "only use the wrist always". Anytime you keep a joint or muscle from moving freely, you severely limit yourself. Even if all of your picking motion is coming from the wrist (or even the fingers), your whole arm reacts to the pressure of the string against the pick, and if it is not free to do so, you will cause tension.


Well, you have a point. If you force yourself to only use your wrist then you probably are handicapping yourself. However, when I look at Paul Gilbert alternate pick, I can't see anything but his wrist move, and since he has probably one of the best techniques around, it seems that wrist picking is the way to go. It's ok to move your arm a little bit, but flailing is a . There's no way you're going to be able move fluidly across the strings if your picking hand looks like it's furiously mastrubating a horse's wang.


Quote by which ones pink

Edg still knows a lot more about this than I do, and he'll probably come in here and correct me on some point but the point I was trying to make was that there is never a time to use poor technique.

PinkEdit: I did kind of come across as a douche in that first post. Sorry about that. And hey, we both have SupremeACL in our sigs


np

What a coincidence! It's probably some kind of sign...hmmm...
#23
Quote by which ones pink
Anytime you keep a joint or muscle from moving freely, you severely limit yourself. Even if all of your picking motion is coming from the wrist (or even the fingers), your whole arm reacts to the pressure of the string against the pick, and if it is not free to do so, you will cause tension.


Well there's a difference between KEEPING a joint from moving freely and RELAXING it. By KEEPING it from doing something, that's sort of implying that it's tensed and locked down. When relaxed, you're not causing tension and more importantly not limiting yourself. That's one of the biggest problems - most guitarists do not know how to relax (can actually be a lot harder than it sounds).
#24
Quote by fixationdarknes
Well there's a difference between KEEPING a joint from moving freely and RELAXING it. By KEEPING it from doing something, that's sort of implying that it's tensed and locked down. When relaxed, you're not causing tension and more importantly not limiting yourself. That's one of the biggest problems - most guitarists do not know how to relax (can actually be a lot harder than it sounds).


That's exactly my point. When I say keeping the arm free to move, I mean relaxed and unlocked (and of course, unanchored, but we won't get into that )

^^Paul Gilbert is one of the very few people in the world that naturally have efficient, relaxed technique (Shawn Lane was another). And you know, I use my wrist to pick, as do most people. The idea though is to not use *just* your wrist. The wrist may be doing the actual picking motion, and the elbow the string-crossing motion, but if you are relaxed enough your whole arm is still involved in some way.
#25
Quote by which ones pink
The idea though is to not use *just* your wrist. The wrist may be doing the actual picking motion, and the elbow the string-crossing motion, but if you are relaxed enough your whole arm is still involved in some way.


Right, but I think saying "don't use only your wrist to pick" may confuse some. When most people come into this forum and ask "should I be using my wrist or arm to pick?" they are generally asking about the actual picking motion itself (at least that's the way it seems in my experience).
#26
Isn't tremolo picking just plain alternate picking but a speed that when playing a single note, it sounds like it was sustained for a very long time?.
Besides being a guitar player, I'm a big fan of the guitar. I love that damn instrument. Steve Vai

Gear:
Kramer Striker FR422SM
Roland Microcube
Digitech Bad Monkey
Dunlop Tortex 1.14mm picks


MY VIDEOS
#27
Quote by El Cumanés
Isn't tremolo picking just plain alternate picking but a speed that when playing a single note, it sounds like it was sustained for a very long time?.


Well I've only been using the term "tremolo picking" to differentiate from cross-string picking.
#28
i would agree with edg and learn cross string mechanics combined with 3-4 notes per string to develop alternate picking. maybe something like the chromatic scale. the reason i say that is because i found it harder to control my picking when crossing strings rather than when simply playing the same string over and over. i developed more control learning how to cross strings as well, which is was guitar playing is all about, control.

furthermore, when someone tremolo picks its a bit like they have just stood up to give a speech and instead masturbate furiously. no one benefits except the player (and even then its debatable)
#29
Quote by which ones pink
*waits for edg to destroy this guy*

I also agree with him that trem picking is a rather useless skill. I mean I like it when it's used tastefully in a song (Superheroes by Racer X, for example), but being good at it is not going to help any other skills that much.


LOL. Look I'm not out to destroy anyone, nor do I have all the answers.
Tremelo picking is a cool skill and technique. There's nothing wrong with it or
working on it. I'm just trying to help people avoid mistakes I made. I thought
if I could figure out how to alternate pick on a single string really fast, that would
help my picking overall. So I worked on it a while and finally discovered I was just
developing bad habits trying to keep the pick steady over 1 string.

The REAL problem I had was crossing strings fluidly. The pick has to travel further
for that and what I was doing with tremolo picking wasn't helping at all. So I
concentrated on cross-string mechanics and that made my picking better overall,
including being able to incorporate tremelo picking.

My conclusion is, if you want a good foundation for your picking, is work on the
larger muscle groups first -- where the pick has to cross the largest distance. Once
you get that sorted out, work in the smaller motions. This way they'll tend to work
with each other rather than against each other.

There's no right or wrong way to do things, but there ARE things that have higher
probablities of reaching your goals Still, everybody's different and it's always the
case YMMV.
#30
Quote by edg


The REAL problem I had was crossing strings fluidly. The pick has to travel further
for that and what I was doing with tremolo picking wasn't helping at all. So I
concentrated on cross-string mechanics and that made my picking better overall,
including being able to incorporate tremelo picking.



You were using another technique or picking motion to tremolo pick different from general alternate picking?
Besides being a guitar player, I'm a big fan of the guitar. I love that damn instrument. Steve Vai

Gear:
Kramer Striker FR422SM
Roland Microcube
Digitech Bad Monkey
Dunlop Tortex 1.14mm picks


MY VIDEOS
#31
Quote by El Cumanés
You were using another technique or picking motion to tremolo pick different from general alternate picking?


I found I was concentrating on staticly stabilizing my hand position to keep the
pick as close to the strings as possible in order to pick as fast as I could. With that
as the only goal, there was no regard for anything else. So, yeah, it ended up
being a motion that wasn't good for much of anything except tremelo picking.