#1
So I've always sucked at tremelo picking. No matter how hard I've worked at it, I've never gotten better. Yesterday a friend of mine came over to chill at my house. He told me that he started playing guitar a couple of days before and picked up mine to play it. He began to do some tremelo picking stuff. It was a little sloppy and uneven, but it was definitely tremelo picking. I just sat and stared in a sort of unbelief at what he'd been able to do in two or three days that I hadn't been able to do in three years. I had him show me how he held his pick and everything like that, yet I still couldn't come close to matching what he was doing. I realized a couple of hours later that we both play right-handed guitars, yet I'm left-handed and he's not. I took my guitar, flipped it around the other way, and tried picking with my left hand, and I found that I was almost able to match him (The only reason I wasn't able to is because the guitar was of course upside-down and so it was awkward playing.)

So I now have two options: buy a left handed guitar and start completely over, or get better at using my right hand. I decided to start practicing writing with my right hand, because the hand motion of writing is pretty similar to the hand motion of tremelo picking. Do you think that doing this will help?
#3
I could do that, but then I would suck at fretting because I'm not so great with my right hand. I'd rather be good with my fretting hand than with my picking hand.
#4
you should get a lefty guitar
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#5
it could.
but if i were you i would buy a cheapo left handed guitar and see how that gos for you
#6
Well I don't have any money right now, lol. But I'll go to GC one day soon and try one out. Anyone have any thoughts about the whole practicing writing thing though?
#7
You didn't realize you were a lefty after 3 years?
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#8
Quote by Spamwise
So I've always sucked at tremelo picking. No matter how hard I've worked at it, I've never gotten better. Yesterday a friend of mine came over to chill at my house. He told me that he started playing guitar a couple of days before and picked up mine to play it. He began to do some tremelo picking stuff. It was a little sloppy and uneven, but it was definitely tremelo picking. I just sat and stared in a sort of unbelief at what he'd been able to do in two or three days that I hadn't been able to do in three years. I had him show me how he held his pick and everything like that, yet I still couldn't come close to matching what he was doing. I realized a couple of hours later that we both play right-handed guitars, yet I'm left-handed and he's not. I took my guitar, flipped it around the other way, and tried picking with my left hand, and I found that I was almost able to match him (The only reason I wasn't able to is because the guitar was of course upside-down and so it was awkward playing.)

So I now have two options: buy a left handed guitar and start completely over, or get better at using my right hand. I decided to start practicing writing with my right hand, because the hand motion of writing is pretty similar to the hand motion of tremelo picking. Do you think that doing this will help?


well are you right handed, or left handed? You don't want to buy a lefty guitar just so you can tremelo pick.

Working on doing it with your right hand makes more sense to me unless you have other reasons to switch.
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#9
^Heh I"ve always known that I was left-handed, but I never realized that that was why I wasn't able to do it. Iwas recommended by the owner of the store I got my first guitar player from (who is very good and does the same thing) to get a right-handed guitar, so that's what I did.


Working on doing it with your right hand makes more sense to me unless you have other reasons to switch.

Yeah that's what I would prefer. So does anyone know if what i"m doing will work? lol
#10
use both hands!!!!

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#11
Quote by Andy.C
use both hands!!!!

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I don't think he does dual tremelo picking, just dual fretting, right? Anyway it really has nothing to do with this topic. lol
#12
Get a lefty and save your self a lot of trouble. But if you can be ambidextrous(able to use both for slow people), I practice this you can find uses for it. If you ever do tapping it will help, if you play the piano that's another, if you ever need to you can write with both hands. How can it bad a bad idea?
#13
I highly doubt that it's because you're left handed. More likely is that he was just spazzing his hand, and you were doing the same with your left because it doesn't have the right kind of control. I think the generic "slow down and use a metronome" response applies here.
#14
Quote by which ones pink
I highly doubt that it's because you're left handed. More likely is that he was just spazzing his hand, and you were doing the same with your left because it doesn't have the right kind of control. I think the generic "slow down and use a metronome" response applies here.

I've done that, a lot. Never made any progress. It's the wrist motion itself that I"m having difficulty with. There was nothing wrong (as far as I could tell) with the way he was using his wrist. It looked exactly like the instructional videos that I've watched.
#15
Quote by Spamwise
I don't think he does dual tremelo picking, just dual fretting, right? Anyway it really has nothing to do with this topic. lol


Nope, he can pick with both hands as well, this video shows it quite clearly; although it is worth noting that the picking part with his 'other' hand is nothing too special compared to his normal picking.
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#16
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Nope, he can pick with both hands as well, this video shows it quite clearly; although it is worth noting that the picking part with his 'other' hand is nothing too special compared to his normal picking.

Okay, well like I said that really has nothing to do with this topic. I'd appreciate it if I got a responce in regards to what I actually asked. I don't mean to sound like a jerk or anything, it's just I've gotten quite a few replies, but no one has said whether practicing writing and other stuff with my right hand will help me with it or not.
#17
Quote by Spamwise
Okay, well like I said that really has nothing to do with this topic. I'd appreciate it if I got a responce in regards to what I actually asked. I don't mean to sound like a jerk or anything, it's just I've gotten quite a few replies, but no one has said whether practicing writing and other stuff with my right hand will help me with it or not.


Writing with your right hand isn't going to make your picking any better. That is unless you write just like you pick, which is unlikely. You're going to have to make a choice. Understand that fretting can be just as important as picking, so regardless you are making a sacrifice. I've known people who have switched for the same reason, but there are also people who haven't. My honest opinion is that you wouldn't really be much better off and that you're simply looking for an excuse as to why your tremolo picking isn't up to your likings. My advice is to just practice your picking.
#18
that you're simply looking for an excuse as to why your tremolo picking isn't up to your likings. My advice is to just practice your picking.

i have. so much. i even did that 21 day thing. it's just the whole wrist motion thing that I don't seem to be able to do with that hand.
#19
You could always restring your guitar Hendrix style instead of just buying a new one. Food for thought.
#20
Something I did to get better at tremolo picking was to take a scale, like a major scale on the 5th fret, and go up hitting each note a certain number of times. Like, set your metronome, if you have one, and set it to about 160. Start by going up the string in a linear thing, hitting every fret four times, going up chromatically. Then do the vertical version of a major scale, and do that same thing. Keep pushing up the tempo little by little and you'll have it down in no time.
#21
Dude anybody can tremolo pick an open string and hit random notes don't try to mimic a guy who never played guitar. Chances are if he hasnt played and hes tremoling fast its becasue hes using the tensed up forearm approach where you tighten up and pick from your arm. Watch next time and you might notice that thats how hes doing it. This is bad technique and he can't play in rythem so forget about him. Basically out of time random speed with bad technique = ****.

Now lets worry about you. If you can't tremolo then that means you probably just havent worked on alt picking enough. I would advise that you take a song thats hard for you and is very heavily alt picked and learn that slowly focusing on the alt picking technique. Like bark at the moon. If you can play bark at the moon you can tremolo. Just play slow with a loose wrist and stay loose and keep time. I mean even if you have to play at 40bpm. If you tense up or loose time slow down. Then work this up to speed slowly increasing only when you can play smoothly and tension free. Once the feeling of alt picking with a nice comfortable loose technique sets in you will see that you can tremolo tension free and most importantly in rythem. You can't rush this so just be patient.

I think this plan should be tried prior to changing guitars. And bark at the moon was just an example if you dont like that song pick something else with fast alt picking throughout.
Last edited by /-\liceNChains at Jul 21, 2008,
#22
What got me doing tremolo picking, while not making it an "exercise" was just to play metal. Especially like older Metallica and stuff, if you learn that stuff, you'll learn awesome music, and you'll get the technique down. Give it a shot.
#23
^^ Listen to him.

Ok so it sounds like you've done some work on your tremolo picking so i'l assume you've analyised your picking to make sure your doing it a) correctly and more importantly b) safely.

Do you have any tension in you arm, wrist body?
If so then you really want to fix that.

Is your tremolo picking accurate or are you hitting other strings while you play?
If so then your really going to have to slow it down and start working up again.

Have you tried accenting notes within the tremolo?
If not try this....

Take the 5th fret on the E string, this happens to be an A assuming your tuned in standard (knowledge is power....lol) start tremolo picking at say 60bpm 4 notes per click tapping your foot along to the click (very important you get into the habbit of this) i'm assuming you can do this perfectly for as long as you want, if not then you know where to start ;-)
If you can do that then fantastic your on your way. Ok now what you've got to do is accent the first note in each repition of four.
By accent i mean making that note louder than the rest (the rest of the notes should be at a consistent volume). Getting this down doesn't take to long and i fins essential for playing at faster speeds as it helps you keep track of the beat.

Ok so you've got that down at 60bpm, awsome onto step 2...

Basically now you've got to accent the 3rd not in your set of four, this is basically the off beat. If you don't know how to count it over the beat it would go something like this 1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a, the numbers being the beat the "e & a" being the space in between.
This isn't the be all and end all way to count it, you can make up one e.g. 1 Cheese Peat Za 2 Cheese Peat Za ect ect although this may become a bit of a mouthfull at faster tempos.

Anyways after getting the accent down on the 3rd note in the set of four (remember to still tap along to the beat) at 60bpm try accenting the 4th note in your set of four (i say this one next as i find it much easier than the second note.
Again do the same old same old with it at 60bpm, rinse and repeat for the second note out of the four aswell.

Ok so now that you've got this down at 60bpm you should be able to transition through accents with out dropping a beat, once you can do this (while still tapping along to the beat) your finally ready to start to bring the tempo up.
Remember work slowly up through tempos and don't use the same ones each time (60, 70, 80 ect ect) one night try going up in 7's (60, 67, 74, 81 ect ect).

This happened to be the one Paul Gilbert article i did read except he applied it to lead lines (it also works exceptionally well there) and as it turns out happened to be one of the most useful articles i ever read, it had such an effect on my playing almost instantly, i never leave home with out it now.... heh.

Obviously this isn't the be all end all but it's certainatly a good start.

Also i know 2 guitarist one left handed that plays right handed guitars exceptionally well and one right handed that plays leftys to an equally high degree. So your note alone ;-)

edit - remember to practise on different strings as you'l find picking on one string is very different to another.
Last edited by IdeLOLogies at Jul 21, 2008,
#24
I would say just practice how you are and don't bother with getting a new guitar. Just take it slow. Herman Li is a lefty that plays righty (although he sucks without the magic of studio editing).
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#25
Ok so it sounds like you've done some work on your tremolo picking so i'l assume you've analyised your picking to make sure your doing it a) correctly and more importantly b) safely.

Do you have any tension in you arm, wrist body?
If so then you really want to fix that.

I think I'm doing it right. It's pretty tension-free. Not always 100%, but I don't think that that's possible.

That's a great article. I'll definitely try it, thanks!
#26
No worries dude, hope you reach your goals.
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#28
Everything in post #23 dude.

Another tip, particularly if your changing stings when tremolo picking is to visualize which stroke your gonna land on when you change string. Ideally if you're going from low E upwards, depending on the patterns you use, it's good to land on a downstroke, and vice versa for going from high to low strings.

"Your only as good as your weakest stroke".