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Guitar Help with picking wrist reach, positioning and transitioning through strings

Dan Shipway

Slim Shady
  • Nov 11, 2019
    I have made a few posts about this before but I have researched into the subject area more and tried to monitor my movements more and I feel I can better explain the issues I am experiencing.

    The first thing I noticed was that I find it really difficult to change strings without making large movements with my wrist or with my elbow/arm. It usually result in my wrist being perpendicular to the strings which makes it tough to play higher (in pitch) strings and when coming back up the strings to finish a scale etc. When watching professional players like Syn, Papa Gates and people like Bernt, they are able to cover large distances with hardly any wrist deviation so I didn't know if there were any tricks.

    The second issue which stems a lot from the first is the angle of my wrist when picking. I was watching Troy Grady's video on Upward Escape Motion and one of my big take aways was when he talked bout setting the range of motion. This basically entailed tilting the wrist downwards due to the upwards deviation of the wrist (when parallel to the strings) is much less than the downwards deviation so it in theory allows for the upwards deviation to be bigger. This has helped when picking notes on a single string but I still struggle with position of the wrist when fgoing up or down the strings.

    I think this is due to an issue I spoke about before which is getting my wrist and elbow movements to work in tandem. Usually its either my wrist trying to make all the movement or my arm pushing through the strings but I have seen a lot of people use the technique of picking a few strings and then pushing with their arm when their wrist starts to deviate a lot.

    Overall Im at the point where (and I know its a stupid thing to think) but I'm just like, "is my body just not capable of making them movements that are supposed to be made for ergonomic playing "and I cant really think of a way of sorting it.
    Last edited:

    William B.

    Hot Topic Tourer
  • Nov 11, 2019
    I found this site

    My guess is that while being mindful, continue progress and maybe stuff you learn on the way clears things up from before.
    Taking time to feel comfortable with guitar in hand, it's a training too, like how your doing it with getting the wrist movements.
    I try to think about this stuff too, like thumb position and more. It gets a bit better every time albeit slight

    I think the flesh part of the wrist/hand should be around center of the strings, like the thumb area hovers the EAD strings around there.
    I think this cause the palm mute and it's center so it should be even movements although for me the upstroke requires more effort and hits the strings differently
    Last edited:


    Music Theory Bragger
    Aug 13, 2021
    Hahaha man I was literally just working on my picking too!!! Last night I was telling my girlfriend whoa kind of trying to learn that I feel picking is harder than fretting. It's more of a foreign motion to our bodies and takes more work to develope imo. I totally know exactly what you're talking about. Getting comfortable with picking can be frustrating but I would love to offer some tips that others have taught me that helped me A LOT. You're on the right track, you will get your biggest gains by diagnosing your weakspots and working them out into strengths. You'll need a metronome app or some form of click. If you're down pick dominant, practice quarter notes upward. To minimize movement I like to kind of rest my pick on the string and just gently push through. This helped me a lot to get more familiar with where I'm at. When I keep my pick above or below the string I often miss the pick lol resting it on the top or bottom of the string then pushing through slightly helps because you're already on the string with your pick. There isn't really a wrong or right angle per say. COMFORT is most important. The trick here is to just try different places and positions and find the one most comfortable for you and develope that position. As for angle of the pick itself, work on not holding it flat against the strings, hitting them at about a 45 degree angle will let the pick "cut" through the strings. Practice this on each string to a click for about 3 minutes each. First minute work on your lease dominant stroke (up pick, down pick) then try to start alternate picking the quarter notes with consistent tone. As you get more comfortable, start practicing 8th then 16th notes and then you'll feel pretty good. Picking is such a weird motion for our bodies it just takes a while to train them haha these shod help you develope the muscles and build muscle memory. Sorry I'm not the best at explaining stuff but if you have questions don't be afraid to send me a message!!! Haha
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