Elbow picking - Is it really that bad?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by eightsixboy, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. eightsixboy

    eightsixboy あなたのお母さんを犯さ

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    Hi all,

    I've been experimenting a lot recently with different picking styles, mostly playing Steve Morse style 3 fingers holding the pick but also different forearm rotations.

    One thing I noticed is that most are extremely tiring on either the wrist or forearm if you try and not pick from the elbow at all. The 3 finger style is very taxing on the wrist to the point of some pain some days, no wonder Steve has wrist issues now :/

    So I started playing faster runs using almost strictly elbow movements now just to experiment. One thing I have noticed is that tiring is basically not an issue.

    When watching players like Jason Richardson, Rusty Cooley and even Petrucci they all seem to pick from the elbow during faster runs as well.

    So is picking from the elbow really that bad?

    Is it just a misguided myth that all picking should be from the wrist?
     
  2. Zender

    Zender Tinkering, please hold.

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    Well, Steve Morse has been playing A LOT the past decades. I doubt "normal" players will get that much time in to develop the issues he is now having.

    I pick mainly from the elbow, without any issues. Additional movement is from my wrist. My fingers remain more or less in the same position and are there to grip the pick.
    Looking forward to this discussion, and wondering what the benefits and drawbacks of each are.
     
  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire 8 string hoarder

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    in my experience elbow = strumming, wrist= anything more precise like alt picking/sweeping. I wouldn't say elbow picking is bad, but it is less efficient than using your wrist imo.
     
  4. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    to chime in,
    can anyone give any advice how to stop picking fast using your whole arm rigidly rather than just the wrist?.

    Try as I might I feel like Im picking in a way that does not necessarily give me the best results.
    I cant turn on my wrist to be the only thing moving during fast runs etc. It always feels like my whole arm haha.
     
  5. Element0s

    Element0s Low Fantasy/Black Denim

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    nah it's fine. The guys out there breaking speed picking records are using their elbows. Just warm up and give yourself some recovery time between practice sessions and you'll be fine on a physical level. If it gets you closer to the results you're looking for then I say keep on doing it.
     
  6. karjim

    karjim Set the World Afire

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    vinnie moore is or was extremly fluid and precise with just elbow motion too...if you wanna stop this motion try to anchor your wrist ala Paul Gilbert or Guthrie Govan, watch on youtube and get inspired. It worth a try, so much less fatigue
     
  7. eightsixboy

    eightsixboy あなたのお母さんを犯さ

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    I don't think you can tbh. I get to a speed point where it goes from either mostly wrist movement or forearm rotation to then mostly forearm or all forearm, especially speed picking. I guess it depends on what bpm that point is, I'm sure its different for everyone. I can get to 130-140 bpm 16th notes before I feel my elbow start working alot.

    True. I just find it weird how we always get taught to "pick from the wrist" and elbow is bad when you see so many players do it.

    Don't think Paul Gilbert acnhors though, when I think of anchoring I think Batio or as you mentioned Govan. Marco Sfogli anchor's in a similar way to Govan with his little pinky. I should give that a go and see how it feels haha.
     
    lewis likes this.
  8. ite89

    ite89 SS.org Regular

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    there really is no right or wrong when it comes to technique, it really just depends on what you're comfortable with and what kind of pick you use. I used to think that elbow picking was sloppy but I just realized that the players I saw using the technique just had poor coordination. Personally I tend to use a combination of elbow and wrist picking. It really doesn't matter what style you use, you just have to make sure that your technique does not change when going from slow to fast.
     

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