For guitarists, picking technique is a fundamental skill that can make or break a performance. Whether you’re playing rock, blues, or country, your picking technique can greatly affect your sound and your ability to play fast, complex solos. However, improving your picking technique can be a challenge, especially if you’re a beginner or you’ve developed bad habits over time.
In this post, we’ll share some tips and tricks to help you improve your picking technique and take your playing to the next level. From practicing with a metronome to loosening your grip, these tips are designed to help you overcome common challenges and build the skills you need to become a better guitarist.
- Practice palm muting with more flexion and extension of the thumb and forefinger
When you’re playing lead lines with palm muting, you may find that you need to use more flexion and extension of the thumb and forefinger holding the pick, like when writing. This is because palm muting changes the availability of picking motions from the wrist. By practicing with more flexion and extension, you’ll be able to produce a more controlled sound and achieve better accuracy.
- Check for synchronization problems between both hands
If you’re having trouble with your picking technique, it may be due to synchronization problems between your picking hand and your fretting hand. This can lead to missed notes, sloppy playing, and other issues. To address this, check YouTube for sync videos that show both hands playing together. This will help you identify areas where you need to improve and give you a better sense of how to coordinate your hands.
- Practice riffing on the low E string and gradually incorporate power chords
If you’re new to guitar or you’re struggling with your picking technique, it can be helpful to start by practicing riffing on the low E string. This will help you develop cool-sounding rhythms and improve your timing. Once you’re comfortable with riffing on the low E string, start incorporating power chords to add complexity and challenge.
- Loosen your grip on the picking hand when playing fast
When you’re playing fast, it’s natural to want to grip the pick tightly to maintain control. However, this can actually hinder your playing and make it harder to achieve accuracy. To improve your picking technique, try loosening your grip on the picking hand when playing fast. This will help you achieve better control and produce a cleaner, more precise sound.
- Use a metronome to gradually increase speed while practicing
One of the most effective ways to improve your picking technique is to practice with a metronome. Start by playing slowly and gradually increasing the tempo as you become more comfortable. This will help you build muscle memory and develop the skills you need to play fast, complex solos.
- Try the three-step picking method to eliminate bad articulation
If you’re struggling with bad articulation, try the three-step picking method. Here’s how it works:
- Place fretting fingers or hand and count out loud 1
- Strum and count 2
- Release fretting hand pressure until muting the sound and count out loud 3
Repeat this process for five minutes a day over five days. You’ll be amazed at how much your articulation improves.
- Practice slowly to a metronome, then gradually increase speed
As mentioned earlier, practicing with a metronome is key to improving your picking technique. However, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase speed over time. This will help you develop good habits and avoid the frustration of trying to play too fast too soon.
- Tighten up your forearm and elbow to get the nerve twitching for ultra-fast picking
To achieve ultra-fast picking, you may need to tighten up your forearm and elbow to get the nerve twitching. This technique can help you produce a faster, more precise sound, but it’s important to use it sparingly and take breaks to avoid overuse injuries.
- Consider using a stainless steel pick for faster picking
Another tip for faster picking is to consider using a stainless steel pick. These picks can help you produce a brighter sound and achieve greater speed and accuracy. However, they can also be harder on your strings and may take some getting used to.
- Listen to proper music and check out guitar tutorial videos on YouTube
Finally, listening to proper music and checking out guitar tutorial videos on YouTube can be a great way to improve your picking technique. By listening to great guitarists and watching their techniques, you can learn new skills and develop your own style. Be sure to seek out tutorials from reputable sources and take the time to practice what you learn. With dedication and hard work, you can become a better guitarist and take your playing to the next level.
Improving your picking technique is a key skill for guitarists of all levels. By practicing regularly and following the tips and tricks we’ve outlined, you can take your playing to the next level and achieve greater accuracy, speed, and control. Remember to start slow, use a metronome, and be patient with yourself as you build your skills. Whether you’re playing rock, blues, or country, these tips will help you improve your picking technique and become a better guitarist overall. So grab your guitar, start practicing, and rock on!