Right Hand Development

Choosing and holding a pick

Thin picks tend to be better for strumming but flap around too much when playing fast music, a medium pick is suggested for fast music. Before you continue with this article you may want to check our lesson on How to hold a pick

Pick motion

The picks tip should not go below the level of the strings which is why it is recommended to only leave a few millimetres of the pick exposed. This keeps friction minimal.

The motion of the pick should be minimal and stay within a close boundary of the string. Staying close to the string reduces the distance to travel, making your playing noticeably faster and easier.

Combining wrist with fore-arm motion

Some people use their arm to play fast, vibrating the arm up and down and keeping the wrist fairly still. Other guitarists choose produce all the motion from the wrists. Neither way is wrong but using the wrist is more versatile because the base of the palm stays more still, allowing easy palm muting (useful for rock music).

The arm always has its use even if it doesn't provide the picking power. Even if you use your wrists to pick the arm should move to maintain the same right-hand angle to the guitar strings. If you play on the 6th string then on the 1st string you feel tempted to bend the wrists down to reach the string. The arm should be lowered/highered as you ascend/descend the strings. This keeps the wrist/pick motion constant.

Right hand exercise

Pick the open 6th string as fast as you can. If you get any cramp in your arm or shoulder you are not relaxed enough. I know relaxation is talked about a lot but it is the absolute key to speed and endurance. Keep picking the string as fast as you can and keep relaxing all muscles without dropping in speed. Try switching through the strings and do this exercise every day for guaranteed improvements.