Picking Motors

Core Location: Techniques

All of the demos in the video are using a pick, but many of the following motor ideas can apply to "using fingers as if a pick".


Great for tremolo picking & super fast picking. Adds weight to our picking.


This is the primary motor for the motion of picking. It is at the 'center' of our picking system [not including shoulder - which is a relaxed support]. The wrist has the most fluidity for most situations.


Adds finesse. Using the fingers is sometimes for specialty strokes. The joints can move in whatever ways work for you.


Highly uncommon, yet possible. Not demonstrated in our video, nor a part of our practice. Keep your shoulders relaxed. It's common for shoulders to rise during difficult passages.


Training with a pick [experimenting with motors & surfaces] will ultimately lead to using a combination of motors. We call this finding your picking pocket. The wrist, being in the middle of the motor system should provide most of the motion, while the other drivers provide weight & finesse. There is no 'right' combination. It is up to you to discover your pocket. And, it may change over time.

Picking Along the String Plane

The video in the player demonstrates picking along the string plane. The string plane is the length of the string. Experiment with picking at the bridge & over the neck. You will hear a difference in string timbre.

Near the bridge is brighter, & over the fingerboard is warmer. In Classical guitar, picking near the bridge is called ponticello (oboe tone), & picking over the fretboard [near the 12th fret - the middle of the string plane] is called tasto (harp tone).

As you train, you should start to feel your natural picking motion emerging. Log time with experimentation. Take your time; use slow motion. Figure out how your picking hand works. Don't train mistakes!