Why Some Struggle With Fast Guitar Picking Technique & How To Master It Using Efficient Movement

by Tom Hess

Do you practice to get fast guitar picking technique all the time but struggle to play as well as your favorite guitarists?

Many guitarists would say:

“Whatever my favorite player is doing must be correct, because it works for him.”

This approach causes you to latch onto potential flaws in your favorite guitarist’s technique that hold your progress back.

This commonly occurs when guitar players have to choose between using less efficient picking technique because their favorite players uses it or using a new guitar picking technique that may take a bit to master.

So, why do some of the most famous rock/metal guitar players use alternate picking but not directional picking?

This Is What They Learned Initially

Guitarist hold onto old habits that don't get results anymore because they are used to them and resist changing.

They Already Achieved Their Guitar Playing Goals

Some famous guitarists have used alternate picking to eventually achieve their guitar playing goals.

Although this has worked for them, this is not a guarantee it will work for you.

Make things easier for yourself.

Start developing the more efficient technique of directional picking to ensure your playing has no hang-ups.

So, why do most everyday guitarists play with alternate picking?

1. This Is What They Learned Initially

See point one above.

2. They Copied Whatever Guitar Picking Technique Their Favorite Players Used

You now understand how this approach doesn’t work well.

3. They Assume That Directional Picking Takes A Long Time To Master

Guitarists who are not close to their guitar picking goals generally struggle switching to directional picking.

They believe it takes them longer to develop directional picking technique than it will take to reach their musical goals with alternate picking.


Directional picking uses the most efficient movement possible in any guitar playing situation.

Using alternate picking causes you to use inefficient movement, and you end up wasting your time trying to correct the mistakes this causes. Coolest part is, using directional picking makes playing fast a lot easier and it’s actually easier to master than you think.

Additional Note:

It’s not true that great players who use alternate picking do so merely because of preference.

Guitar players who objectively compare directional picking with strict alternate picking find that directional picking is more efficient and therefore better for speed. Advanced guitarists who choose to continue using alternate picking after making this comparison do so for one of the reasons discussed above.

Want to learn more about how to make fast guitar playing feel super-easy? Read this article to learn how to practice guitar picking to play guitar faster and cleaner.

Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.

Learn how to reach your lead guitar goals fully by taking electric guitar lessons online.

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