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Watch the 20: Picking & Tremelo online guitar lesson by Frank Vignola from Modern Method for Guitar


I have played with many great guitarists over the years and I have always taken note of their picking. What I have found is that everyone picks differently.

1. There is not one correct way to pick the guitar.

2. You have to find your own approach and choose the pick you feel most comfortable for you.

3. What works for me is using a lot of down strokes, ala Charlie Christian. I will switch to alternate picking, i.e., down up, down up, if the tempo is too fast for all down strokes.

4. Sometimes I will rest my fingers on the pick guard.

5. Sometimes I will mute the strings with the palm of my right hand for effect.

6. I find that down strokes create a good attack and sound. When using down strokes I often pick through the string and rest the pick on the next string.

7. I find that using down strokes both gives me a better tone and slows me down in my playing which helps me to play fewer notes and think more melodically.


8. Tremolo picking is alternate picking where you pick down up, down up as fast as you can play.

9. To develop your tremolo, play on one string at a time to a metronome. Start slow at first going for a good even tone.

10. As you warm up, increase the speed of the metronome.

11. When you get to a tempo that you can no longer play evenly to, stop and write down the speed.

12. Continue this a little bit every day and you will be amazed at how fast you are playing in 6 months.

13. A neat thing to do with tremolo picking is what I call stutter picking where you use the tremolo picking on one string and add simple lines alternating between the open string and the fretted note.