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What's Your Maximum Picking Speed? Take the Poll!

By August 22, 2016 Polls

Just what is “average” picking speed? It’s such a simple question, you’d think the answer would be common knowledge. And while each of us probably has a subjective sense of when things sound “fast” to us, the fact remains that the concept of what the average player should be capable of isn’t well defined. So let’s try and find out! Let’s take a poll.

View the Results!

These are updated every few minutes, so be sure to check back to see new data. If you’re on a phone, scroll down to see smaller charts, and rotate your screen if they still appear cut off!

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About Brendan Schlagel

Brendan wears many Code hats, including interview production, website wrangling, marketing strategy, and product design.


  • Claudio says:

    Can I know which picking technique use the speedest players? The up-210 and the up-300 ones.
    The graphic seems to say the “other” technique…but what is it?
    Thanks, it’s a great idea! =)

    • Brendan Schlagel says:

      The “other” option was write-in so it’s a variety of things, most often a combination of the other listed techniques e.g. elbow + wrist, or wrist + forearm. But keep in mind only ~50 out of 1500+ responses selected “other”, so take the fact that this has the highest listed average with a grain of salt! Of the specific picking mechanics, elbow seems to correspond to the highest speeds (which fits with what we’ve seen from super fast players like John Taylor).

  • Amin says:

    OMG. why my picking speed is so low in comparison to most peopled speed. (195 now) 😐
    I can pick 4 note per string at 150 bpm. How they do this at 195?!!

    • Troy Grady says:

      195 is NOT low! If you can actually play coherent lines at 195, then you are playing just as fast as Michael Angelo Batio did in our interview with him. Most of the licks he played were at approximately that speed. So your speed is fine. It’s all about accuracy and effortlessness.

      • Diablo says:

        go to any youtube video and search for 195bpm on 16th notes, it is very fast, yet somehow, most people who took the poll can play that fast lol most people have no idea what they are doing, download any metronome on android or use an online metronome, they all suck for guitar, why? in 95% of them are not 16th notes, even if you tweak it, is confusing for the noobs and even people who have been playing for years, if you just go and put 195bpm, you play that and think you are at that speed lol

    • Marvio says:

      Forget 150 man, I really could barely break 120…
      I must’ve done this wrong? I’m no Michael Angelo (and don;t want to be), but I can play faster than most people I personally know… 16th notes at 120bpm is pretty dang fast 🙂 Either I did something wrong or a lot of other people did, and yo know what they say:”when you think everybody else is crazy…” 🙂
      I’d be curious to know what is Brendan’s score? I’m about just as fast/clean as he is…
      195 is quite frankly just too fast to be tasteful

  • Michael Jones says:

    I’m curious how consistently every who has answered this has play when measuring their speed. I was able to consistently stay around 145 but only playing one note. I’d like to work on this area of my play but not sure how.

  • Phil says:

    I think the question should be: what ‘s your maximum picking speed when playing x, then provide x so everybody is playing exactly the same thing.

    • Brendan Schlagel says:

      Good point Phil — would be great to do some further studies where we can gather more standardized data. We’ll be launching a Cracking the Code forum fairly soon and that will be a good place for more experiments and discussion on this sort of thing!

      • Diablo says:

        most people claiming 195bpm here lol are morons who have no idea how to use the metronome, they probably counting not 16th notes which usually gives you higher bpm, lol at 95% of people claiming to be as fast as batio? lol how nice

        • Eugene says:

          Many people can pick quite fast even those who play guitar their first day.
          Left hand work and both hand sinchronization – that’s another story. I think even untrained player can do one note tremolo with 180-190 bpm

  • Eugene says:

    Well, first of all I’m not a pro in guitar playing. Second, sorry for my english as it’s not my native language. Third… as I understood “16-th note” means I need to play 4 notes on one metronome tick?
    I tried to guess what “maximum picking speed”. If it’s just a speed of as-fast-as-you-can tremolo on one string while playing one note? For some reasons I was not satisfied with such definition. So I decided to define my max. speed of piking by playing 9 notes of a major scale (3 string, 3 notes per string). I got 170 bpm (this result I typed in survey).
    When I played tremolo style “Pulp Fiction” theme I got 220bpm ))

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