Forearm Motion

The forearm is one of the “big three” arm joints used in picking technique. It can function on its own, but more commonly operates in combination with other core joints like the wrist and elbow.

When acting on its own, the forearm produces the visually distinctive Van Halen-style forearm rotation, where the arm rotates in space around a fixed axis. When operating in combination with other joints such as the wrist, the forearm enables more complex motion paths that are not possible with any single joint by itself.

Forearm-enabled alternate picking motions are often single-escape motions, particularly upstroke escape, meaning that they produce a pickstroke where only the upstroke moves away from the guitar’s body. A classic example of an upstroke-escape, or downward pickslanting picking style using forearm motion is the Gypsy picking style of masters like Joscho Stephan. In Gypsy picking, as in all upstroke-escape styles, alternate picked phrases are specifically arranged so that the final note on each string is an upstroke.

Forearm Motions

Chapter 1 - Introduction to Forearm-Wrist Motion

The forearm's most common and powerful role is a collaboration with the wrist


Chapter 2 - Anchoring, Grip, and Pickslant

Getting all the parts set up for blended motion


Chapter 3 - Performing the FW Motion

Achieving the bridge-anchored version of coupled forearm-wrist motion


Chapter 4 - Evaluating Motion Feel

Tips for tackling an unfamiliar motion


Chapter 5 - Muting

Damping all six strings is a key capability of forearm-wrist form


Chapter 6 - The Tracking Mystery

Flextension tracking can cover all six strings without moving your arm


Chapter 7 - The Downstroke Sweep

Learning a critical skill in the one-way USX economy picking style


Chapter 8 - Flexed Form

A gentle slouch enables a powerful variant of forearm-wrist motion


Chapter 9 - Rotation

Eddie's famous tremolo motion is also great for synchronized playing


Chapter 10 - Noise Control

Killing the noise without palm muting!