One of the most misunderstood areas of guitar technique is the correct functioning of the right hand. All of our guitar lessons at Caroline Springs School of Music focus alot of attention to developing technical facility with the right hand.
The right hand elbow should be placed on the uppermost point of the body of the guitar (on acoustics - the arm places just below the elbow on electrics). The pick should be held between the thumb and the first finger with the fingers curved so they are pointing back down the arm as pictured.
To move from one string to another we use the arm fulcruming from the elbow. To pick a string we move the wrist in a down or up motion. At slower to medium tempi only downstrokes should be utilized, for medium and fast tempi we should use alternate picking. Always pick from the wrist (not the elbow of within the hand via the thumb and fingers) Many heavy metal players seem to lock the wrist and pick from the elbow, as the great Al DiMeola said "picking from the elbow looks as bad as it sounds".
Ensure that you are wholly proficient at alternate picking before attempting sweep or economy picking and even then proceed with caution. In order to truly articulate musical ideas one must be very efficient in alternate picking. Make sure you double check all of the above with your guitar teacher at Caroline Springs School of Music.
We have devised a number of great techinique exercises and studies to help you attain right hand freedom of expression. Brendan Hains Principal Guitar Teacher Caroline Springs School of Music.