Using a pick to play blink-182 songs

So, I am a huge blink-182 fan but the way that Mark Hoppus uses a pick is way too fast for me. He uses a pick and does up and down strokes. I watch video covers of people playing covers like “What’s My Age Again” and “All The Small Things”, and I have no idea how to get this fast. Does anyone have similar problems when it comes to alternating up and down strokes with a pick while playing Pop Punk music? How did you improve?


It just takes practice. Set your metronome at a slow speed and hold the rhythm. Increase the speed as you get better.

Sorry - no short cuts :frowning:


The fastest way to play it fast it’s to learn it and practice it slow.

Do that your technique would be clean. Learning and practicing fast would lead to sloppy work. The trick is what to do after you nailed the song. You then Practice at 10-20% faster so back to the normal speed you’d be relaxed.


I had the same problem when I started and wanted to play fast punk/metal riffs.
Getting used to a pick takes time.
There’s no real secret or trick. Figuring out how to hold it so that you can move fast and not drop it but still get a good sound takes time.
Just keep trying, and start on some more moderate tempo stuff.
As you get more comfortable, work on faster bits.


Because I played guitar for years, playing fast with a pick is really not a problem. I know there are differing opinions, however I use a really thick sharply pointed pick when I pull out the pick. Because of the hardness of the pick and the non-flexability of them, they tend not to get caught up between strings and slow me down. The have beveled edges and are made from different and varying materials that allow the pick to smoothly glide between strings. Only way I can play with a pick. Everything else flexes so much and has such broad tips they get hung up on the strings and slow your speed down. Plus, they have different edges for different picking styles. Just rotate them from edge to edge.

had/have same issues with blink and other punk songs. as others say, start slow and gradually increase speed. i also found a wider pick is better for me.

picking is like any other plucking technique… have to start slow, work on accuracy and string crossing and then speed.

i still struggle


Alternating picking is a hurdle but it’s not too bad to get over. Just dedidate yourself to picking for a while. One thing you want to move away from is using your whole arm to pick, which works ok for all downstrokes but much less well for alternating. If I had to think about it I would say I pick mostly with my wrist and forearm.

The place that is more challenging with picking is muting. You really need to up your game there a bit.

I’m just starting to use a pick as well; All the Small things was one of the songs that pushed me to it as trying to do it finger style was frying my dexterity.

Josh has some general advice here - How to Play Bass With a Pick (from an ex-Pick Hater) - YouTube

As others have said, start slow and clean - e.g., if you are using a You Tube tab then you can set the speed to 50% \ 75% \ custom and then build it up slowly.

And I find “chunking” helps. So, I’ll practice a logical group of bars together and just loop those bars. Keep us posted on your progress.

Struggled for a good while too, getting better though :smile:

but finding the right pick you like helps too :slightly_smiling_face:
worth going to a local instrument shop, often have loads of different ones loose, grab pretty much one of everything fairly thick to try out.

0.8mm Jim Dunlop Fins are my go-to :slightly_smiling_face:

HUh…doesn’t that “glide” off the strings? I wouldn’t expect that to have a sharp attack. Cant quite figure out how you would hold that.

seems fine to me, that’s the one I’ve been using in my videos I’ve posted.
just hold it the same as a regular pick, it’s just slightly longer & wider than a regular pick, feels easier to keep a good relaxed hold to me

Oh, ok…that makes sense now. I think I will try one out

like 50p each at my local shop too, really cheap :joy: