What is this guitar technique called?

Hi Rack-a-teers,

Quite recently I was introduced to the music of Steven Wilson (sheer brilliance! :guitar:). In one of his live tracks he used a technique on the guitar where it looks like they’re vigorously grating cheese on the strings.

Examples are here on youtube for it as well as two other examples by Versailles and slowdive.

Is this the technique called shredding? If not, can I christen it cheese grating (hard cheeses only)? :laughing:


It’s called tremolo picking, and usually is found in the micro-genre “black metal”. this “hipster progressive north american black metal band” does it very well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZRQoquxDSg

Hm, I wonder if they can perform at my Sunday church one day :rofl:

Tremolo picking - sounds like a challenge to try it in VCV.


I don’t think I’d call that tremolo picking, I thought you’d need to be holding the wang bar for that. It just looks like fast alternate picking on the same note. But if you really want indecipherable guitar technique try this:


wow. Just wow.

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well, then you would be calling it the wrong thing :wink: wikipedia: " Alternate picking is a guitar playing technique that employs alternating downward and upward strokes in a continuous fashion. If the technique is performed at high speed on a single string or course voicing the same note, it may be referred to as " tremolo picking " or “double picking”."

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I like Steven Wilson too (check the What are you listening to thread).

Not the same, but I’m always impressed when my son plays Fracture by King Crimson :slight_smile:

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that is insanely impressive.

if you are looking for christian metal, i can recommend Demon Hunter, they are great !

Btw , wow so many amazing techniques on this thread ! I’m still a baby guitarist ( playing for 3 years) so i got so much to learn !

I might have been confused by the ole’ “tremolo/vibrato” thing.

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Um, at first I thought you were being facetious but thank you youtube :latin_cross:

In hindsight modern depictions of Jesus does portray him as a long haired bearded man, no tatts though. :metal:

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I picked up an nylon string guitar at age 41 to try as a therapy. Alas my fingers could not work that way. This is why I moved to computer based music - not as good as playing real instruments but I amuse myself :desktop_computer: :musical_keyboard: :musical_note:

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Egad, just discovered Steven Wilson is Bass Communion too!

Only problem is that he changes his picking styles as fast as he plays them, Dick Dale,


And of course he was part of Porcupine Tree too

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And he’s hung out with Steve Hackett a few times

Never enough hours in the day to go down all these rabbit holes :rabbit2: :wink:

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And he’s remixing a bunch of king crimson records (porcupine tree connection?)

Tosin is the most interesting guitarist I’ve heard since I was a little kid. Totally unique and insane.


Steven Wilson has remixed so much music, often including surround versions in addition to stereo, and not just prog rock: King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Yes, Gentle Giant, Tangerine Dream, Marillion, Caravan, Roxy Music, Tears For Fears, Chicago, XTC, Rush, Simple Minds…