2WPS During Improv. Does It Become "Natural"?


My ultimate goal is to one day be able to play just about anything with strict alternate picking, including on the fly-improv solos, using 2WPS.

I am wondering if the downward and upward pickslanting movements become “automatic” after while, so that you can pick scales and passages with varying amounts of notes on each string without even thinking about it.

The reason I want to learn 2WPS instead of solely DWPS or UWPS is because I don’t like the idea of having to plan everything out, like a Yngwie would. It just seems so limited and caged in. Definitely not knocking it, but I would really love to have that freedom of picking anything without the planning.


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You’ve still got to go through a ‘planning’ phase, whatever approach you want to use.

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True, but once you get to a certain point where you are comfortable with 2WPS, does your brain start dialing in the upward and downward slants where necessary when playing sequences you haven’t played before, specifically when improvising?

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as a person who has never planned anything in his life, id say it gets easier with 2wps. of course as far as “being able to play ANYTHING off the cuff”, yeah, good luck with that lol. How many people can do that? how many can juggle chainsaws?

all that being said, I think its similar with all the different systems…after a while you dont have to plan as much anyway, you just have all your basic moves learned cold

I dont have to plan to not eat spinach and beets tonight…I NEVER eat spinach and beets


Sorry I should have clarified ha, I just meant I want to be able to play anything that I’ve learned, with strict alternate picking whenever applicable, but in an improv situation. Just tying it all together.

For instance, let’s say that in the future I can play a particular 3 note per string scale at a fast tempo, and I’ve also learned some fast chromatic passages. I was just curious if it would be easy for me to put those two types of things together on the fly, letting my brain do the work to naturally take care of the 2WPS movements. As opposed to having to practice this combination of passages and plan them out specifically.

But yes, very good to hear that things will get easier with 2WPS. I just want to get to a point where I can do less planning, and more playing as I absolutely love improvising. So it sounds promising once I have my “rules” and movements down!


well the cool thing about 2wps is that you get good at going to new strings with up OR downstrokes…so just running scales and fragments around gets pretty easy IMO

then if you learn (or even do it by intuition) to throw in an economy pick or a hammer/pull on occasion, it gets even easier and u have more options. Like u can play something several different ways etc. Sometimes u arent even aware of how you are playing soemthing

I try to keep my pick pretty neutral so its not like there is some huge difference between going to a new string with an up or a down stroke anyway

there r other things besides the pickslant that can throw u off anyway. Like I have done tons of 16th note stuff in the last few months and a guy asked a question the other day about a ‘threes’ lick and I went to play it to figure it out and it was the weirdest feeling ever lol.

So it still comes down to what u practice the most. Like in the vid where Troy is saying how rare it is to hear someone play an actual scale on guitar. I am that way. I have played descending scales more and have several runs down pretty solid. But on ascending I usually do my pet Paul Gilbert 16ths…this one:

So when I go to play a straight ascending scale it just isnt there because I never work on it lol. I go from sounding pretty advanced to sounding pretty mediocre

So in the end I guess its still about practicing to build your vocabulary. So at any one time there will be things you can just wail out and improvise at will, then there will be things u suck at and also things in between.

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I suspect that YJM does NOT plan anything out (in the sense of CtC), but he combines his tasty licks in ways that are compatible, and his “improv” is at high levels in terms of chunks as a minimum, so everything fits together.

Perhaps the universal truth that Troy uncovered is that no guitar virtuoso really has grasped their technique, at least to date.


maybe they haven’t “consciously” grasped it. In other words they cant explain it or have terms for it all. Then again it puts things into perspective. One can achieve super high levels of skills etc WITHOUT it being on a fully conscious level.

When u listen to the top pro golfers describe their swings etc, then u look at high speed films of them, its obvious that the same thing applies. They arent doing exactly what they think they are lol


If you want to be able to navigate the fretboard as freely as possible and not have to worry about pickslant, you should give crosspicking aka double escape motions a try. It tends to get a rap for being particularly difficult but I believe this is only the case when it comes to playing one note per string lines.
Your speedlimit for playing licks that way might be lower but, given that was the case, it would at least allow you to freely play any kind of lick at at least medium speed until you have developed unconscious competence in all irregular scale fingerings and patterns.

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Thank you for this great info! This makes me feel a lot better - especially how you said that you can get to a point where you are not even aware of how you are playing something. That is exactly what I was wondering about - getting to a point where the brain takes over so you can improvise without a great amount of thought.

You also answered another question I was about to make a new topic about - a neutral pick angle. It seems that Troy (from what I have seen so far) mentions either having DWPS or UWPS as a “home base” kind of thing, but then switching to the opposite just for the needed strokes during 2WPS. But I like the neutral approach better too, so I am glad to hear this is viable.

Also, I was just watching some more Antigravity videos, and Troy also reiterates a lot of this and answers my question similarly to what you said. He even specifically mentions becoming comfortable with a system (in his case, the Yngwie system during the first 10 years after discovering pickslanting), to a point where he could improvise freely with the system.

For anyone who is interested in this topic and wants to hear him talk about it, it’s around 3:39 of this video: https://troygrady.com/seminars/antigravity/chapter-2-how-swede-it-is/

Thanks again for the info!

I see, yes this makes a lot of sense. So he is more or less combining a bunch of licks he is familiar with that fit into his system.

Also side note about Yngwie - I’m sure most people here know this but I saw a post by a member named Drew in another topic that listed the rules to Yngwie’s playing (which was very helpful to see all in one place), and went on to mention that nearly everything could be played with this system.

That made me start to think that maybe having DWPS as a base for most things, with 2WPS added in where it would make sense would be a good route for me. I find DWPS to be more comfortable than upward, so this could work

Thank you, will look into this. Crosspicking is something I still haven’t learned too much about yet, but it sounds like it could be a great tool to have for certain situations. I think I pick arpeggios like this, unless I am thinking about a different technique.


I think it’s good to think in terms of chunks, rather than licks. Think of a lick as a series of chunks, each of which you can fire off at will. Independently, they aren’t really music, exactly. They become music by playing them in combination. You can write new licks on the fly (aka improvise) by combining the chunks in different ways, just like you can make brand new sentences without inventing any new words.