902 Help Needed

I will be sure to get some better videos soon prob after next week. I think my goal is to be able to crosspick efficiently so I have the double escape tool on my tool belt :slight_smile: I will be sure to demonstrate my current crosspicking attempt in the videos too

For sure. The only thing I’d add to this not really working on “double escape”, you’re just working on expanding your current alternate technique to a wider variety of patterns. You’ll get the best results if you treat all phrases equally and try to play a wide variety of them. This means 1nps phrases, 2nps phrases, 3nps phrases, 4nps phrases, and perhaps most importantly, real-world phrases that have mixtures of 1, 2, 3, and 4 notes per string. That last group in particular is why bluegrass players like Andy have a much wider alternate picking vocabulary than typical rock players. If you just do one or two of these categories, you won’t improve as quickly.

Based on the previous thread that Joe linked to, there are some issues with the scalar stuff that are worth looking at in slow motion as well, so I would film some of those examples so you can see what’s happening there. These are things you may have been playing for a long time, and once those motions get baked in, it’s hard to know what to improve without looking at it because it’s all automatic.

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Is the first andy wood interview the one with the mandolin in the thumbnail? Ill try to find some good clips/tabs from that video to work on

Yep it’s this one:

For finding all the unfamiliar corners of your alternate picking technique, I’d look at lines like this one where you have combinations that don’t stick to any particular number of notes per string:

I’d just ignore the legato in there and pick all the notes. That’s a longer phrase with many different picking patterns in there. So for shorter/simpler things that repeat, you can try phrases like this very common diminished shape:

This is the same pattern as bar four in the “Rootsy Fusion” example, just applied to diminished instead of dominant. It’s also the same shape as the diminished lick in the famous Crossroads movie solo, just ascending instead of descending.

You’ll notice this creates a “212” type fingering, where some strings have two notes on them and others have one. This is a super common occurrence when you try to play lines that stay in one position without shifting up and down the fretboard. Figuring out how to do this will open up all kinds of alternate picking ability that you can’t learn with only three-note scale patterns or even straight arpeggio patterns that only have one note on each string.

Just a few examples. Olli Soikkeli’s interview is another great one for jazz-flavored non-pattern-based alternate picking examples. The idea is to try and find musical examples you think are cool that uncover all the picking patterns that feel weird or unfamiliar.


Ill check out some Olli stuff as well. Im curious though, if players who use the “9-0-2” have supinated forearms, how do they escape on downstrokes? Is the escape happening towards the general area of the bridge, neck, or in the middle somewhere?

That hurt my brain a little in the beginning. Part of it is understanding if your palm is flat on the bridge (i.e. not rotated toward the thumb or the side of hand, just parallel to the strings), that is actually lightly supinated in the anatomical sense. It’s not really ‘neutral’ even though it appears that way. And that’s the setup a lot of the 902 players use. That was actually a huge part of me finding a DBX movement. Without that ‘flat’ setup I couldn’t get it working. That’s anecdotal I think, but might be helpful to you as you try whatever tweaks you need to the great motion you’ve already got as you try to get it escaping in both directions.

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Makes sense. With someone like Molly Tuttle, it’s so obvious how she can achieve downstrokes that escape because of the clear pronation. It still almost seems like with a “palm flat (ish) on the bridge or strings” approach, the downstrokes would have to be escaping towards the bridge in order to clear

I dont think it’s entirely anecdotal at all. Its like in the other thread when we were talking about rotation in relation to escapes and I mentioned how the hand position on the guitar can dictate wether you are USX’ing, DSX’ing or more towards DBX’ing all with roughly the same mechanic.