Am I double escaping/crosspicking? part 3

Hi all! I finally got around to posting another try at a double escape motion (after 14 months - whoops!) Wondering if I’m actually double escaping or still string hopping? Or, maybe a 2 way pickslanting thing like the Mike Stern Fat Time arpeggio? Or something else? My picking motion for this feels relatively flat and tension free - it’s not super clean and I feel I could be swiping some strings? Let me know what you all see - thanks!

https://youtu.be/ZFVB3vyqlzY

Here’s the tab of what i’m playing:
Double Escape.pdf (49.2 KB)

I’m no expert (I’m trying to sort out my own right hand at the moment!), but your motion looks like some sort of elbow movement- it looks like your whole forearm is moving up and down, even as though your shoulder is involved. It looks like you’re clearing the strings, but that motion doesn’t look very efficient to me. How fast can you play that? Even if it’s sloppy, it’d be worth trying it really quickly because if it doesn’t work at all at reasonable speeds, you’re probably using an inefficient movement.

Hi - thanks for the feedback! Yes, I totally am moving my forearm and shoulder - I guess I thought there must be some other picking motions involved like wrist, if I am actually clearing the strings. I can play the passage faster but it does get sloppier - my hand and forearm don’t get tenser - there is a little more tension in my shoulder but nothing crazy. I’ve tried some other picking hand setups/movements for double escape but this motion seems like my best try so far…I’m trying to play other licks with this motion but not a lot of success so far…

Efficiency isn’t about how many joints you use. It’s about not using the same muscles for the upstroke and the downstroke. There’s nothing inherently inefficient about using combinations of motions. There are lots of fast players who do that.

I agree that the only way to know for sure whether a given approach is efficient is to go as fast as you can and disregard the slop.

I get the point of efficiency and antagonist/agonist muscles but I suspect there’s a limit to that argument.

If you hold a pick in your teeth and bend from the waist, you’d be using different groups of muscles to flex/extend your trunk but I doubt you’d be able to ‘toothpick’ at anything like a decent speed, let alone be very accurate at clearing strings. I’m being a bit facetious, but I don’t think I’ve seen shoulder suggested as a useful joint to involve in picking. I may be wrong, but I suspect moving the whole limb at once using the shoulder isn’t very effective (I’ll use that term to avoid the CtC ‘efficiency’ term)

For the OP, as mentioned, I’d suggest playing using that technique at higher speed and see what happens. If it all falls apart, might be time to consider other ways of doing it. What’s your usual motion when you aren’t trying to DBX?

Have you experimented with it? I have, and found it useful in some situations. Didn’t slow anything down. I’m not advocating it in particular, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out for exploration like I would for the abdominal toothpick technique.

There’s been some suggestion that it’s part of Zakk Wylde’s mystery elbow USX.

Really? Ok, happy to be corrected if you think it’s a useful option. I admit to not trying it. I guess you might be able to get a repetitive motion from the shoulder if you did something similar to sawing a log.

‘Sawing a log’ is a good description of it. Very short strokes though, obviously. And for me it was mostly useful in combination with other motions (wrist, fingers, and elbow). It felt like a slightly higher gear with the shoulder than without it, and it increased my stamina at that speed significantly. Accuracy was about the same or maybe slightly better. If I remember correctly I was searching for a clearer tone with less edge picking at the time.

That said, I haven’t felt the need to develop it much further since then. I’m confident it could be useful, though. Maybe I’ll play around with it again.

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Yep, that’s the only time I recall hearing it mentioned as a way to use that joint effectively.

I think for the OP, the issue I’d say is I don’t think we’ve seen anyone use that motion for crosspicking though. I could definitely be wrong, but it’s not one of the ‘regular’ joint combos we see.

Backing up from there, @geoffk, I’d say this isn’t crosspicking, but it’s also not string hopping. Most of the time, there are swipes when you change from the B to the E string. I think the problem, other than the joint combo, is that this is a speed where you could string hop and get away with it. I had some decent success learning crosspicking last year and I was able to find the motion within a week of trying it out, without having ever even attempted cross picking.

And that’s NOT a pat on the back, that’s an “anyone can do this!!!” type of encouragement :slight_smile:

The way I achieved success was just holding a chord and playing 2 notes of it as fast as I could (i.e. ascending arp), then I’d add a third note, then a fourth note. Then I did the same thing backwards (i.e. descending arp). Then I tried to glue it together so I could go both directions. It caused my hands to figure the motion out for themselves. I think this is important, because all these players we look up to probably got there a similar way. They weren’t worrying about making a curved motions or “if the downstrokes escaped at 2 o’clock on the clockface”. All of Troy’s excellent work on crosspicking and showing the exact path the pick travels are observations - he’s said himself that we shouldn’t get caught up with trying to make a curved motion. We should just play fast in order to find the motion. And that’s exactly how I was able to find the motion in about a week. If something didn’t go fast, I threw it out. If it did go fast, I tried really hard to observe what I did differently than the time before. When I’m doing it correctly, it looks and feels like the pick is just moving back and forth. It’s only under a magnet in slow mo that you can really see the shallow curve.

Thanks - this makes total sense - I do think I am swiping and I can really feel it as I speed up. Back to the drawing board for me - I will try your suggestions with starting with 2 notes…

Just a few thoughts; first, I agree with a previous commenter that you seem to be clearing the strings. If that’s the case, you can rule out swiping.

Second, if you do feel swiping is going on you can mute the strings with your left hand; that can really make it clear what’s happening.

Third, I’m convinced shoulder movement can play a big role in tracking, if not the picking itself. In my case the shoulder joint isn’t moving up and down, rather the elbow is moving back and up, or forward and down, to track from bass to treble strings. Sorry if this isn’t clear, I can post some images if not.

Fourth, to echo a previous comment, in my experience double-escape doesn’t feel like a rotational movement . . . to the point that in the past I always figured my hand was just moving back and forth.