Andy Wood And The Pendulum of Death!


The headstock cam worked out really well on mandolin. It was super shaky, so we had to stabilize in post. It’s not perfect and still a little Jello-cammy when he really gets going. That’s one advantage the Magnet has, is that it’s closer to the body and has much less shake. But on the tiny mandolin body specifically in terms of seeing the arm and hand interact, it’s great.

Here’s a seven-minute clip with some analysis:

And here’s some face-melting Fishers Hornpipe:


Awsome stuff. What pick is he using? Is he doing 2wps in the second video?


Yes, I would describe the Hornpipe clip as two-way pickslanting, since not all the pickstrokes escape, only certain ones. I would describe his medium-speed technique as a crosspicking approach since there’s a more obvious attempt to use only the curved movement all the time.


Thanks. Do you know the brand/model of the pick? Also, I’m very much in agreement about what he said about wide strokes helping with timing… especially for people like me who are rhythmically challenged (that’s what my son calls me). It’s one of the reason I am avoiding economy picking as well.


Ah, sorry - it’s the Blue Chip CT55. The “Chris Thile” model. It’s not for everyone. It’s smooth and heavy gauge with a big built-in bevel so it’s very slippery. If you use almost any amount of edge picking the pick slides off the string making relatively little sound. At least that’s what happens when I use it!


How fast can Andy do the Crosspicking Movement before it turns into Primary Up 2WPS?


Unclear! But here’s the thing. In his super speed 2wps mode, there are still the curvy movements happening. And not just the forearm ones - also the pure wrist ones. This is true even in lines like ascending sixes, when you can’t see anything with the naked eye because he’s going so fast. These fully escaped movements continue to happen at every speed he can go, because 2wps seems to require them.

It may be that there’s a specific case of pure 1nps lines are somehow speed-limited. And I stress “may” because we really don’t know. But aside from very specific cases like that, there really aren’t too many other scenarios where the movements appear speed limited. This probably accounts for why Andy probably doesn’t appear to perceive any real practical limitations in his picking technique. He just comes up with lines and plays them. We would all do well to try follow that plan - i.e. doing what works for us and not worrying too much about what doesn’t.


One important thing to remember is just because we can do fast double escape tremolos, or even double escape 3NPS runs, doesnt mean we can always translate this to 1NPS lines. It would seem like we could, but it doesn’t translate well, and I say this with experience.

Doing a double-escape stroke is wonderful in many respects, it’s solved many issues with my picking… but once I start hopping from string to string at higher speeds… my form often gets deformed, even though I’ve done everything possible to isolate tracking movements from picking movements. And I also find myself fighting against ascending outside changes (for many people its inside changes), which REALLY slows me down. This momentum battle has caused a ‘built in’ speed limit of around 140 bpm for me. It’s a bit discouraging, because I’ve recorded myself when I thought I was playing 160 BPM but I see that I am either slowing down or missing/swiping when I do my ascending outside switch.

I hope to overcome this, but it’s been about 6 months of struggling, and very little progress.


This is unnecessarily extreme. Watch Molly Tuttle play a roll pattern. There is really no distinction between picking and tracking. It’s just six memorized wrist movements. The fact that some notes are on some strings is neither here nor there because the pattern is entirely memorized. If someone finds this difficult it’s not because ‘tracking’ isn’t working. It’s just because they can’t do or haven’t memorized the six movements.

I say this only because we need to not over dramatize or complicate things any more than they are. No doubt some kinds of lines can be said to have more obvious ‘tracking’ challenges. But a lot of things, there is really no practical distinction because again, it’s just a memorized and relatively simple repeating hand motion.


I gotta disagree here, because working towards isolation helped me quite a bit, in quite a few different ways, and I’ve seen it help others as well. I think it depends on where on the continuum you are.

However, I am in no way saying that we should strive towards complete isolation between picking and tracking; obviously that is impossible, and would only lead to frustration.

Oh, and I think I was being a bit overly-dramatic on the lack of progress. I have actually made progress over the last 6 months… I guess it’s just slower than anticipated. I think a lot of us are in that boat… we have played guitar for quite a while, and assume that this is just ‘another skill’ we can pick up in a few weeks, when it reality, we have to put in a lot of hours, just like Molly did.


I’ve been watching quite a bit of Andy and Molly, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I am just not escaping far enough above the string, so the margin of error is just too small, making tracking very difficult at higher speeds.

This is dejavu, since I had the same issue with DWPS 2NPS alt picking in the past.

Anyhoo, Im adding a bit more forearm rotation, and finger movement… and escaping more, and it’s feeling much more natural for 1NPS phrases. I think I’ll stick with this. Again its the whole… try something for a while until you plateau, then try something else cycle. It’s the guitar-players creed.


Totally! Experimentation is the name of the game.


That Fishers Hornpipe truly is face-melting!!! Anyone got any tabs! Lol


But of course! “Big Mon” is another good shreddy one for the scalarly inclined.


I knew you wouldn’t let me down Troy! All I need is a mandolin! Haha! Maybe this will be my transcribing homework as well as my crosspicking workout!!


Troy, i he tuning it as a traditional mandolin, or like a guitar?


tuned in 5ths like traditional mandolin


The 1961 Movie was the Pit and the Pendulum.


Andy’s next album is The Pick and the Pendulum

The cover will be a deadly sharp Jazz III ominously poised above the neck of a helpless rock guitarist, who is clearly screaming out “What do you mean he’s alternate picking ALL those notes?”


Haha! Classic. I will start the petition.