Another Crosspicking question/video


Hey everybody! Posting this short clip of Troy’s crosspicking etude - am I crosspicking or string hopping? Either way I get tired fairly easily and I can’t pick much faster for extended periods. Any advice? Thanks in advance!

crosspicking etude

for reference, this is my “normal picking style” - not sure what’s going on here in terms of mechanics…


Great playing! Very tasty.

Yes, stringhopping. Given the way you’re playing currently, it wouldn’t take much to convert this into a pronated crosspicking technique. But you’ll need more pronation / i.e. “upward pickslanting” if you like. How do you know how much is enough? Here’s how I do it:

See the line connecting those two knuckles? Make that perpendicular to your guitar. This will set you up with the pronated arm position necessary for both upward pickslanting and pronated crosspicking. It might feel a little weird at first but give it a bit to sink in. Don’t worry about what the pick is doing, and don’t try to judge whether or not it’s ‘slanted’, per se, even though you might see an upward pickslant. Just look at that side of your hand and try to keep that face of it straight up and down perpendicular with respect to the guitar’s top.

Now, try the four string pattern again, but think about making the movement go side to side, not up and down, not curved. Just left and right of whichever way your arm is pointing. I’d also try three-string patterns since they don’t cover as much distance and you don’t have to worry about tracking as much. Good crosspicking players like Molly Tuttle fly through those.

See if that makes a difference. You’ll know you’re doing it right when the strain you’re describing completely disappears. It will feel like nothing other than side to side wrist movement.


Thanks Troy - I’ll give that a try. Is this mainly a wrist movement for you? Some arm and elbow? BTW, I’m loving the crosspicking etude as a piece music - feels very Bach-like in harmony and flow!

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There are lots of ways to do this - some with arm involvement, some without. What I’m outlining for you here is a strictly wrist method, because it is similar to what you are already doing. If you try this on three-string roll patterns like what Molly and Andy Wood play, you won’t have to move anything but your wrist. So it’s a little simpler to get your mind around. Just find a comfortable spot, assume the position outlined above, and execute the “left / right” strokes.


Hmmm… it seems like with this setup I end up doing upward pick slanting or still string hopping. When you say left and right do you mean relative to the strings or to a neutral wrist, like side to side wrist motion? I know there is supposed to be an arc but not there yet…


Good crosspickers don’t perceive that they are making an arc, and our best guess is that if you consciously try to make one, that might just lead to stringhopping. The arc simply results from assuming a particular hand position and performing what feels like a wide side to side alternate picking movement. Whichever way your forearm is pointing, call that the center of your wrist movement. Move your wrist to the left of this center line to play an upstroke, move it to the right to play a downstroke. But do it with the pronated position above.

Obviously, at some level, you need to avoid the surrounding strings. But there is a way of thinking about this that isn’t so much ‘up’ as it is simply wide. As in, thinking about an upstroke movement that goes further to the left than normal, may help you visualize what it means to play an escaped upstroke from this position without conscious lifting. Escaped downstrokes should be automatic, since that’s what the pronated hand position provides. But again, you can think of them as simply wide right-strokes.

Particularly on three string roll type patterns like these:

…because you don’t have to figure out how track the hand across the strings. You can plant yourself in one comfortable spot and practice your wide left/right movements.


You may have just answered a question I asked on another thread.



This is helpful - the wider I swing, the less I think about not hitting other strings or getting trapped, and it just seems to work!

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Yeah, this was advice I was looking for as well. Will try and report back.

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Yes let us know! It’s good to hear about things that work!