Another guy needing guidance

Hey all,

I’ve been playing forever and can’t seem to get faster. I struggle with some simple stuff so I think it’s technique or just me. My wrist tends to stiffen up often even after warming up, trying different angles, etc.

Here’s me just trying to do stuff fast, naturally.

Issues I find happen a lot: stiffness, pick snagging, can’t down pick palm mute fast, can barely gallop, don’t seem to have endurance doing anything more than triplets. This is all single string stuff too, even open string.

Looking for some guidance on where to start. Let me know if you need more videos! I am having trouble shooting a slo-mo right now.

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Thanks for signing up for our stuff! If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Pickslanting Primer yet, that’s where you should start. In particular, we are rapidly building out our grip and motion tutorials, and the section on wrist motion directly addresses the issues you’re experiencing in the clip you’ve posted:

You’ll notice some chapters missing! More will be going up this week, and probably more after that. This is a complex subject and we’re still figuring out how best to present it. But the emphasis here is on plain-English descriptions of precisely how to move.

Beyond this, I recommend scanning the pick grip sections of the Primer just so you’re clear on how we see the world of grip. That’s another surprisingly varied topic, and it took us a long time to boil down what we think are the primary variables and the most popular combinations. We then work through those combinations in the motion tutorials to try and cover all bases for as many players as possible.

If you have any feedback on these tutorials, we’re all ears! Let us know how you make out.


Thanks Troy! I had viewed those sections before and plan on revisiting. In short, I tried as much as I could and didn’t have any a-ha moments.

Now it’s likely I still wasn’t doing all the motions, grips properly.

Should I avoid looking for a “oh that clicks” moment and just go with what is most comfortable despite being uncomfortable (if that makes sense)?

Appreciate it!

Not sure what you mean by uncomfortable but generally, all these motions feel smooth when done correctly. Searching for a motion that is smooth, easy, and fast is the first step. There’s no other first step, and there’s no way to skip it! i.e. There’s no way to take the unsmooth motion and “work it up” over time to being a smooth one. You can take a sloppy one and work it up to clean, but you can’t take a stiff / slow one and work it up to smooth and fast.

I can see from your clip that you’re not really moving your wrist, you’re making a tiny “motorcycle grip” type motion, which is a combination of wrist and forearm. A pure wrist motion with the grip you have looks wide and flat, not small and twisty. Did you try the rest stroke technique in the upstroke escape chapter? Try doing that with a bigger motion that’s more side to side, and see what that looks / feels like.

Also, the “Starting With Speed” chapter is new as of today and may have some other tips you can try:

In a day or two we should have the downstroke escape chapter up there as well. These wrist motions are all very similar, but you never know, there may be some tiny difference between the two motions that makes it work for you. And when you get one, you’ll start getting the others. They fall like dominoes.

Uncomfortable meaning tight or to the point where my hands start interfering with the strings (rubbing on them, which I know you called out in a separate chapter).

I will go back and re-look at my wrist motions. I know at one point I’ve tried minimizing movement and I may be overdoing it. Thanks Troy. I will focus my time there for a bit and see what happens!

I don’t experience any rubbing on the strings and you shouldn’t either, at least not to where you would notice it as a negative. In the interest of eliminating as many variables as possible, try to get as close to the form I’m using as possible: anchor points, grip, oation, everything. I tried to give you as many of those details as possible to make things as copyable as I could.

You also shouldn’t have to minimize any motions. I wouldn’t even concern myself with motion “size” one way or another. Smoothness is what really matters, and searching for the way that feels easy and fast is job number one. In your case the issue is purely that you’re not really doing the motion yet so I wouldn’t nerd out on anything else until you get in the ballpark.

The movements we’re seeing in the clip, are those what they’ve always looked like? If you’ve been playing a long time then your current movements are probably totally baked in below the level of consciousness. Switching up something seemingly superficial like grip can make the whole thing just different enough to feel “new”, allowing you some conscious control again.

Give that a shot and put up another clip of what it looks like.

@Troy am I headed in the right direction?

This feels more comfortable, although on the first few minutes (not on camera) my hand was shaking like crazy going slow. This feels smoother than before and my hand is more stable but I don’t feel like I’m mimicking everything you were doing - despite trying to.


This looks better - I can at least see your wrist moving this time! So you’re getting closer. I don’t see the ulnar offset though. Do you recall that part of the lesson and/or was that clear? The extent of the upstroke lines up the thumb more or less with the radius bone of the forearm. The extent of the downstroke produces the ulnar offset, i.e. visible bend. That’s the range of motion you want. Find a mirror if you need and emulate this form exactly. Re-watch the first two lessons if necessary.

Also, you don’t need to play gallopy style rhythms yet. A single fretted note, picked consistently, will give you a better impression of the smoothness and consistency you’re looking for. So keep it simple and just use a single fretted note, and not open strings / rhythm patterns for now.

Glad to hear it’s improving! Yes I recall the ulnar piece and need to focus on that next. Something felt tight when I did it and I know it’s probably me just doing it wrong. It’s 100% not your instruction (or me being selective), just the weird way my brain seems to be wired. The fact that I’ve already adjusted and am comfortable is really encouraging. Many days I think a lot of my issues are more mental blocks.

I’ll focus on the mirror and the simple approach as you’ve described.

Thanks so much Troy, I’ll be back soon!

@Troy I have worked on the ulnar offset and slight tilt of the wrist per your videos. I am finding that I need to curl in the fingers a bit more for this to work, but it still sounds a bit scratchy. I have tried an extended grip and a less trigger finger-like grip and can’t seem to find a sweet spot.

Any thoughts?

Also, I never answered your earlier question - yes, these small movements have been baked in for some time but it is only on certain riffs. I am seeing improvements with the wider approach and fear my wrist is still defaulting without me knowing back to a more rigid incorrect center point.

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Hard to say what you’re describing without a video. But hold that thought because we have some more wrist motion chapters up now. Specifically, the downstroke escape motion:

The usx and dsx motions can be done with the same arm position and even the same grip — and that’s the way we’re presenting them here. The only difference is simply the direction you move your wrist. This time you’re making what feels like a “right-ward” or “bridge-ward” motion, but using again the same setup from last time.

It may be that for whatever random reason it’s easier to get one of these than the other, and that’s the first Jenga block in toppling the tower. The first step is getting any of these to happen at a smooth “medium fast” speed that’s, I don’t know, at least 150bpm sixteenths or something.

Try this one out and see if it looks or feels any better. Put up a short clip of attempting each one and we’ll certainly take a look.

This is exciting thanks! I noticed last night I’m likely doing a double escape and forcing too much movement as a result.

I’ll take a look at the new content and am glad to have a few things to be focusing on!

I had a breakthrough tonight. Most will laugh but it’s worth inspecting if your form was as bad as mine.

I wasn’t keeping my wrist anchored to the bridge. My hand creeped upwards when I played. Keeping it fixed has been incredible.

I hope now this will set me on a strong path to increasing speed. My playing is a hell of a lot cleaner so if anything I’m grateful for the (terribly late) realization.

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Happy to hear you’re getting somewhere. Not sure I’m following about why the anchoring would have an effect on speed, but it could be that it helps you understand where the motion is supposed to be coming from, since with wrist motion that’s pretty much the same as the anchor point.

Have you looked at both USX and DSX motions? Put up a clip of what they look like when you get a moment and we’ll take a look.

I’m not sure if I’m speedier just cleaner. I’ll get clips up either way.

I just started inspecting the upx and need to experiment a bit more on that. I have a feeling I’m naturally a dpx guy but I know now not to trust what’s natural!!

@troy if the lighting / angle is too tough to interpret what I’m doing I’ll try and shoot again in the AM!

This is me simply picking naturally in this new comfortable “whatever” that clicked for me.


Glad to hear you’re doing some experimenting. I’ll be honest this looks like a double-escape motion and doesn’t look fast enough to me. Can you do this at 150-160bpm sixteenths with the same degree of comfort? If not, it’s not really “comfortable”, it’s just too slow to notice the discomfort. That’s the trick with these things — fast is the test.

Try the USX and DSX motions on the G or B strings, with a single fretted note and not an open string. By using a higher string, you can anchor on the bridge more similar to what we demo in the lesson chapters. This should allow you to reduce your approach angle and achieve the ulnar offset. Again, replicate everything as closely as possible to what I’m doing it in the chapters, because this will get as close to being in the ballpark as possible. The same arm position works for both USX and DSX so you don’t really need to change anything, or at least much of anything.

Next clip you post, swivel to more of an audience-facing view for a moment to check if your approach angle and offset are correct. You can also use a mirror for this as you try to get set up properly.

Sorry for the back and forth on this. What we’re trying to do is establish as many step-by-step deatils as possible so that the amount of time you spend “not getting it” and having to trial and error this is minimized.

Thanks @Troy. You are right in my opinion on the double escape - it looks that way when I watch my hand when picking slowly and likely when it is faster. This tops out at 130bpm 16th notes.

No apologies needed, it should be me apologizing - once this other aspect “clicked” I’ve been too focused on that than your advice. Your videos couldn’t be more straight-forward!

I will focus on the use and dsx videos, especially the concept of rest strokes.

I will put up better videos in the next few days once I’ve figured this out a bit better! Thank you!!

@Troy I am going back to square one and have a question - I am most comfortable with angle pad or trigger grip. More so angle pad, as my knuckles hit the strings in trigger.

I noticed though that my thumb curls. Is it almost universal that the thumb should be straight when gripping? Want to cover this before starting the other adjustments.

Edit: gripping in those styles I should say. I know this affects pick angle so I want to get this right as I start attacking usx and dsx.
Thank you!

There shouldn’t be any reason for knuckles to hit the strings with a trigger style grip. The index curls under so it does not contact. The wrist itself rests on the palm heels and the wrist is extended a little to create a small air gap. It could be that you don’t have enough grip exposure. Again, reference the videos — if you do exactly what I’m doing, you should get the same results. And even if you move on to some variation later, at least you have a functional starting point.

Not sure what you meam by thumb “curls”. Are you referring to wrapping the thumb around the index finger? If that’s the only way you can play, then you will have no ability to adjust edge picking or pickslant with thumb adjustments. The “Setting The Pickslant” chapter in the wrist motion section has more on how these adjustments work.

Again, I don’t want you to think yourself to death on this. This first step should be quick. If you follow all these instructions, can you not do what I’m doing at the 5:33 mark, at the exact same speed I’m doing it there? If not, what’s happening and what does it look like?