Awesome one note per string triplets alternate picking with string skips

At about 19:54, How the hell does he do this!?
It is hard enough already to do this triplets alternate picking on adjacent strings, but to do this at that speed with string skips (on the low E , D and B strings) i just don’t get it…


It looks like an inside picked string skip too, D U D (skipping) U (skipping again) That actually shows the opposite technique from the last one you posted with outside skips which felt a lot more approachable in terms of the technique.

I will say he’s not doing the whole five string skips here so maybe it is actually harder.

It’s looks pretty clear to me his escape motions are wrist extension and forearm rotation.

I tried reversing the scooping motion last time and found it super awkward, obviously, there’s a way to do it. Maybe with enough experimentation a workable inside picked string skipping motion would become obvious.

It is one note per string in triplets or how you look at it sixtuplets :
Down (Low E string) Up (D String) Down (B string) Up (Low E string) Down (D String) U (B string)

Extremely difficult to hit everything clean even at moderate speed and at Anton’s lightning fast speed impossible for me!

It’s a really nice descending progression, well played as we’d expect :slight_smile:

Yeah I agree, and I like your ‘scooping’ analogy. That’s what it feels like for me when I do the big outside string skips. This inside variety…ug. It’s like a forward roll with string skips.

Yeah I know we’ve talked before about various ‘coordinations’ involved with the DBX motions. This is one I haven’t cracked.

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I did not learn anything from Anton because I never took lessons from him, and almost everything he does is to damn difficult for me.

Maybe the only thing if have learned, from
watching him over and over again, is that a very loose wrist is a key component.

Still hope that one day Anton faces The Magnet :wink:


Trying to slop my way through this (or a similar pattern) right now and I see immediately how important tracking is for this. We don’t want to try ‘reaching’ for the notes. Watch from around 20:09 at 25% speed and keep your eye on his elbow. It’s very slightly moving up and down. I think this is pretty important, because it’s critical in these complex DBX patterns that we don’t feel like at points we have to speed up, which is exactly what you have to do if you attempt to play this and “reach” all the notes. That would be the only way get from the B string back to the low E. But if we’re clever about the tracking, it suddenly seems more doable. Not necessarily at his crazy speed, but already I’m hitting these notes ‘sometimes’. That’s a big step up from how it felt earlier today, which seemed impossible.

Another thing I’ve tried, since this helped me with my initial success in crosspicking in general, is to focus in just 2 notes at a time, as fast as we can possibly play them. This helps our hands to sort of figure the motion out.

Last comment, I can also see each time he plays the low E with an upstroke, it is that ‘scoop’ motion to get to the next string.

Clues? Red Herrings??? lol His stuff is always fun for me to ‘try’. Such a beast.


This is something I’ve picked up on with his playing and working on some of his string skipping, his string tracking is very intentional. You almost have to practice “falling” to the right string and tensing back to the next one like you’re catching yourself in a fall. And this motion comes from a combo of elbow and shoulder and correctly timed wrist/forearm movement to catch the string


Exactly, this is a compound movement. So for example, on those first 3 notes, the low E is a down that initiates this ‘fall’. The curved motion helps us over the A and D strings. As we pass the D, the upstroke happens but we’re still falling over the G and B strings. As we pass the B, we hit it with an upstroke and a (comparatively) aggressive tracking motion with the elbow/shoulder to get back to the E string.

That’s probably not a really clear explanation, and of course “thinking” through this at slow speeds doesn’t help at all. We need to be doing this at least moderately fast to get the smoothness.

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Yes, you have to track to get those big intervals at such speed.
Martin Miller also does this, but more obvious.

The big skip from B to low E is one thing but to hit that D string clean everytime… Pfffff!

Please don’t ask users to post other people’s instructional stuff / insights on our forum. I know it’s a grey area, people probably talk about our teaching all over the internet on unaffiliated forums. If they were doing it on someone else’s instructional site, and doing it in bad faith to discredit us, I’d take issue with it.

Fine to discuss technical issues, what you think is happening, etc. And now… I shall do just that.

Plenty of obvious forearm rotation / wiggle in Anton’s technique. However, as is usually the case, it’s really just as “helper motion”, and mostly during ascending inside picking.

Forearm helper motion use is very common and almost everyone does it, even very “wristy” players like Andy Wood, Chris Thile, Sierra Hull, the list goes on. The rotation will get more obvious the bigger the distances, and less obvious to basically gone at smaller distances. It is functionally absent / not required during outside picking. There might be some small amount of it just due to where the muscles attach, but that would be true for anyone. The key is that I don’t think it’s necessary for switching strings in Anton’s technique. That’s mainly done via wrist motion, with the exception of the (again) very common forearm assistance during certain inside picking gaps.

Also relevant to what we’ve discussed recently, I’d note that there is plenty of “radial-appearing offset” in Anton’s technique when he reaches for the low strings. While there is a small amount of upper arm tracking to maintain wrist form / range of motion, it’s not enough to cover the actual multi-string distance in this example. The rest is being made up by the wrist moving through its range of motion, i.e. eating up range of motion.

Why is this not problematic? Because Anton is supinated. So the wrist offset is not as radial as it looks, because it’s also flexed. In the same way that violinists and Shawn Lane look a little “hockey sticky” when they extend the wrist, Anton looks like he’s cradling a baby on the low strings due to wrist flexion. Both of these technically move a little radially, just not enough to cause a problem. By contrast, if tracking were entirely via the arm, the wrist would not exhibit the baby cradle, and instead look the same on all the strings — neutral to slightly ulnar. This isn’t the case. His wrist very obviously cradles on the low strings and straightens out on the higher strings.

Wrist flexion tracking is exactly what we talk about in the Primer as a method for covering large distances without actually moving your forearm anchor point against the body:

In Anton’s technique, there is still a little anchor point motion. In Gypsy-style technique, which is more supinated still, there is almost none. You can cover all six strings with no easily visible change in where you rest on the body. Thus, wrist flexion tracking usually only works with a supinated arm — more supinated than most index-grip wrist players will typically use.

So I think Anton is another example of someone who, anatomically, can get a fairly high degree of forearm supination while still using an index grip. We haven’t sussed out exactly which anatomical features cause this, but if this effect is real, I think it’s due to some combination of palm or finger dimensions. Players with shorter fingers or shorter palms will show less supination with an index grip, and the more spidery-digited or big-mitted among us may show more. And Anton does look like he has large hands. Perhaps.

Anyway, the idea is that to get the same forearm position as Anton, someone with less of this type of “supination friendly” hand/finger anatomy might need to use something like a three-finger grip to reach the strings. To be clear, I think everyone can do this. You’d just need to adapt the grip. And this is why, anecdotally, we see players like @joebegly getting very good results with high forearm supination and three-finger grip, even though he doesn’t work on it as much. The hypothesis is that the more supinated arm position places both escape motions — USX and DSX — further away from the deviation axis, and closer to the “reverse dart” axis, for greater efficiency and greater range of motion during mixed escape and double escape playing.


Contrary to the belief that there is some special sauce to what Anton does, these are all very clear examples of him doing what lots of other people do. To me Anton is a supinated, mixed escape wrist player, and a fairly obvious one at that. His motions are large and clear, both wrist and forearm, particularly when filmed down the strings as you can see in some interviews he’s done.

The enthusiasm for Anton’s playing is 100% deserved — he’s one of the all-time greats at this. But I really don’t like the magical thinking. It’s very anti-Cracking The Code!


Just came to post that to get anywhere near this I have to really treat it as groups of pairs of notes and try to get those pairs almost running together as a flam, but it appears this has been addressed in better detail already.

Certainly if I try to think of it/play it as two lots of three or as a chunk of six I end up getting nowhere.

Good points Troy!

Still there are lots of examples where Anton plays stuff I have not seen done by anyone that fast and that accurate as he does.
I would not call it Magical persé, but it is mindblowing, at least to me it is.

His motions are the ones we all know by now. Man thanks to you and The Magnet for that!
But, why is he able doing things so fast and extremely accurate? And he already could do this when he was just 10 years young!
He himself claims, as we all know, that part of it is his deep knowledge of how muscle movements exactely work, but he could not know this already at such young age… Or did he?

Anyways, we keep on practicing… but more important: keep making music! :slight_smile:

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Sorry about that. Please feel free to delete. No hard feelings!

Not a problem! I know that was a harmless / casual request. This is more of a general thing given that we are an instructional site.

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Super interesting points about the hand/finger anatomy. I fall well into the unusually large hand camp and have had some success. I might be over complicating it then, trying to consciously work in shifting my anchor point so much with elbow/shoulder motion. Realistically though it only feels like I need to change my anchor point across a small range to reach all of the strings, but I have to stay really conscious of how my pick angle change when I track with mainly the wrist, which I’m bad about doing and tend to forget. Maybe instead I should be focusing on improving maintaining an even picking angle while staying anchored.

Definitely curious to see more progress with @joebegly and others trying out the three finger grip as well.

@Andjoy To put a fine point on it a bit - I think that “magic” comes from not so much the motion itself -which a lot of players have developed, but in general having the creativity and drive to think about how to push it to do more over many years (possibly also due to his father’s coaching and making him more aware of how it could be pushed) led him to developing a lot of picking patterns other people simply haven’t tried to the extent that he has, which makes him pretty damn innovative. That alone can have the effect of hearing Yngwie for the first time and thinking “goddamn this is magic”.

I felt the same way hearing/seeing Tosin Abasi for the first time, the array of techniques and patterns you just haven’t come across before can be mind blowing.

Right, most very young children don’t have any conscious awareness of complicated muscle or joint interaction. Being an Occam’s Razor kind of guy, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Anton and other early childhood learners found effective ways of moving by doing what felt natural in a mostly subconscious way, and building on that as they got older, perhaps becoming more conscious of their mechanics in the process. I do not think this is a controversial statement.

It’s also worth noting that repertoire, and trial and error, play a very large part in this. If you don’t actually try to play weird string skippy lines, you are very unlikely to stumble across techniques capable of doing so. Conversely, when you do start looking for those techniques, they appear rapidly, even later in life — as any number of progress videos posted right here on this forum can attest.

The main reason why you have the perception that other people don’t play Anton-style lines is because… they don’t! But the reason is because, in just about all popular musical styles, the kinds of string-skippy things featured in these vidoes are simply not popular. They are the least common in rock, followed by jazz. In both cases it’s because of the emphasis on fast single note stuff — tremolo playing, blues licks with pulloffs, etc. Nobody is making the entry level rock player do these kinds of phrases. So it’s not at all surprising that only occasional “famous” players with outside musical influences, like Steve Morse or Carl Verheyen, ever went that route. The internet is rapidly changing this picture, but it’s still largey true.

In styles like bluegrass guitar, where double escape technique is far more common, it’s not considered weird or special to play forward roll patterns. However there is no enforcement of this either. Players can use other techniques, like George Shuffler-style “DDU” proto-sweeping. Billy Strings does this and sounds great. Or they can avoid those lines at high speed entirely, and just make up their own phrases that do something else. So you still see a broad mix of actual skills in use even by the all-time greats.

In classical mandolin, distribution of mixed escape technique is more common still. You can’t just make up new licks for the Chaconne if you don’t like all the one-note-per-string arpeggios. So consequently anyone playing Bach these days is likely to have these abilities. However nobody is really doing intentionally tricky string-skipping because the most popular repertoire, which seems to be baroque, doesn’t include it. Bach and other violin composers didn’t write that way, plus those instruments only have four strings so there’s not as mjuch skippy gymnastics you can do anyway. I can guarantee you that if Bach had written something like Tumeni notes, people would have been playing it for centuries at this point.

None of this is to say that Anton doesn’t have great skill. He clearly does. How much “natural ability” plays a part is less clear. Some researchers, like Anders Ericsson, suggested it plays no part and that practice itself explains all salient differences between great performers.

I don’t know if I would go that far. Science suggests that there are probably some physiological and learning advantages that some people possess that “matter”, in quotes, for attaining motor skills. Ericsson himself noted enhanced finger tapping abilities among world-class typists, and perfect pitch for musicians. In both cases he allowed that these might be genetic. More recent research from the last ten years suggests that some people might have advantages in learning by trial and error. Which would be a pretty big boon to a child musician.

So maybe some people can move a little bit faster. Or maybe some people have a little bit of an easier time figuring out certain techniques. But these types of genetic advantages, if they exist, would operate most strongly in the absence of teaching, not the presence of it. Teaching is the equalizer, as Ericsson noted. Without teaching, even a small advantage in speed or learning can make someone seem like an impossible virtuoso. Think about the popular impression of what it took to play Yngwie before Cracking the Code compared to now. Night and day. It might still take an Yngwie-level talent to figure out his technique and write all those songs. But these days any weekend warrior can play them with a few years of practice.

In the absence of teaching, genetic advantages do “matter” since not everybody has a teacher, and not all techniques are even known to all teachers anyway. This is especially true in guitar. So the “naturals” or even just the “lucky”, may still figure out stuff we don’t yet know about.

But we’re gaining on them!


Can you link any literature to this? Be interested to read his perspective and reasoning for this thought

The “famous” paper is known by the sexy title of “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance”. You can find it here:

This was published in 1993 and was highly influential over the next few decades, behind the success of books like Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”, a best-seller, which gave it a big pop-science audience. The rebuttals to various aspects of Ericsson’s ideas aren’t as popular because they’re more technical, so you’ll mainly find them in academic journals on learning over the last ten years or so.

Edit: Here’s a much more accessible summary in the form of an interview with Ericsson himself. He died only recently so this pretty current:

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People can suggest it. But practice alone will not create great performers.

Great players? As you say with Yngwie-level chops, if you limit that definition to the technical aspects it becomes more plausible.

But to say practice is the only difference is not too far removed from the notion that starting slow, staying clean and working up to speed really works.

They’re half-truths. As has been proven, there is so much more going on.