Beginning on Upstroke - carranoj25 picking

I mean, I haven’t sat down and tabbed this out… But it sure SOUNDS like the Yngwie 6s pattern from the Volcano seminar, and Yngwie’s whole stile is based around escaped upstrokes so you could play significant parts of his music simply by reversing the picking pattern and starting runs on an upstroke, if you favored escaped downstrokes.

In theory, yeah, if you were a fluid two-way escaped player, it wouldn’t matter hugely whether you started on a downstroke or an upstroke. However, I think that if you yourself today find certain runs easier to play starting on an upstroke rather than a downstroke, then that’s probably really useful information because it suggests you may have an existing picking technique that favors escaped upstrokes, i.e. a “downward pickslant,” and if so then a lot of the Yngwie and Eric Johnson content in their respective seminars will probably all be stuff that works pretty naturally for you right out of the box, and could be fertile material.

And, not for nothing, both players have adaptations that allow them to handle string changes on downstrokes - Yngwie is probably the best example here, as he sweeps ascending string changes on downstrokes and uses pull-offs to avoid downstrokes when descending. It’s not like a directional slant CAN’T play these lines, they just don’t use strict alternate picking. And if Yngwie is one of the most famous alternate pickers in shred, and he doesn’t actually strictly alternate pick… Then these solutions are good enough for the rest of us. You may already be doing them without knowing it.

I think I follow and I think youre right. Because if I had to make a ranking list of comfortability, it would go:

  1. Ascending economy runs and pull offs to create string changes on upstroke when descending
  2. Start with upstroke and alternate from low E
  3. Start with downstroke and alternate from low E

I think that I could be confusing myself and in turn the forum guys here because I wouldnt normally start a descending 3NPS string run with an upstroke from the High E. I can actually start with a downstroke and alternate that pretty comfortably or go the Yngwie way and go D U Pull off then string change.

Even something like the Paul Gilbert lick. As of right now, it’s easier for me to start on an upstroke and then inside pick the lick and hit the 12th fret on the high E with a down stroke and then come back with an up.

I’ve done this exact thing with pentatonic runs where I go fingers 3 1 3 or DUD with picking to start the run so when i cross strings its using a downstroke so all next strings would start on upstrokes and end on Downstrokes for my DSX type picking. I have also started to incorporate to using upstrokes then down which is getting better for a single escape approach to even number of notes. As well as doing it for the 6 note yngwie lick.

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Can you post some video, maybe, @carranoj25? We’re just talking conjecture here, but I’d be curious to see what your technique actually looks like, guessing like this.

Hey Drew let me know what you think of this video


I mean, that all sounds pretty awesome. :+1:

I’m having a hard time really getting a read on what your picking hand is doing here, but I think you do seem to be favoring an escaped upstroke approach here. I think there’s a few others around here who are better at eyeballing this stuff… but your forearm seems pretty locked in in all playing positions, and the economy ascending looks a lot different than the economy descending, which looks more conventionally alternate picked, whereas you can definitely see the connecting sweeps on the way up.

Either way, great playing here. \m/

escaped upstroke meaning i favor string changes after an upstroke? Also, to clarify there was no descending economy in this video. Everything descending was alternate picked or i did it the Yngway

Exactly, and no wonder it looked different!

Dude you sound amazing! What was it you needed help with? :smiley:


Thanks youre too kind. I was really trying to pinpoint my motion/slant and get confirmation of what exactly Im doing that feels best right now. That way I can make it stronger. And also because I was explaining how it’s easier for me to start on an upstroke from the low E when alternate picking or a down if ascending economy. But on the high E, it’s easier for me to alternate starting on a down

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By the way, do you do a “double inside” string change in the Paul Gilbert lick? Would be awesome to see that with a magnet-like perspective and good lighting, if you have a way to do it.

Attaching our filming tips which may help if you don;t have an actual magnet :slight_smile:

what do you mean double inside?

I dont have a magnet, but I do have a gopro! so thats my next shot at a decent video lol

Sorry I admit that was not so clear! I mean something like this, where you play twice a downstroke on a higher string followed by an upstroke on a lower string:

 U D U D U D U D

This is considered a traditionally “hard” thing to do and many players tend to avoid it - but if I am not mistaken you are doing it effortlessly!

yes wow, i will say it is hard because the pick feels like it bounces between the strings and there is a little loss of control. But thats how I naturally gravitated towards these hard alternate lines. And I never knew if I should make it stronger or choose different licks. I will say not often will you find me hitting the 4 with a Downstroke a second time much often. I can do it but Id rather move up or down the string or keep going across. Like I said it is a bit harder to tame, but it’s much more natural to my right hand

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Do you have any other examples I can try that would use this method of picking? I will take some videos for you because now Im even more curious. Or is it only this one instance?

Ah another famous example is the “Jimmy Page” lick: a pentatonic played in groups of 3 like: 1-2-3, 2-3-4, 3-4-5 etc.

IIRC if you ascend this pattern starting on a downstroke, or descend starting on a upstroke, you get all-inside string changes. Here is an attempt I did a while ago - sorry for the terrible audio!

Are you a KISS fan? Is this the same as the first lick from the Love Gun solo?

and if Im not mistaken, are you not doing the double inside because youre starting on a downstroke?

Haha I don’t know much about Kiss actually! I thought this lick was made famous by Jimmy Page, but it’s kind of a cliché I guess!

Correct, I start the ascending portion with a downstroke so that it becomes all inside. Pretty hard to do it this way for me, indeed you can see that some notes come out clean, others a bit less.