Beginning on Upstroke - carranoj25 picking

Cool video Loomis is great! Is he actually starting on an upstroke here? I cant tell haha it’s too fast! Could you link that thread?

Thanks Tommo. Starting ascending runs with odd numbers of notes on the low E is just easier with an upstroke to me. My problem is I don’t keep it up when I go across strings or try to reverse the lick. At some point I try to inside pick and get caught up. I think it’s a preference my hands created just for the low E string honestly. But if I can chunk strict alternate picking starting with an upstroke, I think it’d be smoother for me.

Wait this confuses me a little: a 3nps scale will always involve outside & inside picking, if you play across more than 3 strings, regardless of upstroke/downstroke start.

In any case, have you tried to incorporate a strategic pulloff to make the turnaround point easier?

Youre right, I have to figure out exactly what I meant later on when I play more. and yes ive been working more legato to incorporate more hammer ons, pull offs, hammer ons from nowhere and descending hammer ons once I get those. It’s been mind blowing to me to realize how many of the top guys actually throw in little pull offs or hammer ons here and there to make things easier.

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Makes perfect sense for an escaped upstroke approach - you’re basically reversing the movement of an escaped downstroke approach, and any run you can do with escaped downstrokes should be pretty easy this way. You just need to be cognizant of the typical rules there - once you get in motion with an escape away from the body on that odd number of strings pattern on the E, you then need to shift into a pattern that preserves an even number of notes per string so you’re always changing strings on an escaped upstroke. Yngwie 6s, Gilbert 6s, any 4-note pattern, even simply 2nps pentatonics.

Another thing you could try, that works better for me as a guy who has trouble starting runs on an ustroke, is use a downstroke pickup note before the pattern starts in earnest - for example, if your first three notes on the E string are 5-7-8, then you could do something like 4/5-7-8 or 7-5-7-8 and pick either the 4th or 7th fret wth a downstroke just before the downbeat so that when you hit the downbeat you’re playing the 5th fret A with an upstroke. Sounds kinda cool, too.

Sure - here it is

Ive tried messing around 2NPS pentatonics starting on an upstroke and that’s actually hard for me, at least on the lower strings. Idk why.

However, I don’t follow when you say I need to shift into a pattern that preserves an even number of notes so I can change strings on an escaped upstroke. Couldn’t I just start a phrase on an upstroke and use 2WPS and do normal alternate picking?

You absolutely could. Limiting yourself to an even number would allow you to preserve a single-directional escape, though, and this is pure speculation, but if starting a 3NPS run on an upstroke rather than a downstroke feels more natural to you, I’m guessing you have a preferred escape direction.

In the loomis video above, it’s a little tough to make out, but he seems to be escaping away from the body on downstrokes, and considering this is a pretty standard Yngwie upstroke-escape run that Yngwie starts with a downstroke and uses a “downwards pickslant” in his own playing, Loomis seems to be compensating for that by starting with an upstroke, so all his string changes fall on downstrokes and not upstrokes.

So if Loomis is starting with an upstroke and changing strings on downstrokes, he has to be playing 4NPS right? I guess im just a bit confused now. Ideally it wouldnt really matter if you start on a downstroke or upstroke if you can accurately 2WPS correct?

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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