Carl Miner interview, "twisting"


Sort of by way of introducing myself I wanted to just post something about that Carl Miner interview. I joined here because Troy’s pick slanting video was the first sensible and completely convincing thing I’ve encountered on the mechanics of picking, after 50-odd years of playing. Really helping my speed and accuracy a lot. But for the kind of stuff that’s in my head that I’m trying to play, it’s still leaving me with some unsolved challenges. Thing is, some time AGES and ages ago, I spent a few weeks seriously working on picking technique, just trying to “feel” my way along to what seemed right. And I stumbled on something that just opened my playing hugely. Worked for a few weeks, but you know, there are so many different aspects to this that, well, over time it drifted, and I just never could figure out again what was the specific thing I’d done that worked so well. I knew it came after a lot of focus on rotation and wrist movement but… Was it how I was holding the pick, was it that I was starting my sequences on the up instead of down, was it x, y, z…

So I’ve been working through the pick slanting exercises here, but even though I was learning a lot I was still missing something. I have licks in my head that involve a lot more single-note-per-string playing, or arbitrary numbers, not always even. The upslant-rotate-downslant thing was close, but how do you negotiate that when you’re switching strings more frequently? So I finally decided to buy the premium membership and explore deeper to see if I could find what I was looking for. Surfing around the site… and BANG. The Miner thing–that was IT! That time back when, when I felt like I got it right (for what I was trying to do): I had been trying various wrist movements and positions, side-to-side, etc, but when I went for that rotational (“twist”) movement, working that for a while, it gave me the exact feeling Miner describes: almost “throwing” your pick at the strings. Only I didn’t know to analyze back then in terms of getting the pick out of the plane of the strings and the other really critical mechanics I’ve picked up here, and could only sporadically recapture it in my playing. That exact motion of the inner forearm that Miner has–I knew that was key, I could (can) easily reproduce it away from the guitar, but struggled to apply it in actual engagement with pick and strings. Now suddenly It’s like, ok, I wasn’t crazy, there really was a logic to what I was doing.

Anyway, TMI: really happy to be here, and really happy to have read that interview as it filled a gap I was missing and feels like meeting an old friend of a technique that I’d lost and never found may way back to again.


Hey, @DrBB I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying playing. That’s what it’s all about. :smiley:



Awesome, thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum, great to have you here!


Yes I have just watched the whole miner 2017 interview, and the thing about flinging your hand around also seems easier to me then just wrist movement. I’m trying this, I think it’s working?

How are you getting on with it now, have you had much joy with this??


Continues to help. I think the main thing, or one of them, is fully taking on board the realization that there isn’t just one technique that is Correct And Must Be Used At All Times. The cross-picking tutorials have helped with this because they are so focused on SNPS patterns—arpeggios and the like–which I think are not in everyone’s immediate comfort zone. But they are where this very wrist-y technique shows to greatest advantage. Also in bluesy pentatonics where getting across the neck, as opposed to along it, is part of the feel–thinking Hendrix, SRV stuff. But…

Where you need something else is when there’s a lot more NPS density–chromatics, or 4- or 6-NPS scales. Then the DWPS/UWPS/TWPS mechanics have to come in. I wasn’t so aware of this back in the day, and in trying to keep this wristy motion going in those more note-dense situations I’d get more tension, fatigue, inaccuracy, and just kind of lose it.

Realizing the points in my playing where I have to say, wait, if you really want those notes in there, they don’t fit with your mechanics, so which do you want to change, the notes or the mechanics? One approach is, ok, I want to play that figure so let’s slow down and figure out what do I have to do there. But often you realize you don’t actually like the figure that’s causing the problem all that much; it’s just a habitual thing your muscle memory falls into, so what figure would this technique let you play more easily there? A lot of times the easier solution also sounds like the “right” solution, and suddenly you’ve broken out of one of your cliches.


Wow cool - sounds like you are getting along good with it.
Can I ask you a question about feel? I am trying to get to grips with the crosspicking thing - do you feel a difference in what muscles you are using for the downstroke versus the upstroke?

It sounds like Carl Miner is saying that for th:

downstroke, he feels the underside of his forearm fling the pick through the string - so his ulnar muscles do the work.

Upstroke he feels his forearm muscles rotate to drag the pick up again.

Do you feel these different muscles working alternately, or do you not think about this?


I think that’s a good description, but always there’s the gap between the external description of what’s happening when it feels right, and how do you get to the internal sensation of “that feels right” to begin with. Sometimes seeing is better than reading. I think this particular Miner video perfectly captures the alternating wrist/forearm motion in that description: