Consistency and new motion

Hi All,

After many years of stringhopping and playing with hammer ons / slurs, I’ve been using this downtime to completely overhaul my guitar technique. I spent a month or so trying to get USX-motion working, but I couldn’t generate a fast, smooth tremolo and ended up with a lot of shoulder pain.

The good news is I tried the DSX-motion for a week, and I have had moments where I can totally tremolo pick at 150 bmp in a smooth motion. This is a great addition to the pickslanting primer work, as years ago when I checked out CTC there was only USX, which I couldn’t get working back then either. I am now starting to work on my hand sync, which is totally off with this new motion.

One issue I’m having is consistency. I’m finding that usually after a few practice sessions during the day, I can get this motion going in the evening pretty well before I go to bed. Wake up the next morning, and it’s totally gone — it’s like starting over every day.

Is this normal or have others experienced something like this?
What is the best way of learning as I move forward here. Thanks.

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You are not the only one. I have the same problem.
I play multiple times through the day. Every session is fighting 20 years of string hopping.
Last session just before bed, i can get pretty good USX motion going and the string hopping is gone. Next day back to square one.
I can not get it right during the day. It is driving me mad.
If anyone has beaten string hopping , please let me know how.

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I feel like this a bit sometimes. The reason could be a lot of things, but for example, how much are you looking at your hand while practicing? In this post Troy mentions something I’m trying to incorporate more and more in my practice, which is recognizing the correctness by feel alone: Magnet Users: Has having the magnet impacted your improvement?

I think I’m beginning to notice the correlation between looking at my technique and then being able to play only while looking.

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The problem i have is that i can feel when i get it right , but for most of the day i can’t get it right whatever i do because of a jumpy, string hopping right hand.

Hi Shredd,

Thanks for your comments.

I definitely have been looking at my hand or a mirror a lot when I practice. Mostly as a way to see if the motion looks smooth.

I’m willing to try other approaches if you think they are helpful, such as no looking at hand, etc.

Totally normal. This is why acquiring a new physical skill isn’t about repetition and “drills”. In order to drill something, you need to be able to do it on command. If you could already do it on command, there would be no point in drilling it. So the whole idea of this is somewhat illogical.

This flip flopping will continue to happen until you can learn to recognize by feel when you’re doing it right, and reproduce it. You can use visual aids as an occasional check if something is right, but you can’t rely on them. If you’re looking down at your hands or in a mirror, you’re learning to play by sight. If something changes that visual, like differences in body position or lighting, you can suddenly no longer recognize what you’re looking at, and you can’t play.

First off, you need to be sure that what you’re saying is actually happening really is happening. You may have an impression that you’re doing a thing correctly, but are you sure it’s correct? Post a clip and we’re happy to take a look. You might also have the impression that you’re doing certain things incorrectly at other times during the day, but are really sure that’s true too? Again, film it and we’ll take a look.

Who knows, maybe you’re not as inconsistent as you think.


Hi Troy,

Thank you for the quick response.

I uploaded a video of me tremolo picking on the D string
using the new DSX motion to Youtube.

Let me know if this motion looks OK for continuing onward.

This looks fine. This doesn’t look like stringhopping in the slightest. I assume this is the “it’s working” clip as opposed to the “it’s not working” clip? What’s the difference?

Also, have you also tried the Di Meola version where the pinky is not raised? My impression is that one seems to be more common, with players like Al, John McLaughlin, Andy James, Andy Wood, Jeff Loomis, and probably lots of other players I’m forgetting all using it. The idea is the pick moves exactly the same as it does here, but the arm position is different.

If not, this one is still fine. Just use this one and move along with learning phrases.

Hi Troy,

Thank you for taking a look.
The “not working version” of this is
where it has a much slower top speed
and “feels” awkward. To get it up to speed
like this I have to practice the motion for a
while each day.

I’ll start practicing this motion without looking at my hand too much from now on.

For the other way to position my arm, like Andy Wood, do you have any specific example clips? I’ve watched some of the interviews with him. Do you mean just anchor my pinky / fingers on the guitar body?

Thanks again for the help, it means a lot.
I’ll post more videos in a few weeks with my progress.

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Also I just confirmed that it much harder
for me to make this motion if I don’t look at my hand.