Couple of general pick slanting primer questions

Hey all
Noob here so apologies if this has been covered.

I’m just starting with the pick slanting primer and had a couple of queries.

I play 8 string and all are extended range

I also play in classical position with the guitar nestled between my legs rather than over one.

Talk to me about how I might need to change the techniques Troy presents to accommodate the above. I’m already noticing with wrist angle videos the way my guitar is position changes the angle of attach and I must therefore have to adapt the technique??

Any advice greatly appreciated and if there are any existing resources covering this brilliant news!

Thanks in advance


If the manufacturer arranges 8 as 1 + 6 + 1, the difference seems minimal, just one extra string on each side. I suspect there is no difference and that body shape and other factors would dwarf two extra strings. Then again, I only have six and don’t know.

Hey Kgk
If i get your response the guitar is actually 2+ 6 (standard 6 with a B and F# in the bass).

My question was more about physical interaction with the instrument I guess.

For instance, having two extra strings to cover with any scale pattern means the arc of travel of the picking hand increases to cover all strings from one position (as Troy appears to be able to do on a 6) so do I set my neutral position kind of centre string mass or start at the top and work down???

Also, in terms of the way I hold the guitar, it changes both the position of the guitar relative to my arm and also the angle at which my pick attacks the string as the neck is less horizontal with a pronounced upward angle.

With these things in mind, if I adopt the pick slanting primer approach verbatim, I feel like there are going to be issues and I feel like my hand/wrist/arm are forced into less than helpful positions in order to pick the strings causing tension and there fore severely limiting speed. Also the angle of attack means the pick drags down the length of the string slightly as opposed to cleanly breaking the plane of the string creating an unpleasant ‘SHHHHSSSSHHH’ noise as I pick.

The guitar is TUNED as you suggest (2 + 6), but it is manufactured (in terms of layout) as 1 + 6 + 1. So I have trouble thinking of much difference there.

But what makes a huge difference is posture and the guitar body shape: For example, a lot of people put the guitar on their right leg with the neck horizontal, and they will have a small angle between their forearm and the axis of the neck as well as a strangely twisted arm. A classical player like you will have the neck going up at a comparatively steep angle and will have (I suspect) a much larger angle between forearm and strings, and this (I suspect) is the interesting factor. Also note that the body shape moves the bridge around very significantly and that is another huge factor. Also note that some body shapes (like the Explorer) have terrible rest for one’s picking forearm. So in terms of importance, I am guessing:

  1. Posture
  2. Body shape
  3. Number of strings

But as I mentioned, I’ve probably never even touched an 8 string!

Sorry, so in summary I think the interesting thing to contemplate is the angle between your forearm and the axis of the neck, and then compare that to what you see in other guitarists; I am not aware of anything that I have read on this particular topic but hopefully somebody will cite something! :smile:

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I also practice with the guitar on the left leg, which puts it much closer to the position it would be in when standing up. I’ve never noticed any major adjustment needed to the pickslanting concepts for this position to work.

Most of Troy’s playing demos throughout CtC show him standing, so again you won’t find a significant change in your seated approach.

Obviously 8 string guitars are not really covered in any the playing examples, but the principles of pickslanting apply exactly the same, you’re just incorporating more strings. You’ve probably seen Tosin Abasi play - his pick technique uses a 2 way sweeping/economy approach that’s straight from Frank Gambale (whose CtC interview you should definitely watch). It’s essentially DWPS ascending and UWPS descending. Nothing in this is exceptional from CtC concepts, except you probably don’t want to mimic Tosin’s pick edge angle. His ‘hitchhiker’s thumb’ angles the pick forward towards the neck in a way most players’ anatomy does not allow.

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Hi! What you’re asking about is what we call “approach angle”, and we talk about it a little bit here, with some handy dandy graphics:

This is the section of the Primer about wrist motion, but the concept is the same no matter which picking motion you use. The key is that the operation of your wrist doesn’t change based on which way the arm is pointing. You’re still trying to keep it within its comfort zone of range of motion, which in the case of this technique is straight to a little “ulnar” — again, explained in the videos and this checklist.

Also, different techniques can work a little differently as far as approach angle. The motions we look at in the forearm section of the primer, which blend forearm and wrist together, all use a slightly higher approach angle to begin with, so they adapt just fine to this playing posture. Those are generally downward pickslanting motions, so they work with those kinds of phrases specifically. We actually have some new, more detailed material coming over the next week on this category of motions, which will replace the slightly older video in that section currently. So if you’re interested in those techniques, keep an eye out for that update email from us.

More generally, the only thing that approach angle changes is your pick attack itself. The higher the approach angle, the more edge picking you’ll get for the same grip. For high-gain styles, more edge picking is generally what most players use anyway. One thing I’d point out ius that when you’re using more edge picking, you’ll probably want to use a pick with a Jazz III-style point (i.e. more pointy), so you can still maintain some pick attack.

But that’s really it. There should be no difference in “tension” with this approach, and you’ll notice that I use a high approach angle anyway, especially when standing, as @LuckyMojo points out.


I play in classical position about 99% of the time and I’m adapting what I see in Troy’s videos according to my own natural inclinations. I believe that’s the general idea behind Troy’s school of thought - there are certain angles and motions that are universal to all virtuoso players, but the way you achieve those angles and motions is a matter of personal preference.

Thanks Troy.
I figured there would be something on here that covered what I was talking about. I also didn’t mean to suggest it was the lessons that were lacking, much more my ability to interpret them and my patience in applying them in a specific way. Also, probably me jumping the gun and not watching all the Primer vids before launching into questions.

I’ll definitely check out the forearm section as from you description it might give some further insight. That and a lot more practice. I’m essentially trying to unlearn everything I do naturally as it’s pretty much all awful.

I guess the one saving grace is that I already use a Ultex Jazz III XL pick… so at least one tick eh!

Thanks again for you input Troy. Really helpful and lots to consider. Also great to know support is so readily available across the community.


Thanks LuckyMojo.
I think it’s impatience and lack of understanding on my part and I can see the truth in what you’re saying.

I essentially starting from scratch with this as my technique sucks massively so I wanted to ensure I’m not wandering down another set of bad techniques before I even get started. Thankfully it seems the community and Troys lessons are going to keep me on the straight and narrow.


One can keep the guitar at a steep angle while standing if the strap has enough friction… I sit classical style (usually with a V) and keep a similar neck angle while standing. Perhaps I am adverse to bending my left wrist too much!

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I just want to say wow!!!.I bought the pickslantring primer a little while back but honestly this little article was amazing and I just tried the 60 angle thing, theres a definitely and improvement in the tone and the clicky sound of the pick(it is in the lesson I do not know why I ignored this).Keeping my wrist straight though is hard as I played for most of my life with wrist flexion and feel more comfortable that way, I even find myself faster that way which shouldnt be but it is.I have also within five minutes begun experiencing shoulder pain from maintaining the angle and the writst straightness.Any tips Troy? I just want to work on these techniques and be able to pick as well as you Troy. Thanks again you are the man,

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Hi! Thanks for giving this a shot. Definitely don’t do anything that causes pain!

Strictly speaking, wrist motion is just your hand moving back and forth. As a general guideline, all the muscles that move the wrist are located in the forearm, i.e. below the elbow, so in the most relaxed version of this motion, you shouldn’t feel anything above the elbow. If you’re feeling pain, especially above the elbow, that’s probably due to some other aspect of how you’re moving or positioning yourself, like using muscles that aren’t really involved, or tensing up other muscles to maintain that position over time.

In the early stages of learning something, you don’t really know how to zero in on the feeling of just the necessary muscles, so you end up overdoing it with others. The analogy I always use is like trying to learn to raise one eyebrow like Mr. Spock. The first hundred times I tried this, my whole face contorted as I tried to figure out what just the eyebrow muscle felt like. Only over time did I learn to move just the brow. And I still don’t really know how I do that. So what you want to do with picking motions is tinker around with these general guidelines, trying slightly different hand and body positions until you figure out how to make the motion happen in a way that feels easy. The process can be similarly random to the eyebrow thing.

“Air picking” is also another little trick you can try. A lot of these motions can be done more easily, and sometimes immediately, by just trying to mimick the motion in the air, or at your side, in whatever position feels most comfortable to you, without confusing yourself with a guitar in your hands first. If you can do the motion just by moving your hand around in your most comfortable body position, then that’s a great hint that you can actually do that motion without pain. This hint tells you the way it’s supposed to feel on an actual guitar. Accept nothing less than that feeling of easyness, and use that as a guide to know when you’re getting it on the guitar, and when it’s not quite there yet.

If you feel tension or anything less than “air picking” levels of easyness, stop. Put it down, and try it again a few seconds, a few minutes, or a few hours later. You may not be totally conscious of exactly what things you’re doing differently each time you try, but if you stumble across a form that feels easy, then you’re getting it, so try to replicate that feeling of ease the next time you try.

This is also why we always recommend trying as many picking motions as possible. There is no rule that you have to use wrist motion. This is just one of the motions we look at in the Primer. We’ll be adding some very detailed new material on forearm motion over the next week, and maybe some of those will be easier to “get” right away. You can always come back and add more motions over time. But getting any motion that works with ease and smoothness right now is the fastest route to learning what fluid motion feels like.

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thanks alot troy. I think the strain on the shoulder comes from not trying to end up with my elbow behind the body of the guitar. After a few days its becoming easier maybe it was just a matter of re - training the muscles not sure. I will take your advice and try the air picking. I just want to get picking down in the most proper way. Thanks again Troy.

Try not to think of any of this as “proper”. There is nothing wrong with placing your elbow behind the guitar’s body. Just as one example, Martin Miller does that and he’s one of the best alternate pickers ever. He just uses a slightly different approach with a blend of finger and forearm motion, and that arm position works for his approach. Also, when I do forearm motion, and forearm-wrist motion blends, I also place the elbow behind the body. That arm position works for that type of motion too. If we went out and filmed a hundred more players, I’m sure we’d find someone with their elbow behind the body who also uses wrist motion - more or less what we’re saying not to do here.

So again, none of these things are correct in an absolute sense. It’s just that there are lots of combinations of things in use, and we’re trying to give you a snapshot of some of the most common combinations. The John McLaughlin / Andy Wood approach is more or less what we’re describing here, with the straight arm geometry. But it doesn’t mean there aren’t other combinations that might also work.

Take our instructions a general guideline to get you in the ballpark, and let experimentation and feel be the ultimate guide that tells you whether or not something is working. If you end up with something that’s slightly different than what we’ve described here, but it is smooth, fast, and sounds good, then by all means use that!


will keep at it Troy I.m trying to learn little savage so let’s see how it goes. Thanks again.

That’s downward pickslanting so you can also use the forearm style motions for that and those have a slightly different arm position which you might find more comfortable. Keep an eye out for our update email coming at some point over the next week.

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i figured out OMG it was my hand placement i don’t need to put them on the strings per say i can anchor on the bridge (even tho its and ibanez edge). Massive gains and clean I’m so happy i had to tell someone thanks troy thanks a ton. Your lessons changed my life I stopped playing for 10 years and seeing your apporach inspired me to try to gain the technique to take on something like tumeni notes. You are an inspiration ( no joke here i remember seeing your vid of now your ships are burned) thanks troy thanks a million looking forward to your content. You got a lifer here .

Right on - glad to hear you’re making progress, and keep us posted!