Crosspicking critique


I recently posted in this forum, I wasn’t sure if I should put this video in that topic because it isn’t quite related. So I made a new topic, hopefully that’s ok.
I’ve been playing the main riff from Tumeni Notes and a Steve Morse crosspicking etude a lot lately trying to build up some speed with the technique. I seem to have quickly reached a wall though because after an intial burst of progress, weeks of practice have gotten me nowhere once I reached that point. So I think my picking motion is just wrong.
In the clip Im just playing a little 1nps exercise to demonstrate my form. Are there any large motions I need to change or could I iron this out to be much faster?



vid doesnt work. do you have the video set to “private”?

1 Like


Whoops I just changed it, thanks



Looks good. looks like forearm rotation mixed with wrist which is a classic. There might be a teeny bit of thumb in there as well.

Just curious. Do you feel more comfortable ascending than descending?



That’s good to hear, thanks for checking it out. I definitely have more trouble descending the strings, which i only noticed after you asked that. What made you ask?



main thing I notice is that u have a decent amount of upward slant going on. Others can chime in but id be thinking youd be better off to be more neutral for xpicking



I saw your descending inside xfer, and it looks like there is additional unnecessary movement. The xfer at around 25 seconds, you look like your over-transferring… almost as if your using that stroke to fight gravity, and the following stroke, your falling back down, but its hard to tell for sure.

As JonJon says, I’d experiment with a more neutral position, that might help fix things a bit. But also, practice those descending xfers… maybe even do a descending sweep first… to get the idea of the basic motion of the tracking.



I think im getting your point, but what exactly is an xfer? This is one thing ive been practicing for awhile that has gotten absolutely no better for weeks.

e ------8–10-11-12–8-----------------8-----------
B -10-----------------------10-----10----------------

Those last two notes on the B string and the 1 on the G string make me mess up my picking every single time, If i start this pattern on a downstroke is that a descending inside xfer like you described?



xfer = my lazy way of saying transfer. I gotta be a bit less cryptic, lol.

Yes, it’s related. There is an overarching issue here, and a lot of us go through it when we’re learning x-picking. After years of playing in a specific, single-escaped way, we develop certain types of transfers, and neglect other ones. So when we try and force ourselves to learn the neglected transfers, we often cheat, and ‘pre-emptively’ do the transfer using the previous pick-stroke, and that ‘preparation’ can be awkward and inefficient.

It’s a tough concept to explain, but IMHO, the best way to fix it is to go back to the basics. Personally, I did a lot of practicing 2nps stuff using all 4 transfers. (asc/ins, asc/outs, desc/ins, desc/outs) to even everything out. Then I did a lot of practicing two string alternation (outside/inside). Also, by doing a lot of the basics, you may help to ‘straighten-out’ your picking, and remove the upward slant that you have.

On a separate note, I think that your pick-stroke looks pretty solid, and I don’t think you are bouncing much if any. But one way to test it to see if you can speed it up, is to do quick bursts of tremolo-picking while making sure that you are still double-escaping. It’s also a good warmup.



Thanks for the advice, my motion just feels kinda bouncy to me because I can’t seem to do a quick burst of double-escaped tremolo on one string. It feels pretty accurate but i don’t see how this motion could ever go fast at all…

1 Like


Troy is pretty good at analyzing this stuff, so hopefully he’ll chime in.

If you can’t speed it up with a tremolo, then yes something inefficient is going on. I took a closer look at your recent video, and at slow motion, there may be a sorta ‘pecking/bouncing’ wrist flexion/extension going on there.

If this is true, then I would probably suggest watching Troy’s videos on how to do a proper wrist + rotation x-pick as well as a wrist only x-pick. That will give you some good ideas.



the cool thing about it is…your current motion is only temporary. Well, that is, depending on your practice habits and general approach

if you think its too bouncy…then make it flatter. (maybe a little bit of arm tracking would help?)

The main thing for all of us to remember: Your body WILL adapt. This is a blessing or curse depending on how you mange it.

So if its too bouncy…make it flatter. Do it slowly at first to start to groove some new patterns and to break the old pattern.

Stop doing the old pattern, let the new pattern win out. If you just keep doing the high bouncy thing then it just becomes more permanent.

If it were me? Id do a flatter stroke. (however you choose to accomplish it.) first day I might do about 100-200 reps of whatever pattern you are working on. Personally id do them quite slowly, making sure to stay pretty flat and try to make it feel natural.

2nd day. Its gonna be that much easier. Maybe do about 50 of the slower reps and then try some faster reps and see how it feels. if a few fast reps feel good then try to zero in on that feeling. Again, my opinion, but I wouldnt try to force too many fast reps yet…just a few here and there to see if you can feel your way into where you are trying to go. Again, do maybe a total of 150-200 reps, making sure to finish on a nice controlled series of reps.

Even though you are doing them slowly, still try to feel the rhythm

I would do that for about a week…mostly slow reps but throwing in some faster ones too. Dont go back to high bouncing though. dont make tons of mistakes trying to push too fast too soon. always finish off on a series of good reps. Never finish off on fast sloppy playing. You should feel improvement almost every day

Try that for a week and see how it goes. After that you should have “ungrooved” the high bouncy thing a bit and youll be ready to start experimenting more with speeding it up.

Rinse, repeat. try the faster reps to see how the motion might have to change, but always do the vast majority of reps for the day in a controlled manner. Gradually you work your way towards where u want to go



You’re right man I’m definitely getting caught up in whether or not my form is perfect. No one’s is early on just gotta smooth it out haha. I need to get arm tracking in and that will help to flatten the stroke too.
I think I have a solid enough foundation and if I work up to it like youre describing I can get some serious progress. I appreciate the insight :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like