Crosspicking Wildwood Flower (kind of)


But you are. Or at the very least you are occasionally using a less supinated approach. The first clip in this new batch, the acoustic one, is that. The arm position is absolutely different than the other clips you have posted so far. Whether that means you are in fact pronated with respect to the strings I cannot say for sure, but there is no question that it is not as supinated as the others. And the movement looks and sounds good. Since this is working well I’d recommend playing this way more deliberately and seeing where it takes you.


You are right, I did use less supination and that is something that I did on purpose. Especially on acoustic guitar this position felt good. I recorded the clip a couple of days ago, whereas the other one I recorded today. Either, I “forgot” about being less supinated, or things are different on electric? I will experiment with that.

However, I thought that even in the first clip, I still have a slightly supinated forearm. Do you disagree? Is this already pronated?


If it works, it is good! I always take the hint my hands give me - always.

Electric and acoustic are not different, per se, but different body shapes can be different. Strat type bodies with contours can feel different from slab-style Telecaster bodies and flat acoustic type bodies. However in this case you probably just forgot. Or the body being flat made it feel like a less pronated approach was more comfortable, for whatever reason. It’s sort of academic, because you did it deliberately on that day, we can see it on video, and it appears to have had a positive impact.

Are you asking what position your arm is in, or are you asking what movement you are making? Because they are not exactly the same question.

For example, we might notice that players like David Grier who use an arm position where it is pronated with respect to the strings also tend to make certain movements. But the arm position does not “cause” those movements to be made. If you use a slightly supinated arm position, you can still use David Grier’s wrist movement. It just won’t work too well for crosspicking because not all the pickstrokes will escape.

In your case I’m not totally clear on what your arm position is relative to the strings in that clip. It could be more or less parallel. It could be slightly tilted in one way or another. Or it could actually vary by small amounts, especially if you’re close to parallel. It’s pretty clear it’s not dramatically one way or another. For simplicity let’s say you’re in the ballpark of parallel.

However what is clearer to me is the movement. It is obviously deviational, and nearly flat. It appears like the above the string phase has an extension component, like David does. It is unclear if the below the string phase is strictly deviational or also a blend. If it is a blend, this movement is stringhopping and it should be speed limited and a little tense.

In the future, we’ll know more how to distinguish these things — probably after categorically verifying a few test cases through some kind of measurement. Then we can probably learn to recognize these movements by general setup when we see them again without having to bust out the measuring equipment.

For now, this approach is better objectively that what you were doing previously. That is a clear case for: keep doing it!


Your technique looks good, and I think your pinky sliding method looked a bit more fluid. But then again… I have a personal bias as I am a slider. Whichever feels more comfortable really.


Technical Note

First off: I was finally able to upload a decent video. I double checked, and the new videos I made have 30fps. It turns out that it was a problem with my iMovie, probably because it’s an old version. Anyway, I guess no one is interested in my computer problems, so let’s move on to the important stuff :wink:

Reflecting on my…


After digesting the recent feedback, I am shocked by my lack of ability to analyse my playing. I was convinced that what I was doing was deviation + extension on upstrokes and (flexion +) deviation on downstrokes, and I didn’t see that on some of the clips I was doing the opposite. So one thing I learned is that my “picking analyis skills” need more work. Fortunately there is this forum where things get straightened out. With this in mind I started to have second thoughts about what I said earlier about me changing the motion around. Maybe something totally different was going on there, I’ll need to look into it.


Over the last couple days I focussed on practising with what I thought was still a supinated forearm position, even if the amount of supination is not very high.

I was refering to my arm position. To determine wether I am supinated or pronated (or parallel) I used to compare my forearm to my upper arm. But I guess that strings and upper arm are “in the same plane”, so that should be the same as looking at the forearm relative to the strings.

Thinking about my position, I get puzzled more and more. If my movement is actually deviation only on the downstroke, then my forearm would have to be pronated. Otherwise I would bump into the string, which I don’t see happening in my clips (You have laid out all this in one of your posts, bit it took a while for this to sink in).

But comparing my forearm and my upper arm, I thought that I am not pronated, but still a bit supinated. Maybe I am just not able to correctly identify my arm position, certainly a possibility. But then again, when I start getting into faster tempos, the pick movement becomes quite a bit smaller. If it’s small enough, I could even be deviating only and not hit the string. I’m not sure if that would be a good thing, I am just “thinking out loud”.

Anyway, this less supinated/parallel/slightly pronated position generally feels good. That’s not to say that the other, more supinated position did not feel good.

I’m glad to hear that, and what I like about the supinated form is that you really can get muting with it. However, there is this unbalanced motion issue that I have, and that does not seem to occur in the less supinated/parallel/slightly pronated form. So I decided not to worry about muting for now and work on this form.


Here is a clip with a scalar run. I must admit that I was more pleased when I played this then when I watch it now. It still sounds a bit sloppy, but it’s not terrible. My hand position changes from the high to the low strings, but that might just be caused by the thumb heel, which has to move away from the strings onto the body as I am approaching the low strings. I also notice quite a bit of movement in my arm. Could be because of string tracking, but maybe there is an elbow component to my movement?

This is a clip where I am playing arpeggions like those in Tumeni Notes. Here I am trying to floor it, not paying attention to accuracy but to the movement. It felt good, definitely a rather encouraging experience. I also experiment with muting by bringing my whole hand more onto the strings at some point. My hand position with this “new setup” is quite far back compared to how I used to play. The thumb heel is on the strings, but the pinky heel is further back, sometimes even behind the bridge.

And this is a clip where I play the roll. My hand lifts up a bit higher here than in the other clips. the lifted position feels very good at moderate tempos, when I try to speed up I loose control, though. When I played this, it felt very bad and that’s why I filmed it. I wanted to see what’s going on, and I think what’s happening here is stringhopping. If so, that is a good explanation of why it felt so bad.

I’m thinking that stringhopping may be part of my technique, which has evolved over the years. Even though I am trying not to do it anymore, it just takes more time and practise to get rid of it. Right now it’s still there and creeps in from time to time. That would only reasonable. Anyway, that’s it for now. I curious what you guys say.


I am definitely interested in how you go about measuring these things!


Aha. This is a really good question and I’m sure you’re not the only one who is confused. Anatomically supinated / pronated is not the same thing as “supinated with respect to the strings” or “pronated with respect to the strings”. Here’s an easy way to demonstrate to yourself how different they can be. Place the guitar on your lap. Now assume a supinated playing position as I do in the “tabletop” segment of the tutorial video. Now remove the guitar and look at your arms. You are highly pronated, not supinated. Now put the guitar back. Now stand up with it while maintaining your arm position on the body. Now remove the guitar. Actually supinated.

The confusion is that anatomical pronation or supination is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is which way the forearm is tilted with respect to the strings, because that is what determines the escape paths. I still think the terms “supinated” and “pronated” are relevant because they can express relative positions. You can call any arm position “pronated” by comparison to some other arm position which is more supinated than that. If you like, we can start saying “strings supinated” or “strings pronated” to clarify the frame of reference. Whatever works!

The bigger question isn’t so much identifying what your arm position is. It’s identifying what movement you are making. Most of these arm positions are so close to parallel that you could be ever so slightly tilted and they might not look visually that distinct. However what would be different would be the actual movements you’re making, because those should be unambiguous. If your wrist is moving a certain way on a certain pickstroke, then that is what is determinant. We just need to be able to measure that better. And then give clear instructions for doing it.


That’s a great instinct, and I think more people should do this. Understanding the negative case is just as powerful a learning tool as understanding the positive case.

I think what you’re doing here is occasional stringhopping. Again, measurement tools - we don’t have them, so we can’t say unambiguously. However what it looks like is some of these pickstrokes are repeated extension a few time in a row and others are not. I think that’s why it can be hard to separate out when you’re doing things right and when you are not. i.e. because the whole clip doesn’t sound or feel bad, only parts of it. It’s tricky!


Awesome. I think that’s smart. And I do think that at a later time, you will be able to add in the muting.


Couple notes on the videos. The footage still does not look smooth to me. I’m not seeing massive rolling shutter or motion blur so I believe you filmed in 120fps. But I’m not sure you’re actually seeing all those frames in the exported video because it looks a little jerky. What level of slowdown is this, 50% or 25%? If you’re doing 25% it should be slower and smoother. If you want to film a short take and Dropbox us the original file with your camera, I’ll export it via Final Cut just as a test so you can A/B. You’ll know right away if you’re doing it right.

Also, it’s tough to see what’s going on in normal room lighting with the shadows. If you can get near a window and position until the light is hitting your hand down the strings, you will eliminate shadows. Or you can get a cheap lamp and point it roughly down the strings until you see the shadows go away and you can identify pick/string contact.

Finally: any other pick color than black or dark will help too. I think red is the best because white can sometimes blend with white guitar bodies and metal reflections.

Anyway, again, great work here, not a criticism of your efforts at all. Thanks for putting up all these clips!


I’m starting to wonder what the real challenge is here, but whatever it is, I’m ready for it :wink: You know, looking at the numbers I convinced myself that the framerates were right, but when I looked at the clip I also thought that it doesn’t look like HD or anything. I’ll send you a Dropbox Link for a short clip.

I used a program called OpenShot to do the editing. I can set the framerate for the output video, but I have no idea how OpenShot treats the clips I import into it. Maybe something goes wrong there? I’m pretty sure that’s what happened when I used iMovie. iMovie imported the clips with a lower framerate than I had used when filming them.

Am I the only one who has these problems?


I can pretty much guarantee that’s the issue. You’re on a Mac, right? Honestly Final Cut Pro is the best application for this kind of thing. It will import pretty much anything and not care what resolution or frame rate it was recorded in. And it has dead-simple to use retiming features to very quickly and easily speed up, slow down, or even speed ramp between different speeds. It’s a few hundred bucks but most competing software costs $1000+.

Otherwise I’d look into a more recent version of iMove which could be fine provided you upgrade your machine to the latest OSX.


Computer Stuff

Actually I’m on two Macs and a Linux machine. One of the Macs is so old, that I can’t upgrade to an OS higher that 10.7.5. That’s the one I used for the iMovie stuff. I don’t know if it’s possible to install a newer version of iMovie on that, I kind of doubt.

The other one isn’t as powerful a machine and it’s also pretty old, but I have 10.10 running on it and can probably do another update. I could try to install a newer iMovie version on there.

I don’t doubt it! Until now, I never did anything with video so I never bothered. I’m still reluctant to spend the couple hundred bucks, but if my experience with this whole video thing will continue like this, I might just do it.

Pronation vs. Supination

Alriight, thanks for clarifying! I’ll go back to analysis with that in mind.


Hello Guys,
lately I switched to a different mechanic that I “discovered” somehow. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what I’m actually doing. But there is definitely some elbow involved here. At lower speeds I also see some forearm movement, but when I start to play a faster, it seems to disappear. But I must be doing something in addition to elbow, since the lines in the video change strings after both down- and upstrokes.

It’s not superfast, but certainly faster that I could ever pick, so I’m pretty happy about that. I tried to go for lines that are not too short, so that I don’t fall into the “speed burst trap”.

Feedback is welcome!