DBX? Riffing video by Charlie Griffiths of Haken

I’m taking a little break from strict USX and trying a tricky riff from Haken’s song The Architect. I have some questions and I found this video by their guitarist where he plays the riff:

It’s a Maj7 arpeggio riff that isn’t impossibly fast, but challenging to get clean. As far as I understand, it’s DBX. Has anyone played stuff like this and what could I try to focus on while working on this riff?

Charlie’s form also looks interesting to me. Not sure if I’m analyzing it fully correctly, but I tried replicating it and holding the pick in a trigger grip like that feels surprisingly solid to me. He seems to have a good bit of thumb overlap. He looks fairly supinated, and his picking motion looks like mostly wrist with some forearm.

Can anybody tell what clockface movements is he making during the Maj7 riff and the whole-tone runs that are in between the riff arpeggios?

Don’t worry about “clock face”, you’re not really going to control things down to that level. That was just a way to explain for the technically-minded how the wrist joint works. How you learn to do it is more hands-on, and you’ve already got that part figured out.

He’s using a supinated arm position and he’s making a double escape motion with the wrist. Any forearm you see is negligible. We know this because the path his pick is moving is a wrist path, moving like a windshield wiper in a semicircle. If you want to try and do something similar, just assume the same arm position and choose any grip that allows you to reach the strings. From there, try to make the a motion that feels smooth at a normal speed, even if it’s sloppy. If it feels bouncy or tensiony and you can’t go fast, then it’s wrong. Keep trying different things until it’s fast but doesn’t feel like anything. Slow down slightly and look at accuracy.

Don’t look in a mirror or overthink form. It’s mostly about a feeling of smoothness while trying to play the line.


Awesome, thanks for the advice Troy! This motion actually feels a bit like some Petrucci string skipping stuff I used to practice way back.

I made it a priority now to leave out the mirror and focus on the feel. Lots of figuring out to do, but I think I got what you meant by ‘it’s fast but doesn’t feel like anything’.

I like how practicing this is also refreshing the general feel of USX. Like, oh that’s what’s different or similar between these motions.