DBX triads bouncing or crosspicking?

Hello everyone,

I have been having trouble with my DBX motion, I can’t seem to go over 160bpm in triplets, thats around 117bpm in 16th notes I believe and thats slow :frowning_face: .

My goal is to reach about 100bpm in sextuplets in this triad arpeggio pattern, would that be a reasonable goal?

I got the exercise from an Andy Wood lesson I found on Youtube, I don’t know at what bpm he is playing it at but its quite fast! (around time 03:47)

I am not sure if I am doing the 902 clockface motion right, that is what I am going for at least. I know that the timing isn’t the best and there are some notes that I miss here and there but I tried to play this pattern as fast as I could.

My main questions are:

Would this be considered an efficient motion? Is the motion holding me down or is it just synchronization issues?

I don’t want to put in countless hours without making sure its not string hopping or any similar inefficient motion so confirming that the motion is not inefficient is very important to me.

Anyways, here is the slowed down version at 144bpm from down the strings view:

I felt much more comfortable at this speed but I feel that I have been string hopping and thats the main reason why I can handle it better at a slower speed.

Here is the close up view at 160bpm, I know it isn’t that much faster but thats the fastest I could go withouth completely butchering the pattern :smile:

And here are the audience views respectively:

I noticed that I do some shoulder motion to get the pick after playing the highest string to cover the distance required to get the string skipping done, maybe thats causing the inaccuracies and the speed limit.

I’d love to hear what you guys think and I am looking forward to your feedback! Thank you in advance :smile:

I’m not too great at diagnosing picking mechanics, but what I will suggest turn the metronome off if you can. There are a few times (in both tempos) where you are not in time. This could be a bit of a distraction, causing you to tense up and not make an efficient motions. So, I say turn it off and aim for smoothness, which hopefully will translate to speed. Once you have it going where you think it is at roughly the goal tempo, then by all means get the metronome out again and add the finishing touches. I have been working on similar DBX ideas and found the most success by doing the above. I now have some raw speed, but I do have airs shots to iron out. So, I’m no DBX hero! :joy:

Hopefully someone else can chime in with better insight! Good luck my friend!


Thank you so much for your suggestion! I think it is a really good idea because it was quite frustrating to even get these two sloppy takes :grinning:

I’ll practice without a metronome for a while and upload a new and better take hopefully. Best of luck with your DBX journey too!

hey @altaykacan I’m still in the early stages with DBX, but have been putting in a lot of time lately, trying to understand better. One thing I see in the clips that sticks out is how high you go to leave the strings after upstrokes; it’s a pretty big jump in comparison to the downstrokes at fast speeds and also looks a lot less ‘flat’ than the footage i’ve seen of tuttle, wood, etc. I can’t say with confidence that this is a problem but my instinct would be that it is so I’m curious what others think about the height of that upstroke escape.

Also, out of curiosity, how long have you been at that tempo and how long did it take you to work up to it? because personally I think it’s respectable to be able to get there for this type of figure, and if you’re finding it’s only your recent/current max it’s possible you just need to stick with it and keep going.

Keep in mind there’s more at play to get this type of figure than having the correct DBX motion. if you see a recent thread I started on double escape Troy gave a lot of really good advice about testing whether the motion is correct

My hunch is that you’re trying very hard to be accurate and that might be causing some of that extra ‘leaving the plane’ movement as you go faster - but if the focus was entirely on just checking to make sure your movement is correct that might give you more confidence to know if you’re on the right track and then maybe you start to see little diversions as you’re pushing your own tempo

again, all of this stated with the disclaimer that it’s coming from someone who is also new to the technique.


Thanks for posting these! And great work so far. You’re in the ballpark. But… you shouldn’t be struggling with speed. Speed needs to come first, even if it’s sloppy. That’s the only way you can be sure you’re doing any unfamiliar motion at least partly correctly. Working up to speed only leads to situations like this where you feel speed-limited, the rhythm is off, and you can’t tell if the motion is correct or not. The hardest cases to escape (pun intended!) are when your technique is correct in some ways and incorrect in others, and you can’t tell why — which is I think likely the case here.

So, to back up, you need to start at the speed you’re trying to reach and work backwards to clean it up. Let’s use 150bpm for this test. So… can you film and post a video at normal speed playing sixteenth notes on a single note on a single string, just to make sure the alternate picking motion itself is working. Because if you can’t at least do that, that’s problem number one.

If you can do that, then step two is to make what feels to you like the same motion, but across three strings, at exactly the same 150bpm sixteenths tempo. Make no attempt to be accurate. I don’t care if it sounds like hell, I just want you to move smoothly at that speed. The rhythm of the joint motion should be perfect, meaning the picking motion itself should move back and forth exactly in time, with [edit: “no weird jumps”] no weird jumps or jitters or shoulder / arm movement at any point in its travel, even if all the notes are wrong. And it must generally cover three strings of distance. Finding the form that eliminates these thigns at the sloppy phase, where you have freedom to hit wrong notes, is how you fix the shoulder motion problem you are describing.

In both of these cases, the wrist motion should feel effortless, like no resistance in either direciton, whether or not there are strings in the way, shouldn’t matter. To do this, you will feel like the hand is moving in a straight line low across the surface of the strings. You will not perceive nor should you try to perform any kind of curved picking motion. It should just feel like a straight line. The goals here are reaching the speed, even joint motion rhythm, feeling of smoothness, and generally covering the three-string distance.

Another note: When you post these clips, please include at least 10 seconds of continuous playing with normal speed video. Slow motion is fine for seeing super details of which notes are being hit. But it’s not good for hearing what things sound like or evaluating motion smoothness.

Those are the first two steps, and I’m pretty sure at this point that everyone has to follow them or you risk ending up in this weird in-between stage of feeling speed-limited and not being sure if you’re doing it right.


hi @JakeEstner!

Thank you so much for your post and taking time to give feedback.

I think you are completely right with your observation, that is what slows me down or causes me to have an inefficient motion. I think it is caused by my downslant, I thought having an excessive downslant would be better because then I’d have the USX motion covered and just had to work on the DSX part of the DBX by wrist extension. I guess this was wrong because it leads me to deviate from the flat curvature I should be going for.In my mind I am aiming for the clockface 902 motion so I don’t get enough wrist extension I believe. I reduced the slant and soon I will upload a progress update, I think it really helped to do that, so thank you once again for pointing that out!

Thank you! It is really encouraging to hear this from you! I have been working on this figure specifically for a couple of days to be honest. But I believe this was somehow my default motion before discovering CtC (that was just this March!). I guess this is how I played all the licks & riffs I knew so far but I am honestly not sure. CtC competely revolutionized how I see my picking hand, I never even thought about my picking hand. The fastest thing I can play with pure alternate picking is the intro arpeggios and the beginning of the solo of Eugene’s Trick Bag, I can play that around 130bpm 16th notes so it is a bit faster than this but that song doesn’t have continous string skipping parts like the figure I uploaded. And I had practiced that for 2 months, way back when the lockdown happened in March in Germany :grinning:

But as I said reducing the downslant seems to really helped me out, I have been getting that slant by supinating my forearm even more and flexing the static position of my wrist. I think since I am going for the Woods 902 DBX motion it makes more sense to have a tiny bit of supination!

I’ll make sure to have a look at the thread you posted, thank you for the reccomendation!

As I said, I’ll be recording new videos and uploading them here as soon as possible, hopefully they will be better.

Also thank you so much for your other post in my first thread (“Clockface 902 Crosspicking…”) where I just uploaded me playing on one string. I think you are right, I should have uploaded myself playing through more strings but I guess we can continue the discussion here!

P.S. I love the color-pickguard combination of your Strat, it looks amazing!

Hey @Troy, thank you so much for taking your time and giving me suggestions!

I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear from you! I am just in the beginning of my guitar journey and you are such a huge inspiration for me to learn and improve my guitar technique. As a mechanical engineering student I love everything that you (and everybody on this forum!) do and clarify the motions and come up with a common language for us all. I had no idea what my picking hand was doing until I discovered CtC this March.

And I am so excited and happy to hear this from you :grinning:

Anyways, I tried what you reccomended me and I was somehow dissappointed with the results, hopefully they are not as bad as I think.

First there are clips of me playing with a metronome at 152bpm on one string, both with DBX and DSX. Then I have clips of the DBX motion with the three string pattern that I was practicing but I got rid of the string skipping part to have it fit with 16th notes nicely. I also stopped fretting each note and just held the chord shape to get rid of synchornization issues. I hope that doesn’t count as cheating! :slightly_smiling_face: Then I have clips of the same motion without a metronome to show speeds that I am comfortable with.

So here are the audience and closeup views of the DBX motion. Honestly I struggled with getting the 152bpm purely in DBX and it took me some time to get even these takes. I just feel like my wrist alone can’t get up to those speeds while getting the downstrokes to escape properly but I think I must be doing the motion wrong.

I also recorded myself doing the same thing with a DSX motion, mostly wrist based on these speeds. I guess that worked out relatively fine. I can reach similar speeds with an USX too so I guess the problem is with DBX only. (I am using the black JP pick in one of the videos, I changed to my orange Jazz III XL after I noticed its hard to see :grin:)
[EDIT: Okay so I just realized my DSX isn’t really escaping as I thought it was, this was my first time recording myself in slowmotion with a DSX and I haven’t really worked with it, I just knew that it worked for 1 string tremelos, for example in Misirlou. Thats why I thought it would be good to include it here. If it is indeed as wrong as I fear it is, I guess it should be topic for another day another thread! :confused:]

And here are my attemps at the three string triads, based on @JakeEstner’s post above I figured that I should get the upstrokes to escape in a more shallow curve. I think the way to this is to reduce the downward pickslant I had. Looking back at the videos, maybe I didn’t reduce it that much.

Do you think that might be a problem?

[EDIT: extra question ]Also here:

I had trouble applying this concept because I feel like I need the curvature to be able to get in and out of the strings, at least with the pick depth that I have currently. Is the trick to reduce the pick depth? I feel as though if I don’t imagine my wrist moving with a curve I’d just be trapped.

And here is the same thing without a metronome, so far I never played anything that requires so many string changes up to this speed so I wanted to show what kind speeds I am comfortable with.

And finally here is another clip of me trying the pattern in triplets (with the string skipping). I noticed especially here the upstrokes are going way up.

Here are all the clips that I took so far. I know this post is a bit long but thank you for your understanding and time. Also thank you so much in advance for all your wisdom and suggestions. I am looking forward to hearing from you and anyone else who would like to chime in!

I recently joined this forum and I am so happy that I did, it is amazing! I hope I can be of help to others once I get my technique figured out. :grinning:


Nice job! I think you’re on the right track as well! I’m not all the way there yet either, but here are my thoughts:

In the 3 string clips I noticed you barely miss or hit other strings. That tells me there’s room for a flatter motion. Visualize a flatter/more linear motion trajectory, increase your tolerance for error, and see if it goes even faster - make sure to not tense up though. Then back off a bit and clean up, go fast again etc.

A small suggestion: 140 BPM would still be “fast” motion territory (like Molly Tuttle’s “White Freightliner”) but potentially more attainable and motivating for these initial speed tests. At least there is a big difference for me.

I’m still seeing the upstrokes go up a good deal higher than the down - again I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing or not, I think we’re aiming for approximate equal amount of flatness throughout.

Also, I’m not sure if there might be some benefit to trying to do the 3 string roll with your right arm planted and making the movements entirely with the wrist. Just an idea. I’ve landed on something that does involve arm movement, but for me at least it seems to be the wrist ext/dev that’s doing probably all the work of bringing the pick in and out of the plane, but I spent a while with the ‘just wrist’ approach to see if it was happening the way I thought it was happening.

Regarding this:

I had trouble applying this concept because I feel like I need the curvature to be able to get in and out of the strings, at least with the pick depth that I have currently. Is the trick to reduce the pick depth? I feel as though if I don’t imagine my wrist moving with a curve I’d just be trapped.

This is a weird thing for me too…if you look back at some of my earlier posts/clips on crosspicking you see me trying to be like super-scoop with my curves, to ‘make sure’ it curved…you’re not doing anything as dramatic as mine, but I do feel now that the ‘curve’ is so flat that it’s really hard to perceive. So honestly I’ve found it more helpful to not try to feel the leaving/coming back in of the plane in the moment, and instead just roughly aim for the right strings and keep it flat, and use video and the sound to judge how it’s going. If it feels flat and I’m mostly hitting one string at a time, it’s probably not hopping. and even if I ‘felt’ in the moment like I had the correct kind of curve, perception and reality are very tricky (going back to Troy’s Dr. Strange crosspicking examples now…) so the video often can show something different than what we think is happening.

I’m running into similar experiences right now too. Learning Fisher’s Hornpipe and like, I can play it all, pretty clean at speed, which involves no small amount of cross picking and at no point during the song do I feel like I’m penduluming my wrist, it’s just pick and move pick and move.

If I try to isolate and do a 3 stroke roll… bounce-a-roni seems to be on the menu. It’s annoying, but at least I know not to try and ‘force’ it, I just don’t think I have that particular pattern ingrained enough to find the speed yet. More ‘research’ needed! Possibly involving video and a separate thread.

Are you saying to play a three-string roll, 4 notes per beat at 150bpm? Can anyone actually do that, let alone a beginner?

Are you saying to play a three-string roll, 4 notes per beat at 150bpm? Can anyone actually do that, let alone a beginner?

@abiasula , you gotta read the rest of the paragraph! See:

Make no attempt to be accurate. I don’t care if it sounds like hell, I just want you to move smoothly at that speed. The rhythm of the joint motion should be perfect, meaning the picking motion itself should move back and forth exactly in time, with [edit: “no weird jumps”] no weird jumps or jitters or shoulder / arm movement at any point in its travel, even if all the notes are wrong. And it must generally cover three strings of distance. Finding the form that eliminates these thigns at the sloppy phase, where you have freedom to hit wrong notes, is how you fix the shoulder motion problem you are describing.

He’s just talking about doing the motion even if it’s completely inaccurate/sloppy.

And yep, 16ths at 150 people can play 3 string rolls. I think Troy himself even posted a crosspicking etude a few years ago that was around that and with 4 strings. tumeni notes is 157, etc etc

1 Like

Thanks Jake - (I’m still a bit sceptical though :slight_smile: ) but how do you know if you are doing it correctly if you are being sloppy and inaccurate? It’s possible to be swiping with the motion also feeling smooth isn’t it?

1 Like

I think the distance travelled (3 strings worth) is the important part. If you can’t make that rhythm+distance (even missing things entirely or hitting all the strings at that speed) with whatever motion you’re using, then it won’t “ever” work and needs fiddling/adjusting/frankensteining into something that will.

1 Like

Hello everyone and thank you so much for chiming in to the discussion and giving me feedback, suggestions etc!

I really do appreciate all your posts :grinning:

Thank you @spirogyro ! I guess the seeming lack of the goal flatness in my motion is the main problem, or maybe the main difference to the target motion as Jake Estner pointed out. I will make sure to try your suggestions!

@stormymondays thank you for the suggestion, honestly 140bpm 16th notes is not too different from these takes. But I agree that being able to actually play the lines clean and efficiently would be motivating for me! I am not really a bluegrass player and I thought having this motion as a primary motion would be the best choice for me. (For moderate speed neoclassical shred & old school heavy metal riffing & blues improvisation)

Thanks again for your feedback and post @JakeEstner. I think you are right with the upstrokes going much higher than the downstrokes. I will prepare another set of clips showing somethings that I discovered while going through the forum and based on all the suggestions I got here!

I guess you are right about this, my goal was to mimic the motion of Andy Wood. But it is most probably better to have a certain adaption for it for myself and not stick to pure copying. I actually have a “technique idea” that I came up with. I am not sure I have seen it anywhere. I’ll include a small example in the progress update I am planning :grinning:

@JB_Winnipeg, thank you for chiming in! That sounds definitely interesting. Perhaps you are using a different motion for the songs you play and the 3 stroke roll. A big difficulty I faced with this forward roll is that when playing triplets, is that the picking pattern inverts. So it may be a consequence of that somehow confusing the brain and the muscles, but I would love to see it in more detail on another thread!
I personally (partly) got over it by thinking it in groups of six notes, that way with every beat of the metronome you do a downstroke. I guess that would help with the chunking of the pattern also.

@Abiasula, exactly one of my main problems while playing across more strings! I always seem to swipe or at least touch the string with outside ascending string changes with the motion I am using. I seem to have it less with inside changes. I think my main problem is that the DSX half of the DBX is not really developed with me. Which also causes my motion to be not flat as it should be. I will explain that further in my coming update post, but I would love to discuss and hear other opinions about your point!

Looking forward to further discussion with you guys!

1 Like

Yeah, I think this is it.

This is really hard to do because your brain is shouting “stop! It sounds like ass!” It is worth doing - here is my effort at what sounds like about 140bpm. I’m not hitting all the notes, but when I get really warmed up and loose it is easy (no effort).

The issue I have is the constant roll. I can do other stuff quite well at times if there isn’t a constant roll. This is roughly the same speed as the rough DBX clip above, but I’m hitting more notes etc. Its usable. Of course this isn’t 1nps constantly…