Decent Reference Chart for Beginners to CTC?

Have toyed with this thing for a while. I have a personal interest taking in a lot of information and then trying to condense it down to a tiny presentation. Also, more specifically, CTC stuff has made me think of picking techniques as ‘note-by-note’ issues, that is, how do we play the next note? Because, and I know this may be a simplification, often the issue with CTC principles really comes down to a transition to one note from another, not something specific about a group of three or more notes.

If we can master a ‘note to note’ movement it’s likely just an issue of building up endurance and comfort with that movement. Or something. Just things I think about, trying not to make this post too long.

So here we’re just looking at adjacent strings, first row is all ascending and second row is all descending. We’re assuming that we’re going to pick every note, as opposed to hybrid or any slurring (or tapping or hammers from nowhere.) So we have these options, then there’s hopping and bouncing, and there’s efficient crosspicking which I guess hypothetically solves all picking problems.

Anybody get what I’m driving at here? I give this chart to students sometimes, of course accompanied by a lot of discussion and explanation.

Edit: seemed to be a misunderstanding in the first few replies that I’ll try to tackle here: What I’m trying to promote or show isn’t a notational system but rather looking at every possible way you can efficiently do a string change with slanting principles.


I think this is probably the biggest option from CtC. Finally picking mechanics can be notated, cause now we have precise definitions to it :slight_smile:
Anyway I’d say it should be only part of the Tabs, unless it has no impact on tone.
Notes should be universal and work for all instruments, picking information would only make it less readable.
To me a small symbol or letter int he arrow for the picking direction would do the job.
Hmmm … on second thought basically the slant direction is simply defined by the (string-) location of the next note, maybe there should be a way to mark passages with DWPS UWPS or CP.
… looking forward what you figure out.

Hey @theGuyFromGermany I’m not exactly sure what you mean, and better understanding will help me understand how my chart/post comes across. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding: I’m not trying to demo a notation system but rather just demonstrate all the efficient picking options are for both ascending and descending string changes. Does that clarify anything?


Yeah, that clearifies it … sorry my fault, just got you wrong.
Still it’d be great to add slanting to tabs, the ability to notate it is imo one of the greatest benefits from CtC.

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no worries! glad to clear it up

I disagree with adding these pick slant notations to tabs because it takes away creativity from the player. All these great players Troy has been studying came up with their techniques without that type of tab notation and they all have different styles. Coming up with their own ways of doing things is part of what made them great.

I think that adding all the picking information (up/down, slurring, swiping, slanting) SHOULD be added (including the left hand fingering, IF that is the way the player actually played it.

That way you don’t have to second guess yourself. You can always change something yourself to something that feels more comfortable , but it is extremely useful to have the actual blueprint of the playing style, especially with high speed stuff, or complex patterns.

If this notation was standard, I would have been extremely happy, and I would have made incredible progress because I was putting so much time in practicing when I first started out (6 hrs a day).

Instead, 50% or more of my practice time was wasted learning how to actually finger and pick these super complicated solos. And what’s worse, many times I gave up, because I couldn’t figure out how to get them up to speed.

I was (and still am) a crosspicker (Miller style, but not as fluent) but by adding slants, sweeping, swiping etc to my playing it has made it extremely enjoyable to play stuff I couldn’t figure out how to play.

It would have saved me an incredible amount time and frustration knowing how the player actually did it.

Thanks to Troy, my picking improved more these past months than in the past 20 years.


Hey guys it seems there’s a misunderstanding - i tried to clarify that this post isn’t about notation in my response to “theguyfromgermany.”

My point isn’t a notational system, the point is demonstrating what combination of strokes and slants make sense for each possible ascending or descending string change.

But I appreciate the feedback as that means I need to work on presenting my chart and the intention more clearly.


I like the chart as a way to clearly describe where the different techniques work regarding what type of picking situations. It’s good.

I dislike adding notation for exactly how to hold your pick, at which angle, etc for every note because it inhibits creativity. None of the true legends of guitar learned to play that way. They learned by listening to records and tapes, and transcribing music by ear. That’s invaluable and probably to some degree at least, a dying art these days because of the ubiquitous nature of tablature (whether accurate or not). The true legends learned the notes by ear and then using their own minds, their own creativity, they figured out a way to play the notes.

Bu giving the beginning or intermediate players a guide on exactly how to hold the pick, at which angle, how soon to change the angle, and so on, you run the very real risk of squashing that potential for creativity.

I like the chart as a way to clearly describe where the different techniques work regarding what type of picking situations. It’s good.

Thanks! That’s the only intention here.

I dislike adding notation for exactly how to hold your pick, at which angle, etc for every note

Not the intention here. Especially considering that even within CTC principles there are multiple ways to play almost anything.

The rest of your post is sort of responding to a point that isn’t being made.

“The rest of your post is sort of responding to a point that isn’t being made.”

I realize that I added a point which wasn’t made in the opening post. However once a member of this forum creates a thread, he is, in essence beginning a conversation. That conversation, just as conversations that arise in groups people who are in the same room, face to face with each other, is naturally open to comments which while may be points not made by the originator of the conversation in his opening statement, still have relevancy to the subject at hand.

Somebody brought up using pick slant guides in tablature although that was also a case of responding to a point that hadn’t been made in your opening post. I then replied to that reply with a reply of my own, stating that I believe that including it in tab would be detrimental and why!

Such is the nature of conversations. New points, related in some way to the original point get made which add to the scope of the conversation while still leaving the choice to reply directly about the point made in the original post an option. Such is the nature of human interaction. I find it odd that it required explaining.

Back to the original point you made, I’ve felt for some time now that that is the sort of thing that is needed in addition to the already existing Masters Of Mechanics and CTC videos. There is a thread on this forum which discusses the phenomenon of people with hostile attitudes towards what Troy is doing. Although as a subscriber to Masters Of Mechanics for over a year now I’m clearly a supporter of Troy’s work, if I were to offer my opinion on why some have a hostile attitude towards what Troy does, it may very we’ll be that these detractors (I despise the current wellspring of popularity being enjoyed these days by the slang usage of the word “hater”) think that the manner in which the information being presented is confusing.

Apologies - I thought you misunderstood the intention of the chart/post and were responding to what you thought was the intention of the chart/post, but I see that I was incorrect.

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I like that chart. It’s a pretty handy guide to the basics of what this site is about.

The question is, are there any other movements that we’re missing here?

One that comes to mind is the gypsy picking double down (or half rest stroke) that was in the Joscho Stephan interview. Even Stephan admits in the interview that it’s slower than some other techniques, but he can still do it pretty fast.

Any others?


Yeah good call Sambamajam. There’s bouncing and hopping, and the curved crosspicking path stuff, also hybrid and of course slurring and tapping options, if those count here.

Link to the half-rest-stroke concept? I am not familiar.

Bouncing and hopping?

Best way to see the double down gypsy stroke is the Joscho Stephan interview on here. It’s a DWPS downstroke, with a flick of your wrist that returns the pick to it’s original position (upstroke without hitting a string), ready to do another downstroke (on any string).

2:30 on this video he explains it.


Why is it taking away creativity? Still the player has to decide if he wants to play it the way it’s notated, there’s no difference to the way tabs are used actually, just the information we get 'd be more detailed.
It’s like adding more colors to the palette, I’d say it opens the door for more creativity.

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Apology accepted! I’m glad that we’re both seeing eye to eye now and again, that chart you made is a very cool idea!

@Acecrusher I understand your point about creativity, but this very forum and CTC exist out of an immense frustration of not being able to figure out what is happening picking wise.

I think that giving the information ENHANCES creativity, because then you are introduced to concepts you might not have even thought about.

I know it does for me, but we can agree to disagree on that one. Cheers.


Some relevant conversation here as well:

(NB: relevant not specifically to @JakeEstner’s chart enumerating different string change possibilities, but to the now-expanded scope of this thread re: how / whether these sort of picking movements should or could be notated :wink: )

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@Sambamajam super interesting, thanks! I wonder what kind of bpms are possible with that half rest stroke. To me it just seems basically like a DWPS and then a complete repositioning of the pick, although done quickly.

I haven’t personally explored gypsy too much, I know that the notes-per-second can get insane but have never seen an analysis of how many string in those licks go ‘against’ (so to speak) the natural DWPS nature of the style.

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