Do some guitarists use multiple motions - like sometimes wrist, sometimes wrist + forearm?

My question, in other words, is that should one guitar player change the pickslanting and motion frequently during playing? Or should one guitarist always use one pickslanting and one motion?

Example : I used to be a double escape pickslanter and I use this to play everything. In order to play Eric Johnson’s stuff, I changed from double escape to upwards escape(downwards pickslanting) for almost one year. But sometimes I want to combine phrases like EJ’s pentatonic runs and MAB’s 3NPS into one phrase, which I think I need to use upwards escape and then quickly change to double escape, because I feel not comfortable to play MAB’s 3NPS using upwards escape. In this situation, do I need to spend time equally to practice those two pickslanting? Or should I focus on one pickslanting so that I can work on it better? Do pro guitarists change these pickslanting and motions frequently during playing?

Also, one problem that I have is when I use downwards pickslanting to play on one string( tremolo), the angel between the pick and the string changes from 10 degree to 0 degree when speed changes from 160bpm to 200bpm. In other words, I cannot keep downwards pickslanting when the speed is over 180bpm. I can play some of EJ’s pentatonic runs at 180bpm but I am not sure whether it is downwards pickslanting or not. How can I keep a pickslanting when speed is fast? Do you guys have any suggestion?

Hope that I described my question clearly so that you guys can get what I’m talking about. I’ll upload YouTube video later.

Thank you very much and have a good year.

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This the video that I just uploaded.
The problem I have:

  1. can’t keep upwards escape( downwards pickslanting) when speed is fast.
  2. When playing EJ’s pentatonic runs, right hand motion is strange to me. I can’t tell which motion I use. Also, kind of stiff. And the tone is not as soft as Eric Johnson hit the note.
  3. What I use is really a downwards pickslanting? I can’t tell right or wrong.
    NEED SERIOUS ANALYSIS, I’ve been practicing EJ stuffs for a year, but I failed to reach what I am pleasant. Please give me some advice. This is very important to me.Thank you guys so so much!

Yes, this is common.

Troy’s been talking about EVH’s picking techniques a lot lately, and off the top of my head Andy Wood is a guy with a couple distinct motions for tackling distinct problems. Martin Miller has done interviews with Troy which are interesting to watch because he’s both pretty up on CtC, and also on what exactly his picking hand is doing.

Don’t worry so much about what something is called or if it’s normal or whatever, just focus on if it works.


I pick like you, but too am on the Eric Johnson journey. I’m posting to keep up with others recommendations. I noticed that in your normal style, you’re an elbow picker. I also play with my forearm pronated, when I really get going, the edge of my thumb will rub the strings (not audible, but it will take off some skin after a long practice session). I also plant my pinky and use that as a counter, pivot, to my elbow movement.

Personally, I am still working on the downward pick slanting (it doesn’t feel natural to my forearm), and I’ve noticed that it does help at higher speed to plant my pinky. With the downward pick slant, like you, I pick from the wrist; maybe that is a side effect of having your arm supinated to make the angle for the pick, I don’t know.

Lastly, your clip of you doing the first run through of downward pick slanting pentatonic fives, was clean and quick, Eric doesn’t play much faster than that, so you are really close to being there.

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Thanks for your reply, I really appreciate it. I found that low speed and high speed are totally different world…some of my techniques work below 150bpm but not work when faster… Maybe that’s what I am going to solve later. Anyway I will check all of the interviews that you mentioned tonight. Lots of work to do. :+1::+1::+1:thanks!

Me too, which is actually a big part of why I signed up. Below 120, I can play 16th notes spot on, or 150-200 bpm three note per string 16th notes spot on, but in between those, my picking gets sloppy. I’ve worked really hard through the stuff here, where I can now play 16ths at 140 cleanly after warming up, but the Eric Johnson stuff is new to me. I was always an Yngwie, Paul Gilbert guy. Going between Eric’s solos at 130bpm, the 16th notes are good, but then he switches to sextepluts and I have to switch my mechanic and it gets clunky, like you’re experiencing.

Thank you for your reply. Before I found CtC video, I don’t know any escape stuff and I played mixed with crosspickig and two way pickslanting for everything. I also used to plant both my pinky and ring finger on pick guard somewhere near the pickups, until last year, several months ago I had a chance to go to an one hour master class with Jason Richardson, I asked how he hold his pick, he said that when he play fast solo, his right hand is like a punch and his finger neatly arranged. (see picture below)And the reason why he plays like this is that he thinks it is the most efficient way while playing at super speed…
When he play riff he uses thumb and index finger movement,( with wrist?)
After that I was like: wait a minute, I think what he said make sense and later I change my right hand for not plant finger on pickgarud… but I don’t know if it can improve my efficiency when playing at high speed or not… since I just found that I use my elbow a lot as you mentioned (ty)! Which is not a good thing for me I think, most of fast player use wrist, and I am sure i will suffer more to reach the same speed compared to use wrist…

In additional, I found when play below 150bpm I almost use wrist and it somehow turns into elbow when faster than 150bpm…and i have to struggle to play it.

Thank you for your analysis, I learned a lot from your reply. Let’s get improvement together!

As Troy points out in the elbow picking section of the primer, guys like Rusty Cooley and Vinnie Moore are elbow pickers. I always wanted to be Paul Gilbert, so I felt like I was doing it wrong. Jason Richardson is an amazing player, cool that you got to sit in front of him and ask questions.

Yeah definitely suffer a lot when it needs to change pickslanting and motion during fast playing. From my own perspective, we guitar players all have our own picking methods that are comfortable for us, the habit forms gradually, but only small amount of people, whose habits and mechanisms of muscles are just exactly efficient for playing high speed. So they make progress on mechanisms faster than others. That’s one of the reason why I come here, to learn from those efficient people and improve myself. Or I may struggle at 150 bpm all my life, which is terrible…
thanks for your reply and suggestion :handshake::handshake::handshake:

I feel I am doing wrong when using lots of elbow motion because it’s not as effective as using wrist. And it needs to put more time and effort to reach the same speed as using wrist( for me, not for those gods)

Yes, I only use it when I play at my fastest speeds. I noticed that when I would play a riff like Bark at the Moon, I was wrist picking and if I played something faster, like a power metal song like Angra (170bpm) I would play the riffs using wrist motion with palm muting, but when it came to the solo, if I had to kick up a notch, I always went to elbow (not consciously). I’m trying to get my brain to use the motion that I already have when palm muting, but not muting and slower with control.

I don’t even realize my elbow is moving! I’m not feeling good… next step I believe I need to do is to reach the highest speed that I can just keep using only wrist and forearm. Over and over again? Do you agree?

My grammar is not good, sorry for you guys to suffer what I typed.

Emmmmm Just finished Martin Miller part… I think 90% of my problems solved… amazing video. :thinking:

No problem, your English is much better than my second language, which is little more than ‘mas cervezas, por favor.’ And other favorites like, ‘el bano?’ and ‘gracias’.