Do you have motion mechanic envy?

I thought this would be fun.

Which best describes your current relationship with your picking/motion mechanic?

  • I am USX and mostly satisfied
  • I am DSX and mostly satisfied
  • I am DBX and mostly satisfied
  • I am USX but I wish I was DSX
  • I am DSX but I wish I was USX
  • I am single escape (USX or DSX) but I wish I was DBX
  • I am DBX but I wish I could do single escape (USX or DSX)
  • I haven’t found a fast efficient picking motion, that’s why I’m here!
  • I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of getting competent in all of these and now I can’t decide what to concentrate on

0 voters

For clarity, the prescribed path to success is to first get a good single escape motion going and then add more techniques (if desired) once the foundation is solid. I mainly put that last choice in for myself lol! I’m a hobbyist (failed attempt at pro musician in my younger years, but guitar is my lifetime companion) and learning new motions is as fun for me as anything else I can think of doing on the instrument. I also know I’m not alone there, so maybe it will be a good choice for some others too.

It’s a poll but feel free to comment on your situation. If you can do an escape motion but wish you had a different one, why? Ex: “I’m DSX but I want to play EJ phrases”

If you’re satisfied, what are some triumphs you can share now that you’re comfortable with the super powers that come with your motion. Maybe more importantly, what’s allowed you to get into this advantageous state of mind where you don’t care about the “implications” of your motion and are instead focusing on all the benefits? Ex: “I am DSX but I’m a huge EJ fan. I’ve managed to use strategic legato and/or start certain phrases on an upstroke so that I can use EJ’s vocabulary with my motion”.

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Usx and mostly satisfied. Ideally, I’d like to be able to do mixed escapes, but I don’t think that works so well from the forearm/wrist setup.

So I’m going to try take that as far as I can, and then maybe, I might try learn something that is capable of mixed escapes.

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DSX and mostly satisfied - I am decent with using a helper motion to get the odd upstroke escape, and have no issue starting even-numbered ideas with an upstroke to facilitate DSX. I am constantly tinkering with the motion itself, though, to get closer to that silly-relaxed form guys like Paul Gilbert, and other folks I won’t mention (haha), have.


I was wrist/forearm USX and very satisfied… for a little while. I’m currently transitioning to wrist DSX because although the idea of starting on upstrokes didn’t appeal to me for single string and pentatonic stuff a lot of Paul Gilbert’s alternate picking ideas work a lot better this way and adding in a helper motion has been very natural :slight_smile:

I also like the way the picking tends to work out when adding in pull offs and I think the possibilities of wrist motion appeals to my sometimes perfectionist mindset. I’m also hoping as I get more comfortable with wrist motion I might be able to work out DBX though I’m not sure how useful it would actually be to me!


It’s with an incredible sense of relief and gratitude that I can finally say I am satisfied with my mechanics. It’s been a journey to get here.


Predominantly DSX and absurdly dissatisfied :smiley:

As soon as I’m done with some stupid personal stuff, I’ll do a technique critique and get back to trying.

Might even go a bit wild and learn an actual song or two!

A few years ago I stumbled on reverse dart thrower DSX and Moore elbow DSX, but would like to be wrist-forearm USX and DBX.

I can easily work up a good RDT USX motion if I put the work in.

But my brain has decided I’m “no good” if I can’t play DBX lines, so… here I am, constantly experimenting with new stuff instead of just learning every Alexi Laiho solo I can.

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Haha this is fun!

I am (most of the time) DSX and (most of the time) satisfied.

While mechanical exploration can have value, I am a bit concerned to see so many people obsessing over the technique they don’t have, and neglecting the technique they do have for (mostly) arbitrary reasons.

I would like to point out that the awesome players we see in the wild:

  1. make the most out of the motion they can do
  2. don’t spend too much energy on worrying about what they can’t do

So, while everyone is of course free to try and discover new motions, you may be missing out on some awesome playing if you don’t take some time to fully exploit what you already have.

PS: I am not pointing fingers towards anyone in this thread, I am just thinking about the trends I have seen in the 100s of technique critiques that I have done over the years.

PPS: there was an awesome video of George Benson talking about how he can’t do any of the things “they can do” (Pat Martino and Barney Kessel IIRC), so that he ended up developing his own personal set of licks that worked for him


Yes, but have you considered that being angry about the technique I don’t have is easier than practising with the technique I do have? /s


Haha valid point and I’ve totally been there :slight_smile:

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Here he is :slight_smile:


For sure, and it’s unlikely you’ll ever get to a point where you can’t create new licks etc with a single escape mechanic.

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Absolutely. I want to make it clear that (to the fullest of my understanding) Troy’s intent is not that we master all the motions. As you say, in the wild, we just don’t see that. Most people are great at one motion and then possibly have a bag of tricks where they can do some unexpected things. Troy’s of course gotten excellent in most motions, but it’s because he needs to demonstrate them with authority and coach us on finding the thing that works for us. That’s his business model so it makes sense for him. The rest of us? Find one thing that we have an inclination to and exploit it. Aside from the fun nature of the poll, I was hoping to help any frustrated individuals see that there’s another way to go about this :slight_smile: You can learn to love what you’re good at and run with it :slight_smile:

Right, that was another thought behind this thread actually, all the technique critiques I’ve seen over the years. Honestly I was expecting to see a huge number of “I am DSX but wish I was USX” as I feel that’s a common theme among critique posts. That and the allure of DBX.

That’s hilarious lol!

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USX. As many it’s taken a lot to get here and be happy. I love Eddie van Halen and Jason Becker so tried to emulate them for years, but I’m not them.

Getting to this point was really upsetting as I can be obsessive, but in some ways I’ve given up fighting it, and think what I’ve arrived at is really the most efficient picking you can do, that being USX with pull offs to fill in various things. And both Jason and Eddie do that so I’m happy even though my hands are a joke compared to theirs. Though obviously for others that style doesn’t vibe with them, but I do honestly think USX with pulloffs is the most effective technique.


Might be the first to vote this way: “DBX and mostly satisfied”. Mainly I feel my playing sometimes has noticeably better periods than others, so I’m always trying to close that gap.

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It’s not that I disagree, but I also think there are reasons to covet a particular technique which are not arbitrary.

I was a very capable mixed escape and double escape player as a teenager. I’m sure plenty of people would have been satisfied with what I had, but I didn’t love the dynamic and timbre and felt it was difficult to incorporate any sweeping or hybrid picking. It didn’t really “blend” with my legato playing, and I felt my playing wasn’t totally cohesive, like the legato and picking ideas were almost seperate islands.

I truly believe that each technique builds an intuition which provides a sense of direction and which informs phrasing. I’m not sure the intuition from that form directed towards the things I wanted to do musically and stylistically. On some level, I feel like mixed or double escape forms have a weaker sense of direction than other forms.

For every form I’ve wanted and worked to develop, I’ve always had reasons. I largely feel those reasons were valid.

I know myself, I was never going to be satisfied until I had what I have now. I wanted to be able to build my own vocabulary which reflected my influences. What I have allows me to do that. It’s been incredibly liberating.

It’s also made me be able to appreciate the earlier forms I had for what they were and what they offer. I spent a while recently developing some Kotzen-ish legato patterns, and I’ve been tooling about with the mixed & double escape strict alternate picking to explore some ideas too.

I always tell students that there’s a few basic criteria for picking technique that are necessary. If you meet those criteria and you play things which play to the strengths of your particular form, people will think your picking technique is world class (frankly, because it will be). There are synergies between your picking mechanics, fretting mechanics, fretboard mapping and line construction. When everything is synergistic, the results are incredible.

You don’t need to be able to do everything; if you’re happy with what you have, that’s excellent. That’s my only goal as a teacher, to equip my students to play what they want to play.

I’m satisfied, but curious to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

I think the best thing that can happen to a guitar player is have their picking hand chopped off. Then they will foucs on whats acually being fretted lol

And I believe you and I commented this on another thread awhile back; how we both had these unrealistic expectations that all the “elite” guitar players can play every line, every style, lick, etc… which is just not true. Maybe a few people or very tiny percentage can but the vast majority cannot.


Right on. What’s pretty interesting is that one of the most versatile players, in terms of the genres he can dabble in, is one of the most mechanically “limited” (huge air quotes on that word) players, and that’s Eric Johnson. What initially attracted me to his playing was how convincingly he could do rock, classic rock, country, blues, acoustic fingerstyle, and even some “jazzy” ( I won’t call him a jazz player because he isn’t) stuff too. On the surface, he can do it all. Mechanically, he’s near 100% USX and that’s it. If you forced him to cover Tumeni Notes, he’d probably hybrid and economy pick it. Hypothetically, of course lol!

Not to make this a Batman vs Superman thread, but I think Rick Graham is pretty mechanically diverse. I’ve seen him alternate pick Glass Prison, so he’s obviously got DBX capability. I think his go to alternate picking is probably DSX with occasional helper motions and obviously tons of economy. He’s also great at legato, hybrid and a “real” classical player. I think he’s the exception rather than the rule. Most awesome players are mechanical one-trick ponies (with maybe some edge cases here and there) that find ways to play what they want, that jives with their mechanic.

That Benson video that Tommo linked was cool because he was very aware of what he couldn’t do, and instead figured out what he could do and just ran with it.

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