Double escape success stories?

Has anyone who isn’t @Troy (no offense, lol) learned how to do this? I see a lot of questions on here about how to do it, but not a lot of “wow, I did it! Such and such helped make it click!”. Sort of feels a little discouraging to be honest. Please share you success or advice below lol.




We’ve seen a number of good bluegrass clips and other examples over the past year or so. What is it you’re trying to play, and if you’re having trouble can you post a clip?

I’d resist thinking of “double escape” as some kind of magical technique that you pursue for its own sake, and then use for everything. Instead, think of it as simply what results from trying to play certain phrases where it becomes necessary. Andy Wood is a good example. He can do 1nps type lines, but he doesn’t only make double escaped motions all the time. He only makes it when necessary, which for lots of lines, like scales, is only occasionally. David Grier is similar. You will see double escaped motions in his high-speed take on “Wheel Hoss”, but only when necessary. Otherwise you’ll see a mix of different motions.

TLDR pursue the phrases / songs, play them fast, see what results you get, clean it up from there. Don’t pursue the technique.


Sorry, this was posted sort of out of a place of frustration. I have an upwards pickslanting things that’s working great. I know DBX not magic, but there is a massive list of things that can only be played this way, and it’s vexing to make no progress whatsoever on it. I’ll post a clip tomorrow. Thanks for the reply.


On good days and with enough takes, I can do some DBX lines :smile:

Edit: here’s the audio

It’s been a long process, over 2 years now, though I’ve made the most progress since quarantine. There’s been many incremental aha moments where I thought something worked (like “oh if I follow this trajectory I imagine in my head I tend to miss less on this string change”), but a lot of these realizations didn’t hold up when revisited, e.g. the next day. So there hasn’t been a single “this is it” moment I can recall.

I’ve been doing the following: variation in what I play (a lot of bluegrass though), hand (micro)adjustments until something feels better, and going for speed after I’ve memorized a passage. If something seemed fast but tense, I took that as a good sign and tried to repeat it but while consciously relaxing the tense muscles.

One thing I haven’t seen discussed as much is playing with limited sound feedback. We all hate sounding bad, and it’s discouraging to sound terribly messy when going for speed. So I’ve been using headphones and playing unplugged while practicing these motions, just so I can hear less. I can still feel if I’m hitting or missing and whether it feels smooth or not, so the rest I hope to clean up with plugged-in playing in the longer term.


Has anyone who isn’t @Troy (no offense, lol) learned how to do this?

Asking that here is a bit like walking into the doctor’s office and asking who’s in perfect health? :slight_smile:

There’s been a lot of focus on the players that can’t get even get a fast and smooth motion going lately. I’m hoping the pendulum swings a little in the other direction now.

For me it’s completely hit or miss. I recently learned Lucretia by Megadeth and there’s some 1nps stuff in there that’s DBX material. The original is at 99 bpm but I realized I could play it at 130 just as well. I had lucked into DBX for parts of that song, but when I’ve tried learning songs that require DBX in the past it’s not gone well. At this point I’m not actively pursuing it, just hoping this will work itself out given time :man_shrugging:

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Haha, made me chuckle, but its true!

@MoonTrane, I have had some really good breakthroughs in terms of speed that are short lived. I find it hard to switch the motion on into that effortless zone straight away and I do suffer a number of string misses.
I can get a simple (straight up and down) 3 string rolling at around 150bpm (16ths) on a good day and on a superb day some sequencenced arpeggios on more strings albeit a bit slower, but they are not very frequent :pensive:.

What I have found as obstacles for me are:

  • Fretting hand isn’t as good as it should be which means it is hard to focus on picking hand only
  • I have never been much of a chord picking guy, so I have a hard time again focusing on my picking whilst chords are changing (or even static lol)

Maybe another question to ask is: how many people have put in nearly as much time in practicing these new motions like they have spent playing their familiar style?
Compared to the perseverance of my teenage years my general guitar time now is much less. I know that conscious practice should yield better and quicker results, but there’s a certain minimum of sheer consistent work over weeks or months to put in that I’m afraid not that many people have.
That’s obviously purely anecdotal and based solely on my observations in my guitar peer group beyond the late 20s and well into the 30s.

My double escape tries mostly failed, but to be honest, I just didn’t practice enough (my downstroke escapes have absolutely improved thanks to CtC though).

These 2 things are where the rubber meets the road in my opinion. What really helped me make a start is injecting a small amount of 1nps into your usual lines. I’m talking just a simple triad or something just upwards or downwards and straight back into your usual style. This helped me and I didn’t try to make the dbx happen - the more I tried to force it the more I got stuck in the mud.
That being said, I have always strived to be good at mixed escapes and so you could say that I’m just doing a continuation of that.

I’m very much still a learner of it and no 1nps king by any stretch of the imagination, but at the same time, I haven’t heaped the biggest amount of time into it. Trying (and failing) to keep the variety up!


Wow sounds great actually

Indeed it does, @spirogyro how long did it take to get this up to where it is now?

Edit - I mean this specific piece. Not the technique as a whole

Not sure if what I do is double escape, might be:


Sounds ace whatever you are doing… nice!

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Thanks! I think I started learning (and becoming obsessed with, frankly) Beaumont rag in March 2020. The speed wasn’t too far off but it felt jumpy and tensiony, especially the 2 string jump which I missed most of the time. I remember I was suspicious at the time that I had just gotten very good at string hopping. After about a month I consciously stopped playing it and moved on to other things involving DBX. I tend to revisit it every now and then and I do think the variety has helped get it smoother over time.

I can relate-sometimes it just feels like learning to string hop really quickly lol

Hey Pepepicks66,

Nice work man! I’m not very familiar with Dream Theater/Liquid Tension Experiment; what song is that riff from in your linked Instagram video please?


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Hey! It’s the intro riff for Universal Mind, off the first album!

Edit: it’s LTE

Hey Pepepicks66,

Thanks for your quick reply man! Much appreciated! I just listened to that track and it’s awesome. Now I’ll have to learn that intro/hook for sure. Thanks again!

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Wow. Pretty much exactly describes my experience with pursuing DBX - I was searching for that holy grail technique that I could use for EVERYTHING and throw all the other techniques in the trash :joy:. Couldn’t have summed it up better - learn the songs/phrases etc. and the DBX will become a PART of your toolbox when it’s necessary.

Andy Wood couldn’t have been more spot on - there’s nothing like fiddle tunes to get your right hand in shape if the DBX is what you’re after. I found this Billy Strings tune was a great practice exercise for it - it’s simple enough on the left hand but I feel like there’s a pretty even split of upstroke and downstroke escapes:


Great playing!

Do have tabs for some of the fiddle tunes you found helpful for DBX practice?

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I’d also add that, while it definitely seems like a “silver bullet” solution at first glance, in practice a more workable “silver bullet” solution is simply something like a MAB-style two-way escaped approach… and even then, most likely you’ll find you’re relying on a primary escape and using some sort of adjustment to your motion when an escape in the other direction is necessary. I’ve been here long enough to have gone through a whole bunch of breakthroughs that I later realized I was wrong about ( :rofl: ) but I’d still feel reasonably confident saying that just figuring out what you can already do pretty well, and spending some time up front figuring out how to make THAT work and how to augment it to make it an all-around approach is probably the most fruitful starting point.