Double Escape Thingy

Okay, having tons of trouble with this; I feel like I’ve thrown the kitchen sink at this but I might be kind of stupid! lol Been at this sort of thing for quite a while; maximum tempo before it falls apart is 120BPM, but I have to warm down to it; in this instance it’s a lot less than that tempo-wise but I did try to capture the same feeling of how I do it. I got my daughter to just hold the phone in the kitchen while I flailed away for a second or two. Finally seeing some clean and well lit footage is interesting because I had no idea how far away from the strings my picking actually was; I actually thought I was really quite a bit closer to the strings and that’s part of why I was crashing into the other strings, stuck being slow etc. Another thing I noticed, and maybe I’m wrong, but holy cow does it ever look like a lot of wasted motion, it looks like I am literally pausing my pick-strokes for a moment so I can change directions… I am wondering if I should try and flatten the strokes out a bit perhaps? The lift seems pretty extreme…

Now I will normally practice this sort of thing starting from about 160 and working my way down to 100BPM; it goes from a tragic swipe-athon at best to not too bad around 120bpm or so… But I haven’t made any real headway in a few weeks so I thought it might be time to post a post…

Any thoughts, guys?

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Hi @Scottulus
I am no expert but have been working on this pattern and was facing the same problems as you seem to be.
You seem to be making a bouncy ‘U’ motion as you hit each string. This uses a lot of unnecessary energy and slows you down 'as well as making your arm ache after a short amount of time. I started to focus more on the tracking over the strings more as you pick each note, forcing my arm to move down, or up to the next string in as straighter line as possible - in a similar way to strumming the three strings. When I was comfortable with the I would work on that motion adding the picking. After a while you get the feel for picking while moving your whole hand across the strings - sort of like patting your head while rubbing your belly. It took me a while but it starts feeling natural and really allows you to play much faster send achieve that banjo roll sound

I practice this exercise alongside the 3 note pattern as it uses a similar motion but adds a forth string.

I hope this makes sense and is useful


This is stringhopping; both your upstroke and downstroke involves wrist extension.

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@DjangoUntrained First of all, thanks for taking the time to watch and reply - I really appreciate it! If I understand correctly, you basically “tracked” your picking ummm, “position” from string to string, and then added the “actual picking” while that was going on. Dude, I’d absolutely love to see a breakdown of how you did this; any video footage you’d care to share?

@Tom_Gilroy Thanks for letting me know, lol I was pretty sure i was Stringhopping and probably have been each and every time I attempt to do this… Any suggestions to not stringhop? Like something practical a 4 year old might understand? hahaha I mean I’ve watched most of the CTC material, and I still ended up as a stringhopper

Thanks guys.


I’m having the very same problem as you. Interested to hear how others have gotten their dbx on!

The difference between the two for many is really how steep the wrist extension is. It just be as simple as adjusting your hand position, or the amount of pick depth you use, or for some it could be due to multiple things.

When your video is slowed to show it all in slow motion, you can see that you are extending your wrist far higher than you need to in order to clear the strings. So trying to control how far you extend your wrist may be the first thing to focus on. Pick depth as well can help, and it honestly sometimes doesn’t take much adjustment there, like 1mm.

Also licks that are 1nps across multiple strings sets aren’t the easiest to play alternate picked like that. So changing which picking pattern you use for those types of phrases isn’t a failure of your alternate picking skills. I honestly would play a pattern like that across 3 strings as down down up, down down up. Etc…

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Hi @Scottulus. Sorry if I was a little brief with the last reply.

You’re playing from a supinated position, somewhat like Andy Wood. The wrist based cross picking movement that’s would best fit this setup is the 902 movement that Andy uses. You are extending far for than you you need to escape on the downstrokes, and you don’t need to extend at all to escape on the upstrokes. If you’d like to continue with this setup, I’d recommend trying to escape less on the downstrokes, and to stop trying to escape on the upstrokes. They’re going to escape anyway!

You could try tracing out the arc of the picking movement you want to use in the air (away from the guitar) until you’ve learned what it feels like.

It may be helpful in your current form to add a small amount of forearm rotation into the picking movement (pronation on the downstroke, supination on the upstroke). This would naturally introduce some curvature and might help you to avoid the feeling that you need to extend in both directions.

Something like I do here:

Alternatively, you could try another setup and a different cross picking form.


@Tom_Gilroy No worries, man! I need all the help I can get, and I will take it! lol I trained myself to stringhop! lol I kind of thought so, as playing this sort of thing had really hit a wall (again) tempo-wise! Thanks so much for the tips, and I really appreciate that video! Very helpful!

@Fossegrim Good points there, I am going to try and lessen the extension tonight and see where it goes… I am going to mess around with down down up and see what happens…

@jptk It’s been an ongoing problem for quite some time. Usually I just avoid the crashes and create a work-around, but every now and again I really want to conquer it… lol This is one of those times!

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Quick update; Maybe someone finds this info useful, I don’t know.

1 - I tried getting a lot closer to the strings while picking…

2 - I tried changing up my mechanics, and grips…

And I videotaped it. Guess what? Still looks the same. To me, it means that what I am doing just doesn’t work really past that 120 bpm mark. So tonight I am really doing a deep dive into that 902 concept.
I am thinking that previously what I THOUGHT were changes to my picking technique were really just position and mechanic changes that utilized the exact same string-hopping motion. Ouch!

Ahh well, Now I know for sure. Time to try something new, and perhgaps approach it a bit differently…

Well keep in mind too, that you are trying to arpeggiate across many strings using alternate picking, which isn’t very easy to do at all. Probably one of the most difficult things to do. How does your picking look if you just play scale fragments across two strings?

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Show the video. It may look the same to you, but somebody else here may spot something.

Just so we’re clear here, one note per string patterns at 120bpm are not “easy” even with a true crosspicking form, it just doesn’t feel tense. There will still be difficulties with string tracking and accuracy. You still have to learn and practice the patterns.

The 902 motion is the crosspicking movement which will best fit your current position. Again, I’d suggest practicing drawing that path with your wrist out in front of you to internalize what the movement pattern feels like.

Yes, it could be helpful to seee this.

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Thanks so much for the feedback and input on this, guys; In regards to crosspicking I thought that if you aren’t doing it at 140-150bpm you just aren’t doing it right? Confused…

When it comes to alternate picking there is literally only one thing where where I have success and that is; Single string things hahaha Avoiding string changes as much as possible has been the key to my existence as a guitarist, and from there basically faking my way through it with hammer-ons, sweeps, taps and hybrid picking.

I have always felt like I sort of “brute forced” my way through stuff; picking probably way too hard and kind things ending up kind of messy; I started out as a trailing edge picker years ago and basicly got shamed into changing my grip etc… Seriously, I have tried every grip hahaha Anyways all kidding aside it’s interesting to look at a single string thing like this;

  1. It sounds like my notes/picking are just a bit out of sync in spots. Or perhaps it’s the pick “thwap” that’s cutting into my note? Perhaps both… Ugh, either way I gotta fix that… It’s not that I am unaware of it, I think I have just sort of accepted it as 'how I sound" hahaha

  2. I can either use elbow or wrist deviation, but I always seem to default to elbow when I’m not warmed up; it seems the least effort for me believe it or not…

  3. I notice that the picking strokes are quite wide, looks like I even overshoot the string sometimes; I wasn’t aware of this!

Okay, for further reference, here is a quick sweep picked thing over 3 strings. Again, pretty rigid hand, looks elbow driven to me, and honestly most of my sweep stuff, even the scalar stuff has a mute of some sort in spots, probably because I am swiping/smashing through the strings.

Honestly, I have a version of Tumeni Notes that I play with this sort of seep/wipe/slop type thing but it sort of 'glides" rhythmically… you know? It just doesn’t quite lock in… same with sweeping scales Gambale style, the notes per string seems to dictate the rhythm (3nps = triplets etc)

And don’t get me wrong; I am not complaining about the skillset that I have at all, I can play all kinds of stuff, but it would be nice to not have to always rearrange the notes for a piece (Cliffs Of Dover) to accommodate how I play hahaha

Okay, one more “not DBX attempting” reference clip; now if I keep the number of notes per string even, I can change strings easily. Not sure why, but it’s something I’ve been aware of forever. I can make this collection of notes a lot cleaner by rearranging the notes, but I thought I would present it the way I first learned to “solve” the darn thing back in 1989 or so…

Crossing the string seemed like a lot of work, so capturing the aggressive nature of what Paul played was more important I felt, and this is probably why I am so heavy handed with my picking to this day. If I start this one on an upstroke, and play inside the strings, it cleans right up. lol As much as I can clean up… This can also be played on a single string, which I do all the time also. But if I start on a downstroke and play it across 2 strings like this, well I will just have to swipe. No way around it, that’s what I have to do. I also notice the same heavy handedness, But there’s sometimes a bit of a wrist thing in there mixed with the usual “elbow”. It’s amazing that I am actually hitting anything wih how wide those pickstrokes are; they are literally touching the next string at times…

And one last post for reference; This hopefully illustrates how I do what I do gets put together. You know, actual music and stuff. I make a ton of music, not trying to self promote, but I jut want to continue making my tunes and riffs just with another tool so to speak. Thanks, guys.

Okay, back to practice now.

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A correct crosspicking movement won’t be tense or uncomfortable at that speed. However, there are still other issues like string tracking, synchronization, noise control, accuracy, etc. The core movement itself should be comfortable at 140-150bpm, but you still need to practice the patterns to be able to play them well at those tempos.

Plenty of excellent alternate pickers pick very hard, I wouldn’t worry too much about this too much, unless you specifically want less percussive attack.

Don’t be afraid to try it again. I use both.

There’s some synchronisation issues, but this could be the fault of your fretting hand. Your picking hand appears to be tight enough rhythmically speaking in the single string clip.

This clip is elbow. Can you show some of the wrist deviation? It would be more suitable for the purpose of helping you develop crosspicking wrist movements.

This is not a bad thing.

Looks like mostly elbow to me too. It’s also much looser rhythmically.

I don’t think there are any escapes happening consistently here. This seems like elbow driven systematic swiping.


Good information; thanks for the feedback Tom, it’s much appreciated.

(And just so we’re clear - believe me, I am not celebrating how I play - I am fully aware that there are major problems with literally everything I do with a pick. Anything posted here is in an effort to fix it)

Okay, so that confirms a few things thing ; Elbow is my default and I swipe a lot. I kind of knew that. And yes, the sweepy stuff is tough to control rhythmically, probably due to the “elbow” nature of how I am doing things.

Lots to work on…

Dude your music is epic and so bloody catchy! Is there more available online?

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Okay, I changed a few things here. I had to start at about 60bpm just to get the motion happening, but the good news is that I got it up to 110bpm to make this video, although honestly I HAVE to find a way to support my damn phone, my kids are utterly sick of holding it and it takes so long setting up that the “take” isn’t quite the same feeling. Ahh well, going shopping today, I’ll see what I can find. One important thing though is that I do feel zero strain, and in the time it took to get the video to upload I got it up to a pretty sloppy 130bpm. I do notice from the video that I don’t seem to be doing that little “momentum pause” as much when I change directions…

  1. The grip; I went from the normal ham-fisted pistol grip that I use to this thumb/finger approach. Not sure if it will make a difference in the end result but here’s hoping.

  2. I think I have something resembling the 902 thing. Then again, maybe not lol

  3. There is a bit of a “flick” that just sort of started presenting itself on downstrokes. I’m not sure that it’s noticeable, and maybe that’s a bad description of what occured but the best I can think of…

Thanks again guys, your input is most appreciated!

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I’ll write more later, but this is the start of something good. Keep going.

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