DSX Player Doing the EJ Atom

Hi everyone,

I’ve been playing guitar for about 15 years, but I’m new to the world of shred guitar. I’ve completed the Primer and determined that I’m primarily a downstroke escape (DSX) player. I’m currently working through the Cascade Seminar and started learning the EJ Atom in the past two days. I started at Troy Grady’s recommended speed of 110 beats per minute (BPM) and slowly dropped it to 100 BPM. However, I’m having some trouble with my hand synchronization.

I’ve attached a video of me playing the EJ Atom. Is there anything I can do to improve, or should I just keep practicing this section until my brain builds the neural networks to get it sounding good?

From my own analysis, I think I’m tripping up when switching from the G string to the high E string. But I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I also reviewed Adam Przezdziecki’s video on DSX, which was a great help in translating these USX EJ licks to DSX.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
[ blank line ]

[ blank line ]

1 Like

Hi there,

From your video, I think it’s evident that you have the potential to hit that kind of phrase at high speeds.

Can you play the same pattern on only two strings? Is it any cleaner than the 3-string version?

Personally, I think that when it comes to 2-nps pentatonics, once you develop the skill to cleanly switch between only two strings, the skill naturally translates into longer runs like the EJ licks with a little bit of tracking.

Hey great work, man! That’s some tough stuff to play! I’m a DSX powered player myself, and I love pentatonic stuff, 2nps things and find it really fun to try and come up with ways to “solve” the incompatibility my setup has with certain passages.

Adam’s stuff is awesome, thoroughly helpful - if you know that, then I definitelyI won’t waste your time restating that. Great stuff. Adam’s awesome.

I created a video to hopefully explain what I find “comfortable” and, easy(ish) Please pardon the “hack” playing, and yeah I am pretty bad - but I think you can see from this a proof of concept; someone with real talent and ability could likely really run with these and never have to worry about double escape and still “get 'er done” (-ish)

Anyways, this is stuff that I worked on with @Tom_Gilroy and of course @tommo and @Troy and their masterful presentation of DSX powerups; Metronomic Rock. I hope it helps, and as always - apologies for the suck… Rock on, man! :grinning: PS I’m totally looking forward to the onslaught of DSX Pentatonic info that I’m sure this thread will yield - thanks in advance!


The great news is you’ve got the speed, plenty struggle with that! I’m not sure exactly if your problem is tracking or the string changes in general. One thing you could try is a forward chaining pattern where you gradually introduce more notes into it. Sort of like a “near tremolo” where you gradually add a note at a time until the tremolo is gone (but this helps to maintain the tremolo “motion” throughout, which is key)

Start with

    U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D

Make sure to use a pretty powerful accent on the first note of each 6 note group. Troy mentions this in the “chunking” video. I’ve heard others recommend it as well. @Tom_Gilroy preaches it extensively and even dares his students to “break a string” on their accents. I’ve heard Claus Levin say “if you’re practicing without accents, you’re wasting your time.” It’s critical for hand sync, a strong sense of rhythm and chunking in general. It helps you brain focus on doing one thing (the accent) while the “spasm” of notes that follows it happens on it’s own.

Anyway, then, start adding notes 1 at a time until you get the full phrase

    U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D


    U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D


    U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D


    U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D

You can even try playing this along with Troy at various speeds (personally I wouldn’t spend much time below 85%, other than to just initially “lock in” and make sure you can feel the pulse. I like using the “waveform” option in sloundslice because it gives greater flexibility to set the loop points exactly where they need to be to line up with the beats. When it’s done in the “score” view it’s not going to line up directly with the measures just due to how well the “sync” points were set.

I tried that out just now, and I don’t even practice starting on an upstroke very often. I was able to get to the 90% tempo in just a few minutes so I’m sure with diligent work you could get this 100% without too much effort.

1 Like

Ha! You already provided a mini-masterclass. AWESOME ideas and playing in there. I’m still trying to find this “suck” that you keep mentioning… lol!

1 Like

Hi everyone,

I wanted to thank you all for your awesome input. I definitely need some time to digest everything.

@steve506, I quickly recorded a video of myself practicing the 2-note chunks you recommended. It definitely seems like those are cleaner. You can see the video here:
2 Note Chunks

I guess the question is, how do I work on fixing my string tracking?

@Scottulus, I agree with Joe that your chops are awesome! I’d be thrilled if I could play like you. Thanks so much for the MasterClass. I’ll have to learn your molecular hacks once I get this EJ atom sounding smooth. It’s good to know that there are techniques out there to achieve the EJ sound with a DSX approach.

@joebegly, I’m going to try your forward chaining pattern over the next week. It seems like the next logical step in programming my brain to get this sounding smooth. I’ll report back with the results.

Thanks again for your help!


Oh yeah, as @steve506 says; those two note chunks are really an important step. The cool thing is that it could be any tonality. Pentatonic, blues, harmonic minor, melodic minor, arpeggios - the picking for the RH will be the same, but the note combinations are tough to exhaust! @joebegly 's chaining thing is cool, I do that sort of thing myself. It’s a really practical way to apply repeating notes morphing into separate notes coupled with accents. Awesome stuff.

Lol as for me? Awww thanks - I hope you can find some of it helpful! Masterclass, hahaha that’s a great compliment, but I’m just trying to help out - sometimes just seeing somebody else do and explain a variation of what you might be working on can be so helpful. Even if it’s a bit rough around the edges, it’s nice to see that there’s potential. You know? I think that everyone is afraid that since Yngwie is USX that us DSX guys can’t play his material (DSX powered people are like the sith I think… we can do it, our way is just a bit darker, comes with a red lightsaber and a rotten attitude! :grinning:)

1 Like

The more I find out about you, the more I like you lol! I went to Disney the other week and came home with this to keep on my desk


I also came home with…Covid lol It was worth it though.

I love the notion of DSX as the dark side. No matter what we have to sacrifice (i.e. some USX downward economy blah blah), the power is worth it. Just remember “The dark side of the force is a pathway to many abilities that some consider to be…unnatural”


EDIT: OMG dude it’s been staring us in the face this whole time, hidden in plain sight like the sith themselves. Dark Side Xcape


ohhh yes. We may have started a thing here… :grinning:

I went to Disneyland a few years ago with my family, just before covid part 1 hit actually. Man… what a great holiday - I love that place! It was a childhood dream of mine to go there, and I finally did! hahaha Well, with my wife and two daughters - but dang it if that didn’t just make it more fun!

Funny story, we went to Universal studios and of course, there was a guy wandering around dressed like Dracula. My youngest who was umm, 7 at the time I think went up and talked his ear off, then gave him a big hug! Dude looked… rattled! Dang Canadians!

Cool desk sculpture! Sorry you got sick, but soooo worth it, right?

edit of the EDIT: OMG dude it’s been staring us in the face this whole time, hidden in plain sight like the sith themselves. D ark S ide X cape

lol See, it’s like when one wolf howls 15 others start howling as well (“Oh no, we’ve started a howl!”)


Hi everyone! I’m checking in on my progress with “Dark Side Xcape”. Thanks again to @Scottulus, @joebegly, @steve506 for your insights. I followed the pattern that Joe recommended, and I’ve been practicing it for 30 minutes a day for the past week. I feel like it’s definitely helped to smooth out the choppiness that I was previously experiencing with the EJ atom. I’ve uploaded a 30-second progress video below. I’m playing at 110 BPM. The latter half of the video is at 50% slow motion.

Please let me know if you have any feedback on my technique. Thanks again, everyone! I really appreciate your help. It’s definitely made a difference in my playing.


I think it’s an improvement for sure! Faster, smoother and more controlled than what you showed us. Does it feel like your pick is “stuck” at all? There might me some garage spikes which you can dial out with a combo of changing pick point and possibly a little “flop” in your pick grip?

Thank you for sharing! Things definitely seem to start going in the right direction.

At this point, maybe exploring a more nuanced pick angle could help.

Please correct me if I’m wrong but, from my perspective, your thumb seems to be a little curved back. Would you try and keep holding the pick in the same way but not adding so much pressure on the pick with your thumb so it is more straight? My intention with that test is to see if maybe a smoother angle can help you clean up your attack, especially when switching strings.

1 Like

Hey @joebegly and @steve506,

Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad to hear that I’m making some progress.

I agree with you that exploring a looser grip on the pick could help. I recorded a new video where I’m trying a looser grip on the pick and a straighter thumb. 2nd half of the video is at 50% speed.

I’d love to get your thoughts on it and what you think the next steps to improvement are.

Do you think I’m good enough on the EJ atom to proceed to the Fives lick?

Thanks again for your help!

I think you are at the point where you just need to clean it up some. Slow it down just a little bit, continue full speed to ensure you still have the motion.

Re: “moving on” to the 5’s lick, I don’t see any reason to wait. Working on similar things in tandem is good because the things help each other. Too much of one lick over and over can be counter productive and you don’t want to over do it. You’ve made great progress, keep it up!

One thing you may find helpful in general is to work on some patterns that just stay on one string as that can really help hand sync and the “locked in” aspect. Accents are extremely important.

Thanks for the feedback Joe! I’m glad you think I’m making progress. I’ll definitely take your advice and slow down the lick a bit to clean it up. I’ll also work on some patterns that stay on one string. I think that will help me with my hand sync and locked-in playing.

l’ll keep practicing and I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks again for your help!

1 Like