DSX vs USX - Don't know what to focus on

Before discovering CTC, I have always switched strings in a way that works best with USX, so when I discovered what USX was, naturally I was like “Awesome, USX is my motion!”, especially when trying to unlearn years of string hopping.

But I keep running into the “Garage Spikes” problem when implementing trying to apply the technique correctly, especially with tremolo and licks and I can’t seem to figure it out how to correct it. (Forearm motion feels most natural here, but there’s still tension and quick burn-out)

BUT, when trying DSX, I have little to no issue with the “Garage Spikes” and tremolo is really natural, but switching strings and the vocabulary is very strange. I’ve found that 8 o’clock - 2 o’clock wrist motion and/or elbow motion feel very good here.

Long story short, I don’t want to waste my time forcing a technique when I could be spending time focusing on one that works better… I just don’t know which one would be worth investing in right now!

Any ideas? @Troy

A joint motion or technique should not have garage spikes in any normal playing situation. If it does, something is wrong.

“USX” and “DSX” isn’t enough information to know what might be wrong, because those are just categories of lots of different motions. If you can show us a short video of the two motions you’re talking about here, we’ll see what we can figure out. Keep it to under 30-40 seconds or so, no narration — just include relevant info in the post.

More generally, my advice is usually to use whatever is working best right at this moment. You can learn whatever you want in the medium to longer term. But if it’s not working right now, then it’s not useful right now. So you need something you can use for music currently, alongside the experimentation you will be doing to figure out how the newer motions work.

TLDR post a clip we’ll take a look!

Hey @Troy thanks for the reply! I had to make this somewhat quickly but here’s a link:

…to the video - I put it on YouTube. Doing the tremolo and the pentatonic lick with USX was smoother than before, but that’s as fast as I could go.

I would defer to Troy and others who are more capable than me, but it looks like your fastest motion was DSX in that clip, so are you sure that’s the fastest you can play that pentatonic DSX lick?

Have you tried playing it fast and sloppy? Try that and just go for it as fast as you can. The mistakes will smooth out over time, but I would say play those DSX licks as fast as you can. Get it out of your head to ‘build up speed’ and see if you can experience going as fast as you can before you ‘fall off the bike’. You have pro level speed in your picking motion already so you need to start playing at those tempos to know what that feels like in real world playing. Your left hand can catch Up with the right hand.

FYI if you paste the YouTube link directly into the message it embeds it directly, which is pretty cool!

As @superslip103 points out, the first motion is the winner. It’s awesome, super fast and smooth. It’s wrist motion.

The way wrist technique works, you don’t change your form to a whole different technique to get the other escape. You keep the form the way you have it in the first motion, and just play everything from one “centralized” form, no matter what the phrase is.

The form you’re using in this clip is what we call the “pronated” form. This refers to the arm position you’re using, and the way the arm is turned a small a mount so that the thumb contacts the strings. We explain how the “pronated style” of wrist technique works here:

You can see from the closeups in this lesson that the pronated style of wrist motion can make all motions. The most common ones are DSX and DBX, but that’s enough. By combining those motions, you can play any phrase with alternate picking.

The idea is to assemble a large basket of phrases that you want to play, and do everything from this form. If a particular phrase doesn’t feel right, it just means you haven’t quite figured out how to get those motions working. For more complicated phrases, there is mixing and matching between different motions that will happen. It’s not really possible to control this consciously when playing fast, and you should not try to change your form or “do” the different motions directly. You’re mostly trying to maintain your form and search for smoothness and speed. The learning of the individual motions itself happens at subconscious or semi-conscious level, mainly by focusing on these bigger-picture aspects.

Let me know if I’m explaining this clearly!

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Hey all, this was actually really helpful, and that makes total sense, Troy. Thank you both for taking the time to watch that clip and to give me your feedback. I’m pumped that I have confirmation on what would be best to focus on so I can continue along the journey!

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