Elbow to Wrist Mechanic transition

Now I have thought I “was” making progress on this before, but it turned out to be a false start (lol soooo many false starts…) and just didn’t get anywhere. Big thanks to “Timmer” as his points really resonated and seemed to make a few things click so that I could get what I think is a wrist mechanic going. I decided to not worry about pickslant and what is/is not easily possible with either mechanic and instead focus on just a few ideas to see if I could get them to “work” at a similar level as my existing technique. I’m not really that great, but I don’t want to sacrifice what little I already have lol

I was surprised that it only took a few days to get a basic technique going with a new mechanic, however the key here I guess is that I went through the CTC material and revisited the concepts Troy and co. have presented.

So the big question is that it “feels” radically different when I play, but visually it still looks like I am using an elbow mechanic… Also is it fast enough tempo-wise to be past that string-hopping threshhold? I am not sure what my tempos are here but I have nightmares about being the string-hopping posterchild hehehe (And yes, it’s sloppy as heck, sorry about that but sometimes notes end up being casualties of war…)

So be gentle fellas, I am at a fragile moment in time where I could easily scrap it and just keep doing what I always do lol Any pointers or insights I will take with an open mind - I’ll give any suggestions a shot as always. Thanks in advance for your help, guys.

I did include a video, no slow speed stuff this time around although I can provide that if requested. I don’t want to clog up the CTC forums with my crap… lol

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Speed-wise, it looks like you’re past “string hopping”. I think I can see a clear difference between your wrist and elbow picking, so that’s progress, no?

I completely agree.

That is not surprising to me :slight_smile: That’s my understanding of how this stuff should work.

You can clearly play! My big question to you is, does it feel relatively smooth and effortless compared to what you’re old way is? That’s how you’ll know if you’re on the right track. It looks pretty good to me. Maybe a little tighter grip than what’s optimal. I used to have a death grip on the pick and CtC helped me learn that a little flop in the pick grip is ok! That could be one more area to experiment with if you feel any tension as you’re doing this.

Other than that, and I didn’t try to overanalyze your clip just getting a general overview, make sure you’re aware of how the different phrases you’re choosing will require either an up or down stroke escape. The wrist is capable of either. There were a couple places where it sounded messier to me, but quite a few great takes that sounded like great playing to me. that could be that in places there is a mismatch regarding escape during the string changes. I don’t know for sure though, that’s just a general reaction. Either way, I’d say keep pushing forward with this because:

To me, that is great! If you were unhappy with an aspect of your playing before, a radical change is almost always going to be required! I’ve seen so many critiques on here where people are frustrated because they make these small adjustments to what they had been doing (and fully admitting what they were doing did not work) yet they seemed surprised they weren’t getting drastically different results in their playing! You, on the other hand, can feel the drastic difference and appear to be getting good results.

This can be misleading I think. The elbow can engage but if the wrist is still moving relative to the elbow, it’s still a wrist mechanic! The elbow may be along for the ride but not necessarily driving the movement. I hope I’m not misunderstanding or conflating but I think I recall Troy making comments about Andy Wood’s fastest playing having some elbow, yet the wrist still moving. Either way, there are plenty of places in your clip that to me look clearly like wrist only movement and you are reporting a radical different in the way it feels. I think that’s the point where we’re supposed to say “let’s not overthink it! It’s working!!!”

Congratulations on the progress and keep up the great work!

Thanks so much for checking it out and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

I think so also. Visually it kind of seeds some self doubt in there as to whether I am actually finally doing a different motion, but it feels different. And when it works, it seems to be meeting similar tempos with what it is that I can already do.

Hey joebegly, thanks for your response - I really appreciate you taking the time to check this out and comment. Yes, I can play. It’s not beautiful, but I think I can get things done hahaha I have been at this for a really long time, and I think that how I do what I can do is a byproduct of relentlessly hurling myself at a wall until I got some sort of results. “Elbow” just seemed to work. And to make matters worse, I used to play with a trailing edge grip a la George Benson - I changed that a decade or so ago and now I can’t really play with that grip anymore - seems super alien. BUT… I do remember that the grip was very relaxed in comparison with the variations on the current grip I use now.

That’s one thing I will try hard to work on this week is relaxing the grip, thanks for the tip! I am used to playing with a lot of tension, and it’s just kind of become habit so it might take a bit of time to implement a more relaxed playing style.

The reason for me wanting to acquire a new mechanic is that I’d like to do some different things “creatively” speaking. Crosspicking is kind of the ultimate goal, although I guess you call that double escape? I don’t know enough about it yet.

As far as smooth/effortless compared to the “old way” I’d have to say it feels like a lot less physical work when I play, but it requires a bit more concentration to make sure that I am not sliding back into a comfort zone. And it’s not like I want/need to abandon the elbow mechanic, I just want to explore different ideas without having to spend so much time rearranging notes to suit the strengths of that mechanic, and avoid the weaknesses. The strengths are really strong, but there are definitely some drawbacks hahaha

One area that seems really like it’s kind of falling apart is when I do a 3nps scale ascending or descending. Not sure why, but it seems to trip up more often than not. I can “Gambale” my way through it much more effortlessly than I can alternate pick it, but perhaps it’s a matter of starting/ending on the wrong stroke. My pick orientation as far as slant is concerned is really inconsistent; sometimes neutral, sometimes up, sometimes down and it’s tied I think to how I am resting my hand/muting - sometimes its the thumb meat, other times lower hand meat that’s on the strings. Maybe that is inconsequential, I don’t know but I will try and figure it out.

Any kind of even number of notes per string thing is working out pretty good, needs cleaning up in spots but I am pretty happy with it overall. 2nps stuff I haven’t touched yet; Although I did work on my version of how I do pentatonic 5’s which is on a single string, and it works with wrist also although I have to strictly alternate pick it, whereas before I could kind of economy pick it. The Paul Gilbert lick is MUCH cleaner, I can now play it without blasting through a string - so wrist is a perfect fit for that.

The important thing for me is 1) attaining similar tempos with a few things so that at least some of my vocabulary can cross over. 2) Not having to wait months/years for some sort of breakthrough; lol I ain’t got that kind of time! I am going to run with the idea that I am playing “mostly” wrist and see where it goes. Thanks so much for the input - it’s nice to be able to discuss this sort of thing, even if it’s a bit nerdy hahaha

So yeah, I will now try and iron out what kind of “escape” player I am, and while that happens maybe transfer over more ideas from Elbow to wrist… hehehe it’s good fun when we’re on the cusp of a breakthrough! Thanks again for your insights!

Hey @Scottulus! Looks like you already got some great feedback here.

I didn’t watch the full 5-min video, but picking some bits at random here and there I saw some good pickin’ throughout :slight_smile: Definitely faster than what we can reasonably expect from inefficient/hoppy motions.

In general, if it works it works, so I would just keep feeding different licks & riffs to these motions!

Let me know if there’s any section of the video you like us to review in particular, and/or if you have an update you want us to look at!

Moving forward, I’d recommend posting a couple of 10-20 second videos that zero in on the specific issues you want us to review, instead of a longer video with everything in it. This way it will be easier for everyone to give useful feedback.

Looking forward to an update :slight_smile:

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Where can I read Timmer’s advice for you?