"Eugene's Trick Bag" from Crossroads


#1

Hi there, new member.

Been having a lot of success with the one way pick slanting applications, and am pretty comfortable with a lot of hybrid and sweep approaches, but cross-picking and two-way picking slanting (TWSP and 2WPS for search/tag purposes) and somewhat weak/average.

So, karate kid’s winning move from the Crossroads movie, “Eugene’s Trick Bag” was something that I used to practice a lot about twenty years ago and never made much headway - and honestly I’m not much faster with it now.

This transcription looks decent: https://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/steve-vai-eugenes-trick-bag-crossroads-tab-s383t0

I’m talking about mainly measures 12,13,14,15, as well as measures 5 through 10.

Revisiting it now with pick slanting knowledge I can see some re-fingering options to not have to change slants as often or do crosspicking, but eventually your fingers get tied into nots. Allowing for swiping seems potentially more fruitful - for example, doing measure 12 with all UWPS and allowing for slants on all the incongruent notes.

Measures 5 through 10 are a bit more sweepable.

So I’d like to know if others familiar with all these slanting concepts have any light to shed on these particular passages and blasting them into outer space tempos.

Thanks!


#3

(re-posted as other image had a few errors in it)
Here’s an attempt at arranging that whole section with downward pick slanting, just a rough draft. The thing is I am really curious about how to get it with the original/conventional fingering, though I think what I have here could work pretty well


#5

That’s a really clever rearrangement for DWPS. I didn’t think you could do that. You could also play it the way the tab has it using using Yngwie’s DWPS method, but it would involve some more pulloffs instead of almost pure picking like your arrangement.

Eugene’s Trick Bag is also something I practiced on and off for the past 12 years without much success either until I started watching the code.

The way I play measures 12-15 is with a combination of upward pick slanting and crosspicking. I don’t use pure crosspicking with the pick going above the string after every note though. I only use crosspicking when I need to change strings and the last note is an upstroke. The first 5 notes of measure 14 is really tricky because it involves one note per string alternate picking. But that’s something I’ve been deliberately working on. Because I’m a masochist, I’ve been using measures 5-10 as exercise to practice my crosspicking by using pure alternate picking.

I can now play measure 12-15 up to speed using the method I described above. But the arpeggios in measure 5-10 is still really tricky and feel like i’m reaching an upper limit in speed. Because of that, I’ve since decided to get more comfortable with economy picking. Measure 5-10 got a bit faster with economy picking because like you said it’s more sweepy. But Measure 12-15 got harder because you need to use a lot of 2 way pick slanting. And since I’ve always had a preference for upward pick slanting, my downward pick slant motion mechanic needs some work. But I’ve basically gotten it up to speed with economy picking. It’s just not as comfortable and consistent yet.


#6

Hi,

The arpeggio section of that solo has been driving me nuts for years. Then I discovered CtC and found a better way of playing it. But I am still struggling. But I see across Youtube that I am not the only one. In fact, I’ve never seen this part being played clean (except in the movie, which was fake :smiley: ) !

Was thinking about creating a thread to see how people in this forum are playing the arpeggio section. Maybe we can use this one!


#7

That’s a really clever rearrangement for DWPS. I didn’t think you could do that. You could also play it the way the tab has it using using Yngwie’s DWPS method, but it would involve some more pulloffs instead of almost pure picking like your arrangement.

Thanks! Yeah I mean I’m trying to have it with as much picking as possible, because of course if you get too into hammer ons and pulls then you can more or less make anything happen but it doesn’t have that bite that I feel is needed for this piece

The way I play measures 12-15 is with a combination of upward pick slanting and crosspicking. I don’t use pure crosspicking with the pick going above the string after every note though. I only use crosspicking when I need to change strings and the last note is an upstroke. The first 5 notes of measure 14 is really tricky because it involves one note per string alternate picking. But that’s something I’ve been deliberately working on. Because I’m a masochist, I’ve been using measures 5-10 as exercise to practice my crosspicking by using pure alternate picking.

hah yeah that’s what i’m afriad of…my cross picking feels so weak relatively that I try to avoid having to use it at these kinds of tempos

As for measures 5-10…I haven’t really dug in much yet, but it obviously looks simpler to do with economy picking…I wonder A. what was used to originally record it and B. the pros/cons of economy vs alternate in this case


#8

But I see across Youtube that I am not the only one. In fact, I’ve never seen this part being played clean (except in the movie, which was fake :smiley: ) !

Hah yeah I noticed that on YT there are a lot of sloppy versions! The funny thing about this piece is that the tempo isn’t that crazy and even though it’s called “trick bag” you can’t really use tricks to play it as it’s not very patterned.

For the initial arpeggio section I’d economy pick it and maybe have some slurs but I’d imagine it would take me a lot practice to get it sounding TIGHT. I haven’t experimented much yet (well, not in 20 years, hah)


#9

That’s exactly what I went for. Except for the last measure where I am doing some sort of cross picking. But I have days where it works for me and others where it just won’t. But maybe it is just due to the fact that my picking mechanic is still not consistent in general.

I’ll try to post a video of it in my picking thread soon, once I borrow a good phone again!


#10

wonder A. what was used to originally record it

The depressing thing that i found out recently after working so hard on it for many years is that it was actually played slowly and then sped up


#11

The depressing thing that i found out recently after working so hard on it for many years is that it was actually played slowly and then sped up

NO!!! Say it ain’t so!!! Really? Where did you hear that? I’m sure Vai could play it at that tempo, right?

Does anybody have any good YT vids of somebody really nailing it, super clean? With my DWPS version will I be the first? :rofl:


#12

Man my teacher gave me this to work on a few months ago. Spent a week on it and couldn’t really get anywhere so I dropped it. I’ve been doing some crosspicking etudes recently and noticing some improvement so I’ll have to revisit it at some point.


#13

NO!!! Say it ain’t so!!! Really? Where did you hear that? I’m sure Vai could play it at that tempo, right?

I remember when I researched it was mostly people in the vai and jemsite forums claiming they read it in random magazine interviews that aren’t published online. I can’t find any direct quote from Vai though. The closest primary source I can find is from Arlen Roth, the guy who trained Ralph Machio, where he says parts of it where sped up.

The end sequence actually features the playing of Vai (sped up sometimes) Bill Kanengiser (classical) Ry Cooder and me.

http://www.fast-rewind.com/music_crossroads.htm

There’s footage of Vai playing Eugene’s Trick Bag live on youtube, but he skips the intro arpeggios.

Does anybody have any good YT vids of somebody really nailing it, super clean?

I thought this cover was pretty good. And it looks like he alternate picks everything, including the intro arps.


#14

Yeah that’s nice, he looks very relaxed too. Very clean.


#15

Hard to tell if the arpeggio part is strictly alternate picking or not. We need some CtC approved angles of the picking hand! I sense some economy picking, not that it’s bad! But I just expect to see more bouncing if it’s purely alternate picked.

But you’re right, this is one of the cleanest versions I’ve seen!


#16

This is exactly what’s so frustrating about learning technically advanced guitar playing. I started playing in the time that Youtube didn’t exist, and when I heard a solo I would like to play, I checked out the tabs.

These were the “official” tabs so to speak, and I paid a lot of money for these ($40-$50 per booklet, which I paid for the Rust in Peace tab album).

Then I would sit down, and try to learn the parts.

I put in a lot of time learning those tabs but I soon found out that no matter how long I practiced, something didn’t add up, because some parts were “unplayable” if you were to follow the tabs.

This was extremely frustrating.

You spend hours learning a certain part and then you find out:

The fret positions of the notes are wrong.
The right hand up/down picking order is not specified.
The fingerings of the notes are not specified.
The legato parts (slides, hammerons, pulloffs) are confused with picked parts.

Even in instructional videos, they would often not specify the up/down picking pattern; at least the notes and positions would be correct and you would HOPE to figure out the fingering and picking order from the video, which is nearly impossible with the fast picked stuff.

That is why CTC is a true godsend. Finally, after all these years, you have ACCURATE tabs and COMPLETE tabs (that include fingering, picking, legato indication etc). On top of that Troy has the player often explain what is going through his head while he’s playing this stuff. Priceless.

Because of this, I regained my interest in improving my technique because it is a realistic goal again, it is attainable.

When I know 100% how a lick “should” be played, at least according to the player who is playing it correctly, then I get really motivated to work on it, no matter how long it takes. I know it is a matter of time.

But when you put in time and then find out you were learning it completely wrong (wrong tabs), you want to tear up the tabs to pieces and smash your guitar against the wall (at least I do XD).

When I saw this Eugene piece, I got a strong feeling of deja vu, memories came flooding back. It has been a piece I always wanted to learn, because so many people know the movie scene.

But I couldn’t find any accurate tabs, and because I already had wasted hours learning Marty Friedman solos incorrectly for years, I decided to pass.

Now years later, this post sparked my interest again. But the minute I sat down with the tabs, the bad memories came back. The tabs are not accurate and also, the piece has been most likely sped up.

But I still want to learn it, as long as it’s REALISTIC.

For example, I figured out how to play the fast picking part after the arpeggio sequence (the first lick), with the DWPS approach, but with the traditional fingering, where the index finger doesn’t slide to the 12th fret, but stays at the 13th. I’m pretty confident that I can get this to full tempo (16ths at 140).

But the arpeggio parts are a pain in the ass. Has anyone come up with accurate fingerings and picking order that allows them to play these at tempo?

I would like to tackle this piece, but I don’t want to waste time playing stuff “the wrong” way.

Is it possible to come up with accurate tabs that can be played at tempo? The guy in the video did a pretty good job. Are the tabs in the post the same tabs as the guy in the YT video used?

Sorry for the long post, but I probably still have to go to anger management classes to get over the frustration of having bad tabs for the past 20 years. Thanks for finally taking that frustration away Troy Grady! :stuck_out_tongue:


#17

Totally get your frustration, I once bought some tabs online. Tabs that had the pick strokes specified in them. Except that when I tried to play them, they didn’t make any sense. It was the same period when I discovered CtC but wasn’t yet too advanced in understanding the concepts.

I emailed the guy who created them and asked if there was a mistake in the tabs. And the answer blew my mind: he apologized and said that he has a software that automatically generates the picks strokes :joy: Basically, there was no reasoning behind the arrangement of the strokes, he just had software that blindly draws up and down symbols underneath every picked note. I regretted buying that course. It was a waste of money. Never touched it again. I can’t understand how people can be so irresponsible (actually, I do understand: money. But at least they should offer a decent product like what we have here in CtC).

Coming back to the arpeggio section of our (in)famous solo, while the video posted by @DoktorSleepless sounds clean, I still have some doubts about it. I mean, even Steve Vai didn’t play it live (as far as I know). I would be more comfortable if I see a trusted known player do it. My candidates for nailing this in a clean way are: Steve Morse and Martin Miller. Because I believe that you need cross picking to achieve it.

I will keep working on the economy picked version though!

Cheers \m/


#18

I hear you Nitro 100%!

With practice I can probably play my DWPS arrangement at tempo, more just remembering everything and training the left hand.

I would wager with economy picking and a few slurs I can find ways to play that initial ‘big’ arpeggio section but the challenge for me personally will be getting the time and articulation tight.

I’ll dig in a little and report back. I don’t get much time to actually practice guitar these days, ironically.


#19

@kounistou are you saying you think that vid is sped up?

I bet for a good bluegrass picker this is fairly easy, shrug…


#20

Yeah, I think you’re right Kounistou. After watching it a bit in slow mo, it’s probably not strict alternate picking.

Is it possible to come up with accurate tabs that can be played at tempo? The guy in the video did a pretty good job. Are the tabs in the post the same tabs as the guy in the YT video used?

If you’re really desperate, the guy in the youtube channel is selling the lesson for this song for five bucks. The link is the description.

But yeah, I know for sure the first two arpeggio shapes from the video are not how the songster tab is transcribed. They used the same notes, but the fingering is definitely different. I myself learned those two arpeggios shapes the way the guy in the video played them. Either way should be playable though. I think I mixed and matched the arpeggios from various tabs, and found which ones were the easiest for me. But I think most tabs have the correct notes at least.


#21

hmm… I just thought that it is possible to write some kind of program which could rearrange some melodies for DWPS or UWPS or whatever… although I’m too lazy to write it by myself


#22

honestly I’ve found it really great for fretboard knowledge to try to get quicker and quicker with the rearrangements for different right hand approaches