"Eugene's Trick Bag" from Crossroads


Guthrie Govan did a transcription in, I think, the first edition of Guitar Techniques magazine that came with a CD - around 1998(?). If you search Youtube, you can find the audio of it. I’ve got the old mags somewhere but I’ll never find it.

He was a regular contributor back then and I remember he did “Under a Glass Moon” when he had the flu, and it was still cleaner than the original (IMO).

Edit: Apparently it was Nov 1994. CD no.1


Not really, but I just wouldn’t take this video as a reference because I can’t clearly see what’s going on with the picking hand. Still waiting for someone to break this down mechanically with a tab that actually works!

I also thought about such thing. Except that in the I was referring to, the program was blindly generating consecutive up/down notations without UPWS or DWPS in mind.


Ok I’ve got an example for this:

Indeed as several have noted, I think the answer is crosspicking. Why? Because when you go to adapt these classical pieces, they were written idiomatically for other instruments tuned in fifths, and the guitar fingering is murder. We’ve seen this a bunch in the Andy Wood interview. Andy can do arpeggiated triplets because it’s two notes per string on mando and violin. It’s one for us. And for him, when goes guitar.

So… the best move on guitar is to choose the easiest possible fingering for the left hand, with no concessions to numbers of notes per string, and let the right hand fall where it may.

In this stab at this, I’m using one of these blend crosspicking approaches. I know it may look like pure forearm, but pure forearm, as we’ve seen in the live broadcast, is somewhat rare outside of EVH style tremolo. It’s also tough to do for crosspicking because the arm doesn’t really want to pronate beyond a certain point. Yes, you can contort the grip to maybe cause the downstroke to escape, but that feels a little extreme to me.

Instead, like other crosspicking movements we’ve looked at, you can think of this as one technique when the pick is above the string, and another technique when the pick is below. Here, it’s forearm above the string, to lift the upstroke, and wrist movement below the string. This is probably similar to what Jimmy Herring does as his bread and butter movement, and one of the reasons everyone thinks it looks so weird. He’s on our list to reach out to.

The fast take is a little ragged, and I think I’ve got note wrong in the slow. It’s a work in progress for sure. Let’s call it a proof of concept. But I think these movements, be they blends or otherwise, are the way to go for this kind of adaptation.


Holy Cow… amazing coincidence, I was practicing this exact piece over the last couple weeks… (also using crosspicking). Last night I got it really quick and lcean… I’m gonna hopefully try it again tonight (once I find my pick)

Man… I gotta gotta gotta get a camera mount of some kind. I feel like I am so far behind the times.


That’s so generous of you!

Question 1:
What are your picking hand’s anchor/contact points when executing this technique? Seems to me that there is a lot going on with the palm. Not sure which part is a consequence to the technique and which is necessary to execute the technique.

Question 2:
Also, compared to your “usual” technique (example: Mike Stern clip on Youtube), your floating fingers seems more curved. Is the contact with the guitar’s body somehow helping you bounce back more easily?


I see you uploaded a new video to Youtube while I am typing this message. Cool stuff in the pipeline it seems :sunglasses:


@Troy this is so frikkin cool!!! Thanks so much for showing that this is possible. I’m going to have to do some study to remind myself of all the biomechanical and spacial distinctions but excited to dig in. Really making the forum worthwhile!


Forearm on body, as usual. Plus pinky side of palm on the strings. It’s similar to a downward pickslanting setup, just less supinated.

This kind of is my usual technique at this point. Just for downward pickslanting there’s a little more supination. So the picking movement follows a similar path in both cases, but in dwps mode it’s tilted so that the downstrokes don’t escape. It really is almost the same exact movement with a slight arm setup tweak. That’s the irony.

I don’t sense that the extended fingers are doing anything they different than they usually do, i.e. provide loose tactile reference of where the body is.


Yeah, I had this! Lost in the sands of time now though!

However, I do remember some of the passages in the tab not being comfortable for me to play - either due to error/impossible fingering or me not being Guthrie Govan - probably the latter, so I disctinctly remmber re-fingering these to something more manageable (for me)


Dude, this has been my benchmark for decades. I always return to this every year or so but you know what? I never seem to get any better than back in 95 when I first learnt it.

Years of struggle. Refingering, relearning.
Little progress.

This DWPS version is excellent. Thankyou.

Never had issues with the fretting hand, only ever the picking, so this version is like the Word of God, for me!

Great work, thanks again


hah, cool: https://www.guitarworld.com/lessons/play-steve-vai-animated-tab-crossroads-guitar-solo-paganini-easy-ralph-macchio-lesson

Courtesy of google alerts


By the way… if anyone wants to see what it looks like when you really sell your soul to the devil… here is Leonidas Kavakos playing Paganins 5th at an outragious speed.

The part you’ll recognize starts at 28 seconds.

Most violinists play it at 133… just a handful can play it at 160 (its denoted speed). Leonidas plays it at 180… which I think Paganini could also play it at.


In a film about learning the blues, it’s a Paganini shred piece that ultimately beats the devil!


I know! Totally ironic. But it was the '80s and neoclassical skillz were ‘better’.


Makes sense. I could see how movie audiences might have scratched their heads if it was a mournful Macchio string bend that takes down the sinewy and diabolical Vai!


lol. Well the story goes, Robert Johnson had a bit of the ‘devil’ in his playing. So Paganini is perfect for that. Vai even looks a bit like Paganini… they both have that gaunt Italian face and lanky physique.

There’s lotsa stuff online about Paganini and the devil. I know they made a movie about that as well… with David Garrett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCsVEsQlm7o I have lots of violinists in the family… so they love these stories, lol.


There must be a violin forum somewhere, where they’re analysing the amount of wrist flexion, shoulder medial rotation etc., and with their own Troy. ‘Let me just bolt this mobile phone on yer Strad’ :wink:


lol, well… for those of you who have a few million dollars to spend… here’s the only playable Strativari guitar in existance:

The guys pretty damn good as well.


And of course there’s Marshall!


Marshall Harrison is my favorite guitarist. He is cool as hell too. :grinning:

Awesome Strativari video @hamsterman


He’s got an an amazing technique. I wish the sound was better on this.

It looks like he’s playing on a 3/4 sized guitar… or maybe he just has gigantic hands.