Everything you need to know about crosspicking


Great video Troy thanks! It seems your grip has changed from previous videos, any particular reason? My grip looks similar so actually this is encouraging for me :slight_smile:

Would this setup work also for 6-string arpeggios? It seems that lower strings are muted by construction, so it would be hard to - for example - arpeggiate a 6-string chord while letting all notes ring. Or not?

Looking forward to going home and trying this in any case!

PS: do you ever swipe by accident when crosspicking?


Aw, I thought you were gonna have your peak NPS on your tombstone! …I mean, I AM!


It hasn’t changed, per se, I just wanted to use a side finger / curled finger grip for this to make the hand movements easier to see, which can sometimes be obscured when you have fingers sticking out and moving around. The technique works similarly either way.

If you’re playing a descending line you can definitely get all six to ring just by moving the anchor further up the body. Ascending you’ll probably damp the E or A on your way up. But you can definitely get at least the top four, maybe five.

If you really need an ascending line with all six then you need something floating for that. Molly, David, Carl, all have floating crosspicking movements when they want them.


All this seems correct, but I don’t see any supination going on at all. In fact, wouldn’t this be pronation because you’re resting the meaty thumb side of the palm against the bridge here which is not possible if you’re supinating like a dwps setup. In that case it’d be the side of your hand


Great question, and a very important concept to understand. Get ready - I was wrong about this previously. When the forearm is flat on the guitar’s body, it is not pronated, it is supinated.

Why? It’s not about the guitar at all, it’s about the position of the forearm related to the upper arm. When the thumb, radius, and bicep are all in the same plane, you are pronated. This is the “hammer curl” orientation, if you’re familiar with weightlifting. When you do this on a guitar, the ulna side of the arm lifts up and only the radius side contacts. Molly Tuttle, Oz Noy, and the hyper pickers like @TheCount in the clips he has posted recently - they all play this way. This is pronation for guitar purposes.

Flat on the guitar, like Andy Wood and John McLaughlin - supinated. Crazy but true. Andy is a supinated upward pickslanter, and so (I’m pretty sure) is John.


Whoa that’s crazy! Got it! So I was wondering I never got an answer but would you now pick things like the antigravity lick or say a 3nps scale using this method instead of the forearm rotation 2wps of the past?


Sorry, I missed that. No, I tend to use whatever works. There are only so many hours in a day/life, and just because I can do a technique doesn’t mean I automatically have every phrase with that technique. It’s a mixed bag. Maybe there are phrases I can do equally well different ways, maybe other phrases I’ll always be better at with one technique rather than another. There is no one technique that “plays everything” - it’s about building a collection of tools for different jobs.


Okay so the setup goes like this: hold the pick, get a slight wrist extension going on, then set both sides of your palm flat against the guitar (ulnar and radial sides). Then also make sure the underside of the forearm is resting on the body. The pick should have a slight dwps look to it. At this point, simply playing with pure wrist deviation will automatically allow the pick to clear the strings on both up and downstrokes correct? I am slowly getting it but my issue is while the pick is moving in a curved fashion, I’m still slightly brushing the string above and below the one I want to hit. It’s not curving enough.


Sounds about right. The pick need not specifically have a visible downward slant though. That can depend on grip. Are you using the grip and finger orientation I’m using? The technique does not require a specific grip but in the interest of eliminating all variables, try the side finger / curled fingers approach just to make sure you are absolutely mimicking what I’m doing.

If that fails post a clip and we’ll take a look.


Yes I’m using the same grip. I switched to using this grip anyway so it worked out. I’ll have to post a clip


@Troy - How much edge picking are you using? Is it relatively flat?


No, it’s about 45 degrees - you can sort of see that in the “tabletop” closeup shots in the video. The amount of edge picking is not significant. I can change that with my grip / thumb to be anywhere I want and it’s still as far as I can tell the same wrist movement.

In general, edge picking is the result of a lot of factors, like the “approach angle”, ie the angle your arm makes with the strings. Some players approach more vertically, others over the bridge. So it’s going to be slightly different for everyone.


Hello I’ve watched the cross picking video a few times . Troy could you explain a bit with words what you are trying to highlight in the video ?

All the best !


We already did the “wordy” version! That’s this:


The key concept here is the way the two wrist movements combine to make the semicircle. What we’re showing you in this clip are the hand and arm contact points on the guitar, the two individual picking paths that combine, and what this combination looks like when done correctly on the forward roll pattern.


This looks as an example of crosspicking mechanics - player is Clint Strong.



This is awesome. Not familiar with Clint but does appear to be crosspicking happening here. We may reach out to him.


@Troy hey Troy does this same crosspicking that you talk about work the same way if you don’t have both ulnar and radial sides of the wrist touching the guitar? Like if my setup is the same as Albert Lee’s where mostly my ulnar side is touching and I just use deviation will it work the same way?


Yes you can do wrist-only crosspicking with a supinated setup, and that is what Albert Lee does. I think we’ve talked about this before - this is the technical description of what’s going on:



Correct I’ve watched this video many times but it seems like the focus is much more on how it’s done and what it looks like as opposed to how to actually achieve it. In the video, the curve is mentioned, but not necessarily in a pure deviation thought-sense. Before your tutorial came out I was actually trying to consciously extend my wrist on each downstroke as per the Lee video but then in your tutorial you say all you need to do is think deviation and side to side and not to try and actively add wrist extension to the down strokes


That’s true, that’s the “how it works” video, not the “how to do it” video. But I don’t know how successful the “how to do it” video has been! We’ll keep trying to find ways to communicate this to people and I’m sure we’ll eventually find a way that clicks. These techniques aren’t hard to do, and probably not even hard to learn. They’re just currently invisible, like pickslanting was a while back.