Everything you need to know about crosspicking


When I do this, I’m supinated. The thumb heel (“thenar eminence”) is pretty fat. It sits taller than the pinky heel (“hypothenar eminence”). When I rest these two spots on the strings, the forearm bones are tilted. This is similar to the way Mike Stern does downward pickslanting.

Granted, this is not a huge amount of supination. It’s probably the practical minimum. But that was sort of the point of this little experiment, i.e. to show you how to do a very flat movement that’s almost entirely deviation.

When you work on this, a sloppy strum that approximates the shape of the movement would actually be more correct in terms of feel than trying to hit each not super accurately via stringhopping. So don’t be afraid to just wing it.

Filming also helps to see if you’re really making the movement.


Indeed … but finally that one is a roll pattern in its own right… Let’s call it the ‘Skip Inside’ roll :smiley:

3333 gives it more ‘pulse’ - which is what I miss from the forward roll. hmm … I should practice that stuff more.


This kind of struggle when coming from a Down-pick to a Up-pick like in the examples above reminds me of the way Steve Morse plays the Child in Time Arpeggio.
It was too hard for me when I was trying to figure out the “flamingo grip” and Crosspicking, but now I think it worth putting a few hours in this kind of “puzzle”.


What we were referencing with that isn’t really a grip, it was a totally different movement. It’s just what happens when you use a highly supinated forearm approach to crosspicking. The movement becomes mostly flexion/extension, with a small amount of deviation thrown in on the upstroke. In terms of appearances, it “looks” like the wrist flexing and extending.

What we’re outlining here is a different movement entirely. The arm is much more pronated in setup that what Steve does. This makes deviation the full range of motion movement, and flexion/extension are reduced to being Santa’s helpers.

I know this stuff is complicated so apologies for the bumpy journey! We’ll get this all ironed out with clear tutorial type stuff eventually.


I really enjoy watching, reading and learning about Crosspicking, but to be honest I don’t really know if I really achieve it or not, If I’m Crossing or Hopping. Still very complicated, so I’m focusing in DWPS and TWPS for now. I know that one day will be out a “Crosspicking Blueprint” and there we will learn the methods and unlock this door.

For now I just sometimes try the morse way, probably because was the first I tried and gave me a few results. Anyway keep on rockin!


Same here, I’ve been trying crosspicking over the last two months (at least) and more intensively for like a week or longer.
I’ve been trying both an “exactly replicating the instructions from the various threads and videos” approach, and a “just wing it” approach. I should probably give it a break because I have sore areas around my wrist now.


If we ever get that Crosspicking Seminar, I personally think that it would be wise to spend a good amount of time comparing it to 2WPS as well, just because the techniques do tend to overlap.

I’m personally still getting used to 1WPS, mostly DWPS and am trying to record some examples for critique here.


I’ve been practicing that stuff lately (though not specifically the forward roll as in the OP clip.

There’s been major improvement … and something tells me I’m on the right track : no pain, no tension, 4 strings arpeggios glides almost like sweeping. This CAN’T be wrong :slight_smile:

The real issue I have in practicing rolls is that my ears/head gets tired quickly because of the strings keep on ringing, even with unplugged electric - and I don’t feel I dig that much when picking. Mind you that is a real (and unexpected) issue for me, it makes me dizzy. But the wrist, arm … absolutely no sign of fatigue.

Another issue is tone control at higher speed. I’m not sure on that but … I’m thinking you have to practice at low speed with a VERY light touch, because when the motion gets faster, there’s more energy put as the strings are never put to a rest as long as you are ‘rolling’ :slight_smile: I would be interested to have feedback on this specific point.


Yeah that seems to be the hardest part for me too.
What works best for me at the moment (which means I’m not sure if it’s the best way to do it) is reduced string displacement, still the pick hits the string pretty deep but on higher speeds it’s more gliding than hitting. The range of control is pretty big, but it’s hard to get it nailed.


What do you mean by rest stroke in this context? Surely the pick needs to escape the string below and not rest on it?


If you can do DWPS and UWPS with your forearm in the same position, then you can blend those movements / trajectories together and do crosspicking. You are absolutely correct that crosspicking shouldn’t be using any kind of rest stroke, but you do this “test” to make sure you have a working setup that allows you to blend the two pickslants - DWPS and UWPS.


I still dont get this cross picking thing…it just looks like picking up down up down…chords …is it when you pick the note and curve ur hand to get to the next note? Im dysliexic so alot of detail coufuses the shit out of me. Thanks


Me neither. I don’t get this whole “alternate picking” thing, it all looks like down up down to me!

Kidding. Yes, crosspicking is a style of alternate picking, so it’s going to be down-up-down-up and so on. The question is how are you making those pickstrokes? You are hitting on the right point: crosspicking uses a curved, or “fully escaped” pickstroke where the pick exits the strings after every note. This is how you get over the strings hitting them.

The trick is that there are ways to do this that are inefficient and strain the arm, and there are ways to do this that are efficient and smooth. The method we’re demonstrating here is one of the smooth ones, roughly similar to what some bluegrass guitarists use.

For those that are working on this, here’s another closeup with some slow motion so you can see what this is supposed to look like:

You can see how flat the movement is. It is mostly side-to-side wrist deviation, with a dash of wrist flexion/extension as a helper. Even then, if you didn’t know that’s what was happening, you’d really be hard pressed to understand how exactly this works. At least I would, because I am not so quick on the uptake. That’s one of the reasons I dig the forward roll pattern - it’s a little physical puzzle everyone is capable of solving, and showing your friends. Like the moonwalk!

When you’re practicing, film yourself and compare, to make sure you’re getting that smooth and flat movement.


so is it ok to say after watching you play in this clip! You just have to use ur wrist to get over the other strings to hit the higher Notes, similar to uwps or 2 way pick slanting ? Thanks for the great help and site!


It’s true I am using mainly wrist movement here. But I wouldn’t worry about trying to think of this as picklanting or two-way pickslanting - we’ve been down that road and it mainly leads to confusion. Instead, just think of it as a particular kind of wrist movement used to get over the strings, that has to be done a certain way or it won’t be efficient. There’s a lot of discussion on exactly how it works in this thread.

In addition, this is the video we made to describe how the wrist movement works. It’s part of the Albert Lee interview series of analysis videos:



Thanks bro! since I found you on youtube ,my picking has come along way!


Right on. Try to be objective about this and film / test yourself often. If someone thinks they’re making progress, but really aren’t, it doesn’t really matter if they enjoy our stuff or not. Results are what we’re after.


And here’s a quick medley of some patterns I like to practice with this technique. Ringing chords - they are the cure for “descending sixes” / “six-note pattern” overdose:


Yes I have to learn how to up load video still, but I know I’m made a lot of progress because I can play along with some of ur lessons, Not at full speed yet, But I will get there No matter what it takes,!


What chord progression (triads and inversions on string sets) are you going through here to practice the Forward Roll Pattern?