First observations after 1month working on the PS primer: how to improve speed and syncronisation of the left hand?


After a few weeks working on the pickslanting primer, here are my first observations:

  1. I’m most likely a downward escape player (upward pickslanting) with a motion from the wrist (I’m still unsure if it is Dart Throwing, RDT or another form of wrist motion…). I’m on the fence between accepting that fact (it seems to be a motion that works for the Kirk Hammett solos that I play with my Metallica cover band wich is great, but it’s not ideal for the other things I want to work on like 2 NPS licks, Malmsteen licks, Marty Friedman lines, etc), and “fixing” my wrist motion to make it an upward escape motion.

  2. I’m not a very fast player. My top tremolo speed is around 180-190bpm (16th notes) for about 20-30 seconds, but it seems to increase slowly with practice.

  3. My “1 string licks” speed before it starts sounding like crap is about 170bpm (16th notes) /110bpm (sextuplet) and I max out at 180/120bpm the good days. My multiple string licks is about 10 bpm slower I would say.

  4. I have trouble starting my licks with upstrokes wich make me think that I need to practice them a lot more (I read in the alternate pick book writen by chris brooks that it can be a cause of desynchronisation between the 2 hands).

Since my goal is to be able to play relatively fast lick (let say around 190-200 bpm for 16th notes and 130-140bpm for sextuplet, I think 2 areas needs to be improved:

A) my right hand (speed and stamina and maybe working on a new motion).
B) my left hand synchonisation, speed and strengh

Do you have any advise that could help me improve, especially regarding the hand synchronisation (do you think including some legato in my practice routine would help) ?

Thanks for your help,


I think that some fretting legato only is a decent way to test whether your left hand can synchronize to a static beat at the speeds you want to play at, but it does have some limitations. On its own, it is pretty good at 3 note groupings (triplets and sextuplets) but is a little harder with other groupings where the accent can be anywhere.

Hand synchronization is not a fast thing to develop, but I honestly think that it’s not something you want to practice super slow either. You may just want to find the tempo where it falls apart and work from there as a starting point. At least you can start to listen critically and decipher why, and if it is a sync or fatigue or whatever issue to tackle.

I also wouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to adapt a totally different hand position or escape to play certain licks just because that is how x does it, and that’s the only way it can be done to sound convincing.


Thanks for your answer. So you think it would be easier/more efficient to learn to start licks on upstrokes when needed instead of learning a new alternate picking motion ? It would feel very weird and conter intuitive to me, I always practice my alternate picking licks to be sure that the downstrokes are on the 1st /3rd/5th 16th notes to assure a strong rhythmique articulation because that’s how I learnt it should be…

Learning new motions is not easy. It can take months or even years. Learning to start licks on an upstroke is just a rhythm trick and I bet you can already do it and just haven’t unlocked it :wink:


Good point, thanks :grin:

Troy had an old post I think when he was first trying out some of the hyperpicking wrist motions and the first one he stumbled upon was DSX. So, if he wanted to test it out against licks he was used to fretting with his USX motion, he’d have to start on an upstroke. I can’t remember his exact wording but it was something to the effect of “what’s really the difference between an upstroke and a downstroke, anyway???!!!” and that really resonated with me. The sentiment was definitely like “DUHHH! It’s not really even that hard!!!” and just internalizing that was all I needed.

What helped me a lot was just tapping upwards into the palm of my left hand, or doing muted ‘up’ strums to the beat of a song. It helped me lock into a rhythm where I was just feeling the beats, but it was all on “ups” and I could apply this to licks in short order. It really is just a mental thing. If you can keep a beat, you can start on upstrokes.


Another solution which us USX’ers employ a lot is the use of legato notes to force string changes after upstrokes. I do this all the time, actually sometimes I’ll do a little extra legato here and there just because I like how it sounds.

I know some people are after that “everything must be picked” sound, but I personally prefer the sound of mixed picking/legato together, so you could consider that if you don’t feel the desire to pick every note all the time.


It really does sound better lol! I’m all in with the “pick everything” quest just because it’s fun (for me). But yes, from a musical standpoint, a blended articulation sounds better. To me the ultimate goal, which I can’t think of a single player who does this, is for the blended articulation to happen not where it’s “convenient” for the technique, but where it just sounds best. Sort of like how composers in classical pieces dictate phrasing and articulation. Whether or not the performers respect the instructions is a different story lol! But any line or lick we might play, it we just sort of “sing it” in our mind, there are probably a few places where slurs just sound better. If I ever conquer picking, that may be my next quest. Let the line itself dictate the articulation.

When I said I can’t think of a single player who does this, I meant in the context of high speed playing. Obviously people like Jeff Beck are doing what I’m talking about. I’ve been listening to tons of Don Felder lately and he does a great job of this too. It’s like every single sound we hear from him, how short the note is, the variance of pick attack etc is just perfect. I want that type of control of phrasing at Yngwie speeds :slight_smile:


Right, and It is exactly the same for DSX, legato notes to force string changes after downstrokes.

That sounds like the perfect default approach, and when you see parts that might be hard to play at speed, you might sacrifice your desired tone for speed in those select locations. Using both USX and DSX might be necessary to unlock something like that… just consider playing a scale with every note picked!


Thanks a lot for your answers and avices, that helps a lot! I think I will stick to the Upward pickslant/DS escape for now and see how it works for lead.
What about rhythm (like the riff from fight fire with fire for example)? Upward pickslanting feels very weird for fast alternate picking riffs on the E/A strings. Is it common for UWPS player to swich to DWPS for rhythm ?