Getting stuck on upstroke looking for where problems is addressed

I’m having a problem with a 3-note lick that happens on the D string. My pick is getting stuck on the note in the middle, in other words the second note.

The notes are G-G#-A.

I’ve been trying to pick downward at an angle and come back up at the same angle and that seems to work, but you can’t get much speed that way.

Can anyone point me to specifically where in the Pickslanting Primer Troy talks about these Garage Spikes?

Garage spikes? That was in the original CTC series I think. If it’s happening on a “middle note” on a single string lick, there’s likely a setup problem…? Can’t say for sure though! All I can do is speculate and maybe try to imagine what I might be going through if I had the problem you are describing?

A good analogy to picking and I think Troy mentions this somewhere in the CTC archives is this thing that lots of us used to do with our bicycles as kids. Take a playing card, and set it so that it would flap across the spokes as you pedalled - It’s how you got that “dirtbike” sound! Thwap thwap thwap thwap!

So without being able to see or hear what you are playing (G-G#A seems pretty easy, but mileage can vary!) I have no clue what the tangle (LH, RH or both?) in this is being caused by, BUT…

I would suggest that if you can’t play a lot of repeating notes on a single string - then that’s the first hurdle/challenge. I myself tend to entrap my pickstrokes; I am a DSX player for the most part and thusly my pickstrokes are trapped on an upstroke, and should escape on a downstroke - however… for some reason I dive down after the downstroke. I’d like to say it’s because of background tension… But anyways, my trapped notes are still very quick, as I didn’t notice it until Troy and I scrutinized the footage at 120 FPS with a magnet. Tommo was pretty much ready to send me a bomb in the mail - I was driving him insane I am sure; this stuff is unbelievably complex. It really is. And you might be looking for a simple, simple answer (I know I am!) but the truth is that there are a LOT of solutions for any given problem I think and a whole ton of workarounds/cheats/hacks.

I guess what I am trying to say is that some problems are hard to identify even WITH video footage, so trying to help you without any footage is nigh impossible for the team I think…

But I am thinking that a great starting point might be
1-2-3-4—2-3-4-5—3-4-5-6—4-5-6-7—5-6-7-8—6-7-8-9 etc on each string, DUDU or UDUD as far as pickstrokes go; one will feel better.

The trick is to play it as fast as you can say it at first, accenting the first note of each group of 4, and play it as you say it. I can say it at about 120bpm fitting all four words in the time that elapses from the click


You could also work on 3’s in the same way:

1-2-3—2-3-4–3-4-5—4-5-6—5-6-7—6-7-8—7-8-9 etc

One could also take the LH out of the equation entirely and just pick open strings and see where that gets you; even NPS is always the most fruitful…

Good luck, I hope this helps somewhat.

It would be easier to watch someone else pick and have them explain what they are doing to avoid the garage spikes problem.

It’s more difficult for me to post video footage.

I forgot to mention that the 3 notes on the D string are after an E note I’m playing on the 7th fret of the A string. That further complicates things.

I think what I will do to make it easier is eliminate that 7th fret E note and just play the 3 notes on the D string.

So your thing is this; E on the 7th fret A string, followed by G G# A on the D string, 5th 6th 7th respectively.

Have you considered picking down down up down if playing it as is? That’s sweep/economy and lots of players do it.

Or, move that ‘E’ from the A string 7th fret to the 2nd fret D string;


Or to make it easier on the LH move it entirely to the A string;


Now without seeing how you do what it is that you do we on the forum here, and Troy and co can’t really “tell” you what to do or not do because depending on your picking proclivities, the advice given might make things worse.

A quick video would be great.

I changed the lick. Just three notes now all on the D string. It sounds good and is easier to play.

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That’s the program, right there :wink: No pun intended, but don’t stay “stuck” on anything. If it feels hard, it’s probably wrong. Find a creative way (technical, or otherwise) to make it easier.

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This sounds like something I’ve dealt with (and still do). I don’t know if it is related to your issue, but I’ll pass this on just in case it might apply. I’ve been a chronically weak upstroker and I never really realized it until late in the game. That is, my follow-through on the upstroke was clearly not near what it was on the downstroke (I’m a bluegrass player, have to escape on both up/down stroke). I’m pretty sure I diagnosed why, but to make a long story short, I’ll say that I’ve adjusted mechanically to help with that and I added a regular exercise to help build up the upstroke motion. I’ve seen a big improvement. I don’t know if this helps, but best of luck. I’m sure others responding here will have great advice.