Gilbert Lick Clock Face

Sorry if this is a really dim question, gang. As a longtime admirer of Troy and his material, I’ve got my head round much of this stuff (still can’t play much of it, mind you) and although I’ve seen lots of discussion of Paul Gilbert’s technique I can’t see a reference to how “the lick” works in terms of clock face motions. I’d appreciate someone cleverer than me letting me know if I’m on the right track.

Assuming the Andy Wood DSX position (double palm anchor), and starting on the lowest note, we play three ascending notes using 8 - 2 motion, correct? The third of these motions is a downstroke crossing the higher string unplayed. To hit the isolated high note, we then lightly flex the wrist and play the upstroke using a 9-3 motion (well, 3-9 I suppose) which should “swing” through the high string using a dash of wrist extension with deviation and back across the unplayed lower string, ready to play the last two notes of the lick before starting again. Is this string-crossing motion what TG calls “double escape” and if so, am I correct in thinking that the motion goes 8-2 then 3-9 in the space of a single note, like a figure-of-motion? I have gone through the updated Primer material, which focuses on single escape motions, but haven’t quite grasped where the rotate motion of the old “down-up-rotate” concept fits here to get back across the high note. Does the single note necessitate a double-escape motion, and if so, could someone please let me know how it steps through the clock face analogy? Am I totally off on this?

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Hey @DrNic, sorry for the delay on this! I hope I’ll get the numbers right in what follows :slight_smile:

I think what would happen in the Andy Wood example is indeed 8-2 for the downstroke escape, but that becomes 9-2 for the double escape (so that no muscle has to be used twice).

So when we apply to one rep of the Gilbert lick:


would work out as: 2-8-2-9-2-8

But this is very abstract! In practice we can look at a very similar thing that Troy analysed in my playing: the circular fours. The string switching challenges are pretty much the same as the Gilbert lick. You’ll see that I do a downstroke escape motion most of the time, plus a curved motion for the “lone note on a string” (when I get it right). In my case it’s more of a 9-3 that becomes 10-3 for the double escapes.

Cheers. @tommo - no need whatsoever to apologise. I’ve enjoyed your analysis (and your excellent playing) on here for some time now, and you’ve come through again. I think I’ve been slightly off on my understanding of the strokes involved - I was assuming that, unless you’re crosspicking bluegrass -style rolls, each stroke in single-note linear playing needed to be essentially a straight line. When I watched the DBX chapter from the Primer, I stupidly picked up the impression that this was purely for string-crossing chord rolls. From what you’re saying, this double-escape motion is the mechanic for playing individual notes on a string rather than a shift to the opposite escape motion - I had assumed the isolated note would involve a quick shift to a USX position and a 3-9 movement, before “resetting” to DSX. Even when I first read your reply, I couldn’t fathom how a 2-9 movement could work, since the 2 position is ABOVE the higher string. Once I conceptualised the upward stroke as a curved motion, which hits the upper string midway through its curve before passing over the lower string, rather than an inverted straight motion, something clicked in my head and I got it (conceptually, anyway - I’ll have to work on actually implementing it).

Feel free to let me know if I’ve misunderstood (again…) but thanks for such a helpful and informative response.