Gilbert two way pick slant

I was looking back at Intense rock at about 6 mins he plays 3 notes on the B starting on a downstroke and 1 upstroke on the E and rapidly repeats the 15 12 between B and E strings


I don’t see how he could switch from UWPS to DWPS so fast to clear the strings, is there something else going on here?

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I’m gonna guess he’s probably swiping through the E string to set up the pick stroke 12th fret E!


I see, yes, didn’t get that far in Antigravity. Thanks

I never really understood that thing. Clearly it is a technical challenge to practice string changes, but neither is it really useful in a musical way, nor would anyone play it that way if it was for the notes to play:


If you want it USX:



Paul isn’t really switching “slants”, he’s using slightly different joint motions to make the string changes. Here’s our write up of how this works:

The idea is that you have one joint motion that you use most of the time, and this gives you one of the string changes. To get the opposing string change you introduce a secondary or helper motion. We call this strategy “primary and secondary motion”.

Paul is a wrist player. He uses two different directions of the same joint to do this. Because the wrist does not rotate, there will be no appearance of change to the pickslant when he does this. That’s why we don’t call this “two way pickslanting” any more.

Among players we have interviewed, the most similar is Andy Wood who is also a wrist player. When he plays lines like this with outside picking there is no slant change. The pick changes direction and does the opposite escape because the wrist is changing direction. The forearm (mostly) does not move.

Sometimes there is swiping but not always. This is more of a mistake rather than actually requiring swiping to play the line. But if it sounds good, it is good.


In Gilbert’s case the swiping is systematic though, isn’t it?

Not in all lines of course, but it seems to be so in the “Paul Gilbert lick”, ironically.

In PG’s case I don’t mind it at all because it fits well with his playing style. He often accents the swipey pickstroke so that the extra noise blends in pretty well with the pick attack noise.

It’s a bit like doing a “rake” when you do a bluesy bend and want to make it more dramatic.

EDIT: here’s an example (I think the choice of tone here is also good for making the swipe less prominent)

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I can’t say for certain if it’s always swiped. There are lots of instances where I can’t hear any.

With someone like Batio it’s obvious when you film it. There is no escape motion being made. With someone like Andy Wood it’s less obvious. There is clearly a different motion being made, it just sometimes doesn’t go far enough.

My guess is Paul is like Andy, where the motion would look like an actual different motion that sometimes hits sometimes does not.


As an example of what this looks like when wrist players change the direction of the wrist motion, but not the “slant”, here’s Andy Wood playing the six-note pattern with outside picking:

He’s speeding up here so the technique actually changes. He starts out with double escape motion on every pickstroke. But by the end he switches to two single escape motions. Toward the end of the clip, when he’s playing a little faster, look at the last note on the D string. You can see that the pick actually makes a diagonal motion that goes up in the air and avoids hitting the A string as he goes over the top. The pick’s appearance doesn’t change. This is just the hand changing the direction is it is moving. This is the “secondary” motion we’re talking about.

As @tommo points out, Andy may occasionally hit the A string on his way back over the top, especially as he speeds up. But it’s clear from looking at the video that he is actually making a different motion on that last note, to get back over the string.

This is the difference compared to a player like Batio, where the motion doesn’t change and just hits the string on the way back. Watch this clip in slow motion and you will see the upstroke on the top string as it passes through the lower string on the return trip:

Mike is not switching to the secondary motion, he’s just using the primary motion the whole time, hence the swiping.

Again, if it sounds good, it is good. So whichever way you do this is fine.

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Fascinating, it seems that as a motion becomes more natural with practice, you can fine tune it without thinking about it, and break some of the rules, kind of like the Matrix, you’re telling me I can dodge strings? no Neo, when you’re ready, you won’t have to


Sort of. You can still hear the swiping in a lot of cases, and there are times when moving through the string simply won’t be appropriate. My advice is always to try and play the line clean where there is no unwanted string contact at all, making whatever motion is necessary to achieve that. If you film it later and discover that you are hitting the string, but can’t hear it, then that’s fine — if it sounds good, then it is good! But I always get the quietest results by trying to not hit the string in the first place. This way, when and if it does happen, it’s minimal.

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Yes, your picking is incredibly fluid and clean and seemingly effortless, and that is what I am ultimately working towards. Thanks for the feedback

Excuse me for chiming in, but I’m confused a bit - you say that Gilbert is a “wrist player”, what do you mean by that? Does he use wrist deviation as his main mechanic? Or is he just using forearm rotation with the wrist flapping about as a side effect?


There’s almost no visible movement in Paul’s arm when he picks, so I would not call him a forearm player. It’s primarily his hand moving back and forth, i.e. motion at the wrist joint. Paul, along with Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin is one the more famous examples of a player who uses primarily wrist motion that most guitar fans would be likely to recognize, so we reference him often as an example of wrist motion.


Thank you Mr. Grady for your kind reply, but, forgive me if I am wrong - if Gilbert uses wrist deviation mechanic only (with upstroke escape)- how on Earth can he play the “Paul Gilbert” (actually it’s DiMeola’s) lick? I mean, let’s say he starts it on B string, using wrist deviation, he would go down-up-down on B string (how would he now go to high E string to finish the lick if he is trapped, and he would be using wrist deviation?? That’s the part I simply cannot comprehend…sorry to bother you.

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Presumably he uses a small amount of wrist flexion/extension!

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thank you, that didn’t occur to me, that kind of makes sense

best regards


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I didn’t say he uses only wrist deviation, you did. :slight_smile:

The wrist can move 360 degrees so wrist players can make both escapes by using two slightly different directions of joint motion. The exact motions used depend on the arm position. Lightly supinated players like Paul, Al Di Meola and Andy Wood use a combination of what we call 2:00 and 3:00 motion. More supinated players like Eddie Van Halen use 1:00 and 2:00 motion.

For more on how this works you can check out the pickslanting Primer wrist motion section. We also have some videos on clock face wrist motion on our YouTube channel. The most recent lesson on Eddie’s technique demonstrates some of these motions as well:


Thank you for clarification :slight_smile:


In PG’s original intense rock video, note that when he does the 2x outside picking, he slows down a little (same thing happens in scarified).

Therefore, he’s actually not doing the outside picking at 130bpm sixes, but probably closer to 130bpm 16th/fives (my uneducated guess – I don’t know the exact calculation). And thus, that is not that impossible, though still hard. Pure alternate picking arpeggios are a lot harder, e.g., tumeni notes / glass prison

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Here’s a CTC view of PG’s pick hand. It looks like he was still using trailing edge here but it’s a great look at the motion. Go to 1:24: