Grip Causing Problems?


I hold the pick with three fingers. I share the space evenly between my thumb, index and middle fingers. I have always felt more comfortable doing this and have done it for 15 years. However, the way I hold the pick, while also having a supinated wrist and resting the side of my hand on the bridge, has made DWPS my primary technique as long as I have played guitar (also use a forearm rotational mechanic). I feel like this pick grip almost forces the pick into a Marty Friedman level downward slant. It also has me barely using any edgepicking at all. I wonder if it would be worth my time to relearn how to hold the pick in the more traditional way (like Guthrie Govan teaches…almost like a relaxed fist.)

This pick grip has allowed me to play any of the Yngwie and EJ stuff effortlessly. I can also do “outside picking” like the Gilbert lick perfectly fine with a little bit of swiping. Additionally, I can sweep pick arpeggios somehow BUT I have never been able to really upward slant with this method past that (Also, pinch harmonics are impossible)! This shortcoming becomes especially evident when trying to switch strings after downstrokes while descending. It’s almost like I have had 3 of the 4 bases necessary for alternate picking success covered for years (Ascending inside picking- DWPS Ascending outside picking- Swiping Descending outside picking- DWPS Descending inside picking- FAIL and cannot swipe). I always thought I was just a crappy alt picker so most of my fast stuff was outside picking mixed with legato for years until I found CtC. Then I learned about economy picking while descending and it came very easily to me. But things like the Vinnie Moore Pepsi lick had me stringhopping like crazy.

Would switching my pick grip make learning how to play with 2wps more possible? My ultimate goal is to be how Troy described in one of his videos where I use sweeping in both directions to make string changes when possible, and alternate picking in both directions when sweeping is not possible. I want to be able to play anything without having to think beforehand or restructure lines to make them playable. I would also like to be able to crosspick one note per string lines fast as well. Essentially, I want to be free from limitations so I can just go back to making music! A guy who has been playing guitar for over 15 years should be much, much better than I am! Any suggestions??

I know Albert Lee and Jimmy Herring apparently also hold the pick like me (although Jimmy said in an interview that he really holds it mostly with his middle finger and the pointer finger is just resting there too) but I cannot do Albert’s cross picking or Jimmy’s 2wps at all.


I’m just guessing here… but using three fingers may not be holding you back… and playing with no edge is fine. I am actually now an advocate of non-edge playing (after using an edge for years). Also… I actually kinda like Marty Friedman’s approach… I would just say to try and do it with less of an angle. Maybe try and un-rotate your forearm a bit… or maybe extend your wrist back a bit (like getting ready to knock the door)… that might help to ‘center’ your slant a bit more. I think the key for TWPS is to give you the range/flexibility to change the angle of attack.

As far as your question of being able to pick anything… and not having to worry about phrasing… for that, I’d say… cross-picking might be a better goal. Even though TWPS is superior to DWPS… you may be a bit disappointed… because you still will find yourself phrasing. But I will say that TWPS helped give me the range of motion to switch over to cross-picking.

Oh, and… if after 15 years, you can play Yngvie and EJ without problems… then your ahead of the curve, trust me. I know people who’ve been playing for decades… and can’t play those tunes.


Thanks man. I always compare myself to a few dudes I knew growing up who picked up the guitar and after a few years of watching Rock Discipline, could alternate pick anything easily. I never got that, not realizing it was because of DWPS, and I tend to compare myself to them from a pedagogical standpoint.


Possibly. Middle finger and three-finger grips are by their nature supinated, and supinated setups tend toward downward pickslanting. Everything you are describing makes perfect sense. We spent a lot of time in the most recent broadcast on picking motion discussing the effects of grips like this on picking motion, so I would recommend checking that out if you have a subscription.

Upward and two way players like Andy Wood set up quite differently on the guitar, and it is one of the things that influences their choice of movements.

So yes, grip - and more importantly, supinated vs pronated setups. They exert an influence on the movements you will eventually make.


Do you have a link to the interview with Jimmy talking about his technique please?



Which begs the question, how can Jimmy play the way he does when we both hold the pick similarly. Is it in his motion mechanic? Also how does Albert do what he does? I literally hold the pick the same way he does.


We cover Albert’s technique pretty extensively here:

Not sure if you’ve watched any of that, but it’s pretty much all in there. In the live broadcast on picking motion, again, we address precisely the effect of middle finger supinated grips on pickig motion and show you exactly how the movement works and how to do it:

I’m pretty free with info here on the forum, and it isn’t my intent to withhold anything specifically. It’s just that some topics are involved, take time to explain, ideally visually and with examples. That’s best done in formats like these. If there is any rule about what we post and here and what we don’t, it’s probably just that practical aspect.

We’re in the process of taking the “how to” type stuff we’ve done on picking motion and integrating that into the Pickslanting Primer. It’s sorely lacking in that respect currently. When we do that, we’ll probably take some portion of that and throw it up on YouTube as a sample. So even for those who for whatever reason aren’t ready to go in on a subscription, there’s some amount of that which will eventually bubble up to the interwebs.


Yes I have watched the Albert Lee videos, however I still cannot seem to translate that technique into my own playing. I understand that essentially, I can continue using DWPS and just add a little bit of wrist extension on my downstrokes so they aren’t buried beneath the plane of the strings, but it keeps turning to string hopping for me.


Are your problems with crosspicking or pickslanting? The arm / hand setups are the same. If you can’t do pickslanting smoothly and comfortably, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to do the crosspicking stuff. Not because one is harder or comes next in a sequence, but just because they both depend on the same setup.

If you can already do the pickslanting stuff and are looking for more hands-on tutorial stuff for crosspicking, we haven’t filmed those yet, but will probably do broadcast help sessions on these topics at some point as a precursor to filming stuff for our formal instructional products, as a precursor to putting some of that out in there on the YT channel. So it could be a while.

The Jimmy Herring style movement and the Albert Lee style crosspicking movements are pretty different. The Jimmy style movement is more or less what I am doing in the thread I posted. Again, not a tutorial, but it’s the best look we have posted of how that works up close. It is based on a combination of forearm and wrist movements, very similar to how players like Doug Aldrich use forearm rotation for pickslanting, but with a few postural tweaks. You can check JakeEstner’s ongoing crosspicking thread for some discussion of how that movement works.


Downward pickslanting is absolutely no problem for me. Also, sweeping one note per string in both directions is doable. Additionally, over time I have become OKAY at doing descending economy picking which requires UWPS although it never feels totally comfortable. What is and has always been the worst for me is descending inside string changes. I end up stringhopping and my pick sometimes hits through the strings to the pickguard in a pecking motion. This is how I know I am not crosspicking because as shown in the Lee video, he handles all string changes fine.

So yes, I suppose my issues are with how to develop a crosspicking technique that works and allows me to not have to worry about pickslanting. Sometimes when I am playing something very slow, it looks like I may be crosspicking, but then again it still feels very similar to stringhopping.


There’s always something to worry about. All these kinds of lines need to be “worked out” at some level to be synchronized and clean. Even in crosspicking, you still need to memorize the number of notes per string, the location of downstrokes for chunking purposes, and so on. And that’s before you even get into to learning to map the fretboard with connecting shapes, if improv is your thing. Everything Albert Lee plays he has played 1000 times before. It’s improv in the sense that he may not have written the shapes down but indeed the repeating patterns and shape are all there in the tab.

Crosspicking isn’t a cure for the “worked out” nature of playing guitar, it’s just another option for working out the guitar.


This is how I hold the pick and this is the degree of downward slant I use.

And below is how much upward slanting I use when I try and upward slant.

I don’t know if this any good. I cannot seem to upload a video from my phone.


Now that I’m looking at this, I don’t think my downward slant is as drastic as I once thought. However my upward slant is almost totally perpendicular to the strings.


Hey Costanza, it looks ok… get to picking some riffs!



So @Troy have you ever tried playing with the 3 finger grip just to see if all of your pickslanting and crosspicking is still possible? If so do you think if you have any time you could post a quick video?
I am just feeling somehow “inadequate” for using the grip because I feel like it’s not “the correct way.” I’ve been playing for so long though this way that whenever I try to switch to the traditional grip it feels like there’s too much pressure on my finger bone and I also cannot keep the pick from rotating in my fingers. I will switch, however, if t truly will make things easier in the long run. I know that chicken picking is out of the question with this grip but I am not as concerned about that.