Has anyone here figured out a way to overcome the speed barrier on this EJ lick here?

this lick from 1:18 -1:21. its a pretty common lick of his. I’m having a hard time getting my speed to increase on this one. in chunks, the lick is relatively easy. but when put together i plateau pretty quickly. havent heard anyone really discuss this one before, and there are quite a few mechanics going on that make it pretty awkward when pieced together. there are a couple of economy motions in there, but they hardest part is transitioning into ending phrase where hes doing up strokes on the E string and down strokes on the B string. i guess thats outside picking.

however whats interesting is that you can tell that althought his lines usually start on downstrokes, it actually IS the upstrokes the help lead him around the fretboard in a faster way. up or down. maybe thats why he emphasizes the picking away technique even though he doesnt really do it when burning. must something that subconsciously allows him to scoot around the fretboard quicker.


Hey there! Writing in a rush from the phone, can elaborate more later.

But in short: if you use the correct motions (i.e. upstroke escape motion for EJ stuff), there should be no speed barrier to overcome.

You may have accuracy /hand sync problems at first, but there should be no problem in reaching the speed of 160-170bpm 16th notes typical of EJ’s leads.

Ergo, if you feel like you have a speed barrier well below that tempo, it’s likely you are not using the correct picking motion for EJ vocabulary.

As usual, our recommendation would be to post a video of your tremolo picking in technique critique to get started

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Do you have a tab for that lick?

I’m a little busy today, I’ll write up a more in-depth reply tomorrow.

I haven’t played these licks in a long time, but I have an excellent transcription of this intro, and I’ve had the whole piece under my fingers in the past.

I’ll revise that lick and make some notes.


That would be awesome. I’d like to give that lick a shot, just don’t have the time to slow it down and do it by ear haha. When you give your transcription can you just point out which lick it is if that’s not too much trouble ?

No problem,

I’ll upload a .pdf of the transcription I have too.


the problem isnt the upstroke escape motion. the end of the lick is upstrike on the E string, downstroke on the B string, upstroke on the E string, downstroke on the B string. so hes moving from the B string to the E string on a downstroke. this fucks me up a little bit.

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its this little bit right here that seems to trip me up. watching the vid, EJ doesnt seem to implement a downward escape motion

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If you don’t mind not playing it exactly the same as him you could move the singular upstroke on the 10th fret high e to the 15th fret on the b string, then the whole thing works with USX :grin:

If you want to play it like him I would try and swipe it or use a secondary motion for that one note, maybe some thumb motion or a little twist of the wrist (or both)


I think you could also hybrid pick that lone note on the high string

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not interested in giving up on talking this. i took a video, but how do I post it? Doesnt allow .mp4’s

right on thats the swybrid maneuver, double upstroke middle finger (lone note) pluck.

does swybrid throw off the angle of dsx players? i just see it more comfortable for usx players since it doesn’t really alter the slant. because as you turn the pick out of the plane of the strings with an upstroke in usx your middle finger is right in place to pluck as opposed to dsx where the wrist is turned the opposite way from the string with the middle finger being further from the string.

ok posted this to youtube. as you can see when i get to that ending lick i start slowing down noticeably. just wanted to see if anyone else found a way to overcome this change in mechanics. @Troy have you tackled this one?



I’m more guilty of this sort of stubbornness than most people (so I’m aware of the hypocrisy), but there comes this point where an easier way that sounds identical is probably more satisfying than trying to do something “the exact way” one of our heroes does it.

Also, this :slight_smile:

Pretty sure he does a helper motion on this non-compliant USX phrase. If you slow down that part and loop it, you see him sort of ‘scoop’ to get that outside string change to work. Like @Jacklr mentioned, swiping is a totally viable solution and probably easier honestly. It’s in a place where you won’t hear a natural harmonic on the E’s 12th fret so it should be inaudible.


can you elaborate on the swiping? and as far as being stubborn, its because i want to keep improving my right hand technique, and EJ’s is gorgeous. I want my right hand to look and work well :slight_smile:

Sure, just play through the C on the B string (13th fret) so that your pick stroke hits a muted E string.

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well like i mentioned above, its not that i can’t play that motion fast on its own, but when paired with the rest of the lick, somehow my wrist/hand/whatever is not in the right place to make that as easy on me. so im trying to figure out a way to practice that transition

i think what you are after is swybrid (probably more user friendly if you are decent at 3 string arpeggio yngwie style phrasing, due to the double up) otherwise the only other option is a double down half rest stroke to maintain upstroke escape. which means swept downstroke to another down on the b string.

half rest stroke


oh shoot and i forgot joebegly mentioned swiping that is the other option so 3 options. :stuck_out_tongue:

so after watching the video of me playing, i realized that when i was getting to that section, my wrist and fingers tightened up to make a more flat palm shape, which i think is contributing the the slowing down. im sitting here practcing keeping my right hand open and i think its helping. will update soon. giving up on this wont make me a better player. i didnt get to where i am as a musician by taking the easy route, thats for sure.