Help needed: Adrien Moignard - Crosspicking?

Hello, dear team members. My name is Lars and I started a discussion on Soundslice about a basically simple picking pattern - alternating between two different strings at a fast tempo. It is played by Adrien Moignard. Since you are the experts here, I thought it would be best to ask the question here. Question 1) How does he do that at this tempo? Question 2) What do you have to do to learn it best?

Here is the link to the slice: https://www.soundslice.com/slices/JPWVc/

It would be great if you could look at it. Maybe you can figure it out.

Great subject, what you’re working on and so entertaining videos. I love them.

Best regards

Lars

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Hi! Thanks for posting. Haven’t heard of Adrien but he looks awesome. In regard to your question, by definition, a double escape pickstroke is what you need to move back and forth between two strings. i.e. The pick needs to go up in the air after both downstrokes and upstrokes, to avoid hitting the surrounding strings while changing strings.

There are lots of ways you can do this: wrist motion, combinations of forearm and wrist motion, combinations of finger motion and wrist motion, and so on. Martin Miller and Kiko Loureriro do this with the finger / wrist method, which we did a little profile on in two of our features:


Bluegrass players tend to do it more often with wrist motion, which is what Molly Tuttle does. Here’s what it looks like up close:

For wrist motion specifically, here’s the explainer on how it works technically:

As for how to learn it, we have a rather lengthy lesson here which details the wrist approach:

There’s slow motion footage in here of David Grier, Andy Wood, and Molly, showing in detail what their wrists are doing as they make this kind of pickstroke. It’s… long! This will all get boiled down at some point into something much shorter inside the Pickslanting Primer.

This should give you a head start. Let us know if you have any other questions!

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Dear Troy, thank you so much for taking the time to answer so promptly and in such detail. May I copy your answer into the soundslice thread I created? Or forward the link to the soundslice-forum?

For the learning materials you will need to purchase either the Pickslanting Primer or the Masters of Mechanics video you posted in your reply. Is that correct?

And again, thank you very much for your effort.

Best regards

Lars

Hi Lars! Sure copy what you like. I forgot an obvious one:

Olli is another double escape player and the flat, semicircular nature of his pickstroke is clearly visible in slow motion. Olli appears to use a wrist / arm blend. Adrien’s arm and wrist setup look similar so if I had to guess, I’d say he’s doing something in the general ballpark. At the very least, his lines could be done with Olli’s technique, or any good bluegrass player’s wrist technique.

Point being that this isn’t the typical Gypsy approach. Django’s style was single escape — specifically, upstroke escape (USX), where only upstrokes escape and downstrokes stay trapped between the strings. This is why for the fastest Gypsy Jazz playing, string changes only occur during upstrokes, i.e. during the escape. Some great shots of Joscho Stephan here which make the escaped upstrokes / trapped downstrokes easy to see:

As far as lessons, the Primer is our main instructional product, and it has some nice technical explanations of how all the wrist motions work here:

This is probably the easiest place to start, and you can watch it, along with everything else on the site, even if you just sign up for a month. That’s the cheapest way to go, rather than buying a copy of it separately.

Dear Troy, thank you so much for taking the time. I’m going to link the post.

Best regards

Lars

What is great about the above example is 2WPS is very easy at the start, but then it becomes impossible to do so at the end; isolated single strings with just one note on them are big trouble to everything except the double-escaped motion.

I hate to beat this dead horse, but I’m not sure what you mean by “2wps”. We were never clear as to what we meant, either, so this is entirely our fault!

I think what you mean is a player who uses one picking motion, like wrist or elbow motion, for certain things, and then introduces some forearm motion for very specific types of phrases, frequently inside picking. This isn’t really two types of “pickslanting”. This is just two different types of picking motion being employed for different kinds of phrases. I know we are guilty of presenting things this way, and once again I apologize. We’ll be deleting the “2wps” chapters from the Primer soon.

In general, there is nothing wrong with using combinations of forearm and wrist motion to do 1nps type playing, whether that’s inside or outside picking between adjacent strings, arpeggio picking, and more. There are lots of examples of great players doing this, like Olli Soikkeli and Jimmy Herring. And there are even examples of great players who can do continuous double escape wrist motion, who still occasionally introduce the forearm wiggle for certain phrases. Chris Thile is a great example of this. Performances like the Bach E Major prelude are entirely double escaped, but you’ll still see forearm motion whenever he does continuous back-and-forth inside picking between the strings, as he does a little bit around 1:05 and 1:06-1:07 here:

Molly Tuttle on the other hand doesn’t really do this. In the interview I specifically ask her to play two notes on adjacent strings both ways, and there isn’t any real difference in her motion when she does it. There is not really a good argument to be made that she’s better than Chris. They’re both about as settled and fluid in their techniques as most of us could hope to be.

Why do some players do this and others don’t? Not sure. But what I am sure of is that “2wps” is problematic because it’s vague. Different motions exist, and different combinations of those motions are employed by the best players around, and they all seem to work. Some type of presentation that simply explains this more clearly, as I’m trying to do here (hopefully!), will I think make this story clearer for everyone.

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I would have defined 2WPS as being exclusively composed of single-escaped motions be they upwards-escaped or downward-escaped + sweeps, this is 100% obvious from what I can tell.

In short, there is a MASSIVE difference in flexibility between double-escaped and single-escaped technique; but you are the world’s leading expert, so you know everything that I do, but a hundred times over.

What you’re describing about two way pickslanting only being exclusively one or the other single escape motion isn’t how we’ve been teaching it. This is how the Primer describes it:

We’ve always presented “2wps” as a combination of linear and curved motions, because this is what we saw in Batio’s technique, and what my playing looked like under the camera when we filmed these lessons. We even coined a phrase to describe the motion: “down, up, rotate”. And indeed, it appears to be a very common approach. Andy Wood’s scale playing looks pretty much exactly like this in slow motion, for example.

We’ll clarify what we mean in future updates so everyone knows what everyone is talking about, be that picks, slants, or motions!

Are you saying that the way you & MAB change slant is single escape + single escape + double escape?

I change differently—single escape + trapped + single escaped—because my double-escaped motion is slower than my single escaped motion and that would be a rate-limiting problem that I can avoid.

I will certainly try to use terms on the standard way.

I wouldn’t worry about it, there is no standard way! That’s the problem.

But yes, one very common thing we see is a player moving along with whatever wrist or elbow motion, and then making a temporary turning motion of the forearm right at the string change, so that the pick appears to jump over the string. This is what a lot of people call “two way pickslanting” because of how we’ve presented it. We see it with Batio, Andy Wood, Teemu Mäntysaari, etc. It really doesn’t have anything to do with “changing the slant” though. It’s just a pickstroke that uses a slightly different motion to jump over the string.

The other maybe more sensible use of the term 2wps is for two-way economy players like Gambale and Oz Noy, where they really do appear to have two states and stay in those states for whole phrases. Just visually, those players look a lot more like what you would think “two slants” looks like. If we keep the term, I imagine it would probably be for something like this.

More on topic, in your case, if you can’t do the string change jumpy motion, then that makes it hard to play things like the inside picking version of the Paul Gilbert lick, or any of Andy Wood’s cool jazz type phrases which also have one note on a string right in the middle of the line. If you don’t have those phrases yet, and you’d like to, some fast / sloppy experimentation may turn up a motion cocktail that feels smoother to you. Don’t worry about wrong notes at first. Fake it until you make it!

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I would play this with the oposite picking motion.
An offbeat to me is almost always an upstroke a downbeat a downstroke.
So that last arp. sequens ( A#11) for me is much more comfortable starting with an upstroke and then keep it alternate with a slightly upward slant.
; so basicaly inside picking.
You could also play this on just the D and G string avoiding the stringskip.

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Only chiming in here to say this guy is not at ALL what I was expecting, and that this ruled.

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Thanks for your reply. How fast do you get with this?

I can get it up to his speed but not as consistent yet; but that is more a lefthand problem. When doing the stretch between index and ring finger at speed, i sometimes move my index finger along with it and therefore out of position one fret, Grrr!
Realy have to practice this! The guy is phenomal!

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This a very good (and frustrating ;-)) exercise practicing string skipping with alternate picking.