Help understand why my UWPS is smooth but my DWPS isn’t


I would like to use DWPS primarily but for the life of me cannot figure out why the pick feels bumpy and jerky, like it gets stuck on the strings. On the other hand doing tremolo with UWPS is totally smooth.

This is all shown in the video. Please let me know if it’s clear enough.


To me it seems that your downward pickslanting position uses more of a rotational movement. Your upward pickslant looks like it’s a combination of a smaller version of the rotational movement and a side to side movement probably using forearm/elbow. Also your upward slant is resting on the bridge but your downward pickslanting is floating above the bridge. I’d try to mirror what you’re doing with the upward pickslant and apply it to your downward pickslant.


Is it even possible to mirror exactly what the uwps is doing with dwps? Just wondering.


I see it like this your main picking motion shouldn’t be affected too much by the way you slant your pick, It’s an orientation of which way the pick points to after leaving a string, not the motion itself. In my case I use my wrist to pick strings and let my arm do the slanting and string switching. It requires more coordination/String tracking but I feel it keeps the sound more consistent and technique more balanced. Just pick on 1 string with your upward slant tremolo picking and just rotate the arm while you keep picking into a downward slant and make sure to not go from resting on the bridge to floating above it. With luck you might trick yourself in doing the exact same movement but with a downward orientation. There might be people that might disagree with what I’m saying but this worked for me. Very much like you my upward pick slanting position was dominant and I could do Zakk Wylde 2 note per string licks with it on a really fast tempo indefinitely. Would I try the same with downward pickslanting it would feel uncomfortable and fall apart. Luckily I fixed it using the method I just told you. Now it doesn’t matter how I start, down or up. Just give it a try man.


My tremolo picking is similar. My alternate picking is mostly deviation with a supinated forearm and DWPS pick orientation but when I swap to tremolo picking I think I have a pronated forearm UWPS pick orientation and I use a bit of elbow.

I haven’t really worked on my tremolo picking so it’s not really that smooth compared to my normal picking, I probably need to spend some time actually analyzing my technique to make sure I’m not doing anything wrong.


I think your DWPS feels bumpy/jerky because it’s being done with mostly forearm rotation with a very straight wrist. This effectively means that the pick is moving in a very small radius around the axis of rotation, and thus has very little leverage when it attacks the strings. Try experimenting with a wrist flexed more in the style of someone like Joscho Stephan. You don’t have to always pick with that kind of exaggerated wrist flex, but it can help you feel your way into the groove of an effective DWPS forearm rotation, and you can work your way down to less wrist flex once you have the knack for the more exaggerated version.


Not exactly. For example, if you’re Mike Stern, your “dwps” motion is a wrist motion. And if you’re Andy Wood, your “uwps” motion is also a wrist motion. But their arm positions are very similar. So how are they achieving these different motion paths? With two different wrist motions. And this only makes sense. If they were using the same motion, with the same arm position, the pick would move the same way.


As others have pointed out, you’re using two different movements here. For the dwps side of this, you’re attempting something forearm-ish but if that is the movement you want to use, you might get better mileage with a gypsy-style approach like @Frylock is suggesting. I would also suggest trying a wrist motion. That’s the flat sideways motion, where the arm does not move, only the hand, in a very loose flappy side to side kind of way. With any of these motions, experimentation is the name of the game in trying to make them work, changing elements of your form to find a way that is fast and smooth right off the bat.

This clip looks pretty fast and smooth - good work there. Only critique is the tiny-ness of the motion. Is that something you’re going for or is that just what happens when you try and play fast? Tiny movements can sound quieter and more pick scrapey, especially on acoustic. You do want to have some dynamic capabilities - bigger attack, softer attack. You might try experimenting with a louder movement with more tone and less attack. Not so much a “bigger” motion, but a more full sound. You may find that thinking in those terms affects the motion and make it bigger without having to consciously think about “motion size”, which is more the result rather than the cause anyway.