Hitting a plateau, or something

Hey all, I’ve been watching the vids, following along. Long time lurker, first time poster.

I definitely understand the intention of the technique and have tried adjusting my playing but i feel like I’m hitting a wall.

When i look at my own right hand, it’s hard to tell if I’m actually doing DPS correctly when i get to higher speeds. I’ve always been more of an UPS guy, just by nature, so i’ve been learning to down slant, using tips here, and some vids by the 'ol Uncle Ben. So playing slow feels fine, and looks fine, but when i speed up i still feel like strings are getting in the way.

a Riff i’ve been working on is the simple two notes per string pentatonic thing. I’m definitely faster than i was, but I’m now stuck at the speed basically in the vid(around 128bps). And, more importantly, it doesn’t ‘feel’ right to me. it’s not feeling natural. feels difficult, and sloppy, i have to work up to it every time, and strings are still in the way.

The main thing I’ve noticed while learning to down-slant is that it’s physically harder(for me) to pick on the way up, the up stroke feels harder than the down. I don’t know if it’s my pick angle, or I’m not used to it yet, or what, but it feels like it slows me up, especially in the upper frets and upper strings(B and E), and also when I’m picking more than two notes per string. Def feels harder to pick the up stroke. I’ve watched Troy, and it looks like you’re putting a lot of ‘muscle’ into your picking. Does this method simply require more ‘umphh’?

So here’s a quick vid.

The main question is, is this really DPS? It looks like it, to my eye. But, i still see what looks like hopping there too.

So, let me know whatcha think.


I’m not an expert analizer but that looks good to me. And the speed it’s very respectable… but I suspect you are in a search of constructive feedback so thumbs up it’s not what you are looking for…
I believe the DPS it’s there… If you feel it gets unnatural when you go t higher speeds but it feel good at lowers you should try playin it at your confortable tempos and do burst of higher speeds… look for inconsistencies beetween the two modes… try to play the slow version exactly as the fas one. that is my grain of salt


All feedback is constructive, imho. :slight_smile: Unless someone tells me to give up! :smile: sometimes you can’t see what you’re doing wrong, or right. so I appreciate any opinions or suggestions.

I like the bursts idea, I’ve used that in other areas too.

Before practicing DPS, are you a cross-picking player?

hm… not intentionally, no. I suppose it comes into play occasionally.

anyone? bueller? bueller?

Hi! Thanks for posting and sorry for the delay in spotting this. In general, this looks good. However if you’re saying it doesn’t feel smooth, then that’s also important feedback.

When you say you’ve always been an upward pickslanter, you’re referring to the way the pick appears, but to try and make things easier to understand, the easiest thing to look at is the path the pick is traveling. Upward pickslanting is really a type of motion where downstrokes go up in the air and escape, and upstrokes go in between the strings and are trapped. We call this “downstroke escape” motion, or DSX motion for short. Different joints can be used to create DSX motion, but wrist and elbow are the most common. Whether the pick looks “slanted” or not when you do this is secondary, and actually a lot of the time DSX motion doesn’t have much or even any visible pickslant. John McLaughlin is a good example of this.

By contrast, in the clip you’ve posted here, you’re doing USX motion. In other words, upstroke escape. The upstrokes go up in the air. The downstrokes go in between the strings and get trapped. If you follow the pick in slow motion you’ll see that’s what it’s doing. So that’s perfect. That’s how it’s supposed to work. And great work on the camera angle and speeds. This is exactly what we need to see.

When you do USX motion (like this clip) do you change your arm position or the type of joint motion from your DSX form? Because there might not be any need to change anything. If your DSX form is wrist motion, which again is common, and it already feels smooth and fast to you, then you might be able to keep everything the same and just move the wrist slightly differently to get USX. Or you might be able to sort of forget about the escapes entirely and train your wrist to do the switching on its own, as needed. Which is what great wrist players like Paul Gilbert probably do.

Do you have any video of the DSX (i.e. upward pickslanting) stuff? If you can film one, same angle and variable speeds as this, happy to take a look at that.

Thanks @Troy, for the comments!

I think i was a little confused, by thinking DPS and UPX were the same thing. I’ve always called UPX downward pick slanting. I can’t imagine being able to do UPS with UPX, that seems hard to do.

I did notice that when I’m using DPX I’m using my wrist and arm. When I switch to UPX I’m picking more with just the wrist. In general when I’m doing UPX the pick feels more hung up to me, mainly on the upstroke, like I’m struggling to pull it out through the string.

When I pick, what I think is UPX, it feels easier and more natural. But after this vid, I’m not sure I’m doing UPX correctly.

In this video I’m starting with my usual picking, like I’ve always done. What I thought was DPX, but it actually looks more horizontal to me, so maybe I’m not actually doing DPX?
Then I switch to UPX to show the difference in how i use my wrist, with some struggling with string switching

The quality isn’t as good on this one. I didn’t have my daughter here to hold it in the perfect place :wink: Hopefully it’s useful.

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Sorry for the continued confusion here! Here’s the cheat sheet:

Downstroke escape / DSX = picking motion where downstrokes go up in the air
Upward pickslant / UWPS = grip where the pick appears to lean toward the ceiling
These two things usually go together but not always, depending on variables like how much edge picking is used.

Upstroke escape / USX = picking motion where upstrokes go up in the air
Downward Pickslant / DWPS = grip where the pick leans toward the floor
These two things almost always go together, and exceptions to this are rarer

Of these two things, the pickslant and the motion, the motion is more helpful to think about at. That’s because when you follow the instructions in our tutorials, most of the time, this also takes care of the pickslant. There are only so many ways to position yourself, and a lot of times the arm position, wrist position, and grip that these motions require also affects the pickslant, so less fumbling around with that is needed and you don’t need to worry about it.

The first motion you’re demonstrating, I can’t tell if it’s an escape motion, but the form you are using here is in the ballpark of what I’m using here:

Notice that this is a USX lesson (i.e. “downward pickslanting”), but I’m using a very similar straight arm and wrist motion approach that you’re using here. So one thing you can try is using this straighter form but trying to do the USX motion in the lesson. This lesson is an actual chapter from the Pickslanting Primer, so it is current in our teaching.

This is not to say the form in your second attempt is wrong. It’s not, it’s just a different form. However because of the way your wrist is flexed and your arm is turned, that form will only work for USX / DWPS. If you try to do DSX with that form, the wrist motion would work, but the pickslant is backwards, the pick will catch under the strings on the upstroke and probably feel weird. That’s the difference between picking motion and pickslant.


Both of these arm positions are fine. The first one, you can use for USX or DSX as long as you have instructions for moving your wrist. Again the chapter above is the USX tutorial. For DSX, short of watching more Primer, what you can do is try DSX phrases and see if they work. Paul Gilbert-style sixes across the strings is a classic and simple DSX phrase. If that feels smooth, and sounds good, then you’re doing it right. Or right enough!

Another thing you can try is different grips. Doing something weird like a three-finger or middle finger EVH / Albert Lee type grip can be really instructive just because it’s new. It doesn’t have the years of baggage your other techniques have, so you may be able to get stuff sooner that way. It’s always worth a shot. Just keep in mind those grips use a more supinated arm position and the wrist motion will look and feel a little different. But the same concept applies: DSX motion is when the downstrokes go up in the air, and USX motion is when the upstroke goes up in the air. You can do them both from the same arm position, with the same EVH type grip. It will just look different and feel different - but again, that is often a good thing.