Hey Troy (and others). I’m actually new here and haven’t posted so far, but I thought I’d chime in on this thread. I’ve been playing for about 12 years, and have spent the last 10 years trying to unlearn string hopping (or as I used to call it: the bouncy hand syndrome), and it hasn’t gone super well. I’ve been planning on making a post, but I’ve been busy and indecisive.
Anyway, I didn’t realize this single-string stringhopping issue was as common as you hypothesize! I suppose it gives me comfort that I’m not alone. I can do UWPS fairly quickly now (around 180bpm), but I can only do it by essentially pushing my thumb into the lower register strings to “stabilize” my hand. It works, but my hand is still making tiny little invisible bouncy movements.
I think the main thing I want to comment on is how it feels to me. Even with a very shallow pick depth, it feels like I’m fighting the string if I try to make straight back and forth movements. The string pushes back (physics 101), and after 10 years of practicing I still don’t understand how to tame this pushback. If I let the string win, the string pushes my hand into the air and voila: I’m stringhopping again. Surprisingly, it’s not a tension issue, it’s just that I can’t control the precise movements. Every pickstroke feels completely different and unpredictable.
The other thing is that I find wrist deviation (the method I’m trying to learn) very unnatural. I can sort of “vibrate” my hand up and down, but I can’t vibrate it sideways nor move it fast at all, even if I place my hand on a table and swish it back and forth. I wonder if this might be why I originally started string hopping in the first place. Is it possible there’s a pathological explanation?
One bonus is that I can downpick very fast via extension, but I haven’t practiced that in about 10 years so I’m pretty terrible at it now.