How to best practise TWPS?

I recently found som old video footage of me playing one of my old guitars. In the video I had a very similar right hand set up to the one I’ve been working on in recent years, which now is supinated and exclusively a rotational USX motion. The strange thing was, in the video all my playing was DSX string changes. And looking closer it actually was a wrist motion, and with the supinated set up, it was actually more of a flex and extension of the wrist than side to side diviation. For some reason, I had completely forgot about this motion.

Anyway, I brought out that old guitar and the motion soon came back. So now I can actually play DSX licks again, WITHOUT swiping or changing hand set up completely. This revelation also made my want to dive into the possibility of actually doing some TWPS licks.

So, now I need your advice. What’s the smart thing to do when working on switching between USX and DSX motions? Slow practise with exact motions, or feeling it out through speed? Also, how close to the string change do you switch to the correct trajectory, the same time as the string change or a few pickstrokes before (if possible)?

I’ll tell you where I’m at right now… I’m working on exaggerating the different motions to really feel the differens. At the same time I want to make sure I still use motions that are fast, so for that reason I practise fast too. But I’m afraid the fast practise is gonna ruin the motions if they are not precise enough.
Here is a video of how I practise. First I make sure I’ve got the two basic motions (USX and DSX), then slow changes between them and finally trying to combine them at speed. So what do you think? Good or stupid?


I think you’re at an advanced enough level where you can keep gunning it like the last two repetitions. They already sound articulate, fast, and clean. If there’s any sensation of it feeling “off”, it might just be the adjustment to the old guitar and motion mechanics that you’re currently dusting off after a break. I’m pretty sure Andy Wood’s wrist mechanics are what inspired the change away from two-way pickslanting as a term around here, and if it works for him for scale playing, I’d say go for it. I’m not certain about the particulars of his mechanics, but they aren’t rotational in the way early CTC had outlined.

Anyhow I’d start with the TWPS material in the Pickslanting Primer, as Troy does a great job of taking you through the challenges in a sequential manner that builds upon itself.

I’d recommend using the 2 musical examples in here to start:

After that feels comfortable, if you want to integrate the techniques, you can start using the position shifting scales, but I would keep those to two strings only just to make sure things are as simple as possible.

Shawn Lane had some great thoughts on position practice and how it helps simplify things (25:45 if the timestamp doesn’t go through on the link):

tl;dr: I’d stick to the linked examples, maybe add some position shifting without changing the sextuplet timing. Expand as you get comfortable, try out all fingerings (1-2-3, 1-3-4, 1-2-4, etc.) to suit your scale length and fretboard position. Pick whatever feels most comfortable. Any slow practice or “holding yourself back” at this point will likely reinforce tension or habits that are unsuitable for your fastest, most relaxed playing, so I would keep gunning it.

1 Like

Thanks for your thoughts! Yes realise that I don’t know what we call TWPS today. I, for one, really is trying hard NOT to change the slant of the pick when changing trajectories.

I can see now that, even though the fast full scale sounds ok, I loose some of the changes in trajectory in the fast tempo and am probably swiping a few of those string changes. I think chunk practise will help me there. Thanks for that advise!

1 Like