Huzzah! Some progress! Critique please!

Have been practicing some basic crosspicking patterns. My question is am crosspicking, or am i stringhopping? :slight_smile: Should i do more of this, or should i change something and seek for some different motion? The click is 120bpm.

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Welcome @I_VI_ii_V! (Minor, major or bluesy? :smiley: ).

This does indeed look like stringhopping to me. But just to be sure, it this more or less the maximum speed you ca do with these patterns? And does it feel tiring? If so, that’s another strong indication that you may be stringhopping. If instead you can push it to something like 140 or higher, without significant effort /tension (even if sloppy), then you are going in the right direction.

Can you show us your fastest tremolo on a single string? That is always the first step for us to see in which direction you could go to make the most progress.

I’ll attach filming instructions, even though you already did a good job with the filming :slight_smile:

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(Why choose just one :upside_down_face: )
Here is some footage of me playing a single string tremolo.

The click here is 150bpm. It doesn’t feel super smooth and easy, but at least i can get it up to speed. When i try to switch strings it all goes out of the window. The crosspicking feels really unstable and difficult to do and i can barely play two or three reps at 120bpm.

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To me, this is evidence that the motion is inefficient, and we should find a more efficient one.

Re: tremolo video, good start! But what happens if you switch off the metronome and just try to pick as fast as you can?

For reference/inspiration, my partner actually volunteered for this exact same test. Within 2 attempts she picked faster than me :slight_smile:

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It does seem in that second video that there is some extra movement in the thumb joint that could be minimized. At slower speeds, that kind of movement isn’t a dealbreaker but as speed increases, there shouldn’t be a ton of movement in there. Especially on a single string, as demonstrated. For me, anyways, stringhopping has to ‘hop’ across the string, so doing it on a single string isn’t very likely.

I often find it tough to discern whether I’m stringhopping too much (too high, or ‘bouncing’ as Eric Johnson called it) while trying to crosspick.

I’m not sure if it should be minimized. Martin Miller for example uses finger joints in his double escape motion.

That Martin Miller video was very interesting. I haven’t watched it in a while. I seem to recall it was more of a double escape crosspicking movement, just taken to the Nth degree. He has, what I consider, ‘the’ perfect technique.

I think it’s time to introduce myself properly, which i didn’t do in my previous post. My name is 1625(not really, but this is how i prefer to be called in this community :slight_smile: ). Posted a video of me playing the basic crosspicking pattern on three strings. @tommo gave me some feedback, saying that i’m probably stringhopping. Have been trying it different ways, changed my hand position to a sligtly more supinated one(i guess), tried to change my pick grip. This is what i came up with

Just tried to do some kind of double escape on a single string(130bpm).

But today i started practicing crosspicking again and just by feel returned to my old hand position(i guess a more pronated one) and pick grip. This is what it looks like

The click is still not very fast, just 117 bpm, but the feeling of the motion surprisingly changed. Now i can do much more reps, than i used to. It’s still very sloppy, but it doesn’t feel as near as tiring.

So, am i still stringhopping? is there any hope, that this motion can work? :slight_smile:

PS. I undersand, that the footage i provide isn’t very good, but this is the best i can get now :slight_smile:

PSS. Just understood, that this might not be worth creating another post, but there you go :sweat_smile:

Looks like it may be string hopping, I think the first video of you on a single note may just be the exaggerated movement of you attempting a “double escape” motion, but it looks more natural in your actual crosspicking video.

I’d say that if it allows you to play what you want, it works. If you’re aiming for something much faster, you might need to develop a more efficient movement.

My goal for now is to alternate pick any type of sequence at 140-150 bpm 16th notes. Probably, when i get to that point, i’ll crave more speed, but now even 120 would be rather nice :slight_smile:

This is a tricky speed, because 117bpms is potentially doable with inefficient movements for many people. It is however encouraging that you are not feeling strain when you do it.

As usual, the practical test you can do is to just speed up the motion some more. The error rate may increase, don’t worry about that for now. But if it still feels easy, then you are on the right track!

I’m pretty sure i’m not stringhopping now :slight_smile: Correct me if i’m wrong.

Combined some elbow tremolo

with wrist motion

Some inside picking:

Some random scale stuff:

And finally some forward roll crosspicking:

I understand that the footage is far from great, i’m gonna try my best to make it better! Now just can’t wait to show you guys this stuff, to get some praise and feed my ego just a little :grin: and of course some critique in order to improve faster!

I also understand, that the tempo is still technically bellow the SH limit. I think, the fact, that i can do reasonable amount of reps and my hand doesn’t fall apart is a good sing :smile:

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How does playing these stuff feels now? I can see some serious bouncing of the guitar body. Would be nice to see those older videos to see the progress :slight_smile:

Oh yeah, of course!
Here is one of my older videos, that i very cleverly deleted :slight_smile:

Yes, the guitar wants to jump all over the place, especially when i play while standing. It’s a problem that i faced, once i started using the elbow motion, but i still manage to play and it feels much more natural and easy.

Maybe(just maybe :smile: ) you can tell from my new videos, that i’m wrong and still doing the wrong thing. Whatever it may be, thank you very much for taking your time and giving feedback to my playing!

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I’m not having too much experience here to tell you whether if it’s wrong, but a clear indication would be if you can’t push it above the 140bpm 16th notes range. That bouncing should be eliminated for sure, it looks like a wild horse desperately crying for someone to tame her :smiley:

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Hi there, nice work!

Offhand, I feel that you are trying to pick everything very loud and strong. I seem to feel effort with each puck stroke, like you’re digging in the pick to really displace the string before releasing it to sound. Is that accurate?

If so, I’d like you to perhaps try two things:

  • rather than dig in and displace the string, just move your hand and wrist such that the pick goes effortlessly through the string. That will cause the string to sound. It will feel effortless, which will be smoother and still sound good.

  • don’t stress every single note. If playing 16ths, just pick the first one with the accent, and then the other 3 should have less accent.

I think that exploring dynamics could be useful for you … try starting picking loud like you do now, and gradually decreasing the picking volume until it’s extremely quiet. The go back to loud. Paul Gilbert recommends this as well. It leads to greater pick awareness, and your muscles will be able to find more efficient motions as you reduce effort.

Ps the above are thoughts and suggestions only to fuel your continued exploration. Cheers! Z


I should add that I think you have a lot of good stuff going for you. Your “random scale stuff” picking is even and strong, it feels like you have a good sense of rhythm and tone which is a super point to be at. Also, even though it’s “just a scale”, to me, it’s still musical. Great stuff, always keep that in mind.

The guitar is moving a fair amount which I feel is due to the strength of your pick attack/dig on the strings, and as you work on the subtler motions that quiet playing requires this will settle down, and your current strengths will complement that. Cheers! z


I guess, that double escape motions in general have lower speed limit than motions, that go back and forth. I’m not sure yet, but i think, this limit is something about 140-150.

I’m totally aware of it! For some reason when i start doing an unfamiliar motion, or speeding up, i tend to play with a lot of force. Your advice is actually really helpful! I need to try explore all the dynamic range. Thank you!

I don’t think there’s such limit. You posted a video of your scale playing as well, so I thought you are looking for pushing your overall speed.

Well actually i’m not going for raw speed now. I just wanna make faster tempos my comfort zone. Continuing this rodeo analogy: now i’m able to stay just a couple of seconds, until that wild horse drops me of it’s back :grin: . And what i’m trying to achieve is some crazy acrobatics like backflips and handstands on that horse :grinning:. So even 140 is already a very desirable tempo for me.