I cannot do descending string changes [VIDEO]

Hey everyone, I’ve posted a few times here I was wondering if you could check out this video.

I was a hardcore string hopper until a few months back, I like to think my single string technique is good now! I’m still fighting the string changes however. Ascending changes feel pretty good and I can hit them with some confidence and fluidity. The descending changes have always been much harder, I think what’s happening is when I go for the string change, my playing reverts back to the string hopper motion, at least for the first note on the new string, sometimes more.

I’ve been trying to override this but I can’t seem to do it in a way that feels natural, or with an sense of reliable reproducibility from which my brain can learn it. I think my escape motion is ok? I feel like I get stuck i nthis paralysis by analysis thinking. What do you guys think?

Around 180bpm

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Probably one of two things, either you haven’t learnt an efficient motion or there is some kind of breakdown in your motion when you change strings.

Can you sustain this picking motion on a single string with no tension for 30+ seconds at around 173bpm 16th notes/115bpm 16th note trips?

If yes, then you need to try and bake in the slight position shifting that takes place while changing between strings, moving 6 note patterns back and forth works great for this :slight_smile:

If no, then you need to experiment with different setups until you find a motion that allows you to do this. Personally, I wouldn’t try to do this at any speed less then 173bpm 16th notes/115bpm 16th note trips. I recently learnt a DSX wrist motion and I never experimented below this speed, seems to be a sweet spot, for me at least :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


@wellokaythen My guess is that your knuckles (specifically ring and maybe pinky) are getting “caught” under the E string as you’re attempting to descend strings. I tried to get some screen caps, hope they help.

Your starting position:

When your ring finger knuckle gets caught and shifts:

I did a quick edit to highlight what I’m looking at.

Here’s the starting position again:

And the shifted position:

I found it most prominent at the 9 second mark in your vid, where it looked like your grip almost “flicked” open (hyperbole, but that’s how I saw it).

I think I pick at a similar angle, and what has helped me is to stagger the knuckles more to avoid catching the strings. I can explain more if you need me to.

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Hi, I could be wrong but it looks to me that, although your pick is in a downward slant, the plane your wrist and pick move on the descending changes is still parallel to the strings, meaning you’re not getting a nice high escape on the upstroke, and you can clearly see string hopping at slow speeds.

I worked on this by rotating my wrist downwards even more so I had the feeling of my pinky almost going straight into the body on downstrokes, and away from it on upstrokes. This gives a nice clear escape on the upstroke and helped get a feel for what I should be doing. To me it looked more like the extreme position Marty Friedman uses.

Now when I go back to a more natural position, I can instantly feel when I’m not escaping, so I know my optimal position is somewhere between the two.

If you imagine a pure parallel string hopping movement to be North/South around the circle of the string, and East/West being as if you strike the string perfectly into and away from the body, the motion you want is more south east to north west, with north west being your upstroke escape.

Your playing looks to be more north/south at the moment.

Hope that makes sense

Appreciate the input everyone! I definitely cant hold that tempo for >30 seconds, I thought it may just take some time to really burn this motion in. The ring finger/pinky is an interesting point, it’s certainly something that doesn’t feel like it’s getting in the way when I’m playing but Ill keep an eye on it.

I think my playing is so maladapted from >10 yrs of string hopping that when faced with any new challenge I want to go back to hopping. @MortalNuts I think your analysis is also spot on.

I’ve been trying to practice at much slower tempos where I can get the escape motion and string change perfect. Maybe this is a case where going fast is not beneficial?

In my opinion this will only ingrain the inefficient motion you currently have, you need to break the cycle and try different things until you find a setup and motion that allows you to play effortlessly at speed.

For both of my motions, the escape was something that happened naturally after finding the efficient motion, not something I ever had to really think about :slight_smile:

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I think it’s worth experimenting with your grip.
Your motion here is forearm and wrist blend. In my own experience, a more extended trigger or angle pad grip helped get the hand and arm in the right position.

That’s just a first thought. I would suggest posting a video of your picking motion, at speed, right hand only and just on one string. That might reveal where the issues might be.

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