so in the last week or so, some things have finally started clicking. it started with me realizing that actually DWPS comes really easy for me, especially ascending, and that I really like the sound of it: its a bit strange to write what i’m about to say in a forum devoted to picking but…
I don’t really like the sound of every note being alternate picked (sorry!) to my ears it’s the musical equivalent OF WRITING EVERY THING WITH CAPS (WHY AM I SHOUTING!?)
The second thing that happened is that I managed to figure out a way to move from DWPS to 2WPS in a way that feels very natural to me. when I first started working on it it felt really awkward, because of the way I needed to shift my hand position to accommodate for UWPS, but now it feels very smooth, and as though most of the movement is done with the fingers, and not the hand in relation to the guitar body.
here’s a little clip of me doing it, sorry in advance for the low volume and shitty image
and thank you Troy and team, for giving me the tools to finally (maybe) shred after 25 years of playing
so in essence, you discovered economy picking?
No. Descending it was 2wps
yeah I see that. Definitely seems easier to 2wps while descending. I know on one of Joe Stumps instructional vids he says he sometimes uses economy but usually only ascending.
right now im focusing hard on strict 2wps, especially outside changes, which i have traditionally hated. But even so i sometimes will start an ascending run with economy on the first string change lol
I think my natural hand position, where I do most of my practicing, puts me most comfortably over the D and G strings. So it makes good sense that when I reach down to the A string it makes a natural dwps and thus its easier to just go DUDDUD when doing 3nps going from A to D. Otherwise I have to shift a bit to get in position for uwps on the D string
by the same token the reverse is true. when im on the high e its super easy to do uwps since you are reaching up to the high e anyway. Much easier for me to use uwps and come from the e back to the b with an upstroke
Interesting. I used to economy pick everything, but its very hard to keep a steady rhythm with it (to me, any way) and I do like the sound of it much more the pure alternate picking
yeah, do both. I refuse to be a hardcore member of any ‘camp’ lol
each has it purpose
one thing that might help: learn some uwps.
for example that 3nps ascending scale, if you do uwps u get 6 notes before u have to do any sort of manipulation
then you can slowly work your way into faster 2wps for example start with this lick (or similar), even if its a bit weird being 10 notes
on that one youve got forever to manage the change of pickslant so its way easier than something like the Paul Gilbert lick
then work your way into this one in 16ths
that one is a bit harder than the 10 note one but it still gives time for a gradual change of slant
then of course the monster:
thats a toughie. I think its easier though if u go back to my first point…learn to get comfortable with actual uwps at least for the experience of it. Then you are way closer to being able to get actual 2wps going
Nice work here!
Yes, using a little thumb bend seems to be a common marker of upward pickslanting form, and we’ve seen this is in the way players like Vinnie Moore play. But that’s not the only thing that’s happening here. In the moderate speed examples here, for the final downstroke on a given string, when you’re descending, you’re using a wrist extension movement to manage the escape. Specifically, on the higher strings you’re doing thumb plus the extension movement, and on the lower string, it appears to be all wrist. So like most humans, you’re doing a mish-mash of things. Whatever works, that’s fine.
One thing to be aware of here is when you speed up. I think some of the smoothness you feel is happening because you’re missing some of the notes. I call this type of mistake an “airball” and to me it’s not the same as using legato, because usually airball notes drop out sonically as well, so they’re basically not present in the phrase any more. By contrast a legato note should speak clearly / loudly, just without the initial attack of the pick.
In your case this looks to be happening on that final downstroke on the string when you’re descending. For the descending part that begins around 8 seconds, I don’t hear the third note on the E string or the third note on the G string. I think those may be airballed.
In the future, I’d try making [slightly more] more forceful motions where hear you hear each note clearly. The trifecta of picking technique is smooth, fast, and loud. If you can do those three together, then you can do all other combinations of them. In essence, you will have a complete technique than can handle any dynamics the line calls for.
Also, in general, it’s tough to critique unplugged clips especially when the picking is delicate. If you post more updates, plug in if you can. And if you can throw more light at this, with a 120fps mode on your phone, you’ll get a much better sense of what’s working and what’s not.
Here are some more filming tips:
Thanks for posting. We learn a lot from these, so it’s a two-way street.
@Troy thank you so much for taking the time to watch and for the valuable advice!
thanks to your feedback I was able to see that I’m able to switch the orientation without the finger movement, so I tried to omit it all together.
as for the airballs, I didn’t hear them, but it might be because I’m expecting to hear the notes, so I might be imagining hearing them…
anyway I uploaded another version this time plugged in.
again, thank you so much for the feedback, I think the next that I’ll mess with is ascending with pure alternate (though I like the DWPS so much, I’m not sure what I’ll gain from it)
Thanks for taking another crack at this! Much easier to hear what’s going on with the amp. General comment is this all sounds great.
You’re not really “switching the orientation”. You’re just making an escape motion that escapes on the downstroke instead of the upstroke. And you’re switching between these two very slightly different motions depending on the string change you need to make. In your case, because you are using wrist motion, this doesn’t require any movement of the arm or change in the “slant” of the pick. That’s why you really can’t see any arm movement or change in the pick’s orientation when you do these faster takes. At least, I can’t. I look at these clips and people are like, hey man, check out my “rotation”. And many times I’m like, I don’t see any “rotation”. Sometimes I think we’ve convinced people to see things that aren’t really there.
Here’s the longer explanation of how this works:
In general, the thing to be aware of here is that some of these downstrokes aren’t sounding. Sometimes you’re missing / airballing the note. Other times, you’re hitting the string but not quite playing it - just coming right up against it. That’s the string buzz you hear on certain downstrokes in the descending parts of these clips.
In short, if you get dropouts or hear string buzz, that’s an indication that those notes aren’t being played, and you need to do “more” downstroke at that point to connect solidly with the string. Trying to accent those notes might help. In general you want things to sound smooth, and not accented. But if you’re not hitting those notes at all, perhaps imagining an accent will bring those notes up to the level of the others.
RE: ascending economy, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. How many different techniques you need is up to you. Every time I learn a new technique, I come up with ideas for new riffs and etudes I wouldn’t have considered prior. That’s the real value in all this. More music.
Give that a shot and let us know how you make out.