Tuck believes that Benson style picking using the trailing edge solves the picking problem. I actually bought into that and completely retaught myself to pick with the trailing edge. And it felt great, it works really well for DWPS movements and sweeps. But so does standard grip.
So here’s where I’m at. I’m pretty much equally good at Benson picking and standard grip picking, and switch between the two depending on my mood. But is there any benefit to practicing new movements like upwards and two way pickslanting using Benson picking over standard?
I do use trailing edge myself at times when one of my finger joints isn’t playing up and I don’t find it conducive to upwards pickslanting at all. I sort of think trailing edge automatically makes you DWPS and locks you in to that, although I’m no expert on this.
If you find trailing edge comfortable, then I would stick with it. However, like I say, I don’t really think it’s conducive to UWPS type movements and I’m not sure why either.
I wrote a long post about the different modes of picking I recognize in my playing. Two of these modes utilize trailing edge picking.
You can read that post here:
I describe what I feel are the advantages and disadvantages of each picking mode in depth.
I read Tuck’s article on picking technique as a teenager, after developing my first picking mode. I think there is a lot of great insight into picking technique. The article contains a good description of Benson’s picking method, and the concept of DWPS is discussed and referred to as “angled picking.”
I do think much of the article has been misunderstood when it is referred to in online discussions. For example, in Tuck’s write up, the key details of the Benson setup is the supinated picking hand position that allows for up and downstrokes to be achieved via wrist flexion and extension (which Tuck calls “oscillation”) and DWPS, while the issue of edge picking is addressed in section 1.2.8, and it is not implied that using the trailing edge is the fundamental principle on which Benson’s technique is built. Instead, the edge picking is a conseqeunce of his setup on the guitar.
There are also some things presented as facts which are completely unjustified. For example, Tuck discusses the relative speeds of different picking motions. He states that flexion/extension (“oscillation”) is the fastest driving movement, capable of approximately 20 notes per second without excessive tension, that rotation is only capable of approximately 13-14 notes per second without excessive tension, and that deviation is only capable of approximately 10 notes per second without excessive tension. This hierarchy and the numbers he provides are never justified, and are highly debatable.
I always felt the article was a little too biased toward the merits of Benson’s method, or just blind to some of its limitations. For example, when discussing the disadvantages of Benson’s method, most can be summed up as since it’s different, it will feel unusual and might be difficult to learn. There is no discussion of the obvious limitations concerning string damping, and the limitations to hybrid picking are stated in a throw-away manner. I feel that limitation to hybrid picking capability is very significant.
I’ve also never understood why this article doesn’t describe an UWPS system. I can only assume that Tuck didn’t know about, or didn’t see it as a valuable technique. I think @Troy has mentioned that he didn’t discover UWPS for a long time after discovering DWPS, so it’s possible that Tuck didn’t know about it, or that he knew about it but wasn’t comfortable with it at the time (as with Eric Johnson, for example). When I discovered the concept of pickslanting, I immediately understood that it allowed for DWPS, UWPS and 2WPS.
At the time it was written, I think this article was cutting edge stuff. There was very little out there that contained any description of pickslanting concepts, and what did exist, such as Eric Johnson’s brief descriptions in his instructional DVDs, were unclear and probably incomprehensible to those that didn’t already understand.