Is this DBX Motion?

Been trying to learn DBX for a while, feel like I had it half right for a long time but tried a new approach which has been more successful. Trying to play at 150bpm 16th notes here, all I can do is rolls at the moment with rolls on the highest strings being the easiest, my attack is a little weak on the high e but if I slow it down a little I can get it more even. Hoping this is right as I slowly try and transition into single note type lead lines :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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I’m probably not the best person to answer, but my two cents: it’s very hard to tell. One of the biggest issues is that the rhythm is uneven: the last upstroke note is much longer than the rest, making it kind of like a 4 out of 5 quintuplet thing, sometimes the first note is maybe long too, but the 2nd and 3rd notes are so quiet that it’s tricky to assess what’s really going on.

Magnet view and slow mo would be helpful. Would be interested in what happens when you try to force it loud. I’m interested in what others have to say. I haven’t nailed the DBX thing myself.

Interesting, was just slowing down the video and noticed the weakest note is actually the second note in the roll, I’m barely playing it. Makes me wonder about the deviation portion of the movement, might need to make my pick more neutral and focus on my upstrokes a bit :slight_smile:

I’ll work on it and see what happens!

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Great feedback from @JakeEstner

Work on even volume ensuring there aren’t any pauses. The motion looks great to me though and relaxed enough that DBX should work here (not saying it isn’t working, we just need to verify those other points)

I think I got ok success with my DBX adventure but Troy is always telling people to not wait for the single note step (as well as not thinking we should only do 1nps while learning the motion). I definitely should have done more of this, because I was exclusively playing 1nps/crosspicking stuff.

Overall I’d say it looks great though! Just like all your other explorations of different motions

That’s great to hear! I’m so ready to call it quits trying to learn this, or at least park it for a while, been working on it for ages now. I keep thinking I’m making progress before realising I’m kidding myself :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Yep, that is a good point. I learnt a few fiddle tunes trying to use DBX but I’m never sure if I’m using actually DBX, DSX and a helper or just some defunct version of DBX.

Would be interesting to know what Sierra Hull, Andy Wood and Chris Thile worked on when honing their incredible DBX chops, or what a typical Mando player starts with as they wouldn’t of even been doing banjo style rolls. They all have a bluegrass background so just lots of fiddle tunes I guess? But then not every bluegrass Mando player forms a DBX motion, so who knows?

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May of had an actual breakthrough but I’ve thought that lots of times with DBX, what do people think? :slight_smile:

This to me feels like it lives somewhere between my forearm/wrist USX motion and my wrist DSX motion. I assume a zero degree pickslant like I do for DSX but then tell my brain do the forearm motion, this is the result. It feels very similar to my forearm motion but instead of letting the forearm rotate for the upstroke like it wants to, I’ve planted the wrist on the guitar more which results in a tiny little deviation motion (I think).

I haven’t got my rolls clean with it yet but I feel like I can create licks with a complete disregard for what the pickstrokes are and with a little practice they feel easy to do at higher speed. Funny thing is I think I discovered this motion a couple of months ago but disregarded it because I thought it was just my forearm motion :weary:


Pretty interesting! I’d love to see it with some string changes to see just what it’s capable of!

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It’s hard to tell if the upstrokes are actually escaping there, but your motion and setup looks quite similar to Andy Wood’s.

Maybe the best way to tell if it’s working is to play some things that require escapes in both directions.

Agreed that it’s just hard to tell. Even if it was super slowed down and from magnet angle it wouldn’t necessarily be conclusive - I’ve been finding in my DBX explorations that I’ve underestimated how much string tracking plays a role; what joints are moving as we change strings, what the pick does as that movement occurs, etc. and not to mention it’s just hard to get the feedback about whether it’s working or not without actually changing strings.

All that being said, looking at this clip I think my eyes could convince me either way; maybe there are escapes on both sides, maybe only one side. Maybe none! :man_shrugging:t2:

I’ll try and get a similar angle with some string changes soon!

That is the dream :grin:

Haha, I know exactly what you mean!

This is absolutely true in my experience. It’s really interesting how different players tackle this too.

I’ve noticed Martin Miller constantly tracks from the shoulder. I think this means his mechanic (which includes finger/grip motion) is just sort of a motor and the shoulder takes care of what string he’s over. His escapes are very clean.

Keith Whalen is another monster 1nps player. His setup looks just like Steve Morse in ways, but I’ve seen him use Martin’s approach of constant tracking with the shoulder. I haven’t seen close up footage like we get from the interviewed players, but he seems very clean too.

Steve Morse seems to track all from his wrist. I’m not knocking him at all, this is purely observational, but he swipes a lot. He sounds great of course and he’s one of my very favorite players. And since he’s at the top of the food chain for that type of picking, this leads me to believe we should probably learn to live with swiping if using his motion. It’s near systematic it happens so frequently in his 1nps. Though, it’s random and I don’t think it’s necessarily engineered (even at a subconscious level) like we’ve seen from Paul Gilbert and MAB’s single escape swipes. It’s just sort of “collateral damage” that happens lol! He manages it well.

Andy Wood has a different grip but his tracking seems like Steve’s where it’s mostly from the wrist. His fastest 1nps also has a good deal of swipes, like Steve. So again, I think if we’re doing wrist only “DBX” and also tracking with the wrist, we need to learn to accept that accuracy is going to be an issue and have solid muting in place where appropriate. For clean, “let ring” type of arpeggios it’s probably not as huge of a deal since we’d just be slightly hitting a note that’s already ringing.

And again, I’ve only noticed all the swipes at the fastest 1nps from each player, which I think for most of these guys is probably at or just slightly above Tumeni Notes tempo.


I’ll echo what the others have said: the single-string tremolo can only tell you so much — at some point you gotta test the motion on the actual stuff you want to play with it!

Also, please keep using your forearm motion too because it’s super cool!


Very interesting observation here, maybe tracking with the shoulder is the ultimate goal then? I have to admit I’ve been completely oblivious to how I’ve been tracking my string changes, I’ll be a lot more aware of it going forward, thank you :grin:

Definitely! And very kind of you to say about my forearm motion, I don’t really use it at the moment but every time I do I start to wonder why I’m working on other motions :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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This is some particularly sick playing.

Especially on that second clip, notice how his hand is more/less visible depending on which strings he’s playing on. There’s probably a bit of wrist tracking too (sort of a blend I guess) but I think his shoulder is involved a lot. I’m not aware of any reasons that it’s inadvisable to track with the shoulder.

To me though, on paper it checks out. I do agree with the general sentiment here that a tremolo alone isn’t usually enough to confirm that a motion is DBX. Then again…we’ve seen Troy sort of accidentally demonstrate this in the RDT videos. That leads me to believe that a zero degree pickslant with an RDT motion (which has to be what Keith is doing) is inherently DBX. So the shoulder would be like a robotic arm in a factory just moving you from string to string and the core motion we could count on being DBX. So the only secret sauce would me making sure the tracking is on point.

On a related note, sometimes I mess with a brief tremolo that also goes across the strings. So, play a tremolo for a beat or 2 then do some 1nps or mixed escape pattern, then back to a tremolo for a beat or 2. I haven’t put tons of time into it but it seems like a nice idea. You can sort of trick yourself into smoothing the motion out. The idea being having the tremolo feel just like the motion that changes between strings.

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