Is this viable technique?

Hi, I started Pickslanting Primer recently. I haven’t actually reached pickslanting parts and I’m trying to select a picking motion. I’ve been playin 3 4 years but didn’t get very fast.

The fastest one was elbow and the other ones didn’t feel exactly right even though I think I used string hopping before starting this.

I tried the thing where we try not to think and just be fast and fastest I could do was this. I want to know if this is a good and improvable technique. I feel like elbow motion isn’t considered good.

Anyway here is the video:

Also maybe I should note that I’m left handed but started on a right handed guitar and continued that way.

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Hi! This looks awesome. It’s hyperpicking. Have you watched this yet?


I think that’s just dogma that Al Di Meola wants us to think because he uses wrist lol

Elbow is good enough for Vinnie Moore, Rusty Cooley and Michael Angelo Batio.

Your motion looks super fast! I’d recommend wrestling that beast to the ground and getting that same motion to the point where you can play music with it. Awesome job!


Lol seems fast!

I personally got out of elbow motion because it started to be aggravating to some repetitive strain issues, but there are plenty of people that use it. I guess what’s going to make it viable for you is your ability to control it at different speeds, transition between the speeds and change strings to fit your phrasing goals.

I thought MAB was wrist / fingers?


I think he does use his wrist and fingers but his really fast stuff has an elbow component as the main mechanic. I think the wrist/fingers are what he uses as a secondary motion.

He’s not wrist like Al Di Meola, and he’s not finger movement like Malmsteen/Stump, that much I know. I do recall Troy mentioning there was some ambiguity/mystery with his motion. I interpreted that as probably some extra help from other joints in the event he needs to escape on an upstroke. Pretty sure he’s DSX elbow broadly speaking though.


Yes I tried that too. It was the most comfortable one out of all the tests. I watched the elbow motion video and read the articles.
It’s just you said Elbow motion should be downward pickslanting and I don’t know what mine is.

Haha thanks! I’ll try lol.

Elbow motion needs to escape on downstrokes because that’s all that joint can do (on its own). You don’t have to have an upward pickslant. That sounds like old terminology. The newer accepted term is DSX or downstroke escape.

But yeah, this motion you’re using will naturally allow you to escape after you’ve played a downstroke, so just choose patterns that change strings after you do an downstroke and you’ll be set.

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Thanks for the reply. I know I should try that but that idea seems so absurd. Always ending with one way. I hope i get a better idea after watching all the videos.

Yeah that blew my mind when I first saw Troy’s stuff. I thought people just played whatever they felt like. Not the case though, it’s all very specific. Yngwie and Eric Johnson always change strings after an upstroke (or they slur) and start a new string on a downstroke. John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola always change strings after downstrokes and start the new string on an upstroke. Neither of these players seem limited and can even freely improvise within their own frameworks.

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Well then, that’s all I need!

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John is probably the stricter example of this. Most of his fast stuff is downstroke escape. There are occasionally moments where he does upstroke escape via the forearm helper. His technique is easier to see / understand.

In Al’s case, his vocabulary while pattern-based doesn’t really always adhere to downstroke switching like you’d expect. There is definitely swiping at times because you can hear the open strings being hit. Especially on those “Technical Difficulties”-style sixes patterns. The question is what is happening when you can’t hear it, like on Race With Devil. I would have to guess there is swiping there too. But there may also be certain phrases where he has learned to do the two different escapes via the wrist, in an idiosyncratic way for just those phrases. But we’d really need a Magnet view to know. TLDR Al’s vocabulary is a less ideal example of someone who sticks with what “works” for their picking motion.


I understand. When I was teenager learning guitar, even the idea that you would try to match exactly one pickstroke with exactly note one seemed too fussy to me, like this couldn’t be what people were doing. I just wanted to go fast with the picking hand and hope the left hand matched up.

In reality, it’s kind of both. A lot of this stuff is learned at faster speeds, but with an awareness of where certain pickstrokes land. Like when you have a pattern that starts on a downstroke, and you can feel the downstroke, but you don’t pay too much attention to the notes in between. That’s how you do hand synchronization.

For now, that’s where you should start. You need to try to synchronize the hands on simple single-string patterns like the Yngwie six-note pattern:

Your motion is very fast, so can slow down the motion a little bit as you do this. But don’t go so slow that the motion is not elbow any more. You want to only go as slow as you need to, where the technique is still the same technique as when you play fast. Otherwise, you won’t really be learning your “fast” technique, just some other one that doesn’t work as well.

Let us know how you make out.


Hi @Troy ! I’ve been trying that video(Six-Note pattern). But my fretting hand can’t keep up with the picking hand or metronome messes all up. When I try to pick slower I unintentionally return to my old, slower picking technique and can’t pick fast enough. Do you have any tips or tricks?

Interested what Troy has to say too. In the meantime, here is my anecdotal story

That Yngwie 6 note pattern…I kind of suck at it, as compared to other patterns. Meaning, that’s not my fastest fretting hand pattern. All you really need is some pattern that you can play very fast with your left (EDIT- fretting) hand. Tom Gilroy did some really great work researching getting the most out of our fretting hand speed. If you haven’t read them yet, I’d recommend these threads. They are long, but if you plan on playing anywhere near the speed of your super-powered motion you showed us, you’ll need this.

For the immediate TL;DR version, you’ll probably find you are fastest with patterns where you can play (fretting hand) index -> middle -> ring (repeat over and over) OR index -> middle -> pinky (repeat over and over). The reverse of each of those cycles should be just as fast too. So, ring -> middle -> index OR pinky -> middle -> index

These are fast because each finger gets the duration of 2 notes to prepare for its next usage and it avoids the typically weak ring/pinky combo.

So if you could just loop this sextuplet over and over, making sure your picking hand is in sync, you’ll be well on your way:




Feel free to move that shape to different locations on the neck to find where you feel most comfortable and can do it your fastest.


Thank you for all the info. I’ve been playing for hours now and can’t feel my finger tips so I’ll be sure to try them next session. I got a little disappointed after not getting good results but there is always tomorrow :smiley:

Number one, don’t play for hours. It’s dangerous and you’re just risking injury. If you need me to make an arbitrary guess that will keep you out of the injury zone, then I’ll say 40 minutes. If you haven’t figured out something that works with that much time, then throwing more time at it isn’t going to do anything but repeat whatever wasn’t working.

Metronomes only make this harder, because you’re trying to synchronize to an external tempo. That’s secondary. The main goal is synchronizing to yourself, i.e. one hand to the other, and you don’t really care what the tempo is. So I would turn that off for now.

Are you sure the left hand really isn’t “keeping up”? Meaning, is it really going slower than the picking hand? Don’t just assume because things sound off that you know what’s actually happening. Instead, film yourself and watch in slow motion to see what’s actually happening. You have to know what the problem is before you can fix it.

What does the camera show you? Is the first note of the pattern synchronized with the correct pickstroke? Is it just one of the interior notes that’s off? If so, then try different patterns and see if any work better. Try fretting 1234 or 4321 and playing units of four where the target is the first downstroke. Try 4111-2111-4111-2111, like the AC/DC song “Thunderstruck”. Is that any better? Always film and watch and see what is really working.

Test and test again.


Oh dear god. Give me your elbow.


Haha just play some button-mashing games and you’ll be good to go. (Just kidding, but maybe it really does help :smiley: )

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Thank you! I got a lot of stuff to try now.(And better safety :smiley:)
Also, I know you are busy but I just want to say this site rocks, I wish I found it earlier but still very happy!