John Petrucci - pickslanting?


Sorry, I should have been more specific - I wasn’t referring to this particular lick, more picking in general. I’ve tried the ‘Petrucci’ way and it just doesn’t feel natural to me no matter how much I work at it. Not for a moment trying to suggest it’s ‘wrong’, just doesn’t work for me. I guess I find the Yngwie/Eric Johnson style of picking fits my natural method a lot more.


The Albert Lee Style of cross picking in my view is one of the best ways to gain access to crospicking if you are a DWPS kind of person there is not alot of extra work you will have to do except for learning the lift on the downstoke. It may be a little slower perhaps but it definitely opens doors to playing anything.


thx man I will definitely check it out.

I thought it would be nice to post here some petrucci youtube videos with fairly good quality and angle for everyone to see and discuss. Btw I also observed that he is moving the thumb in many fast licks. check it out.

Stream of consiousness (picking angle at 4:00)

In the studio (picking angle at 0:18)

Purple rain (picking angle at 7:32)


That’s exactly what I’m thinking as well. I’m really comfortable with DWPS so this type of crosspicking seems like the obvious choice. But I’m still not having any success trying to learn it.


In the words of steve morse and john petrucci work on it with the inside picking. Try doing one note on a higher string then do like 3 notes on the lower string. like a pentatonic sequence and force yourself to stay in the DWPS without rotating your forearm. It will work with the inside gilberts too. it takes some time but i bet you do it already when rhythm playing doing chugga chugga stuff you just have to do it with single notes now.


I’ve been obsessing about the 3rd erotomania solo for a while. In fact, the last lick is an excellent exercise in odd nps picking technique.
From the clip above, I would guess that JP is using dwps with swiping, which is a very senible choice at these speeds! However for me this is a bit uncomfortable as uwps feels more natural to me for speed picking. A great option to make it a bit easier is to add a couple of legato notes here and there. When I’ll finally record a decent take (both fully picked and with some “cheating”) I will post it here.

PS: I am not sure JP really does a sextuplet at the end, would seem impossibly fast at 160bpm! I think David Escobar’s transcription on youtube is how the lick is played, and it excusively involves quintuplets.

Erotomania 3rd solo help


PS: I am not sure JP really does a sextuplet at the end, would seem impossibly fast at 160bpm! I think David Escobar’s transcription on youtube is how the lick is played, and it excusively involves quintuplets.

it’s indeed quintuplets, if you see the tabs I posted above it shows it clearly (5 notes per string).
The specific lick is played with only alternate picking starting with downstroke, with no legato or sweeps by petrucci (and escobar as well). For me the most possible way to do it is TWPS since it’s odd number of notes per string. Although as we observed maybe petrucci is oalso using crosspicking and thumb movement to change strings. But as Troy said we need
proper camera angle to be sure… maybe he ll get it with a masters in mechanics interview in the future :slight_smile:


Actually my bet would be that he is not using TWPS, but exclusively DWPS, when there is a string crossing that does not “work” with DWPS, he is simply hitting all the strings in between, but he is muting them perfectly with the left hand so we can’t hear them.

Also, the sextuplet I mentioned is the last group of notes in bar 141 in your tabs. I think JP is not playing 5 - 3 -1 on the low E, but just 3 - 1 so that the last chunk remains a group of five.



Also, the sextuplet I mentioned is the last group of notes in bar 141 in your tabs. I think JP is not playing 5 - 3 -1 on the low E, but just 3 - 1 so that the last chunk remains a group of five.

The official tabs show them as sex tuplets as well but in that speed I dont even know if the ear can hear the difference.

Actually my bet would be that he is not using TWPS, but exclusively DWPS, when there is a string crossing that does not “work” with DWPS, he is simply hitting all the strings in between, but he is muting them perfectly with the left hand so we can’t hear them.

I wouldnt bet on that because hitting extra strings give you extra resistance and also make the result sound sloppy.


Definitely not in all cases, and we know because we have lots of footage of this. Take this classic example from the Batio interview:

Mike is hitting the strings here on the upstrokes, and if you know what to listen for you can hear small bits of it. But in a full mix with a band, like you’re seeing in these Petrucci clips, it would be very difficult to hear, and very difficult to even know it was happening.


When I say ‘wrist’ I just mean either deviation or flexion extension. These two often operate together, so sometimes “wrist” really is the simplest way of putting it. I’m not referring to forearm rotation or elbow flexion/extension, and I really don’t see lots of it in John’s playing on Rock Discipline or in the clips posted here. He seems to be mainly a wrist player, like Gilbert or Andy Wood.

In Andy’s interview he comments that the thinks there’s some elbow involvement when he gets faster - and that may be the case. We’d need to slap some electrodes on him to know for sure. But even if that’s happening, Andy’s wrist still appears to move relative to his arm when he’s playing quickly. Unlike, say, Vinnie Moore, where there doesn’t appear to be any wrist movement.


I had no idea this could be done without making the result sloppy but it’s indeed very difficult to undestand/hear that he is hitting both strings when has to change string.


No worries - I never know who has watched which things on the platform. The Antigravity seminar is where swiping is outlined. We talk about the way Batio uses it, and also DiMeola, Vinnie Moore, and Gilbert. You’re a subscriber so you should have complete access to that if you want to dig further.


Big fan of Petrucci’s playing and have worked on a number of his solos over the last 10 years.

One of my favourites is from “Under a Glass Moon,” which features a deviously tricky descending scale. JP actually did a play through of the solo (for Guitar World?) and the part I’m referring to starts at 0:12.

Here’s the line in question:

After trying to look closely at JP’s right hand, it seems like there is something going on with the joint of his thumb - it keeps switching from angled to straight as he plays.

One hypothesis I had (certainly not confirmed) is that he may use the angle of the thumb to allow for TWPS - by changing the angle of his thumb, he can change quickly between DWPS (angled thumb) and UWPS (straight thumb).

Doing this requires a precise placement of the hand so that the shifting of the thumb moves the pick across the threshold between DWPS and TWPS. if you’re pickslant is too steep (see Marty Friedman), straightening the thumb doesn’t move the pick enough to change between slant types.

I’ve played with this idea a bit and it seems to do something, but it could be nothing. As I said, certainly not confirmed :stuck_out_tongue:

After analyzing the line and looking at how JP moves his thumb, it seems to track with times where shifting between DWPS and UWPS would be needed.

However, it appears that part way through the lick (around string 4), he switches to a Cross Picking approach with his thumb locked in the angled position - i.e. DWPS with some kind of additional motion to lift the down stroke out of the strings.

Just a few thoughts to play with :smiley: let me know if any of this makes sense at all.


P.S. I’m all for getting Petrucci in to see what he is doing, even if it is to confirm the approach he uses. I think it would not only be insightful, but would likely bring a lot of new viewership to CTC as Petrucci has a huge following of budding guitar players.

P.P.S. How do we convince Yngwie to sit down and be interviewed by Troy? We might not learn anything new, but I just think it would be hilarious to watch Troy go giddy over meeting one of his heroes :joy:


No chance to get Yngwie :smiley:

But I have always thought that if there is a player who would be open to being interviewed it would be Paul Gilbert.


@GraehmeFloyd the closest thing to Yngwie that we’ll see is probably the Joe Stump interview. Although I only saw a 30 second clip many years ago, it seems to me that his technique is very much influenced by Yngwie, including his phrasing and note selection.


Check out this solo of Martin Miller playing a freakishly accurate version. You might get some ideas from another master:


I definitely believe so myself. Petrucci has a indeed a huge following guitar fans who are trying to better their technique! And waht Troy is doing can help them a ton!


How I imagine this meeting :wink: :


As @Troy said, all our questions will be answered with cameras, so let’s wish for an upcoming John Petrucci interview :slight_smile:

Until then all we can do is speculate by watching his videos. By doing just that and having just finished pickslanting primer, I will try to create his profile here with the terms Troy uses. Please feel free to add anything I’ve missed or correct me by providing footage that supports your argument. I will only discuss about technique, since that’s the main goal of the site. I am leaving musicality, creativity, composition, harmony etc. out of the equation.


Use strictly alternate picking whenever possible :smile:. Use legato only when you can’t play the lick at wanted speed or when you want the lick to have the fluid sound of legato (apparently). Don’t use sweep picking (economy picking) for scalar licks but only for arpeggiated one note per string super fast licks that cannot be played with alternate picking :blush:. Be accurate, efficient and articulate when playing, without hitting unwanted strings (when playing fast). Practice a lot and regularly using a metronome (metronome increase step: 8 BPM). Practice guitar like practicing lifting weights at the gym. Always warm up before playing so as not to hurt yourself. Remember to pay the monthly subscription fee for “Cracking the Code” to learn as much as possible and to help Troy Grady spread the “good word” about guitar technique :wink: hehe

Jazz III from Ultrex by Dunlop - 1.5mm

Ernie Ball (nickel would)
Gauge: 10 13 17 26 36 46 (6-string guitars), 10 13 17 26 36 46 56 (7-string guitars)
In the past he was using Regular Slinkys and RPS (Reinforced plain strings) Slinkys, but now days he is using PARADIGM Slinkys


  • From shoulder using slide motion


  • Forearm (below ulnar bone): on the guitar’s wooden body
  • Palm (extension of pinky finger): On the bridge saddle
  • Pinky: On the lower end of bridge pick up (reference point)
  • Although he is touching at all those points his anchoring is not static. As I’ve mentioned above, he is actually moving using a slide motion from shoulder to track strings
  • When playing fast he tends to hold the guitar higher than usual (above waist). To do that during lives he puts one of his feet on a boogie in front of him


  • Elbow position: flexed
  • Wrist position: not deviated, very little supinated, very little extended


  • Uses leading edge picking
  • Holding pick between thumb and index finger. Thumb is mainly straight (will get back on that). Pick rests on the side of the index finger. Pick is sticking out of the fingers only little (just the point of the pick)
  • Pinky/Ring/Middle fingers are open/loose


  • Mainly from the wrist: radial-ulnar deviation (from the videos I couldn’t detect any forearm rotation movement or extension-flexion movement in fast picking)
  • He categorically says that he is not a fan of elbow movement when picking. I think it has to do with the lack of control, maybe because the motion is far from the pick. Indeed, I couldn’t detect any elbow movement in his fast picking, but that remains to be seen after closer inspection


He also noticed that he uses thumb movement, not deliberately, when picking fast! (Thumb changing from straight to angled and back). He specifically says: “Bad thumb”, which I take as the thumb is moving on its own will. I couldn’t detect this movement when he is playing slow but it’s visible in many cases when playing fast. My speculation is that he does it unconsciously when changing strings to surpass the problem of being trapped (locked) between strings. I think he developed it with a lot of practice without even realizing it

Judging from the pick angle in videos, and that he plays a lot of licks with even number of notes per string starting with downstroke, I would say he is a DWPS but I can’t tell for sure. In that case, he maybe uses his thumb to change to UWPS thus actually using TWPS or simply to jump strings

In arpeggios and in slow licks he seems to be using cross picking

Lastly, we don’t know if he is actually swiping or not (as Troy and other users discussed this propability). We have to wait for slow motion to be sure for that because it’s almost impossible to hear

I hope this helps. That’s all from me for now